"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Great Whiteness

The fungus on Lily's hind pasterns and fetlocks was just getting worse despite treatment, so I had the barn vet, Dr. L, look at it today before it got any worse. It's what I suspected: scratches, aka mud fever, aka grease heels. (Yuck!) Lily developed a very mild case of this last winter around January/February when all of the grass was gone from the fields, but I caught it very early at the time and it resolved with a combination of anti-fungal shampoo, iodine, and Corona ointment. It also helped that at the time she would get a break from the mud when brought into a dry stall, which she does not get now.

Dr. L gave me instructions for using Furazone to soften the scabs, then wash with chlorhexidine scrub and apply a triple antibiotic/steroid ointment that she made up for me. If it's not better in a week, I am to call Dr. L so we can culture the affected area and try more aggressive treatment (possibly systemic antibiotics.) If it does work, I will continue treatment for 2 weeks, then start mixing Desitin into the antibiotic/steroid cream 50/50 to help keep the skin around her pasterns and fetlocks from getting so irritated from the moisture on the ground. Dr. L recommended starting Lily on an omega-3 supplement to boost her immune system. I'd been thinking about it especially now since the horses are on hay only - the grass is completely gone. So I will be doing this for sure after all. The vet recommended Wellpride, which sounds awesome, but the fact that it's an oil makes it a problem: I set up Lily's feed and supplements in bags. The oil would make this uber-messy. I love Horsetech's supplements and they offer free shipping on their products (plus a small bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies in the box!); I'm considering Profile Omega-3 Ultra, which has the recommended amount of Omega-3s in it (7,000 mg per serving) and ends up being a few dollars less than the Wellpride for a 1-month supply. Lily will eat SmartOmega 3, but she's not a huge fan of it. My plan would be to keep her on this for the winter, and then switch her over to a flax supplement like Nutra-Flax.

Kathy and I then tacked up the girls and went out for another ride. 

Originally we were going to go to the park across the driveway, but Kathy was nervous about Queenie tripping/slipping on the ice, which is understandable. We decided to do the loop in the backwoods instead. Heading out, the two mares were so calm that I suggested trying to go back out to Four Corners again. We figured we could see the farm's fields well before we came close to them (we just had not been paying attention yesterday) and would know in advance whether the horses were turned out or not. 

No horses were turned out anywhere on the farm. Lily looked for the Percheron when we were walking past his field, but when she didn't see him, she walked on. Queenie didn't even look up; she just followed placidly in Lily's hoof steps. Throughout the beginning of the ride, she did try a couple of times to turn around, but we decided that she was just testing Kathy after the previous day's happenings. Kathy just kept her going forward and reinforced her aids with a light tap of her dressage whip when necessary.

It ended up being a WONDERFUL, relaxing ride! 

We arrived at Four Corners and took the road less-travelled that I had taken on Tuesday
The famous Four Corners. This is the spot where the 4 roads intersect.
"Those who seek the road less travelled should be relentless in their pursuit."
Yes, that would be us, and this is the road less travelled.
Lily's hoofprints from Tuesday are in the mix on the snow.
Kathy and Queenie, rocking the blaze orange.

We followed the road to its end, went around the corn field and then followed the tree line back to the main road, alternately walking and trotting.

Following the tree line around the Forbidden Sod Fields.
Once back on the road, Kathy worked on backing Queenie up or circling every time she tried to get quick/strong. This worked SO WELL!! For the first time in months, Kathy and I were actually able to ride side by side!

The sun peeked out for awhile as we were heading home, probably for the last time until Sunday. We're supposed to get more snow tomorrow.

The sunset was spectacular.
Have I told you guys how much I love snow?
In case y'all forgot: LOVE SNOW.

Kathy and Queenie. :)
(We were both wearing fleece covers over our helmets; we both want ski masks!)
Queenie was actually behind Lily on the way home: a first!

Every time Lily's hooves hit the snow, snow powder/dust/whatever you call it, flew up.
It looked like GLITTER!

The mares side by side.

View of the farm that owns the soybean fields.

Kathy and Queenie riding into the sunset. 
My favorite pic of the ones I took on this ride!

The entire ride was about 2.5 hours, in which we covered about 8 miles. Stupid Endomondo shut itself off after 3 miles, 40 minutes into the ride so I don't have exact numbers. Both Kathy and I were wearing our best layers for the cold, but it must've been high humidity or something: we were both frozen by the time we made it back to the barn. I didn't really start to thaw until I was back home! But it was a great ride. I'm thrilled we tried again!


  1. Eeek! Sorry to hear about the scratches infection. It sucks in the summer, but in the winter, gaaa!

    I don't know how you feel about grinding flax seeds, but that might be another option for you to do the Omega-3 supplement. Ground flax goes rancid fairly quickly, but because of the cold weather we're having, you could probably get away with grinding once a week and adding to the feed bags. I just use a regular coffee grinder when I grind flax and it takes maybe 15-20 seconds per batch.

    I tend to be wary of flax seed oil or processed supplements because the nutrients in flax are pretty sensitive to heat and I'm never sure how the flax was processed. But, the grinding is kind of a pain too. Why is it so hard to feed our horses?!

    1. Lol! I know right? That's a great point on the flax seed oil: it rarely keeps for long. I've heard of grinding flax yourself but had never considered it before due to living in hot climates. You're totally right: the ground flax should keep. I just have to look into a coffee grinder. :) Walmart has some pretty inexpensive ones. Would a cheapo coffee grinder still work ok for flax seeds?

    2. I think so - the one I use probably cost $10-12 at Target.

  2. My friend has a Clydesdale and Percheron who are prone to scratches. She swears by by this stuff: http://www.equusselect.com/ She uses the T-sul and the scratched clear right up. It's the only product she has found to work great for her guys.

    1. Thank you Allison!!! :) I like the natural ingredients in this product.

  3. Scratches can be such a PITA.

    1. Ugh all kinds of skin infections are a PITA, but this kind sure seems to be especially so.

  4. Riding into the sunset in the snow! The BEST!!!

  5. skimasks would totally make you guys look like crazy robbers!

    1. We'd look like modern bank robbers on horseback...that would be pretty funny!