Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kit Gets a Trim

Tried a new trimmer today, one I was lead to nearly a year ago, when I didn't have a horse.  Something lead me to seek her out, and after a long phone conversation, I decided to give her a try.  So very glad I did.

Monica Meer The Natural Hoof uses a Holistic approach to horse care and is also an equine dentist!!  She is very knowledgeable and has been trimming feet for 11+ years.  Kit will need his first dental this spring &  I'm very pleased with today's trim, so I'm glad I gave Monica a try.
Kit gets some bodywork prior to his trim appointment.  Got him groomed and feet picked, but thought a bodywork session would help to calm him for the process.  It did help.

Unfortunately, Kit also broke the camera after just a handful of not so great shots using the timer.  So no photos of the trim.  I'll try to get some in the next few days to post. But he was a happy camper after his hoofs were looking good again. I think he goes back to the pasture and brags to all the other horses..."look at my spiffy feet...and oh, don't I feel good after a bodywork and grooming."  Not bragging...just saying...with a twinkle in his eyes.

His relapse we had in November, turned out to be an abscess, that Monica found. It has healed well and is not a concern now, but important to note and keep an eye out for future.  There is so much to know about feet!  Guess I'll be doing some (MORE) reading.
We tried various ways to get Kit to allow his left front to be lifted and worked on. What finally worked was Monica asked me to lift it, as Kit trusted me, and once I got it up and held firmly, she could slip in and work on it.   I proceeded to lift one front and then the other, starting with the right. This was to just help Kit to understand what I intended to do.  That and that I would give his foot back and not hold it too long.  After doing this several times, I held the left and this allowed Monica to work.  We repeated this numerous times, with a great outcome, and 4 finished feet!

The only negative of the day was I got a good knee to the jaw at one point in the lifting process.  Which just told me I was pushing too hard and needed to back up. Which...once my eyes stopped watering...I did.  Happy to say patience and pressure points were much more effective in the requesting.  Got to remember that for next time!  Nothing broken, but I have a fat lip, tiny chip to 1 tooth, and suspect I may be a bit sore tomorrow.  Lesson learned! 

The Horsewoman's unknown

Dearest God in Heaven,
Give me the strength to guide my horse, make my hands soft and my head clear. Let my horse understand me and I him.

My heart you have blessed with a special love of these animals- let me never lose sight of it. My soul you have gifted with a deep need for them, let that need never lessen. Always let my breath catch as the sun gleams on an elegant head. Always may my throat tighten at the sound of a gentle nicker.

Let the scent of fresh hay and a new bag of grain always be sweet to me.
Let the warm touch of a soft nose on my hand always bring a smile.
I adore the joy of a warm day on the farm. The grace and splendor of a running horse, the thunder of it's hooves, makes my eyes burn and my heart soar, let it always be so.

Dearest God,
Grant me patience, for horses are harnessed wind and wind can be flighty.
Let me not frighten or harm then, instead show me ways to understand them. When I pass from this world, send my soul to no Heaven without them, for this love you have given me graces my existence and I shall cherish it, and praise You for it, for all time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wisconsin Equine Clinic - Oconomowoc, WI

Well as promised, a few images of the clinic, which Dr. Jane Jardin DVM was kind enough to give us a tour of when we were there on Oct 13, 2011.
This is a very sedated Kit with Vet assistant (I'm sorry I don't know her name but she was wonderful), this area is a large open room with ultra sound imaging equipment, computer, and treatment equipment of various sorts. 

You can see the surgical room and the pre & post op padded room on the left upper corner.   The sled (that long grey thing low to the floor) is mounted on "railroad" type tracks and slides into surgery from a large and completely padded room, where the horse is sedated and also where they "come around".  When in the room the sled is completely level with the floor to prevent injury. 
Dr. Jane Jardin, DVM shows us the surgery and explains how she equipment is used. Note the black hoses, hanging from the ceiling in the upper photo, these are for respiration during surgery. 

Clear hoses on the left back wall are various sizes to fit various trachea, again for respiration, the black hose attaches to the clear hose once in place. Equipment for various surgeries and to monitor the patients while surgery is being performed. I did not get a shot of it, but the ceiling was a collection of pulleys and ropes to hold and move large sedated legs into place.  
Recovery stalls...large and roomy. 
Intensive care stalls, monitored 24x7 with a nurses station type desk directly across the isle. Dr. Jardin explained that often the patients being monitored are foals. The open grill work allow for safety and full view of the patient.  
Arena between the surgical - health side of the clinic and the reproductive wing. 
This arena is used to do gait analysis among other things.  
Reproductive wing, my right is the laboratory, to my left is the conception area for artificial insemination. 
The conception area...Baby making!  This unit holds the mare for IE transfer.  
The laboratory where the magic happens, those containers in the rear on the floor, are freezers where semen is held. Some semen is over 20 year old, and still awaiting the right mare, to bring an off spring from a stud who has passed on physically, but still has genes to pass on.  
This was really amazing, this is a lead lined room for the MRI process.  That blue U-shaped thing, is the MRI, it can be rotated (as it is here) to image a leg of a sedated horse, laying on its side, or turned to semi-surround a standing leg.  The most critical aspect of the MRI is that the horse can NOT move.
With this caliber of technology it explains why some tests cost so much. It really impressed me that this clinic was willing to invest in the technology to find answers to many equine health questions. 
Thank you Dr. Jane Jardin, DVM for you time and enthusiasm in showing us the clinic. 
Also for yours and Dr. Langer, DVM, and the professional insight and attention you gave to Kit.  
Oconomowoc, WI 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Special Afternoon with Kit

Went to the barn to video tape some bodywork steps for teaching aides.  Well, camera problems were numerous, as was the mud, but the afternoon was beautiful for the first week of January. Temps hit the 40's and sunshine abounded.

Never did get any good video, and we had 6 horses volunteering.  The horses were great, it was the equipment that failed us.  So this will be a first, a photo free blog...but I just had to share a couple of things.

First, I thought I'd use a lighter colored horse this time, as the sorrels don't show my hand placement as well. So I rounded up, I mean I asked for a volunteer, and 2 literally stepped forward.  I took Mandy, an older gelding the color of sand.  He did just great, giving tremendous releases, and cooperating all the way.

Now the funny part.  I'm flexing his neck, when I sense another horse coming up behind me, and it turns out to be Opie.  Opie was my video "star" last weekend.  First Opie, gives Mandy a nice nose sniff and rub hello...walking right in front of the cameraman.  I stop and move him away...beginning again.

We are filming and making good progress, when who should come behind me again!  Well this time, he looks over my shoulder, sees me flexing and releasing his friend, and then proceeds to take my sweatshirt hood in his teeth and tries to pull me away!

I really think Opie  wanted to be the demo horse again!

The second big event of the day was KIT.  As I left the small paddock we were trying to film in, who should I see standing across the enclosure, his eyes riveted on ME.  As I entered with his herd mate, he nickered soft and low...again at me.  I turned Mandy loose and as he walked over to Kit, I saw Kit inspect and sniff his neck...the area I was working.  Once he finished he turned and walked over to me as if to're my person, what are you doing with that other horse?

So I reassured him that I was in fact his person, and we headed to the small turn out to be alone, brush in hand.  I got his coat "sort of" brushed off, well, at least the first layer of dirt! Then I began to do bodywork on him.

You have to understand the significance here, I have not been able to do most of the techniques on Kit, as they are too much for him, with the broken shoulder.  I've been working within strict limitations and have had to find new and inventive, which has been an amazing learning experience, but I still wished to do more for him.

I began with lateral cervical flexion, working slowly and gently, vertebra by vertebra.  He released a great deal of tension and at times I could actually feel the muscles jump and release under my fingertips.  The side of the injury was much more difficult for him, with huge releases, but only after dramatic head swinging and walking.

The work progressed with pressure point releases throughout his body, massage to his back, and lumbar spine.  He allowed all 4 legs to be worked and massaged...a FIRST. He even permitted me to raise, massage and place his left front, this is the support leg, since the right shoulder was broken last spring.  This was huge for him and for me it was a testament of his trust and his healing.  I was overjoyed.

Over an hour later, with the sun and temperatures setting, we agreed we were done.  He'd had a full bodywork and tremendous release throughout his body.  His releases ranged from licking & chewing, yawning, shaking, and stomping his legs involuntary.  When I moved him back to the herd, he barely walked through the gate, standing..."in the zone"...gave a big out breath followed by a huge full body shake.  I knew he felt good...and so did I!

He then followed me to the gate to say good-bye...what a great evening for us both!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jan 1, 2011

Headed to the barn for the start of 2012.  Checking on Kit and worming today. As I drove up, here he was with his buddy (near twin) Oakley, both butts to the wind...matched set.

Kit is on the left.  But as soon as he saw it was me...this was my next shot. 
Hi ya, Moms!  
What a great feeling to know he knows me and wants to be with me.  
I took apples slices and carrots along, but not this guy, he just does not eat them.  No worries the other members of his herd (totally 5) were all happy to step up and eat what he would not touch. 
"Hey Kit...ah, gonna eat that?" 

Not a scrap was left.  Happy horses abounded.  

Good progress yesterday shooting video instructions. But then hubby, Skip got a bit of me working on Kit. Got a good poll & pressure point release of the shoulder...he still has trouble with this, due to the shoulder injury...yes the restriction of the injury does manifest in his poll and neck.  He tends to push the "work" from the shoulder into his neck and opposite shoulder.  When he gets trimmed by the farrier, he pushes his entire front weight into his head and neck...which he rests on my shoulder.  Happy to help buddy...but really glad the farrier is quick. 

Well the time to leave came quickly, as I could not feel my fingers, but Kit was ok with the short visit...not too thrilled with the wormer...said it tasted funny, and stuck to the roof of his mouth.  Had to get a big ol drink of water to get it down...and go eat some hay to kill the taste. 

 Bye Kit!
  Uh, yeah, bye bye Moms!