Sunday, September 20, 2015

Suki's wound is healing nicely, and RIP Ripley

While putting gas in my car today I saw that the adjacent cornfield had been chopped down and the mountains in the background were beginning to take on a different color.  Autumn on its way.  Though you wouldn't know it from the steamy weather we are currently experiencing!

9 September 2015
Suki and Nikki worked well this morning but I did shorten their sessions given the humidity.  I started with Suki, leaving a much confused Nikki standing in her stall!  She started nickering to Suki as we passed by her stall on our way out of the arena.  As I was closing the gate of the arena Nikki gave one more call, followed by V who was still out in her pasture.  Suki answered back before I could tell her not too, then ll of the girls settled down.  Nikki likely eating hay, V grazing near the fence and Suki got on with her work.

The wound on Suki's back is healing nicely, but still not quite ready for a saddle pad and surcingle.  So we continue to work in just the bridle lunging and doing work in hand.  We need to keep the training moving forward and continue increase fitness and muscle tone.  Suki seems to enjoy having a job so I know it is beneficial to her mentally as well.  Hopefully this will be a short setback and I will be back in the saddle in a few weeks.  But until then we will continue to work on steering (from the ground), transitions and in hand lateral work.

Since it was already quite humid I lunged Nikki for only a few minutes to let her stretch before I got on.  She worked well through transitions and after a few medium trots I let her stretch down and finish.  Both girls needed showers after that (as did I!), before happily settling into their stalls for the day cooling in front of their fans.

10 September 2015
I managed to get a quick work in with the girls this morning before the rain.  Tomorrow it is supposed to still be raining in the morning so we won't get to do anything in my available time frame.  With heavy rain predicted over night they will have to stay in because of Suki's bandage.  That will make for some grumpy mares by morning!

Wound looking better!

12 September 2015
I guess the cool air agrees with Suki and Nikki!  53F this morning when I arrived at the barn.  Nikki had a huge spring in her step which I promptly used to my advantage.  Another instance when shoulder in and half pass in my bad direction are corrected by the good energy and ease of movement off my leg.  I had a bit of a yahoo moment when I asked for a canter lengthening, but Nikki actually came back pretty readily with just a slightly stronger half halt!

Suki called to anyone who would listen on our way out to the arena and started her lunging session with a few head twirlies before settling down to work.  But then it was brilliant!  Tons of suspension and great lengthening and shortening of stride.  I would have loved to have been riding that!  The wound continues to heal and so far (knock on wood) it has not reopened.  The padded bandage is doing its job.  I am still able to get 2-3 days before having to change it.  It's such a difficult area for a bandage.  In addition I had been moisturizing that entire area so that created challenges for the first bandage.  Now I am careful to give the tape area a wide berth as I am moisturizing so the bandage will continue to stick.  This, of course, will require some "catch up" moisturizing once we are finished bandaging.  I can already see that it is becoming quite dry under the bandage adhesive.

15 September 2015
Temperatures and humidity are climbing this week, but mornings are still cool.  With the sun on the arena it warms up quickly and the biting flies seem to have multiplied!  But we get the work done then Suki and Nikki spend the day standing in front of their fans.  Such a hard life! I brought Isaiah with me to do my afternoon bandage check.  Suki must have liked the way his hair smelled.  She kept following him around her stall snuffling his head!  Then he went over to Nikki's stall and as soon as I opened her door she licked his face….TWICE!  so funny.

16 September 2015
Bandage change today.  Looks great!  Dr. Mike was right (of course!).  The skin is healthy now, not like when the burn was trying to heal.

19 September 2015
Once again Suki's bandage was in place after her night outside.  There were bits of grass stuck in the surcingle closures so I know there was some rolling going on!  When I removed the bandage it looked even better than last time!  I forgot to take a photo….  I could probably get away with putting a surcingle with saddle pad on at this point, but I don't want to rush anything.  She is still working, and this should be healed pretty soon, as long as the bandage continues to stay in place when she rolls.  Fingers crossed!  Suki and Nikki had some lovely work today, especially through the trot poles!

20 September 2015
We have had a bit of a rough morning.  For the past two weeks Michael and I have been taking turns sleeping in the family room with Ripley since the trip upstairs has become too difficult for him.  Michael was downstairs with him last night and came upstairs to wake me at around 3 AM.  Ripley had asked to go out but after going to the bathroom he became too tired and had to lie down.  We got him up and helped him walk in with a towel under his belly to help stabilize him.  We put him in his bed (tonight he couldn't get up on the couch) and his breathing was quite labored.  Just yesterday morning he was outside while Michael did some yard work.  During the past two weeks since we learned of his lung mass, he has actually done quite well on his meds.  Even counter surfing to get the cat food!  But Saturday afternoon he started to decline.  Quickly.  By evening we knew that Sunday we would probably have to take him to the vet to be euthanized.  But as we sat on the floor next to Ripley at 3 AM it was obvious that it would be cruel to wait until later in the morning.  Michael and I carried Ripley out to the car.  I covered him with blankets.  He seemed so cool to the touch.  Isaiah was awake now as well (had he not been I would have awakened him before Ripley went to the vet).  We said our goodbyes knowing that unlike two weeks ago, Ripley would not be coming home.  He fought the good fight, but it was time to let him go.  The cruelest of decisions to have to make (to those having to make that decision) but the kindest and best thing for Ripley.  So one month shy of his 13th birthday, our beloved Ripley is gone.

When Michael got home I went to the barn.  I lunged the girls and groomed them, happy to have a distraction.  But when I pulled into the garage I had to sit in the car for a moment.  As I stood in front of the door leading from the garage to the house I thought about how when I opened the door Ripley would not be coming to the door to greet me. So many reminders inside.  With tears streaming I turned the door knob.

Every day is a gift.
Ripley in the snow with Isaiah.  February 2015
Ripley and Bentley enjoying the afternoon sun

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