Friday, May 31, 2013

There's always something!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The sudden increase in temperature leads to more worries, of course.  The barn has not yet switched to out at night in during the day routine and I usually don't have Suki and Nikki out for 24/7.  There are a few reasons for that.  Although both girls treasure their outside time they also both take a nightly snooze in the comfort of their stalls.  Flat out.  Snoring.  This is evidenced by the amount of shavings in manes and tails by morning!  Because of this I believe they need some stall time.  I am sure that many will disagree with my choice but it feels right for Suki and Nikki.  Although the way Suki tries to follow me out of her stall I am sure she thinks that she is being short changed!  Sometimes I do allow them a day or so here and there to be out consecutive day and night.  Tuesday and Wednesday were up near 90 degrees and both girls were a little sweaty at the end of the day.  Temperatures were expected to return to normal (then colder at night again) after those two days so we did not do the turnout switch.

Because Suki must wear some type of protective clothing during turnout she was quite sweaty underneath.  I pulled off the fly sheet and gave her a quick shower leaving her naked in the stall.  Nikki too was a little sticky but I elected to do a light ride.  There was a slight breeze and half of the arena was shaded during the late afternoon.  Nikki worked very well but I kept the work light.  Throwing in a small amount of lateral work to add variety she responded happily as we took a number of walk breaks.  Both of us were ringing wet by the end.  I started to feel a little wobbly as I walked into the barn and quickly pulled off Nikki's tack, offered her a short drink of water then sat down to rehydrate myself!  The feeling passed quickly and was not unusual for the conditions.  After Nikki had a nice cooldown shower I turned my attention back to Suki who although not in any distress was a little sweaty.  She received another shower.  Both horses were happily nibbling hay when I left.  I would have put them out for the night, but as with Tuesday night it was still pretty hot and sunny outside and I did not want to put Suki in her fly sheet again.  Although this would again require a morning trip to the barn to dress Suki for turnout before heading to the office I felt that it was the best solution.

I have three fly sheets for Suki.  One is a stiff mesh that seems cooler, while the other two are softer but to me do not breathe so well in spite of how the product description reads!!  Weatherbeeta makes a very lightweight mesh fly sheet but I wonder how durable it is......also, is there enough UV protection for Suki's back where there isn't any hair?  I could always sew a soft patch of fabric covering that area, further protecting it from the sun. It's inexpensive so it might be worth a try.  Once the horses are out at night and in during the day it won't be so bad, although on the hottest days Suki will be naked in her stall, standing in  front of a fan.

Saturday, May 25, 2013
Incredible wind!  The girls were not so anxious to come in so I had to round them up!  After galloping in the opposite direction I was able to finally get them to redirect.  I actually brought Nikki in first which is VERY rare!  Temperatures had dipped down to 40 so once again heavy sheets were required. Because Saturday was cloudy, windy and in the fifties I decided to keep their sheets on all day.  With 10-20 mile per hour winds I was debating the riding situation.  Ultimately I sucked it up and rode.  Nikki, of course, was fine.  I finished with a little in hand work to sharpen her a bit.  For Suki I decided not to lunge but to just do some in hand work in the paddock behind the barn.  She called to Nikki several times but I kept changing commands until she settled into her work.  I like how she responds to leg yielding so we tried a little turn on the haunches.  That went okay, but I have to check to be sure I am asking correctly.  After a few steps of piaffe we finished.

Sunday, May 26, 2013
After my morning run I ran over to the barn to pull off Nikki's sheet and change Suki into a fly sheet.  They wanted out!  This was before the horses had been fed so I helped make them content with a flake of hay.
Later that day when I went back to ride they galloped to the gate to greet me.  When I brought Nikki in I noticed that she had a scrape on her butt.  Nothing major.  But upon further inspection I noticed that her right hind fetlock was puffy.  No heat or evidence of a cut or puncture.......She seemed to be walking fine so I decided to lunge her to see if the swelling went down and /or if there was any stiffness or lameness involved.  While all seemed fine as far as movement, the swelling did not reduce much so I decided not to push the issue and just worked lightly followed by some lateral work in hand. (I am practicing for the SRS workshop that I hope to do!).  Actually I find that work in hand is quite useful when done correctly adding to the training exercises.
When I put Nikki back in her stall after cooling down and grooming she did not seem quite right to me. Although interested in treats she did not appear to be interested in the hay in her stall, moving it around to various places.  It is not uncommon for her to move the hay pile away from her feed tub and closer to the water buckets for easier dunking access. But something seemed different.  Then she lifted her upper lip a couple of times which can be a symptom of belly discomfort.  As I groomed Suki I kept going back to Nikki's stall.  She did not seem to be in any distress, just resting in her stall which is something she does after being out.  The lip went up again.  I checked for gut sounds and all seemed                                                                                                                                                                                    normal.  By the time I had finished with Suki Nikki was nibbling at her hay a little, appearing comfortable and relaxed.  As I was preparing to leave C arrived so I asked her opinion as well.  She agreed that Nikki was fine.     Cooking dinner my mind kept wandering back to Nikki's behavior.  So later that evening I made a quick trip to the barn for another check.  She was fine, but I felt better having had a last look for the night.  The big pile of manure in the back of the stall made me feel better as well!

Monday, May 27, 2013
Another quick check on Nikki at 7 AM and all seemed fine except for the RH that had stocked up again.  Both Suki and Nikki had shavings in their manes and tales so I knew that they had a restful night.  There weren't any signs in Nikk's stall that she had been doing anything out of the ordinary.  Nikki came out of her stall fine but instead of riding at that time I thought it best to let the girls go out for a few hours returning to ride later.      
After spending the day outside the girls were happy to come in.  Both were fine and Nikki worked well, but I did a light ride just to be sure.

The heat is expected to return by the end of the week so turnout will be switched to days inside, nights outside.  Every year when we do the switch my initial thought is the irony of Suki going out over night.  If only that had been the case the night of the fire.  I don't dwell on it, but the thought creeps in once or twice during summer turnout.

But we just keep moving forward with new goals and wonderful life experiences, enjoying each day knowing how quickly everything can change.                                    


  1. Found you through Hay-Net, such an incredible and inspiring story! Thank you for sharing your journey

    1. Hi Corinna. Thank you. I am so glad you are enjoying the blog. Experiencing the fire and Suki's recovery has taught me to make the most out of life. She is such a funny mare with a big personality. I hope you continue to read the blog as I will be starting long line work with a surcingle and I think it will be challenging but entertaining.