Posts Tagged ‘trick
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 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 weekend we took Blitz and Boomer to the Bucks County Horse Park to compete in a Judged Trail Competition. You get to ride through the park stopping at obstacles along the way where they judge you on your performance.
We attended the event last year as well, which you can check out Boomer & Jet competing here.
We had a blast on the trail, this year I thought the course was a bit easier than last years though, but it was still a fun time and great experience for the ponies. We filmed some of the obstacles – but missed a few along the way, mostly because we forgot!
Hope you enjoyed watching the boys compete – we’re already looking forward to next year’s event!
You might remember that back in July the Painting Ponies and I began filming for the a brand new Painting Pony DVD. And while my Brother, Taylor, still has lots of editing to do before we can release our big Trick Performances DVD, I just couldn’t wait any longer to share our new Intro Video for the website.
It makes me smile to think of how far the boys have come in their training. And in case it’s not obvious enough in the video, the boys love to perform! I hope you enjoyed the video and learning a little bit more about each member of our painting crew. I love being able to share them with all of you, if only to bring a smile to your face today.
We hope to release our new DVD of Minnow’s big performances soon, but until then you can check out The Trick Ponies of Chincoteague DVD.
We’re back from the 87th Annual Chincoteague Pony Penning, and boy did we have fun!
Minnow spent all week painting and performing at the Chincoteague Pony Centre – something that we have done for the past 5 years in a row.
Minnow did not disappoint this year yet again – as he painted and sold 9 new canvases during our week long stay.
I say this every year, but Minnow really does do his best work while we are down on the island!
Not only did Minnow paint during the nightly shows at the Pony Centre, but he also performed our new skit – Super Hero Bootcamp.
Arguably one of our best performances to date, Minnow really showed his stuff!
Minnow was on fire all week – and practically drug me into the arena each night to perform. He truly loves it, and really kept the performance alive with his energy.
I was very proud of him, especially since I came down with a nasty cold the day we left for Chincoteague. I struggled to keep my energy up (something needed for this type of performance) – but Minnow proved he had more than enough for the both of us and really helped me keep going all week.
Even though I was fighting my cold all week, I still managed to attend the main festivities! The pony swim and auction!
Yes, I have seen it 5 years in a row now….but it never gets old.
It’s just so fascinating, and I love seeing the new foals that are born each year.
This year I timed the swim perfectly. I woke up at my normal time, headed to pony swim lane, hiked through the swamp, and only had to wait about 1/2 hour before the swim started.
The weather this year was perfect too – not too hot, with just the right amount of breeze….probably why a lot of the stallions were extra feisty this year.
On Thursday I watched the auction – but this year I didn’t get up early enough to make the very start of it (mostly because a few days of not enough rest and a bad cold had caught up with me – so I decided to sleep in a bit).
With cute babies like these I have no idea how I come back without one every year!
Sadly our time on Chincoteague had to come to an end – and now I’ll have to wait another whole year before we can return to see the swim and auction. Sigh, it’s going to be a long year….
If you would like to see all of the photos from the pony swim and auction click HERE. You can also purchase prints here as well.
Check out our online SHOP to see more original paintings by Minnow and his brothers.