Monday, May 25, 2009

It's now been over 2 years...

Ever since May 12, 2007, Lester has had two birthdays a year. April 28th is his "official" one and May 12 is his ReBirthday... It's been over 2 years now since Lester had his colic surgery, the whole reason this blog was started. It seems like forever ago now...but I can still remember how surreal that whole day felt and it's safe to say that Lester and I both are big Auburn fans now. Lester was a very lucky boy and a huge part of it was Laura finding him so early. She found him at the same gate, same area where I found Chase, it's like they know that is where to go and can be seen, the other gate, the one we use daily is harder to see. I feel so lucky to have a second chance with Less. I won't go into all the detail of that day or month or year really, I've linked this post to where it all started if you're interested.
We're just really fortunate the goofy guy is still around.

Lester, I love you big guy!

Thank you everyone for your nice comments about Chase. He is missed, but we are all doing well at the farm.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We'll miss you Chase

Saturday evening Chase evidently took a terrible and tragic fall in the pasture. Matt had come to the farm with me to do some fishing that night. Since I rode Less, I didn't get the horses turned out until about 6:45pm. I walked Chase, Bobby, and Andy all up to the pasture and turned them loose. They did the usual "where is my carrot" routine and each one got one. They all just mosied away from the gate. About 10 minutes later I was in the barn giving Limo a bath (she was filthy from "helping" Matt fish) and Matt came in and said Chase had hurt his leg and I needed to go check on him. He said that he saw them running around and making a commotion and then saw Chase not looking right, though he didn't see him go down. He went and got a closer look and immediately knew it wasn't good and that's when he ran to the barn to get me. He was calm and collected- I could learn a lot from him.
I walked out of the barn enough to see Chase through the trees heading for the back gate of the big pasture, completely 3 legging it. I ran back in the barn and grabbed an extra halter and lead rope because his was at the other gate on the other side of the driveway- this would be faster. I grabbed it and also grabbed my cell phone as I knew I would need it. I ran to the gate where Chase was heading and told him I was coming to Ho and be still, he whinnied and kept coming. I got the halter on him and blood was coming from his right nostril, his right leg was just there and dangling. I called Laura and got her voicemail. I called one of the vet's cell number and got a voice mail. I called a friend and got her voicemail- all within span of 2 minutes and it sent me into a panic. With my new blackberry I didn't have the vet's office number, and at first forgot how to even dial a number-but Laura works for the vet's office so I knew if I could get a hold of her she could get a hold of one of the vets. Course while I was calling the other numbers in that 2 minutes, Laura had already called me back and left me a voicemail. I tried Laura again and got her on the phone. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't hold it together very well and told Laura I thought Chase had a broken leg. We hung up and she called the vet. I just petted and talked to Chase and told him help was on the way, he kept trying to move his right leg forward, but it just swung. I thought he was going to go down several times, but he stayed up. Matt had gone and gotten me a wet towel to from the barn that I swatted off flies with as they landed on him and wiped away the blood that was coming from his nose that was tickling his leg or seemed to be.
Laura got there about 10 minutes ahead of the vet. Chase had a "dropped elbow" which meant he either had a fracture somewhere or nerve paralysis. The vet couldn't get much of a pain response out of him, non at all really. After the examination it was decided to give him a couple of days to see if he would regain the use of that leg... so began the journey to the barn. He could move forward by lurching himself with his hind end. It took us over an hour to go 100-150 yards. We used carrots and a bucket of grain which he eagerly followed. We would let him rest every 3-5 steps and get a handful of the grain as a reward. Even though the other horses were out for the night we brought them in to keep Chase company.
Xrays the next morning (Sunday) didn't show any fractures, but he still didn't have much use of that leg. He could throw it forward, but he still wouldn't put any weight on it. The apparent fall in the pasture became more evident now because his eye and right side of his head was now swollen too. By 4pm that afternoon Chase was dunking his head into his water bucket up to his eyes and no longer on his food as he would eat a few bites and then go dunk his head again.
That night he just got worse and worse and more distraught according to Laura:-( At 1AM after talking to the vet they gave him some ACE to calm him and he laid down and relaxed some, occasionally munching hay. When the vet arrived later that morning and they got him up he detected a pocket of (I don't know if it was air or fluid?) on his right side which is an indication of a lung injury, phenothorax? Poor Chase was dealing with more than a leg injury and it was decided then to have him put down.
Chase and Lester were the first horses on the farm. People who were new to the farm always got mixed up and called them Chester and Lace... They were good buddies and pasture mates for a long time. Chase was the horse that could be turned out with anyone, he was a great pasture babysitter as he wasn't too attached to anyone, but got along with everyone. Chase was the horse that anyone could ride, no matter your skill level. He had a trot that would send you to the moon, he was so bouncy, but that suspension made him a lovely mover. Chase was a thoroughbred, but was always mistaken for a warmblood as he was so big barreled and tall. Haltering him could often times be a challenge as he would bite the nose band as you tried pulling it over his head. And once you got a lead rope on him you didn't want to let it go as he would toss his head in his eagerness to go out and often times whack you with it:-)
Chase is the first horse we have lost at the farm:-( it has effected us all. He is buried in the big pasture where he can forever run now.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where have all the horses gone?

I had to laugh at Lester last night. Laura had gone ahead and put the horses out in the pastures for the night while I hopped on the Pony Man...He didn't mind, but after our ride and he was fed and alone in the barn he suddenly realized he was "alone". He had that worried horsey look and raised his head higher as we walked down the driveway. Still no horses. Less started to whinny and call out to them on our way up there. It made me think of that song by Paula Cole "Where have all the Cowboy's (horses) Gone". He was so relieved when he saw them-head low, acting all cool though.
Lester's trot work was awesome last night! All 2 figure 8's and 3 mins worth, lol! He's been really tight in the neck and jaw lately and while I don't want to work him up to anything or build him up- there is no point, I do wish for the little work he does to be round and feel good for both of us. It's very strange the variations of stiffness I feel on him. He still initially does not want to turn right, cocks his head left and pulls the reins from me. But when he is in this perfect, round, soft state he can do anything. His level of collection feels incredible. He was so foamy on both sides of the mouth (could have been the 10 sugar cubes I gave him :-p)and wasn't behind the bit last night at all and he didn't - he was in my hands and a bit heavy, but he was still carrying himself. I may have to start calling him the 3 minute miracle :-) So how do we get to this perfect state? It's weird. I ask him to back up. I don't yank or pull on him, I just ask him to halt, and gently ask him with my legs and fingers to back up. And he won't do it. Instead he'll usually curl his neck and do turns on the haunches quite steadily. When this happens I just send him forward into a trot. And he's all there. The very weird part is he's all there or not at all, there is no in between, it's not worth trying to ride it seriously. How can this be though- completely perfect or a complete wreck on 4 legs?