It’s been a while since I updated y’all on how my three guys are doing. They’ve all had their own bit of health drama in the past year, so I wanted to keep you up to date.
We’ll start with the easy one! First of all, I cannot say enough about this sweet fat-bellied boy. He is a complete gem with my daughter, and when I ride him or practice showmanship I know he’s always going to be the same horse-even when I’ve expanded on his training. It never goes away! He was due for his annual coffin joint injection in early fall, but things just got busier and busier. I dropped some money on Kona’s vet trip in November, so I had to wait until December to take him in to OSU to finally get his injection done. In the months leading up to that, I noticed a subtle difference in soundness in not only his front right leg, but his left. This was a new development. It was not easy to see, but it appeared to start the same way I had seen him move when he was first diagnosed with ringbone years before. Perhaps he was just compensating with his left because of the pain in his right, or perhaps it was something more.
In the beginning when he was first diagnosed, the original vet said he had ringbone in both front coffin joints. Then, I took him to another vet to have a second opinion and they said he only had it in his front right foot. So, I never felt 100% sure about either diagnosis besides that I knew for certain to inject his RIGHT foot. After watching him for a couple months, I decided to have both front joints injected this time. Next year I will likely radiograph both of them so we can keep an eye on things.
I took Gracie with me this time to the vet, because I feel like it’s important for her to see all the money, time, and team work it takes to keep her horse healthy and sound. It was a very cold day with sleet, and I was proud of her for cowgirling up to load him, wait with him, watch the injection process, see me pay the (BIG) bill, and then take him back home.
The last time I talked about Kona, I told you about his diagnosis, and plans for treatment in the future. Can you call removing an eye “treatment?” Eh, I don’t know. I have been watching his eye for any of the signs the ophthalmologist told me about: cloudiness, pain or discomfort, swelling, etc. However, I did not look at his eye every single day. I just can’t. I did find a fellow horsewoman on Instagram who just recently had her horse’s eye removed. I have really appreciated her candor, her practicality, and even her graphic photos. I want to be prepared for what Kona will look like one day after surgery. You can follow her story as well: @thewillingequine.
The old man is still alive and kicking! No, literally, he occasionally hops and bucks and shakes his tail feather! Which makes me immensely happy to see. 🙂 In 2017, he had three colic episodes, and each one got worse than the time before. Rusty has never colicked the whole time I’ve owned him, so each time was a shock to me. I truly felt like he was gong to die the last time he colicked in September. Since that happened, I changed his grain to a high-quality senior grain (it was about time, eh?), he started getting a fancy-schmancy senior SmartPak supplement (let’s face it, that’s mainly for ME…), and then I started deworming him more regularly.
I really think the combination of all these things has made a HUGE difference for him. But, I also have this gut (pun intended) feeling that the wormer was what he needed. I have fully switched to a fecal egg count system to deworm my horses. Based on past fecal egg count results, Hot Rod and Kona are very low shedders. Rusty, on the other hand, is a very high shedder. In an attempt to not over-deworm I think I did the opposite for Rusty. Whereas my easy-going guys only need to be dewormed twice a year, Rusty clearly needs to continue having more regular deworming. I think the deworming, in conjunction with good grain and gut support from the supplements has done the trick. At least for now.
I have to remind myself that Rusty is 28 years old, and he’s had a great life with me! So when the time comes–and that might be sooner than I’d like, despite my best efforts–I should have peace in knowing he was loved and he’s tired and he’s ready to go to heaven. Until then, I will continue to spend more money on that pasture ornament than on any other horse because I truly owe it ALL to him.