Friday, June 5, 2015

Fresh Start for 2015

Christmas 2014 Selfie
Hellooooo Blog-o-sphere! Long time no see! I realize it has been over a year since I gave this space any love at all. I'm about to change that :)

Bennifer had a pretty quiet year of some R&R. We left off in 2014 just having had nose-weener removal surgery. Everything went swimmingly, and Ben was discharged from the horse-pital in a week. He then spent a few months with a good friend of mine at her retirement facility - just chillaxin' and breaking the irrigation spouts...then getting scared of the new fountain of water he created and running back into the barn. Fun times, Ben, fun times.
Welcome home, Bud!

In August he returned to the West Side and we did a lot of tooling around for the rest of the summer due to my crazy personal life situation. I quickly realized, however, that Ben had some "issues" we needed to work out. Stiff, tin-man-without-the-oil like, maybe even a bit hitchy (you may recall that I had suspected something wasn't quite right the winter prior - which we ended up doing nothing about because we found the nose-weener, which needed to be addressed first). Turns out a tincture of time didn't really do much for our boy. So our vet came out gave him his once-over (teeth, vaccs, sheath, and basic lameness eval). Seriously, this is equivalent to your car's 60k tuneup. What we found was that he was equally sore/off in BOTH stifles, and an old/cold/high suspensory injury on the right front. Would totally explain the right-front-short-stride thing that was happening the year prior. Basically, we were thinking that being out of work and under condition - Ben's stifle issues are more visible, and they exacerbate the loading of the front end, which then sets off inflammation on that old injury on the right front. So, the prescription was: bute for the bad days, pentosan, and most importantly: long, slow conditioning - lots of walk, straight trots... you know, strengthen that hind end. The goal was to get his back end strong again, enough to support and alleviate that front end.

So we had our plan for fall/winter. Lots of walking, Small trot sets. More walking. It was slow, and boring.

Then we met a friend - a gal who started taking lessons with a trainer at the barn. She had asked me if I had an extra horse for her to ride, so she could get more saddle time in addition to her lessons. Why yes, yes I do. He's tall, dark, handsome, and safe, and needs more slow rides than I can offer. So with her help, between the two of us, Ben started to get more of the exercise he needed.

New friends :)

The conditioning, combined with the Pentosan, worked wonders. I've had to reach for the bute only a couple of times when we first began. Ben is now doing more and more trot, and even some canter again. His strength is coming back - he feels quite forward (amazing what happens when a horse can breathe), and energetic. He's ridden 3-4 times a week, and is getting lots and lots of turn out. He is even doing some dressage lessons again. Generally, I think we've found the perfect plan for him.

So, what's next? To be honest, I haven't really given it much thought.I didn't want to dream big and make tons of plans only to have my spirits crushed if he didn't/couldn't get sound again. I also have a super busy life outside of horses and the thought of tacking on more is just daunting. So right now I think the plan is to keep on keepin' on. There really is no need to rush anything. To that end, I'm not really sure how active this blog will be, but I hope to post at least a few more updates this year.

I hope all of you out there are having a fabulous 2015!