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I had such great plans, but “the best laid plans…” rarely work as we would lay out in our smooth fashion right?
Faran was doing great, but we were told he might have a bowed tendon in a back leg, nothing that would make him unsound, but just something to be aware of. I had seen him be stiff after heavier workouts, and drag a rear toe on the ground (nothing major and only for a step or two and he would pick right up again) so I went about trying to encourage him to pick up his feet using cavelleti etc. His stiffness would only seem to be a problem when he would be worked harder and would go away - and appeared to be muscle stiffness - as when he was rescued he was skin and bones, no muscle tone at all I wasn’t too worried. I let him rest and we built back up again until we might hit that point one more time.
It never seemed to be more than aching muscles and “laziness” about occasionally dragging his feet.
Recently due to demands on me from outside sources, I had to put Stonehaven on hold and found Faran a new home. He went to a wonderful young lady who had experience with thoroughbreds, and had recently lost her boy and was looking for a new project. It seemed the perfect match and the right thing to do. She promised to keep me up to date on his status as I am missing him terribly now.
I recently got an update and it was not a good one.
She took him and immediately started working with him and would lunge him before riding him every time. There was no problems but she was noticing the same stiffness happening. A few days ago she didn’t lunge him and mounted up and he fell on top of her. Considering all these factors now, they loaded him up for the vet afraid there was injury in the hip or stifle possibly needing euthanasia.
After a seriously long vet visit, they found he had cysts on his navicular bone. He’s on supplements that will supposedly dissolve the cysts, and he’s wearing special wedge shoes to keep the pain and pressure off his feet. He’s on stable rest with no activity for 3-6 months.
We both knew going into this with him in our own ways that there could be something “wrong” with him. Neither one of us is too overly surprised to find that there was a condition, but I just have to say considering he could have had these cysts all along and that is why he was pulled from the track, it is not something you instantly jump to. There is no outward signs of this, and it had some strange referred symptoms that you think you are handling because while it’s obvious the circumstance is always there, it’s not presented in a way that’s inherent. Even the vet struggled to find what was wrong.
Faran is going to be fine in the end. He’s very happy with his pasture mates, and loving the constant feeding and attention. I will update on here as I get more information.
As to the future of Stonehaven, yes it still will happen. I am just working at it from a different angle at this point. I will keep you up to date on this blog on the upcoming progress, but needless to say my initial direction is having to be reconsidered and refocused. I hit a mountain I couldn’t climb, so not I have to find the pathway through the pass.
Yesterday, (sorry I didn’t get to post sooner - kept thinking was going to do it next but the list of things to do got ridiculously long), I went out and worked with Faran. I didn’t know what to expect we would do as I didn’t know how well the ground had dried after the rash of rains we had, but it was solid enough to do some light work.
First I went out and caught him. He’d been playing a little coy recently, but I think the idea of the clicker training is sinking in as he knows when he lets me catch him he eventually gets fed little treats. I don’t do it the whole training session as he would get muggy, I just do it right at the end to give him something desirable to look forward to, and boy did he!
I caught him, and we walked out of the front pasture into the yard where I groomed him. He really likes that, but I did notice he’s a little stiffer on the near side than the off side this day. I tried to do some stretching exercises, but he was not cooperating. He seemed a little hesitant, where before he would stretch and twist just fine. Not sure what caused this. Could be a reaction to being cooped in the stall during the bad weather - as he is normally pasture kept when possible and can move, stretch, graze, and roll freely. I will try to make a more specific determination today.
After grooming him I walked him over the the concrete slab where I tacked him up in saddle blanket, surcingle, cavesson, bridle (snaffle bit), and long line. He knew this meant work, and boy was he on point. He listened to my commands very well, but was (as I am going to describe it) anticipatory. The instant I made a move that he thought was going “somewhere” he was johnny on the spot. I don’t know if this was because he was nervous about the gear (it’s been a little while since I totally tacked him up in bridle and everything), or if he just genuinely was excited to get to the work so he could get the treats.
We went to the small round pen (where I won’t do any faster than a very slow jog because it is too small for a horse his size to move any faster), and I aimed to examine his tracking and relative flexibility. I walked him for a short while (albeit a quick walk), and went in both directions. He was tracking fine which means he was reasonably flexible through the middle, so I narrowed the issue to being in his neck. We worked for a little bit and he followed commands like a champion.
So I went and got one of my “ground poles” and laid it out on the far side of the round pen from where he was. I walked him over to it, and let him check it out as much as he wanted. He seemed disinterested, but stepped around it the first time. I didn’t get impatient, I just walked the circle around again, and this time we approached it and he stopped like he thought it was impassible. We worked a couple minutes step by step until he had crossed it, but he turned short and the last foot didn’t go over it. We went around again, and he stepped over it with all 4 feet, but the last back foot dragged. I took that as progress and we turned around. When we came back he didn’t try to avoid it, but he stalled out. When he crossed it, he did well, and so we tried again. He did the same thing, pausing before going over it. The third time around he picked up all four feet and crossed it like he had been doing it all his life, and so I petted and scratched as a reward, and untacked him.
I went and got my little pouch about half full of his feed (less than a 16th of a “scoop”) and came back out. He recognized the pouch on my hip and his ears perked forward intensely, and he was “ready” I swear I saw him foaming at the mouth before I could even get in the pen.
We worked on clicker training working on “back” on command with only a point at his shoulder (pretty well learned now), and “stand” where he’s “ground tied” (still working on that one, and “come” where he comes to me at request. I think all of these are very useful and will be a priceless benefit once he has them down properly. So then I haltered him back up, walked him back to the front pasture and let him go to eat grass which he was thrilled about.
I’m so proud of my boy!
Happiness is fur and manes and tails-
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Shot from the rear, I would like the peak from his spine/tail bone to be not so noticeable, but it is great compared to where he was when he came!
Last one of these. All were taking on 5/13/2011
You can see the puddle from the rains! This is why I wasn’t out there to do it sooner :(
1 of 2 near side photographs of his condition in profile. He’s coming along. It’s slow, but progress. I am posting two because he shifted and it makes a difference.
Yep, it finally stopped the rain cycle and I got out there to take some pictures of Faran’s current condition. He’s looking really good! Still has some work to go, but much improved if you look back. I will be posting them in here as well as on the pictures page.
OMG, the rain has held off all day and it opens up just as I am typing the title to this. How completely and utterly annoying is that! I want to take new pics and train on the groundpoles and cavelletti…
OK, back on subject…
I am going to a seminar on May 21st at Arabians LTD in Waco Texas. They are going to share lots of information about starting, owning, and operating a horse business. This is going to help out with my future goals of Stonehaven Stables a lot.
Getting information on running a horse business is terribly difficult. These guys have been doing it for a long time (33 years) and they are willing to open their doors to the public to show and share how to operate a horse business successfully.
Check out their site, and if you are near the area or within travelling distance and have an interest in the horse business, I think you should consider going too. This is really a unique opportunity.
(AND just a side note, with the level of rain coming down there is NO possible way I can get out there and take pictures of Faran now, nor work with him. The fields will be a muddy mess, he will be up in the barn, and the arena where we would work him will be a disaster… looks like I am waiting another couple days again *le sigh*)
Yesterday bu the end of the day I was in so much pain in my ribcage and my knee that I went to bed at 4 pm and slept until almost time to get up for work this morning. I didn’t work out, and I am on pain meds and elevating my knee and trying to recover.
Strange how I do something as dangerous as training this horse, but what gets me hurt is a tiny little 1/2 inch uneven spot in the street when I am doing my exercising.
Well anyway, I am going to take it easy the rest of this week, and maybe next week - but I will be going to take new pics and try to work with Faran today (if the weather holds out - no storms yet, but it is cloudy and threatening.) I can walk better today, but I don’t think I will be out running and such for a bit.
I am going to cut this short as it’s hard to type “uphill” while laying in bed with my leg up, but I will type to you all later - hopefully with new pics of the beautiful guy!
Quite literally while I was sitting here working and mentally trying to design my goal for working with Faran today (if the weather held out) we had a very fast shower burst. Almost over as fast as it started, but I am hearing thunder rolling in the distance. This does not mean it rained where Faran is, but it’s a good possibility as all storms flow his direction from here. I’m so disappointed. I can’t introduce him to these cavelleti and ground poles on wet ground. It’s not safe for him to work in muddy conditions as he has an old bowed tendon, and the cupping effect could be injurous. GAWD how I wish I had an indoor arena. That is going to be the first thing I build when I get some land of my own arranged. That and an attached barn. I have some “unique” designs and ideas in mind.
First of all, the structure will be in an oval ring. The center most part will be a 60x60 round pen space. This will be removable, but when it isn’t set up there will be a larger “Olympic” sized rectangular arena with seating at either end for performances, classes, and general spectators. Around the outside of this will be a “barn isle” of 12 feet wide, and then stalls around the outside of that, which open into the barn aisle as well as to the outside. Under the seating will be storage. There would be one of the “stalls” as an office, and up to 10 stalls down the long size of the arena, and I haven’t fully determined the total number of stalls along the short sides as there should be a wash stand, stocks, office, etc. included. 20 stalls for horses is a lot of horses for a small operation like I am aiming for.
My goal location doesn’t have tornadoes like I have to contend with here, so I am happy for that *whew* but before I had decided on relocating in the end, I had determined a way to build a tornado shelter for the horses as well as myself and my “family”.
And another harsh storm runs over head. *sigh* I’m so disappointed.
I really was looking forward to doing the training today….
Springtime in Texas - gotta love it.
Well, getting ready for an telephone conference so I will see how things work out later.
I can’t wait to get this beautiful woman and her costumes together with a horse and have fun. Isn’t she beautiful? Her costumes are stunning, and she is also one of the best friends I have ever had in my life.
Stunning Lanny! Simply STUNNING!
Spring woods of England <3 (Think I was channelling Jonathon Earl Bowser with this one!! :D )
Stock available on deviantArt!
When you work with animals, you must always be flexible and ready to go with a change of plans.
I decided to go out and work with Faran afterall because I was only going to be working on ground poles and one low level cavelletti at a walk, so I figured I was feeling good enough to walk with him and introduce him to them.
When I got there he wasn’t in the front pasture. The white Arab, and the horse that keeps breaking into our pasture was. I saw Cowboy in the side pasture alone. I couldn’t see Jake or Faran, which meant they were in the back pasture. I walked out there and saw Faran pop his head up and so I called to him. He put his head back down and kept eating and turned to the side. Now he didn’t look like Faran. He was gray. So I thought Mike had gotten a new horse out there, and kept on the hunt for Faran. All of a sudden this “gray” horse at a distance raced off across the pasture showing me the other side of his body and it was Faran…
He had found a mud hole and didn’t roll, just laid in it. OH, he was gross! His mane was matted, his tail was a disaster, and his whole off side was caked in mud.
Well, I intended to go and work with the cavelletti and instead I spent the evening bathing him. I had to cut his mane and tail off. His forelock and mane and tail not only had mud but it had cockle burrs. I got him good and bathed, trimmed his mane and tail to look the best I could. He actually overall looked really nice. His mane is about 4 inches long and blunt cut across the length of his neck I had to completely cut off the forelock, but it is hair, it will grow. His tail is about 4 inches longer than the muscle.
He’s all shed out for the summer, and he has filled out and muscled up some. He still has a little to go, but he looks amazing. I didn’t get pictures this time because I was not expecting to have to do this last night, and I was thinking only working in hand with him teaching him able cavelletti and ground poles, and so I left the various cameras at home. I will take the cameras out tomorrow to get new shots of him.
I am going to work with him again even though I am hurting. I really am anxious to get him going with these soon but we will have a photo session first. :D
Hope you have a great day
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