Friday, December 9, 2011

New methods for routine needs

There are many things that we take for granted with our horses, and life in general. When I get up in the morning I brush my teeth. What if I couldn't raise my arms to do that? Well, I would have to develop another way to complete the task. How many times are we inspired by individuals who may have physical challenges but still find ways to perform routine tasks, as well as extraordinary feats?

The new challenge for Suki was a fairly simple one. Her feet had been trimmed and new shoes applied the day before the fire. While at New Bolton we did not have a farrier manage her feet. A few years prior, Suki had a VERY bad experience with a farrier who was impatient and aggressive with her. Needless to say we changed farriers but the emotional damage was done. While it takes minutes to enforce a bad memory, it can take years for an animal (and people) to recover. Her new farrier was very patient, but Suki was still nervous. After several months she started to relax and the shoeing sessions improved. However, She really still needed to be hand held rather than just stand on cross ties. So, the new halter, no easy way to restrain 17.2+, 1400lb Suki for having her feet done. Even if we put her halter on again, her head was too sensitive to really be able to hold her effectively. One thing was certain though. She would not need shoes for awhile which would make the situation a little easier, but the current shoes would need to come off and the feet trimmed.

Kelly to the rescue!! She decided to put a lead rope around Suki's neck to hold her still, and the farrier would do his work with Suki in her stall. This was a bit of a challenge initially, but because of the patience of Kelly and the farrier Suki started to relax and stand reasonably well.

Late in November some of Suki's veterinarians from New Bolton came to visit (see photo). They were so thrilled to see her progress and felt that her current situations was wonderful. Suki seemed equally excited to see them...she loves visitors and extra attention, especially when gifts of gummy bears are involved!

When I had been looking for a rehabilitation farm close to my home I had a lot of difficulty. Surely other people would have this problem as well, so Kelly and I discussed the possibility of having New Bolton add her farm to the list of facilities for patients families. I was thrilled to give a glowing recommendation as Suki was clearly thriving. In a few months I would have to find a regular boarding situation and that would take some time. In addition to Suki I would also need a place for Nikki, as I anticipated bringing her home in April or May. While Kelly's farm was suitable for Suki now, she would need extensive turnout time by spring.

December 9, 2011
At the conference, missing my family...(2 and 4-legged!) I have been reading a number of articles about training, so that helps, and of course I have plenty of pictures to look at! I am going to speak with a designer at a horse supply company to develop a special saddle pad for Suki to wear in the spring for long lining. I am really excited at the prospect of working her in hand other than routine lunging. I think she will love it!

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