“Become dust - & they will throw thee in the air; Become stone - & they will throw thee on glass." Muhammad Iqbal *Beyond the bushes, boiling with dust, is 4Shoes West boundary road.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Words of Wisdom

Change comes about when the pain of remaining the same grows greater than the fear of the unknown. Shake it off, move on.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Heel Scratches Remedy

Also called Dew Poisoning, Mud Fever, or Greasy Heel**,  this painful problem occurs more commonly in the Spring & Fall months & does seem to be more prevalent in horses with white socks & pink skin than in those with dark legs. Scratches initially appear as patches of scurf beneath hair that may look thinned or matted or greasy. Close inspection will reveal itchy, irritated, red, cracked skin that may be oozing thick ‘greasy’ fluid. These sores or lesions will become crusty or scabby as the ooze dries up & will then break open & crack further with flexing of the foot causing a lot of pain & resulting in lameness if left unchecked.
Photo credit: 5 Acre Dream (inactive since 2013)
Though it is commonly thought to be caused by wet & muddy pasture or turnout conditions or by poorly cleaned, damp stalls, in fact, there are a number of other possible causative factors for scratches. Other causes might be a combination of bacterias, or of fungus, contact dermatitis (such as sensitivity to certain plants in pastures or turnouts or from improperly fitted or cleaned & dried boots), genetics, nutrition, bedding, allergies, mange/mites*, or photosensitivity (sunburn). *A skin scraping will quickly confirm or rule out mites/mange as a cause, but oftentimes the exact cause or causes will remain unclear.
Photo credit: Vetnext.com
Scratches can appear to present suddenly as a tiny little spot, but left unchecked the condition will rapidly worsen & can spread even to the coronet band & further up & around the lower leg. Chronic, improperly treated, or untreated scratches may become seriously infected & possibly develop into Cellulitis (inflammation of the deeper layers of skin resulting in heat & swelling in the legs & requiring extensive treatment, aka 'stocking up'), Chronic Progressive Lymph Edema (CPL), or thick scarring called Granulomas. Prompt & regular treatment of scratches from the start should alleviate the symptoms of this condition, but it will not resolve itself unless the trigger can be identified & removed (eg. such as in cases where sunburn is the causative factor & the horse is fine in winter).
Because incidents of scratches present all over the world, from deserts to tropical regions & everywhere in between, there are a number of treatments on the market (such as Panalog or Gentomicin to name just a couple), so you have options with which to experiment should your horse ever present with this problem. 
I've only ever had to deal with 2 horses (knock wood) who regularly presented with scratches - a chestnut pacer on my grooming string years ago, & Mr Shoes' personal mount, a black 1/2 Morgan mare. The chestnut mare was working on a limestone track in a semi-tropical region & required daily treatment year-round to control her problem. Our black mare gets scratches only in the summertime & only on her rear legs (which have white socks & pink skin); this limited presentation suggests to me that her issue could be more related to sunburn/sensitivity. This year I am experimenting with whether sunblock will prevent an outbreak & prove my theory about the cause of scratches for this particular horse.
If your horse has a lot of thick hair or feathering, you may wish to trim it back so that you can more easily apply treatment & monitor the progress; Mr Shoes' mare has neither so I don't trim at all because I believe that the hair she does have is at least some barrier to the sun. For the successful treatment of scratches I rely on an old horseman's remedy made of inexpensive ingredients readily available at your local Whateveryouwant-mart or pharmacy.

Attentive treatment will ease Scratches quite rapidly
Horseman's Heel Scratches Remedy
  1.  4 oz diaper rash ointment (Zinc Oxide 40%)
  2.  2 oz triple antibiotic ointment (no name brand)
  3.  2 oz cortisone ointment (no name brand)
Mix all 3 ointments together until very well blended, store in sealed plastic container (avoid storing in direct sunlight or extreme heat). Gently massage mixture into the skin of affected area daily; do not pick at the scabs, they will soften & slough off with continued treatment.
If you are coming late to the party & the sores are oozing, open, or if there are a lot of scabs, then apply a more liberal amount twice daily until you have the situation under control.
Even if the area clears up completely, you should be closely inspecting & touching the area daily to ensure that the scratches do not return. As with any problem, early detection & treatment is key to the comfort & health of your horse!

**Horses with white faces or muzzles, can also develop Scratches (Facial Dermatitis) with sore, scabby, cracked areas on the nose & around the mouth.  

Disclaimer: I am not a vet. This anecdotal post is based on my own research & experience as formerly professional Groom & an always & forever Owner. Nothing written herein should be construed as a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian. Rule of thumb ~ If you are unsure or uneasy, call your vet. Your horse will thank you for it.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Simply Sunday

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, & how gracefully you 
let go of things not meant for you.  - Buddhist saying           ...in loving memory of  Satori

Friday, 17 April 2015

40+40+40= -40

My Dad calls this part of the country 'the 40/40/40 province'.
Translated to English, he means that the weather here is totally summed up by that single phrase - it is either 40 above, 40 below, or 40mph winds. He's not lying, but it might've helped me to know all that shit before I went ahead & agreed to Mr Shoes' obviously insane plan to move us here... but I digress.
On April 15, in the wee hours of the a.m., I was dragged from slumber by the voice of angry winds & the frantic thumping of a bird feeder being repeatedly & violently smashed into a corner post of the house. Ducking outside onto the porch to rescue the feeder & stop the noise, the hem of my nightshirt was grabbed by the wind & flipped inside out & up to cover my face & create panic in one of Mother Nature's barely veiled attempts to kill me displays of awesome power. Do yourself a favour, don't try to picture this. Awww, too late? Not Sorry.
I could've sworn I heard some cracking noises, but with all the whooshing & thumping, who could tell for sure? The next morning (wind still up & continuing all day long, thwarting all plans to ride) Mr Shoes pointed  something out in the pasture...
Mr Shoes & BIL work to clean up Mother Nature's mess & salvage the 40 foot trunk as firewood & limbs as bonfire fodder.

Remaining stump still big & sturdy enough to function as a corner post.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Peek-a-Boo Barn Cat

Technically, Yes I IS a 'barn cat', but YOU left a door open so I is busy SNOOZIN' in Dad's chair. Pppuuurrrrrrr...

Friday, 10 April 2015

Manic Min Pins' Border Collie Interpretation

Luckily for all of us, Manic Min Pin always calls off. But you cannot possibly imagine just how many times this dog has given me full blown, chest clutching angina...  The horses pay her NO. Mind. At all. Much to her great disappointment.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Squirrel Problem? Solve.

Mr. Cheeky had grown too comfortable with raiding my birdfeeder; little did he know...
...his luck had run out. Courtesy of  Saint the Good Shepherd. *Don't worry, it was SUPER quick & mostly painless*