Thursday, May 26, 2011

A quick jaunt to see Blu

I guess there really is no such thing as a ‘quick jaunt to see Blu.’ 

All week I’d been looking forward to riding Blu.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a lesson because Todd was going to be out of town.  But I knew I’d get to ride, at least.  So it was good enough for me to make the drive.

Sharon wasn’t going to be able to get there early.  She had a bunch of stuff to get done.  But we hoped that we’d at least get to see each other.

I left home at 8am knowing that I’d make it to the ranch between 10:30 and 11:00am, depending on traffic and the route I chose.  I took 80 to 680 this time and had fairly good traffic.  I arrived at the ranch at about 10:45.  As expected it was quiet.  I was the only one there. 

With the EHV-1 (Equine Herpesvirus-1) outbreak every horse owner, ranch owner/manager, Vet and Farrier is on high alert.    If you Google EHV-1 you can find lots of information about it, but here are two excerpts from the local equine vet (Loomis Basin) postings on Facebook to give you a brief overview:

Current Herpes Update: Here are some highlights from the recent USDA and California State Vet Reports, as well as some information that our clinic has received on our own cases (please remember that there is sometimes a lag in the reporting of this information to the regulatory sites). The USDA reports 7 horses total have either died or been euthanized due to EHM. California is the state with the highest number of horses potentially exposed at the show (54 of the 308 horses were from California). Other strains (particulary the non-neurotropic strain) of EHV-1 have turned up positive in the mass testing effort that is going on, including one horse from a ride in Santa Ynez and one horse here in Placer County. Seventeen horses are now confirmed with the neurotropic strain of EHV-1 in California including an additional Placer County horse that is being treated for significant neurologic disease. The other positive horses in Placer County are doing well and are expected to make a full recovery. Our hospital is still free of any diseased or suspect horses, and we are conducting business as usual, with explicit precautions being taken to keep it safe for all.  

Current Herpes Update: The good news is that there have not been any newly diagnosed cases in California horses for the past 2 days. Everyone seems to be doing a great job of keeping this virus contained. There is one new positive case in a Nevada horse that is now hospitalized at UC Davis for neurologic symptoms; he was not at either show, but acquired the infection from his barnmates when they returned home. This serves as a good reminder to stay current on rhino/flu vaccines even for the horses who do not travel or show.
With this going on Mike is keeping an eagle eye out and came over as soon as I got out of my car.  Since I don’t have exposure to other horses I don’t have to worry (too much) about transmitting anything to the horses here.  But it’s nice to know everyone is on alert.

With all my thoughts revolving around the EHV-1 outbreak I didn’t think about any other possibilities for issues.   I knew Blu had been sick with a cold, but he’s been getting better and Todd has been working on his right lead all week.  His nose was almost 100% clear today and he looked good.  I had been looking forward to saddling him up.  So I was really disappointed to find out Blu and the Farrier had issues yesterday and he didn’t have any shoes on!

I found out later that Blu wouldn’t stand still and there wasn’t anyone available to hold him so the end result was that Blu had no shoes.

His hoof without a shoe.

Hmmm.  This really sucks.  Now I’m here and I can’t ride Blu.

Uh.  Drat.  Yeah.  Drat. 

Blu walking in the round pen

I thought maybe I could work him in the round pen but when I brought him there and trotted him around a couple times he didn’t look comfortable.  Duh.  I mentally hit myself in the forehead and stopped Blu.  Imagine when you’ve torn a fingernail and a part of your finger is exposed that isn’t normally.  It’s sore, right?  Now imagine putting all your weight on that sore finger.  Now walk around on it.  Not a fun thought, is it?

What to do now?  Treat Blu to a relaxing day.  That’s what.

I spent a couple hours grazing him on his lead line (I couldn’t let him loose in case he decided to run around and then hurt his hooves).  I also washed his mane and tail.  I knew that his tail was kind of dirty after the show and could use a good washing and figured it wouldn’t hurt to do his mane either.  It all air dried while he grazed.

Grazing on the short stuff

He wanted longer grass

When it was time to put his tail back up I realized that I didn’t have my stock of vetwrap with me.  Doh!    It’s long enough to hit the ground and he was likely to step on it and pull some out.  So I had to put it up somehow. 

I had a new style (to me) tail bag that is the kind you divide the tail into three strands and put them inside their own tube-thing and then braid them all together.  I did that, but again, it was too long.  He’d step on it and then he’d pull the WHOLE thing out.  Yikes!  Not good.  What to do???  I decided to loop it upon itself and let Todd know that I’d done a half-assed job and ask him to keep an eye on it.  (One of the drawbacks to being 3 hours away – I can’t just pop down and re-do it tomorrow.)

There was nothing else I could think of to do since I couldn’t work Blu.  He didn’t need a full bath, and besides, it was still foggy and was only 60 degrees.  No need to give him a chill just so I could spend more time with him.

So at 1pm I decided to hit the road.  At least I’d get home early.  I took I-5 back home – I didn’t want to worry about congestion through the Bay Area.  There were a few bottlenecks but I made it home in under 3 hours so it was all good.

When I called Ken to let him know I was coming home I found out that he’d pitched a complete game!  It was a surprise because another guy had been asking for a while to be starting pitcher for a game but he didn’t show up (grrr).  The Giants played the Cardinals.  The Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league.  And while the Giants lost, it was a very low scoring game.  I wish I could have been there to watch.  Because of course I would have stayed home if I’d known I wouldn’t get to ride and could instead watch Ken pitch.  I love watching him pitch.  He's so good at it from all those years playing Strike-Out with Brett I'm sure.

But alas – hindsight is 20/20.

It was 75 and sunny at home so I relaxed outside on the patio for a couple hours reading a book on my Kindle.

All in all a very nice weekend.

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