Friday, October 23, 2015

Don't sweat the small stuff!

  I can’t believe I haven’t done any updating since July! Slacker slacker slacker.

Fall - my favorite season in the PNW - is here.
 The good news is: Deli is doing pretty darn well. The lymphangitis is still a thing but I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. Seeing a puffy leg now just means several things:

  • She got bit by an insect and needs a loading dose of antihistamines.
  • She needs more exercise and/or has been standing around too much.

 So far neither of the above have affected her soundness or general comfort.

Look at her leg on a good day! This is incredible considering the trauma this leg has experienced (so my vet tells me).

I have been riding her – still bareback (with a pad) – about 3 times a week. We do “trail riding” whenever we can. Just loops around the farm fields across the street, but she enjoys that more than arena work. We have also been doing dressage work in the arena. She is sound and not terribly unfit. Now that the cooler weather and some rain has come to Portland at last the insects are no longer a bother. I’ve been able to take her off daily antihistamines. The fact that those drugs really  help her highlights that she has hyper-immune allergy issues that set off inflammation more than anything.


Foggy day on Cow Hill.
I did get Deli tested for Cushings disease this fall and the good news is: she doesn’t have it! We received a big fat (and very clear) negative on the ACTH test. This is a relief for me because her having Cushings would have added another whole management headache. Ironically her top line and the odd fat pads also go better with the use of antihistamines (and perhaps, not using my old custom-fit saddle?!). My vet wants me to watch her heat cycles carefully next spring and have her checked for reproductive issues if I still see some irregularity in her heat cycles.

Brian has even been riding her more!
Despite not having Cushings I still decided to muzzle her this fall. She bloated up HUGE after two days on growing green grass and the muzzle went on. With the drought we have been in this is the first fall season we’ve had where the horses are going from NO grass to the highly sugary fall grass. It’s not even raining much yet but I plan to keep her muzzled until it’s truly winter and the grass is a bit safer. She gets high quality hay 2x a day, her supplements (I’ve added back in some cinnamon since fall is here), and lots of grass snacks as we poke along in the farm fields.

With the muzzle on she now looks good. Oddly she looks less sway-backed since I started just riding her with the bareback pad. And she is FUZZY-PLUSH with her winter coat right now!

I really am trying not to sweat the small stuff. It’s not in my nature but I think it’s about time I adopt this as a policy with my beloved chestnut mare. I push the ache of wanting to do more endurance rides away for the time being and tell myself over and over: what will be will be. The endurance season is just about over in the Pacific Northwest anyway. Next year I hope I can get Deli out more and if not I’ll try and find an appropriate endurance horse to lease or try to find pick-up rides.

I’ll be able to afford it better now because after two years of looking for the right fit I’ve finally found and been hired onto a new job! I’ll be making some predictable money while also doing agricultural policy work – something I am passionate about. It will be reasonable to start looking for a new saddle soon. Maybe down the line we can also invest in a used truck and trailer which will open up opportunities for Deli and I whatever our direction ends up being.

My vet tells me the lymphangitis doesn’t make endurance out of the question: endurance vets are more concerned with a leg that GETS fat than a leg that gets thinner. And soundness, of course. And everything I have seen over the past few months is that the exercise is the best thing for Deli. I hope extensive trail riding (and hopefully camping) is going to be a big part of next year. But with a new job... who knows? I certainly don't!