Posts Tagged ‘chincoteague pony
Boomer is one of those rare ponies that will do just about anything for his “person”, combine that with the fact that he’s pretty fearless – makes the things he can accomplish (in a short amount of time) quite amazing.
So last week I decided I wanted to teach Boomer to sit on some beanbag chairs I had been saving since I was a kid – just for this reason. He had already had some practice targeting his rear end to things, but I had never fully gotten him to sit on anything from a stand-still.
After a few short sessions over a period of 3 days I had him successfully sitting on his bean bags. He was very proud of himself once he figured out what I wanted and now he doesn’t even want to get off of the beanbags.
As he progresses in his training I will slowly remove some of the beanbags until he can hopefully just use one to sit on.
Next he’ll be learning to shake hands while sitting on his beanbag! He’s such a cool pony!
In January I took Minnow back to New Bolton Center to have his diagnosis of Ringbone reassessed after being treated 5 years earlier. Without too much hope we were left to experiment with different types of shoeing in the hopes of maybe making Minnow a little bit more comfortable in the coming years.
I decided to test out the Ground Control Shoes with Minnow first, to see if they might take away some of his pain. Some of the key points I had read about the Ground Control Shoes are:
- Outlasts metal 2:1 guaranteed!
- Unsurpassed shock absorption.
- Better than barefoot flexible fit!
- Keeps performance horses sounder longer!
- Provides relief from arthritis pain, navicular, founder and ringbone.
- Safer on roads and rocks!
- Won’t ‘snowball’ in winter.
- Shapes and wears to fit your horse’s needs!
- NO special tools or nails required!
Feeling hopeful I made sure to take videos of Minnow prior to having the shoes put on and then again 2 weeks after wearing them.
After having Minnow wear the Ground Control Shoes for almost 4 weeks I’ve decided that they haven’t benefited him significantly – if anything he might be a tad worse than he was when barefoot.
So next shoeing they will be removed and we will try something else – I think a rocker type shoe.
I think the ground control shoes could probably work for some horses – depending on what you need them for, but for Minnow’s situation it’s just not enough of a benefit to warrant spending the money to have them put on every month.
So onto the next shoeing experiment!
In 2008 Minnow was diagnosed with Ringbone, essentially a form of equine arthritis, it is a bone growth in the pastern or coffin joint of a horse. 5 years ago I took Minnow to New Bolton Center, an internationally renowned large animal hospital, after initial x-rays and visits from my vet could not determine why Minnow had suddenly gone lame.
When I discovered he had High Ringbone, I was in shock, and saddened that his riding and competition carrier with me was over at the age of 15. Initially I tested out joint injections with Minnow, which didn’t help much – you can read more about that journey HERE. So that left me maintaining the pain he had with bute on the occasions he performed or was a little extra sore. He was retired from any strenuous activity, including riding.
Over the years we tried various supplements, with little to no improvement, in the hopes to make him a bit more comfortable. So when Minnow turned 20 this year I decided to take him back to New Bolton in the hopes of finding some better options in managing his pain in the coming years.
I wanted to write this post to document the findings of our visit, mostly for my own records, but also to help anyone else struggling to help a horse with severe high ringbone.
Our trip to New Bolton started off with a lameness examination, which it was determined Minnow is 3 out of 5 degrees lame on his left front. On that left front he has bony enlargements that you can both see and feel on his pastern region. Neither of his feet are sensitive to hoof testers though.
Minnow gets around fairly well on the farm, and he will run and buck with his brothers on occasion – it’s just hard to see him limp knowing that he has some degree of pain. After his lameness examination we decided to get him radiographs – because there wasn’t much the vet’s could recommend without seeing how much his ringbone has progressed.
Once the radiographs were up we were able to compare them to the ones we had taken in 2008. It was immediately noticed that Minnow had a loss of joint space on the inside of his left pastern joint as well as bony growth. The vet told us that Minnow’s body is trying to fuse the joint in order to stop movement which is causing pain. This can take years, maybe 10 or more, and is a very slow process.
Sadly with this significant arthritis in the pastern joint, there are not many options for Minnow’s reduced pain. They could surgically fuse the joint, but this would require several months of post-operative care (and the need for a cast) and may not make him pain free – just more comfortable. At 20 years old I just didn’t think this was a good option for Minnow and likely would cause him more distress and pain in the long run.
The vet recommended we give him 1 gram of bute leading up to any performances or if he seems exceptionally sore, and to limit his movement by maybe turning him out in a smaller space. She said any supplements likely won’t improve him much and any effects would be short lived. She also said we could experiment with different types of shoeing or boots, but that is a whole trial and error process and there may be nothing out there that would help him.
I asked if his pain would continue to get worse as he gets older, but she said that most horses with high ringbone have higher and lower degrees of pain throughout their life and some just have their pain stay about even.
It was a bit disheartening to learn that there wasn’t some magical solution that could make Minnow more comfortable, but I sort of expected this outcome.
I’ve decided to look into different types of shoeing/pads for him – to see if there is anything that just might make him feel a little bit better. I’m hoping to document the process on the blog by video taping him before and again with each shoeing option. I’m going to try Ground Control Shoes from the Natural Farrier first – although I’m not entirely hopeful, I figure it can’t hurt to try!
I know that someday the time will come that Minnow may be too sore to perform and train with me (something that he loves more than anything), but I also know that he will let me know when that time is here.
On a side note I noticed this framed picture hanging on the wall in the billing department on my way out. The note reads:
Because I knew and loved Stormy, and still do, I’d like to help pay her hospital bill. My best wishes to Stormy’s owner, Mike Pryor, as well.
Please relay my gratitude to Stormy’s surgeons for their skills and generosity.
July 24, 1993
Stormy developed a tumor on her udder in the early part of 1993 and had surgery done at New Bolton. She recovered and was able to make her last Pony Penning appearance that summer. Stormy passed away in Pennsylvania, far from her Chincoteague home, on November 24th, 1993. (From Misty’s Heaven)
Last week we got a little bit of snow in Pennsylvania, so I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the boys in the snow. Always ones to put on a show, the boys did not disappoint in making funny faces and looking oh so cute covered in the white stuff. Enjoy!
On December 22, 2012 Animal Planet aired a new show called The Year in Pup Culture.
It’s an action-packed hour of non-stop, over-the-top cuteness. THE YEAR IN PUP CULTURE looks back at the defining moments of 2012 as only Animal Planet can — with puppies! These adorable pups reenact the most memorable moments of the year, including scenes from top blockbuster movies and ripped-from-the headline bits. If these moments piqued public interest in 2012, they are getting “puppified” in the cutest hour on television.
The exciting thing about this show is that they had requested to use a clip of Minnow and Ammo playing together on the farm. This is the third Animal Planet Show which has shared clips of my boys, America’s Cutest Dogs, America’s Cutest Cats, and now The Year in Pup Culture. Well when I actually got to watch the boys on tv, I was excited to see that they had compared them to the Kardashians! I must admit, my guilty pleasure is watching Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Check out the boys in their debut:
We’ll keep dreaming.