Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Shoes

Our farrier met with our vet last Friday and went over Riva's x-rays and instructions.  Today he was out to trim and shoe her.  Riva is not the best 'patient', but has been getting better every visit.  She was awesome today - stood very still and was most cooperative.  At least we are making progress in that department! 

Pic of her left front, after trim and new aluminum shoe

Farrier cut back her toe a bit and shimmed her heels up slightly with this shoe.  Reason being she has a negative palmer in her coffin bone. 

Pic of her right front, club foot with her custom made steel shoe

This foot he trimmed off about an inch from the toe and about a half inch of heel.  He spent a good half hour making this shoe.

Hoping these bell boots stay on and keep her pricey new shoes on her feet!

The vet wants to see Riva back the middle of June.  She will be at 2 1/2 weeks, by that time, in these shoes.  No riding, lunging, working till the vet sees her.  She is on normal turn out.  Our farrier said he will see her again in 5 weeks, unless our vet wants her seen sooner, or heaven forbid...she loses a shoe.

Just spoke with our working student daughter, by phone,  She sounds so in her element, loving her new position, but tired :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lex & Henny's Journey

We drove our daughter and her horse to her summer working position yesterday - yes my baby is gone for 10 weeks on her adventure!  She started a blog to document her days and post progress pictures of her horse, Hennessy.  She will be living with and working for our trainer, who is originally from the UK.  Our trainer has 3 horses on her property, so Lex will be working with our trainer's horses, as well as her own.  Our trainer is an eventer, married with no children, 3 dogs, and a dozen baby chickens.  She has an indoor arena, as well as an outdoor, plus some open land to ride on.

Lex will be traveling with our trainer today to set up for a rated dressage show taking place next weekend in her area.  I am sure 6 am came very early for my teenage daughter :)  If you want to check out her blog, here is the link:  http://lexandhennysjourney.blogspot.com/

I will miss her - but will get to see her once a week, either at home for a day off or at a show.  Hoping she has a fabulous time!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Starting Point

Here are pictures of Riva front feet, taken today.  Farrier visit is scheduled for Thursday.  I want to be able to track the progression as we work to get her sound.  Think they can only get better!

                                                  Here is the right front (club foot)

Right Front

Right Front

Left Front

Left Front

Left Front 

Will post pictures after her farrier visit and then weekly to chart progress.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some Questions Answered

Riva had her vet visit yesterday.  After 5 views of x-rays, lameness exam involving trotting her in hand for our vet and free lunging in their round pen, hoof testing and general exam - and many $$$$'s - we have some answers.

First off - our vet examed and hoof tested both front feet.  She noticed right off that her left knee is larger than her right and there is a slight bow to that leg from the knee down.  She did not get any pain reaction from Riva, on either foot, when she hoof tested her.  All the vet said at first is her feet look terrible.  (Riva had lost her right front shoe when we went to pick her up yesterday - and husband had pulled the left front days ago because it was bent and loose).

Out vet had me take her out and hand trot her.  She couldn't see much of her true movement from this and I can't run fast enough to really get Riva moving.  We took her to the round pen for me to free lunge her both ways.  After watching her - our vet said she is off both directions - off on her right front when trotted to the left and off on her left front when trotting to the right. 

We put her back in the stocks and vet said we have 3 things going off - something is wrong with her left knee, left front foot, and right front foot.  She wanted to take x-rays of the knee, and both front feet.  She started with the right front foot and the left knee.  She went over the x-xays with us and then took another view of the left front foot.  We ended up with 2 views of the left knee - 2 views of the right foot - and 1 of the left foot.

The knee - Riva has sustained trama to the knee at some point, vet believes as a weanling or yearling.  The growth plate is uneven and has closed that way.  This is causing the bow look to the inside of her leg from the knee down.  There is inflamtion and vet said she will develop arthrisis in that knee somewhere down the road. 

The left front - her toe is too long and the heel too low.

The right front - her toe is way too long and heel way too high.  Good news is, the thrush is gone and the deep central sulcus is no longer painful - no infection.  She did have heat in the right front foot after hand trotting her on soft ground and in the round pen free lunging on soft ground.

What the vet suggested:  Cosequin ASU for the left knee.  She believes this will keep the inflammation down, relieve pain, and keep her knee from develping arthrisis as long as possible.  She also said she probably will never be able to be jumped.

Both front feet need radical changes in the way they are being trimmed.  Her right front toe needs to be cut way back and her heel brought down.  Her left front toe needs trimmed back and her heel slightly raised.

Vet gave us options for the trimming.  She works a lot with our current farrier and said she would meet with him and go over the x-rays and tell him how Riva needs trimmed and shod to correct.  She said we can have another farrier do also and she would phone consult and send x-rays.  Regardless, she wants to see Riva back mid-June after farrier work and see how she compares.

Husband called our current farrier on the drive home (our horses were already scheduled to be re-shod this coming Thursday).  He told him what our vet said - our farrier was very receptive to the info and said he will get with our vet before Thursday and go over her findings and recommendations.  We are going to try this and see where we are at re-check in mid-June.

So - for now - no riding - Riva can be turned out.  Will be putting her on Cosequin ASU - good lord that stuff is expensive!  Wait for Thursday for farrier to radically changed her feet and see where we stand mid-June. 

I will be posting progress pictures as we go to monitor.  I plan to take pictures when we are out to the barn tomorrow as a starting point - knee, and both front feet.

I shed a few tears at the vet but our vet was encouraging that this can be changed and improved immensely with the right care.  Riva was great at the vet - first time in stocks, first time in a round pen, first time traveling anywhere by herself.  Ok, we had to try a few times to get her on the trailer to go home - but all in all, she was a star.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Enough Guessing

I made the decision to take Riva to our vet this Friday for a lameness exam in conjunction with her issues in her right front hoof.  We have now been trying to clear up the thrush / infection in her deep central sulcus for a month now.  She has days that she is almost sound at the trot and days she looks as bad as when we began treatment.

My husband spoke with our farrier about it again yesterday, and farrier can't get out till the already scheduled visit next Thursday.  Just too long for me to keep trying different things to see if this treatment will work.  I have cried in to that black mane way too many times over the past month and just want straight answers and healing for Riva.

We have never had her club foot evaluated by a vet.  We came to the decision that it is time to see what we will be dealing with down the road.  We did not know she had a club foot until our current farrier told us - about 2 years ago.  He assured us it was a grade 1 - easily manageable and that she would be fine for dressage and jumping (down the road age wise).  Just that he wanted her with front shoes on when I started riding her.  We did that.  I have talked with him many times and it has always been the same story - she was a work in progress.

When my husband spoke with him yesterday, farrier now says she is a higher grade of club and we will always be dealing with lameness issues....WTC?!  I am beyond frustrated at this point.  We already have one semi-retired horse to support and can not afford another.  I am stressed and sick to my stomach at the thought of Riva never being 100%.

So...what to do now.  Vet first - I am prepared for her to take x-rays of Riva and whatever else needs done to evalute her club foot and how to get the infection cleared.  Second - change farriers.  Our BO uses another farrier and I am confident in switching to him.  Third - not giving up on Miss Riva Diva without a fight!

Monday, May 16, 2011

CAF Show - Part 2

As I have been posting about for a month now, Riva is still not sound on the right front.  We have been battling thrush - she improved for awhile, but got worse again.  We made the decision to take her to the show and try it.

She loaded beautifully on the trailer Friday evening and settled quickly in to her stall at CAF.  First time for us there.  After letting her and Henny eat a bit of hay, we took them for a walk around the property and to graze a bit.  She was fairly calm about a new place.  We saddled them up and took them back to the indoor that others were riding in. 

As soon as I got her trotting, knew she was badly off.  I hopped off and put her on the lunge - not good.  Husband took her back to the stall to look at her foot, see if anything was in that crevice.  When he picked it out, he saw it had abcessed and blew out.  Good and bad, right?

We had a few first aid things with us, so he medicated it, vet wrapped and duct tapped it for the night.  Gave her some bute and let her be.

So, we did not even get over to the outdoor dressage arena or the grass warm up on Friday night. 

L had her test before me on Saturday morning.  We helped her get ready, videoed her test and then helped her quickly get ready for jumping cross country.  By this time, I had to saddle up Riva and get her warmed up - still not sure how she was on that right front.

Took her over to the grass warm up - which we have never rode in anything like that.  She was a bundle of nerves, not listening, totally confused.  I ride her at walk around the property of where we board, but have never trotted her in the grass.  So, I spent my warm up trying to get her calm and listening.  Husband and I were able to see most of our daughter's stadium and cross country jumping from the warm up arena.

Daughter finished jumping and rode over to the dressage arena just as I was to go in and test.  Finally got Riva in to the dressage arena - she definitely did not want to go in.  I rode her to the judges stand to give our number and say hello.  Rode back out to wait for the whistle.  Took much convincing to get her to enter at A and trot up the centerline.  Managed to get a halt at X, got her trotting to C, made the left turn and started toward B to do our left 20 meter circle.  As soon as I started Riva in to the circle, she threw out her right shoulder and pulled toward the exit.  I could not het her back on track and nodded to end the test.

The judge was very kind and told me I was welcome to bring her back in and school during the time remaining of my test.  I had my daughter get on her first and ride her around a bit.  The judge asked my daughter if we knew she was off - daughter answered we did but wanted to get her in the ring.  The judge said that was fine and that Riva has lots of potential.

I then got back on and schooled her a few more minutes.  Here is the video of that - as you can see, she is very off.

I was a bit in tears riding out and not being able to complete the test.  I rode her back toward her stall and had my husband take a photo of us by the lovely flowers.  Said I hope you can't see the tears in the picture.

Daughter and I watched a few tests after we got the horses settled.  Day turned out good weather wise, we did not get rain until on the way home.  Loaded up - again, Riva loaded up great to head home,

Once we got home, our trainer called to see how it went.  She could not attend, as she was scribbing at Edinburgh at an IDS show.  I went over the whole two days.  She made me see all the good things that came of the weekend - Riva loaded up and traveled well, she went to a new place and had new experiences, she was well behaved in the stall and to hand walk around, and that she has a physical issue right now that we don't know how much pain and or discomfort she is experiencing.  Love my trainer!

We tried a hot poultice on Sunday night to draw out the rest of the abcess.  Tonight, we are trying a dry poultice.  Also called the farrier to see when he can come back out and see if we should be doing anything else for her foot or if we need to have the vet see her.

Just hate Riva being off and not knowing what else to do for her or how long this will last.  Love my girl and just want her healthy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

CAF Show - Part 1

Ok, the good first.  My daughter and Hennessy had a great dressage test and jumping / cross country round at Saturday's show.  They took 5th place.  We videoed her Beginner Novice Test A - did not get to video the jumping because I was getting ready to do my test.  Here is their video: 
To be continued...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baby it's Hot outside!

Only in Indiana do we go from furnaces to AC.  And our horses are still shedding out from the blasted cold winter.  Got to put fans on the shopping list for the horses' stalls.

Got to the barn last night to find Riva's top dutch stall door open.  Now this is a good thing and hoping she doesn't remember the time she jumped out!  Her 2 year old year, she decided to go out for more grazin - thru the top open dutch door in her stall.  Luckily, she did not hurt herself, but scard the BO.  Since then, Riva's top door has remained closed.  We shall see...

Last night was not our best ride.  Riva was sticky...at walk...at trot...better at canter.  We did get some good trot work in and some decent left lead canter.  I put her thru her Intro Test B before we walked out.  She did well, except we did not stop at X for the entry or the final halt.  I had been after her the entire ride to keep moving, more forward...can't blame her for not wanting to stop.  We did go back thru just down the centerline to halt at X - success on the last one!

I walked her outside down the road that leads to the barn - she was so hot and sweaty.  Put her in the wash rack for a rinse off.  She is much better about the wash rack this year and baths.  I had not attempted to spray her face yet with the hose - always have just sponged it off.  I put the nozzle on a soft spray and went up her neck and over to her lips, up the nose, and finally all the way to ears.  She raised her head a bit but did not attempt to back up.  She made cute flapping lip faces the entire time :) 

So the mare redeemed herself last evening by making me laugh.  Always look for the positive, right?

Got our ride times by email today for CAF on Sat.  L shows around 11:15 - me around 12:15.  Very excited!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We really needed THAT lesson!

Last night, we had lessons!  Was so happy - after 3 weeks - to get a lesson in.  With battling Riva's thrush, random bad weather, and Henny losing a shoe - we hope to get back on our every other week lesson schedule.

We got out to the barn early enough for me to lunge Riva and groom her before our trainer got there.  I was able to finish up, put Riva back in her stall to chill, while L had her lesson.  L worked on Dressage for her lesson - since her jumping is much improved. 

Riva must have forgotten that she is 'scared' of our trainer.  Normally, she is on her best behaviour when the trainer is out in the arena.  After 3 weeks, she seemed to not remember her.  Which was a good thing.  Trainer usually only sees Riva good side - the sweet, willing, forward mare - not the stubborn, sticky, witchy mare!

Started with Riva poking along in walk.  I got after her to move out - she pinned her ears and cow kicked.  Trainer got after her with the lounge whip...Riva decided to march along and swing at the walk.

Moved on to trot - better, but still not as forward as trainer wanted.  She got after Riva again with the lounge whip.  We worked on trot to walk to halt - right back in to trot.  That started getting Riva moving and forward.  She was going along really well, until she decided exiting thru one of the side open arena doors seemed that a better idea.  This door leads to the gelding pasture, in which the gate was closed (thankfully!).  Trainer followed me out and instructed me to get her turned around and facing the barn - did that.  Every time she tried to turn one way - trainer had me turn her the other way.  Said just keep facing her towards the barn and getting after her to go back in.  Instead Riva backed up into the gate - once her butt hit that fence, she decided going back in the arena WAS a good idea.

Ok - so we are back in the arena...right back to working on forward trot.  Each time we went by that open door, I blocked with my outside leg and rein and we stayed in!  Moved on to canter.  The left lead canter was good!  Got full arena several times - Riva had good speed and steering - felt lovely.  After the last canter, I let her go in to her strechy trot.  Trainer loves this about Riva - she has a natural ground covering stretchy trot after canter.  She does not pull - just moves along.

Time to switch to right lead canter.  She went in to it willingly each time - but we really had to work on getting a good bend before asking for canter - pushing her forward with my seat and outside leg - keeping the rein just slightly to the outside of her neck.  Not bad - we worked on right lead longer and we achieved on really nice lap of the arena.  She was smoother and in a nicer rhythm than we had ever achieved on the right lead - yeah!

I was glad Riva was her Diva self a few times during our lesson last night.  Gave us a chance to work thru issues with our trainer.  And my trainer was proud that I was getting after Riva with my voice - loudly - said I scared her one time :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

First Canter Outside

We have rode many, many times outside.  In fact, the first time I backed Riva, was outside.  But I have never cantered her in the outdoor arena.  Success today :)  I did 'cheat' and have my daughter ride her first at canter.  My husband said I better be careful letting L ride her - she was having way too much fun and would have kept riding.  L thought she was much more forward than the last time she rode her.

We started with some warm up walk and trot.  L was riding Henny also and he was very looky and jumpy.  So, of course, Riva decided if Henny was that way, must be tigers hiding somewhere!  I basically ignored her behavour and kept changing it up and refocusing her attention.  We worked on 20 meter circles and some leg yielding at trot.

I then had L get on her and Riva went right in to a left lead canter for her - it was pretty smooth and rhythmic.  L was able to circle her and keep her going.  She switched to right lead - little tougher.  L had to open the inside rein to ask for canter, then bring her hands in together and lay them slightly to the outside of her neck to keep her going.  This seemed to help Riva balance and not fall in on her shoulder.

I got back on and Riva went in to left lead canter for me when asked.  I was able to keep her in canter for 2 circles of about 1/2 the outdoor arena.  First time I have been able to steer her in a canter and make a turn without a wall coming at us.  She had good controllable speed - felt great :)  We switched to right lead - Riva again went in to it when asked.  I had to try a couple of times to get her to pick up the correct lead and maintain it.  L's way of helping her balance using the reins worked for me also.  We were just able to get 1 circle at right lead - but it was much easier to ride than ever before.

Was really glad I tried the canter outside this evening.  Riva seemed pretty proud of herself also! 

Thoroughbred Racing & Pepsi Challenge

Our first horse, Cheersto Glory, is an OTTB.  He raced for 3 years and was purchased at an end of racing season auction by Friends of Ferdinand.  He was one of the first horses that FFI rescued back when they first began.  He won over $60,000 in his career.  Derby day always makes me think of what happens to all the TB's out there that don't win big.  By getting involved with FFI, we have learned so much - we have fostered a retired racer in addition to adopting Cheers. 

FFI is trying to raise more money thru participating in the Pepsi Challenge.  FFI is strictly run by volunteers and relies on donations in order to rehome more TB's.  Please help by going to this website and voting for FFI.  You can vote once a day during the month of May.   www.refresheverything.com/saveahorse

Cheers will always have a home with us - he is safe, loved, and pampered.  Not all OTTBs are that lucky.

Cheersto Glory
(taken while he was enjoying 'just be a horse time' after coming off the track)

Link to a UTube video produced by FFI about Cheers

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My daughter, the future trainer

Farrier can not come out till Thursday to put Henny's shoe back on, so I talked L in to giving me a lesson.  She did really well - after I got her talking.  When we started out, I was riding a 20 meter circle around her - left lead.  After about the 5th one, I asked her how I was doing...normally, L is loud and opinionated.  I thought I was really doing great or terrible and she didn't know what to say :-) 

L teaches beginner riding lessons - mostly Western - at a barn that we used to board at.  She has been working there for 2 years and has been a summer camp counselor for the past 3 summers.  The BO is a 75 yr old women - very sweet and knowledgable - but likes things done her way.  L tries to incorporate what she learns in her lessons, with our trainer, in to how she teaches her students.  L loves when someone wants to learn to ride 'English'. 

Riva was awesome last night - she worked really hard for me.  She only got sticky once, towards the end.  But I got her moving again and finished positive.  L had us work 20 meter trot circles - with some almost to walk then trot ons, thrown in.  We worked in to 10 meter circles and back out.  We did some leg yield at the trot.  We tried some canter towards the end.  Left lead was nice - picked it up when asked and held it till I had to break her to trot one time and halt the other time.  Another boarder was riding and I can't steer Riva much yet at canter - first time Riva wanted to bite a chunck out of the rider (I don't know why she does this!) and the other time I had to stop her because we had no way to make it around the other horse.

I asked her for right lead canter twice also.  Had not asked her since before the lameness from thrush.  She was trying, but I could not keep her going more than half arena.  She seems to need more outside rein given on the right lead and keep more contact on inside rein to help keep the bend.  Opposite for left lead. 

Hoping to ride outside this evening - the sun is shining right now.  Possible lesson on Thursday with our trainer - still waiting to hear from her to confirm.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Getting There

The foot is improving :)  Have been so worried, stressed, obsessed with getting Riva back to sound.  She is not 100% just yet - but I did ride last night.

When I picked out her right front last night, she was ouchy and not happy with me.  Husband looked at it and the crevice is pink at the bottom.  The cotton and gauze we had packed it with had fallen out since last Friday.  I went ahead and popped her on the lounge.  Not bad - a bit of head bobbing on the right trot lead but she got better as she went.

Decided to try her under saddle.  Just after I got on, our BO decided to make a 20 meter circle on one end of the indoor arena with a bag of bedding.  Riva chose to make a HUGE deal of this - she is not a spooky horse so I get the feeling she was not scared, just being stupid.  She tried to bolt twice, spin, grow to 17 hands, etc.  After about 10 minutes of this - I was not getting off and backing down - she gave and suddenly this circle of bedding was not going to eat her.  I kept circling her closer and closer to it, in trot, and finally took her around that end. 

I ended with a trot down the centerline and halted her in the 'circle of death'.  Hoping tonight she will remember she lived!