Back in the Saddle

Wex has had a few weeks to chill and settle in to his new environment. He’s so quiet, you’d never know he is only 3 years old.

I decided to get on him, just to see what I’ve got. The picture below is from the first time I sat on him. I say sat, because to call it a ride would be generous. I probably did all of one lap around the ring at a walk. It wasn’t a good walk, but no one died, and that was really the only goal.

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I had a saddle fitter out a few days after this “ride”. Turns out all 5 of my saddles are too wide for Wex. *sigh* The good news is that she was able to adjust the flocking on my County dressage saddle. That, plus my Thinline shim pad are a good enough fit while I get him started. I have my eyes open for a new jump saddle down the road.

After the saddle fitter was out, I hopped on him again, this time with my husband leading him a bit. We walked 4 or 5 laps this time (moving on up!) and it was much better. He’s very active with his head, so I’ll be adding a martingale for our next ride. I confirmed with his trainer that he was ridden in a yoke (basically a running martingale), so I’m hopeful that he won’t object too much.

The goal right now is really to install the gas pedal. He needs aids, which are completely different from racing. He’s not used to leg or a full seat. (For the record, I intend to do more half seat and two point, just as soon as I’m sure he’s not going to break my nose.)

I had planned to start Wex in dressage anyway, but it’s glaringly obvious that I’m a hunter rider in dressage tack. (Photo evidence below.)

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Anybody have a medium tree Passier jump saddle they want to unload for a steal??

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High Maintenance Horse

After Wex got home and was gelded against his wishes (sorry buddy!) he paid me back with a series of afflictions that were frustrating, to say the least.

  1. It turns out someone is sensitive. He broke out in hives, presumably from the bugs. Summer was holding on, and with the creek that runs through the farm, the bugs hang out longer than you’d think they should. So Mr. Wex earned himself a fly suit. He did not love it.

 

2. Remember how I said he was sensitive? Despite mostly dry pastures, and my thorough daily towel drying of Mr. Sensitive’s legs, he developed scratches.  (For those unfamiliar, that’s pastern dermatitis, or icky, scabby-ness just above the hoof.) The picture below is actually of BooBoo a year ago. Scratches are nasty. Poor BooBoo. Fortunately, I got Wex’s under control with Equiderma Skin Lotion before it got out of control. There are still a few spots popping up here and there, but it’s mostly gone now.Photo_2017-09-21_06-51-24_PM.png

3. Before I picked him up, Wex’s trainer at the track removed his hind shoes for me. I prefer front shoes only, so this was my preference. Unfortunately, I think one of those old nail holes resulted in an abscess in the hind left. Also unfortunate is that he didn’t show any of the typical symptoms of an abscess (as in, he was not lame at all, let alone 3-legged lame). Because of this, I didn’t know it was there until it popped out the coronet band, and even then, I just thought it was a scrape. The farrier is the one who found it. So, I soaked and wrapped and soaked and wrapped and soaked and wrapped.

This is not Wex’s favorite thing. He removed my Davis Soaking boot easily, so I had to buy the Hoof Wraps soaking sock. I have wrapped my share of abscesses. I don’t do the diaper method. For one, I don’t like disposable diapers. I didn’t like them for my kids, and I don’t like them for my horse. They take forever to biodegrade, and there are way better alternatives. Here’s my method. Soak in warm water with epsom salt and iodine. Dry thoroughly. Apply poultice pad (in this case, I cut from a sheet, since it was at the coronet band, but they also make a super convenient hoof shaped pad). Wrap poultice pad with a layer of rolled cotton. Wrap the rolled cotton with a couple of layers of vetwrap. The cotton layer helps to keep the vetwrap  from getting too tight. Then cover with hoof tape. What is hoof tape, you ask? Only the best thing to happen to an abscess since the soaking boot! The picture below shows the hoof tape without all my additional layers because I never took a picture of the whole thing. Then I covered with my favorite hoof boot, EasyBoot Trail.

Good news on this front too- the abscess resolved, but not before it led to another affliction.

 

4. Do you know what happens when an abscess goes untreated because your horse doesn’t show any symptoms? It turns into cellulitis. Cellulitis is a skin infection.  By comparison, an abscess is no big deal. Cellulitis can be a very big deal. If treated aggressively, it will go away. If not, it can turn into lymphangitis, which can be permanent swelling in the horse’s leg. Treatment for cellulitis includes antibiotics and cold hosing. Lots and lots of cold hosing. Just when you think you’re done, more cold hosing. This is mostly resolved now, though I’m still watching for swelling daily.

5. Lastly, he came in lame on the right front. This is not entirely unexpected, but it’s likely because he was compensating for the left hind. This also happened on the only day that his hoof boot came off, so I’m chalking it up to that. This went away when I got the hoof boot to stay on.

So there you have it. All of these afflictions happened in a matter of 5 days. They’re nearly all resolved now, save for my paranoia about some lingering cellulitis.

 

Does your horse keep you on your toes?

 

Home Sweet Home

Country Fast (now called Wexford or Wex) has been home with me for almost 6 weeks now. It seems like so much longer than that! He has been through a lot of changes in that time, but he’s settling in well. Even though it’s been 6 weeks, it’s worth revisiting his first days in his new home.

I took this picture right after we loaded him in the trailer, still at the barns at Churchill Downs’ satellite farm. He loaded on the trailer perfectly, though he was not a fan of the shipping boots I made him wear. He traveled the 6ish hours home perfectly. His trainer informed me he eats a lot…. he wasn’t wrong! He ate a ton of hay on the way home and lots of peppermints, which is his favorite food, as it turns out.

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He unloaded like a champ, too.

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I’m guessing there are no chickens at a race track, but he didn’t seem to care about the chickens our barn owner has out back.

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Shortly after he arrived, I had him gelded. I think he would have been a sweet stallion, but I board, and leaving him uncut is not conducive to boarding. Not only that, my kids will be around any animals we have, and we don’t need those extra hormones. Not to mention, we have no intention of breeding a failed racehorse, no matter how famous his daddy was. (Anybody remember Oxbow? He won the Preakness in 2013.)

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Wex is totally recovered from his gelding now, and after enough treats, he is also talking to me again.

Stay tuned as I catch up with more updates on this guy’s progress.