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18 November 2014 ~ 0 Comments

SOEquine – Without the lows there can be no highs…

…And this last three months we have certainly had our fair share of lows; an abscess, tendon injury, Cushing’s diagnosis, gastric ulcers, and injuries resulting from firework disasters, so I am really looking forward to the highs that we are now due!

In August I resumed training with Hannah Esberger, I couldn’t believe it had been over a year since Jason and I had our last lesson. At this time Jason was still out of work due to a sore muscle on his bottom, so I took Minnie instead, (it’s very handy having a reserve pony on standby!)

Hannah said Minnie had nice paces and she felt we would be able to do plenty with her until Jason was good to go again. It felt so great to be training with Hannah again, finally back on track pursuing my ambitions. The next couple of lessons were booked in and jotted in the diary and I was on a high, but I was soon brought back down to earth when I discovered Minnie had a swollen extensor tendon. So now we had two horses out of work, and the third is only two years old… NEXT…! Oh no, I’ve run out of backup horses!

In September Jason spent the night at the vets on 12hr starvation; this was so his tummy was empty for a gastroscopy to check for gastric ulcers, he had been crib-biting rather obsessively lately and the results confirmed my suspicions. Rachael Conwell of EquiMed Referrals Ltd performed the scope and when we were chatting afterwards she asked me Jason’s age, she was amazed to learn that Jason is 16, she said “16? Wow, he looks good… he looks really good!” I am so grateful to Equimins and their Advance Concentrate Complete, which ensures all my horses get their full vitamin requirements and keeps them looking their best, but I think I may have mentioned this already, once or twice perhaps? Hehehe

So Jason came home to begin treatment for ulcers. I noticed a difference in him very quickly, his crib-biting reduced dramatically, he was also looking much less stiff in his hind end, so I decided it was time to bring him back in to work. We started with a gentle lunge; Jason squealed and couldn’t contain his excitement at working again, but he showed me what a superstar he is, and after the whole summer off work he very quickly settled.

Minnie has been wearing the FMBs therapy rug regularly and I decided after lunging Jason that he would benefit from wearing it too, I had used it on him once in electromagnetic mode only, but I really wanted him to have the benefits of the massage mode. There was a reason I had been putting this off, when Jason was at Hannah’s yard I arrived for a lesson one day to find him wearing the rug but the groom explained that he wasn’t using the massage mode, because he didn’t like it. She smiled and I felt like the mummy of a naughty schoolchild, so I never dared to ask exactly what his response had been!

P1090293 copyI remembered when Jason was hot-shod for the first time, with all the steam billowing around him, his eyes nearly popped out of his head, I could sense the panic rising in him… good lord he was on fire! and just when I felt he was about to explode I distracted him with treats, it worked “a treat” and even today he stands like an angel to be shod whilst the cloud of steam envelops us and he looks at me as if to say “err… where are the treats?”

So with a proven method of training I stuffed my pockets full of treats, I have found that Tasty Treats are ideal for bribing, they love them so much I nearly lose fingers every time!

I tentatively turned on the massage mode, Jason’s bum started vibrating, his head shot up in alarm, his eyes as big as saucers, I quickly turned it off and gave him a treat, he snorted and mentally processed the strange experience that had just occurred, after switching it on and off a couple more times he experienced all of the massage units vibrating the different areas of his body, followed by copious amounts of treats… then I was able to leave it switched on, and I think he began to enjoy it!

In the next lunge session I couldn’t believe the difference in his way of going, I’ve never seen him so relaxed and loose in his topline, I was excited at the prospect of getting back in the saddle… then disaster struck! Fireworks spooked Jason late one evening and he bolted from his stable leaving a trail of destruction, crashing through fencing and anything else that was in his way, becoming tangled in fence tape, blood was pouring from all four legs. Needless to say with multiple cuts, lumps and bumps he was off work again. He had a poor appetite for a few days and lost some weight, which was undesirable as we head into winter.
Minnie was diagnosed with Cushing’s in October, her ACTH level was very high and she has now been on meds for a month. Next week we will have the results from her follow-up blood test, fingers crossed for improvement. Minnie is so good in all ways… apart from needles that is. I can’t say I blame her; I’m not a fan either! The poor vet had to give Minnie not one but two injections, because the vaccinations were due at the same time, then a further needle for the follow-up test – not a happy Minnie.

Jason returned to the vets to see Rachael for a follow-up scope, good news and bad news, the smaller ulcers had healed and Rachael was really pleased to see the large ulcers that she explained take a while longer to heal were healing nicely, BUT there were many new ulcers that she felt due to their placement were stress ulcers, and after the recent firework episode and resulting lack of appetite there were no prizes for guessing the cause!

I have learnt that to manage Jason’s ulcers I must reduce any potential stressful situations, so Jason has started on Serenity Ultra Calmer. We still have the New Years fireworks to look forward to, oh joy! His legs are healing well, so hopefully he will be back in work very soon…

Well I can’t finish this update without giving Ferdy a mention; he had a mystery lameness which we treated as an abscess, but other than that he is the picture of health and still the same cheeky but lovable boy. He continues to grow (I do wonder when he plans to stop growing!), he regularly wears his tack for short periods, nothing fazes him at all. Before I know it, it will be time to climb aboard! Exciting!

P1080553 - Copy[1] copyFerdy came and had a nosy whilst I was cleaning out the trailer, he hasn’t loaded or travelled since he left the stud so he was very inquisitive but tried his best to act nonchalant…

Where did the summer go..? In a few short weeks my sleek shiny horses have been stolen and replaced with hairy mud monsters. It is dark when I get up in the morning and dark when I get home, I want summer back boohoo! With a lack of daylight and riding facilities I know I will struggle to keep them in work over the winter, but I need a running start for next season so it is not optional! My long suffering non-horsey other half (aka yard handy man) is sorting winter lighting for my schooling paddock, (he wasn’t impressed with my idea of solar garden lights at each dressage marker and night vision goggles, I can’t think why?) so barring any further injuries, torrential weather or poor ground conditions, nothing can stop us now…

…or there is always the option of hibernating until March, hmmm tempting.

Until next time…



Find out more about Sophie and SO Equine by visiting her website.

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