Equestrian Life


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The vet, again???

Dr. Vetter and Pate
The fancy mobile dentistry unit

After... note the absence of the baby teeth
My sleepy boy..

Well, this time it was for his own good. Now that Pate is wearing a bridle, it was time to peer into that 3 1/2 year old mouth of his and get his teeth in riding condition.

Dr. Dick Vetter and his wife Kathy of Performance Equine Dentistry, paid a visit last Saturday just for Pate. All young horses, like children, lose their baby teeth. These loose teeth are painful normally and with the addition of a bit, can really irritate. Horses have other teeth called wolf teeth that grow right in the area where the bit lies in their mouth. Some horses have two, some three, some four. Pate was no exception, with three.

Dr. Vetter removed these three wolf teeth, five baby caps and smoothed out several bumps and ridges along his molars. Pate took the treatment well and was a good patient.

However, something profound happened. I know that Pate trusts me, but I didn't know how much until Saturday. Two incidents happened where Pate endeared himself to me in a way I will never be able to completely understand.

The first thing Dr. Vetter does to any horse before treatment is listen to their heart and lungs with a stethoscope and gets an approximate weight of the horse to determine how much "go go juice" is needed to put them into the twilight zone. Weight is determined by using a tape wrapped around their middle right behind their front legs. It's a light weight tape similar to a seamstress' tape that marks weight in pounds. I figured that Pate should be fine with this since he has had a saddle on plenty of times. Well, not for Dr. Vetter! Pate was jumpy and gave Dr. Vetter a little cow kick. I was surprised, since this is unusual behavior for Pate, but then he's only been handled by a very few people. Note to self, hand him off to others to be worked. I asked Dr. Vetter to let me try and low and behold Pate stood still. Hmmm. But ok, no problem. He trusts me. Makes sense.

After Dr. Vetter was done with Pates teeth, he asked me if we should clean his sheath (little boys parts, to you laymen), as all boy horses need this done a few times a year. Most male horses get used to this after a while (and some enjoy it!). But I had not yet tried this with Pate. A good time to get the deed done was while he was still gorked. Again, a bit of cow kicking at the fine doctor. This time I asked the doc to hold on while I snuggled in and held Pates head and whispered to him in his ear. Mind you, he is still half out of his gourd, but awake enough to know it was me. He immediately relaxed, dropped his head and stood still. The doc finished up the cleaning and Pate was done for the day. WOW! How can I let this guy go to some stranger? This wild beast who implicitly trusts me and only me to keep him safe?? Damn you Pate! I was not planning on bringing you back to Washington with me! You better win some money in September to afford your trip home!!

Thank you Dr. Vetter for your sponsorship towards the competition. I really appreciate it!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I should live so well!

Whatcha doing?
Ooh Baby!
Hey Dale? Did I tell you he was wild?
It was time for Dr. Dale Pearson, the horse chiropractor, to pay a visit to see the ponies, so I put Pate on the list. Now that I am riding him, I thought it best to be sure he was in good shape, structurally. Many horses are "out" in their spine, hips and necks, which cause pain during training. I was hoping that when Pate banged his head, he didn't knock his atlas (the part of the spine holding the head to the neck) out of adjustment. He was locked up in that area and was having trouble stretching to the right. A little Dr. Dale magic and all is well.
Pate was a bit concerned about Dale at first, but soon learned that adjustments are 'da bomb". LOL

I was pretty proud of him, because Dale is the only other person to really handle Pate other than the farrier. Chiropractic can be a bit unnerving to some horses, but not to Pate. He really loved it. Dale said that my little wild man has better ground manners than most of his seasoned domestic horses and was extremely flexible. I guess that will come in handy for all the pole bending he might do someday. LOL

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Save a horse, ride a cowboy!

Rain, rain, go away!! It's summer already!

I took the time between rain showers to get a little something accomplished with Pate. The pictures tell the story. Last Thursday, I sensed that he was ready, so I went for it. Other than that I felt like I was sitting on a shrimp, all went well! LOL

Actually, I am just fine with a low center of gravity. It helps keep the wheels on the ground better in slippery situations. Oh, I mean, it's not as far to fall!

Many thanks to Laura, her mom Shelly and Scott for helping me out.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I have a secret!

It was dark, so no evidence was gathered. But it does involve a saddle and Pate's graduation to the big leagues!

You will just have to wait!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A little time away..

Over the weekend, the rescue that I work with held a 4 day camping trip outside of Bend, Oregon. Our rescue works to save as many horses from slaughter as we can. We have a little known industry in this country where 100,000+ horses a year are slaughtered for their meat for human consumption overseas. Many of them mustangs. Yes, human consumption! I have saved two such horses, one being Pate's best friend, Tai. My fellow rescuers brought their "saved from slaughter" horses, a couple who were mustangs, to join in fun and riding. While I had planned to take Pate for the experience, he waited patiently for me to return as Tai was exposed to many new things, including water! The pictures show Tai on his 5th ride under saddle. Tai continues to amaze me everyday. He is just three years old and has the best mind. Training him has simply been a dream. I have absolutely no idea why he ended up at a feedlot for slaughter.

I'm home now so it's back to the Pate show...

Baby gets a new pair of shoes..

Well, after much soaking, no abscess has come about. Pate's feet are fairly flat and short, so it might just be that he has tender feet on the gravel. Highly unusual for a mustang, as they have pretty hard feet. But Pate was born in captivity, so maybe he has not developed the hard feet mustangs are known for. Up until now, he has been on either rubber mats or sand. So both the vet and the farrier decided that it might be best for Pate to wear shoes to help with his soreness. Melinda, my ever patient farrier, worked with Pate to make his first trimming and shoeing a pleasant experience. He was a very good boy. I was able to drop the lead rope on several occasions to take pictures. Sorry Melinda, but I was capturing your best side! :)

The shoes seem to be helping, as he is walking sound now. I was planning to take him camping with me over the weekend, but Dr. G. suggested I leave him home. I did not want to sore him up too much out on the rough terrain, so I agreed.

You can see from these pictures, that his face is healing up well!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Still lame..

Pate is getting better, but is still lame. I am spending time brushing and hand grazing him. We are also working in walking around the property (gimping is more like it), looking at stuff such as propane tanks, porches, hot tubs, picnic tables and a bubbling pond. He's having fun just hanging out and eating grass with no expectations put upon him. He and my old man, Jedi, get to graze out in front of the barn for several hours each day. Now, if I could only keep them away from my blueberry bushes! I finally have blueberries and I want to eat them! I'm not growing them for the horses! I have apple trees for that!

The vet and farrier will both be out this afternoon to check out his foot and reassess.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Can I get a new Mustang? This one is defective!

If it isn't one thing, it is another! Pate has decided, or rather, Pate's foot has decided to pop an abscess. Now, if you are not a horse person, this may sound pretty bad. But actually, I would have taken an abscess over his poor ripped open face any day! An abscess is basically a blister or pocket of blood inside the tough exterior of the horses hoof. Once drained, the horse usually heals up quick and stops being sore on that foot. They can be caused by a number of things, but most likely it was caused by stepping down hard on a stone.

Once again, Dr. G, as I affectionately call him, was called out to the homestead. After much probing, pinching and nerve blocking, it was determined that Pate's right front foot was brewing a horse blister of epic proportions. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little, but he sure thought it was painful. The best part? That Dr. G could handle his feet, without a sedative and Pate actually picked them up for him! Hey! All this horse training is actually working!! LOL

The doc wrapped his foot in a poultice and it is my job to keep it wet until he stops moving lame and the abscess comes to the surface. Well, with his foot wrapped in several layers of cushion, he almost immediately walked sound. Goodie for me, as the good doctor ordered him back into light training. He will survive! No rest for the wicked around here, as we have a contest to win!

Since I am a softee at heart, I gave him another day off to frolic with the herd in the pasture. Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The new name is causing a commotion!

ok, ok, I hear you. I have had several people contact me to either let me know that they do not like the name change or that there is another Mustang in the contest with that name.

I guess we will stick with Patriot! Now, can I go back to training him??? Jeez. -smile-

The fireworks scared Pate a lot. I spent several hours standing by his side, stroking and talking to him. He stood like a stone, getting his emotional safety from me. If I left him for even a second, he would pace restlessly. I was afraid he would hit his face again, so I stuck close by. It was really touching to know that he trusts me enough to get comfort from me when under stress. At one point, he fell asleep, even though cannon like explosions were going off all around him.

Luckily, he was the only horse in my barn that needed me last night. My three other Mustangs were just fine even though the display went on past 2 am!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy July 4th!

Today is a day of rest for Reno. He worked hard over the weekend, so I turned him out with the herd to eat some green grass.

It's a war zone at my house during July 4th celebrations as ALL my neighbors find it fascinating to send up fireworks. My nearest neighbor bought $2800 worth! Jeez! So, I'm putting all the horses in rubber stalls tonight! :)

A whole lot of "Rothering" going on

Day 1

Day 1

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3 - Saddled!

Day 3

Day 3

Day 4 - First Tying

Day 4 - Tied at the trailer

Loading up

2 minutes into loading

4 minutes, he is in!

Just back from our four day clinic with Steve Rother. I clinic with him whenever he is in town, so I loaded up Patriot and another one of my young horses, Tai, and off we went.

First, Patriot has been renamed. A poll was taken at the clinic and the vote was for Reno! I have to say, I like that name better.

Reno has come a LONG way. He loads in a trailer, ties, saddles, leads out in the open, comes when he is called in a large arena, sends over scary obstacles and has had his first bath! He was exposed to many new things, like tractors, blowers, ATV's, other horses, a new barn and stall, concrete isleways, and hoses.

Other than that he was fantastic student, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Pate meets the vet

Patriot had a bad day on Friday. Somehow, between breakfast and dinner, he managed to open up his wound. This time, I called the vet. It was time for stitches! You would have been proud of me. Vet's have had to pick me up off of the ground during these type of procedures. Not this time. I watched every minute, assisted the vet and held my poor boy upright!

My vet is a patient and trusting man. I told him that Pate was handleable and that he would be able to give him a sedative. The vet had Pate literally eat out of his hands by feeding him yummy grain. After a "get to know you" session, he was given a sedative and promptly fell asleep. After many nights of sleep deprivation, my little mustang was snoring like a baby! It was a crack up to hear the snoring sound coming out of a horse!

It took about 1 hour to clean, flush, and stitch the wound. It was worse than you would have thought as first glance and fairly old. He had developed scar tissue and the skin was tough to get a needle through.

Pate "woke up" once during the procedure and needed even more drugs. That's one thing about Mustangs. They can be heavily sedated, yet literally run away. They have a high fight or flight response built into their genetics.

He got 17 stitches in two passes and his first exposure to the clippers. Hopefully, he will heal up nicely without much scarring. He's wearing his fly mask 24 hours now to prevent flies, dirt and further rubbing.

He is having some drainage and swelling, but he is no worse for wear. So I loaded him into the trailer and headed out for a four day clinic with Steve Rother. More on that later as I am still at the clinic and he is doing great!

But I did want to tell you that he loaded into the trailer for the first time in 38 minutes! We took it one hoof at a time.

I will try to get as many pictures and video of his progress as I can while I am here and post them when I return on Tuesday.