The Iron Paint Goes Down

Be forewarned…profanity ahead…don’t say I didn’t warn you, ‘kay?

I call my Girl many things…she’s Cookie, she’s a Miserable Cow, she’s my Dork, my sweet chicken livered Dolly, my Heart Horse…she’s also my Iron Paint. By that I mean, she has never been sick, hooves aside, she’s always healthy, and I can count the number of injuries (not bug related) I’ve had to treat on her on exactly 1 finger…
She is as low maintenance, health wise, that a horse can be.

Early yesterday morning I went out with the camera to take some shots of her lying (and rolling) in the grass. I get great shots in the morning light of the Girls, and figured this was another chance to showcase my Sweetie’s beauty.

Iron Paint1
Iron Paint2
Iron Paint3
Iron Paint4
Iron Paint5
Iron Paint6
The whole time I took these, I was sure I was photographing a happy (aside from bugs) horse. Turns out, I was wrong. Very wrong.

I had to go back up to the house to get Daphne out of the cats food, and went in to grab a coffee. When I looked out the front window, I saw not only was Cookie down again, in a different spot, but she was rolling again. Odd.
Out I went to check on her…and then, I saw the droopy donkey ears, the tense looking belly, the all-over sheen of sweat and oh my…the Elvis lip.
Shit…oh motherfucking shit.
My heart hit the ground, because I knew…I just fucking knew, what I was dealing with. And, it scared me to the ends of the Earth.
That one thing that new mothers and horse owners fear at all times…

Colic

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck…

First stop, call the vet, because a. it’s Cookie, and um, I don’t know how to get her through and b. rolling. Oh, Goddess, rolling.
Rolling is bad.
Really, really, really bad.
It twists guts, which can lead to death.
Vet was busy, but would be on his way ASAP, and, in the meantime, I did what I do with Sable. I deal with this with Sable far more often than I like, but, at least I know what to do with her. So, transfer those skills to the Madam…

Lead rope on her was a bust…she turned into a psycho horse. Rearing, bucking, cantering around me in circles, trying to run over me…okay, lead rope off, because stressing her more wasn’t going to work. And down she goes…into her back I went, knee braced into her withers, talking the whole time…and I start the back rub that always helps Sable. At this point, I’m not hearing her guts working…this is so fucking bad…but I’m hoping it’s because my stethoscope is shit (note to self, spend the $$$ on a good stethoscope!), not because there really is no gut sounds…

When I say gut sounds, I mean, at any given time, you should be able to hear a horse’s digestive system working. Much like we have growly tummies when we’re hungry, that’s what a good working gut sounds like. It’s not because they’re hungry, it’s because their digestive system is working on the food they ate.

No sounds means things are not working…now, it could be a gas bubble holding things up. If that was the case, what I was doing could help stimulate things enough to shift it and move things along. Or, worse…so much fucking worse, it could be an impaction.
A blockage.
The thought scared me, because that’s a guaranteed vet visit and not a guaranteed recovery.

But I wasn’t going to dwell on that thought, because, like I kept telling her…she was going to be okay. Mama said so, and when Mama says you’re going to be okay, you’re just going to be okay. No choice.
We spent the next couple hours with her getting up, turning around, and laying back down…I rubbed her back (palms along her spine, my whole weight bearing down on her), and pushing the pressure point in her mouth. The pain was easing, I knew, because her nostrils weren’t flaring as bad, ears were not as droopy…but she was still hurting.
The vet made it out, she was still down, he listened to her stomach and found he could hear her gut working.
Thank Goddess!!!
Stupid shit stethoscope.
He gave her a shot of banamine, and with discussion and a stern admonition to call him ASAP if anything changed for the worse, he went onto his next call.

During the next couple hours, things were more of the same…she managed to get herself cast against a straw bale, where the Kid and I had to roll her by hand…oh, and stupid fucking idiot at one point lay too close to the white fence, rolled, and got a back leg caught in the fence. I thought she was going to break her leg…the last thing I ever want to have to do is shoot my horse because she broke her leg. Holy shit did I yell at her when she managed to untangle herself and get up. Stupid, stupid horse.
Thankfully, all she has is a scrape on her inner thigh from the fence. Idiot. She has no idea how lucky she is…

Finally, the Kid and I got her settled down over by the shelter. She layed down again, but without trying to roll. So, we let her. She was exhausted, and it wasn’t long before she was flat-out, asleep. In a moment of sheer stupidity (because I can’t get out of her way fast enough if she goes to roll or get up), I sat down next to her, and rubbed her ears. All I could think was “I know one day you’re going to break my heart. Today. Is. Not. That. Day.”
I laid on her side, listening, hoping I could hear those magical, beautiful sounds, and I swear, the first growly sounds I heard, I burst into tears…and then…the tail lifted and out came this teeny tiny tootling.
Oh. My. God(dess).
Nothing has ever smelled so horrible, and yet so wonderful!

By this time, Ruby and Astrid had gone past us, into the shelter. My Girl decided enough of this outside shit, she was getting up and going inside! She heaved herself up, and walked straight into that shelter, with a tail swish that just dared me to try to stop her. She pushed in between Ruby and Astrid and stood there…at one point she tried to go down, but Ruby bit her. There’s not enough room for her to lie down, with anyone else in there, and Ruby was not leaving. The message was clear…”Stand or get out!”

That’s when I looked at the Kid and said “I need a coffee…let’s go have coffee.”

From there we went to checks every half hour, updating everyone who needed it as we went. By 3ish, I was cautiously optimistic that she was through the worst of it. By the time Hubby got home after 5, she was out in the pasture with everyone else, nibbling and being herself…a tired, far more cranky version of herself, but herself.
And finally, the jackpot…that beautiful tail came up and out came the manure…
While I sat on the deck, with my coffee, covered in mud and shit and blood from slapping horseflies off her, thanking every single Deity I believe in for not taking her from me.
❀

Such a beautiful picture...if I can ignore the fact that she's colicking.

Such a beautiful picture…if I can ignore the fact that she’s colicking.

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Oh Sable!

Sable is our weather girl. By that I mean, if the weather is bouncing around temperature and pressure wise, I know to keep an eye on her. It is inevitable, if the atmospheric pressure is wonky, Sable’sΒ  tummy will go wonky too.

I watch for those little signs of equine tummy upset…pawing (she’s not a pawer, so when I see it, I know, tummy is going off), excessive flehmen response or a twitchy upper lip, pacing or walking in circles, turning to look at or bite at her sides, and cranky llama ears. It’s little things, things that most folks wouldn’t notice, if they didn’t know her. We are blessed to have our girls at home, so I watch for these things.

Friday was one of those days. It started with her pacing a large circle, with her head swinging in to look at her right side. I saw it from the living room window, and knew I had to get my butt outside.

When I got out there, she was lying down. Not in distress, but just lying. So I didn’t make her get up, but she did get up as I climbed the fence. She came to me, with that upper lip twitching. Oh boy, I knew I had to get on this fast, or we’d be facing a full-blown colic episode.

I keep the vet’s phone # on speed dial, both in my cell phone and on the house phone. So, a quick call, some advice, and an admonition to call him back and let him know this time! Last time this happened, I was told to walk her for 1/2 hour, and let him know if things got worse-he was more than 45 minutes out from us on another call anyways, so, I had to handle the situation until he could get to us. Well, in the half hour, she dropped a whole lot of manure, and released (what smelled like) a metric tonne of gas! So I didn’t call him back, because we didn’t need him to come out. Apparently, I was supposed to. Okay then. Now I know.

In the time I was on the phone, Sable laid down again. I left her lying, and set about to giving her a back massage. I know full well, I massage her back, and the gas typically works its way out. Boy howdy, did it! Whew. Thank goodness we were outside, because wowzers, the stink! LOL! But, typical horse owner with a horse with a tetchy tummy, I celebrated the fart. πŸ˜›

Oh and did she relaxed once that fart came out! That was a good sign. She dropped her head down onto the ground and dozed. It’s hard on a girl, to have an upset tummy, and it takes a lot of energy out of you. Especially when you can’t burp the gas out, and have to wait for it to come out the other end.

I continued to rub her back while she dozed…once I was hearing snores, I took a few pictures.

Oh, sleepy girl!

Oh, sleepy girl!

You’d never know she wasn’t feeling 100% here. Once some of the gas pressure released, she definitely felt much better.

"Stop taking my picture when I don't feel good!"

“Stop taking my picture when I don’t feel good!”

Stretching...

Stretching…

You can see her belly is wet here…when I first came out I thought it was sweat, but no. It was from her lying in the snow. I had some cloth mitts in my pockets, so that once she got up, I could dry her belly a bit.

She got up shortly after this, and I resumed her back massage. I also tried to push the pressure point in her mouth, but she wasn’t having that. That’s something I have to work on with her more. Ever since her last deworming, she’s been mouth shy. I can’t blame her, the dewormer is yucky, yucky stuff. However, if I need in that mouth, I don’t want her flinging her head up to stop me. I can’t have that. Which means the syringe of apple sauce comes out…have to show her that it’s not always the yucky stuff when Mama wants into her mouth. πŸ™‚

It wasn’t long after that when The Kid came home from school. She grabbedΒ  Sable’s halter and lead rope and took her for a walk…

walkingWe knew Blonde Girl was going to be just fine when she lifted her tail and dropped a huge pile of manure. Kid walked her for a while longer, and once we saw no more signs of tummy upset, we let her off halter and she ambled away. We spent the evening and night checking on her, and as the weather settled down again, she was fine. Thank goodness!

Back Again!

Well now, I did it again, didn’t I?
πŸ™‚
It’s been a hectic time, since I posted last…

~ I went off coffee for 7 days. Yup, 100% off all caffeine. I have pictures to show you why.
~ Our Blonde Girl had a colic day. Not a good time for anyone. More coming about that in a bit.
~ I cut 75% of the waist-high (and growing) grass. I really want to get a farm gate built across our driveway, so I can let the Girls out to graze. Instead of having to use a lawnmower for grass control. We’d have that done already, if it wasn’t for the rain. Every weekend. It’s getting a bit ridiculous. But, we’ll get it done, as soon as we can.

First up, some pictures to share…for Mother’s Day, The Kid bought me a geranium plant. Her school has a greenhouse (I know!!) that sells plants to students and is self-sustaining. How freakin’ cool is that?!?

Anyways, this plant has decided to flower. It was really neat watching it progress, and we all know, there’s a photo shoot in everything. πŸ™‚

This is how the flowering started...

This is how the flowering started…

I thought this was fascinating...

I thought this was fascinating…

Geranium3

Of course, this called for a few macro shots…this is the best one.

This is how it looked when all the flowers opened.

This is how it looked when all the flowers opened.

Now it’s sitting in my kitchen window, new leaves are forming, and in the very center, it looks like another flower stem is coming too.

Next up, Sable.

Kid has been working on ground work with her. Lunging, reminding her of personal space, walking on the halter…all basics that need to be worked, reworked, and reinforced from time to time. It’s good for The Kid, and good for Sable. Consistency is always key, to keeping a well-trained horse well-trained.

Walking a circle on the lunge line.

Walking a circle on the lunge line.

Sable’s biggest problem with working on the lunge line is she’s a pocket pony. She wants to always be beside her human. That’s fine, when she’s given permission to be there, but, not fine, when she’s supposed to stay outside the human personal space. It’s a challenge, sometimes, to remind her of personal space, but it’s 100% necessary. She’s roughly 1200lbs, she has to respect human personal space. I know this is sounding kinda cold and mean, but it’s not. We love her dearly, but, if we say “Back out of my space” it has to be done. We are the leaders, and she has to trust and respect us enough to follow us, no matter what. That’s part of what makes a well-trained horse well-trained.

In this picture, she’s doing very well…she has her ear towards The Kid, and her eye is on her too, watching for cues. The lunge line isn’t tight, but it’s not dragging either.

I also like to include desensitizing in any working session. Mostly because with Cookie, there is a lot of desensitizing that needs doing, but, I also like to do it with all 4 of the Girls. Here’s an example of desensitizing with Sable…

Oh, you want me to wear your hat?

Oh, you want me to wear your hat?

I can’t do this with Cookie.

1. Hats are scary.
2. Hats might kill her and eat her.
3. Hats are scary.
However, seeing Sable (and Astrid) wearing them, Cookie is now willing to sniff my hat. Helps that it smells like me, but there isn’t the instant “Oh shit!! Run!!” reaction all the time now. I have even managed to oil Cookie’s hooves while wearing my hat.

So, even when it looks like the desensitizing is only being done on one horse, trust me, the other 3 are watching and learning that what I’m doing isn’t scary. Cameras used to be terrifying to paints. Now, they both come to see it, and pose. It all comes in time, with patience. πŸ™‚

Now, for the colic episode…

The day after ^^^^ that session, Kid worked with Sable again. She groomed, tacked, fly sprayed, and with the final girth tightening(always do it in stages, never tight all at once. It’s hard on the horse.), Sable’s mood went downhill fast. She groaned and grumbled, and wouldn’t stand still. She pawed with her front hoof, and danced. All stuff that’s out of character for her. I thought, perhaps she was grumpy due to weather, and didn’t want to work. I was wrong. I told Kid to walk her for a bit, and see how she was. Kid walked her about 30 feet away and Sable went down. She just folded her legs and laid right down, saddle and all.

Yikes!!!

Out of character, and no good! If she rolled, she’d destroy the saddle, and hurt herself. I had Astrid haltered and tied, because I was grooming and fly spraying her, so I just unclipped Little Girl’s halter, sent her off and ran over to The Kid and Sable. I pushed and rocked Big Girl, while Kid undid the girth and got the saddle off. Sable made no move to get up. Just heaved a huge sigh. So, we pushed and yelled, and smacked her over and over to get her up. I’m sure anyone driving by would have thought we were beating her. Nope, just had to get her up. Again, 1200lbs. We needed her to trust, and respect us, enough to do as we said…and that was “Get the eff up!!”

Finally, she heaved herself up, and stood with her head low, cranky llama ears showing.

Oh oh.

That means upset tummy. So, bridle off, halter on, Kid starts moving her, and I’m hitting pressure points. In her mouth, the BL25 and BL27 on her back/rump. When I hit the one in her mouth, she let some gas out…Great sign! Not a big fart, but a small one. It’s great because then, I know, it’s not impaction colic <—-that means a blockage, and oh that’s bad!

So, with a fart, I know, we’re dealing with flatulent, or spasmodic colic. Once the fart happened, I got The Kid to walk her continuous, while I went and called the vet. While I had him on the line, explaining the situation, Sable pooped.

Yay!!

See, owning horses is so glamorous, we celebrate farts and poop. LOL! Really, we do. πŸ˜‰

The vet advised to continue walking, and monitor. If she showed no sign of improvement, call him back and he’ll head out. I love this vet team…he says “If I don’t hear from you, I know your mare is fine.”

And it’s true…she was. We walked her for the half hour, I hit the pressure points repeatedly. By the time the half hour was up, Sable knew exactly what I was doing in her mouth, and she would raise her top lip for my thumb to go in, and step into the pressure. Finally, we got the longest, loudest, stinkiest fart out of her. Yegawds, it was nasty, but the most amazing thing I had heard, and smelled, all day. Shortly after, she dropped another, much larger, pile of manure. Then, it was like a switch had flipped and she was fine. We walked her around the pasture to where the other 3 had gone, I rubbed her back, her legs, and her tummy a bit, and when she dozed off under my hands, we knew, she was going to be just fine. Kid popped her halter off, and we just let her doze, breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Any idea how badly I wanted to go in and have a pot of coffee?!? LOL!
Wasn’t an option…and now, I’ll show you why. First, the inspirational image..

Princess Cookie 20%This was taken Boxing Day, just over a month after they came Home. Heck, Ruby still has burrs in her forelock!

^^^That picture was transformed into this…

cookie tattoo

Fresh, just finished.

And why I couldn’t have caffeine for a week. This was done on the 11th, so I had to quit caffeine a week prior…I bleed and swell like mad, making the work go so much slower. Frustrating for me, because it’s more painful, and frustrating for the artist because she can’t work as long on me.

In case anyone is interested, the artist we (Hubby and I) choose to work on us, is the amazing, wonderful and insanely talented, Ivy Gowen, of Metamorphosis.

This picture is from earlier this morning…

Starting the ugly phase of healing..I'm so, so happy with it. Squee! I can't wait 'til it's healed!

Starting the ugly phase of healing..I’m so, so happy with it. Squee! I can’t wait ’til it’s healed!

Finally, to end this post, I have a fun picture for you…

When your back is itchy, roll and roll and roll and roll.

When your back is itchy, roll and roll and roll and roll. πŸ™‚

The great thing, when I look at this, is I see the cracks in her hooves are growing out. When she came home, they were right up to the coronet, and now, they are not. Tells me, I’m doing something right, with this big goof’s care. Having a super patient, and awesome, hoof trimmer helps. A. Lot!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The plan now, is to get back into posting as much as possible. I apologize for the long times in between. Life happens, and sometimes, all we can do is deal. Well, I’m going to be more diligent in sharing our life with all y’all.

Besides, this is post # 97, and at #100, the farm logo will be revealed. With a giveaway, so stay tuned!!
πŸ˜€