Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Sonny

     This is Sonny. His full name is Thorvald Ivanson, and he is a Norwegian Fjord.  

     I have been trimming Sonny for about a year now at his owners house. He is chronically laminetic, which means he has inflammation in his hooves that causes him to be lame. This is an illness more related to diet and weight then hooves. Unfortunately for him, he is a breed very prone to this, as they were bred to apperantly live quite happily eating sticks and rocks. His owner did everything right, built him a dry lot, put him on grass hay, and took him off grain. These things usually are the trick.

     Still he was occasionally sore. This winter he has had more trouble, the ground has been frozen rock hard, which makes him not want to move. But without exercise he gains weight, which makes the laminitis worse, which makes him even more sore and reluctant to move, it's a vicious cycle. We cast his feet about 3 weeks ago, which made him much more comfortable.

     They aren't very interesting to look at, but he gets around pretty well. He will now willingly walk around, and even picked up a trot yesterday when I brought out hay.

     Sonny came to stay with me for rehabilition. He is on basically the same diet, but I hope to add more exercise to his regimine. Right now Honey is doing the work for me, "chasing" him at a walk from hay pile to hay pile. It's a slow game of musical hay piles apperantly, because she would hate to break into a trot, or pass by a pile of hay without eating for few minutes.

     Diet and exercise are the most important part of rehabbing these guys. Exercise can be tricky, as you are walking a thin line between enough exercise to make improvement, but not enough to make him sore. That's where boots and casts take over, protecting his hooves and keeping him comfortable while he gets enough movement to improve. He will likely need handwalked for awhile to give his feet time to heal, then riding in boots and pads to up the exercise even more.

     I plan to write a lot about Sonny and his hooves. Next week I'll take the casts off and have lots of hoof pictures. At that point I'll decide between boots and pads or casting him again. It will depend heavily on how hard the ground is and how well he is moving.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

More of the Crew

     This is Honey. She was my first personal founder project, her owners gave me $100 to get her off their property. She was hardly able to walk when I got her, today she is a rock-solid trail horse. I'll have to do a full post on her later. She has taught me more then I'd ever dreamed one foundered horse could teach.

     Here are the 'pacas. This is Snap Happy, the group leader. He is semi-fearless, when the wind is right, and the gelded mate of Pixie. He is incredibly smart, above and beyond what I bet anyone would imagine an alpaca to be.

     Pixie, aka Pixie Popper, for her habit of spinning in circles then *popping* up in the air to run away. She is a fan of doing whatever she wants, and spitting on anyone she dislikes.

     Shiloh, my alpaca I lost to cancer last year, is in the background. He was the sweetest boy, I was incredibly lucky to be able to know him.

     Jodi, my sweet girl. She is absolutely gorgous, with fiber to die for. I got her severely ill with ulcers. She has made a full and happy recovery, and likes to give 'paca kisses.

     And last but not least, Andy. He is my "Dandy lil' Andy", a mini-alpaca. He was sick when I got him, and though he is healthy now, his growth was stunted. He is only about the size of a yearling alpaca, but he is irresistably cute. Snap is his hero and best friend, so of course he quite hates Pixie. He has the finest fiber of my group.

     Here is the big bunny, Sapphire. She is an angora, so requires a lot of brushing, but has the nicest fiber you will find. She likes to chase my cats and the beagle, she is quite a big bunny.

     More cats. Daisy again on the left, Rosie is the orange girl in front, Dingbat is in the middle, and Elliot on the right. Dingbat was my first cat, a feral cat living in a barn I kept my horse at. A lot of time spent sitting on a hay bale and bringing out cat food made her my friend, and then she decided to retire from the feral barn cat life and become an indoor cat who sleeps on my pillow. Elliot is her son, and my best buddy. He spends a lot of time laying across my shoulders, he is my cat scarf. He will 'ride' me while I feed, clean the barn, work on the computer, or eat dinner. He can jump, from a standstill on the ground, and land soft as a feather on my shoulders, a 5' vertical leap.

     Just for some extra cuteness, here is my banty chicken Blackie who adopted 5 baby ducks last spring. Momma duck hid away and hatched them, but then left them in the chicken coop alone the next day. Blackie scooped them all up into a nesting box and brooded them like any good momma. She had quite a time trying to fit them all under her, so after a week 1 always slept on top of her. They were bigger then her in about a month. Once they were grown her and Kermit (momma duck) split custody and spent equal time with them.

     Last, the new kid on the block, Sonny. He is a chronically laminetic Norwegian Fjord. He'll be getting his own posts, but just a quick picture for now.

Some of My Crew

These are some of the animals I am honored to share my life with.

     Zak, the blue dog. He is of course, the perfect dog. He is my partner, and goes everywhere with me. He is my navigational expert, and head alpaca herder.

     Cody is an arab/QH cross. He is my love. He knows this. He also knows he is the cutest pony that ever was, and that apple cookies are the best.

Faith is my beagle. She will be 8 years old this year. My grandpa fished her out of the Tippecanoe river when she was 5 weeks old. She was the first to start teaching me how deal with severe digestive issues.  

     This is Daisy. Talk about a project, but she is a love. She graciously allows me to live with and care for her. Here she is helping me skirt a raw fleece, which is one of her favorite things to do when she is not 'singing' at 1 in the morning.

     And everyone needs to know Charlie. Charlie is special. It's impossible to not love Charlie, or to be around him for any length of time without laughing at his sense of humor.

     These are my goats. Left to right, Zecilly (momma), Two, and One (the babies). They are currently fully grown, slightly taller, and much fatter then in this particular picture.

     More to follow...

Getting Started

            It has been suggested for some time I should write a blog. Tell the stories of the amazing animals I work with, show some of what I am blessed to be able to do for a living. Hopefully give ideas to help keep your own animals happy and healthy.
Journaling is not one of my strong suits. I have tried more times then is really logical, but it is sporadic at best. But rehab logs, those I can do. You have to have weights, up days, down days, temperatures, measurements, abilities, all those fun things that tell you where the animal is at, what is working, what is not. It streamlines your progress, and gives you a baseline. Plus, the next time you run across the same illness, lameness, what-have-you, you have a basic game plan from your previous notes.
So welcome to my online rehab blog. There will be a lot of horses, and lot of feet, since that is my business. But there will be a wide variety of animals involved I am sure, they like to be helpful whether I want help or not.