Archive for August, 2008

Why Am I So Happy?

You’ll just have to watch the CassidyCam Weekly Webcast this Monday, September 1st to find out…

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Yesterday was a big day for us. Becca received her first round of vaccinations. I’ve been dreading it but also knew it needed to be done. She has been covered by her mother’s immunities so far, but at her age now, 3.5 months, that will be wearing off. So, Dr. Cichra came out to give her shots and also to test Cassidy for apparent lameness in her back end. Becca was given: encephalitis, tetanus, influenza, rhino, strangles and west nile virus. She will get a booster in 4 – 6 weeks and then her rabies (which I will do alone) after she’s 6 months old. She’s had no adverse reactions, no lethargy or even swelling. She’s a tough cookie. Becca made friends with Dr. Cichra right away but after that first needle went in she decided she wasn’t going to be friends anymore! She gave us a bit of a fight for the remaining 2 needles. We got it, done, though and she is fine.

Cassidy has alway seemed weak in her back end. She has a popping or clicking noise in her back legs when she walks. We wanted her to have the baby and see if that improved anything. It’s still there. I’ve been making her move a little more than she is used to and it’s still there. Dr. Cichra did a lameness exam on her and was only able to conclude a few things. Part of doing the exam is watching the horse trot out and manipulating the back legs. Neither is that easy to do with Cass. It was our hottest part of the day, too, but we got some answers.

This is from the doctor’s notes: At the walk – drags both hind toes, intermittent popping sound coming from back area, especially when circled. At the trot – drags both hind toes (right is slightly worse than left) & right hock lameness grade 2-3. Very reluctant to allow hind legs to be picked up, especially on the right. Would not allow flexion exam, kicks out and stomps down. Left hock flexion of upper joints, no change in lameness. Passive exam – no swelling or heat, no effusion in stifles or sensitivity to palpation of stifles or hips. Palpation of stifles at the walk – no locking patella. Tail pull test – weak to both sides. When tightly circled, crosses feet normally.

What does all that mean? She may have some arthritis in her hocks. I need to work more diligently on getting her to pick up her back legs so we can do a more thorough exam. I have to keep making her move with lunging to see if her movement improves with exercise. We may do some xrays in the near future. Since I’m not riding her, yet, there is no danger to her getting hurt. Even if we do find arthritis in her hocks, with the little bit of riding I want to do (both of us prefer a slow pace!) she should be ok. There are supplements and therapies that can continue to be done to make sure she is pain free. Acupuncture will obviously always be part of her life. Dr. Cichra also got a good look at her teeth to give me an accurate age on her. There’s been some debate with contradictory paperwork as to her date of birth. She feels she is closer to 7 than 9.

If we decide to do the xrays, they can bring the digital machine to the barn or I can take her to the hospital. The equine hospital is only about 10 miles up the road and I would use that as a training session. Cassidy hasn’t been near the trailer since we brought her and that sure is something Becca needs to learn. We will be doing some homework with that and see how it goes. Dr. Cichra also took a fecal sample from Cass to test for parasites. I’m opting to test rather than just worm her every 2 months. I don’t want to give her any kind of drugs unless they are really necessary.

We also talked about weaning Big Baby B. She feels anytime I am ready will be fine. Cassidy is ready. She moved away from her a few times while we were in the pasture. Becca is already trained to eat out of her bucket like a big horse and she eats the hay right along with her mother, so it’s all up to me. She is a bit concerned because Cass has lost weight but it’s not crucial loss, yet. I’m going to order the weaning halter I found online and give that a try first. If it doesn’t work then I can opt to send her to our trainer’s place after she gets her booster shots. We’ll see!

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The August 25th edition of the CassidyCam Weekly Webcast is available for viewing. We recap the exhausting week that was Tropical Storm Fay, the first big storm for the girls.

Don’t forget, you can watch the Weekly Webcast live every Monday night at 7pm Eastern (Florida) time. All previous shows are just a click away, directly below the main viewer window.

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The day dawned a lovely light blue with something we hadn’t seen for almost a week – the sun! It was time to bring our horses home. They’d all been stalled now for 24 hours, giving them time to rest and dry off.

Tropical Storm Fay was still taking her time to exit our state but we were on the end of the bad weather now. She caused so much flooding. We were lucky to be mostly dry.

Pasture clean up had to be done first. Big Baby B would be in danger of hurting herself on broken limbs and Cassidy would be tempted to eat any type of vegetation within reach.

Underneath their tent was in the worst shape. The old, wet hay was stuck in the mud. From their hooves the ground was all tousled. I raked it clean the best I could.

We set off to go get our babies! Left to Right: Benito, Trish, Gayle, Kathleen. Shaila is beyond us with her truck and trailer.

Quote of the day: “I hate backing!” Shaila did a great job, despite all her protests and despite all the side-of-truck drivers she had.

Loading up all her supplies. We sure did a lot of work for one nights hotel stay…

Jingles and Baby Echo were up first.

Jingles is an old pro at loading into a trailer…

Echo is another story. This was going to be only his 2nd time doing this. We were ready to head him off if he decides to make a run for it.

Benito is gently coaxing and brave Gayle is pushing his rump.

I wish I knew what he was thinking at this very moment…

Trish helped him get his leg up, Gayle did more rump pushing and we all were giving him words of encouragement. He did good!

Becca had obviously been underneath the hay rack. Good thing her momma didn’t realize she had hay on her or she could have been in trouble.

Shaila had already driven out with Jingles and Echo so it was now time for us to walk Teddy and Prince…

with Cassidy and Becca. Isn’t the momma horse supposed to lead the baby horse?

They are two sweet, kind geldings.

I think I’ve mentioned it before – Cass doesn’t feel the need to get anywhere quickly.

What a big girl, Becca is! She wasn’t scared at all.

We’re coming up to the street and preparing to cross. Traffic stops for us.

I asked Cass to please go a little faster…

What a parade!

See the brown metal thing on the sidewalk? When Cass and I got close she stopped walking. Looked at me, looked down at it and looked at me again. Her nostrils were flared a wee bit. I changed from her left side to her right so I was between her and the “thing”. She then continued politely walking.

Big Baby B led her momma the entire walk, never seemed nervous, never looked back at us.

Of course, Ms. Cassidy April had to stop to eat some grass.

Whew! Almost there…

Now Becca thinks to see where her mother is…

and Cass snags just a little more grass before I shut the gate.

The work’s not over. Now that most of them are home, we have to clean the borrowed barn and bring the last three horses back.

Everyone was working hard. Gayle is such a trooper. She didn’t have to do any of this. Her horse, Sam, had stayed in his usual stall at Trish’s barn. She just loves all the horses so much she has to help with them. We love her, too.

This will be our last trip (until the next hurricane!).

You better believe the traffic stopped for us.

The paint horse is Elu, they bay next to her is Layla. They are two recent boarders. They joined our barn the night before the storm began.

Belle is the paint bringing up the rear.

We are back home, safe and sound. We survived the week known as historic Tropical Storm Fay. I’m with a fantastic group of horse people at our barn. Everyone helps out for the good of the horses, no matter how sweaty, dirty, tired and cranky we may get. I’m so proud of Cassidy and Becca. She is an exceptional baby, that’s for sure. Both are amazing but I may be a bit biased. Have I mentioned just how much this auction-bound horse means to me?

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Equine Exodus

Entering into our 4th day of non-stop rain, we horse people decided something had to give. Trish had gotten permission to evacuate the horses over to the empty equestrian estate if necessary. It was now necessary. Cassy’s pasture had standing puddles and slop no matter where she tried to rest. Her tent was somehow still holding up but it wasn’t offering much protection from the sideways rain. So, we walked 9 horses and trailered 2 across the street early this morning. How easy is it to stop traffic on a busy road? Pretty easy when you have horses with you! If you watched this week’s CassidyCam you saw our tour of this place.

It’s a big barn with a wide center aisle. I think there are 11 stalls in all. We had the babies in with the mommas so we are occupying 7 of them. You can see Belle there on the right. She’s a yearling and half-sister to Echo.

One half of the barn has attached paddocks. Here Teddy and Prince are getting used to the new digs. Prince was upset and whinnying anytime Ted was out of his site. He did finally calm down.

Since Cassidy would find it very tempting to eat a barn, I picked the stall least likely for her to be able to chew through. She also has a liking for bedding shavings and this stall has gravel underneath. She wouldn’t eat gravel would she? So, this is where our girls are bunking it for the near future.

My poor little Scion has really been taking a beating since horses have joined our family. It was already having to deal with carting dogs around, now it has to haul hay. Messy stuff!

My car isn’t the only thing messy these days. I have spent this entire week soaked 2x a day. You can see my boots are drenched and my jeans were falling off from the weight of the water.

Not a very happy girl, but a determined girl! Have to make my big ladies comfy and give them a chance to dry out. You can see the water droplets on my head. Ain’t that quaint?! I’m sure Cass hasn’t slept for the past 3 nights and if you can’t tell by my face – I haven’t, either.

Big Boy Echo took his first trailer ride to get to his hotel. He’s just learning how to lead so it wasn’t safe to try to walk him. His mom, Jingles jumped right into the trailer, but we had to get a rope around his butt and practically lift him up into it. We were all very proud of our little man!

Cassidy is checking out her bedding to see if it’s edible …

Oh, what’s that?! Hay is up here…mmmmm, chomp, chomp, chomp …

Big Baby B finds the dutch door in her exploring.

She is such a wild thang! Thanks to the rain, her mane has become a ‘fro.

She thinks this is cool …

She thinks her daddy needs to buy this place …

I wasn’t even sure what day it was today, but after a long morning of moving horses and hauling supplies it was nice to spend the afternoon alone in the barn with Cass & Becca. No one could even call me because of my broken cell phone. They were actually dried when I got back to them mid-afternoon. I brushed them out and put on some natural antiseptic to try to halt any rain rot that may try to take hold. I talked to them about all sorts of things. I read a horse magazine. I rearranged their things a couple times until I was satisfied. I hung out with Becca looking longingly at the house wishing it were ours. I watched the rain continue to pour and was glad they were safe and dry. To be continued …

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If I thought this morning was bad, this afternoon was even worse. Our lovely Ms. Fay stepped it up a bit and began pelting us with even more rain. Winds were kicking at around 40mph. It is almost 7pm and I haven’t even fed our dogs, yet, because they can’t go outside with the rain so bad. They usually eat late morning. I had to go get my midday dog walks in, I think only one actually went out and walked, and then I got to an evening client early to hang out and dry off – or so I thought.

When I got to PJ the Yorkie’s place, I was driving around the corner of the apartment complex parking lot and slammed into a pond. The whole parking lot was flooding. I almost got caught in it but I thought quickly enough to back up and rethink my plan. Sidewalks were overflowing, the grassy areas were underwater and many residents were going to be stuck. I decided to park my car out on the main road which happens to sit beside Lake Monroe in downtown Sanford. Earlier I had bought my new Gortex rain jacket so I knew my upper body would be ok. I hunkered down, locked the car and hoped it didn’t get stolen and then walked quite a distance to get to PJ. By the time I got there my great Gortex boots were wet because the standing water came up over them. I was supposed to be pet sitting PJ from tonight through Monday night. If things were this bad at 3:30 in the afternoon they were only going to get worse. I had to simply bring PJ with me.

I got his food, put on his harness and leash and we braved the whipping winds in our faces. The poor little guy was more soaked than me – he didn’t have a Gortex jacket. He is also heavy. I found this out about halfway to the car as I had to carry him or he would have floated away. As soon as we got to the car I put him on the grass and he went potty very nervously. Luckily I had towels in the car (which was still sitting there) so I tried to get him as cozy as possible. I had decided I would take him to board at my vet clinic and explain to his owners why I had to do so. We started off down hwy 17-92 and got caught up in school traffic. I decided to u-turn and try taking hwy 46, thinking it would be better since it was a bigger road. Well, I was wrong…it was flooded in many places! My little Scion trudged through water almost up to our doors, poor PJ was panting by my side and I was holding back tears. You see, if I got stuck I couldn’t even call for help because I had gotten my cell phone wet at the barn and it was dead. Scottie will not let me forget that for some time to come.

PJ and I made it the 7 or so miles to I-4 and prayed we would be ok on it. There wasn’t standing water but everyone was driving about 25 mph with their blinkers on. PJ and I looked at each other and held on. We had about 15 miles to go to get to the vet clinic. I talked to PJ and kept telling him he was a good boy. He kept giving me looks like I was a crazy person. He didn’t believe me. After what seemed like an excruciatingly long time we pulled up to the vet clinic. I had not been able to call to have them ready for me (because my cell is dead) so they were surprised to see me. When I walked in the door, Christine asked – Kathleen, are you alright?! I must have looked like a drowned rat carrying a drowned rat! At least my jacket kept my upper body dry, the rest of me was squishing. I got PJ all checked in and he was going to get the spa treatment before being put to bed.

I only had a 2 mile drive from the clinic to make it home. Part of our privacy fence is down, the back porch is completely wet, along with the bunnies and birds. I called PJ’s owners explained what happened. They trusted my judgment, whew. I called Trish (after having to hunt her number down because it’s in my dead phone!) and left her the message that I couldn’t make it back to feed the horses dinner. I was just too scared to go back out. If Fay is still messing with us tomorrow, Pookie Bros. Pet Sitting may have another rare day off. Now that I’ve had a hot shower, it’s time for a glass of wine.

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Drenched To The Bone

This was a real sucky morning for all of us at the barn. Fay has kept the rain coming non-stop. She is stationary over top of the state and is not moving anytime soon. Cass & Becca can’t even stay dry under their tent (which is still standing strong) because it is raining sideways at times. We gave the girls their food and then I went to help in the barn. I went to check on them a bit later and Becca had eaten all her food but Cassy’s bucket was about half full with water and her not-eaten food was floating! Her bucket hangs under the tent but I guess water was streaming in just right. I went in and held the bucket for her after draining as much water off as I could. She didn’t finish it but she was eating her hay. She looks exhausted. I know she hasn’t been sleeping the past few nights. Becca doesn’t mind so much, she’ll even lay right down in the mud like nothing is different. She’s supposed to be getting her first set of vaccines tomorrow but I’m gonna cancel that. Too much stress right now to make her body deal with vaccines. We can hold off until next week. I got soaked through my rain jacket and clothes. Just my feet were dry – thanks to my Gortex boots! I will be stopping at Travel Country to get a better rain jacket before I start my afternoon today. My stomach has just been doing somersaults all week…

This photo shows the rain pouring off the tent – which is right where her food bucket normally hangs.

You can see the rain water overflowing the water barrel…

Rosie and Strawberry are trying to stay dry under the trees. You can see the rain coming down…

One more check of my girls on my way out…Big Baby B doesn’t mind the mud so much!

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Just a quick update before I head off to bed. Rebecca & Cassidy are back in their own pasture now. They are soaked to the bone and I wanted them to be able to get under their tent. It handled the tropical storm fine. All around us is flooding. We should be ok but this rain doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon. Fay is coming back over the state tomorrow. The beaches are taking a pounding. I hear that baby sea turtles are being washed away.  At least it’s a bit cool and not so awfully hot. Big Baby B will be getting her first vaccine friday morning from Dr. Cichra. I’ve been dreading doing this but I know it has to be done. We’re also going to do a lameness check on Cass to see if we can pinpoint the weakness in her backend. Ok, off to bed!

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The news this early morning (6am) says this crazy Tropical Storm Fay is gonna hug the east coast for the day, basically moving up I-95. They expect it to make landfall again tomorrow morning near Flagler Beach where it will cause trouble once again. So, it doesn’t look like the girls can move back to their own digs. We still have big threats for tornadoes and flooding. I’ll be making my way to the barn shortly and pray all is well. I found my heavy duty Gortex boots, I have my rain jacket and hat – so bring it on Fay!

(The photos are from last night as we prepared all the equines to ride out Fay.)

Echo wonders what the heck all the fuss is about!

Hand feeding was done to assure everyone got their own meal…Cass never even came up for air!

This is Shaila’s custom hay rack she had built for her horses. My girls are learning to share with them. They’ve seen hay being put in it from their pasture so they didn’t take long to figure it out.

The other equine family on their side…

Maybe I’m not as worried as I look? Cass sure isn’t worrying about much when there’s food…

Our girls are set for the night. Now it’s time to ready the rest of the farm…

Ever see a Tropical Storm sky?

Scottie and I are trying to be upbeat!

Bear, the labrador, is trying to make sure everything is cool with his charges…

It’s sinking in now, the storm is here. That’s a worrisome sky and those are worrisome horse owners.

Gayle, Sam’s mom, wonders if we can all fit in her spare bedroom…

The horses are Strawberry & Rosie (who’s in her late 20’s) the people are Benito and Trish, barn owners. They were keeping calm & collected but I know they are very worried about all of us.

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