Tuesday 19 May 2020

Continued (Cough) Uneventfulness

At this point, I should probably put the blog on hiatus because really, we're not doing much of anything right now! Riding has been minimal at best.

Look at all the grass growing!

Bridget's cough has returned (for those that haven't been here in a while, she was diagnosed with heaves/COPD/horsey breathing difficulties 3 summers ago). She's breathing fine, but I hear her coughing once or twice in a row the odd time just standing or grazing in the field so it's time for a check up.

Otherwise looking good though

She's been OK the past couple of years, partly I think because I moved her home and she's in a paddock outside all year long rather than in the barn. The more cynical side of me also has to acknowledge that the last time it was obvious I was trying to get her fit for eventing. I've not been trying to get her fit for anything in a while, so there's a good chance it's been mildly lurking the past two summers and I didn't really notice anything beyond that one cough when we warm up (and her appalling tolerance to cardio exercise, but that also is a normal Bridget thing too).

OK, maybe she's a bit too round, lol

The good news is she's super responsive to clenbuterol/ventipulmin. The bad news? I phoned the vet and the soonest he can get here is June 17th. The horses are WAY overdue for shots and teeth at this point too. I called in November, but they were scheduling a month out then, then Christmas holidays, then couldn't get enough people together here in Jan/Feb, then COVID. Now they are backlogged with appointments. So that's where we're at with that! Lesson learned, I will book our fall appointment early this year! Anyway, back on topic, our Vancouver vet prescribed the ventipulmin so this more local vet would like to see her first. Despite all the logistical issues, I'm actually not too worried - I'm not needing or wanting to ride much, she's spending 99% of her time out on pasture and if it escalates I'm sure either vet would send me an emergency prescription to get us by.

Look! Sophie is growing! She has space between her front legs now!

Then she does things like this and I'm not even sure she's anything but legs and troll hair.

.5 sec to dumping dinner bucket.

Sophie's been just hanging out in the field too, and really filling out on all that pasture! She's building some muscle at long last and finally filling out through her chest and hindquarters. Which of course got me wondering about whether she's just a late bloomer or if she's really been getting enough out of her winter timothy hay/vitamins/minerals/alfalfa cubes regimen. I know a lot of people recommend spirulina for muscle building and topline, so I've put in an order for that and we'll see what happens next winter when she's off pasture. I had kind of resigned myself to the fact she is just really slight and dainty, but that seems to maybe not be the case. She's growing into those feet and long legs at last.

OK, she's definitely part pony and eating everything on offer. Perhaps it's the salmonberry bushes adding to her new physique?
Coming up from the field for dinner. They swear they're starving. Bellies indicate otherwise. It's kind of fun when they're in the bottom field - there's a couple of acres of grass and trees way down there, but there's just a little path they have to follow to come up here to the barn - it seems to often encourage galloping  :)
Sophie demonstrating the gallop up the path a couple of months ago. (Have I mentioned the property owner is into building miniature steam trains? There are tracks all over the property now, the trains are taking the place over :)

I am SO glad I just lightly backed her last fall - the difference in her physically between then and now is huge.  Riding and training wise, ring resurfacing has been delayed so we're looking at another two weeks wait before we can get back at it. I'm getting very excited for that and have REALLY been missing my old barn a lot. Fingers crossed, all the pieces of the plan will fall into place and Sophie and I will end up there one day and even have a bit of show seasons at some point.

Didn't realize what a welsh pony head she's got til I saw this picture.


  1. Well even if not much is going on its nice to read you all are doing well!

    1. <3 "Still here!" seems to be the theme of my posts lately

  2. I laughed out loud at the "legs and troll hair" comment. She's looking much more mature! That's super interesting about all the train tracks on the property, bet that's a great desensitization tool! Does the owner run them when the horses are around? haha.

    1. He's so into it! It's kind of fun to see someone as obsessed with something as I am horses. He retired a few years ago and has been non stop with the trains ever since. He uses them to move fencing supplies and firewood, dirt and gravel around the property for all the never ending little projects he's always got on the go. He just built a tiny trestle bridge for the train in the back of one of the pastures I use and the horses are so used to him by now there was actual concern Bridget might try to follow him over the bridge so he had to gate it off.

  3. Looks like you guys are having some really nice weather!
    That sucks about the vet, but we are in a similar boat. Annie and Spud need their teeth done and I don't think they'll be getting done until the Fall at this point... the travelling vets that usually come up cancelled their May appointments and its a pain in the butt trying to even get IN to see a vet anywhere - when I took Maizey to PG for rads, I had to literally beg them to see my horse.

    That being said, I'm glad that the girls are doing well and Bridget is *mostly* OK. Annie gets a bit cough-y every Spring and thankfully she responds to Buckleys well enough. Its because of the alder pollen.

    I LOVE those train tracks - that's so cool

    1. The weather has been incredible! I thought briefly about trailering to the island or Vancouver to see the vet, but like you're experiencing there, my usual three options are saying no unless it's a dire emergency. Never mind the ferry schedule is so limited now and travel still feels risky. It's lucky you were able to get Maizey in, I'm sorry again about it being such bad news.

    2. We are in such WEIRD times right now... I hope you can get a handle on B's respiratory issues without having to make the trek to the vet because the ferry sounds beyond stressful. My dad had to head to Vancouver last weekend for a medical appointment and it was a bit tricky.

      I'm glad I got in too! At least we have answers now.

  4. I love the pictures! Hopefully Bridget feels better once you see the vet. Too bad you're not local or you could have all my ventipulmin. I just bought a big bottle that's still good. Ah well. That and prednisalone. $500 of medication that I used 3x but they were open so...

    Anyway, the girls definitely look like they're enjoying themselves. Keep taking pictures and sharing!

    1. It really stinks how expensive that stuff is.
      They're having such a great time out there

  5. Wonderful post! Salmonberry, I'd forgotten about that plague completely. Does not exist here.

    Look at the space between Sophie's jowels, you can put your entire hand in there, which is an Arab & Welsh trait. BTW I love the static electricity look to her wild hair. Bridget's really been diagnosed with Heaves? *sigh* I have a no-Heaves (Dampfigkeit) paragraph hand-written into the bill of sale on Mag, cuz of his coughing. He will cough the rest of his life, anytime he starts moving. But that's not Heaves/COPD. Have you had a "helpful" neighbor notice this and stop you to ask why your horse is coughing as she walks up the street?

    Germans are always helpful in this way. I'm sorry you cannot get the vet visits you need. We've only had one emergency visit (donkey choking on wood) so I had no idea. Can you get farriers? My farrier comes without a mask. Grrr, Arrg. (Masks are required in any store/shop in Germany.)

    1. Yep, she was struggling a bit a couple of years ago and we took her to Vancouver, and sadly, that's the diagnosis. It was a big part of why I moved her home - there wasn't really a space at my trainers barn where she could be out 24/7 and away from the dust and unsoaked hay and the common triggers they tell you to be aware of. That probably makes her barn sound bad - it's not, just Bridget had issues. I've had a few really minor flare ups since then but I've never narrowed down the exact cause - it can be any time of the year.

      Our farrier comes from the city and traveled to us for the first time in 10 weeks just a few days ago. What a relief! (I am not that confident doing them myself)