Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Surprising Ride, and sad news

I do enjoy the days I go out to feed at the barn. Generally I enjoy them once I get there - but, not being a morning person, I dread the idea of getting up early for a 6th day of the week.

Today, though, I was glad to be out early. The day was overcast and the humidity was high. Early was a good idea.

Gratuitous donkey shot. He wags his tail like a dog. It's hilarious!

After finishing the rounds, I checked over Lily for soreness. She had none. The biting behavior doesn't seem pain oriented, or if it is I couldn't find it. We'll work on behavior correction over the next few rides and see if that works.

Then I decided to bring out Cibolo. He was just as loving as he had been on Friday, leaning in for a rub on the forehead and a massage on the jowl.I saddled him up, spending sometime working on a work around for a rear cinch. I don't normally ride with a rear cinch at all, but I watched this video and decided that I need to use one from now on. (My favorite quote from the video in referring to the danger poised by a rear cinch set too loose and sliding back. If it does get too far back... "You will get an involuntary reaction and get one of those western moments none of us want to have." Yea howdy.)

But I don't have any rear cinches, so I figured a temporary work around with a long latigo and created a triangular rigging.

We worked for a moment in the driveway, and Cibolo was great. So we headed out for a quick ride on the hills. I worked for a bit to turn his head to me, and made a few noises to keep his attention and he was fantastic. I concentrated/self talked/reminded myself of how terrific he is and how terrific I am.

We can do this. We're fine. Get some zen space girl! Ommmmm. (LOL)

Then we went up a few hills. No issue. We went down a few hills. Perfect. Then we cantered. No problemo. Not a snort, not a balk, not a worry.

Who me? I have never freaked out on the trail, Mom. Never.

I wished I had more time to do more, but when we went into the barn I heard the rain start. So it was just as well.

We did an aisle game of clicker/target training and I set him out. So is he fixed? Am I? I have no idea. I'm just happy to have had such a great day on him. I think we are getting a bit more comfortable with each other and my expectations are much different. The combination of that along with the fact that he has been worked through each situation lately seems to have done something.

I hope it lasts.

On the sad news end of things, here's a photo of Shiloh.

As you can see, he's not doing well at all. After months of trying to find out what's going on (he has had a terrible nasal discharge, green and thick) and subjecting him to various treatments including a tooth extraction, it looks like they've figured out what's going on. He has an infection of his guttural pouch, specifically Empyema. Here's the definition from the Merck:

Guttural pouch empyema is defined as the accumulation of purulent, septic exudate (I think this means mucusy snot) in the guttural pouch. The infection usually develops subsequent to a bacterial (primarily Streptococcus spp ) infection of the upper respiratory tract. Clinical signs include intermittent purulent nasal discharge, painful swelling in the parotid area, and in severe cases, stiff head carriage and stertorous breathing. Fever, depression, and anorexia may or may not be observed. Diagnosis is determined by endoscopic examination of the guttural pouch. Radiographs of the pharynx will demonstrate a fluid line in the guttural pouch and may allow the clinician to identify an associated retropharyngeal mass.

Systemic antimicrobial therapy alone will not resolve the infection; guttural pouch lavage is necessary. ... Tracheotomy may be necessary to provide a temporary alternative airway in these cases. If guttural pouch empyema is not treated, chondroid material may form in the guttural pouch and will serve as a chronic source of infectious exudate. A small number of chondroids can be removed endoscopically, but accumulations of exudate, chondroid material, or unresolved retropharyngeal abscesses require surgical drainage.

Now we know why the antibiotics weren't working. At 32, Shiloh is not a surgical candidate and in his current state would not have the strength to survive a procedure - not to mention that his owner simply doesn't have the resources.

When I walked by him to drop off hay I heard a sound like air being forced through a metal tube. It sounded so odd that I looked around for what it could be. That was Shiloh. Breathing.

Here's Shiloh trying to send a message to Pepe.
Pepe, despite the ears, is quite deaf to ear pinning, apparently.

I don't know how long Shiloh will last. This week they let him wander the property and he seemed to have a great time running loose for a bit, tail up in that fabulous arab arch.

But sometimes I see him just staring off into space, facing away from the herd and you can sense the depression.

My grandfather died of emphesema. It's a hideous way to die. From the sound of his breathing, it's clear this is progressing rapidly. We can't seem to keep weight on him.

I know his owner will be ready to make the difficult choice when the time comes. But it's terribly sad to see it happening.

One last pic - Shiloh at the Christmas parade:


Shirley said...

Lovely picture of Cibolo, glad you had a good ride, and here's to many more! Sad to see Shiloh approaching his end; too bad they can't fix him.

Fragrant Liar said...

Oh, wow. I'm so sorry to hear about Shiloh. I guess at 32, he's had a good run of it? Very sad indeed. I do hope he's not suffering.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Awwww, so sad about Shiloh :(

I'm glad you're getting time to spend time with Cibolo and your relationship. Sounds like it was a great day.


Paint Girl said...

So glad you had a great ride on Cibolo!!
Sorry to hear about Shiloh. Such a cute horse!!

Leah Fry said...

As the mom of a problem child of my own (Poco), I completely understand how precious those special moments with Cibolo are. What keeps me going is that he is a completely different horse from when I got him. Not where I want him to be yet, but getting there.

Poor old Shiloh. So sorry that's happening to him and that nothing can be done for him. Hope his owner makes the choice before it gets too painful for the old boy. He deserves a good trip "home". Love the Christmas parade photo.

allhorsestuff said...

I am sad to hear of Shiloh's not wait too long till he will be what you remember and He deserves the utmost respect. I waited too long with my beloved pet was terrible, for a few more days of having him. I know it is difficult...

Your time with Cibolo sounds great. It is funny about good days and bad days with a horse...I just work with what horse shows up, and my expectations seem to diminish when I am more reasonable like that. Then, my mare can surprise me too!

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Jocelyn said...

oh so sad about Shiloh. Wow those arabs live a longtime dont they?

Good to see you and Bo are getting your mojo back

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