Talking Horsies with Cara! Lamintis, Part 3

Cara and Jolly!
Cara and Jolly!

Hello Friends!
Hope you’re doing great and ready for the lastest edition of Talking Horsies with Cara!! Cara has been busy researching the laminitis topic and has been sharing some excellent information that we can all learn from. Our equine friends will thank us too for being so much better informed. It is so important to recognize the symptoms and be able to act quickly and appropriately!! Can’t stress that enough.

So here she is

Here’s some more info I got off the website American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). Here goes:

TREATMENT:
“”The sooner treatment begins, the better the chance for recovery. Treatment will depend on specific circumstances but may include the following:”
• “Diagnosing and treating the primary problem (laminitis is often due to a systemic or general problem elsewhere in the horse’s body)”. {Cara – (i.e., Barbaro had shattered his right hind leg @ the start of the 2006 Preakness Stakes which was surgically repaired by Dr. Dean Richardson @ The New Bolton Center, which is one of the highest rated equine hospitals in the U.S.). Barbaro had to be euthanized January 29, 2007 after they had tried everything possible they knew due to laminitis in all his hooves which most likely occurred b/c he was putting all his weight on just 3 legs as the right hind leg recovered.}
• “Dietary restrictions; stop feeding all grain-based feeds and pasture. Feed only grass hay until advised by your veterinarian.”
• “Treating with mineral oil via a nasogastric tube to purge the horse’s digestive tract, especially if the horse has overeaten.”
• “Administering fluids if the horse is ill or dehydrated.”
• “Administering other drugs such as antibiotics to fight infection; anti-endotoxins to reduce bacterial toxicity; and anticoagulants and vasodilators to reduce blood pressure while improving blood flow to the feet.”
• “Stabling the horse on soft ground, such as in sand or shavings (not black walnut) and encouraging the horse to lie down to reduce pressure on the weakened laminae.” {Cara – I agree with the part about being on soft ground, but disagree with the horse being stalled unless it is absolutely necessary. In Barbaro’s case, they had no other option since he developed such a severe case. In Jolly’s case, it was caught in the beginning stages & he was put back in his pasture where he could lie down if necessary & having other geldings around encouraged him to keep on the move; this is just my personal opinion & may not be suitable for different horse’s which could be in a different stage of laminitis or there is not a suitable pasture available. It’s very important to walk your horse by a lead rope @ least twice daily. If you cannot be available to walk your horse, have it set up with someone that works @ the stables to do this for you. If you don’t board your horse & you have just one (no other horses in a pasture) it would be advisable to stall him/her. Walking the horse may be painful, but in Jolly’s case it was the front left hoof & walking him helped keep his other hooves healthy. Again, I AM NOT by any means an expert; I am strictly sharing this due to Jolly’s particular situation & the fact that he completely recovered. I have to keep an eye on his hooves, b/c once a horse has had laminitis the percentage is high for it to return. This method of treatment for Jolly was recommended by a “professional trimmer.”}
• “Opening and draining any abscesses that may develop.” {Cara – Jolly kept developing one abscess after another in his front left hoof. He was most definitely soaked very often to make the abscess blow-out & drain. His hoof was either soaked in a bucket with condensed apple cider vinegar or he would have a soaking boot on his hoof. BE SURE YOU CHECK WITH “YOUR” VETERINARIAN FOR ADVICE ON TREATMENT FOR YOUR HORSE.}
• “Cooperation between your veterinarian and the farrier (techniques that may be helpful include corrective trimming {Cara – i.e., Jolly} , frog supports and therapeutic shoes or pads.)”
• “Your veterinarian may be able to advise you on new therapies that may include standing your horse in ice water to prevent the onset of laminitis after predisposing cause such as a retained placenta or a known grain overload.” {OMG, Jolly despises ice buckets! LOL!}
LONG-TERM OUTLOOK
“Some horses that develop laminitis make uneventful recoveries and go on to lead long, useful lives. Unfortunately, others suffer such severe irreparable damage that they are, for humane reasons, euthanized.” {Cara – i.e., Barbaro & Dyna King (Barbaro’s ½ brother also sired by Dynaformer were most definitely in severe pain & they had tried everything possible, but sadly, due to the extreme pain, they both had to be euthanized humanely.}
“Your equine practitioner can provide you with information about your horse’s condition based on radiographs (X-rays) and the animal’s response to treatment. Radiographs will show how much rotation of the coffin bone has occurred and may also illustrate abscesses or gas accumulation that will affect the therapy of your horse. This will help you make a decision in the best interest of the horse and help the farrier with the therapeutic shoeing.” {Cara – Where Jolly is boarded, all the horses are kept barefoot (soft, sandy ground) b/c it has been stated to me by a professional trimmer that it is much more healthy for their hooves (when possible), especially if the ground they pastured in is soft enough. Due to a creek that runs right along the side of the property, the pastures have been flooded NUMEROUS times. When this occurs, all the horses are transported to higher ground. Since the pastures are all sandy, there are plenty of hay huts. I take Jolly by lead off the property to graze on the green stuff; it is good for his digestive tract, but I have to monitor the length of time he grazes. The grass helps with his issue with ulcers. I limit his grazing time b/c I don’t want him getting “too” much @ once.}
MANAGEMENT
“It’s important to note that once a horse has had laminitis, it may be likely to recur.” {Cara – I just noticed an area on Jolly’s front “right” hoof yesterday, 08/17/13, that had that all too familiar odor that an abscess produces; there was an obvious area I could see that looked bad & it also had heat in it. Prayers please…}
“In fact, a number of cases become chronic because the coffin bone has rotated within the foot and the laminae never regain their original strength. There may also be interference with normal blood flow to the feet as well as metabolic changes within the horse. Extra care is recommended for any horse that has had laminitis including:”
• “A modified diet that provides adequate nutrition based on high-quality forage, digestible fiber (beet pulp) and oil. Avoid excess carbohydrates, especially grain.” {Cara – Jolly gets beet pulp in his evening feeding of wet mash.}
• “Routine hoof care, including regular trimming and, in some cases, therapeutic shoeing (additional radiographs may be needed to monitor progress).”
• “A good health-maintenance schedule, including parasite control and vaccinations, to reduce the horse’s susceptibility to illness or disease.”
• “Possibly a nutritional supplement formulated to promote hoof health (biotin supplements are popular for promoting hoof growth).”
• “Avoiding grazing lush pastures, especially between late morning and late afternoon hours since plant sugars are the highest during these times. Restrict pasture intake during spring or anytime the pasture suddenly greens up. {Cara – I guess I need to monitor when I take Jolly out to graze; especially during the late afternoon. I normally go to the stables every Friday evenings after work; by the time I get there, it’s within the hours just mentioned.}
SUMMARY
“The best way to deal with laminitis is preventing the causes under your control. Keep all grain stored securely out the reach of horses. Introduce your horse to lush pasture gradually. Be aware that when a horse is ill, under stress or overweight, it is especially at risk. Consult your equine practitioner to formulate a good dietary plan. Provide good, routine health and hoof care. If you suspect laminitis, consider it a medical emergency and notify your veterinarian immediately.”
“For more information, contact your veterinarian.”
All the above information came from:
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF EQUINE PRACTITIONERS
4075 IRON WORKS PARKWAY
LEXINGTON, KY 40511
859-233-0147
PENN VET
PEOPLE
“At Penn Vet, our people are our greatest attribute. Whether faculty, clinician student, nurse alumnus/a donor, friend or vet tech, every member of the Penn Vet community is a critical member of our team and serves to further our mission of advancing the boundaries of research, clinical care and education.”
“Because Penn Vet grew out of the nation’s first medical school, we believe strongly in collaboration across the University, the nation and the world. Now Pennsylvania leads in groundbreaking research that affects animals and humans alike.”
VETERINARY HOSPITALS
“Our two hospitals offer specialty care 365/24/7.”
NEW BOLTON CENTER
(Horses, livestock/farm animals)
610-444-8911

Ryan Veterinary Hospital
(Dogs, cats, domestic/companion animals)
215-746-8911

I know that 2nd hospital listed doesn’t have “anything” to do with horses or laminitis, but I just thought I would include it. Ya know in case Barn Kittah or Possum Kittah get tummy aches or whatever. I think their main problem is cheatin’ @ cards! Lol!
Luv & horsey hugs to u & ur Mom,
Cara  ♥♥♥♥♥ xoxoxoxo

This was a great amount of information Cara and we can tell you put a lot of thought and effort into it. Thank you once again for collaborating with me to share this information with our friends, I am forever grateful for your help and insight into this terrible disease. Hopefully one day soon there will be a cure.

All for now,
Luv Pudge ♥

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Talking Horsies with Cara! Laminitis, Part 2

Cara and Jolly!
Cara and Jolly!

Hi Friends!

Cara has been busy with her diligent research into Laminitis. This is a disease that warrants attention in a big way. It has been known to be detrimental and even deadly for our dear equine friends so it is important to know what the risks are and the signs of this dreadful illness.

Cara imparts her knowledge in the parenthesis and the main portions she shared with us from American Association of Equine Practitioners.

As you may have gathered this topic is massive and because of that we divided up the subject into a multi part series. We hope you enjoy the reading, find it interesting and will be able to learn and apply this information to your particular situation.

So Away we go:

Cara shares:

RISK FACTORS

“Factors that seem to increase a horse’s susceptibility to laminitis or increase the severity of the condition when it does occur include the following:
• Heavy breeds, such as draft horses
• Overweight body ( Cara’s thoughts: In Barbaro’s case he was not what you would really call “overweight”. He, like most of the young 3 year old colts & fillies who race, start training intensely & constantly sometime after they become a yearling, but more closer to being a 2 year old; I’m not sure of the exact age so I’ll have to research that, but I do know all trainers are different & so are these young colts & fillies. After training vigorously for a period of time & are considered a 2 YO which depends on what month they were born, they hit the track racing in the Juvenile Division which is mainly seen during the Breeders’ Cup races in the early part of November every year. Barbaro’s upper body was massive; all muscle!! Even to a person unfamiliar with horses, they would have noticed a fine-toned athlete. He went into the Triple Crown series, starting with the prestigious Kentucky Derby as a young 3 YO undefeated in “all” of his prior races with most of his victories being the highest graded stakes races (Gr. I). Barbaro was amazing in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, just waiting to make his move & on the final turn he easily broke away from the rest of field to win by approximately 4 + lengths. There are photos of him coming down the stretch out in front & he is literally airborne; not a hoof touching the track with his excellent jockey, Edgar Prado. Barbaro had a huge heart & his trainer, Michael Matz, said “this horse just loves to run fast and he did.” The problem was he had this muscular, massive body putting a constant, major stress on his legs which WERE NOT fully developed yet. To quote on of the interviewers during a media meeting with Dr. Dean Richardson after he had successfully repaired Barbaro’s shattered right hind leg, “It was like running on toothpicks”. It has also been noted by several people that the colts & fillies sired by Dynaformer are slow in developing their legs fully. As quoted by someone in an article referring to another horse sired by Dynaformer, “You just have to give those Dynaformer colts time to grow.” Just like humans, certain things run in the genes & every horse develops in a different time period. If you look @ the statistics, you have to wonder why many of the owners & trainers are so adamant about racing them so young; that’s the age criteria (3 YO) the Thoroughbred Association has set for starting in the Triple Crown series. It seems like they would notice there are far too many horses having to retire to stud or a broodmare @ the young age of 3 yrs. due to some type of injury. All trainers have different methods of training; there are some really great trainers, but unfortunately there are trainers that will literally push the horse beyond its limit b/c it’s all about the $$$$$. I just feel any trainer should really know the horse & its history. For instance, many people criticized the amazing trainer, John Shirreffs, Zenyatta’s trainer, b/c he took his time w/ her & let her “grow into her racing” & was very particular about when & where she raced. It’s obvious why he took the time to “make sure” she was fully developed b/c she stands over 17 hands high! Apparently he knew what he doing b/c when she retired from her racing career she had 20 Starts, 19 Wins & 1 Placed “2nd” which was against the colts in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic w/ Blame having a good trip, Zenyatta coming from the very back & only missing hitting the wire 1st by ½ head. I personally think in Zenyatta’s mind she had won & if she could talk she would have been saying, “Hey, what’s with all the sad faces?? I’m here @ the wire!” LOL! Most importantly, she retired SOUND & in fantastic health!! Ok, back to the facts.)

• “High nutritional plane (feeding large amounts of carbohydrate-rich meals)
• Ponies, Morgans, miniature horses and donkeys
• Unrestricted grain binges, such as when a horse breaks into the feed room (Cara’s thoughts: Darolyn stays on her employees constantly about making sure the bolt to the feed room is properly closed!) (if this happens do not wait until symptoms develop to call your veterinarian – – call immediately so corrective action can be taken before tissue damage progresses.)
• Horses who have had previous episodes of laminitis. (Cara’s thoughts: i.e., Jolly when he first came off the track developed a “mild” case which was caught in the “very beginning stage” & treated very aggressively.)
• Older horses with Cushing’s disease

SIGNS
“Signs of acute laminitis include the following:”
• Lameness, especially when a horse is turning in circles; shifting lameness when standing.
• Heat in feet. (Cara’s thoughts: i.e., Jolly’s 1st indication of the beginning stage of laminitis was noticed by Darolyn; his front left hoof & lower leg had heat.)
• Increased digital pulse in the feet (Cara’s thoughts: most easily palpable over either sesamoid bone at the level of the fetlock).
• Pain in the toe region when pressure is applied with hoof testers.
• Reluctant or hesitant gait (Cara’s thoughts: “walking on eggshells”).
• A “sawhorse stance,” with the front feet stretched out in front to alleviate pressure on the toes and the hind feet positioned under them to support the weight that their front feet cannot. (Cara’s thoughts: Normally, a horse puts 60% of their weight on their front hooves.)
“Signs of chronic laminitis may include the following:”
• Rings in hoof wall that become wider as they are followed from toe to heel.
• Bruised soles or “stone bruises.”
• Widened white line, commonly called “seedy toe,” with occurrence of seromas (blood pockets) and/or abscesses. (Cara’s thoughts: Jolly’s front left hoof kept developing one abscess after another & they were extremely painful. He was soaked in apple/cider vinegar several times daily to help make the abscess drain which would relieve some of the pain, but it was pretty bad b/c as soon as one abscess would heal, another would develop on that front left hoof. Darolyn explained that for racehorses, that is the hoof that takes in the most stress when going around the track in a counter clockwise direction.)
• Dropped soles or flat feet.
• Thick, “cresty” neck.
• Dished hooves, which are the result of unequal rates of hoof growth (Cara’s thoughts: the heels grow at a faster rate than the rest of the hoof, resulting in an “Aladdin-slipper” appearance.

Whoa! Thank you Cara for all this wonderful information and your keen insight as a superb equestrian into this potentially tragic disease. Knowing what Laminitis is and being able to recognize the signs and risks is a major part of the battle. Catching the illness early is key to successful recovery! Hopefully though you will never have to deal with this dreadful illness.

All for now!
Luv Pudge ♥

Talking Horsies with Cara! Laminitis, PART 1

Cara and Jolly!
Cara and Jolly!

Dear Friends!

Cara has been very busy preparing a brand new series for us to learn. This multi-part series is on another tough disease that takes a severe toll on horses and that is Laminitis. Hopefully with more research, there will be a cure and many easier ways to deal with this terrible condition. Cara has put a great deal of thought and planning into the series and it is our hope that you not only enjoy learning more about it but find it helpful to you as you deal with your equine friends.

Cara wrote this with research from the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

“Every day veterinarians across the country see hundreds of cases of laminitis, a painful disease that affects the horse’s feet. (Throughout this article they keep referring to the horse’s “feet” & I start to type hoof/hooves. LOL!) What is especially alarming is that some cases are preventable. In fact, it may be that we are killing our horses with kindness.”

“Consider that a common cause of laminitis is overfeeding – – a management factor that is normally within our control.”

“By learning more about laminitis and its causes, signs and treatments, you may be able to minimize the risks of laminitis in your horse or control the long-term damage if it does occur.”

(Boy, can I relate to this!! When I first had Jolly those “exact” words about “killing your horse with kindness” were taught to me by Darolyn, a professional horsewoman, trimmer, etc. I had to stop giving him his “most favorite” treat which was Nature Valley – Honey & Oats bars. He CANNOT have regular mints b/c the sugar affects his hooves, but I’ve found a suitable substitute; those small “sugarless” breath mints called “Ice Breakers”, but even though they’re sugarless, there’s a limit as to how many he can have. He can have carrots, which he loves, but I “always” get the mini carrots & much of what is in that one package goes to other horses b/c carrots do have natural sugar. It’s just best to give the other horses carrots when he’s not around b/c he’s a “very” jealous horse. LOL!

LAMINITIS DEFINED

“Laminitis results from the disruption (constant, intermittent or short-term) of blood flow to the sensitive and insensitive laminae. These laminae structures within the foot secure the coffin bone (the wedge-shaped bone within the foot) to the hoof wall. Inflammation often permanently weakens the laminae and interferes with the wall/bone bond. In severe cases, the bone and the hoof wall can separate. In these situations, the coffin bone may rotate within the foot, be displaced downward (“sink”) and eventually penetrate the sole. Laminitis can affect one or all feet, but it is most often seen in the front feet concurrently.”

(Jolly’s was in his front left hoof. Being off the Arabian track, a racehorse (in the U.S.) always race in a counter clockwise direction, therefore the most pressure & stress is put on that front left hoof (inside hoof closest to the rail).

“The terms “laminitis” and “founder” are used interchangeably. However, founder usually refers to chronic (long-term) condition associated with rotation of the coffin bone, whereas acute laminitis refers to symptoms associated with a sudden ini9tial attack, including pain and inflammation of the laminae.

CAUSES

“While exact mechanisms by which the feet are damaged remain a mystery, certain precipitating events can produce laminitis. Although laminitis occurs in the feet, the underlying cause is often a disturbance elsewhere in the horse’s body. The causes vary and may include the following:

· Digestive upsets due to grain overload (such as excess grain, fruit or snacks) or abrupt changes in the diet.

· Sudden access to excessive amounts of lush forage before the horse’s system has had time to adapt; this type of laminitis is known as “grass founder.” (I always look @ the time when I take Jolly to graze b/c his pasture is mostly sandy & the horses eat hay out of the hay huts. There are some areas where they can graze through the fencing, but not that much.)

· Toxins released within the horse’s system.

· High fever or illness (i.e., Paynter); any illness that causes high fever or serious metabolic disturbances has the potential to cause laminitis, e. g., Potomac Horse Fever.

· Severe colic.

· Retained placenta in the mare after foaling.

· Excessive concussion to the feet, often referred to as “road founder.”

· Excessive weight-bearing on one leg due to an injury of another leg (i.e., Barbaro developed laminitis in his left rear hoof; the leg that was shattered was his right rear leg. Many think he had to be euthanized due to the leg injury, but Dr. Dean Richardson had successfully repaired his injured leg; it was the spread of laminitis eventually into all 4 hooves which caused him unbelievable pain; they did everything they could possibly do…I never will forget Gretchen Jackson (his owner) saying when she looked @ the pain in his eyes, she knew he was telling her it was time to go…L) or any alternation of the normal gait.

· Various primary foot diseases.

· Bedding that contains black walnut shavings.

· Although controversial, prolonged use of high doses of corticosteroids may contribute to the development of laminitis in some horses.” (There is a huge debate about usage of certain drugs in the racing industry here in the U.S.; especially over Lasix. I’m not an expert on Lasix, but I do know that certain champion racehorses from other countries don’t use Lasix & they don’t bleed out. For instance, Black Caviar from Australia who just retired with a record of 25 starts & 25 wins, the undefeated Frankel in the UK, Animal Kingdom, who previously raced in the U.S. won the Dubai World Cup without Lasix, in the recent Belmont Stakes, Incognito came in 4th place without Lasix; I personally think it “is” performance enhancing & will do more harm than good in the long run, but that’s just my opinion.)

Thank you so much for your research and sharing your wisdom and experiences with us. I can easily see that this subject is an important one to learn and share about. I look forward to sharing the next article in this series!

All for now, Luv Pudge ♥

Talking Horsies with Cara! Understanding Colic, Part 2

Cara and Jolly!
Cara and Jolly!

Hi Friends!

Cara and I have teamed up for Part 2 of our series on Colic. As you know Colic is a very serious condition that can come on quickly and have devastating results if not addressed quickly. Recognizing symptoms and knowing what to do until your vet arrives can save time and the life of your horse. It is important to educate ourselves on some of the things we can do to prevent it too.

In today’s blog Cara will share some tips on prevention, knowing what to look for and much more. There is a lot of good research information available to everyone on the internet and also by talking with your vet about colic and it’s complications. It is our hope that you never encounter this situation but if you do, we hope something here may stay with you so you can avert a problem quickly.

Cara shares:

I found an excellent article from The Horse University, www.myhorseuniversity.com , & I couldn’t save this particular document, but wrote down some of the major facts re: colic.

ADAPTED FROM ONLINE EQUINE NUTRITION COURSE

“Colic generally is related to the anatomy and the microflora of the horse’s gastrointestinal tract.  Some more common causes of colic include:”

HIGH GRAIN BASED DIETS/LOW FORAGE DIETS (that’s why I’m always making sure Jolly gets to graze on some of the really GREEN stuff along w/ his mild ulcer issues)
MOLDY/TAINTED FEED
PARASITE INFECTION
LACK OF WATER CONSUMPTION LEADING TO IMPACTION COLIC
SAND INGESTION (this has always really concerned me because I’ve told you Jolly’s pasture looks like the beach in the summer mos. If it hasn’t been raining, but Dare’s got them all on a supplement that aids in them not developing it)
LONG TERM USE OF NSAIDS
DENTAL PROBLEMS

“Once you figure out the cause and have treated the colic, some of the preventative measures are self-explanatory.  For example, an abrupt change in diet caused a problem – make sure to make dietary changes gradually in the future.”

PREVENTION

“Some preventative measures include:”

FEED YOUR HORSE ON A REGULAR SCHEDULE EVEN ON THE WEEKENDS (Dare is EXCELLENT about their food intake)DO NOT MAKE SUDDEN CHANGES TO THE HORSE’S DIET (if Dare finds out you’re giving any of the horses something inappropriate or wrong time – Watch Out!!
A CLEAN FRESH WATER SUPPLY SHOULD ALWAYS BE AVAILABLE (water supply is kept on top of because the humidity makes that build-up worse)
KEEP FOOD BOXES AND HAY RACKS AS WELL AS THE FEED STUFF CLEAN AND FREE OF MOLD AND DUST (food stored properly & there’s a ton of cats-NO RATS!!)
CHECK TEETH FREQUENTLY FOR DENTAL PROBLEMS THAT MAY CAUSE CHEWING ISSUES (all the horses teeth are floated && checked regularly)
PROVIDE ADEQUATE EXERCISE (all horses, even some of the older ones that are really healthy get exercise, because she will rent certain horses out to the public)·
FEED THE APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF FORAGE (AT LEAST 50% OF TOTAL DIET) (geeeesh Pudge, that’s a hard one because of the area & it’s been flooded so many times)·
KEEP FEED OFF THE GROUND TO SAND INJESTION (of course Dare is aware & they are given supplements to help, but I worry about this one also)

If you’re looking for a supplement to help prevent colic I personally recommend SmarkPak Equine because Jolly had the pulled flexor tendons in his front legs, along with icing them regularly he was first put on a supplement for “rehab” of the pulled tendons, but after he was better I kept him on a similar supplement for just maintenance.

If you call SmartPak Equine during regular business hours you can actually speak with a person who is somewhat of an expert of what the different supplements do.  Their # is 888-563-3623.  The website for them is www.SmartPak.com/ColiCare .

I know is there is A LOT MORE information out there re: colic!!  I just tried to give information that even the most novice horse owner could understand but the MOST COMMON & what I thought MOST IMPORTANT!!

There are three types of colic:

GAS

SPASMODIC

ENTERITIS

Of course, each type had a description of the symptoms, treatment, prevention & percentage of recovery.

Websites to check for more information:

http://www.vet.upenn.edu/PennVet/News/NewsReleases/tabid/287/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/220/How-old-it-too-old-for-colic-surgery.aspx

http://www.vet.upenn.edu/CalendarandEvents/UpcomingEvents/FirstTuesdaysLectureSeries/tabid/1847/Default.aspx

http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/health/illnesses_injuries/colic905/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_colic

Whoa that’s a lot of information Cara and I thank you for sharing. In our next blog we’ll take a look at those three types of colic in more depth and offer some final thoughts and more links to help us learn more about this dreaded condition.

Hope you enjoyed and learned something new from our Part 2 in our Colic series!

All for now!
Luv Pudge ♥ and our dear friend to all equines! Cara Ezzell!

Talking Horsies with Cara! Learning about Colic, Part 1

Cara and best friend Jolly Roger!
Cara and best friend Jolly Roger!

Hi Friends!

Cara is back! I am so glad to be collaborating with her once again. She’s been pretty busy doing research and stuff like that but today she shared a few personal stories and a thought or two on our topic of colic. As you may realize colic is a very feared and dreaded disease that can put our barn babees in a bad way and fast. It is important to be aware of what causes it and how you can best take action to prevent it. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure is certainly applicable with it comes to colic.

So please read on with Cara as she relates a few thoughts in part one of our series on colic:

Colic is such a terrible thing for horses to go through. I guess that’s one of reasons that after I’ve just hand led Jolly around for over an hour or more to graze and hang out and he doesn’t do his business, I take him into one of the stalls for some grooming and when he poops in different areas of the stall, I know he’s fine. I remember when we were at an endurance race in New Mexico I had taken Roy into his pen and was just standing there with him and all of a sudden he just went down.

I wondered if he was just going to roll but they don’t really do that when you have them on a lead rope standing real close. It didn’t take me less than a minute to know something was wrong (I didn’t know what but I hollered at Darolyn’s daughter and she ran right over figuring out almost immediately. We, along with her husband, started messaging him while someone got the trailer ready to take him to the hospital. Thank goodness the mineral oil worked because he’s had to have surgery on two other occasions.

He’s been doing really well but they really have to keep an eye on him. Before one of the horses named Della had to be euthanized for colic, he had at least 1 episode before the final one. I have a pamphlet that came with my SmartPak Equine catalog. It says “colic is responsible for more deaths than any other equine disease. In fact, an estimated 200,000 horses will colic this year in the U.S.” What really was scary: “Even more alarmingly, changes in the amount or type of grain your horse receives can increase his colic risk up to five times, while hay changes can increase your horse’s risk a startling 10x!”

When I read that it made me understand why when Darolyn is traveling all over the country with the horses for endurance events that it made me understand why she hauls so much of their regular feed and all that hay and makes sure everyone crewing (like me and other many volunteers) are instructed exactly how much, when, etc. is given and you better not mess up or watch out!! That now makes me smile about “hearing the thunder when a mistake was made”. The horses’ health and well-being come first!!

Well stated Cara and I am glad that you are able to share these thoughts with our readers. I have learned that colic has no time limits and can come on suddenly. If we are lucky we’ll have time to recognize the symptoms so we can act swiftly to get appropriate medical attention in time.

I liked that your friend is very conscientious about the food that the horses are given and that is a great idea to take the food along when travelling. Very valuable tip when travelling long distances for competitions and other reasons.

Our barn babees are important to us and are lifelong friends. They depend on the humans to make the right decision for the. In return if all goes well, the human will be rewarded with loyalty and luv! Sounds like the deal of a lifetime and a small price to pay for looking out for those near and dear.

Thank you Cara for your insight and sharing and we will continue with our multi part series about colic in the days ahead!

All for now!
Luv from Pudge and our author Cara Ezzell!!! ♥

Supporter Spotlight! February 2013!! Meet Cara Ezzell!!!!!! Woo Hoo!

My BFF's Cara Ezzell and her luvable friend Jolly!
My BFF’s Cara Ezzell and her luvable friend Jolly!

Dear Friends!

WHoa! It’s high hoof time for Cara Ezzell!! Yups it’s true she is a dear friend, loyal friend to all equines and she has played a huge role in helping Mt Hope Horse Rescue keep the barn doors open! We are so incredibly grateful for her most generous donations of time and also funds to help Mom and Dad help the horses here in the barn. We cannot do it without outside support and Cara consistently helps us each month. She is also a member of my Pudge Pony Fan Club too which really humbles my pony heart! I luv spending time with Cara and she has also become a dear friend to my Mom. Cara and Mom are in touch with each other regularly and that means alot to everyone and most especially Mom!

I decided to start sharing more about our supporters as I think it is important to recognize all that they too do. While they are not here at the barn, they are all over the world working hard sharing our needs here and the plight of the horses that find themselves in a uncertain situations no fault of their own. These supporters are sharing information, networking to find homes and making significant donations of time and their own money to help our equine friends. We cannot do what we do or any other rescue for that matter without these special humans!

I hope that you will enjoy learning more about Cara and you’ll realize how special she is!

So as they say in racing – ” Away we go! ”

Hey Pudge!

First of all, I’m again honored that you want to do a spotlight on me because in looking at some of the things I see other people do for equines, all other animals and people, I just don’t feel in the same class. But here goes some of what I may add to tomorrow:

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and if it weren’t for my grand kids and the care of my mom, I would be out of this city and state. Don’t get me wrong, there are many positive things about Texas, but you kind of have to hunt those special people and places down. What I mean by that is you can be in the city which is like any other large city with too much going on and a lot of crime. Houston has grown to the 4th largest city in the nation and it’s pretty much a mixture of all types of people from all walks of life. But go to a small town, you will find many good people, but I’m afraid the typical “redneck” attitude is still alive and well. When someone finds out I’m from Texas and have a horse, they immediately think redneck cowgirl which is the exact opposite of how I am. Yep, I wear Wrangler jeans (because they’re durable and can take a beating) and boots, but when it comes to the way horses are handled in general in this state, I’m the exact opposite.

As long as I can remember I’ve always loved horses/ponies/equines. My dad was a big horse lover and if he had had his way, I would have been owned by a horse growing up, but my mom just didn’t like the idea since we lived in a suburban neighborhood and of course there was the cost. My dad had to travel a lot with his job and I think that had a lot to with it also. From the time I was maybe 3 or 4 he would always take me to the pony rides. I think I told you before, that I even had a favorite pony named Fury that was black that I just loved! They would turn him in 2 tight circles so he would go flying around several times which is exactly what I wanted!!

As I got a little older, there was a riding place that was still in an under developed area just south of Houston. They ran a great riding facility and the horses were all well-cared for. I fell in love with a bay Quarter Horse named Dynamite. He was named that because that boy liked to run and I was just a clueless, crazy daredevil that used to love to just hop up on him bareback and take off!! The people that ran the place were pretty cool about it except one time a friend and I got in major trouble because it had rained really badly and there were some other riders out, plus part of the area we rode in was on the outskirts of a small private airport.

Well, since the main trails were muddy, a friend and I decided we would just go racing our horses down one of the runways where the small planes took off and landed and somebody saw us because boy were we in trouble when we got back!! LOL! It’s so weird, I guess it was because I was a kid, but I only fell off Dynamite one time and it was sooooo stupid! We were going along at a canter and I was bareback, but the gait of Dynamite (and most Quarter Horses is so very smooth it was really easy to stay on). Anyway, there was somebody passing by in a car and I was being sooo nosy to see if it was someone I knew, it took my attention totally away from my riding and when Dynamite slowed to a trot, I just kind of bounced off. LOL! I wasn’t hurt and he only trotted about 10 yds. away, waiting for me to get back on. I never will forget him as I have never forgotten any horse I’ve been close to.

There was also a good riding stable north of Houston and my favorite horse was named Bill (so ironic because my dad’s name was Bill for short of William). He was black w/ a white blaze and also a great horse, just not as feisty as Dynamite, but I loved him just as much. I was so concerned that someday I might get old and forget him I bought some inexpensive ring w/ the initial B on it. I wish to heck I still had that ring, but I guess I don’t really need as he is still part of my heart today.

The first horse I owned was an Appaloosa named Texas Playboy. When my husband and I went to look at him, the first thing that boy did is whirl around and bit the heck out of my forearm!! As the then owner stuttered that he was just green broke, I just said I’ll take him. I did finally have to hire a professional horse trainer to break him of the biting habit, but it didn’t take long and it was done the proper way with kindness. The main problem I had with him was he developed into a horse that was easily spooked.

I was getting along fine with Texas Playboy’s training and the riding was better as he learned he could trust. Then I was due with my 2nd daughter. I asked the doctor if it was still ok to ride and he said it was actually good exercise since I was used to it, but he didn’t really recommend it because of what could happen if I were to fall. We boarded him on someone else’s farm and the lady started riding Playboy for me and I rode one of her horses that were gentle as a lamb and pretty much bomb-proof. I had rode Casper before with my youngest daughter in front of me and she was only a little over 2 yrs. old.

If I wasn’t riding one of my favorite horses when I was growing up, I always had a friend that had a horse or because my dad knew quite a few people from his job and always managed to find someone with kids who had horses, but being from Texas, I was accustomed to the warm-bloods pretty much all my life.

As my daughters grew up (plus I was now a single mom), they both got involved in sports and most of my time was spent with them or taking them where they needed to go. My youngest daughter became a professional in-line speed skater and was fortunate enough to travel the world as she made the World Team 5 yrs. in a row. She ended up being a 12 time world champion (meaning 12 gold medals and I’m not sure how many silver and bronze she won).

In 1995, she competed in the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina, was overall World Champion at the World Championships in Perth, Australia which got her a major sponsorship with Rollerblade, Hyper Wheels and then Team Verducci, some guy from Italy where she and her main competition in the U.S. were able to team up and were pretty indestructible. Skating was my daughter’s passion and was fortunate to have one of the best coaches in the U.S. (it was over an hour drive to practice, but she needed his knowledge and “firm” hand!!) Ok, I’m getting off the subject and bragging’ too much about my now 34 yr. old daughter with 4 kids of her own, but I just know how passionate she still is to this day and still stays in touch with her skating buddies. They wanted to make it a Summer Olympic sport, but because United States Amateur Roller Skating Organization really pushed the artistic form of skating rather than the speed, they did not like it when the Olympic Committee agreed to include the “speed” skating as a summer sport, but they really didn’t want another judged sport as the “artistic” so all the ex-art skaters on the Board of Directors told them if they wouldn’t accept the artistic as a sport, then they couldn’t have the speed. Whatever, politics, politics; the ones it really hurt was the kids. Several of those kids switched to ice speed skating and were pretty successful. One of them was Chad Hedrick who skated the long track ice and won a gold medal and I think a couple of silver and one bronze, but don’t quote me on that. The one you might be most familiar with is Apollo Ohno, who skated on the short track and won quite a few gold medals and even ended up on Dancing with the Stars. You can still Google my daughter’s name or look her up on Yahoo.com if you want to read some old articles under Cheryl Ezzell.

Anyway, both girls kept me pretty busy and then Cheryl had her first baby, my grandson Riley, who is now 13 yrs. old followed by Travis who just turned 11 yrs. old on Feb. 24th (going to his late b-day party this weekend), Kenley, my one granddaughter, 3 1/3 yrs. old and Ryan, who was 1 yr. old Dec. 11, 2012.

My oldest grandson, daughter and her husband lived with me for about 3 yrs. after Riley came along, but then they moved to a small town about 2 ½ hrs. away. Talk about separation anxiety!! This boy had been with me since the day he was born and I thought I was going to lose it when they moved, but it’s all good because they’re away from a lot of the crime in the big city schools and have had the fun of the country life, which includes their Papa’s horses (Riley is a major horse lover!)

In March, 2007, I was thinking there couldn’t still possibly be a decent place to ride close to Houston unless you knew someone that owned horses, but I Googled it and found Cypress Trails just a few blocks north of the Houston city limits in Humble, Texas and that’s when I was introduced to the Arabian breed, the hot-bloods, just like all the famous Thoroughbreds and let me tell you, after about 10 minutes on my first ride, I was like “OMG! This is a whole different animal!”

I took training lessons from a pro and I still learn something new every day about horses and have completely lost count of the no. of falls I’ve had (mainly due to my stupidity) when aaaaall that time growing up and riding, I could count on one hand the no. of falls. LOL! I also think I must hold the world record for being stepped on; not because the horse does it on purpose, I just have the dumb habit of getting too close and it happens accidentally.
About 5 yrs. ago, my friend that owns the stables purchased Jolly Roger off the Arabian track and then sold him to me. He is my best friend (well, I have a bunch of equine best friends), my therapist and gives me unconditional love that I cannot tell you how much I treasure!!! The thing about any equine, which all have different personalities just like people, treat them with love, kindness and respect (kind of like partners) and they will “walk through fire for you”!! Yeah, Jolly has the little attitude/race-mode thing going’ on sometimes when I ride him, but that’s one of the things I love about him…luuuuuve to go fast, but only for short distances!!

Pudge, I knew if I started this I would start rambling because I’ve got a lot of emotions going thru me right now, but all I can do is give it to God and realize that there are reasons some things that happen, but I got to get home now and Blue’s been on my mind…my gosh, what a War Horse and what an exceptional, wonderful thing Miranda did for Blue…people like your Mom and Dad, Miranda, and many other true horse/animal lovers and equines like u, Blue, Beasley the Wonderhorse, etc. are the unsung heroes that need to be recognized for all the good you guys do in this world. Of course I care about the famous ones too, but you guys deserve it just as much as the famous ones!!!!

I do fight horse slaughter by signing petitions and sponsoring various horses at reputable rescue facilities, but I just wish I could do more financially because I know how expensive it is to have just “one” healthy horse!!! Every horse or organization I donate to or sponsor, I have picked myself; not one of them ever asked me for a dime. I learned the hard way that stuff they send in the mail is usually total fraud or they’re not taking care of the horses properly.

I really think Cara is a great person, great Mom and has a wonderful family. She also is a great Mom to Jolly who is a cool carrot barn babee too. In addition to all that she does, she still finds the time to help me with my newsletter and blog series “Cara Talking Horsies!” I don’t know how she does it all, but I am sure glad she does. My world has expanded so much since becoming friends with Cara!

Thank you Cara! You are a true horse angel!

All for now!
Luv Pudge ♥

Talking Horsies With Cara, Part Six, Communication with your Horse!

Cara's special friend Jolly Roger!
Cara’s special friend Jolly Roger!

Dear friends!

Cara and I are collaborating once again! Whoa! I just luv writing with Cara! Cara is one who speaks from the heart and I have learned a great deal from her sharing her vast experience with us. This segment we decided to look at how it is we communicate with horses. Each equine is different as Cara states and communicating with us is not a one size fit all situation. Much depends on several factors unique to each horse and their environment. Key to most everything is patience and lots of kindness and LUV! I hope you will enjoy reading Cara’s heartfelt thoughts and ideas. She has a very special relationship with her horse Jolly and it is one that is very inspiring too!

Here she goes:

My friend that owns the stables where Jolly is now boarded goes to the track (Sam Houston Race Park) occasionally looking to possibly purchase any of the Arabian horses off the track. The Thoroughbred season at this track is only in Jan. and Feb., but they will usually have 1 Arabian race on the card for the night. As you know, the Arabian track racing is not even close to being as popular as the Thoroughbred racing and the purses are low. Anyway, about 5 yrs. ago, she was looking for an Arabian horse to purchase for possible use in Endurance Racing, which the Arabian’s excel at more than any other breed. She found Jolly because she happened to know the trainer. Unfortunately, Jolly was having a MAJOR problem with lameness, so they were not going to be needing him….She liked his friendly personality and ground manners, so she purchased him for a fairly small fee and then made an offer to me and another person to buy him from her for the same price she paid the owner at the track. Jolly’s track record was 5 starts, 1 win, 1 second (5-1-1-0). He was approaching his 6th birthday on March 11th.

Well, no need to go on about how it didn’t work out with the person being partners, but I ended up buying him out from that person. If anything were to happen to me I have it in writing that my friend that owns the stables will care for him. Ya know, like if I croak, lose my job, etc. LOL!

Every horse is different when you’re first learning to communicate with them, but they all are prey animals. A lot of how quick you can establish a relationship with a horse depends on their personality, how they have been previously treated, age, etc. Fortunately, even though a track horse, Jolly was friendly and had fantastic ground manners, but he was now in totally new environment and there were many things he was not accustomed to.

The most important thing in getting to know any horse is gaining trust. Besides the fact that it took over a year for Jolly to become sound again (front left hoof, which is the one any track horse puts the most pressure on kept getting a terrible abscess and he even had a slight case of laminitis), he was very easy to work with on the ground. After he became truly sound (my friend is a professional trimmer and I give her the most credit for getting him sound again and most likely saving his life because we all know what a killer laminitis is, but it was caught in the very early stages), WOOHOO, were ready to hit the trails!! This boy did not like water (even a small puddle), wasn’t used to wooded areas and the many critters that inhabit them. So it just took a lot of time and patience to get Jolly to get used to these things and gain my trust. There were many obstacles to overcome, but you have to take it slow with any horse, because what might be a harmless object might mean a matter of life and death to a horse if they are not familiar with whatever it may be. I made it a point not to force Jolly to do certain things, but at a certain point later after attempting to overcome some issues, I did do a little urging and my friend who is a professional did help me by showing me different techniques.

I know Jolly knew I would not hurt him by this time (I call it horse sense which is much keener than a lot of humans I know – LOL) because I don’t believe in hitting, using spurs, a whip or screaming/hollering orders. Once he began to get used to all the new things he gradually overcame his fears and is not a really spooky horse (there is the time to time bunnies or squirrels that suddenly hop out of the bushes that will cause him to jump a little), but his true trust of me has been accomplished by mainly talking to him all the time and patience.

Now, if there’s something that makes Jolly jump (kind of spook) such as new fallen trees in the woods because of a storm, the sudden jumps of little critters in the woods; I just start talking to him, petting him on the neck and telling him it’s ok and he will calm down. Like last year for instance, we were riding in area that has a lot of open space (it’ll most likely have something built there eventually because Humble city limits is just about a mile outside Houston) and there was a gradall (large machine used for major digging) just parked close to the neighborhood street and it was positioned where it made a large V shape that I knew Jolly and I could walk under, but he wasn’t too sure about what this contraption was, so I made up my mind to try a few times and if he still didn’t want to do it, just back off and try again maybe another day. The first 2 times, he was reluctant to walk through it, so I was ready to just forget it for the day and let him walk around it. So I just told him it was ok and said “boy, just walk around it”, I’ll be darned if he didn’t walk right under it! This may not sound like a big deal to the pros and a lot of people, but I was so proud of him!! There was also a time we left with another horse and rider in the summertime kind of late in the day, and when we got to that “famous bayou” we had to turned back because it was dark and a thunderstorm with a lot of lightening came on suddenly. Gosh, those 1st two strikes of lightening sure made him jump (I normally would have been jumpy too if say I had been on foot), but I knew if I showed any kind of sense of fear he would be fearful also. So I just remained calm (heck, it rains, thunders, and lightening’s all the time in Houston anyway so I’m kind of used to it) and those 1st two lightning bolts w/ thunder following made him jump, so I started talking up a storm to him and petting him on the neck and of course the storm continued, but he chilled out and quit jumping because he, like all other horses, is intelligent and by this time in our relationship he knew it was all good.

Jolly is so great for me also because he has never and would never hurt me and believe me, he’s had the opportunity. Like the time the saddle pad that somebody insisted I try started to slide right off as we were going down an incline. I just stepped off and lead him to an area to get it adjusted, but this was during the 1st year and he was all keyed up. I didn’t want anything to happen to him, so I just took the saddle completely off (had to listen to someone that’s not around anymore telling me I should do something about the saddle and I just told her she could have the saddle herself if she wanted it that bad, because getting Jolly back to the stables was MOST important – just had to throw this in here – LOL) and I started to lead Jolly back to the stables. Now he’s still keyed up and there were several times on the path going back where I let him walk on the narrow trail and I had to walk up on higher ground that was really mushy. The 1st time I slipped I managed to stay on my feet and comfort Jolly, but the 2nd time that mushy ground just gave way causing me to lose my footing and I fell down on the trail right in front of Jolly. He spooked, but when he took off he flew right over me, he was careful not to trample me and the only thing that happened was his back hoof barely hit my left forearm and you couldn’t even see a bruise or didn’t hurt unless you pushed on it! There’s been many other opportunities that he could have hurt me, but he hasn’t (like when he had those pulled tendons and had to be iced in buckets and the only way I could get him to stay in the buckets of ice was to squat down in front of him and talk to him while rubbing his other legs, but I had to listen to almost everyone say “she’s going to get killed”. I knew he was going to be ok because that’s the way I had to do with him when I first had him and had to soak his front hoof that kept abscessing. I finally got so tired of all the commotion a lot of people would cause and I broke down and got him some ice boots which are much, much more comfortable for him and soooo easy to use. One of my latest incidents is “too funny” that happened about a month ago. I was cleaning his hooves, grooming him and looking’ for little boo boo’s to doctor and the stall was slick because Mr. Jolly had just gone pee pee and I slipped and fell right under him. He just stood there like whatever. LOL!

Overall, Jolly is my best friend, therapist, gives me unconditional love and means the world to me!! He has gained trust in me now and his keen instincts have kept me out of maybe a dangerous situation where I was totally clueless, so it’s pretty much a mutual trust in each other after mainly concentrating on always treating him w/ love, kindness, and respect; plus talking to him all the time. Yes, he pulls his little stunts, because he knows me and I have to have “a major conversation” with him, but he usually always listens. NOW, he has learned that I let him get away with the little things because I can’t help spoiling him some because I love him so much! If I have him on a lead rope letting him graze or while riding him, I know better and try not to EVER talk on the phone or attempt to answer a text because just like little kids, he’ll start acting up like dragging me around on purpose as he grazes if I’m on that phone!! I can tell him to stop, but he won’t listen until I get off that phone!!

Now everyone needs to remember you have to use different methods with different horses; I am just blessed with a horse you can do pretty much anything with on the ground and not have to worry about being trampled, rearing up, cow-kicking’ or deliberately stepping on my foot. He’s basically like a big puppy dog handling him on the ground. What I’m able to do with Jolly might not be true with another horse; I’m mainly concentrating on our own personal relationship, so for anyone reading this, just remember to talk to your horse and take it slow.

It kills me that I can’t see him every day, but no matter how long I have to be away, like when I was just recently sick for over a month, he ALWAYS remembers me and greets me with his loving, feisty little self and YES, I might spoil him on certain things, but that boy would walk through fire for me!!

I’m very passionate about all horses, but I have gotten so close to Jolly, I pretty much treat him like a son!! I can have many different problems, be down and out or sad about something, but the minute I get with Jolly, it’s like true peace and all the bad stuff goes away!!

Thank you so much for including Jolly and I in your blog and newsletter and I luuuuuve you very much Pudge!!

Hugs, Cara xoxoxoxoxo
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Well friends we hope that you enjoyed Cara’s insightful and sometimes funny stories. Those are the best kind aren’t they!

Until next time I will say All for Now!
Luv Pudge ♥