My foundation is being put to the test - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 73 Old 12-30-2009, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
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My foundation is being put to the test

Back on the 23rd of this month I went out to find my horse Aramis (Arie for short) stuck in the fence....but his foot was suspended in the air, hanging there, by a piece of barbed wire. It had dug into the back of his foot, leaving a huge puddle of blood on the ground and me in hysterics. My nieghbor came and cut him loose and the vet came out to remove the last bit of wire, flush the wound and wrap him up. Through all the treatment Arie was so incredibly good, he knew we were trying to help him.

The next day a different vet came with a truck and trailer so we could haul him over to a friend's barn where she had a stall for him. Even though Arie was in some pain, he loaded right on the trailer for me without a second thought. Got to the barn and the vet wanted to give him a sedative. I told him that Arie had come to me with baggage with shots and to go slow with him, but he didn't listen to me. Arie fought him hard, trying to bite and slam him into the wall, but not doing so to me in the process. The vet gave up and asked for a chain to use on him and I said "We are NOT doing that." He started arguing with me, but I wouldn't have any of it. I started my needle prep exercises that I have done a thousand times with Arie and very soon he settled down, softened (mentally, emotionally and physically) and started giving to the pressure. The vet was watching, but came in again and started to do the same thing, and Arie started fighting so I told the vet to back off and do what I had done. He said a few words but did it anyway, and guess what, Arie stood still and allowed him to give him the shot.

The x-rays showed that Arie has fractured the wing of his coffin bone, but luckily it's not a weight bearing part. Long story short, he put a catheter in and started him on antibiotics and wrapped the foot. Arie has also done a self-nervectomy, so now he can't feel anything on that side of his foot to a degree. This is actually a good thing considering the injury.

The foundation I've put on Arie up to this point is being tested every day. He is learning that being doctored isn't something to get defensive about, even if it is uncomfortable at times. I'm able to take his temp every day, give him the injections in the catheter without a halter on, and bandaging his foot is pretty easy. Today the vet came out to look at the wound and he gave me the sedative shot to give to Arie. He doesn't want anything to do with Arie and shots, which is fine by me, but he definitely noticed how calm and cooperative Arie is with me. Maybe he's learned something. The wound looked excellent he said and he cut away all the proud flesh and dead tissue and then he put a cast on him. He said Arie should make a full recovery and I'll be able to ride him and work him like normal, but after 4-6 weeks of stall rest.

I plan on making the most out of the stall rest period, working on our foundation in little ways and spending a lot of undemanding time with him. I feel this will make our relationship even stronger. I really don't want to think about how this would have gone if this had happened when I first got him. Disaster seems to be an appropriate word to use. I've done so much needle prep work, feet handling work, tolorence building exercises, getting him used to different people being around him, and just the work I do with him in our sessions has really paid off. He trusts me to take care of him and that alone makes it worthwhile. My foundation isn't done being tested, but so far Arie and I are standing on a very solid structure He has taught me so much!
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post #2 of 73 Old 12-30-2009, 07:51 PM
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Sounds like you've done a great job with your horse! I have a mare that is "difficult" at times and I've had Vets that thought they could use rough hands and they all found out she would have none of it! Keep up the good work - Arie is lucky to have you! I hope he heals quickly from his injury.
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post #3 of 73 Old 12-30-2009, 08:18 PM
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That's great! You should be very proud of what you have accomplished, and know that you are on the right path, especially with this horse.

I am very interested in what you did for needle therapy. Walka was very needle phobic (probably due to what he went through as a foal with surgery to correct his Ryes (sp.) nose). It finally came to a head and unfortunately I got trampled in the process. Since then, we have made tremendous progress, and he stands like a brave gelding! It takes a lot for him, but he makes such a courageous effort. His anxiety is so high, that when he needs to be tranqed, they have to give him more because the first dose wears off because of his anxiety.

Could you give some info on what you did for needle therapy? Very interested in learning in case we have a regression.
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post #4 of 73 Old 12-30-2009, 08:26 PM
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Great job, Spirithorse! It means so much when you know an animal like that trusts you because of the work you have done and the effort you have put into it.

Vets/farriers who feel they have to be rough right off the bat without even seeing what kind of temperament an equid has have no place in the vet business, in my opinion! I have a 6-y/o stud donkey and he is an extremely good boy. The vet came out for something (wolf teeth removal, maybe?) and the first thing the vet tech with him did was walk up to my boy, grab his beautiful ear, and twist it down hard. I could have knocked him into next week! I immediately grabbed his hand and got it off Tom's ear and told him he didn't need to ever come back to my property. He didn't even assess Tom's behavior (standing still and calmly with ears forward) or anything, just grabbed. And people wonder how their animals got ear-shy, or why they hate the vet...
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post #5 of 73 Old 12-31-2009, 12:46 AM
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Im sooo happy to hear that he was okay!

Good Job!! :)
Ive been delaying the needle prep work with Chance because she has yet to need it, but its something to think about.
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post #6 of 73 Old 01-01-2010, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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For the needle prep I first started with being able to pound on his neck. I know some vets do that so I figured I might as well have him used to it. I didn't stop until he relaxed. The point is to get them to relax their neck muscles so that it doesn't hurt so much when the needle goes in. So then I just pushed my finger into his neck and started teaching him to either lower his head or turn his head slightly toward me when he feels that pressure, thus relaxing the muscle. Once he was ok with that, I pinched a piece of skin between my fingers.....than between my nails (which help if they are long)....then I used a toothpick to prick him in the neck. I also started taking a syringe out with me and I would have it in my hand as if I'm gonna give him a shot and poke him with the toothpick. I also got him used to it on the underside of his neck as if coggins was being pulled. With Arie it was tough b/c he used to try to bite, strike and rear with shots, but now, if the vet approachs correctly, he stands well.
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post #7 of 73 Old 01-01-2010, 01:33 PM
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Thanks Spirithorse, that sounds very similar to what I did to get Walka more comfortable with needles. He still has anxiety, but he will now stand there and "suck it up" and be brave. He is learning to trust us not to hurt him. After all, some of those moose flies hurt much worse than the needles.

I also found that he looks to me to see if he should be overly concerned. If my demeanor is business as usual, he takes that lead beautifully.
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post #8 of 73 Old 01-01-2010, 01:38 PM
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Ahhh, needle issues , Radar hates needles...I need to work on this with him as well before it is needed . The vet is quick and I am not but I need to get him better prepared for sure.

Great job Spirithorse!

Horses and children, I often think, have a lot of the good sense there is in the world.
Josephine Demott Robinson
Feed, muck, groom, ride. Repeat daily!
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post #9 of 73 Old 01-01-2010, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Even now, I'm "upping" the game with Arie with needles. I'm going to make things a little less comfortable even more to build his tolorence. Arie is a difficult horse in a lot of areas, getting over his baggage with needles being one area, so it's requiring me to stretch the limits of what I know and to experiment and to find the answer myself by simply staying true to the principles I've learned....I'm certainly becoming an even better independent learner!
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post #10 of 73 Old 01-01-2010, 05:37 PM
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I'm glad everything is going okay! I hope he makes a speedy recovery with no complications
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