Thursday, January 31, 2013

Escaping on the 101, Fungus and other glories of mares.

This week The Boy and I managed to make use of an otherwise moderately wretched business trip and pop down the Pacific Coast for a bit.  Work took us from Seattle down to the very bottom of Oregon, but when we had a couple days to kill without any obligations, we shot out to the coast and in order to enjoy some scenic, nausea inducing drives on the 199 and 101.

I love the 101.  Not being super prone to car sickness I enjoy the oscillating curves and roller-coaster climbs & falls every 30 feet that bring some sad saps to their knees.  But that's ok with me.  Stay on the 5, and leave the twisty roads to the road trip nerds.  :)
Ahhh, Northern Cal..
 Anyway, it was a good few days to be away from the barn.  P2's scratches are JUST now coming under control (ugh) while P1's are stubbornly refusing to go anywhere (except farther up her limbs).

One of the perks of living in the PNW is that unless you lock your horse inside for 8 months every year, you learn how to deal with scratches.  You learn how to avoid them, how to treat them, how to brew home made salves that smell worse than the barn porta-potty and you even learn names for all the subtle variations of it's different forms.

Not to pat myself on my back, but I am usually pretty darn good at keeping scratches off my horses. I haven't had a horse really come down with scratches since high school and I've had some seriously nasty mud to deal with since then.

Until now.

Yes, the girls had mud in their pasture.  And yes, Pia especially did a magnificent job of always standing in the mud instead of out where it was dry and rocky.  But daaaaaamn they came on fast, aggressive and unrelenting.

I pulled out my big guns, legs clipped, legs soaked, picked, and scrubbed 3x daily, my vets favorite goo (Nu-Stock, I like it too), and my hair dryer installed in my tack locker to make sure that the skin got nice and dry every night after treatment. 

Going through the motions with two mares could take up to 3 hours.  No bueno, but necessary.

When The Boy and I headed South on Sunday, Prairie's legs were on the road to recovery, all the nasty oozing sores were gone and she just had a few small lingering scabs on her pasterns.  Totally controlled.

Pia's legs were no longer swelling but the skin was still inflamed, irritated and harboring a few big scabby patches.  She was also no longer interested in anyone touching them, leading to either needing an assistant to hold up one of her front legs to keep her still or the administration of a nice cocktail to calm her down. 

This was exactly when I sent the "omg, have fun with the girls, see you in 4 days!!!!" text to S.

(note: thank god for competent people who help out when crap like this is infecting your horse).

Four days, three sweats and nearly all of my ace later, Pia is finally looking better.  I'm hoping that her recent objections under saddle have been due to her discomfort from the scratches, but we'll see. 

My Vet is back out tomorrow to follow up on her bodywork from a few weeks ago so we'll poke extra hard and make sure no other old soft tissue issues are cropping up.. it's always something with this one....

Prairie also had a hard few days with S, but for different reasons.  My last ride on Saturday consisted of jumping two verticals in the indoor set on the diagonals so I could figure eight forever.  Prairie was super braced in her jaw and I had almost zero control of her shoulder which led to me pulling her around the (tight) turns and nearly dislocating my shoulder(s).

It took nearly the entire lesson for me to get the mare back on her haunch and steering from my legs and outside rein.  When we got it, it was great, but it was painful getting there...

I recognize that no one made me pull her with my inside rein, and that I engaged in that tug of war all on my own but OMG the mare made me want to scream and shout and fight. (note to self, work on patience)

The silver lining is that we worked it out, got some good loops, clean simple changes and the jumps themselves were all calm, balanced and easy. 

Anyway, after that ride, S had a few days to school the mare and they worked changes.  Hard.  They even hauled out to the other trainer we've been working with for an intensive work session focusing on Prairie's straightness in the canter and her bend.  Lots of half pass in.... switch the bend, half pass out (in counter canter), straighten, etc. 

Poor mare.  I bet she's tired.

I think that's the update.  Lesson today to try to transfer some of the tools from the field trip to yours truly, then a day off, hack on sat and out to a schooling day on Sunday.  We're going back to the same place we went a month ago ($25, set the jumps to what you want and school for 20 minutes...).  It was a good outing away from home for us and good to work some courses in a different environment.  Should be fun!


  1. Glad the mares are doing better. Hope you have a great lesson!

  2. Yay for the girls doing well!

    You were kinda in my beck of the woods! :)

  3. You've got to give this stuff a try... This has been the ONLY thing I've found success with in regards to scratches. The best part is you don't come away with that nasty shit clumped under your fingernails lol. You just squeeze it on w a sponge and leave it (its just like water- dries & you don't see it). The next day you come back w a curry comb and the fungus flakes away like dandruff! After a coupe treatments your clean as a whistle. Seriously i live by this stuff down here in our mud


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