Getting Back to Normal

Hmm, it’s just over a month since I last blogged.  I’ve been busy – maybe that’s a good excuse for being an inconsistent blogger.

The last couple of times I posted, it was all about the allergy woes that the horses were going through.  Things are a good deal better on that front.  I’m now riding both horses regularly, and Aero competed in the Provençal Equifeel championships two weeks ago (that’ll be a blog post).

Selfie! Aero and me in a lavender field.

Aero had a second three-week course of cortisone injections.  His breathing was perfect the whole time he was on cortisone – no puffing or wheezing, and no coughing.  It’s now over two weeks since the second course finished.  His respiration rate is more or less normal – it’s definitely affected by the heat, so I’m taking that into consideration.  He’s coughing a very little… maybe two or three times during the course of a ride, and generally just one cough each time.  More like clearing his throat than coughing.  I think the worst of his allergens have gone from the air, and what we’re left with is an irritated airway, which is being affected by the hay and dry grass he’s eating.  So I’m Waiting and Seeing for a while.  If he gets wheezy and the cough gets worse again, I’ll probably do another course of cortisone.

Flurry’s head-shaking is GONE!  Woohoo!!!  The only reason he shakes his head now is if he’s being annoyed by a fly.  He’s in great form… I feel that we’d lost our connection a bit last year, but now it feels like it’s back again.  He watches my every move if I’m doing stuff around their paddock, waiting to see if he’s going to be taken out, I reckon.  It’s the same when he’s tied up before and after a ride, he never takes his eyes off me.  And no, it’s not JUST food related!  He gets almost zero treats these days and his behaviour is much better as a result.

We’ve had visitors over the last couple of weeks, so I’ve been hit-and-miss with my riding, but now that they’re gone I am determined to stick to a schedule.  Right now, this involves getting up early, to ride before the heat and the flies get going.  It’s working so far!

Yesterday, I rode Flurry at 7am and then came back and hacked out on Aero with a couple of friends at 8pm.  The evening ride was far better than I expected.  I thought we would still be plagued by horseflies, taons, and mouches plates until it actually got dark, but it was great, none of the horses were being bothered at all.  And it was lovely to ride into the coolness, rather than ride into the heat, as I do in the morning.  Still, I love my early mornings…

Stopping for a picnic break just before we got back to the farm.

Being a glutton for punishment, I was out on Flurry again this morning… life is good and the lavender is in flower!  What more could I want?

More lavender! Flurry and me, out early this morning

PS :
I almost forget to add this!  I want to be in with FOUR chances to win a really cool t-shirt from Barn Dog Apparel.  These are t-shirts for horse people, designed by horse people – you can tell… just look at the #mareglare shirt!  Amanda C from the $900 dollar Facebook pony, is running a great giveaway on her blog – check it out!  You too can have four entries in the giveaway raffle – crap, I’m reducing my chances of winning by posting this, but what the heck… #sharethegiveawaylove

A sweaty horse!

Finally, I feel like I’m starting to ride properly again!

Even though I rode early to avoid the heat and the flies, Flurry sweated up enough to need to be hosed down afterwards.

And there was no head-shaking – Woohoo!! Things are looking up!

Progress Report

Happily, there is progress to be reported.

First of all, Aero.

After three weeks of cortisone injections, his breathing was normal (10-12/min).  He was coping well with hills out on trail rides, but he was coughing a (very) little.  In the arena, he was coughing a LOT but it’s very dusty  and he loves to go around with his nose on the ground so of course he’d be inhaling lots of dust.

The instructions for the cortisone was 3 weeks of injections, 1 week break and see how he is before I decide to start injecting again.  We’re now at the end of that week-long break.  His breathing at rest is back up to approx 25/min (not as bad as it was), his nose is a little runny and he’s coughing a little.  So it’s another three weeks of cortisone for him.

 

 

Then there’s Flurry.  Flurry is being very sweet and adorable, if a little lazy, but I’m enjoying him a lot right now.  His head-shaking improved up to a point, and I came to the conclusion that I could cope with it.  But then the flies came out in force and his head shaking became worse again.  It must be the flies, I thought. He seemed to shake his head less when being ridden, and that convinced me even more that it is currently the flies that are causing it – he wears a fly bonnet when he’s working.  So I started putting fly masks on both of them a couple of days ago.  Today I took Flurry on what should have been an enjoyable, easy hack but sadly he was shaking his head as badly as ever, despite loads of fly spray and his bonnet to protect his ears.  So that knocks the fly theory on the head.  I’ll see how he goes for a couple of days before making any drastic decisions, but I suspect I may have to try him on cortisone too.

On the bright side, we must surely be nearing the end of pollen season…

Finally, there’s me!  This week, I rode every day (two reasonably good schooling sessions in the arena and hacked out every other day), I gardened for a couple of hours on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and I gave Aero a good trim all round, hind feet at the start of the week and front feet yesterday.  So there’s a HUGE improvement, although I have to confess I’m a little sore since doing Aero’s feet yesterday.  With another five physio sessions to go, I’m hoping for even more improvement!

Finally, Rodney’s Saga had asked for more photos of Casey ages ago!  Here’s one of him being cute, hoping to be invited through the door at the top of the stairs!  How can we resist those eyes!