Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Meet the Family!

So I thought that I would expand my blog by introducing you (my non-existent readers) to the rest of the non-equine family.

Remy is our Beagle/Border Collie ish rescue dog. We got her from the shelter near my college when she was dropped off late one night. The shelter workers arrived the next morning and she was tightly tied to the front door. Upon further exam they found out that she had Lyme disease (a recurring problem) and was freshly pregnant. The best we can guess is that the owners found out she was knocked up and freaked out. Due to the Lyme disease the shelter was going to have to abort the puppies and put her through an extensive course of antibiotics. They decided not to proceed and to euthanize her. My boyfriend and I picked her up just in time. She was fixed, the puppies were aborted, and the Lyme disease was treated. Let me tell you she is the greatest dog you could ask for. She obeys, is calm, and is a FANTASTIC farm dog!

Kieren is our Halloween Kitty! Tomorrow we will have had him for 3 years. On Halloween evening I was sitting on the boyfriend's parent's porch helping to distribute candy. As I was turned around speaking to his mother, I felt something fall in my lap. When I turned around a tiny kitten was curled up asleep. I put my hand down near his face and he began to suckle my palm. We suspected he was around 5-6 weeks old, just old enough to be weened. We waited 2 weeks to see if any one would post lost kitten signs. Boyfriend and I have a theory that if someone is not willing to make an effort to post signs then they do not deserve the animal, and therefore, we will not post found signs advertising the kitten. Think what you will, that is our philosophy. When no signs were posted we had the kitten fixed and allowed him to join the brood! 

Dixie and Sadie are two Rat Terriers. We obtained them when a family friend of the boyfriend asked us to watch them while they were going through a divorce. Apparently the husband was taking it out on the dogs... We watched them and watched them and watched them. When I moved to Colorado, they stayed in Virginia with the boyfriend. When he came to move to Colorado he decided that 2 years of not hearing from her was enough and they moved out to be Mountain Puppies!

And of course the whole non-equine brood (minus the cat...he doesn't hike...)

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Horse Tail (Tale?)

So I will end my first day of catch-up blogging with a funny story from this past weekend... It isn't really about Trinity, but I will tell it anyways.

About a month ago there were reports of a Horse Tail Thief in our area. He/She was going around stealing horses tails! Some he/she would take the whole tail and some he/she would only take a portion. Right before she got sick, Trinity lost about 4-5 inches of tail one night.

Blogger wont let me embed the video...but watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyY13xoG3hg (THIS IS NOT MY BARN...just a stable nearby)

This brings us to the story from this weekend. The boyfriend and I made our way out to see the horses on Saturday afternoon. When we got there we went straight to Trinity's stall to drop off some of the special feed she is still on. We then went around to see Frosty...SURPRISE! NO TAIL. When I say no tail...I mean NO TAIL!

So, naturally we jump to the horse tail thief! We were so angry that they had cut her entire tail off! So, we went and spoke with the barn owners daughter, as he was gone. She then informed us that, no it was not a horse tail thief but in fact the yearling next to Frosty that had crewed her tail off. Dexter is one of our friend's horses. So, a slightly funny tail/tale for the morning or serious catch-up blogging...

Look how she has grown!

The night she came home from the sale (2 years, 9 months old)

This weekend (heheh see the tail?) (3 years, 6 months old)


So the event that precipitated my really becoming passionate about writing a Trinity blog occurred on October 3, 2012.  This date is seared in to my mind for many reasons. One is that I currently work at the University of Denver. On October 3, 2012 the University played host to the first 2012 Presidential Debate. As such, I had a random Wednesday off of work...they say God works in mysterious ways...

Having Wednesday off of work I had a lazy morning. I then got up around 3pm and went to see Trinity. When I got there I noticed that she was rolling in her stall. I thought nothing of it wand went to give her a kiss. She had been loosing weight so I brought her out some new grain and fat supplements to help her put on some winter weight. As a treat I dumped about a half scoop of grain in her feed bucket. When I did I noticed there was still morning grain in there...WEIRD! Trinity went in for some grain, so I decided to let her be and work with Frosty Pants. I tacked Frosty up and went for a ride around the property to introduce her to new things. When I rode back past Trinity's stall she was still staring at the grain with some in her mouth but not chewing... She wanted to eat but just couldn't. I knew these signs...

Baby girls was sick... I wasn't sure how bad she was, so I took her out to the arena where the barn owner was riding. He then told me she had been feeling yucky that morning so he took her and put her on the walker and gave her some Banamine (a muscle relaxer). He said that his daughters saw her poop so they put her back in her stall. Hearing this I knew that she had been sick since morning and proceeded to call the vet. Dr. Rice raced out and took one look at her. By this point she was barely able to stand and her legs were collapsing beneath her. He told me that she HAD to go to the hospital. Different from four years ago with a mare I barely knew, I was NOT letting my best friend die. We threw her in the trailer and the barn owners daughters raced her to the hospital with me right behind. 

When we got there the emergency vets did their thing and gave her a couple tries to get better on her own, but quickly realized she would need surgery. I told them I didn't care...SAVE HER LIFE! 

As I watched the surgery it became clear that this was no ordinary colic. Trinity had over 100lbs of sand in her stomach. The amazing surgical vet was able to remove all of the sand without taking out any of Trinity's soft tissue. This means that she will not be prone to colic any more than a normal horse in the future. Her colon had been displaced and flipped to the wrong side of her body! The vet said that if she had stayed in a stall over night because we had decided to try to fix the problem with medication, her stomach would have exploded and she would not have survived. Talk about an eye opening experience!

I called my normal vet and spoke with him shortly after the surgery and he told me that after conferring with the surgical vet he thinks that the colic in January was the start of the sand colic. He thinks we had cleared it enough back then but didn't get everything. Even though I had been giving her a supplement to clear sand out of the system, there was so much that nothing could have helped. The self-care barn that she was out was covered in gravel dust, which when ingested had basically turned to concrete inside of her stomach. 

Trinity recovered from surgery amazingly well. The vet was shocked how easily she came out of anesthesia and stood back up. Trinity stayed at the emergency clinic for another week to make sure that she was doing okay and was back to her normal self. Well, it only took about 5 hours before she was acting like her normal snotty self. A befor and after picture shows the amazing transformation of removing 100lbs of sand from a horses stomach.

About a week before the colic (100lbs of sand still int he belly)

After surgery (100lbs of sand GONE)...

We had been wondering why this silly mare kept getting a bigger and bigger belly but you could still see her ribs. We now know that it was because the sand impaction just kept getting bigger and bigger and she wasn't absorbing any of the nutrients. Therefore, she was basically starving! I feel so bad that I couldn't have known or done anything else to help her. Every vet assures me that there was nothing I could have done, but that doesn't mean I don't keep kicking myself in the ass. She was at self-care. Self-care is supposed to mean that I could have prevented everything because I was her primary caretaker....

Trinity post-op day 2...saying "FEED ME!"

"Mom, they won't feed me here!"

Post-op Day 5, last day of IV fluids and antibiotics

They had to muzzle her, because she was eating the shavings!

Post op Day 5, last day of Belly Bandage and about to go home!

7 Days Post-Op, Back Home but on stall rest

7 Days Post-Op, Very skinny and no muscle tone.

Trinity is doing well now and is back home. Dr. Rice came to take out her staples and run blood work. Her white cell count had doubled (a great sign) and the incision was completely closed and looked great! She is on solid stall rest for 2 whole months. She can not do anything. Anytime I take her out for a hand walks she and Frosty scream to each other. It is very sad... At month 3 she will be allowed to go back to her stall with run; however, she will not be allowed back to work until the New Year. The boyfriend and I have decided to allow her to rest through the Winter with maybe some light lunging and leg-up in the indoor arena come January and February; however, we are mostly going to work on getting Frosty ready so we can trail ride together in the Spring. Bitter Sweet, but I have my big mare still with me. The bill hurt...BAD...but I wasn't about to not save her. She is my rock in everything, and she fights for me, so I will fight for her! 

Post-Op Day 14

My Goofy Mare...

Alive...and thats all I care about!

REPOST: Trinity Colics in January 2012

***Warning: Horse Poop Talk***...and a long post

okay...let me explain! My horse is one of the nearest and dearest things in my entire life. I love her so much, and she has helped me through a lot in the last three years. I would go to the moon and back for this horse if needed. And as much as the "outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man", these majestic creatures have some unique quirks in their physiological make-up. While I wont get to far on to my soap box, one of these quirks is a horses inability to throw-up. Now you might say...so? But think to all of those time you have been so sick and throwing up has been a welcomed release. Or, worse, think about those times when you were so sick and felt like you needed to throw up but couldn't...get where I am headed...? So, anyways, when a horse gets a stomach ache it can turn bad very, very, very fast due to another quirk, the 70 foot long small intestine coupled with a stomach that can only hold about 2 gallons of material (a human stomach can hold up to .8 Gallons and only has to travel 15-20 feet, Humans are also about 1/9th the size of an average horse)...weird right?  Oh and did I mention that food has to defy gravity and travel UP through the colon to get digested... Anyways, because of this quirk, the smallest upset in digestive health can cause a horse to have an extremely upset stomach. These triggers can be a change in food, weather, cold water, stress, eating sand, worms, etc. This type of upset stomach in a horse is called "Colic".

So, while I am sure you are enjoying your morning equine digestive health lesson, I will get to the point. On Monday morning at about 6am, Trinity began to Colic. She started in very mild stages when I first noticed the signs. This vacuum cleaner of a horse was uninterested in her morning hay, wouldn't eat her favorite cookie treats, and hadn't drank any water from the night before. In checking her stall, she also hadn't pooped since the night before. She was also hanging her head extremely low, didn't want to walk, and just overall was moping. These are all early tell tale signs of Colic, but they aren't life threatening. Colic becomes an emergency if the horse lies down and begins rolling around. This motion can cause those 70 feet of small intestines to twist cutting off the horses nutritional outlet. This requires a VERY expensive surgery and increases the likelihood that this will happen again by 25 times (YOWCH!). So, she was only showing mild colic signs at 6:30 in the morning. Two of my neighbors also happen to be Vet Techs (so handy!). So I called one and got her out of bed (yes my friends are the best in the world!). By the time she arrived Trinity had begun sucking her belly up, having muscle spasms, and had no gut sounds (due to a lack of gall bladder a horse is always pushing bile through and therefor has a low gurgling noise in the stomach at all times). This lack of sounds means that colic is progressing. When my neighbor tried to find a heart rate, she couldn't locate it (meaning it was beating very faintly). We made a very easy decision that it was time to get the vet out of bed!

Once the vet arrived he performed several exams (I will spare you the details) ruling out sand or worms as the cause (or as far as he could tell). He then determined that she had developed a severe impaction (the food from the stomach was not being pushed through the rest of the digestive process and had gotten backed up. The solution, shove a ton of oil through the nose and in to the digestive track to hopefully get things moving. So, the vet gave her a severe muscle relaxer, a GALLON of oil, and a GALLON of electrolytes. Now remember, the horses stomach holds 2 gallons...hmmm...

Anyways, you know a horse is feeling better when they begin passing the impaction and then pass all of the oil. Until then, the horse is not allowed to eat, period. However, they do need to be watched constantly to make sure that they do not begin rolling, kicking their stomach, or biting their sides (signs that it is getting worse, not better, and that it is time for a trip to the hospital...)So, I took off work the first day to keep constant watch and to serve as poop patrolman!

By the next morning Trinity had not pooped at all (well we got maybe 3/4 of a full sized poop in 24 hours...not normal) and certainly hadn't passed ANY of the oil. So, the vet got out of bed again for round two...This time brought a POUND of Epson salt to act as a laxative and TWO more gallons of warm water...where the hell is all of this stuff going? As he said, at some point, it HAS to come out. My vet, while awesome, is also an exotic animal vet in California and was leaving on a trip that morning so he set an IV catheter so that in the unlikely event that she hadn't pooped by 6pm we could give 5 LITERS of IV fluids to keep her hydrated and to keep her digestive system working. Unfortunately I could not afford to take off a full day of work AGAIN, but luckily my neighbor had an impromptu day off. So, she kindly took over my position as poop patrolman. Did she poop? nope. Did we stand out side in windchills of 13 for 2 hours giving fluids? yupp. Do I owe my two neighbors my life? yupp.

So, we come to this morning. A full 48 hours after I noticed the first signs of Colic. There was improvement as she had two small piles of dry poop (part of the impaction). This is good, but it is not over yet. So, this morning my other amazing vet tech neighbor will be giving more fluids and will be taking over poop patrol for me. I am just waiting for the text message...and can only guess what it will say...

So there you go, a full morning of equine poop, digestive health, and my life for the past two days...If you made it this far then 1) I am impressed! 2) Thank you 3) I think you should rethink your morning reading habits...just saying...

I won't even get in to what I have eaten during this process...lets just say it includes beer, pizza, wings, queso...yeah you get the picture!

Trinity January 2008-October 2012

When I first got Trinity I didn't really do much other than love her. We slowly worked on gaining trust and the basics. As a racehorse she didn't understand much other than RUN (though to be honest I am not sure she ever really understood THAT!). In the first two weeks of leasing her she got very sick. I was so scared and sad. I had already fallen for this big mare, but I couldn't afford to do much other than make her feel good and comfortable. At that time I had a vet with possibly the WORST bedside (stallside?) manner EVER! When I told her that I wouldn't be sending Trinity to the emergency hospital she flat out said "Then be prepared to have a dead horse in the morning". I was appalled and scared to death. So for four straight days I lived, slept, and breathed that stall. When I wasn't in class or at work, I was in her stall. Luckily the barn was only a short 10 minute drive from school. Trinity laid around and looked miserable, then on day four she stood up, shook, and asked for breakfast. I was so happy! She would be alright!

Shortly after the sickness I met a guy who is still my boyfriend and the best guy that I could be with! He puts up with everything. He and Trinity learned to share the spotlight and really bonded in the process.

For the next nine months we lived in new horse bliss! We had our ups and downs, but for the most part I rode with friends and she learned fast! Then one day, as I was coming to the barn to take senior pictures, she sliced her foot open on wire (though the barn owner still swears that there was/is no wire in the field). The vet came out an inserted 50 stitches internally and 20 stitches externally and prescribed 3 months of stall rest. I was getting ready to leave to visit my parents for the holiday and was so nervous, though my boyfriend stepped up and really took care of Trinity while I was gone. 

The rest of my senior year went without a hitch. We rode and loved everything about our lives. When I graduated I moved Trinity back to Texas for the summer, as I would be living with my parents in preparation for graduate school. My mom had been a HUGE support and gone to find Trinity the perfect barn. She understood that I couldn't pay for and didn't want to be at a show barn. She found a spot 10 minutes (on a bad day) from her house. The owner was such an awesome guy and the boarders would become some of the best friends I ever had! The barn was 100% western, which I had never ridden, so I was nervous and excited at the same time (plus Trinity would get to live in a huge 70 acre field with other horses for the first time in her life!). I got Trinity a western saddle and we went for it. 

Trinity meeting her first cows!

Trinity in the field with her friends!

All suited up a ready to play!

Trinity annoying the other horses in the field!

It was a sad day when I finally moved to Colorado and had to leave all of my Texas friends. They had taught me so much, and reminded me of the amazing camaraderie that horse people have. While in Texas I learned how to compete in "play days" or "gymkhanas". We had SO MUCH FUN! Trinity loved running the barrels and hanging out with our friends. We would trail ride and run across the fields and do anything we felt like!!

But, I had already committed to grad school in Colorado so we packed up and headed out west. I had found Trinity a wonderful home in Colorado at a large boarding barn. I quickly learned that turnout in Colorado was SCARCE! So, Trinity went back to being a stall horse. We enjoyed the time at that barn and met some wonderful people; however, the politics and rules became over powering. The barn owners began dictating when we could and could not jump, barrel race, etc. I did not like that in the least so I began another barn search (it seems this has consumed most of my life). My boyfriend happened to be visiting for Spring Break and we stumbled across a small self-care facility on the other side of town. The people seemed nice and I loved the thought of seeing my horse every single day! It also happened that there was a small studio apartment for rent on the property. So I packed myself and Trinity up and we moved across town. 

I moved in April and we spent the whole summer getting to know everyone at the barn. I met some amazing friends that are to this day my best friends in Colorado! That winter the harsh reality of self-care really began to set in. I was getting up 30 minutes early so that I could break ice out of Trinity's water bucket, feed, and muck all before getting ready for work. What made it slightly worse was that I couldn't ride for about 4 months due to the lack of a covered or indoor arena...

One morning in January I woke up and went to feed Trinity only to find that she wouldn't come out to eat (this horse is a HOOVER!). I knew that I was in trouble and called Dr. Rice (the best vet in the WORLD) to come out. I will cross post my Trinity Colic posts from a different blog above.

In February my friends went to an auction and bought several young horses. One, frosty, was a little two year old Quarter Horse. I was helping my friend to break her when my boyfriend came back for a visit. I have not seen anyone fall for an animal faster than I fell for Trinity. He bonded so tightly with he in just the week he was visiting that I spoke to my friend about us leasing her once my boyfriend moved to Colorado in May. He agreed to the arrangement in exchange for my help training the little mare. 

Frosty filthy from a good roll in the arena!

Josh, Frosty's "real" daddy, on her for the first time.

Shane's, the boyfriend, first ride on Frosty.

Frosty and Trinity were stalled right next to each other and bonded in a bitter sweet capacity. Trinity acted as though she hated Frosty, but in turnout they loved on each other and Trinity became Frosty's protector. Everyone began referring to them as momma and daughter! 

By June the barn owner had become unbearably obnoxious and the living conditions were declining rapidly and some of my friends moved their horses to a full care facility slightly farther out east. I seriously contemplated moving Trinity for a month, and finally made the decision when the boyfriend and I bought a house and moved off property. The new arrangement is perfect. It has an indoor arena, a HUGE outdoor arena, very few rules other than safety, and is quiet and drama free. The horses love it! Trinity is there with Frosty and their other three friends Deter, Bug, and Dexter. 

On October 3, tragedy hit, and thus the reason for this blog...read on...

Why? My horsey history!


I decided to start a blog all about Trinity for several reasons. First, she is one of the most important pieces of my life and I love her more than life itself. Second, I recently had a terrible scare due to colic where I thought that I would loose her. An event like that can really cause a person to rethink everything. It certainly caused me to rethink Trinity and my relationship and our lives together. I will make the history short and sweet:

My Nike Pony!

Warming up...we showed 3' Large Pony Hunters

I started riding when I was 6 years old. I loved everything about my weekly, and then biweekly riding lessons. When I was 8 I got my first pony! Nike (Rosemels Polonaise) was everything that any parent could wish for their young daughter. He was snotty enough to keep me from becoming overly confident, but reliable enough to ensure that I would never get seriously hurt. Nike and I did everything together. I rode him bareback galloping across a golf driving range and I showed him in all of the top Pony Hunter shows in Texas. We even qualified for the National Pony Finals together. As I grew up it soon became evident that I would not be able to keep Nike for my whole life. I wanted to jump bigger and go faster as he was not going to be able to accomodate. Along with my ever supportive parents and the best trainer in the entire world I decided to sell Nike to pursue my dreams of riding Jumpers...

Scooter Boy!

Me and Scooter with my Chocolate Lab Dutchess (who sadly passed away last year)

Enter Scooter. Scooter (Clearly Canadian) was the saint of an old school master horse. I swear he learned the courses before I did...With Scooter I was able to start jumping higher and my love for showing grew fast and furious! Then tragedy struck (at least in my 13 year old head...), My trainer announced that she was moving to Colorado and would therefore not me training me any more. Scooter and I worked together to find another trainer that we would be just as successful. In my mind, this is where my decline in the show world began (though I wouldn't realize it for 4 or 5 more year...). Eventually we landed with Allana Featherstone. Allana and I clicked. I boarded at a backyard lesson barn and she would travel from across the city to work with Scooter and I on a weekly basis. I began to gain my confidence back and realized that Scooter was just getting to be too old to carry me to a higher level. Unsure of what to do, my mom and I flew to Colorado to work with my old trainer on finding me the next perfect horse.

Charlie in a rare North Texas snow "storm" (what is that maybe a 1/8"???)

Charlie and me just hanging out!

Enter Charlie. Charlie (Colorado Kid) was a strangely looking dressage horse that my trainer knew would have the potential to work with me at the next level. I trusted her outright, as I always did (and still do). We bought the horse and had him shipped south to Texas. Allana and her assistant trainer Steve worked with me to build the horse up the show level. It didn't take us long to realize that he was a solid Junior Hunter and not quite the Jumper that we were hoping for. Regardless, we went on to kick some serious butt on the Texas Hunter Show Circuit. In that time, Allana announced that she was moving back to Canada. Steve and I would persevere and continue to work our butts off! I then decided that I was tired of Hunters and wanted to continue my dream of riding Jumpers.

Thelma and I at one of the Las Colinas Horse Shows...anyone else noticing a pattern with my horses? (all chestnuts with a blaze...)

Enter Thelma (Salute). If Charlie was strangely when I first got him, Thelma was a disaster! She was also from Colorado and had been living outside for most of the Winter. She was fat and so hairy! While I never really connected emotionally to Thelma, we did succeed fairly well, until the owner of the barn where Steve and I were training sold it to a housing developer. Steve was looking for another barn and encouraged me to begin working with a "big name" trainer north of the city. When I did Thelma and I crashed drastically. They did not understand me or her big personality. After a tragic several months of falls, refusals, and tears I sought Steve back out. We gave Thelma some breathing room in the pasture and begin to build both of our confidences back. I never quite built back my desire for the show ring. By this time I was looking at going to college out of state and made the decision to send Thelma back to my trainer in Colorado to sell.

Harry, a pony that I helped break/train while in college

Rocky, my friends Arab pony that I rode while she was abroad.

From Scooter to Thelma, including the numerous other horses I rode and helped train, I never developed a bond as much as I did with my Nike pony. Even as I entered college I was unsure I would ever meet a horse I loved as much as that pony. No, I don't think that it was childhood love. He was the best pony I could have EVER had. Two years in to college I had tried riding on their equestrian team and clashed HARD with the trainer. I then found a small Pony Club barn that needed help with a little Hafflinger pony (Harry). As I worked with Harry I realized that I was ready to find my forever horse. This would be the horse that I would have for the rest of my life. I was done competing, done chasing ribbons, done with all of it. I wanted a horse that I could bond with like I did Nike. We would face challenges and heartache and share joys and triumphs. I did not take this search lightly. However, as I was working with my friends Arab pony while she was abroad, the owner of the barn approached me and told me that she was bringing in a Thoroughbred mare off the track and would I like to lease her. I was ecstatic! The lease only consisted of paying the monthly bills and the horse would be as good as mine.

The day big mare arrived...

Such an adorable face, even when scruffy and gross...

Enter Trinity! Trinity (no real show name as I didn't want to show, though I thought if I did I would call her Fortune's Prophecy) had been raced and raced and raced to no end. She had won her maiden race and never really amounted to much else. I thought that I would work with this mare while I continued my search. Little did I know, my search was complete. I fell hard and fast for this snotty little mare. Nothing was easy with her, but I loved every minute of it! When I graduated from college the barn owner signed all of Trinity's papers over to me. Just like that I had my forever horse!

Thus the story of how I came to know and love Trinity. It was longer than I wanted it to be, but thanks for sticking with me! I will post soon about our story from January 2008 until today!