Friday, September 29, 2006

Some good, some bad

We had a bit of a bad day at the barn yesterday. Nothing major, it was just that Kaswyn felt like he hurt. Even when I rode him like I did on Tuesday we was very uneven and really didn't want to move forward. After 10 minutes he was still really short-strided on that left front, so we quit.

I realize that we aren't going to have all good days. Even though that's what I want to happen. So I have to just go with it when he has a worse day. Today I'm going to try and ride again. Hopefully he'll do better today. It just really got cold and rainy so maybe that affected him.

In other news - Lily has recovered from her little mishap. Click here to read all about it on Craig's site, complete with a picture. She's been such a little trooper through the whole thing. Let's hope we can avoid any further drama.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do I see a light at the end of this tunnel?

I was chatting with my trainer as I was walking Kaswyn to warm him up for a ride yesterday. She rode him on Saturday and thought he went much better when she got him more in an upright frame. As an FEI horse he is used to having this upper-level frame, but I've been riding him more long and low as he's been recovering. We discussed how it might be better to get him up and off of his forehand, since the front leg is the problem. We're guessing that he's going short on it now, not because he's hurting (he's very willing to work at this point, just short on that leg), but because of two things - different sensations in that foot because the heel is numb and maybe some compensation in that shoulder due to this whole mess.

Since Kaswyn goes really well in the snaffle as well as the double bridle, I've been riding in the snaffle. I warmed him up in kind of a first level frame, and he was moderately uneven on that left front. Then we took a walk break and when we started back up I put him in his prior working upper level frame. He was much more even - I'd say over half of the time he was 100% even and felt really good. He tired easily because he hasn't been asked to weight his haunches for months now, but still he felt great. The best part was when we were walking at the end of the ride. He was totally even. No short strides at all. This is a huge relief to me because it gives me hope that we'll be able to return to training. It also shows me that my horse can exist and not be in pain. Wonderful!

Friday, September 22, 2006

A post that's not about my horse. I know, you're amazed.

I said in one of my posts that I would not be talking about work here. There are several reasons for this. One is that I don't want to get fired, which has happened to people who blog about their workplace. Secondly, I know that some people at work know about this web site, and even if I write in the most vague terms there people could figure out what and who I'm talking about.

So here is the thing. In every workplace there is drama. Not with the work iteself, but between employees. You can't expect a group of people with different backgounds, enthnicities, work ethics, and ideas to all get along all the time. Thus, the drama. This workplace is no exception. There are people who work hard, others not as much. There are some people who are favored by higher-ups, and still others favored by different higher-ups. There are workers who have close contact with each other every day who completely can't stand each other to the point that they only communicate in one work sentences, if they absolutely MUST speak. There are inconsiderate, dishonest, and apathetic people here too.

All of this was really getting to me on a daily basis. I was getting all stressed at work and was dreading going into work. Not because I didn't like the work - I really love my job. It was all the other bullshit that I couldn't take.

One day about two months ago I was thinking about this whole thing and I came up with a mantra of sorts that I say to myself when I start thinking negative things about the crap here. "I have to change my attitude because I can't change other people."

It works for a lot of things. Where I used to think "That person is not doing nearly as much work as I am." now I think "This is my work and I have to do it, regardless of what anyone else is doing." Where I used to think "This person is being unfair about this situation." now I think "This is the situation and it will not change, so I will try and not let it bother me."

Sometimes, however, I hear things that my little mantra just can't tackle. That happened today. So now I'm stuck with all this negativity that I just don't need. Or want. At times like these, I have another mantra. It goes a little something like this:


Kaswyn likes herb

It was suggested to me that Kaswyn should take an herbal remedy for his navicular and subsequent lameness. Earth Angel Herbs has a formula call Nublada's Cure that is supposed to shrink all kinds of tumors and growths. I decided to call the lady and ask her opinion on if her product could help a cyst in the navicular bone. She said it would definately remove (not improve, remove) the cyst but it might take 8 months or so. She said she couldn't be exactly sure, it could also take as little as 4 months or up to a year. Additonally she carries a lameness formula which would help with the pain in his foot and should make him more comfortable during the healing process. I asked how long it would take for him to see some relief, and she said just a few days. So I thought I'd give it a try.

He started on the herbs on Sunday, the day after he was super lame after the neuroma injection. He wasn't good Monday and the vet came to see him Tuesday when he was 85% better. I rode him yesterday and he was still pretty good. Just a little short on that left front, but not as much, and pretty willing to go to work. Sure, I had to push him a little because he is kind of out of shape, but he was still willing to move forward off of my leg alone - no whip or spurs. I'm pretty happy about this.

Now, was it the herbs that have caused the improvement, or was it injecting the neuromas? The neruomas are still sensitive, so I guess I'm leaning towards the herbs. When I asked my vet if he thought the herbs could dissolve the cyst, he said it's certainly possible. I'm glad he didn't dismiss it completely.

I think if my horse recovers well that I'd like to take him back in a year to get another x-ray on that foot to see how the cyst looks. I'll be curious to see if it's the same or, maybe, gone. If it is gone, I'm going to shout the praises of these hearbs to everyone I know. Because I'm positive that nothing else that I've done could have caused the cyst to disappear. Unless I'm magic. In which case I'm going to be making a magic money tree. Lord knows I need one.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Was the vet right?

Yes, the vet was right. I rode my horse today and he was much better. The vet said 85% better, and I think that would be about right. Now, I don't know why he was head-bobbing lame on Saturday and so much better today. I really don't care why. I just want this to continue.

Awesome. :D

What the vet says now

Dr. B. thinks that Kaswyn is 85% better today than he was last Wednesday before the injection. Personally I feel that has a lot to do with the 2 grams of bute he's been getting. Anyhow, Dr. B does not think he should have another surgery any time soon. He thinks that the neuromas are not that bad and, although they are sensitive, that they will slowly become less active over time.

The new plan is to give Kaswyn 1 gram a bute a day for 30 days. I should start working him again, lightly, and slowly try to bring him back to his former work level. He says I should expect that I'll have to push him sometimes, and that he might not feel great from day to day. He wants me to look for improvement over the next few months. He feels that should be enough time that Kaswyn should have improved somewhat.

This plan sounds fine with me, although I'm not completely optimistic. However, I'll give it a try because I'm really not eager to cut my horse open again. The only thing that will be hard is forcing him to work when he doesn't want to. Kaswyn is not a lazy horse by nature and is usually very happy and willing to go to work. Because Dr. B. assured me that I won't be doing any damage by making him work, I'm going to try and do it. It's going to be very hard, but I'll try.

This has not been an easy ordeal for my husband. The way he sees it, I have a relationship with another man. I make special arrangements to spend time with the other man, I spend A LOT of money on him, and sometimes he makes me cry. This does not make Craig happy. It's really frustrating to him to see me like this. I know he just wants me to retire my horse and be done with it.

While I'm not looking forward to retiring Kaswyn, I know I will have to eventually. The goal at this point is to get my horse pain free. I thought the neurectomy would do that, but it has not. Now I feel like I have a duty to make sure that this horse does not live in pain for the rest of his life. What kind of life would that be for him? Really, after all he has given me I owe him that and much more. So I want to make the pain go away. When he doesn't hurt anymore, then I can evaluate if we are able to train and compete again. If so, great. If not, fine. I retire my horse, with the knowledge that he's comfortable and happy.

Now what?

When I rode Kaswyn on Saturday he was much more lame than he had ever been. I'm starting to think that every time I inject this horse or cut him open I do more damage. I didn't write about it until now becasue I've been too upset about this whole thing.

I had a feeling that this latest round of "Do this! It will completely fix your problem!" would, in fact, not fix anything. I didn't really expect it to make him worse. The neuroma on the inside of his leg is even bigger and more sensitive, which is completely the opposite of what should have happened.

Dr. B. is coming out today to look at Kaswyn. I've decided that I just want him to evaluate the situation. I don't want any more poking or prodding until I know what's going on, because up till now everything that's been done has just made him worse. When we have a firm diagnosis, I think I'm going to try and take him to a neurosurgeon to fix these neuromas. Depending, of course, on how much that will cost. I just want the next treatment to work, already. I just can't do this anymore.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

And now for something completely the same...

Hi! I'm DressageMom! You might remember me from such special presentations as "Fix Your Hocks With Eight Easy Joint Injections!" and "Nerving - The Final Solution." Please allow me to present our latest special, "If You've Got Neuromas, We've Got Your Cure!"

Yes, Kaswyn developed painful neuromas from his nerving. Apparently all horses get them, but only some are painful. Lucky us!

Here's the story - Kaswyn was off and on with lameness since his recovery from the surgery. Finally I decided to have Dr. B come out and evaluate him. He watched Kaswyn go on the lunge line, then palpated the nerving sites. He let me feel two small "peas" under the skin that were very sensitive to Kaswyn when pushed on. He explained that they were the ends of the nerves that were cut. The peas always develop, but not all of them cause pain. He suspected that these neuromas were giving Kaswyn phantom pain - making him think there was pain in his foot when the nerves don't really go down there. The solution was to inject both neuromas with vetalog (a steriod anti-imflammatory) and carbocaine (a local anesthetic to see if indeed the nerves were causing the problem), wait 10 minutes, and see if Kaswyn was more sound. He was. The plan now is to give him two days off and then ride him Saturday.

I asked how often we would have to repeat this, and he said this should completely solve the problem and we shouldn't have to do it again. I asked "What if he's not sound on Saturday?" and he said "If he's not sound after this then I'll be crying louder than you will."

Somehow, I doubt that.

Friday, September 01, 2006

David Hannum, not P.T. Barnum, was right*

The horse psychic was a total bust. Unfortunately it was a waste of money as well as time. I'm super disappointed, although I should have expected exactly what I got.

Here is what happened. My trainer and I were waiting outside the barn when a van pulled up. On the front, in large letters, was printed ANIMAL COMMUNICATOR. Wow. Kinda unexpected, but, okay, so you want to advertise. I'm down with that. The lady walked up and introduced herself, then we went into the barn. She said it didn't matter if he was in his stall or not, so we just stood outside the stall where he could hang his head out the doorway or not, whatever he chose to do. When she first walked up she talked to Kaswyn and was petting his face. He seemed mildly interested but was more curious to see if anyone had brought him anything tasty to eat. When no treats were forthcoming, he retreated to the back of his stall.

Here is how it went down....

ANIMAL COMMUNICATOR: So, he's a jumper
ME: No....
AC: Well, then you event him, you know, jump cross country.
ME: No, he's a dressage horse.
AC: (frowing) Well he's showing me jumping over a creek and running up a hill on the other side. Someone must have evented him before you got him.
ME: No, I really don't think so.
AC: How long have you had him?
ME: 12 years. I bought him when he was 3 and I broke him myself.
AC: Oh, well then I don't know where that is coming from. Maybe trail riding or something.
ME: Um, sure. Maybe.
AC: Well what do you want to know?
ME: I want to know if he hurts anywhere or if there is anything we do when I ride him that makes him hurt or uncomfortable.
AC: (pauses with eyes closed) He says he has a big belly ache, that he's been on the brink of colic many times, and even coliced a few times.
ME: He's only coliced once, 8 years ago, and it was a very mild gas colic. And I had his stomach scoped for ulcers and he had nothing.
AC: (another pause) He's saying it's not actually his stomach, but further down. Small intestines. It's because he does not drink enough water.
ME: (thinking silently to myself "This is all wrong. My horse is a great water drinker") Huh.
AC: You need to drop treats in his water to make him fish around for them so his water intake goes up.
ME: ("He dips his hay in his water buckets when he eats. He gets plenty of water") Uh-huh.
AC: You need to put him on Ester-C. That will soften up his manure, boost his immune system and make him more regular.
ME: ("This horse craps ALL THE TIME, and his poop is perfectly normal soft healthy horse poop.") Okay. Fine. So he's not saying anything about his legs or back at all?
AC: (pause) No, nothing.
ME: Nothing about his hocks? Or perhaps his left front leg?
AC: (pause) No, he does not hurt there at all, No place except the belly.
ME: You know he has navicular in that left front leg and I had him nerved last month.
AC: (pause) He's not showing me anything there.

And so it went. She ended up telling me some things that I really wanted to believe - he thinks I'm a "good egg", he doesn't want to retire, he loves to train and show, loves it when I ride him. But how can I just believe the good things? Somehow I can't justify it, much as I want to.

AC also did a reading on my trainers horse, but she spent less then half of the time with him that she spent with Kaswyn. Before she left my trainer asked AC if she could tell her anything about her dog when she was a puppy.

AC: You got her from rescue?
Trainer: Yes
AC: (pause) She was with a family that had kids. She had so much energy that the parents could not handle her and the kids both. She says she didn't do anything wrong, but just frustrated the parents. She was just trying to keep up with the kids.

After AC left my trainer said to me "All that about my dog was total BS. I know where she came from. A single guy who didn't have enough time for her owned her. "

Either we have a bunch of fibbing animals, or this woman isn't as gifted as she thinks.

*Who said "There's a sucker born every minute."? Not who you might think!
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr