Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What's the best thing to do on a dark, stormy night?

RIDE, of course!

My schedule doesn't often allow me time to do much of anything, so I take my chances when I get them. And the storm brought warmer weather and, strangely, a great motivation to ride. The horses have been pretty "amped" up because they have been spending much of their time inside (by choice...it's WET outside!) So it's really a great time for training. Sage and Chinook have had lots of little spooks, but I want to teach them that our routine--which consists at least of standing tied each day for feet picking--is the same whether or not the boogie man is coming around the corner. Because in reality, there is no boogie man. And if I act like there is no boogie man, sooner or later these horses might believe me. So tonight I rode Sage and started to teach Chinook how to be ponied. He was less than amused, but picked up on it pretty quick.

Last night because the weather had warmed up, I gave stronger consideration to hosing out Chinook's incision. One of the professors at school encouraged this, though I'm sure HE has never tried to do anything of the sort. If you're wondering about using dirty hose water to wash something like this, you just have to remember that it's already infected. And my favorite saying ever is "Dilution is the solution to pollution." Also, the force of the water would help to keep the incision open and draining.

Now, in theory this sounds really easy, but in reality standing outside in the dark with a flower basket watering wand, in the whipping wind and rain, trying to shove a bunch of running water between a weanling's back legs while he's spinning in circles...well, it's not that easy. In fact, it's rather ridiculous and a good way to get hurt. Thankfully, Chinook is a nice boy and did not kick out. And thankfully, the incision seemed slightly itchy and at moments he appeared to enjoy the spray (though definitely not at other moments!). Still, it was nuts, and I didn't get enough water where I wanted for it to be super effective.

So I brought him inside and started to dry him off with a towel, and something about the way he was standing invited me to towel very close to the incision, something he had never let me do. I think he realized that me using my hands was a lot better than a hose! So he stood there while I took anti-septic laden cotton and scrubbed the heck out of everything. It was the most satisfying experience ever, and the incision looked so much better afterward. Even tonight he let me clean it again and pick off more crusty pieces without even so much as a rope on him.

Now, it's pretty darn clean and new pus hasn't really accumulated. It's just so satisfying when you finally convince them that something is beneficial and they let you do it even though they are not so sure at first!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And we have infection...

About a week after Chinook's operation, I noted that the castration site was still pretty swollen and had started draining pus--despite my best efforts at making him move around. Since his attitude was good and he was eating, playing, and acting just fine (and still is a week after that), I figured I would let nature take its course. After all, infection seems almost inevitable in these situations because a scruffy little mustang laying down in dirty shavings is bound to contaminate the wound. It would be great if it was summer and he was out on clean pasture! No matter how many times a day you muck out an area, it's still teeming with bacteria waiting to make their debut.

And it just refused to look better. So I tried to clean it out (which, let me tell you, is not the best plan). Although he did not kick me and was actually quite good, he really only let me wash the drainage off his legs. Again, I decided to let nature take its course. The wound was still open and draining, and there was nothing I could do without help (that is, drugs).

But the wound has just been nagging, begging for a good scrub and flushing. I considered hosing it, but it's been extremely cold outside and I thought that wouldn't be very nice. Either way, I knew one of us would get hurt without some proper restraint and assistance. So I'm probably going to have to bring him back to school so they can sedate him and clean it up, as long as it continues to look bad tomorrow. The last thing we need is some sort of chronic, persistent, terrible infection. Still, the whole bringing him to school thing is an ordeal, and I was hoping not to have to do it.

In the meantime, I have been away a few days this week being on call and up in Portland taking the national board exam (which was quite a blur!!). But when I've been home the weather has been crazy stormy and the horses have been pretty wild:

And of course, hungry as usual:

Hopefully we can get this situation fixed if it hasn't fixed itself already!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

He's a gelding!

The scruffy little man in the picture below has been a gelding for a whole day! He and Brandy traveled well to school, and he was pretty much the best boy ever. He let my classmates take him to the scale, weigh him, lead him outside, and then the surgery went really well and he was back in the stall and begging for food within an hour. He and Brandy stayed at school for the rest of the day, then trailered back home well in the evening. They stayed together in their own pen overnight.

He is a bit sore today and has a little swelling, but he's been doing very well. I made him trot around a little bit with Sage this morning. Although this seems cruel, this is the best thing to do with newly castrated horses. It helps keep the wound draining and keeps the swelling down. After I turned them all back out together, Sage took it upon herself to clean the little bit of dried blood from Chinook's legs. What a good mother she is. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tomorrow is the day...

...that Chinook goes from wild stallion of the west to best mustang gelding in the world. He and Brandy will come with me to school tomorrow so the equine service can castrate the boy and inject Brandy's arthritic coffin joints with some steroids. Is it sad that Brandy travels much worse than Chinook? Yes. But it just goes to prove that while the boy can be very annoying, he's pretty good in the end. :)