Saturday, December 18, 2010

Like a Loyal Old Dog

I'm always learning something about equine behavior with my two guys.  This time it's about bonding...

Toby and Ollie have become extremely close since they have moved to two different barns and to a new state in the past 6 months.  They are always together in the field.  They are constantly looking out for each other and they NEVER are out of eyesight from each other.

When I go out to the barn, I have to bring in both or the one left behind becomes a little frantic and runs the fence line.

The other day, I went out to take care of Toby's cut on his back right leg (which is healing up nicely!).  The whole gang of 7 horses were near the gate when I fetched Toby.  I brought him in and left Ollie out to hang with the other horses.  I thought he'd be ok with all the others nearby.  And when I went to check on him he was still by the gate but so was everyone else.  He seemed ok.

A little while later, when I was cleaning up Toby's wound, the barn owner came out to feed hay to everyone in the field.  He drove his golf cart full of hay way over to the other side of the field.  When the cart went out, all the horses followed it as if it was the pied piper.  That is, everyone but Ollie.  Ollie stood at the gate and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I had no idea he was hanging out there.  Not until I brought out Toby and Ollie greeted him with a hearty nicker.  I felt so badly for him!  Ollie turned down food to wait for his best friend.  Now that's loyalty!

So how did Toby react?  Ollie greeted him with a playful nip to the neck and Toby bit back.  Ah!  Best Friends Forever!


I'm hopeful that his trait of loyalty will help with our training once we can get back into it (too icy right now). Soon! Hopefully soon!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's In Your Equine First Aid Kit?


Not much riding has been going on in cold and frozen Kentucky.  Everything is on ice so to speak...

Yesterday I went out to check on my guys and I noticed that Toby was a little off on his right hind.  It was slightly swollen and he walked fine on it but slowly.  Trotting is where it really showed he was off.  So I was thinking he had slipped and perhaps pulled a muscle?  I left him out in the field because I felt the cold and some movement was better than boredom, cold and not moving in his stall.  Plus he'd get a little nutted if he wasn't out with the gang.   I did mean to give him some bute but forgot.  So I figured he was going to be careful because he was sore.  The bute might mask the pain and he could hurt himself even more.   Damned if you do, damned if you don't type of situation...

So this morning I went back out to check on him.  His leg was swollen, he was much more lame than yesterday and I saw that he had some cuts or puncture wounds just above his hoof.  I'm guessing he stepped in a place he shouldn't have and yanked his leg out, cutting it up in the process.  Now it's becoming infected.  Sigh.

Lucky for me I had all the right tools to help him out.  I was able to clean out the wound, dress it, start him on SMZ (antibiotic) and give him some bute for the swelling and pain.  I had one problem.   A lot of my stuff was frozen because I kept it at the barn which was a balmy 4 degrees this morning.

So he got the bute and I had to come back later after things thawed out to do the rest.  But this got me to thinking about my equine first aid kit.  This is what I have on hand all the time:

Clean cotton
Clean empty syringe
Antiseptic cream
Vet wrap
Epsom Salts
Wonder Dust
Betadine wash
Allushield - spray on wound dressing
Wound Wash (bought at my local drug store)

Things I got from my vet that I always have on hand:
Surpass (topical cream pain reliever for Ollie because his stomach can't handle bute)

So I used the Wound Wash to clean the cuts.  That stuff is GREAT!  It sprays out, doesn't sting and cleans out wounds really well.  Love love love it!  Then I let the area air dry while I gave Toby his SMZ in some grain and cocosoya oil.  Cocosoya Oil will cover the smell and flavor of any powder medicine!  Toby is the pickiest guy and he ate up his SMZ with the Cocosoya Oil.  Finally, I sprayed Allushield over the injured area to cover it and give some protection.  Allushield stings and Toby let me know he didn't appreciate it.  Oh well.  He'll get over it.

The SMZ will help with the infection.  He's getting 13 tablets (crushed) twice a day.  If I don't see some results in a few days then I'm calling the vet.    One thing I want to mention about the SMZ, my vet in Michigan helped me out one time and put the prescription through a store called Meijer's.  They have a program that will give families antibiotics at no charge.  Ask your vet about it!

One thing I wish I had is a nice tackle box for all my equine first aid products.  I have a bucket and another covered plastic container but it really could be better organized.  I think a fishing tackle box would do the trick...

So what do you guys have in your Equine First Aid Kit?  Surely you have one!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Brush With Greatness

Everyone's written tributes about Zenyatta and I suppose this is going to be another one to add to the thousands already out there in the blogosphere.   I can't help myself.  I got to see her in person and once that happens there's no going back.

Matt and I went to Keeneland to brave the cold with many other fans.  It was single digit wind chills.  I had all my northern Michigan gear on including snow pants.  People came from all over the country for this occasion and had been waiting to see their superstar.
Keeneland's outdoor sales pavilion with 1,200 Zenyatta fans in waiting.

It felt like there were delays after delays.  Keeneland seemed to continue to announce "another 10 minutes."  Perhaps the diva was busy getting her hair brushed just right for her adoring fans.  Then the moment arrived...

She knows she's a diva

There were flashes going off as if there were strobe lights turned on to add more effect to her diva appearance.   

My friends and readers of this blog know that Matt and I have a special attachment to Blame.  The only horse to ever beat Zenyatta.  We love Blame and I will say that I hope he wins "Horse of the Year."  That's not taken anything away from Zenyatta.  In fact Zenyatta is BIGGER than a "Horse of the Year" title.  Make no mistake, she's "Horse of a Lifetime."   I think handing her "Horse of the Year" wouldn't give her the credit she really deserves.  What she has done for the sport of racing can't be put into an award that represents a single year.   I think every racing fan recognizes her greatness transcends horse racing and certainly a single year.

Part of her popularity has a great deal to do with her people and handlers.  They always seemed to be right in step with her all of the time.

And they made her accessible to everyone.  Even here at Keeneland, John Shirreffs would stop Zenyatta and let her fans touch her for a moment.

The fan reactions were like nothing I've seen before in racing.  Just amazing and moving.  And she continued to put on the dance.  We loved it! 

 I was lucky I caught a brief moment where Mike Smith, her jockey, ran out to hug her goodbye.

Mike Smith runs out to hug Zenyatta Goodbye...
Keeneland even gave her a gift.  I suppose it could be a housewarming gift as she heads over to her new home at Lane's End.  They made sure to include her Guinness in the package.
Guinness Stout!  YUM!

I felt so lucky to have been a part of what I consider an historic event in racing.  I saw only one of her races in person and my pick won but she caught me up in her greatness.   Thank you Zenyatta for being you and best of luck to you in your new home and career.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cool COTH Link - THANKS!

Sunday morning and it's still gray and cold out.  I am NOT worrying about my horses being outdoors.  Really.  I mean it!

Yesterday afternoon when I went to turn them back out they were bone dry and impatient about getting back out to their large pasture.  I put them out, watched with my mouth dropped open in disbelief as they both went to the roll spot and rolled heartily in the mud and snow, getting all wet again in the process.  They were so pleased with themselves.  Ollie and Toby went trotting off to graze, well Toby trotted and Ollie bounced and reared his way.  I had so wished I had a camera because at the top of this hill, Ollie stopped and gave his best "HI HO SILVER!  AWAY!"  imitation multiple times in an effort to perfect it: 

Ollie is a classic ADHD horse...

But having said that, he is much more settled with all the turnout time, grazing all day long and the interaction with the herd.  It has helped him tremendously to be allowed to be "a horse."  Even his poops are good!  They are still pretty wet (and heavy) but they have good shape.  I think his hindgut is healing which makes me very happy!  I keep hoping to get on him and see how this translates into the saddle but the weather and my job hasn't been cooperating.   One of the downsides of not having an indoor arena but that's ok too.  It's the holidays, I'm busy with holiday season stuff and my horses probably aren't missing me much now that they have a herd to belong to and grass to graze on all day long.

I want to send a shout out to BETONBILL over at COTH.  Thanks for the thumbs up from you!  I admit I don't frequent COTH all that often and I don't post there.   I just don't have time for another forum to get caught up in but I may have more time in the future since my employer of almost 20 yrs will be letting me go around the end of March.  So look out! 

For all you COTH readers, I do not pretend to be an expert on horse training.  I'm far from that.  But I do like to document and record what I am doing so that maybe people can pick up a tip, offer me some advice or even learn from my mistakes.  I know I make them!  Going back to my old posts also helps me remember some things.

So perhaps this is more like a diary of working my horses.  We just moved to Kentucky and need to put together a new team to help us right now.  Therefore there's not much training going on at the moment but we will get there!   Especially if I'm about to have a heck of a lot more free time next year.  :)

My horses do have interesting connections to me - particularly Ollie (Hola C Bright).  And Jaguar Hope, while my time with him was cut much too short, made a profound impact on my life and he continues to do so even after his death.  It's amazing to me what that horse has done for me.

jag on the run3

So welcome new readers! 

And one more thing...   Matt and I will be taking some cool photos for Keeneland of a VERY famous just retired racehorse on Monday when she arrives in Lexington.  You can be sure I'll be posting about it! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Ramblings

Today, Lexington had it's first real snowfall. This is nothing like what I am used to in northern Michigan. It'll be cloudy and snowy then the next day it'll be sunny and the snow will go away. In Traverse City, once the snow starts it won't stop for weeks straight. That's just life in the snowbelt/lake effect areas.

I'm learning not to worry as much about my guys. They continue to look good. Today, however, I went out like I usually do around the noontime hour to give Toby and Ollie some grain. They were soaking wet from the snow and rain, and with a couple of inches of snow they had to dig for the grass and the hay piles that were tossed out for the herd were tough for them to get to for any amount of time due to the herd hierarchy. Toby and Ollie are the lowest on the totem pole of the herd. Ollie is the absolute bottom dweller.

Matt and I decided to bring them in for their grain, throw them each a flake of hay in their stalls and give them time to dry out. When we left the barn, you could see the steam rising from their backs as they munched on their food. I plan on heading back out in a couple of hours to toss them back out with the herd. I just wanted them dry for the colder nighttime hours. I think I'm improving in my worrying!

On another topic... I had an early Christmas present!

I wear that hat EVERYWHERE hoping someone will ask me about it... :)

Since I'm rambling today, I may as well promote the latest EquiSport Photos endeavor.

We started a blog with equine photography tips. The content will be geared towards people who use digital cameras with exchangeable lenses. So if you want to learn more about how to use your digital camera to get some creative and cool shots then you'll want to follow along with our blog. I just hate that you're going to learn all our secrets! LOL!

Here is a link to our blog called Capture The Light - Equine Photography and Workshops


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Worry Wart Wendy

It's 56 F and pouring rain right now and has been all night long. At 3am I woke up and started to worry... the boys are outside, they have no run-in. Are they clever enough to go into the little valley near the spring and get protection from the trees and bushes? Are they cold? Toby's so old! Can he handle being out in this weather? I've cut them back on their grain so much. Was that the right thing to do? Is Toby looking alright or is it his thick coat that makes him look ok to me? Ollie's fine. Ollie's getting FAT! I didn't feel any ribs on Toby so he must be ok.

I'm a headcase. I'm trying super hard to get used to "horse care in Kentucky with outstanding pastures." Everytime I go out to see my guys, it warms my heart because they look so good! Toby used to cough when we would first begin a ride - not anymore. He's not stiff moving when we start out either. Ollie seems so settled and calm now. His poops are looking good again, he is easy to handle and I get a sense that he's feeling content. Why do I worry?!

I think it's because 1) I'm a city girl and my horses have always been in places that only allowed pasture time for part of the day and only in good weather, and 2) I've never had horses on good large pasture.

Ollie and Toby used to get 4 quarts of grain a day (2 in morning/2 in evening) with supplements included in the morning feed. Now, Ollie is down to only supplements and Toby is cut back to 1 quart of grain with supplements once a day. Even then, I've recently started to not feed every day. They get hay most everyday along with the other horses (who do not get grain and are all pleasantly plump) particularly on cold days. Since they are currently living in the hay field and it's been warm with the grass growing some, they don't get or need the hay on the nice warm days that we've had. The pasture alone is adequate. Once winter sets in they will be getting hay everyday.

The other day we had a cold front blow in during the night. It poured rain and became cold/frosty. I was worried...

I went out to check on them that morning. They had just been fed hay out in the field so I had to walk out to see them. Both of them were bone dry and happy as could be. I checked their coats all over to see if they were really that dry. They sure were! They have the thickest coats right now and it's hard to get down to the skin.

So this morning, I have to believe that after the heavy rains all night long, and while it's still warm out, that my boys are happy and comfortable in their thick, water proof coats outside in the pasture of their dreams.

I'm glad I never had children of my own. I'd be a headcase all the time...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful for Things

Matt and I have been busy - sounds like a repeating theme on this blog...

We spent our holiday weekend racing at Churchill Downs and some other fun things going on in our area which made for some great photographic moments. I'm not going to blog about these moments individually

Nope. Tonight I'm going to just post photos of equine things that warm my heart and made me thankful on this long Thanksgiving weekend:










Sunday, November 21, 2010

Herd Mentality

Toby and Ollie were introduced to the big pasture (over 50 acres) and the other 5 horses at their farm. The plan was to bring all the horses in, turn Toby and Ollie out in the big field alone so they could explore, then one at a time turn the other horses back out into the big field. Below are photos of the events and the day ending with Matt shooting photos of the barn with the full moon on the clear evening and me making sure the damage wasn't too bad - it wasn't at all... Enjoy the photos! And yes - Toby and Ollie did gallop the ENTIRE perimeter of the field - that had to be at least a mile long gallop with rolling hills! Toby was exhausted.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back To Their Roots

I finally visited the place I've been wanting to get to since I've moved here...

This is the farm that stood the grandsires for both my horses - Damascus (Ollie's grandsire) and Mr. Prospector (Toby's grandsire).
Both are buried at Claiborne but Damascus is buried at a different cemetery than Mr. Prospector. Mr Prospector just happens to lay at rest next to Secretariat...

And now Blame (better known at the Wooley household as "our horse") has retired to his place of birth to begin his life as a stud.
We were given permission to visit by Dell Hancock who knows all about our relationship with Blame. We were thrilled to see him! So we were up early to take his picture when he was first turned out. This is typically the time that a retired racehorse turned to stud muffin shows off in the paddock. Not Blame... he walked out and grazed. We got excited when he would walk with some purpose. Otherwise he was acting likes he's been out in that paddock a million times. We hung out and waited but nothing happened and it was overcast. So we went home and decided that should the sun come out we'd try again later when the other stallions were turned out in the surrounding paddocks (around 1pm).
This proved to work and we had much better light. The other stallions, particularly Parading, would show off when they first arrived in their paddocks and that set Blame off for some action



This lasted for about a minute, then he was back to hanging out in the far corner from us grazing and watching Parading who was doing the same in his paddock.
Blame is such a mellow guy!
While we were there, Blame was taken out of his paddock for prospective breeders to view him. This happened at least 3 times in the few hours we were there.

When he was turned back out he would give a little squeal and run again for about 30 seconds. The most action we saw was this hawk that was hunting for his lunch in an adjacent paddock. He was ridiculously close to us.

Finally, turn out time was up and Blame came in to get a bath and dinner.


He was still busy with visitors at this time...

and I'm a poor videographer with my still camera using a 300mm lens... LOL!

This photo I snagged is one that should be part of a caption contest - I have my fair share of ideas for it. Do you?