Fun Times with the Ponies

Last night was fun because my friend who recently lost her horse came to the farm to keep me company since I just had to say goodbye to my pet bunny, Vincent.

Pie and Sioux were just so silly. It was the first time they had the gates on the front of their stalls open for simple loafing around in about a week. My friend, Karen, was starting to feel like she was treating her like she was invisible, but I assured her that they are just overly comfortable around people and were just letting her know that a. she’s one of the crowd, and b. she can make a fuss over them at any time.

The horses seem fully acclimated to their new life and it is a life of pet horses who may actually have to do something more someday. Karen and I took the horses up to the ring with the little jump that they’ve been free jumping. At first Pie was not that interested but he took to showing off a little bit. Karen did gently point out that he seemed to give up pretty quick after he’d been clicked for what he did so I worked on holding out until he offered more.

The last time I had the two horses in there, Sioux was so disinterested that I didn’t make her do much. She seemed off so I didn’t push her. A couple nights ago she showed signs of coming into season (heat). The signs were being very cranky and absolutely intolerant of Pie. This is the recent reason why they’ve been locked into their stalls at night. Initially it was to keep them out of the mud in the loafing area, but I just knew that the two of them would get into at least one if not several fights through out the night. After some thought about what made me cranky with PMS, most of it was physical discomfort. I decided to try something.

I’m going to have to digress into a short promotional blurb here. A few weeks ago I had to come to terms with the fact that Pie’s “behavior” while getting tacked up had been going on for far too long for it to be behavioral. Furthermore, when I moved him, I’d put him on a preventive dose of ulcer medicine, but this girthy “behavior” had been going on for months. Since I’d not been riding him with frequency, I assumed it was just him showing associative behavior from previous memories of discomfort. He is that kind of horse; A thinker. Finally, after way too long to be honest, I came to the conclusion that he’d been working on developing ulcers for months. I had enough Abler Abprozole packets to give him the treatment dose until another order could arrive with expedited shipping. On the day it was supposed to arrive, I got a message from DHL that the package was delivered. I forgot the first night I got home, but by the second night I was going crazy trying to find the package. I contacted Abler and they immediately sent out another package while they tried to figure out what happened to the initial order. It was NOT delivered, DHL lied, and the package was hung up in Cincinnati. Thankfully, friends loaned me some packets so that Pie’s treatment was uninterrupted (you can’t miss a dose when you start treating for ulcers). The second package arrived, the first package arrived, and then a third package arrived. The third package contained two Abler ball caps, an Abler golf shirt, and a pretty decent sized sample of other Abler products.

Abler sent me gifts to make up for the mistake that DHL made.

Abler sent me gifts to make up for the mistake that DHL made.

The samples included: AbPrazole, AbPrazole Plus, AbSucralfate, AbFen, AbIver, and AbButazone. Also, I was offered the opportunity to return the additional order or to buy it at a discounted rate (I chose the latter, better to not go through that stress again and just have the stuff on hand. . .yes, it is at the expense of at least two riding lessons, but their health comes first).

I bring all that up because I decided to try giving Sioux a packet of the AbButazone with her dinner (and a packet of the AbPrazole just to make sure her tumtum would be ok). I recall hearing various arguments against bute, but I figured I would try it and then do a little research as soon as I remembered. With so many things on my mind, it took two nights before I remembered. I thought this article was pretty good, except the part at the end when they say that the woman rescues “spent”  racehorses. Rescuing is what you do with an unloved and uncared for animal. . .that you might get at the auctions. Not what you do with racehorses that are retiring. You re-home retired racehorses. Just remember that. If you have adopted a racehorse, you didn’t save it from a life where it lacked love and care. It probably got better care at the track than you can give it. Trust me, it is more than likely that you have less money than the previous owner of the horse did.

Back on topic. I found that this article states, “Some owners find that using a low dose of phenylbutazone (bute) around the time of oestrus can reduce pain and inflammation, although this cannot be used in mares competing under FEI or Jockey Club rules.” Which reminded me that I need to get Sioux back on the raspberry leaf or Mare Magic. I will see what my employee hours and discount will be at Dover after the face painting before I decide which to buy for her. I do find that when she was on Mare Magic, it regulated her cycles, but it didn’t diminish her discomfort. Finally, I found this article to be quite comprehensive about the uses of bute, at least from the horse owner’s perspective. I did see some that were more extensive and a bit over my head but great material if you were in vet school.  

The point is that Sioux had a little bit of bute before we headed to the ring. After Pie did a little bit it was time to get Sioux into the action. I did swing the end of the lead rope to motivate her. There was some confusion and the two horses seemed to be “everywhere” when suddenly Sioux went deep into the starting corner of the ring, then bucked, kicked-out, tossed her head, galloped toward the jump, cleared it with room to spare, and then kept on going. Quite the thing she was.

I wish I’d written down everything right after it happened because both horses were comical in their efforts. Karen laughed at Pie when he was a bit out of breath after minimal effort from one of his turns. That said, Pie’s last effort, even when I clicked him, he didn’t come in for his reward. At a clinic, I learned that behavior means they didn’t learn. The thing is, though, in this case, Pie went two more turns around before he got it “right” and then he came in for his reward (take that Karen, not that out of shape!).

Both horses seemed very pleased with themselves. I was surprised that they also seem quite content to be in their stalls instead of having free roam of the loafing paddock; that surprised me. I’d recently read an article in which a woman wrote about how horses should all have environments that mimic what their natural habitat was originally like. I don’t know, I think Prince Pie and Princess Sioux are quite happy with their own rooms to tuck into at the end of a long day of grazing and relaxing.

By the way, solar lights are great as long as you don’t leave them on all day leaving them out of power by the time you get back in the evening. Just a word to the wise.


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