babesmom

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About babesmom

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    New York State
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    trail riding
  1. Donkey Mixed With Horses?

    I have two horses, one who was recently diagnosed as near totally blind in both eyes. He is very attached to my mare, to the point where I can't take her away from him. He just can't handle it--she is his "eyes". I owned a donkey in the past and LOVED her and am considering getting one again as the third critter with the hope that my blind guy will bond with her so he can relax when I take my mare away to be ridden. When owned the donkey a long time ago, I only had one horse and they got along fine and were friends. But with 2 horses ... I'm not so sure if the donkey will bond with the horses or be the odd man out? Question: Will a horse be likely to bond with the donkey the same way as another horse?? Or should I get another regular horse/pony/mini horse? Thanks
  2. Insidious Uveitis

    Thanks for the info. I bet you were using the Guardian fly mask??? They are super expensive, though. I found a mask that looks like a basic fly mask but it keeps out more UV light--90 percent. That's consierably more UV than Cashel or Farnam and just a tiny bit less than Guardian (Guardian keeps out 95 percent). It's about half the price of Guardian. Nag Ranch makes it. It looked to me like it might be custom made by someone with their sewing machine and looked super strong. Did you have trouble with the mask icing up in the winter? I plan to keep it on him in the winter because of the glare from the sun on snow. I heard about the possibility of a fungal infection caused by steroid treatment. That's why I decided against it. I'm sure they know so much more now than they did when your boy had ERU. After he finishes the short course of treatment, I'm just going to give him MSM 10,000 mg twice a day. He's not a candidate for long term bute or aspirin because he has a history of ulcers. His vision is so far gone in the "good" eye that I'm not going to try the cyclosporine implant. I think he will likely go completely blind because that's the typical pattern for the Appaloosa ERU. Luckily Mac doesn't have painful flares--just the low grade inflammation that doesn't seem to bother him. The vet said to monitor his eye and if the pupil closes up again, give him some atropine ointment immediately and then call them for further instructions. Kind of a helpless feeling, but I guess I have to deal with what I've got. I know what you mean about not getting another App. I feel the same way. I like them, but it's just not worth taking a chance. It's SO common! I wish the App Horse Club would get some of this figured out and controlled. I haven't found anything about what they are doing to improve the situation, which I think is highly irresponsible for a breed organization. Frustrating.
  3. Insidious Uveitis

    Thanks for the info. :-)
  4. Insidious Uveitis

    Thanks for the advice, info, and support. I think I'm finally coming to terms with the blindness. I felt SO bad for him at first, but now I've realized that he really doesn't seem to mind, so I don't think I should be so worried. I also joined the blind horses group on yahoo so I can read and get more info from them, and also ask questions. Most of my fly masks have ears. I've been keeping one on him. I typically do that during fly season anyway, but now I will continue it through all the seasons. **Indianshuffler--most of my fly masks have ears. I never thought about the ears being a problem, but are you recommending no ears because the ear pieces might muffle sounds?** Thanks again. This has been a difficult time. My friend (the horse's technical owner) has not been that involved with him through the years, although he loves and cares about him. Actually, I think this is making him want to be with the horse more because he knows he needs to build a good relationship with him in order to do things with him more safely. He was out to see him today and kept telling Mac (the horse) that everything was going to be OK. He even thanked my mare for being such a good companion and "seeing eye horse" for Mac, even though he knew Mac annoyed her at times. It was cute :-)
  5. Insidious Uveitis

    Thanks for the info and it surprising that you have that many of your own with CSNB. People look at me like I'm nuts when I've told them I have a horse with night blindness; most have never heard of it. That may be why he seems to be adjusting to day near-blindness pretty well--he knows what it's like to be blind at night. I'm recovering from two hip replacements and have not been doing much with the two horses except basic feeding/cleaning up after them with a little grooming here and there. This gelding really likes being fussed with and since I'm feeling better now and can do more walking, I think he will really benefit from even 10 minutes of ground work a day one-on-one to make him feel more secure being away from his "seeing eye mare" and have more faith in his abilities despite having significantly decreased vision during the day as well. I'm also concerned about what he will be like when I start riding my mare and he will be left my himself. He's always been herdbound ... I have a safe stall, but I hate to think of him being afraid because he's alone. My plan is to start by leading her away a short distance and then bringing her back ... repeating it over and over, gradually increasing the distance as he tolerates it. I hope that works. I wish Apps were so prone to eye problems. I've owned a few apps through the years and every one has been a really good horse. Honestly, I'd be scared to get another App because of this.
  6. Insidious Uveitis

    My friend's 17 y/o App gelding has been recently diagnosed with the insidious form of equine uveitis. This horse has been at my farm for 9 years and my friend rarely does anything with him except go out to pet him here and there. The horse is a very good boy type but prone to worry even when fully sighted, but he's not spooky. The vet believes that he has lost total vision in the right eye and partial vision in the left. The vet didn't seem too hopeful for the left eye, but she prescribed meds in an attempt to save whatever vision he has in the left because he is managing quite well the way he is. In fact, I didn't even notice anything until I started spending more time working with him doing ground work with him recently after being away from doing anything other than basic care for the past couple of years due to my own health problems. I began noticing that he didn't see cues from the right and wanted to turn his head to see me when I was on that side. This horse has never shown the typical signs and symptoms of uveitis and seems totally comfortable. It's now my understanding that this is often the way the Appaloosa uveitis runs its course--owners and handlers never notice any eye problem until the horse's blindness becomes apparent. The vet told me about another App that was diagnosed only because she had a fence injury and needed treatment for that. The vet noticed the eyes looking odd and discovered the mare was blind--and she had been a competing barrel horse until that time--the owner didn't suspect anything--it had progressed slowly and she had adapted so well. This horse also has congenital stationary night blindness, which is believed to be an unrelated condition ... but now I wonder if it really is?? Again, he adapted so well to night blindness that no one knew until after my friend bought him when he was 8 years old and moved him to my "in progress" farm where I didn't have electricity yet. I did barn chores by flashlight in the evenings and noticed that he couldn't see. Had him evaluated by an equine opthalmologist, ERG done, which confirmed night blindness. That's probably about 7 years ago and his day vision was full at that time. He has always done very well at night, has memorized the fence line, and doesn't need any special needs, other than an obstacle free pasture and a situation where the other horses are nice. By the way, I've read that his particular coat pattern is known for vision problems--he's a red dun roan with a snowcap pattern blanket on his butt. Anyone been through this type of uveitis? Other than getting cyclosporine inplant surgery, which my friend (nor I) can afford to do, has anyone been able to save the vision in the remaining "good" eye? Thanks
  7. Graves Mountain Lodge And Trails?

    It's in Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains and near the Shenandoah Park. It was featured on the Best of America by Horseback. I'm thinking about buying the DVD of that show, but I was hoping to just get some info from horse people that knew the area. It's an area we are contemplating going to a little later in the riding season when the horses (and riders!) are in good shape to take on the mountainous terrain.
  8. Anyone been there and have anything they want to share for a first time possible visitor? Any other horse-friendly lodging in that area that has a cabin/cottage dog friendly type situation with access to the trails? Thanks!
  9. Does anyone know anything about the Green Mountain Horse Trails System in Vermont? We are thinking about taking a little vacation with the horses and staying at a cabin that says it has access to this trail system. From what I understand, the trail system is mostly on private land with connected back roads. Does anyone know anything about the system? Where would I get a map? Is it OK for visitors (non-members) to use the trails? Anything else you know would be helpful Thanks. Dorothy
  10. Living Quarters Trailer For Trail Riding/camping

    Thanks so much for all your pictures and your info. I really appreciate it. If you think of anything else, please post again!!!!!
  11. Trailer Size For 2008 F150 Xl?

    Your towing capacity is only 2400. That isn't much, and most 2 horse trailers alone weigh at least that. My 2 horse steel frame/aluminum skin weighs 2500 empty and that's considered light. Although I am surprised that your towing capacity is only 2400 with a wheelbase as long as yours, even if it does have only a 6 cyl engine, if they are saying it's only safe to tow 2400, I wouldn't risk it. I know people tow with smaller, less powerful vehicles all the time. I heard of someone towing a 2 horse sized stock trailer with two horses with a 4 cyl Toyota 4-runner and they said they didn't have any problems, but that's just too scary for me. I , myself, started out towing my trailer with my Jeep Cherokee, which had a 5,000 towing capacity using a weight distribution hitch, and it was just scary. I could start & stop fairly well, but when I got up over 45 mph on the road, I could feel it just swaying like crazy--the trailer was pulling the Jeep back and forth. It really wasn't visible, but I could really feel it. It towed the empty trailer fairly well, but put even one horse in it and it started swaying. I upgraded to a full sized 8 cyl pick up, and it was a whole different world--I felt SAFE again and had enough power to haul anywhere I wanted to without worrying!!!!! I would think your trailer would be fairly stable with your wheel base, but I'm still leery of the 2400 towing capacity--there must be a reason why they limit it like that--it must just not be made to tow. Any chance you can get an 8 cyl truck?
  12. As I'm dreaming about my LQ trailer that is in my future at some point (although it may be a while--but hey, a girl can dream!!!), I thought I'd ask what you guys who have them or people who are also where I'm at (dreaming about your future trailer) what it is you like best about your LQ trailer, or what you would do differently, or would want if you could upgrade or replace a part of or a feature of your trailer. Most of the trailheads where I'll be camping at will have no power source and may have no water. I'll also be travelling with two 40 lb dogs that will stay in camp while I'm riding, unless they can learn to stop barking when they see strange horses on the trail!! So, what is best about your trailer or what are must haves for your LQ trailer?
  13. Long Ride

    I have a friend who just completed the first leg of a coast-to-coast ride, beginning from the eastern most point of the coast of Maine to inside the Ohio border this past summer/fall 2007--1250 miles so far. She will continue in the spring and will have someone trailer her and her horses back out to the place in Ohio where she stopped for the winter and then continue across the U.S. with a final destination being the Pacific Ocean somewhere on the coast of Washington. Due to wanting to travel trough the Rockies and the Cascades, rather than go the southern route, she may have to extend the trip another year. She doesn't know how far she will be able to get by the time the snow starts to fall in the mountains and may not be able to go through there if it's too late in the year. She's playing that by ear. She started out with another person, but that only lasted for the first 150 miles or so. They just didn't have the same travelling style and goals. My friend continued on her own and the other woman stopped. She had a riding horse and a pack horse, travelled between 15-25 miles per day (depending on the weather/road/trail conditions, how the horses were doing, etc). She did NOT have a crew or anyone accompanying her with a camper or a trailer, providing feed for her and the horses at her next stop, or anything like that--it was just her and two horses completely on her own. She had a general route and just headed out each day, not knowing where she was going to spend the next night. She said that took some getting used to, but as the trip unfolded she found that everything worked itself out each day and started to relax about it and just trust that everything would work out OK. What she did was as the end of her riding day was nearing, she would start looking for a farm type place that had horses. She would ride up and ask them if she could camp on their property and get water for her and her horses. Almost all the time, they would say yes and be thrilled to have her. If they couldn't accommodate her, they would often know of someone nearby who could. People were excited to be a part of her trip. Even though she didn't expect anything more than a place to pitch her tent, an area to graze her horses, and a spot to high line them, people were amazingly helpful and kind and often offerred her more than that. She was often asked to stay in their homes, given a pasture or stalls for her horses (which made it much easier for the night--not having to worry about them getting themselves into trouble on the high line), both her and her horses fed, etc. She even had people stopping her along the road asking her if she would stay with them! Amazing!! She raves about the kindness of the people she met. As far as training ... she really didn't do anything special as far as I know. She had personal experience hiking the Appalachian Trail and wilderness camping, so that was a big plus. But, she said that hiking the App Trail was a piece of cake compared to doing this horseback trip, where she had more than just herself to take care of--she had two horses and that made it much more difficult. She said that unless she was able to stop at someone's farm for the night, it was very difficult to find an overnight spot that had the three major things she needed: grazing space with good grass, water for the horses, and a good place to run her high line for the night. Her horses were her own personal trail horses. She had raised one from a baby and had owned the other for 8 years. She knew them pretty well. She did have some trouble with one of them spooking at big vehicles on the road. Other than that, just keeping the horses sound, well fed, shod, and stuff like that were the biggest challenges. Traffic and crazy drivers were occasional problems, depending on the area she was riding through. Although she tried her best to stay on back roads, rather than main highways, there were always places where she couldn't avoid a highway, a huge bridge, residential areas, etc. and just had to "do it". Drivers often don't use caution when passing horses on the road. It's very important that your horse be very good on the road if you will have to travel roads. Good luck and have a great time. My friend says this has been an unbelievable experience so far and it truly is the trip of a lifetime for her. I hope your trip is the same!
  14. What brand saddle do you trail ride in?

    trails4me--Before you give up on the Tucker, try to find an experienced saddle fitter to check things out--not just a trainer or a horse person who *thinks* they know, but an actual person who has a lot of knowledge about the details of saddle fit. For example, they should be able to discuss with you things like bar angle, bar spread, rock, shoulder/loin flair, bridging, and terms like that and explain it in a way you can understand. If they don't know what you are talking about when you ask about those terms or avoid actually explaining them to you--move on to someone else. They probably don't know what the terms mean and are avoiding discussing them. In other words, they don't know enough to be able to really help you. Some tack shops are either having a saddle fitter come in periodically to help them or they are becoming more educated themselves, although not all are that way. There is a great tack shop near me in central NY, but other than that I don't know who I would trust to help me with saddle fit. Just beware of people who look basically at the withers area on the horse and say "Oh that fits fine". You even want to check for clearance in the middle of the bars when the horse rounds its back (you can do that by feeling under the center of the saddle while doing a tickling kind of thing in back of the cinch to get the horse to raise its back up like it would when in motion), since every horse that travels correctly does have some rise in the middle of the back when it moves vs. just standing still. A little bridging when the horse is standing still is actually a good thing because the middle of the back needs some room to rise up when the horse starts moving. It's really tough to figure out saddle fit issues on your own. I've been through two really tough saddle fitting situations and learned quite a bit from a variety of sources, but I still have a lot to learn. Best of luck with figuring your situation out. That's great that you are so interested in figuring out what's going on. Lucky horse!!!!
  15. What brand saddle do you trail ride in?

    My QH mare had dry patches with later white hairs much as you are describing--I was using a Tucker saddle. It fit fine in the front and back, but it had too much rock in the bars for her straighter back. When it was cinched up, it rocked forward some, putting excess pressure in the front and in the middle. Funny thing was that she was never sore in the dry spot/white areas, and her back was just a little sore to palpation in the middle. It wasn't an obvious looking problem. It took a lot of professionals--vet, chiro, saddle fitter, to narrow down the specific problem. Tuckers tend to have a lot more rock in the bars (front to back) than most QH type saddles. QH/paints/stock types often have straighter backs (not much dip or sway), so the Tucker's excessive rock can be a problem. I call Tucker every once in a while to ask if they have changed the tree because I've heard of a lot of horses having the same problem with them. Even Tucker reps have told me that they have heard of fit problems like mine with the stock horse breeds, but they are selling enough saddles overall the way they are building them that it's not worth it for them to change the tree or add a new style tree to their collection. I have since switched to a Fabtron, which fits my mare much better and the problem is gone. I have to admit that the Fabtron isn't as comfortable for me, but my horse is much happier. Luckily, the damage wasn't severe and the white hairs went away with the next coat change. Here is a picture of my mare, just for your info so you can see her back shape.