Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Darcy Saga

Well my OH and I have just returned from travelling a round trip of 1900kms (1186 miles) to see Darcy. It was a very interesting drive as we hadn't seen this part of Australia before so the landscape was interesting, very flat and not hugely fertile through the middle of the trip.

We arrived 30min early and the owner was already there. I was introduced to a dirty, paddock condition, wet, nervous horse. Darcy was tied up in a stable and could not stand still. He appeared quite on edge and nervous. The farrier was due that morning and still had not shown up. We were just starting to have a look and chat about him when the farrier turned up so we waited while two new shoes were fitted and the back hooves trimmed. His hooves were so long and the farrier commented that it had been 3 months since he was last shod!!!! His heels were very under slung, I wasn't impressed. He kept moving his leg that was being worked on for the farrier and certainly wasn't relaxed about the whole process.

Finally we were ready to saddle him up and see him move. When the tatty rug was taken off he certainly was in paddock condition. Not skinny just no muscle tone. The story had been changing a lot about how much work he was in and on Saturday afternoon they story was that the owner hadn't actually seen the horse for 3 weeks (he agists) though on the phone the weekend before he couldn't talk as he was taking the horse to Pony Club? I am not quick enough with my thought process to pick up on these things at the time so I couldn't question this.

Darcy was not impressed about having a bridle put on, threw his head a lot and once on kept chomping the bit. His teeth were badly over due and looked quite long. We headed out to the grass arena, the indoor was being used for a clinic. The weather was terrible. It was very, very cold, windy, raining and the chill factor I am guessing was about 3 degrees. The owner proceeded to lunge Darcy (I had been told that you could get straight on anytime, no working down required), he showed some acrobatics but nothing too bad and he showed me a lovely trot. I was finally starting to like what I was seeing.

I was asked to hold Darcy as the owner needed to go back to the stables to get his helmet. Darcy could not stand still. I kept backing him back away from me every time he stepped towards me but he was so on edge he wouldn't really listen to me and just could not stand still. The owner came back and somehow climbed on board. Off they walked around the arena. Darcy had a very high head carriage and took about a circuit to finally listen and drop his head carriage. He couldn't keep walking and started to jig jog so the owner let him trot on. The trot was tense but I still liked it. Rhythmical and even. You could see that Darcy wanted to speed up at times and was finding it hard to control himself. He finally let go, shied, ,lept and reared sideways. The owner bought him back to walk, walked around the arena and came up to me and said it was my turn! I was already very disappointed at how tense Darcy was and pretty sure he wouldn't be the horse for me but I didn't travel this far not to have a ride. I did question the owner on his temperament. One of the main reasons I came was because he was advertised as a Schoolmaster. The owner commented that he had never been like this before.

We adjusted the stirrup length and the owner held him still for him. I mounted, lasted all of about 10 seconds and dismounted. I felt like I was about to pelted to the ground. He terrified me! We thanked the owner and left. We started to head back on the 9 hour trip drive home. We hadn't even made it down the drive way and I burst into tears. I think from shear disappointment (I was sure he was going to be the one for me) and from the fear.

I have gone through a range of emotions, fear, sadness, questioning where I had gone wrong, whatever and anger. I have now moved on, I have a new list of questions to ask about the next horse before I even set my bottom down in my car!!!!! I guess it just wasn't meant to be!

On a good note I rode Sam today. He has had 2.5months off and went quite well. We even went over the road into the reserve where he showed me his acrobatics, but really he worked well considering it was cold, windy, a little rain and 2.5 months off!!!!! He was stiff and didn't stride out well but that will all improve with suppling exercises and work. I am looking forward to bringing him back into work. He seemed to hold up reasonably well with his lameness issue - it felt the same as before he was turned out so I guess that is a good sign!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sam's Home!

I received no phone calls last night from the vet so I took that as a good sign. The vet phoned me at 8.20am to let me know that Sam did well through the night and showed no more upset signs. He did want to take bloods to check his kidney and liver. I was happy for them to do any test that they thought necessary. I confirmed that Sam could stay the day and I would pick him up at 4.30pm.

Sam was sleeping when I arrived. He had eaten his breakfast but hadn't really touched his dinner. The vet was a little concerned and offered to keep him for another night. I said that he will more than likely be fine as Sam can be picky with his feed and I wasn't too concerned about this. His blood work was basically clear but his white cell count was slightly low which meant that he had a very slight infection somewhere in his gut. They still have no idea what or why this happened. I am just happy that it was all caught early. Once again I was told he was a star patient, very body loves him!

Sam seemed ever so slightly down when I lead him out but then he probably hadn't been walked out at all so he was probably a little stiff after being stabled for over 24hours. He loaded well and we headed home. About 10km's from home the car decided to loose power. I had forgotten to change the fuel tanks over! I called my OH and he came out and rescued us!. I was impressed with Sam as he stayed reasonably calm while we waited. Trucks and cars were flying past and he didn't batter an eyelid as long as I was standing with him. He called out a few times when I had to try and start the car but he settled again.

When we got home I let me out in the native pasture paddock with Poppy. He had a good walk around, didn't want to play even though Poppy tried to engage him. He started to pick at the grass and I watched him have a drink. I went back out 2.5hrs later to bring them in and feed up. He tucked into his hard feed nicely. I rugged him up as the temperature has dropped and I have left the gate open tonight so he can graze at his will. I will probably check on him through the night but I think we were lucky!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sam is having sleep over's

Poor little Sam is having sleep overs at the vet's tonight.

This morning I went out to put a rug on him as the rain started, he trotted back into his stable - precious can't get wet!!!! I rugged him up and offered him some hay - No Thank's Mum, so I made him his breakfast - No Thank's Mum. I wasn't hugely concerned at this stage as this isn't totally out of the norm for Sam. He is becoming picky with his feed. I left him and started cleaning the stables and yards but kept my eye on him. Over the next hour he sat down, lay down and stretched out 4 times. On the 4th sit down he started to look at his belly.

I rang the vet's and organised to take him straight in. They were ready and waiting for us when we arrived. Sam was a little bloated, with very little gut sounds. After an internal examination the vet found that his large intestine was sitting slightly lower than normal and had a very small twist. They put the tube up his nose and down into his stomach and poured some water in there. This was to help move anything if there was something blocking the way up further.

The vet wanted to keep him over night, just to observe him as he said Sam was at the point where it could all settle down or tip over the other way and twist further. I was more than happy to leave him there in their capable hands. It could also be a build up of gas! So we settled Sam into his stable. He has a friend next door to keep him company.

They will call if anything happens, otherwise I will hear from them in the morning and hopefully be able to pick him up after work tomorrow afternoon.

Poor little Sam but hopefully he will feel a lot better soon!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Go Little Poppy!

Tonight I put a roller on Poppy for the first time. She didn't even flinch just watched me tighten the girth. I think she has been broken to harness before.

Firstly I lunged her with it on so she would hear the rings on it cling and clang, also to get her listening to my voice commands.

I then attached a lunge line to each side. I ran them through the rings on the roller and attached them to her bit. She was brilliant. Stopping is still a little issue, just takes her a while and she is leaning into the bit. I just asked verbally and put light pressure on the bit in a give and take motion.

It wasn't long until we were trotting figure of 8's and even trotting over trot poles! Sam decided to join in by cantering around, rearing and kicking out - just trying to get us to play with him really and she ignored him and kept focused on her job!

What a good little pony!

Sam looked a little left out so I took him out to give him a quick lunge and to see how lame he is. I see a few strides every now and again of him either stepping short or actually limping when he is carrying on out in the paddock. We did some ground work, moving off pressure, which he did very well, he was excited to get out on the lunge and showed me just how acrobatic he can be. Such a clever boy. The left was his bad rein before being turned out and he wasn't showing signs of being 'worse' with his pedal osteitis so I think he will be able to come back into work quite well. Arena work will be kept to a minimum but it was good to see.

I have been looking into transport companies for if I buy Darcy. So far I like the look of Southern Cross Horse Transport. I have asked for a quote, just so I know what I would be up for. I have also started to look at different equine vets located near him so I can organise a vet check quickly. I really hope Darcy is the one.