Sunday, 29 August 2010


A little OT... of my cousin's cats passed away two days ago :( I'm still offshore and especially hate to get such news when away from home, so just wanted somewhere to say 'something'. It always hurts to lose a four-legged member of the family.

Jet was a little black cat of 23 years (yes, 23!) and his health was deteriorating. Poor love was going deaf and blind and had no teeth left, but still enjoying his little world until very recently, and what a character! You couldn't visit the house without Jet having a little shottie of curling up on each visitor's lap :)

I know two little stories about this little guy, they made me smile as I thought of him today. On the one hand, when my cousin's son was a toddler, he used to drag Jet by the tail across the wooden floor (the floor is pretty slick so there wasn't much resistance). My cousin would always freak out about this and explain why pulling cats by the tail is a bad idea for everyone, but Jet would always just lay there passively and be dragged along until the floor was suitably polished with cat hair! (Said child is very scared of our cat after attempting the same thing and not receiving the warmest of responses regarding such activity :s )

On the other hand, I remember one time when there were shouts from the front gate of the house. A man walking his Alsatian shouting, begging them to call off their cat!!! Jet had sprung out and wouldn't let them pass the gate, the poor dog was curled behind his owner! I think at that point Jet had just one canine tooth left and was baring it menacingly *lol*

Some pets are just extra special :) And 23 years old, what a credit to them, how old is that in cat years?!

Can't wait to get home and give my two rogues extra bosies!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Diet Worked. A Little Too Well.

Feedback from the equine massage therapist is more of the same. Keep up with our carrot stretches and more pole work. She felt he was ok but subdued, and I guess we're all in agreement the feet are the issue there, and diet (grass) at the moment is the cause. Bum, poor boy. I wish I could make him better faster than this.

So, the plan of action is for Quadi and I to have a joint physio session once I'm home. I'll demonstrate his stretchiness for treats and make sure we're executing those properly, and furthermore we will review his performance over poles and tweak those exercises if need be. I'll have to demonstrate my ability to sit upright without falling over, and my core strength progress.

As part of our routine with our guys, Kate weight-taped Quadi. 470kg. I seem to remember him regularly measuring 520kg and at one point I recall seeing 570kg somewhere. So whilst the actual figures are rough it would seem he's shed at leat 50kg and possibly up to 100kg. He's no hat rack of course, but needs more correct muscle and perhaps could carry a little more condition. He's not a ribby, lean guy and whilst I don't want him to carry excess fat anywhere he doesn't look right running this 'light'. I anticipate he should look healthy around 490-500kg, carrying much more muscle with that.

He's also started his omperazole, which should also help with any pre-, during and post-move stresses. And of course will allow any suspected digestive tract ulcers to heal.

Moving day is midweek next week. Have requested photos in eager anticipation. Can't wait for my first proper visit to Kate's new house, I'll enjoy that first cup of tea in the kitchen as we stand and watch our horses, like giant goldfish, out through the kitchen window, very soothing :)

I spent yesterday in Rio. 37C in the sunshine! Which, coincidentally, is the melting point of a Caucasian Scottish female-person in direct sunlight *lol* Factor 40 was liberally applied! Of course I'd rather be back in Blighty, at the yard in two jumpers and a scarf, having my hair 'groomed' by The Baby, my tummy boofed by Fin and Quadi wiping his sloppy alfalfa-stubbled muzzle all over the backside of my jeans...heaven!

Monday, 23 August 2010

News From Home

Lucky Quadi had his massage today :)

The good news is that he has no specific spasms about his person. This pleased me greatly but isn't a suprise since he's not exactly working hard at the moment prior to moving house.

He is still stiffer through his left side, which would explain why he is so blocked on the right rein I guess? As this means on a right rein flexion he has to stretch along his left side, which is tricky if he's not as flexible that way. There was a lack of lumbar flexion but he produced some good back lifts (where you 'activate' the pressure point on the chest where the girth lies). I'm awaiting email homework from the bodyworker (as I'm still in the Southern Hemisphere) if that will be necessary. He's probably due another physio check up too, more stretches and more pole work methinks. Given that I have previously fallen over from a seated position trying to flex right (for the physio), it's probably worth booking us both in for some further exercises!

In other Quadi news he has been back in the school and by all accounts it sounds like some rest has done him good. He's carrying that little smidge of extra condition he was lacking, and with Kate up he can canter both reins in the school, proper circles too! Whereas before we'd have to let him build up a little head of steam and run into it, now he is offering freely. Amazing what horses can do with a balanced pilot! I should also mention this was with the distraction of a pony careering around outside the school, and he was very happy and willing to work, so I'm very proud of him!

Soon he will commence his ulcer meds too. He is footsore at the moment, it wasn't my expectation that this would be the time of year he'd be most susceptible to LGL. Is it wrong that I'm looking forward to winter, cold and all? It makes keeping an IR/EMS horse that little bit easier...I hope I'm not eating my words come Christmas!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Thinking Purely of Brakes

Further to the post below, where I publicly state that I wish to take my barmy pony out in company and hare across the countryside and all the obstacles it has to offer whilst trying not to maim or injure other participants...I was thinking about brakes. Mostly because I'm offshore and thinking of ponies keeps me sane :D

Now, I'm not for overbitting instead of proper training. Far from it, I like as little tack as possible (less to clean!). But I have to remember that there will be lots of other people and horses who will not appreciate having Quadi's flared nostrils rammed up their backside, or making enthusiastic banana shapes around them at speed. He's already strong in hand just doing fast work around our current hacks, although this tends to ease off as he becomes fitter.

I was thinking about a pelham with two reins. My reason for this is that I don't want to have to use a strong action until it's necessary, so would have the bottom rein in hand but looser. I'd also pad the curb chain. He's worn a pelham before so wouldn't be too surprised about it in the first instance, although obviously I'll be trying out new tack way before we go anywhere.

My only concern is that he might need a breastplate with running martingale, and I wouldn't want to use a martingale with a pelham. He's worn a martingale before, not with me, so again wouldn't be totally surprised if it came in to play.

I'm really not into lots of tack but don't wish to be left wanting for safety at a critical moment, far away from home. Thoughts are, as always, very welcome.

I guess the title is a lie because I'm not thinking purely of brakes, I wanted to ask a question. Can anyone recommend a good liver supporting addition to feed? Something that will aid and heal minor liver damage in an equine?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Call Me Crazy...

...but I'm planning to go hunting this winter! There are two meets I can go to. Both have non-jumping groups.

I'm not sure on turnout though. For me or him, will have to do some research.

With Lusitanos, it is supposedly tantamount to sacrilege to pull their manes. Trouble is, as Quadi lives out he has a real neither-here-nor-there mane. It's not so short that plaits would be neat and small, but not so long that a healthy running plait would hold for the day.

For ease, I was thinking of hogging it and leaving his forelock on. Actually, I was thinking of doing that anyway...

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Better Boys

Quadi was a Very Good Boy for his jab! The vet was female, which I think would have helped. He's not inherently scared of men, but mannie vets he can spot a mile off! She also gave him a little once over before jabbing him so I reckon that will have eased him in her company. Perhaps it's because I absent from proceedings *lol*

He's being very well-tended to and having his feet disinfected for nastiness (thanks Kate!) so he's looking a lot happier on them.

News from home is that Oscar, my cat, is feeling much better after a night sleeping on my Mum's legs :) She said he's seeming more normal. If he remains so then I'll get him to the vet for an MOT and some bloods when I get home. Mum said she'd get him straight to the vet if it happens again in the meantime. He finds the vet very stressful (I don't know what it is about my guys and vets!) so it's just a whole lot easier if I'm there. Plus I'm well-versed in Cat Judo and don't flinch if my hand is used as a means of distraction for his teeth and claws! Poor little guy, have never found the right way to explain to him that being handled, poked, prodded, having thermometers up his bum and needles in his neck actually aids his wellbeing!

Monday, 9 August 2010

My 'Manimals' Conspire Against Me!

It surely is the way of the world, when you're away from home, animals get sick *lol*

My Mum emailed to say my cat is poorly, hopefully nothing serious. And I had another email to say my horse was footsore over the weekend. He has a sore frog so, although he's finding it pretty painful, I'm hoping for this resistant infection rather than LGL. Although he had run out of yea-sacc as the delivery hasn't turned up yet, so toxic LGL is a possibility. We're doing everything in our means at the moment but I think next year will spell grass-free periods for him :(

He has his flu jabs tomorrow, the vet can give him a run over.

Kate and I have been musing ulcers and are pretty much of the opinion once they move to her new place we'll give them a course of treatment. On my part it'll mean foregoing a chance to ride at a Perry Wood clinic but needs must.

Monday, 2 August 2010

People Are Not Chew Toys

Not much happened today. A bit of a kerfuffle at work, I thought I may have to fly to Brazil tonight but was granted a reprieve until tomorrow, and it's still not 100% certain.

Once I knew I wasn't travelling today I scooted straight up to the yard as per my original plan. Where I spent a happy-ish hour poo picking. Only happy-ish because there were a lot of weathered poops in long grass! But The Baby thought it was time for high jinx, which was fun. It always takes me longer to poo pick with him around but he is very entertaining. Taking off bucking and farting, leaping around to encourage me to play, etc. At one point he was lifting a fully laden poop scoop in his mouth. When I offered and then succeeded to remove it from his mouth I was met with a love bite! He got his teeth right around my (albeit scrawny) wrist. Luckily I reprimanded him before he bit down, naughty little guy! *lol* You definitely have to watch the mouths of curious and cheeky babies :)

Before I poo picked I took off Quadi's muzzle but was sneaky and put on his headcollar at the same time so that he couldn't sneak off and pretend he was too hungry to be caught. So he was first to come in, and he had his feet soaked again.

Apart from that and a few kisses and cuddles, that was it! I may or may not be flying to Rio tomorrow, for an undisclosed period of time. Makes my job sound very mysterious but the truth is it's simply disorganised...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

A Little Too Svelte?

I got a call last week from my office, looks like I'll be offshore this coming week. So I've been squeezing in some horsey time :)

Because he's been lame there's not much to report with Quadi. Today though, I discovered what I think has caused his sore foot. A pocket of separation in the white line, near the toe, which has been growing tight until now. I scraped it out and it stank. Given that he had to have two months box rest for a deeply infected hoof crack last autumn I'm not surprised he's so gimpy. He was looking better but he's sorer again. In fact, he was looking so much sounder across the yard yesterday, not really putting a hoof wrong, that I took him in the school for a spot of free lunging, nothing taxing. First trot = nodding lame :(

Today both fronts had a good long soak in a warm solution which was anti-everything, and then I plastered the sore bits in Sudocrem. He is sometimes landing toe-first which would suggest heel pain, but it's not constant, and then there's the now obvious WLD...

Now that all three are in a new paddock I've also muzzled him for the time being. Poor Quadi, his eyes were on stalks the first day he saw it, he backed away from me in total horror. I think muzzling must be the suckiest part of owning a good doer, I hate to do it to him but at least it's only temporary. I poked a few treats through the hole once it was on, which went much smoother than I'd imagined. So once I'm home and have more time I'll have to clicker train him to at least not wig out at the sight of it.

He's also lost a bunch of weight, and some condition has departed with it. With me not working him in the school very often (slapped wrist for that!) I'd put it down to lack of correct work but it's been suggested I could up his feed a smidge whilst still restricting his grass intake. That'll allow him to build muscle without soring his feet or upsetting his tummy. So we'll do that. I have some condition photos of him from mid-July (see below), they really show off his lack of tone and his saggy tummy :( What they don't show is just how much he's dropped off his butt. Muscling aside, I'm pleased we've managed to slim him down, it can only be a good thing for his general health.

A little bit of the problem here is the angle of the photo, but you can see how much he's lacking over his backside. In fact, you can see he's lost something all along his topline. His feet still have a way to go but look way better than they were. This was two weeks ago and they're even smarter looking now.

He has a well sprung ribcage but it's nice at least that his backside is wider than his tummy!

I just thought this was a terribly sweet photo of him and it shows how much squarer he can stand of his own accord. Shame his high neck set is showing how dippy his back can be though :x Actually, I can see his under neck muscles bulging in this one. He is straining on the leadrope but still they are still too prominent.

I hacked Fin yesterday, which was lovely and it gave me a chance to work some more on feel, timing and my posture. Today I had a brief spin on him again, but this time in his Spanish Alta Escuela (sp?) saddle. It really holds you in place. What I found interesting was that I found it more comfortable than Kate did, which is odd given how much work my position needs! You can't rise to the trot in it so we even cracked some sitting trot, very comfy indeed!