Friday, October 14, 2011

Chamie's Big Day

Champagne on Ice (Chamie), 15.1 hh, 26 year old Appendix Quarter Horse Mare, looking lively and adorable.

Yesterday I saw my girl for the first time in 5 years. It was wonderful and sad, after learning (and seeing) everything she's been through in the last 5 years. I know it sounds crazy, but I KNEW something wasn't right for the last couple of years. Just a...nagging. I'd have occasional dreams about her. I never got a reply from the last email I sent the barn owner, and I really didn't like that. What do you do, though? The last time I saw her she was wonderful, stalled in the main barn where all the activity is, fawned over by little girls and being used lightly for lessons. The facility she lives at is one of the better known barns in the area, and I never dreamed she could be neglected there. She was a privately owned horse! I guess I'm just thankful I can do something now.

Her beautiful, still in great shape back. Looking at this reminded me of why I loved riding her bareback...soooo comfy.

She is in GREAT weight (though she was always an air fern, it's nice to see she still is at 26). Unfortunately, that's about the only good thing I can say about her condition. I talked to the barn manager, and found out she hasn't been vaccinated or dewormed in 5 years. Yes, you read that right. The BM has worked full time at this barn for almost 4 years, and has seen her owner once. Apparently, he paid her board up until last year, but never once paid for farrier or vet services. Her teeth must be disastrous. I don't know HOW she's been able to keep her weight with no dewormer...and the fact that she dropped mouthfuls of grass when I hand grazed her is not a good sign for the state of her chompers.

I really can't blame the barn too much, although I would have handled things differently for sure. The guy refused to give her away or try to sell her. They told him I would most likely take her, and still nothing. What do you do with someone like that? The barn is out literally thousands of dollars on her at this point. I have a feeling legal action was threatened and that's the ONLY reason he changed his mind, though that's just my own theory. What a guy, eh? Keep your horse a prisoner because-well, who knows why. I can't see both sides on this one, sorry.

Grazing after a loooong grooming session and haircut by moi. Her mane was crazy gross and scraggly. Also, how cute is she in pink? I'm so glad I can use that halter again. If she didn't have so much gray on her face you would never know she is 26, for reals.

Her feet...oh god, her feet were the worst. I almost started crying when I saw them. They are totally wrecked. Have you ever seen a horse with frogs that have disappeared? Does anyone know what causes this? I assume it's from excessive thrush, as what she DID have was black and stinky. Thank god I brought thrush buster with me. At one point she went 9 months without a farrier touching her feet. NINE MONTHS. The barn farrier started trimming her for free in the last few months I guess. At that point she was in so much pain she was laying down all the time. I just seethe when I think about that.

Her attitude, thank goodness, is still good, somehow. Especially considering she literally lives in a stall 95 percent of the time. Occasionally she goes in a stall with a 24 by 24 run attached. Student volunteers would hand walk her when they could, about twice a week it sounds like. She was a bit of a pill yesterday-very pushy, distracted, etc, but I don't blame her one bit. Once out of her stall it's like she feels she has to make the most of it:) However, I also went to see her today, and the attitude was almost non-existent. She nickered when she saw me and I almost lost it. My sweet girl is still there.

This was how most of my pictures looked. She just wants out out out. I'm just thankful she didn't give up and shut down completely.

So adorbs.

I lunged her briefly, almost all at the walk. Somehow, she shows little pain or short strided-ness unless she takes a tighter turn. Her trot is more of a stiff shuffle, however. I'm still very happy that even in her miserable state of horrid feet, no movement, and no bute or supplementation (well, up until last night when I brought some to the barn), she appears to be quite pasture sound. She is alert and bright and interested in her surroundings. All great things. My resilient girl.

Brief lunge. That barn has some AMAZING footing, I'll say that.

The barn has their vet and farrier out next week, thank goodness. She will need blood work, a Coggins pulled, vaccinations, teeth done, Panacur Power Pack (if I get the go-ahead from the vet), and a trim (if I think about how much all this is going to be I get a little dizzy. Goodbye unemployment check!). I really don't blame the farrier for her feet-god knows what he started working with, and he's been doing it for free. Also, as much as I believe in power-tool and sedation-free dentistry, I think hers are bad enough to warrant bringing out the big guns (and consequently, big dollars), though I won't know for sure until a professional looks at them.

She comes to my barn to meet Miles and company the first week in November. I'm so geeked, and I can't wait to have her home! In the meantime, I will be spending most of my days driving between two barns, and getting to Chamie as MUCH as possible. Knowing I'm her only escape from her stall is a lot of responsibility, but it's only a couple of weeks. Thank goodness, because I'm already feeling neglectful of a certain gorgeous dark bay thoroughbred. Luckily, I'm sure he would understand.

If anyone has experience with any of the issues I've listed, please feel free to chime in. This is a first for me. I'll also try to get some pictures of those lovely feet of hers. Do not eat when viewing, I'm just warning you now.


  1. What a beautiful, kind face she has, Sarah. Thank goodness you are there for her.

  2. Oh my gosh! That's a pretty shocking story. She does look in good nick though (since we can't see her feet or teeth in the photos).

    If she has been stabled most of the time I wouldn't imagine she has a huge worm burden, as she has not been eating from a 'dirty plate' (i.e. pasture). A horse turned out 24/7 and not wormed would be much more concerning IMO. But a FEC, dose of wormer and time will tell :)

    She is lucky to have you. Poor girl.

  3. Thanks Wolfie.

    Kelly, that's a good point I didn't think of. I guess that's the only good thing of her limited turnout, and she's not been out with other horses at all in the last year or so. She wouldn't let me take a good look at her teeth (though honestly I'm not sure what to look for, except sharp wavy edges), but I KNOW those feet are not normal.

  4. OMG! Poor girl. her conditioning and coat show she still looks pretty good for a 26 year old.
    Reading makes me so mad at the people that could do this to a horse. She is really lucky to have someone like you to help her.

    You could make her a few homemade toys to keep her occupied in the stable.
    Here are a few ideas if you are interested.

    Cut up a carrot and put them in a feed bucket. Then put a layer of water over top until the carrots are covered. Then freeze the water. Although it only usually lasts as long as the ice takes to melt it's really cute seeing the fun ways horses come up with to get the carrots out.

    Drill a hole through the middle of an apple or
    swede or something else your horse likes to eat and then thread string through it. Hang it in her stall. She will try to eat it but she won't be able to get a firm grip on it because the string will keep moving it away.

    Get an old plastic milk bottle and fill it with treats. Then seal the lid on and cut a hole in the side so if your horse rolls it the treats fall out.

    Or just fill the milk container with stones and gravel. I don't know why but horses seem to love the sound it makes when they throw it around

  5. Poor Baby! People make me sick! How can an OWNER think that's acceptable! Thank God you have her back...I'll prey for lots of cash to flow your way!

  6. So glad you were able to get out there. Poor girl. I wasn't too worried about the teeth or wormer. Old horses need their teeth done less because they don't have much tooth left, and a horse can do fine without wormer if there are no worms on the property. Her weight was enough to ease my mind there. BUT the feet? OMG. My blood was boiling for you. I cannot believe her owner neglected her like that. She's lucky she was at a good barn. It would have been so much worse. Poor girl. How fortunate that you're stepping in.

  7. OH! How and Why people can be so cruel to animals is so beyond me. Good for you. I'm sure doing all those things slowly for her will help her out tremendously. I think she looks pretty darn good for 26, seriously!!! I'm scared to see feet. Maybe some White Lightning soaks will quickly zap zap that thrush out? Poor girl. I can't wait to see all you do for her :)

  8. Oh, girl, I'd have done the same thing. People suck and I'm glad Chamie had you there when she needed you.

    She looks fantastic, by the way. I hope she heals up and you find a way to make this work for all of you.

  9. She looks great after all the work you did on her. :-) At least you're unemployed and have lots of time right now, I guess. ;-)

  10. Oh my goodness! Poor girl :( I'm so sorry for her and sorry for you too because that's so hard finding out one of your beloved friends has been mistreated. Thank God she has you now!! Good luck to you on nursing her back to her normal self :) I'll pray too for funds to come your way.