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My first ride on Cooper in a year...

Did not go so well :(

Horse-y friends, I may be needing some advice...
Its been about a year since I've been on Coopers back.  He's been off due to an injury in his ligament.  I recently got the "okay" to get back in the saddle for some walking and *very light* trotting.  Great!

Well we have been doing a lot of ground work, bonding and all that jazz.  So I go out to the barn on Monday.  The weather is great, I turn him out for a little bit first...to work out any kinks.  I saddle him up but I forgot my bridle at home.  So I figured I would use one of the other horses bridles instead.
Now, I usually ride Cooper in a Dr. Bristol bit but I've been wanting to try a Snallfe bit.  Mind you, I've NEVER had a problem with the Dr. Bristol but I've heard it can be a harsh bit.  I thought this would be a good time to try the snaffle.  Maybe I was wrong?

I walked him out to the arena, tightend the girth, unrolled the stirrups and mounted.  It felt really good to be back up there!....for a second.  I tride to walk him a few steps and the head tossing starts immediately!  I mean like head tossing, dancing to the side, UNHAPPY! 
(For those of you that don't know my history with Cooper, I have had some pretty good falls off of him; concussions, sprained shoulder, sprained knee to name a few.  I've worked really hard the last year to completely rebuild my confidence on horseback.)
I instantly got tense and he got tense and I had to get off because all of my confidence just drained away.  I could feel him coiling like a spring.
Here's what I want to know.  Do you think it could have been the different bit that caused him to act this way?  As soon as I took off the bridle the head tossing stopped.  He was also salivating pretty heavily.  But he didn't start the head tossing until I started riding him. 
Could it just be because he hasn't been ridden in so long?  Do horses "forget" things if they haven't been worked in a while?
I don't want to let this get the best of me and I'm not giving up!  Any suggestions would be very much apprecieated!!

Cancer Update

Well, I've decided not to do anything with Cooper right now.  I'm going to start riding him again and just do everything the way I normally would until the cancer progresses.  He is not in any pain right now and I think he wants to work again.

I went to an "animal psychic" about Cooper.  It was weird and I think that she was full of shit.  She just didn't hit on anything and most of what she said was really general.  IDK.  I'm not saying that ALL animal psychics are fake...but I'm pretty sure this one was.  Oh well, it was worth a shot.

I have ordered some herbal treatments for Coops from Dr. McDowell's Herbal Treatments.  I think holistic/herbal medicine is very underrated.  I know this probably won't be a cure but I'm hoping it will keep him around longer.
I orderd him the Eye Wash and the Squamous Cell Carcinoma Ointment

The Eye Wash
"Eye infections, irritations and injuries are best treated by providing antiseptic and nourishing herbs directly to the eye itself, to support speedy healing.
The treatment supplied is immediately beneficial for all eye infections, medical conditions and injuries and is based around the herbs Celandine, Golden Seal and Rue along with the Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy and Crab Apple.
These remedies together, are antiseptic and high in Vitamin A, they also nourish the blood circulation within the eye and reduce the shock that accompanies injury.
The Wash is to be used diluted in water: 4 drops only in an egg cup full of water. This can be dropped a little at a time into the horse's eye or maybe better still, sprayed, as a soft mist from a small pump Blend, like a perfume pump.
If one half of the batch is applied n the morning and the other half applied in the evening for two weeks and once a day after that you should notice a reversal of both the irritation and any cataract growth taking place.
This herbal eye wash tonic is the best treatment for Uveitis as it directly improves the health and the circulation within the eye.
Removal of irritants or debris is best done by bathing the eye first, with Castor Oil, before treatment with the eye wash."

The Carcinoma Ointment
"We are successfully treating both Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma topically with an extract of Comfrey, Golden Seal, Thuja and Maritime Pine, with the Bach Flowers Crab apple and Rescue Remedy added, mixed in an ointment base.
In the case of a Carcinoma on the eye lid or other sensitive tissue around the eye, we provide a very slight variation to the treatment above. (If your case involves the horses eye please discuss it with me via email and I may recommend in addition to this preparation, the eye wash , if irritation or inflammation is a feature of the case.)
These preparations are applied once or twice per day directly to the cancer itself."

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences with alternative medicines? 
In any case, I hope it helps!


My horse does have it   :(

Here are my options:

1.  Surgery to have the cancer removed.  This can cost up to $3000 including everything.  There is a 75% chance that the cancer will come back and metastasize to his brain or nasal passages.

2.  Have the eye removed.  This can cost up to $5000 including everything.  There is a long recovery period and he will need training to deal with his vision loss.  There is a chance he may not be rideable.

3.  There is a cancer cream that I can put on the cancer in his eye.  This cream essentially eats away the cancer.  I have to wear gloves to apply it because it is caustic.  Do I want to put something caustic into my horse's eye?  The vet said it would be painful for Cooper.  Again, there is a high chance that the cancer would come back and metastasize to his brain or nasal passages.

4.  Do nothing.  Wait for the cancer to get worse/painful and put him to sleep.  I don't think that will take very long, this cancer seems quite aggressive.

Option one and two are not going to be possible.  I am not financially able to pay for surgery.  The eye specialist that does the surgery is not very flexable with payment options.  She wants it all up front and I can't do that.  
I'm not comfortable with option three.  I don't want to cause him any pain and I know this is going to hurt like hell and possibly damage his eye in the process. 
My regular vet says Coops is not in pain right now.  The other side of the coin is his lameness.  He has been lame off and on since I've owned him.  He has been on pasture rest all of last year recovering from an old ligament injury.  The vet said he may not be sound ever again.  I've been fighting so hard for him to get better.  I've been doing everything I possibly can and then this... 

I guess I know what I have to do, I was just hoping that I would never have to make these kinds of decisions.  He's my first horse and we've gone through a lot together.  I've learned so much from him and I just want to make sure that I am making the right decision.  Its really hard for me to look at him when I'm at the barn now.

Ocular Squamous Cell Carcinoma

My horse might have it.  We are not 100% sure yet but after seeing numerous pictures of it on the internet I think this may be the case.  What we thought was just a scratch on his eye a few months ago has now esclated into a possible tumor.  Have any of you had an experience with this type of cancer?  What can I expect?  What are the costs involved (just ballpark, I know it will differ by location)?  Other than pictures and some very general information, I can't find much about it online. 
My regular vet has referred me to an eye specialist and I've talked very briefly with her but she can't give me a lot of details.  She hasn't actually seen Cooper yet but I'm setting up an appointment for him this week.

I just don't know what to do.  Money is very tight for me right now but I love my horse and want to do whats best for him.  On the other hand, I can't afford thousands of dollars on medical expenses for my horse.  As much as I would want to, I just don't have the money or the resources.  He has a history of lameness issues also.  He has been on pasture rest for the last year for an old ligament injury from before I owned him.

Lesson Today!

I finally had another lesson today.  It was at a barn in New Lenox that has an indoor.  It was still cold but not unbearably cold.  I rode this sweet old boy whot took really good care of me.  I am realy getting the hang of shoulder in, turn on the haunches and turn on the forehand.  I'm really loving dressage!  Carol, my instructor, says I am doing really well.  She said I'll be ready to show this summer.  It will just be "green as grass" stuff but I don't care.  I never thought I would get that far.  I'm pretty pleased with myself.
I'll have another lesson on Valentine's day.

I have to call the vet on Monday about Cooper's eye.  He came out to look at it again last week and gave me some more drops to put in.  He said to call him and give him an update and if things haven't changed I'll have to take him to an eye specialist...


I Moved!

Well, as if getting married isn't stressful enough.....we just bought a house! The best part? It is only ONE MILE away from my horse!!! Woohoo! No more long drives to and from the barn! Yay!

In other horsey news...
We bought our tickets for the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event
It is so fun and if you get the chance to go, do it!  In 2010 because of the World Equestrian Games, we'll get to see the dressage freestyle test event. There will also be show jumping (speed and grand prix).


Here is some information about eventing:
The United States Eventing Association


I'm Back

Ooookay, now that all of the wedding stuff is out of the way ;)  I can get back to the important stuff....horses.

I'm having a lesson tomorrow so I will have a lot more to post.  I'm sure I'll be sore too, its been a while since I've had a proper lesson!  A quick Cooper update though.  I had to have the vet out last weekend on Saturday.  Cooper's eye was oozing all kinds of colorful gook and it looked like he had a tear in the outer corner of his eye.  Hard to explain but it was pretty gross.  The vet thinks he may have tried to itch his face on one of the wooden fence posts and caught his eye on something.  Ick and ouch.

Well, $170.00 later and I had some bute and antibiotic cream for his eye.  He didn't damage anything horribly but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.  I'll try and get a picture of his eye tear tomorrow!

Aaahhh, I love my accident-prone money pit  horse.


I am so sorry that I haven't been updating lately. I'm getting married next month and I have been really busy!! I'm having a lesson this weekend though and I'll be sure to update. Here is a picture for now:


This is a picture of Coops having fun in one of the turnout pastures at my old barn.  I'm not the photographer though.  This picture was taken by another girl who boarded there.  Her horse, Eagle was the only horse that Cooper would get along with at that barn.  Cooper really is a bully!


Product Review: Fly Prevention

Let's talk fly prevention!  Now that fly season is almost over I think I am ready to choose my favorite fly spray.  I tried a bunch of stuff to keep the flies away this summer!
Here we go:

Fly Sprays

- Bronco Fly Spray - ++

Its cheap but not very effective.  It needs to be reapplied frequently.  It smells like citronella.  A 32oz bottle can range in price from $5.00 to $12.00.  This would be a good spray to use closer to the end of fly season when you don't need it to work so hard!

- Tri-Tec 14 -

Not as cheap but a good deal more effective than Bronco.  The claim to fame for Tri-Tec is that it gives 10-14 day protection from flies and other insects.  This is not the case!  I have to reapply daily or twice a day if I can.  I don't think any fly spray would work for 10-14 days.  The Tri-Tec has staying power though.  A 32oz bottle of this can range in price from $15.00 to $23.00.  Not a bad value since you don't have to use as much.

- Pyranha Wipe N Spray - ++++

This is cheap and I find it to be every bit as good as Tri-Tec 14.  It also doesn't need to be applied as frequently as Bronco.  A 32oz bottle ranges in price from $13.00 to $16.00.  This would be my go-to fly spray if not for...

- Endure Fly Spray - +++++

I love this stuff!!  I only usually need to apply it once a day and it really stays on!  The claim to fame for this product is that it is water proof and it has 14 day fly/insect control.  I don't know if it is water proof and I know it isn't effective for 14 days without reapplication but it is a great product.  I'll use it on Cooper and no more stomping.  This can be a little on the pricey side but it works.  A 32oz bottle can range in price from $20.00 to $30.00.  One thing I found is that it is usually sold out or on back order so I am not the only fan.  Buy several bottles early and stock up!

Fly Predators

Don't waste your money.  Fly predators are: "nature’s own enemy of all common manure and rotting organic matter breeding pest flies, including the common house fly, horn fly, biting stable fly and lesser house fly. In the natural environment Fly Predators serve as a major check of pest fly populations by destroying the next generation of flies in their immature pupa (cocoon) stage."  Essentially they eat flies while they are still babies.  We bought enough predators for 1 to 10 horses.  We did not notice a difference at all!  Although they got good reviews on SmartPak.  I give them two thumbs down.  These are about $19.00 a shipment x's 6 shipments.

Fly Tape & Traps

All were effective and worked well but need to be changed often.
We used pretty much everything on this page with success:

Fly Traps & Fly Tape - Horse Fly Control

These products range in price from .39 - $22.00

Cooper's Chin Wound

I finally brought my camera to the barn this morning.  Here is Cooper's wound today:


It looks much better!