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Archive for June, 2008

Making Friends…

Yesterday was a big day for our big girls. We turned them out for the first time with the other mare and baby! I will admit I was nervous, not sure how the momma’s would get along, but they did fine. It only took about 5 minutes and I was comfortable enough to let them off their lead ropes. Cassidy and Jingles were both intent on eating the grass and Rebecca and Echo ran around. My two girls are sort of loners, so they kept to themselves. Cassidy never had a problem with Jingles but she did snap at a couple of the other horses when they approached their fence to see what they were doing. We had hoped the babies would play but they didn’t. Echo was busy a lot of the time flirting with the other horses. Rebecca loves to run and she just made sure she knew where mom was at all times. They were able to be out grazing for almost 2 hours. We plan on making this a regular thing so the babies can get used to one another.

Today we spent a couple hours with Leslie, a natural horse trainer (http://www.partnerup.net/). She came out the week Cassidy arrived from Canada and was impressed with her then. Meeting the baby today just put her over the top. She helped me work Cassidy’s feet since I still have trouble getting her to lift them for me. We worked her in the round pen and she sure looks pretty moving! Leslie says she is very intelligent and it only takes her one time to learn something. I have homework in working with her feet and getting her to move for me in the pasture. It’s too bad Leslie’s place is so far away. It is a good hour drive. Cassidy may be sent there alone for one on one training, I’m still pondering it.

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One Month Old

With Rebecca Maye turning 1 month old this weekend (and giving wonderful babyhorse kisses) I felt it appropriate to tell the story of her birth. We were on pins and needles for 12 nights as we held the CassidyCam Baby Watch. We were all getting tired and frustrated. Saturday, May 17th felt like every other day as I approached the barn at 7am time to turn off the camera. As soon as I walked up to her stall I knew something was different. Cassidy was giving me a hurried look – like hurry up and get my breakfast before something happens! I called Scottie and told him he needed to get there asap. Of course, he didn’t believe me because we’d been on this baby watch for so long, but I stressed to him, get here!

As Gayle walked up I ran to meet her and tell her I thought this might be the day. We both saw Cassidy go down. We ran to the stall and she got right back up. I hurried up and got her breakfast ready and put it in her feeder. She dunked her head in and began eating in a hurry. By this time, Trish came out and we were both in the stall with her. As she was getting ready to lift Cassidy’s tail to check on things a massive contraction hit her and practically lifted her off her feet. We all held our breath for about 30 seconds – then Cassidy finished eating. As soon as she was done she told me she wanted out of the stall. I was in a dilemma because so many people had invested themselves emotionally into this mare having her baby and now she was telling me no cameras. I knew Scottie was going to kill me but I had to listen to my horse.

Trish and I haltered her up and started the short walk around the barn and into her pasture. A few steps out of the doorway she started to go down again but we stopped her and kept her moving. Her water broke as we were walking. We both just kept talking to her and telling her to hold on. From all the reading I’d been doing I knew I had at least 30 to 45 minutes after the water breaks before the baby comes out. We got her into the pasture, she walked about 10 steps and laid down on her side. Contractions were coming like crazy. Trish ran to the house to get her camera, I ran to the barn to get my medical emergency kit and Gayle was left to watch the action.

I ran back and stood in awe – there were legs coming out of Cassidy’s backside! This was happening too fast! The water had only just broken! Gayle and I looked at each other and back at Cassidy and then the entire baby just slid out easy as you please. The sack did not break off her little head. I don’t remember if it was Gayle or Trish but someone told me to get in there and help her. I didn’t even put my gloves on. I walked up to the baby, grabbed the slippery sack and broke it off her precious nose with Cassidy looking back at me. Rebecca took her first breath as we looked at one another. Cassidy immediately stood up and began cleaning her new charge. I was hoping she would rest a little longer but momma knows best. I got out of the way.

By this time, Scottie pulled up and hauled butt to the barn to get the webcam. I knew I was in trouble but I didn’t care. Cassidy wanted this to be her moment, not to share it with the world. He started filming about 5 minutes after she was born. The whole process from me knowing she was in labor to the baby being born was all of 20 minutes. From the time she laid down in the pasture it was under 5 minutes for her to get business done. Obviously, she was a pro. The rest of the morning is pretty much a blur. I was on and off the phone with 2 veterinarians. Our main vet was even trying to run a marathon and kept calling to check on things. It took Rebecca Maye 2 hours to nurse. We were getting frantic about it and now I know I didn’t need to be. She ended up being able to nurse once I milked momma and sort of got things going. Cassidy was a dream through the whole thing. She was nervous and protective but not a threat.

We are now one month down the road of this adventure and I see only good things to come. What a dream come true to not only have the horse I’ve always wanted in Cassidy, but also her perfect daughter, Rebecca Maye. They will be able to spend the rest of their lives together with Scottie and me.

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With Cassidy on the mend, the last bit of work we needed to do was have her teeth “floated”. This is a process where her veterinarian, Dr. Cichra, filed down sharp points that had formed on her teeth. This was causing her unnecessary discomfort. We had noticed she had points when she first came to us in Feb. but knew we needed to wait to address them until after the baby came. Horses teeth grow throughout their lifetime and the natural act of all day grazing should keep the teeth worn down properly. But, our domestication lifestyle, processed foods and hay and the lack of real grazing has made it impossible for them to wear their teeth as nature intended. This is why it is essential to have their teeth checked yearly by their equine vet. As you can tell by the pics, heavy sedation is involved. It was crazy how she never quit standing. We let Rebecca Maye play around the barn and mom only got upset when she heard her whinny a few times. Cass is now feeling good, pooping good and eating good – whooohoooo!

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In trying to get our girl to feel better, I went back to basics with her diet and went to the unconventional. She had acupuncture done and she liked it! I don’t understand all the exact terms and things with Chinese medicine, I only know I’ve seen it work. Dr. Beth Carson came highly recommended by my canine holistic veterinarian. She and Cassidy made friends right away. We were all pleased with how calm and behaved she and the baby were during the session. She only flinched when she was putting a needle in the side of her mouth but we had already determined she has some dental pain. (She’s getting her teeth floated tomorrow.) The doctor was even able to hook up electrodes to the needles for a little extra umph – usually a horse has to have a few sessions before they allow that. It is so good to see our beautiful girl feeling better. We were very worried about her.

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One of the ladies on my broodmares list said something that made me stop to think. “These horses are used to existing solely on grass in subzero temperatures and we bring them here, roll out the red carpet, and they aren’t doing well”. What would the Wizard say? He would say, go back to basics, what is she used to? With Cassidy on the mend, I took a trip to the feed store in search of her “yellow brick road” – Canadian Timothy Hay. I also realized the heat was doing a number on HER now that the baby was adjusting to it. She was gonna have to let me hose her off in the heat of the day. I certainly don’t want her thinking “there’s no place like home” with home being Canada!

The boys at the feed store know me now and they also know I’d been keeping my eye on a couple of bunnies they were trying to sell. I have a soft spot for buns. It probably stems from trying to redeem myself from having a rabbit fur jacket when I was kid! Our 1st bun, Starsky, was a class bun the teacher was going to set “free” when school let out. The 2nd bun, Hef, was at the shelter, as was Flip-Flop, the 3rd bun. Hue, our current bun, I took out of the arms of heathen children at this same feed store about 5 years ago while we were having all those hurricanes.

This pair of bunnies had been moved into the back of the store since the last time I’d been there. I sighed and walked away knowing I sure didn’t need something else to worry about right now and tried to not think about them going for snake food. And it’s just wrong to buy bunnies when there are bunnies out there in shelters. I found a beautiful bale of Canadian Timothy and a couple bales of Timothy, Oat & Alfalfa. The Timothy would be considered the prime rib and the other was on sale because it was the 3rd cut and they wouldn’t be getting anymore, more of a burger. The things one learns when they become a horse owner! I went to the counter to pay for the hay and stupidly asked what deal would they give me if I took the two bunnies together. The next thing I know, the buns are in a box on the counter and I’m paying for them! Well, Ramirez (16 year minpin) would be extremely pleased to have a couple bun babies, he’s very maternal. Hue has been alone for a while now, since Hef died. See the rationalizing? Scottie didn’t scold me much – that will come later.

The buns are a breed called Lionhead Rabbits and they will require more grooming than a regular bunny. They sure are cute – and they don’t make any noise, a plus in our house!

Then I proceed to drive my little Scion XB to the barn with a back full of hay. Did I mention I’m actually allergic to hay? Having so much in such close proximity did a number on my nasal passages. I sneezed about a million times before pulling up to the pasture in my usual spot. I called Trish to let her know I was there and needed to unload some stuff. She got her dog in and I was able to open the gate and drive up to the barn instead of using the wheel barrow to bring it. Well, in my exhaustion, allergy eyes and nose dripping I not only backed into the barnyard but into a tree! Crunch!

Yep, I’m a dumbass…not all the time…but that waaaas dumb. I have a good amount of damage to my bumper (see where it all fits in now?) and I will never live this down as long as my husband is around to tell me about it.

The lesson in all this is – I need a pickup truck to go along with my horse. AAAHHHCHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! BTW, Ms. Canadian Cassidy April practically tore my arm off to get to the Timothy Hay. As long as she’s happy…

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Still Sick…

Yesterday afternoon things were looking up in Cassidyland but this afternoon brought another set back. Got to the barn by 8am and gave her all her meds. She’s such a good girl about taking them. Per our vet, I gave her the regular amount of feed (1/2 scoop) and her flake of hay. She was in the mood to eat and things were looking ok. I spent all morning in the pasture with her and cleaned up about 4 piles of almost normal stool from the night before. About 10:30 she began with diarrhea again. Not a lot, just a bit sort of slipped out of her behind. I was watching her and she walked over by the water trough and laid down. She did half a roll, I held my breath because I wasn’t sure if it was a roll to just roll or a roll to thrash because of tummy pain. I called to her and she got up. She looked at the water but didn’t drink.

I had to go do some errands so Shaila was keeping an eye on her. In the hour and a half I was gone she was up and down a few times. She would look at the water but not drink. I had spoken to my vet in the meantime and she said with a colitis situation (which is what we have versus colic) it can take up to a week to see improvement and they may get constipated in between the diarrhea. I was to continue what I was doing, Pepto, Flagyl & Probios. She had not had any more BM’s so I gave her some pedialyte and her lunchtime hay. Shaila was staying at the barn and offered to keep an eye on her. It was even hotter today than yesterday. Shaila called about 2:45 and said she had been down about 4 times since 2! I was thinking the heat was affecting HER now.

Here she is after I poured some water on her. She didn’t like me trying to spritz her off. It was actually nice under the tent.

A different vet was on the property so I asked him to take a look at her. He said her gut sounds were good and he felt it was the heat and the fact she wasn’t drinking. He gave her some electrolytes and a banamine shot. We discussed her food and he felt what I’m doing is ok but to increase hay is the way to go – not to increase her amount of feed. This has been a debate in the barn because she gets so much less than all the other horses. He was happy to see she took the hay he offered her. He gave me more electrolytes for tomorrow and said to do whatever necessary to get water into her.

Rebecca Maye is now handling the heat better than momma (and me!). She didn’t even get sweaty today and was perky (when she was awake) but she is still having diarrhea off and on. I’m getting to be an expert at administering horse meds. She is 2 & 1/2 weeks old today. I think she wants to be a racehorse or maybe a dog – she chases the cars down the driveway!

Tonight I decided to let Cassidy’s system get a break from the Pepto. It can work too hard the opposite way, too. She ate her dinner with some added electrolyte salts and we moved her big water trough closer to the tent. As we were filling it she came over and took a big drink – Yippee! This is such a delicate balance and I am learning as I go. I really need to do a great deal of research in the area of feed and hay. I can’t change anything until I get her system normal again and she gets her strength back. I am posting signs all along her pasture fence, “Please, do NOT feed, she’s on a special diet!” I know people stop all the time to see her and I also know they give her things to eat. I am at fault for allowing this in the first place.

We’ve been offered the use of 3 acres that actually has grass (her pasture is total sand), tons of shade trees and a pond. It just would have to be fenced. Anybody out there have a fence company willing to donate to a very worthy horse? Keep us in your prayers. Time to catch a couple hours of sleep.

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Quick Health Update

Spent the morning at the barn again. She is doing better but still not
herself. She is being great in letting me do all the things I am
having to do to her. She got a tail soaking and leg washing, which was
badly needed. She was patient with us. My friend, Therese, helped.
Part of her bloodwork came back and her CBC was normal, so no
infection. She is keeping a normal temp, too. I was able to feed her a
bit of mash, a handful of feed and a flake of hay. I left her for
about an hour to go get more meds and do some dog walks. She had an
almost normal poop while I was gone! She and baby are out in the
pasture and Rebecca seems to be handling it ok so far. It’s in the
90’s here. It is nice under their tent if she will just stay under it
with mom.

Thank all of you for loving my girl and saying prayers for her. I
believe in the power of love and positive thinking. I am not one to
give up on a sick animal. I’ve pulled my share of dogs out of death’s
grip so she is just a little bit bigger – I have a gallon of Pepto!

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