More soft rein work

We went out on a hack and continued the quest to get her to subscribe to the theory that she can live quite nicely on a soft rein. She got better and better and we did a little jumping at the end of the day.

Boisterous and a hack

He started out pretty quiet on the lunge line, but he had been dozing in the sun. Once he got his feet moving, he was all about it, putting in some pretty impressive bucks. But he got better and better and after just a few minutes he was very good in all gaits. Under tack he was very good in the arena so we went out for a hack where he was quite good. Sorry I didn’t get actual video of the hot times that were happening in the paddock across the street between two horses in the paddock. Oh. my.

May 26-27, 2017 Eventing Clinic with Camie Stockhausen at Catalpa Corner, Iowa City

315309_2334932819946_1448589939_2643365_28333312_n_2What: One- or Two-Day Eventing Clinic with Camie Stockhausen

Where: Catalpa Corner Horse Park, Iowa City

When: Friday May 26 and/or Saturday May 27, 2017

Why: To expand your riding and jumping skills with a USEA ICP-certified riding instructor and have fun with your horse and like-minded people. Maybe to prepare for riding in the One Day Event and Dressage Schooling Show at the park on Sunday!


Thank you Beth Burrell for the use of this photo.

How: Friday and/or Saturday xc group schooling sessions for any level: Starter, Beginner Novice, Novice, Training or Preliminary.  Private lessons in dressage or eventing also available.

Fees: An hour and a half group xc school is $65.  Fee for two group lessons, one each on Friday and Saturday is $130.  Private lessons are $75 for 45 minutes.  Park-use fee for each horse/rider combination, paid to the Catalpa Corner Horse Park is $45 per day of park use. Park fees will be paid on site.  Clinic fees must be paid in advance for scheduling purposes and can be paid via paypal payment to or by mailed check made out to ‘Field Day’ to 57560 highway 210, Cambridge, IA 50046-8583.

Entering details: Enter by filling out the online registration form below. For a clinic entry to be complete, online entry and payment must be received by Monday May 22nd. Ride times for completed entries will be posted by Wednesday May 24.

Stabling: Available Friday on first come first served basis.  Stabling available Saturday exclusively for entrants in the Sunday One Day Event  (ODE).  Saturday stall reservations are made through the ODE entry.

Camping: $30.00/weekend, limited. Specify electrical needs, reserve w/ ODE entry. Campers will receive a tag to display.

Before and After

This is Howdy’s eye on day 0, the day I brought him home. His pupil is miotic – the pupil is constricted. I learned this week that horse pupils are rectangular or a bit oblong oval unlike human eyes and I’m a bit surprised that I never gave that much thought. At any rate, here we can see that his pupil, the sort of yellow area, is nearly constricted to a single line.

Then, of course, on Monday we went to ISU and, among other things, saw the opthalmologist who prescribed atropine, topical antibiotics and banamine.  The concern was that if the pupil didn’t move soon, the lens would stick to it, and then the horse loses some of his sight.  Whatever could be done to get that pupil dilated, I was in.  I was on the mission with twice a day treatments and asking the Universe to bring goodness.  The progression went like this:

A little opening on day one, 24 hours after treatment started

Day 2: Not much change, but not going backwards either

A very hopeful breakthrough on day 3. Not entirely open, but much better!

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading a lot about club foot, here, here, here and here; as Howdy is slightly clubby on his right front.   Today my farrier came out and had a look at him.  This after I had emailed him and asked him for his opinion on the wisdom of buying a horse with a club foot.  He said, “I do a fair number of them.  They’re not my favorite, but they do pretty well.”  So, my farrier arrived and looked at Howdy and announced that he was not very concerned about his hooves.  He said he thought we could work with them without much trouble and he had a lot of horses in work with worse clubs than Howdy’s.  Glorious joy to hear!

Howdy had a trim.  Here are before and after photos.

Monday in the stocks at ISU.  The right hoof (on the left side of the picture) is the one with the slight club stance. The blue line highlights the broken line between the leg and the hoof wall. The left leg has a more correct line.

Today after the trim. The leg/hoof line on the right leg is much better! I like it a lot, and I hope he does too. Care must be taken not to produce too much change in the hoof angles because of course that affects the bone column of the leg. We’ll watch and see how he does!

The Ophthalmologist

The start of the PPE had been in the morning, when the vet also looked at my other two horses, who are recovering from tendon injuries.

Sammy got the green light to go back slowly back to trot and canter work. (File picture with Megan Clements)

Elliot is at least off stall rest now, but it will be at least 6 months until he gets the green light for anything other than walk under saddle.  His injury was both more recent and more serious than Sammy’s. Things don’t look rosy, but we are an optimistic and determined tribe.  🙂

Back to Howdy: My vet reviewed the radiographs we took of knees, hooves and hocks and there was quite a lot to talk about it.  Some of it was very good news: clean hock and knee joints, no sign of navicular – a good start. The new words I learned were osteochondroma and crena.  The first one could matter and the second is just a cool tidbit of information.

This is a shot of looking straight down on a hoof.  Howdy has a large crena, shown in this image. Not indicative of anything it seems, but kind of cool.


Here’s where things get a little dicey. That very tiny shadow is a cartilage covered bony protrusion. It could interfere with the deep digital flexor tendon of the distal radius. The little circle thingy that is labeled is literally a remnant of a digit. Horses are really walking on their middle “fingers”. The other digits are fading away, but Howdy is apparently getting in touch with his eohippus side. Taking “old school” to the next level.

After seeing the rads, there was a long wait for the ophthalmologists to see Howdy about his eye.  They told me in the morning it would be around 5 p.m. by the time they could see me, so I left the horses at the vet school, went out to lunch, took my dog for a short, cold walk, did my year end books on my computer and bought me some new barn boots on sale at a store nearby.  Woot.

Duggie got cold in the morning waiting in the truck, so she donned her babushka

And then in the afternoon she got to come in the waiting room at the vet school

End of day finally came and so did the ophthalmologists.  They dilated both eyes and peered in, and bottom line is, yup, horse has an eye infection, a good deal of pain and a miotic (constricted) pupil.  Started topical antibiotic and atropine and banamine.  Even if I don’t buy the horse, I’m not letting an eye infection get out of control on my watch if I can help it.

Howdy behaved well all day, and it was a long one.  Jay helped me settle the horses into the barn and we had a little supper and went to bed.  I sent up a prayer that Howdy’s eye would heal and went to sleep.

On going pre-purchase

Waiting on the opthalmologist

We radiographed everything except possibly his ears.  I did this partially for myself and partially for a baseline in case I decide to market him.  Hooves looked good other than that I was right about a slight club foot on the right front.  Dang, hate being correct that way.  But she said it was mild and probably could be managed with shoeing.   Hocks looked clean – yay.  Stifles looked clean – yay.  Left knee looks good – yay!

But there are three ‘howevers’.

  • However, he has an osteochondroma (little bony protrusion) above his knee that may or may not have caused his left front knee to be positive to flexion.  If it proves to be the problem, it can be removed for about $1,000 and a week or two recovery time.
  • However, we don’t know what caused the slight effusion on the right stifle (though sound as he is behind, and as many bite marks as he has from pasture life, I’m guessing it is a pasture bonk)
  • However we don’t know what is going on with his eye, though it appears to be an infection.  Ophthalmology is coming to look at it this afternoon.

Any of these things separately are probably not a problem.  All taken together, they might not be a problem.  Or any of them singly could be a deal breaker.  This is where a bit of faith and luck, tolerance and being real come in. Horses have a lot of moving parts, both literally and figuratively.  The question becomes, “How tolerant are you to risk?”

For me, I don’t have to answer that question right now.  I’m still waiting on the ophthalmologist.  They’ll call me when they get to him.  I think I’ll go barn boot shopping here in Ames.  Weeeee!


Howdy licking the grate, Elliot eating and Sammy working up another whinny

I am hanging out at the Iowa State University vet school with three horses.  Howdy, for his pre-purchase exam; Sammy, for his recheck on a torn check ligament garnered last July at FRVPCHT horse trial; and Elliot for a suspensory avulsion from his sesamoid and a cracked splint bone from a pasture incident in October.  Let’s just say that 2016 had its not-so-fun moments.

But I’m thinking we are going to get a yellow light, if not a green light in putting Sammy and Elliot back to work.  They certainly appear sound.  We’ll see what the ultrasound says.

And now I am looking at Howdy walking around in his stall, licking the auto waterer, munching hay, thinking he might roll and I’m thinking, “I know he’s got something wrong with his left eye.  Is that a club foot on the right front?”  And then he coughs twice and I’m thinking I’ve got a respiratory infection on my hand too.

Time for another cup of tea.  Thank goodness I don’t have Jack Daniels in the trailer, because I’d put some in it.

Just did the flex test. Mild reaction to left knee and mild effusion on the right stifle.  Also some reaction to hoof tester on right front.  Opthalmology will look at his eye this afternoon.  Hopefully this early afternoon.  He is in for radiographs of front hooves, knee and hocks right now.  Ugh.  Blah.  Arg.

Stole me a horse

So I’d been in contact with the owner of Howdy, who lives offsite from where his horses live.  The horses are managed by a person who lives onsite.  The owner said he couldn’t be there to meet us today when we went to pick him up in the early afternoon, and he advised us by text to go to the house and get the manager when we got there.  So we got there, I went and knocked on the door and got a yippy corgi to respond, which I took as a good sign, because no one could sleep through that.  I waited a few minutes and no response.  Then I RAPPED on the door, got the yippy app refreshed, but no human response.

Jay and I had a quick conversation about how to proceed from there and we decided that since we had it in a text that we could take the horse, we’d, well, take the horse!

So, we went to the paddock, and by this time all the horses had come over.  There were about 8 of them, some still racing next year and some yet to race, but Howdy was easy to spot because he did this  (again):

So, feeling like old time horse thieves, we snapped a lead rope on his halter and got him out of the paddock.  Jay trotted him for a soundness check for me, and Howdy trotted like a giraffe, but a sound giraffe anyway.  Howdy’s head was what seemed like 4 feet above Jay’s head, and Jay is about 6’3″.

So, what were we to do but load the horse on the trailer?  He loaded right on with no hesitation and stood there like an old pro.  We closed the slant load dividers and shut the back door, giggling a little at the sheer thrill of being maybe a little bad.

We got him home and offloaded him (ho hum) and let him loose in the indoor just for fun.  The wind was up and the curtains on the arena were snapping occasionally, which was exciting for him, and mirrors are fascinating:

I turned him out in a paddock where he could see the other horses and he was pretty sedate.  Some trotting about, but not craziness, and he likes our hay.  He’s in good weight.  I brought him in and put him in the cross ties to look at his eye, which is a little cloudy on the bottom side, which is worrying to be sure.   It was fine when I saw him in September, but I noticed that he was holding it a little funny in December, and now we seem to have an infection.  Of course he is going to ISU tomorrow, so I am hopeful that they can help us get him back on track.

I will try not to worry about that tonight because worry is an abuse of God’s gift of imagination.  He settled in to his stall, and in keeping with the giraffe theme, he ate the hay out of the TOP of the feeder rather than pulling it out the sides.

Tomorrow’s the pre-purchase exam.  Wish us luck!