Thursday, 31 December 2009

Thinking ahead

As we approach the end of another year I haven't much to report! Up until yesterday the boys were still ice-bound in the field. Quadi and I had a little 'discussion' the other day about whether or not it was polite to steal Fin's feed in the field! Fin doesn't seem to mind too much but he needs the feeds more than Quadi ;)

Yesterday, after a smattering of snow, we were able to bring the boys inside so that we could give them a proper groom and check over rather than the once-over they get in the paddock. We were forecast more snow for today so I popped a fleece under the 450g rug Quadi's already wearing as he's still awfully cool under it. We've had snow and are due more for the rest of today, but it's also sunny so I hope he's not too hot now! Can't seem to get it right. I'm not really one for wrapping my horse in cotton wool but Quadi does feel the cold. It's obviously worse for him in the wind and rain, but this is his first winter out for a couple of years so I can excuse his sensitivity!

Thanks again to the snow the boys might be ridden today. Not sure who will be in the saddle yet, but fingers crossed for a New Year's Eve bimble :)

I had to get my fringe trimmed at the hairdresser today. My hairdresser is in the gym, the gym I've not been to since April :o Technically today is the last day I can use my membership. I didn't feel drawn to go in! I don't think I'll renew it, it's expensive and the very reason I started going, and started this blog, was because I didn't have my horse. And now I do, so I'm back to spending my pennies on my pony!

Even though I got my horse back this year, if I'm honest I expected to lose him before the end of it :( We didn't have much luck with lameness and illness and I steeled myself for the same outcome as Larri @ (I can't do links!) with his sister Safira, whom she most sadly lost this year.

So, looking forwards, I'm more than grateful to still have my tough-as-old-boots little horse with me. There's still a long slog ahead to soundess but I'm not complaining! I'm very excited about another year with Quadrado. A year of success and of smiles. He never fails to make me laugh!

For those who haven't had a great 2009, I hope the coming year brings you love and laughter. And for the rest of us, more of the same please! xxx

Monday, 28 December 2009

Ice, ice and more ice

Not much to report since we can't get the boys out of their paddock! I think Kate and I were both rather hoping that we'd get some above zero temperatures or more sun to melt away some of the ice. Instead, we've had as low as minus six overnight and lots of rain to create some very slick ice on the roads and indeed even pavements. Quadi and Fin are far better off in the field. They're bored, but fed and watered, warm and dry. Feeding in the field is somewhat of a pain because the boys start to forget their manners. And because Quadi hoovers his feed he's always bothering Fin for his. A headcollar and leadrope is necessary to keep him out of Fin's way. Not much worse than trying to eat your tea when someone's intercepting every mouthful!

Tomorrow I shall buy some big tubs of table salt and take them up, see if I can clear some paths. Not necessarily for horses, but at least for people! I almost came a cropper a few times when crossing the yard!

On Sunday our friend and horse physio got her new mare to our old livery :) Kate was the taxi, I headed out as loading backup but didn't have time to stay and settle her in. I am looking forward to this coming weekend when I can go out and meet her properly. She's just turned two in autumn and is a traditional cob x WB. A very even-tempered little filly with a leg in each corner. With her new Mum's permission I shall post some photos after our visit!

Saturday, 26 December 2009


Not horsey news, but worth a mention...!

We settled down to festive movie on Christmas Eve (in the form of Die Hard!) and near the end our doorbell rang. I went out to greet one of our neighbours enquiring as to whether we had electricity, because half of our building had been cut off. Luckily we hadn't, we offered help to anyone who required but didn't hear from anyone the rest of the night....

Christmas morning arrives, and I had already overslept. I had a goose to prep and banana and cranberry bread to bake :) I had decided upon smartening myself up should a camera appear before I was ready. Just as I reached for the hair straighteners my bedroom light went out! Scottish Hydro, in their infinite wisdom, had restored power to everyone at 8.10am but had to switch off the whole building at 8.30am, unannounced, so that they could repair the fault. Which turned out to be an underground cable so we had several trucks in our street coupled with a mini-digger. And now a very large hole in the pavement!

If they had warned us we wouldn't have power we could have boiled up a few kettles of water and offered them a cuppa but they didn't so :p to them! I know the had to be called out on Christmas Eve but a little warning would have been an idea, there are a lot of older people in our building.

Since we couldn't help anyone here, we decanted ourselves, plus food and alcohol down to my boyfriend's flat. After present opening of course! Not exactly the day we'd hoped for but there are people who don't get to eat on 25th December, who don't get to be with loved ones, who don't have a roof over their head never mind no power, who don't get presents, so no complaints. I was home with loved ones and it was all very exciting, like an army bug out! We returned home in the evening, stuffed to our gunnels, to lights and heat, just in time to have a cup of tea and go to bed.

And despite never having cooked goose before, it was lip-smackingly tasty, even if I do say so myself!

I haven't visited Quadi yesterday or today. Really, really need a car! I am heading out there tomorrow, the boys have spent two days in their field because even the path into the yard is sheet ice, having had rain over snow and slush :(

Hopefully a bit of sun and above-freezing temperatures will see us right again.

I am feeling better but still have a 'crackling' chest, so am going to try and see a doctor for antibiotics if that's what is needed. Don't expect I'll shift this otherwise! It usually takes a broken limb to keep me off a horse, and sometimes not even then...

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Season's Greetings :)

Squeezed in a Christmas Eve hack on Quadi today, which was lovely. He was great as ever! He wasn't so chuffed to pose for an e-card photo though...

Kate will be taking care of them tomorrow. I'll be in the kitchen all day!

Merry Christmas everyone, hope you have a wonderful day with your loved ones, human and beastie!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The Chest Infection Returneth

Being out in the cold all weekend has rendered me useless with a chest infection, which has today mutated into a head cold. I have antibiotics lest I get pneumonia. Again.

We had over a foot of snow in town overnight, and more of the same again today, which meant I was unable to get to the yard. I have a hire car but wasn't prepared to throw it around on untreated roads. The boys are right around the corner from Kate and she has kindly offered to take care of them for now. I feel terrible about this, I'm away often enough I should be doing my bit when I'm home. But she said they're content, toasty in their rugs, plenty of hay and we've insulated their water bucket so that it doesn't develop thick ice over the top. It was about minus 8 last night and whilst it had iced over, it wasn't thick and they'd been able to break the top themselves. Clever boys!

Because of the weather I've had to cancel today's lameness check-up indefinitely. I'm not worried about him, it's a formality, but obviously it would be nice to know everything inside that leg is healthier than it was three months ago.

The weather also meant Kate and I couldn't move a friend's new little filly, Lola. It would have been nice to have her 'home' for Christmas but that's not looking likely :(

The Terrible Two did have the dentist yesterday. They were reasonably behaved, Quadi doing his usual thing of trying to squish the new person against the wall. He does this with most new people who are trying to work with him. Once he realises they are going to do what they want no matter how he protests he is a lamb. Always has to make a fuss first though! Kate was very impressed with her handling so hopefully with more visits Quadi won't feel the need to be so rude.

I wasn't there and haven't read her write-up yet but the crack in one of his molars is still there, still quite bad, but is a common condition and because it's not bothering him at all, we agreed to leave well alone. He also had a hook which has been removed, so not too bad considering how overdue he was. Bad Danni!

I am hoping upon hope I can make it out tomorrow, it just wouldn't do if I couldn't see my boy before Christmas. Not that I've bought him a present, I think I've spent enough on him this year!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Don't tell...

...but I had a little sneaky hack today. Shhhhh!

Quadi's been looking sound in every respect lately and I've had such a hectic week, as has Kate, that we thought it would be nice to go for a mooch in the forest. I was apprehensive but I felt it was the right thing to do. We have two very bored horses at the moment!

As if to demonstrate just how bored...whilst I was stood in Quadi's stable, his bit in my hands as I tried to warm it up, he was nibbling at his bridle and trying various parts of it in his mouth, and then pulling the bit out of my hands! I've never known him so keen. He was perfect to mount but he bogged off as soon as I was on, made a beeline for Fin and bit his neck! Norty norty pony!

He led us all off the yard and it became apparent very quickly how much better he was feeling, because he has never felt so good to sit on. Big easy cat-like stride, his barrel was swinging to and fro, and I could really feel him powering along from behind.

Not to cover himself in too much glory, he kept trying to hamstring Fin when we were behind, and it was hard to ask him to listen to me. I settled for joystick-style steering on a long rein in order that we were both relaxed in mind at least. I got in a pickle with the contact!

We also came across monsters. Both boys stopped and snorted at a water container. It did take me a moment to encourage Quadi past it. He grew a hand and scuttled past it, spooking Fin in the process. They were a little 'looky' after this!

In order to try and get Quadi to lead I had to Pony Club-boot a couple of times, but it worked because he went forwards instead of back. It wasn't too hard, but I really had to mean what I was asking and I did ask nicely twice :)

A lovely afternoon and I've spent the entire day since beaming like a loon. Very big wide grin indeed!

Tomorrow both lads have the dentist, and then Tuesday is vet day. So much to cram in, and so little time! I'm glad I got to spend an hour or two with my boy today :)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Pre-Christmas Blues

I have no right or need to feel like this mind you, selfish child that I am!

I made it home a few days later than planned and via Hull, rather sadly, but am home again which is the main thing. They boys are well. Bored I should imagine, but I'm working in the office and by the time I get out to them it's black and cold and I can't see owt!

Quadi is booked in for his check up on Tuesday, weather permitting. Lameness work-up, x-rays and ultrasound. Having the all-clear for him would be the best present I've ever had. I am more nervous this time around, I'm hoping the long road we've come along doesn't extend too much farther. Because I'm tired!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Bouncing like a cork

I expect that's what we'll be doing for the next couple of days. The great news is I am heading home, and I don't have to fly. The bad news is the sail from Bergen to Aberdeen will be very lively indeed. Having just perused the shipping forecast I can see severe weather warnings for the Norway side (Viking, North Utsire & South Utsire for those in the know!) and high winds in Forties too. Hurrah(!) I have some anti-seasickness meds prepped, although I don't want to take them because they make me thirsty and sedate me to the point of being unable to talk. I'm sure those around me won't mind that at all ;)

The forecast also means the sail will take longer than usual, but I'll be home on Thursday. Hurrah!

Onto Quadi: the weather and dark nights mean poor Kate doesn't always get to work with them. She has been doing a lot of ride-and-lead which is great for both boys. Quadi is looking sound and feeling well enough to harrass poor Fin by bum-nipping when his buddy is trying to have a roll. He's happy and healthy and I am looking forward to seeing him.

I have some photos of Quadi from when Kate's friend visited in the summer, have a cracking headshot and some funny rude pics when Quadi got very excited about physio stretches. Must remember to ask her permission to post them!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

It's December!

H-E-double hockeysticks, is it really that time already?

Word from home is that the horses are well. Quadi is looking very sound, so am looking forward to getting home and seeing that he gets the all-clear. The power of positive thought! He definitely needs to do some work.

The temperature has taken a nosedive, both here in Norway and back in the UK. Here, we've had snow :) And the temperatures are into minus figures overnight where I live. So the boys are in warmer rugs. Well, Quadi's now got a liner in his Duo. He's ripped the velcro off of the neck attachments of his rug. Whilst he doesn't need it, Kate wanted to put it on to see whether or not the hair on his neck would lie flat.

I'm offhsore but thinking about all the presents I have to buy. Normally I'd have them all bought by now! Still a couple of weeks until I'm home. This one's really dragging :( I celebrated the first day of December yesterday with a Chrismas movie, Elf :D

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Best laid plans

Today I set out with the heartiest of best intentions. I was at the yard by 8am, and had poo-picked in half an hour. The plan was to come home and do a few chores before meeting a friend for lunch, then back to the yard to work the boys. All went splendidly till I got to the yard in the afternoon with a tummy cramp. I've been having them for at least a week. Between that and the wind/rain, my motivation waned.

The boys were keen to come in, and both were quartered and fussed after their feed. Nothing special, just nice to be with them. Feel a little guilty for not doing something with them but I get waves of pain in my tummy, thought it best to keep two feet on the deck.

I'm away to Norway again tomorrow. Thought it was today, good job I checked my flights. Assume I'll be back well before Christmas :)

Quadi has developed a patch of curly hair on his neck. It appeared when the heavy rains first started a few weeks ago. Lovely soft thick hair when it's dry, but bizarrely the curls haven't disappeared even when we've had a stretch of rain-free weather. Will follow a friend's suggestion to clip out a patch of hair and see if it grows back very quickly...if it's still curly when I get back I might consider a blood test. He's not showing any other outward symptoms of Cushing's but it wouldn't surprise me!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Back to normal

Just in time for me to head offshore again(!)

Was brimming with energy today. I also think I've sussed out Fin. We went for a reasonably-long hack yesterday, he was much more amenable today. Like Quadi, he needs to be worked. Part of it is mental stimulation and I think a little part is jealousy that the other boy is getting attention. Just like hoomins then!

So another meander on Fin today. I felt 100 times more relaxed and so did he. I let him warm up long and reasonable low on the buckle, and just let his back move my seat. It's something I used to struggle to feel on him whilst schooling, he's much more forward on a hack so I could 'allow' with my seat much more freely than before. He was a little gung-ho on the way home, leapt a log on the ground which resulted in the top of my hat colliding with a low branch, but apart from that a superstar surrogate pony! He's also been better about going into his stable. Quadi also didn't seem too stressed when we returned!

I tacked up Quadi in his bridle and roller for some long-reining. He went most of the way in a long, relaxed frame, with even steps. Apart from having a huge spook at a passing walker on the way out, but he spooked by buckling at the knees and hocks. No biggie, we were moving on before I really realised what he saw! And we had a sneaky trot! I almost got left behind to waterski but it was nice to see him so sprightly :) On the way home we met Kate's brother walking the dogs. Whilst I said Hi, I pulled Quadi into a gateway with your YO's three mares standing there. They were fighting to get closest to Quadi. He seemed to enjoy their attention and puffed himself up but he didn't turn to them and stood squarely where I asked him to until we moved off. He looked so happy when we came back, he seems happy to be doing 'stuff'.

His heels look like they're finally moving back under him, and also widening. All in all a really pleasing day :)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday hack

I wish I could shake this lurgy!

Even poo-picking was a struggle. Not complaining, just damned frustrated as I have lots to do and not enough time to do it in. That done, I restrung one or two parts of the fence that had blown out in the wind and went to catch the boys. Mr Fin wandered off as soon as he saw the headcollars. When I'd arrived at the field, pre-poo-picking, he came to see me, and had been bothering me the whole time. I collared Quadi no problem and when I made a second attempt at Fin he bogged off again. I shooed him and went off with Quadi, hadn't really the inclination to try and coerce him, I had zero energy...

He stood stock-still whilst we left. When I returned he was tail-up trotting around the field. I came to the gate and he charged me. Whilst cornering he fell on his side! Not hard, and almost in slow motion. He wasn't out of control, just having a tantrum. Anyway, he gathered himself up, looking terribly embarrassed, and I caught him no worries.

Our physio came for another hack today, she on Fin and I borrowed the little black Sec D mare again. She was sluggish on the way out but very zippy on the way home. Apart from trying to remove my kneecaps on a tree it was a good ride :)

When I got back I was torn between coming home to lie on my face/try and complete all the chores I have to sort out before I go away, and do *something* with Quadi. In the end I opted for a little walk down the road and back in-hand. No boots for him, we had to take our time but he didn't look lame. Just like he needed boots in front. Good to know, and his back feet were fine.

That's it, that's all I could do. My get up and go has f**ked off and left me!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Stretchy ponies

Today's forecast was for rain. My plan was to move the boys' grazing area and get all my chores done before working The Terrible Twosome.

With only a couple of toddler tantrums, I got the fencing moved. The have a whole new area in the middle of the field now. Whilst I was busy unknotting myself from the fence tape, Quadi was furiously chesting the fencing in the next field, and then kicking out at it. Don't think he was too thrilled about being stood out, grumpy hippo!

Fencing really sapped my energy so when I brought them in, and after the usual doorway difficulties, I stuck to a groom and a fuss for each. I also did stretches for treats with both. Quadi was good as can be expected, obviously obsessive about the food but he is learning when I say 'manners' to turn his head away. I would rather he wasn't so obsessed but at least he is starting to learn to control himself. He did really well, and even managed to bow without me guiding him. I find it really good for stretching the whole of his back. Can't hold himself together with a rider on him right now, but can bow(!) Ah well, at least he's good for something...

Fin also enjoyed sweeties although it's not something he normally gets. He didn't really need to do stretches as such, he's a super-stretchy rubber ball of a pony!

I had the appointment this afternoon so had to leave before I'd have liked to. And the rain is teeming down now, hope the boys aren't soaked tomorrow. The part of the field they're in has little shelter apart from a dip in the ground.

Hacking is on the cards tomorrow, fingers crossed!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Wasted day

I have an uproar of a hangover today, only starting to feel hoomin now so the boys were ministered to in the field. Quick feeds, some hay out (they are running out of grass and I'll be moving them to a new patch tomorrow), top up water, check them over and that's all I could manage!

Of course, today was glorious and tomorrow the forecast is dire. Silly me for drinking!

Yesterday we had a shottie of ride and lead again. Fin wasn't great about standing but Quadi body-blocked him on one side and I stopped him on the other. We managed just fine. I also found it a lot easier to slow Fin's walk a bit, not that I wanted to interfere with his tempo too much, but Quadi had issues trying to keep up and I didn't want to keep having to gee him along. I used a long lead rope over a lunge line so that there was no option but to keep them side-by-side.

Had a nice day, they were both much more sensible apart from the usual issues getting in and out of the stables. Better than the previous day, but I have a bruised foot and ankle thanks to Quadi squishing it on his way in, he is a lump!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


The mess that greeted me yesterday! I spent a lot of today's poo-picking time replacing the divots they'd hoiked from the ground. Actually, they were more like sods of turf!

The soles of Quadi's hinds look false, and because they seem to cope fine unshod, I booted him up and took him out for a long-rein. Sadly I made the mistake of just putting him in his headcollar and used an old set of long reins (not mine, I've never owned any!) so that I didn't have two reins to contend with. This affected steering greatly. He tried to turn round a few times on the way off the yard and also just after we set off. Only to the left. He got a smacked bum the second time around, he was being a bugger. Whilst I wasn't helping in that I was getting stressed, he knows this stuff inside out and I have to insist he does as asked as I'm fed up being pushed around by these two. They're big, boisterous lads.

He was a little 'up' for part of the walk, I hate to see this because it places his whole physique in the worst frame for the health of his back. By the end he was nice and long and low. I should also have used the roller because when he goes low in front I have a job to stop the reins getting tangled in his forelegs! Next time, bridle and roller.

Fin also got a skelp for jigging at the mounting block. I think in both cases I should have saw what was going to happen and tried to deal with the issue but in Fin's case he was getting hysterical about something he knows very well how to do. I felt as if I was in a good frame of mind, I was wondering if I was causing them to be like this? I think ultimately these things happen because of the handler but the handler has to realise what they're doing wrong?

Anyway, I hopped up, Fin jigged backwards in the yard, then forwards over the front lawn (oops!) but we were off. I managed to get him settled to a walk and tried to ensure I was relaxed. We had a lovely hack except that Fin doesn't like mud or puddles and if he has to go through either he speeds up, and forgets that there's a rider up top whose knees get wiped off of trees! Methinks he needs to do some hunting!

Quadi was better about being left alone than Fin was, and Fin had a small fit about going back into his stable. I dunno, perhaps he and I just don't click? I'm sure he'll be pleased when Kate is home. He has some flaky skin patches on his neck and Quadi has a touch of mud fever high up on his hinds, so will have to get some cream for them both.

Ho hum. I had a good day with them apart from my short fuse...aren't I lucky that horses are very forgiving?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Shouldn't have ridden

I am trying in vain to stave off some sort of lurgy. Hopefully it's nothing porcine! It started yesterday with sore ears and throat, I was out in cold wind over the weekend and didn't have a tissue so spent a lot of time sniffing. Hardly a surprise I'm ill!

Today, on the way home hacking Fin, I became 'aware' of my joints being sore. Also, the insides of my thighs and my backside ached too, as if I couldn't bear them to be touching the saddle. I became increasingly sluggish as the afternoon progressed and barely finished poo-picking. I figure I might be feeling worse tomorrow so I had to grit my teeth and get on with it today.

When I arrived today the mares next door had been given access to their other field, lovely long standing hay. This drove the boys up the wall and the mares' owner said they were haring back and forth at full clip. Luckily, they were still in their paddock when I arrived so were not feeling so energetic as to fling themselves over the tape! But I had a sense of humour failure when I saw the field. It looks as if a polo match has been played along one side. It really does go above and beyond their previous handiwork!

Since Quadi felt well enough to do this I decided to see how he looked on the lunge. I approached this with trepidation. I decided I would just give him a quick work around the school in walk and trot to see how the soft surface affected him. If we had to circle I gave him the full width of the school but we stuck to the perimeters of the school. Knackering for me but better for him. He was a little distracted and the surface needs to be levelled but he looked good. No head-nodding, even length of stride, didn't struggle on either rein. And the sand surface was ideal for exfoliating the soles of his hooves. He looked suitably impressed with himself for some one-on-one with me and for doing some work.

Next I tacked up Fin and we went on a hack. I gave Quadi his feed as we left. He didn't finish it so I guess he more distracted by us leaving. He'd pooped a few times but hadn't spun in his stable so hopefully he wasn't too distressed. Better than last time, hopefully we're getting somewhere.

Fin was good but scuttled when we arrived in the forest. I was trying very hard to follow his movement and allow a bigger swinging walk. We had issues about which one of us would dictate velocity, range and bearing! He wasn't bad, but it was harder to relax as my body started hurting. Mr Fin also objected to waiting for a car to cross our path on the way back. I think I'm still advancing my left seatbone as he seems to banana around my leg a lot. It was impossible to correct, I feel like I might need a Portuguese saddle to hold me in place...I'm a little sad that nothing I can do seems to affect a change in this posture but today was not a good day to try too much.

Sufficient to say I was very weary when we arrived back. And it doesn't help when two bully boy ponies express physically their wish to go back to the field immediately, if not sooner. Sick of being headbutted :(

I'm off to curl up in a corner, feeling sorry for myself. Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel better and not worse :s

Monday, 16 November 2009

Feeling virtuous

The lady we rent our fields from has hurt her back terribly and her husband is away for a couple of weeks. Just typical that something would happen whilst no-one is around to help! So today I turned out her pony, mucked her out, then brought her in, and walked their lab and retriever. They also have a wee Westie but he was much happier sat indoors by the fire, sensible lad!

This was in addition to poo-picking the boys' paddock and topping up waters. Am a little weary but warm with the glow of satisfaction one gets from a day at the yard ticking lots of tasks off the list! And it's nice to help out, especially when their pony can be turned out and brought in without a headcollar or even a leadrope :)

Sadly by the time I'd completed these tasks the rain we'd been forecast had arrived. So the boys didn't do anything constructive. They both look a little bored. Tomorrow is supposed to be nicer so I'm hoping for some time in the school. I tried some stretches in the stable with Quadi, trying to trigger the reflex under his tummy that raises his back. He was a little grumpy about it, not sure if he's sore or if I was prodding too hard. Will try again tomorrow. I used the stables that face out onto the yard today and he was a little more settled which helped. His Gastrisoothe Plus arrived today so he'll be on that as of tomorrow.

I did manage to take a few snaps from walking the dogs in the forest. We took a little longer than expected because I got lost again! Really have to learn my way around the woods *lol* Ralph is the retriever, the lab is called Jackson. I had a great time, it was good for me to be out and about on varied terrain, even attempted a jog along with them in my Muck Boots!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Just the essentials

I'd been on the road all day so by the time I was back in the NE I just had time to feed the boys and tend to their ails before dark. Had to skoosh some cream in Fin's eye and flush out the almost grown-out crack in Quadi's gammy hoof.

Fin seemed a little lethargic this evening, but I was much further south today so perhaps there was a lot of wind and rain up here which tired him out? I have to call the vet tomorrow about his eye so I will double check that the course of wormer he's on doesn't cause this sort of symptom. Quadi was his usual bouncy self anyway, and both boys had their usual appetites even with the wormer in their feed.

Quadi is still at this weaving and head-tossing business. Once Fin left his stable he was certainly much worse (Fin being removed a fraction of time before Quadi so that we could go back to the field). I stood with his leadrope in my hand and gave a short, sharp shock when he started his antics. I don't even look at him when he's doing it, there is a loop in the rope apart from when I use the rope to punish the behaviour, and reward him with soothing verbal tones once he's still. It only took about 20 seconds for him to stand calm and chilled. I backed him up as I opened to door to move him from my space, and requested that he stood still at his open stable door before we progressed calmly out. I don't want him to get into the habit of charging out because he's in a tizz.

Not sure if using the headcollar and leadrope for negative reinforcement puts me in the dark ages in terms of horse training, but it's working for now and I never forget to tell him when he's good...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Match Postponed

Today's work session was postponed firstly due to unforeseen storm conditions(!) and then due to handler tiredness(!!)

Kate and I moved all of the boys' fencing to give them a whole new patch of the field as they are very hungry for hay, and introducing new grass in sections means we are running out of enough grass by the end of every week. We sent them both out this afternoon with full tummies so that they wouldn't gorge themselves. But the grass is old meadow, their feet have never looked better so not to worried about that.

As I said, we moved the fence, which was a simple task made mammoth by the wind! There was much running, or hirpling in my case, back and forth as we couldn't hear each other shouting! Just as we were finishing up our poo-picking, the heaven's opened! We had moved the boys into a smaller paddock next door and gathered them in from the elements as they half-passed and jigged around us, poor delicate boys couldn't possibly confront the wind and rain head on!

Fin seemed happier with the new stabling arrangement in that he walked straight in, and Quadi wiggled his way to the end no problem. Likewise he seemed happier in his new 'bedroom', and was most compliant to having his feet attended to.

He got his knickers in a knot when Fin went out just before him, so I stood with a slack leadrope and gave him a firm 'No' with a check on the rope when he started head-tossing and stropping. Once he was quiet and calm I opened the door, asked him to stand and wait with the open door before we left. He seems more insecure than he has been, possibly because of being turned out with one other horse...I'm not sure whether to be more sympathetic to him or whether to get much more assertive in not tolerating teddies being thrown out of prams!

On a positive note, he ate up all of his wormer today, he's on the first day of a five-day course. Can certainly count on that boy to eat anything put in front of him!

As there isn't a lot happening work-wise this weekend, some photos. I also took some pics of the state I usually find the field in:

Friday, 13 November 2009

Round the twist

That's where Quadi's driving me! The Boy really needs to be working!

I was merrily filling bags of hay this evening for the field, we'll be moving the fence tomorrow but in the meantime the boys seem ravenous. I say merrily, I was until I felt I was in a scene from a bad horror movie. Standing in the entrance to a small hay byre, lightbulb hanging at forehead height I kept bumping into and frightening myself. Dusty axes along the wall, pitch black outside, cobwebs everywhere...I was starting to spook myself and was happy when I finished that task! I scuttled across the field after that, I'm scared of the dark as it is and thinking horror movie thoughts doesn't help *lol*

Whilst Fin was working I decided I'd just potter around the stable with Quadi. First we have to get Fin out of the stable! He's developed an aversion to going in and out of the barn door...past Himself. I had to put myself between Fin and a fire-breathing Quadi to let the poor chap out. We're going to try putting Quadi in the end stable, the reason he's not been in there before is because he'll have to make a sharp turn left then right to get in there. He is blessed/cursed with a very round barrel which is sometimes covered in a layer of fat too, but hopefully he can wriggle in no problem. He's making all sorts of faces every time Fin goes in or out...snaking, weaving, head-tossing, door-kicking, etc. Kate said he's normally ok to be left alone when I'm not there so we can only surmise he's a jealous boy who needs more attention and wants to come out and play. Which is odd because he's never been a workaholic!

I've ordered some Gastrisoothe Plus from Metabolic Horse for him too. See if that helps any. I'm pretty convinced he has ulcers but not sure if either of us can cope with any more veterinary investigations at the moment, I'm not sure if we have access to a scope up here. Gastroguard is expensive but I might save up for a couple of month's treatment for it once work picks up, ulcers are mostly a management issue but only once the tummy has healed. Perhaps it's selfish of me not to have him scoped but that's how I feel so all I can do just now is feed him the right forage and feed and try to minimise his stress levels. Not that the latter is easy when he vies for attention when people are watching...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Ride and Lead

Lots of poo picking today, since I was feeling a bit better. I took photos of the paddock & I'll have to try and upload them...looked more like a tattie field or as if a rugby match had taken place before I'd arrived! The task was not helped by Quadi tipping over a full barrow, and then after I cleared that up I managed to lose balance with it and lose the lot again *lol*

I think the boys could have used having their rugs off and grooming each other, but I intended to ride so didn't oblige. My declining of their repeatd requests to have their jackets off was greeted with hair pulling, bump nipping and sloppy kisses with tongues...ew! Oh, and Fin tried to pull my jods down by the waistband. A bliddy comedian(!)

Quadi thought he was going to be left behind today when I tacked up Fin, his eyes lit up when he realised we were all going out to play. I put on his Portuguese cavesson and used a lunge line, which I knew would be too long but thought it might be useful in case Quadi spooked. I'd rather give him lots of line that lose the end altogether!

Fidget Fin had trouble standing still for mounting and girth-tightening, both boys seem much happier to get on with their jobs than to stand around!

We all got on quite well, save the fact that Fin and Quadi both wanted to walk along the same part of the path! And Fin has a much faster walk than Quadi, it's almost like the amble of a gaited horse. But we coped well. I think I push all the wrong buttons on Fin, we were making banana shapes a lot of the time. I was riding him one-handed and trying to neck rein but he preferred when I rode with a rein in each hand. I will see if Kate will watch me have a little mooch on him and see if it's my noisy aids or Fin not quite understanding the neck reining and contact. He did curl back and hump his back at me on the way home, but I really had to insist we didn't jog home. I don't think Fin likes me telling him what to do but that's too bad!

I had difficulty in getting Fin into his stable so our 'landlord' (for want of a better word, one half of the couple we rent the land and stables from!) took Quadi from me and put him away. This helped a lot, and I was really chuffed that Quadi seems happy around men again, and that he just walked into his stable. He's normally the tricky one!

The crack in Quadi's hoof is growing down with alacrity, and he's shedding the frogs in his hinds. I think he's blown an abscess through each heel in his fores, but I booted him up today anyway because he looked sound. He wasn't lame the past few days either. The boots didn't rub so all seems good there.

He seemed very happy having worked today. Fin felt like he needed a good long hack but whilst that wasn't possible it's good that we all went out. I don't expect the weather will be terribly kind to us this weekend so feel rather virtuous to have worked them today :)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pleh :(

I missed my poledancing class last night, and the horses today, as I'm feeling poorly. Abdominal pain, so didn't really feel up to either. For the horses, I think I'd have been ok if I had a car to drive there and back but I don't so I've opted to stay home and get an early night :)

I've made use of my time curled up on the sofa, when I've not been sleeping of course! I re-read Richard Hinrich's 'Schooling Horses In-Hand' and Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling's 'Dancing With Horses'.

Re-reading the latter proved very refreshing. I have been having a few challenges with Quadi recently, and myself, and feel inspired to make some positive changes :) They're nothing like the challenges he used to provide for me mind you! I also hope he'll be better as he becomes more settled in this environment. I know he's feeling insecure so I have to work harder to show him confidence and leadership. I'm looking forward to the weekend for some proper pony time, hope the weather is kind to us!

Back to it tomorrow, lots of poo picking to do and am thinking about doing some ride-and-lead with the boys. Or, I can work with them individually and try keeping the one left behind in the outdoor stables, hopefully there will be less pooping and piaffe in the stable that way!

Monday, 9 November 2009


Little nippy this evening, despite the cloud cover! Thank heavens for my new Muck Boots, my feet have never been toastier. I have quite severe Raynaud's, if my extremities aren't blue/black and icy to touch, they're red and swollen from exposure to warmth *lol*

Decided to see how Quadi was looking with hoof boots on. We followed Kate and Fin down to the forest in the dark, armed with head torches and lights from mobile phones!

Quadi seemed sound coming in tonight, and confident over the stones in the yard. In boots he looked good, couldn't see any lameness but we were just at a walk. The ground was more frozen than I'd expected and slippy in parts, so I don't want to take him out again if it's this chilly.

His heels look funny, they're an odd shape, it would appear that they are his greatest source of pain at the moment. Not that he's in constant pain with them, but now that he's moving correctly and landing heel first they'll have to take more weight. Thankfully his little feet are growing at a rapid rate so changes are always happening.

Won't see him tomorrow as I've started pole-dancing classes again. It's been a while since I last had lessons so co-ordination and strength is somewhat lacking! I still have bruises from last week...hopefully tomorrow I'll be better!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Tired and emotional

Not sure exactly what was up their noses yesterday, but both boys were hard work! I went out on a hack on one of our landlady's ponies, a black Sec D mare who is a fluffy quad bike, and was accompanied by a friend on Fin. I knew Quadi had been left in on his own whilst Kate had been schooling Fin in the evening, so gave him plenty of hay and assumed he'd be fine. When we came back I found him sweating, the stable floor covered in trampled droppings and he'd even managed to stand on his tail and pull some hair out :( I assume he'd been jigging around, I felt awful. He's been so good about being in normally. He has had previous separation anxiety issues and I'm worried they're coming to the fore. Assumption is the mother of all f*** ups, perhaps I should have brought in a friend for him or left him out? We'll have to work on this over the coming weeks.

Then whilst I did some physio work with Quadi in the school Fin proceeded to poop all over his stable and trample it in!

The physio session didn't start well because, once I'd let Quadi loose to have a roll in the school, he proceeded to charge up and down the long side fixated on his field. I grabbed him and did some work on the ground, trying to snap him out of his head-in-the-air-every-muscle-tense-where-is-my-friend state he was in. I'm not sure if it's a Monty Roberts exercise, or even a dog handling one, I can't remember. But it's simply changing direction without warning and, if necessary, insisting that he follow me. The aim being that he should follow me without tension in the leadrope and follow me as soon as I change direction. Of course he was very up at first but I had my dope-on-a-rope back after about ten minutes. I did wonder what the neighbours would have thought to see me making snap changes of random direction all over the school! He was a good boy after that, although he caught me out by having a roll when we were in the middle of pole work.

Today was a little calmer. I was labouring under a bit of a hangover after getting 'tired and emotional' last night, so began by moving their electric fencing to give them some more grass. Then Kate did some jumpies practice with Mr Fin, he was tackling his first ever bounce fence and he did so with his usual aplomb. I borrowed some Pole Pods to raise the ends of Quadi's ground poles which I've taken to scattering at random angles and distances. He knocked them quite a bit. However, I was pleased with him because he was, in the main, concentrating and he was touching them with his nose as he knocked them over. I hope that's because he was 'feeling' where they were and not because he's losing his blinking eyesight as well!

He caught me out again by rolling when I thought he was just mooching along behind me as we turned in on his poles. Will have to concentrate more, rolls are either for itchy ponies before work or as a rewards afterwards, not during!

The crack in his hoof appears to be growing right out. I need to do a hoof-specific blog post though, too much to type about!

I'm going to have to make an appointment with the doctor this week as I've been having dizzy spells. I fainted in Fin's stable last weekend, and on Saturday I felt the same again. Even felt like I was having an attack of vertigo in the evening. I don't want to go to the doctor but it would be foolish not to get checked out.

But I'm pleased I rode this weekend and I saw Quadi trot over the field this afternoon and he didn't look a bit lame. Plenty to smile about :)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Bad Blogger!

That's me! I've been rather remiss at updating my blog. Partly I haven't felt in the mood to blog, and partly I haven't had the time!

I will have to do a proper lameness update with photos and all, very interesting times in the world of Quadi's feet! In short, nothing much has changed as we wait on the gap in the hoof to grow out, and we can't confirm that the ligament is no longer an issue until the hoof is healthy again. We just have to keep on keeping on...

This evening I went up at dusk. The boys were expecting to come straight in but I the picking of their poo to attend to *lol* As I fetched the barrow and scoop I was treated to such a temper tantrum from Quadi, expressing most physically his deep displeasure at not being tended to immediately! Both hooligans trotted up the fenceline at me, Fin slid to a halt at the fence (I was convinced he was about to leap out and join me on the other side!) and my 'lame' horse executed a levade or two at Fin in an effort to bite and box. This didn't work so he about-faced, pirouetting with such balance, and demonstrated several caprioles, one right after the other, aiming vaguely at Fin's head :o Both boys then wheeled round and blasted across the field before sliding to a halt, leaving two great big 'elevens' across the paddock. So in addition to hunting poops in the moonlight, I had to try and replace divots!

All very beautiful and balanced, how I wish it wasn't so dark as I had my cameraphone in my pocket! BUT, Quadi is supposed to be on paddock rest for his ligament. Luckily they didn't play long, but if he keeps this up he'll be on box rest again >:(

They were a bit more alert than usual when stood in, they could see fireworks out the barn. They were fine to turn out until, right as Quadi was going through the paddock gate, a flash of colour in the sky caught his peripheral vision. So I had two very 'up' horses canter round me on the end of their leadropes, for half a circle. The lovely thing about them is they calmed down when I asked and stood with me. I turned them to watch the fireworks and they relaxed. The noise didn't seem to bother them, it's the bursts of colour and light in the sky. They soon settled to graze and I stood on the other side of the fence, just making sure everyone was content. To be honest, I'm pretty scared of fireworks myself, and also quite wibbly about the dark, so I didn't feel like I was going to be a calming influence stood out there with them. Once I knew they were calm again I left them grazing peacefully, hopefully they'll still be in the same paddock tomorrow :s

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Ho hum...

I've been a little lax in updates...I am home now and whilst all is well with Quadi, for various reasons I haven't felt like doing much except the essentials for him. And I've been even less bothered about blogging.

He is going really well. His gammy hoof doesn't look half as bad as I thought. His current routine is to syringe iodine solution up the crack in the hoof wall every day. Sadly, being a clumsy great oaf, I stood on the syringe today so will have to try and source another tomorrow!

He was looking sound even over the stones in the yard the first couple of days home. Sadly he's looking sorer than he was, I'm wondering if he needs some hoof wall removed again because if it gets too long in that foot the shearing effect when he walks must be sore. Or it could be that we've had rain for over a week and standing about in mud isn't helping. Perhaps the infection is taking hold again, the vet said on the phone on Friday we can use stronger chemicals to flush the area out if we need to. Haven't decided whether or not that's a good idea.

He also said he'd like to examine him again in about a fortnight and to have him shod for that if we can. Also haven't decided about that one... :|

He had his massage and was a mad little cookie, kept fidgeting! We can only surmise that he and Fin were excited about being in new stables and couldn't settle to it. Quadi's lost tone and has taken a step backwards but nothing like what I was expecting. His back feet are looking odd right now, must take some photos.

The vet has OKed that he can do some mooching around the school in hand, I said I'd boot up his feet to keep any horribleness out. Just something to keep his mind occupied, he seems very bored indeed but there's not a lot I can do in the confines of his stall.

I've had to get used to walking after 5 weeks of walking no more than the length of myself on board, and that was only usually to the loo or to eat! So I've been a bit sore but getting back into a normal routine now. My mission is to find myself a cheap car, it's just too big a chunk out of the day to take the bus, not to mention expensive.

Not in the best of humours at the moment, though the boys have been trying to cheer me up. Fin nipped out of his stable and walked to the end of the block into the tack room. Once I'd stopped laughing I pointed him back to his bedroom! And Quadi tried to tip a bucket of water over my head, grabbed one side of it whilst I held it up to him. I wrestled it from him before I got soaked...

Nicola, does this look like a horse happy to see me?!:

I think my rotten humour is rubbing off on him :(

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hometimes :)

Me that is, heading home tomorrow :) Won't see My Boy until Thursday, but am very happy to be heading back to Blighty nonetheless.

Lucky Quadi has an appointment with his equine massage therapist on Wednesday. Auntie Kate organised it for him,

I hope he enjoys it, lucky pony!

His feet are coming along really well. He's been sore on that off fore but he's shedding frog now which is helping a lot. Can't wait to see his feet, and the rest of him of course!

Monday, 12 October 2009


No photos, I will take care of that once I'm home in 9 days (yay for me!), but the great news is that he's out now :)

The original plan was to turnout on Friday but the weather was most unkind back home so he went out on Saturday morning. Aside from churning up a little patch of his paddock, it sounds as if he's been very good about the whole thing. Or perhaps I'm not getting the full story about his behaviour *lol*

He's still sore on the offending foot, which is no surprise. There isn't a fully intact hoof wall at the toe and he's obviously compromised in his heels what with the abscess coming through. But I gather the ground is reasonably soft so I guess in the meantime it will just have to be sore, poor love. Once his heel has healed (!) he can have boots and pads on for a time again.

I thought it is probably like having a poisoned thumb or similar, no matter what you do with it, it just aches until it's healed!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Not that I was stressed...much...ha! I slept hardly a wink all day (I'm on nights) wondering and worrying!

The good news is that Quadi now has the all-clear to begin paddock rest. There may or may not be some grumbling abscesses still lurking in the offending hoof so standing in won't really help them surface. Plus the vet thinks that a month's box rest has been ample for the medial CL. It'll be good for The Boy to get out and moving, I'd imagine increased circulation will help the ligament now at this stage.

He won't have a lot of space but he'll be happy just to get out I should think. Just have to wait on some horses moving now. He'll be in a corner of Fin's current paddock, but at the moment he's sharing that with two mares. I don't think Quadi would stay put for two minutes if there were ladies on the other side of the tape!

He did have a piece of hoof wall removed, but it's only the bottom third, so he doesn't need any additional support. Kate said it's pretty horrid in there so it's good to be able to attack this infection at it's root. There was talk of possibly resecting much further up and having to put on an egg-bar or moulded shoe in order to support the hoof, but the vet and farrier have been very pragmatic and have tried a less-invasive approach first. Daily hoof soaks for a while and flushing out the area with a syringe, hopefully that won't be for too long.

Best of all, Quadi was an angel for both the vet and the farrier. I think he's very relaxed in his new home.

I'm so so happy that he is making forward progress, and grateful as ever to those looking after my horse whilst I galavant in foreign climes!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Vet visit

Just a quick update. The vet and farrier are due out on Monday afternoon to assess the infection to the front of the hoof. The vet wants to know if we can resect part of it without compromising the integrity of the structures. I'm not sure you can open up the hoof wall without assuming some damage? I guess it's whether the greater good is in opening it up to attack the infection (although leave it open to further intrusion), or try and make sure the tight new growth means that infection has nowhere to go, and contibue the foot spas.

Obviously I'd prefer the latter but I'm not a vet and not a farrier!

He continues to shed sole in the fronts but not in the hinds, a suggestion that everytihng is moving up within the hoof capsule, which is good news if that's the case :)

Hopefully on Monday evening I'll be able to report back that the hoof is intact and that in-hand walking can start in earnest!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Guess what was brewing?

An abcess! That might explain a few things.

It blew through his heel on Sunday. He was reluctant to have his feet soaked in the poultice boots, which is odd as he's been so good with boots so far. Kate left his feet naked the night before and made sure he had lots of bedding to support his feet, to see if he was happier without. And it came through. The heel looked tender so he's had wet and dry poultices and I guess now it's a case of leaving the boots off enough to make sure everything heals over in fresh air, but balancing that with wearing the boots some of the time to support his feet.

In other hoof news, he's shed sole in the fronts so it sounds like they look lovely, although the off fore is still a little under-run looking, and not quite the same shape as the near fore. Time will tell if that will come right, fingers crossed his body is sorting itself out.

So who knows if the abcess caused the lameness and the ligament damage is because of that, or that the abcess came from the change of balance in his feet? One theory (Kate's) is that the abcess couldn't track up through the natural weakness at the coronet band because his outer hoof is very tough now, so it had to track back through the heel. Which must have been very sore. Abcesses are horrid but it's always a relief when you know they are the reason, or part of the reason, for lameness.

I need to chase up the vet really and try and establish what the plan is, if there is one even! And also to him know about the abcess.

Can't say I've been terribly active, although I did go bowling the other night. For my troubles I've now got a sore right hand and have pulled a muscle in my backside. Coupled with the fact I had to wear rented shoes with a velcro fastening, I don't think I'll be bowling again in a hurry!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Progress is slow, but progress all the same

Whilst I, naturally, have yet to see the inside of a gym (don't pretend to be shocked!), Quadi is a happy soul whilst confined to barracks. He's taking the whole thing in his stride. Now that he's settled into a routine there's not shouting or stressing for friends, which is good as less jigging around in the box is good for the thickened ligament.

Kate had noticed he'd been tight in his pecs but this almost disappears when he wears his new fancy hoof boots for part of the day whilst stood in, complete with some cushioning pads :)

He must have very thin soles but I think this arrangement is better than shoes at this time because he gets the support he needs, plus the boots keep his feet out of any muck in the stable. And it also means hoof soaks and disinfectant are of maximum use, I gather the set-back Natural Balance sort of shoe he wears has the downside of trapping dirt more than regular shoes.

Hopefully as the sole thickens and the inner capsule of the hoof migrates up to where it needs to be, his comfort will improve without the boots. He's ok without them but I'm told he's happier in them, to the point that he will lift and wave his feet to have them put back on.

I have to try and get in touch with the vet later today to discuss progress and so on.

Quadi continues to delight those looking after him by making a nuisance of himself, tipping wheelbarrows, trying to climb into wheelbarrows, trying to stand inside his feed bucket. Situation normal for Quadi, and it's great to hear he's being his usual charming self. He gets an empty wheelbarrow to play with whilst being mucked out, funny boy :)

Friday, 18 September 2009


Have made it offshore without incident, but have yet to venture as far as the gym. I still haven't settled into nightshift so hopefully I'll feel up to it soon. Right now I could use some matchsticks to prop my eyelids open :)

Quadi likes his new booties :) They fit really well with pads in, and Kate has an assortment of the latter to keep him comfortable. The idea is that he will wear them in the stable for part of every day. He's also developed tightness in his pectoral muscles, possibly from trying to hold himself 'up' of his feet?

He's also settled in to life indoors. No more shouting for friends, apparently he barely lifts his head over the door to see which horse is coming or going.

Fin, however, decided it was his turn to have a vet visit when he had another choke. Much worse than his last but he's fine now and spent the night stabled next door to his buddy. He's back out to play now and fingers crossed this really is the last of it. Bliddy ponies eh?

Monday, 14 September 2009

Back to work

With not too much fuss, Quadi is settling in well to his new abode. He strongly insisted on being let out of the stable the day we arrived, and part of the day after, but has quickly regained his manners. If anyone's standing watching he head-tosses and pulls faces insisting he is utterly miserable, but if one moves away he tucks straight into his hay and looks perfectly settled and happy. Naughty boy, always looking for attention!

I have pulled all sorts of muscles from mucking out. I think they'd have settled down once I'd gotten into a routine, but since I'm away for the next few weeks anyway I'll just have to rest them!

This morning was spent generally fussing over him and just making sure he was presentable for my friends to look after him. Firstly, a long overdue sheath wash. Ick! I didn't have sufficient warm water to hand to clean him properly, but did give him a scrub with the clean warm water I had and, rather embarrassed and cack-handedly, shoved on some 'personal lubricant' to loosen anything I missed! Normally he tries to hide his widge up around his ears but today I had no such trouble and didn't have to rottle around at all. I did have trouble getting him to hold it still. Rather a happy horse, he was piaffing his back legs and generally showing off! *lol*

He then enjoyed a tail wash which I thought would be nice since he's been rather stressed of late and therefore has had a runny bottom. His tail was clean but the hairs were far from white, they're looking a little brighter now. And he smelled just divine afterwards!

Lastly I soaked his front feet in disinfectant, in some poultice boots. Then I took some photos. I still need some practice at hoof photos, the worst ones I took were of his off-fore! Still, the side profile shows some interesting growth...

Then I tucked him into his stable and explained that I'm heading away for a bit, so he must be a good boy in my absence. I really don't like to leave him when he needs quite so much looking after, but needs must. I also said See You Soon to Fin, he's settled in well and has already made himself a firm friend, a little black Sec D mare :)

So. My blog might become a little more sparse again, it'll be updates from home about Quadi and perhaps, if I feel so inclined, I might venture into the gym. Something seriously lacking from my routine for the past few months :o We'll see how that works out, I'm sure I'll come up with a multitude of excuses...

Saturday, 12 September 2009


Glad that's over. What a long day!

Early start to get both boys fed, suited and booted. Actually, I ended up needing help for the latter, all fingers and thumbs I was. Quadi seemed a little less sore having had one Danilon last night and another this morning in preparation for the journey. Kate cut up a gardening kneeling pad to cushion the bottom of a pair of poultice boots, and he wore them in front. He seemed much more comfortable with this arrangement, so we'll be trying a pad-and-boot routine to help support his feet and also keep them out of any dirty parts of the stable.

We started with Quadi since his issue is not the trailer itself, or lack of experience in trailer travel. For him it's now a big deal because he thinks he's going to another vet for more jabs :(

He didn't look as if he would play ball this morning, he wasn't terribly driven to eat the sweeties being offered. So we opted straight for a lunge line, but then that became an issue because he wasn't happy with me moving around his bottom. A very generous helper and a lunge line were procured. One line was just a visual aid so that he would stop looking for an escape route out to the left, and I was on the right. Kate directed us firstly in baby steps to stand in line with the trailer and then I slunk around him. Again, we decided that we would put no pressure on him until he backed into the line, which brought it into play. Otherwise I just held the slack out of it around his bottom. Kate asked and released with the headcollar, there's not much more you can do with a padded leather halter! Took a fraction longer than loading at the vet the other day but he went on.

A little bit of hat-dancing once in there, he was very stressed and we're sure once Fin started loading he was trying to tell him to save himself! FIn just needed a few advances and retreats and was cool as you about the whole thing. Because he stood very still this helped calm Quadi down. He wasn't terrible, but was quivering before we even loaded him. So very pleasing really. He didn't think to fight us because we didn't give that as an option. And most of Fin's travelling has been between countries so extra-pleasing that he was so willing. We'd have forgiven them a lot more hassle, and were ready at any time to make two trips, one horse at a time.

The short journey went without incident and they travelled wonderfully. And off the trailer so calmly to their new digs.

It is, however, hard to explain to Quadi that he is on box rest, particularly when we have to remove the only constant he has in Fin, who of course is sound and healthy and allowed to be turned out!

I was a little concerned he might try and forcibly remove the door between him and the outside world but he did settle once he started eating ;) So full of bluster but not much gets past his tummy!

I went back tonight and Quadi was much calmer since he had a little pony mare next door to talk to. The stable he is in at the moment has a window he can chat to her through. They don't seem best of friends but happy with another equine for company. I do hope he isn't too distraught when she is turned out in the morning.

I gave him some ACP as a precaution. Not something I'd normally need to do but he has been through a lot recently and has been expressing his distaste at yet another disturbance in his little world. So hopefully he'll have a settled night. He has a runny bottom still which is understandable, life is stressful right now.

I'm praying for the weather to cool. It was stuffy in his stable today, it really was very hot. I wetted a body brush and cooled his neck and chest with that. But frankly, I am happy autumn is on the way.

No photos because time just got away from me and I was dog-tired by the end of the day. My throat is much worse and I'm not happy at how much I struggled with the physical aspects of today, shifting all our tack! I'm going away on Tuesday so I feel that whilst I ought to be happier that it's a little bittersweet to move right before I go.

What a dullard! I shan't complain further, I just need more sleep!

Friday, 11 September 2009

And I was feeling so positive

This morning was my first encounter with Quadi since Monday. He greeted me stood in the back of his stable on his bed, and seemed reluctant to move any closer :( The YM told me he was foot-sore when she moved him out to muck out/skip out whilst I was away. When I moved him out to do the same thing this morning, I thought he had laminitis, he's so sore! He is obviously feeling very tender on thin soles.

He is actually a little better once he moves a few steps, so I think it's partly stiffness from being stood in. I'm doing everything I can. Hay fed from the floor. Regular stretch exercises. Strapping. So at least he isn't standing abnormally. But I can't conjure him some thicker soles :(

The YM said he didn't exactly enjoy his farrier visit whilst I was away. He came to remove the remaining three shoes. Quadi saw the farrier and, upon crossing the threshold of his stable, zoomed up to the opposite end of the block. And was kicking out to have his hind-shoes removed :(

Because we are moving the boys tomorrow, I went to B&Q to pick up some duct tape and a kneeling mat for gardening that I'll cut up into hoof pads. Kate is also loaning me her poultice boots so we can get them on the front too, to give him all the support we can for the short journey to the new yard. I also gave him one Danilon this evening and he'll get one more tomorrow first thing. He won't be able to do anything to strain the ligament whilst in the trailer but the toe pain will at least be dulled enough that we shouldn't have too many issues with loading.

I went back this evening to skip out and give him some more attention. My first intention was to wash his tail but I couldn't find his shampoo. So that will have to wait. Which is a shame as he's not looking his best, having a bit of a runny backside too. The Yea-Sacc I ordered from Metabolic Horse couldn't have arrived too soon, so he's now on that too to help balance things out in his guts.

He's had two grooming sessions with Fin today, the first one today was strange because he was grabbing Fin by the back and biting quite hard, Fin was swaying out of his grip and then coming back for more, his top lip quivering! It looked very rough but Fin seemed to enjoy it and Quadi seemed happy to oblige/indulge. We're back to one crock and one itchy horse, just like a couple of months ago :(

Can't say I'm feeling too positive this evening. Quadi really did look sore, I wish it were possible to scoop them up and hug them :( I hope I'm doing the right thing by him. I'm going offshore on Tuesday so it's a hundred times harder knowing I'll have to leave him, even in the most capable of hands ;)

The plan is to get him into pads whilst stood in too, because he'll be bedded on straw so this doesn't offer quite the same support as a shavings bed, or similar. Once he is safely ensconced at the new place, I'll get his feet scrubbed out and disinfected so that I can take lots of photos.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Some articles

Just what I've found from Google. I haven't read them all properly and fully digested yet mind you!

The latter being not quite-so-relevant but still lots of interesting information out there. Also, I thought this thread on EE was rather timely:,36792.0.html

Best wishes to this horse and his owner.

I do feel perhaps I ought to have called the vet sooner but mercifully it seems Quadi should make a good recovery, although with an(other) issue I will always have to keep an eye on. Frankly, with all the little grumbles and niggles going on in his feet that we discovered as an aside, it would only be a matter of time before he becomes permanently unsound. So if we come through this and I have a horse happy to be back in work, every day's a blessing. If that sort of pedestrian statement doesn't make anyone gag *lol*

eta: I can't get links to work, you'll just have to copy and paste!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

3 months R&R

Finally, we have answers!

I was rather tired getting home last night so forgive the belated update.

Firstly I suppose I should reveal that the diagnosis is Medial Collateral Ligament Desmitis, coupled with an astonishing case of seedy toe.

Quadi was slightly sedated as is standard for these things, but I'd heard he'd been an angel since being dropped off on Sunday night. So clearly I bring out the worst in him *lol*

The shoe was removed and the vet had a good look around, since what we knew at this point was that it was a foot problem and probably something at the front. No reaction to hoof testers and then the vet had a good look at the sole and white line, whereupon he found a gaping hole and very clear separation of the hoof wall :( I didn't have the presence of mind yesterday to take a photo but it was hard to miss. It wasn't there when Quadi pulled the shoe the day he had his first x-rays, but the infection has to have been grumbling away for some time.

With that in mind, the next step was x-rays. I donned lead vest and my job was to hold Quadi so that the vet nurse could run back and forth with plates. He was such a poppet, very compliant (must drug him more often!) and at one point when the vet was out of the room he stood with his foot on the block for the entire time.

Once all the images were taken I was invited through to have a look at them on the computer. Digital images are so much easier to look at! Firstly, the infected hoof wall. It was clear as day, and it tracks very far up. Quadi doesn't have strength in the stuctures of his heels yet and as such doesn't really cope with heel-first landing. So toe-first landing coupled with this infection has meant he's now got a very sore foot. The special set-back shoes he wears, by their very design, can trap dirt and much under them so it's just plain bad luck. I guess I could have been disinfecting them when he was being shod but it wasn't apparent from the outside there was anything untoward in there.

He also has a few niggling changes of the various bones in his foot. Mostly the pedal bone. He was a sidebone in that off fore, and a few little ossifications but they appear incidental and as a result of previous bad foot balance most likely. Not surprising. He notably has some changes over the face of the pedal bone, where it runs parallel to the hoof wall. They denote laminitis, so he's definitely suffered from that at some point. Again, I'd assumed this was the case. It's just really good to know that both myself and Kate are spotting indicators of these things from the outside!

Just to be super-safe, we pressed on and also looked at his lower leg with ultrasound. Belts and braces and all that. At first everything was looking very healthy but a problem was spotted with the medial CL. The vet explained that there was some thickening at one side of the top-third but that two-thirds of this ligament are in the hoof below where the ultrasound machine can detect. He also explained that this was perhaps an issue but we should compare it to the CL on the near fore. If they matched, then they were probably healthy but if not then this would fit with the lameness pattern we've seen.

The other ligament looked much healthier I'm told. I say I'm told because although I could see the images, side-by-side, and had a vet showing me what to look for, for all I know Quadi could be having a baby because ultrasounds all look the same to me! But the medial CL on the off fore just wasn't looking as 'pretty' and healthy, and overall was harder to get a clear image of.

In order to see the bottom two-thirds of the ligament, he would have needed and MRI which would mean a trip to one of the vet hospitals down south. But the examining vet here said that the treatment would be no different. He also said that it could be a chonic issue that has been exacerbated by something. A knock or jarring, changes in foot balance, walking oddly on account of the seedy toe, etc. And that he'd be very disappointed if Quadi didn't come sound once we'd treated both issues.

So, rest is what the doctor orders. 4 weeks on total rest, then another two weeks with walking in-hand, then onto a small paddock for another few weeks. At that point he recommended a rescan. Oh, and we'll have to remove the infected hoof wall but the good thing is he'll be in anyway!

He loaded up really well to come home. Wasn't really interested in food at all so we used the lunge line, and he walked in! At least we have a tool we can use now, we know where the buttons are.

I was, prior to all of the veterinary diagnosis, feeling blue about the prospect of Quadi not working. I was told he must be in work to have a healthy back. But he looks GOOD for a horse doing no work, so everything Kate was doing with him agreed with him immensely, as well as the farrier, the physio and the equine massage therapist. I am more positive that this is merely a moment to treat water, not a step back. And he will be doing stretches and will be strapped and groomed, and will have access to stable toys. Frankly, I feel that as long as there's hay he'll be happy enough!

At the moment he's stood in his stable at the livery with one and a half shaved legs and three shoes on! I'm away for a couple of days so not much to report until the weekend....when we move yards! It'll be nice and quiet there for Quadi to rest and convalesce. And Fin will have a lovely broodmare as a companion until we're all back to turnout. Very exciting!

I, on the other hand, developed a cough, tight chest and sore ears when I got home so I feel a little ragged today. Didn't realise quite how stressed I was before, but I'll survive!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Feets for treats

Today was a little stressful again for Quadi.

He'd had a good night in as far as I can gather. Not much hay remained and several signs that he'd had a good lie down and snooze. Very grumpy mind you, doesn't matter what I do with him, it's just not the same as working and getting out and about. He has taken to having his neck muscles slapped! It's very strange, strapping him with the palm of your hand elicits the same nose-twitching and neck-arching that scratching does. I even stuck the points of my knuckles above his scapula and he was in heaven. So he's definitely tight through there. An area we have yet to fully unlock but I think has worsened with all the horrible things happening to the poor boy just now!

Because I haven't my own transport thus far, Kate offered to drop him off at Horsepital tonight in order that he's ready for examination tomorrow, and she can collect us on the way home :)

I didn't feel nervous about travelling him today as he was such a superstar on Friday. I prepared some Magic feed (just regular mix, not something he's ever fed so very tempting!) and my pockets were brimming with herb treats. Suited and booted, we headed for the trailer. He was understandably apprehensive but did advance and retreat, making progress each time. But we never really progressed. The trailer doesn't bother him, it lovely and light and airy inside and he clearly had no problem being in there. I think we was more concerned with where he was headed! We explained that he was going to the vets but no horribleness this time, only one injection for sedation and that would be it. We also explained that horses who have their feet in the trailer get edible prizes...Feets for Treats. And that horses standing outside get no treats, no prizes for being outside the trailer!

He wasn't buying it, eventually he stopped responding to treats. We decided to take a few steps back and opened up the partition as much as it would allow with the aim of walking him through a few times. This proved equally fruitless! We were offered a small Shetland to give him a lead through, said Shetland is particularly good at this task and Quadi just adores Shetties. Just not enough to go into the trailer in this instance.

I remembered when he was collected from the vet in Devon that our lovely transporter used a lunge line around his back end to encourage him forwards. At this point Quadi was stood on the ramp of the trailer with a blank expression on his face. He wasn't going to play anymore. We figured we had to apply a little pressure but obviously being careful in doing this, so I fetched a lunge line. I hooked it into the side of the trailer and had it ready around his bottom, the idea being it would only come into play when he backed into it and pressure wasn't being applied to his headcollar. Although really we were using food to encourage him in, I don't think anyone's ever loaded a horse by dragging it in by the head!

Well, he backed off and stepped into the line. I held it so that there was no slack but not firm against him. He paused and walked in! I deftly applied the bum bar and we were set, much praise for a clever pony! I don't think we would have been so successful using the line earlier, but I'm so pleased that he complied knowing that we probably headed to the V.E.T.

He travelled beautifully and unloaded calmly, settled into his stable with a mouthful of hay and that's where I've left him for thie night. We resume investigations tomorrow afternoon.

I really want an answer, I have a horrid feeling we'll get nowhere and they'll assume soft tissue injury with lengthy box rest.

Also visited our new yard today, after tomorrow and hopefully a diagnosis the details of our move should be clearer.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Pony judo

There aren't enough hours in the day! An update, 24 hours shy of when I should have posted.

Friday's vet visit went well, albeit late! I arrived at the yard to see the vet we were being referred to treating an emergency. He said he would be running an hour late but to be honest by the time we finally got started at the vet's it was two hours later, and this was Friday afternoon.

Our loading practice has paid off, he loaded without much fuss. A few attempts getting in, and I was a bit leery about the Bum Bar but once he was in he just stood and got sweeties whilst Kate did ramps and doors. Very pleased, and he travelled beautifully, we could see him through the window in the trailer! :D

X-rays were handed over to the vet for his perusal, he agreed that the changes in the bone shown on x-ray could easily be incidental, that they might not be a problem at all, more a symptom of something else and could easily be a biological reaction to something very historic.

First things first, walk and trot ups. He was about 2/10 lame in trot on the straight. Next were flexion tests, although poor Mr Quadi was terribly unhappy about a vet being anywhere near him, as patient and quiet as the vet was! So it meant having Kate lift up the leg for inspection and then handing him over to the vet for flexion! This didn't make him any more lame, so onto the lunge where he was visibly far more lame on the right rein, and even more so lunged in trot on a hard surface. So whilst he has improved there's still something causing him a problem. Quadi didn't seem to think there was any need to be at Horsepital and took me water-skiing on no less than three occassions! I just haven't the upper body strength to deal with this repeatedly but luckily he didn't get too far before I stopped him and/or we were both rescued! He always shows me up but never mind, wouldn't be my horse if he didn't!

As planned, the first course of action was to block the coffin joint and see if this made a difference. Here's where I must admit I absolved myself of responsibility at this point and thought it best not to be present for the actual needling. I had been told it can be quite traumatic (in the end it wasn't!) and knowing what Quadi would be like, I didn't want to see it go wrong. As far as horses are concerned, nervous people are best out of seeing and smelling distance!

But first of course we had to get the dear boy into the stocks, which was safer all round. We did the same advance and retreat as we used with the trailer, and some magic feed, and he was in, no problem. Then I cleared off outside! Moments passed, then minutes, and a few bangs and clatters could be heard. After many minutes I stuck my head into the barn to see what was happening, to see vet nurses, vets and Kate all stood! The twitch had yet to be applied, which was very necessary to do much else with him. In the end another very confident vet managed, and I bogged off again. After all his stuff and bluster about the twitch, Quadi stood like a rock for the actual jab! Typical, and as predicted!

This block made no difference so we waited for it to take effect over the whole joint, and still nothing at walk and trot, and even trotting on a circle on a hard surface. I was growing weary with the trotting at this point, and I wasn't the only one having to do it.

The next block was at the heel. Nada, still nodding in trot. By this point we were basically at COP for the day so the final block was for the pastern and below. Bingo! Sound in walk and trot. He was also brilliant for these blocks, we did them in the stable and Quadi didn't require intervention from anyone other than the vet. The jabs were met with a small flinch and grunt, which is a perfectly adequate response really!

Sadly this doesn't give us much more than a widened search area than we ever thought! But at least we know it's somewhere down there, halfway through the afternoon on Friday it was beginning to look like a shoulder issue. Or hoof balance, since he places the off fore oddly but we are still trying to adjust balance with every trim.

So he's booked in for Monday afternoon, and all this being well he'll spend the night at the vet's on Sunday night so that he can be seen any point the vet isn't running off for emergencies. He'll have full radiography of the suspicious areas and ultrasound of the soft tissue.

Loading him to come home felt a little stickier, since he wasn't as keen to load for treats. The truth is, we were nothing short of pummeling treats down his neck every time the vet handled him! I managed to source more magic feed to load him and he was in after some forwards and backwards. In truth, he took no longer than loading at home, it was just my fatigue meaning I wasn't handling him as well as I should have.

I'm trying not to worry about what this might be, but sufficient to say all sorts of scenarios are careering wildly in my mind...

Quadi is under house arrest as he sees it until he goes back tomorrow night. Comments have been made about the change in his attitude being out of work. Despite giving him as much attention as I can, and the fact that he's not the buzziest workaholic to be found, he does like to work and isn't happy about the layoff. And now that he's on box rest there is much face-pulling and general mardiness.

Oh, and one of the vets asked if he was a Connie or Welsh cross...! I don't mind that at all, both breed are terrific, but said vet had just gotten back from Portugal and was up to his eyes in Portuguese ponies *lol*

Fingers crossed again for another smooth loading and journey tomorrow, and I do hope he's still speaking to me at the end of all of this! And for less wrestling with him this time, I'm not sure my muscles will take it. I do feel for him, we just haven't had a minute to practice Good Behaviour for Vets!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

More injections

Not much to report from us.

Quadi's pretty bored! We've been doing stretches as per Celia Cohen's 'Stretchy Horses' DVD, but the stretches that require treats tend to wind him up a little & bring out his worst manners! I think he'd be better being able to do something more, he likes spending time with people. He's hardly a workaholic but certainly seems jealous of the attention Fin gets for having more to do!

We've also been doing trailer-practice. We started this in preparation to move but obviously now it's to take him to the vet, so moving yard might be more stressful than first planned. He probably thinks every time he travels there's an injection at the end of it!

No practice tonight as the weather's been torrential since this morning. I misjudged the weather and put him out last night rugless :( Luckily the YM brought him in this morning as he was looking rather drookit.

Sufficient to say I'm doing less-than-nought in terms of exercise! Just haven't the time to go to the gym, haven't been in ages. I'm hoping I'll at least have a sound horse soon to ride. And of course there's all the poo picking I'll get to do at the new place :)

Tomorrow is Horsepital Day. Fingers crossed for smooth loading and travelling. I'm not optimistic about the vet being able to do the joint block without Quadi trying to climb the walls, but you never know...I shall remain positive, right up until the point where it looks like someone's about to get hurt!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Lovely jiggling muscles!

On Friday, Quadi had another visit from Liz Briscoe

This was his second treatment from her. Given the change in him since her first visit, I believe this aspect of his rehab is fundamental to getting him working correctly, and with ease. Shoeing/foot balance, saddle fit, medication, etc are all pieces of the puzzle we couldn't be without, but regular physio and now also equine massage have really brought about a change in him.

Liz said she noticed immediately, before setting foot in his stable, that he looked different. She said he was more interested in his surroundings and was looking over the door to see who I was speaking to. And the change in his physique was as much of a pleasant surprise to her as it was to me when I got home from offshore :D

I think I'd already relayed from his previous session, via reports from Kate, that he didn't exactly enjoy the first session. He's always been ok with physio manipulation, but didn't enjoy the massage as such. On that occassion Liz didn't try to manipulate any particular area or issue, instead focussing on the session being a positive experience for Quadi.

This time he was much more genial towards us, aided I'm sure by a big pile of hay to munch on whilst Liz got to work.

The great news is that he is much, much improved on his last treatment. This is completely down to his care in my absence, I take no credit for his progress! His lumbar region, loin and over his hindquarters are all much looser. If you gently wiggle his bottom, the muscle jiggles whereas before he was completely tight in this area. He is reacting to pressure points when before he wouldn't. In fact, Liz couldn't believe this and checked them a few times because it just didn't seem quite possible given how resistant he was before! Still a little tight in both shoulders and a little bit of tension in the left lumbar area, but this is expected. And he looks good considering he's been out of action for nearly a month with the forelimb lameness. We are all in agreement the next part to fall into place will be when we can further unlock his shoulders. This area has proved more of an issue than where he was diagnosed with a problem. As soon as we have the all clear for work I hope we can crack on with polework and lateral work.

Liz agreed that some TTouch work for body awareness and increased proprioception would be a good idea, so I am reading up on that at the moment. In between lots of other things, including feed balancers, joint supplements, soil testing (for the new yard!), etc. Oh, and I should strap his muscles. He prefers hearty slaps to rubs. I've always been led to believe horses like to be stroked, and certainly when he needs reassurance that helps, but Quadi likes to be told he's a good lad with a flat palm to the buttocks *lol*

I went home from the yard on Friday absolutely beaming, just so happy that everyone thinks Quadi is looking better, and obviously feeling better too. Happy that he's happy. Now I just need to get myself a massage.

The weekend was spent grooming, doing stretches and trailer training. The latter went wonderfully, we are very happy to stand in the trailer with the partition in the middle. Of course, an abundance of food in buckets and in pockets helps! Hopefully we can progress to practicing with travel gear on the rest of the week before Visiting Horsepital on Friday.

Tomorrow I am off to the vet to see the latest x-rays. I feel sorry for the vet, I have many, many questions!

Friday, 28 August 2009


...over a month since my last update, oops!

I made it home at the end of July, elated to see my pony, and what a transformation! I was bowled over with the change in him, physically, mentally and emotionally. I spent the first fifteen minutes just standing back, regarding him, almost wanting to pinch myself as I couldn't quite believe my eyes. Then I rode him and I grinned so much my face ached :D Lifting through his back, setting off nice and relaxed from the off. And despite having seven weeks off the riding bit, I didn't forget anything and we had a great session. Kate really worked wonders, I couldn't have been more pleased!

Progress was positive and steady from there, I caught up on what Kate had been doing in terms of groundwork. Quadi was going so well without the Pessoa that we have progressed to just a bungee aid in front which only comes into play when he really moves outwith the range we like him to be in. It was even more encouraging to see him stretching himself on the lunge, a sort of self-physio session.

We were almost at the point of a saddle fitting, since he'd bulked out to a more consistent shape...and then he went lame.

As I've previously documented, it's been a little more of a chore to obtain right bend and there was the historical issue of lameness in his off-fore which I was told to work through unless it came to something. I assumed it was just another piece that would fall into place with time and remediation. Well, it came to something!

First stop was our lovely physio. She was actually already scheduled before Quadi went lame, and we (Kate and I) were all prepped to show him off. Sadly the appointment became a lameness investigation. The good news, it wasn't his back and it wasn't soft tissue in the shoulder. Bad news is we were none the wiser, and he wasn't weighting that leg very much. So we had a lameness work-up from the vet and eventually settled on front foot x-rays, to include the lower joints and specifically looking for navicular. They couldn't see too much wrong but the x-rays were sent to Glasgow Vet School because the vet here didn't feel experienced enough to sign off on the images.

It's a very good thing that he sent them off, along with the x-rays from April, because bony changes can be seen in the coffin joint. They mentioned early osteoarthritis. Although they said there was extra bone growth and I'm not sure whether that means arthritis, it could just be irritation in the joint.

The latest is that we are heading off to a local veterinary hospital next Friday to have that joint medicated and then we can crack on. I was initially despondent but he's already putting weight on the leg. Poor lad's been on paddock rest for a couple of weeks now. But at least it's not a tendon and we have an answer!

We are due to move yards soon. It was supposed to be this weekend but we're putting that off until after horsepital now. But Fin and Quadi will soon be masters of their domain as we sub-let part of a yard all to ourselves! We have our own wheelbarrow and everything, very exciting!

He had a massage today but I'll write about that tomorrow. It's almost bedtime!