Midway through April I knew that Tommy would not be rideable this year. This was shaping up to be our last year staying at the farm, and I really wanted to be able to ride around all the fields and trails one last time.
I knew that I didn't want to spend the money to board three horses beginning this December, so purchasing a third was out of the question. That left me with leasing. I sat down and wrote up a list of criteria I was looking for in a horse, and those issues that would disqualify him/her from being considered. Once I had everything hammered down I wrote up the following ad:
What I'm looking for:
Off site lease - at my farm. I'm ONLY interested in an off site lease. I'm sure your place is great. So is mine, and that's where I'd like to ride :) Seasonal lease through end of October or am willing to look at a shorter term lease.
Experienced trail horse that's been there and done that.
Road and traffic safe.
Fully trained - w/t/c or gait on cue
Must ride safely alone. I very rarely have a chance to ride with others.
An older horse is no problem.
Loads and Hauls easily enough that one person can handle it.
I'm looking for a horse that's the same whether I'm able to ride once a week or twice a month, my work schedule can get the better of me occasionally.
The horse needs to be capable of carrying an adult rider - 5'8 and 200lbs.
What I don't want: A horse that will be great with more work/training/riding. A horse that requires an experienced rider and/or consistent riding. A horse who is hot, flighty, spooky, or otherwise a pita. If his barn name is Loco, I probably don't want to ride him! No rearing, bucking, biting, or kicking. No age or soundness issues that requires pricey supplements (unless you're going to provide them), rehabilitation, or have riding restrictions placed on the horse.
I'm an experienced adult rider. I currently own two horses, one is 31 and retired and the other is on long term rehabilitation for an injury. I'd really love to be able to ride this spring/summer/fall, so I'm looking for a lease. I am a capable rider, but I am content to cruise along and enjoy the scenery, and have no desire to race madly about.
Your horse will have his own 2 acre grass pasture with a run in shed.
I am willing to pay a reasonable price for the lease depending on what you will provide; or we can work out a free lease situation where I would cover the daily care of the horse as well as routine farrier work.
I thought it was pretty well done if I do say so myself. Maybe not the friendliest ad out there, but I was hoping that horse owners would read it fully to see if their horse would be a good fit before responding. I surely didn't want to waste anyone's time; including my own.
I posted this on Craigslist, Dream Horse, Equine.com, and other sites I hoped would attract some interested parties. I had some interest all right! Boy. There are a lot of horse owners out there with ill mannered, young, untrained, and slightly dangerous horses that would love to pass them along so that I could trail ride the horse for them. I did also meet some lovely horse owners, and it was a pleasure to meet their "herds". I looked at quite a few, the majority of which I didn't even get on. Some because they were clearly not as described, and some because I knew my tack just would not fit them. As much as the tack ho in me protested, I just could not justify buying a saddle to fit a lease horse.
I finally had success on the Dayton Horse Owners group on Facebook. I was linked up with a lovely horse owner with a couple of extra horses. I went out to look at Pretty Boy and Echo, then Renee was kind enough to haul Echo to a local trail so that I could get first hand experience on how she reacted to real life obstacles.
We had a lovely time and we set up a date and time for me to come and sign the lease papers and take her home.
The entire month of May was an ongoing round of infection in Tommy's hoof. Normally I can get in front of it with an aggressive treatment plan, but this time it was just about impossible. We went through round after round of CleanTrax, partial/straight bleach soaks, and packing with antibiotics. Nothing was working though. Every day I'd take the wrap off and we'd still have smelly drainage. We tried leaving the wrap off to see if that would dry it up this time, but that didn't work either.
Finally we started a new antibiotic called Tucoprim, and that cleared it up. Temporarily.
The only piece of good news is that I can tell a difference with the Pergoglyde. It doesn't do anything for his hoof or ringbone, but he is not sweating excessively and covered with salt crystals the way he was in last summer's heat. It's a good thing too, because this summer has been a killer!
The horses were provided by Two Bit Stable at Cape San Blas. They were all very nice horses, and took us on a lovely ride along the beach. It was overcast and threatening to storm, but we were all happy. My horse liked to meander a bit slower...
He was holding up the rest of the line.
The beach was pretty, and the horses had no problems walking alongside the waves.
We did have a party crasher - this sucker was HUGE.
We made it to the end in time to get a few pictures, and then headed back to the cars just in time to avoid the first rain drops.
In Blog Time it's now April. In other good news I may have figured out why my mother is not longer subscribed to read my blog....it's BORING! Well, not to me, but possibly to every other person on the planet. So, in an effort to win Mom back I am posting some fun pictures of our annual April Evacuation to Florida. Hey Mamaw....here's some grandkid pictures!!
Just to catch you up (since I'm behind) - after the March 19th farrier appointment when Tom's last shoe was removed he had been ouchy walking out to the pasture. I attributed it to a combination of being freshly barefoot for the first time in months and walking across the gravel barnyard to get to the pasture.
It turns out I was W - R - O - N - G
Within 24 hours there was a ridge developing on the outside of his hoof; and I don't mean a delicate little wavy line. Over the next few days it grew larger and continued further around the side of his hoof towards the front. It also began on the inside of the hoof so that it was working from both sides forward, although that side did not start developing until the third day. He was also very obviously unsound. He didn't even want to go up for grass, instead preferring to stay in the small, flat area at the base of the hill.
Mark was out of town on a working vacation, so I called Dr. A's office to see what their opinion was. At the very least I wanted to get some Bute to make him a little more comfortable. When I explained what Tom was doing and what I was seeing they suggested I come in for new x-rays to make sure there wasn't rotation in the hoof. That was scary to think about, but we made an appointment for the following Monday.
Here are some pictures of the hoof on March 26th, the day of the vet appointment. They are cell phone pictures, so aren't the best quality, and the only thing that you can really see is that there is a ridge developing. I wish I'd thought to put my finger underneath the edge of the ridge so that you could see how far out it had developed, making the hoof look (to me) like it was buckling to the outside from the pressure. But I didn't. So instead you get these crappy third rate photos that make it look like I'm blowing things wayyyy out of proportion.
I admit that I was a wee bit nervous taking Tommy in for his appointment. At that time exactly one week had passed (Monday 19th - Monday 26th) and there had been dramatic changes in the hoof, as well as in Tommy's overall soundness. He was still very lame if he was off the Bute, and didn't have much of an appetite.
The good news is that the x-rays showed no navicular changes or rotation within the hoof, the canker site was still clear; and it turns out that I really was blowing things out of proportion and there was nothing wrong with the hoof developing a ridge. Now Tommy would disagree with that since he's the one that's lame on it, but Murphy's Law reared up and bit me in the ass and Tommy walked into the office pretty well sound. So I did appear to be THAT paranoid horse owner, the kind that makes mountains out of molehills. We all know one. Apparently I am one - ;)
The bad news is that Dr. A used the x-rays to measure and Tommy only has .33" between the bone in the hoof and the ground outside. That's less than the sole on my flip-flops, and we all know how easily we can feel each and every rock in flip-flops. The rest of the bad news is that even though the canker is still gone, the hole in the hoof is still open to soft tissue. There is just no real healing going on to close it up, and that's been with a year of Glanzen GL which is the most power-packed hoof supplement I could find.
Unfortunately we had to have a talk about euthanasia for Tommy. We seem to be running out of options and nothing's really working out. We're not to that point just yet, but it seems to be looming on the horizon.
So we headed back home with some Pergoglyde, and hopeful hearts that it will jump start his immune system or whatever it is that's out of whack, and that hole in his hoof will heal up.