Trug Hunting

I hate to keep banging on about it, but one of the most frustrating aspects of being blind is the amount of time you waist searching around for things that are, or at least should be, right under your nose. This activity is made even more interesting when the thing you are trying to find is on the floor of an enclosed space that also contains a large, over friendly, quadruped, and several samples of said animals excreta. Something I find myself doing 8 times a day, 4 breakfast bowls, and 4 teatime bowls, while the horses are in overnight during winter.

In their natural state, horses graze at ground level, and intermittently browse from shrubs, bushes and trees. They also tend to move, walking slowly, whilst grazing. You can watch them doing this in the field. . It’s not really possible to replicate this behaviour when shut in a 12 X 12 wooden box, but our girls certainly like to try. Which keeps me entertained.

We serve the ‘hard feed’, a feed balancer, and whatever supplements and medication each individual happens to be taking, In shallow, round, rubber trugs. They are reputed to be made out of recycled tyres. I don’t know about that, but they certainly smell foul when they’re new. It always amazes me that a horse doesn’t get put off it’s food by the smell, but I’ve never had any complaints. The Beauty of the trugs is they are both flexible and strong. They can stand up to a lot of punishment, and don’t seem to be bothered by extremes of weather. That said, both Leonie and Breeze hand each killed a trug this winter. Luckily, they’re not too expensive either.

So, picture the scheme. It’s roughly 10.30p.m. Hal and I are checking the girls last thing. Hal is topping up the waters, and I am hanging fresh Haynes, and, theoretically, removing the empty feed trugs. It goes like this;
Open stable door and immediately stand on, or trip over trug – ideal!
Hang haynet, then do a fingertip, or, more correctly, boot tip, search of th stable floor, squelching through pee and poo, and occasionally walking into a horse that keeps moving in order to more easily see the fun, and who is sniggering away whilst saying “Cold – getting warmer – no, getting colder – ooh, red hot!”. Eventually I find it. Either it is;
Exactly where I put it, I’ve just managed to step over it 4 or 5 times,
No longer in the stable as Hal has already moved it,
Or
Directly underneath a now hysterically laughing horse, who has spent the time I’ve been looking for it, very carefully positioning herself so the trug is directly under her central point.

Sometimes, just to add variety, 1 of the girls will land a poo in their trug. Leonie’s speciality is turning it upside down, and then standing on it! Never a dull moment.

Oh well, it keeps me off the streets.

Time Flies

Wow, where has the last 6 weeks gone? Time has just flown by. Strangely, it feels like we’ve been so busy that we’ve been running to stand still, and struggling , sometimes almost literally, to keep our heads above water. We don’t actually seem to have actually achieved much though.

Colic & Cushings

Back at the end of January Florence had a second bout of colic. It presented slightly differently from the first one, and thankfully she only had to be flushed through once. It was still scarey though! Because we have no idea what is causing Flo to colic, our lovely Vet Gemma ran a whole load of blood tdests. They all came back normal, except one. Cushings Syndrome, or more more correctly PPID, is caused by a benign tumour on the Petuitory Gland. It causes the body to make excess Adrenal Cortical Trophic Hormone (ACTH). This leads to reduced immunity, , increased inflammatory response, increased thirst, excessivd urinatination, excessive sweating, muscled waist img, fat deposits in strange places, heavy, sometimes curly coat that doesn’t shed, and, frighteningly, a predisposition to laminitis. A horses ACTH level should be 28 or less. Florence’s is 39! ! Cushings is actually very common. A vet once told me that the majority of horses over the age of 15 have it to some degree. . Back in the day thdre wasn’t much you could do about Cushings, except manage the symptoms as they arose. Nowadays there’s nedication. . Fantastic!

For the last 6 weeks Florence has been taking 1 tiny tablet a day. They really are small. It controls the ACTH. On Monday the vet will return to take more blood to check if Flo’s ACTH levels have dropped. I’ve definitely noticed less wee, and also less sweating. So fingers crossed.

Grumpy Pony

Florence isn’t the only one who has been causing us some concerns. Quite frankly Sapphire is being a right royal pain in the neck! As well as being intermittently lame, she is being a complete misery. She swings from sulking and doing the full on ‘I want to be alone’ routine, to the full on aggressive bully. The vet can’t find a cause for the lameness, and a full blood screening came back with everything showing as normal. We did put Sapphire on a Tim amount of Bute for a while, but all that happened was that she escaped, and it took Hal and I an hour to catch her!

Sapphire has been so horrible towards Florence, that she kicked the partition wall between their stables out of position. No sooner had Hal mended , and reinforced it, she did it again! We’ve swapped them around now, on the hope she’ll kick it back. No luck so far.

Sweet Freedom

We’ve actually turned them out over night now. It’s a bit wet and cold still, but they all seem happy with the arrangement.

So that’s it. We’ve all survived another winter. Here’s to summer!