Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lee and Liz At Colorado Clinic
She Had Grit!
Another year has gone by and Lee passed 3 years ago today.
For me it's a day of memories and times of the past and I guess as we age we hang on to them even more when they have meaning of importance.
Her work is still having it's effect and her book "Easy Gaited Horses" had made it's mark and doing the job she so intended it too. As I have said so many times now, every gaited horse should automatically come with a copy of this book,, I term it a "working manual" for any and all gaited horse folks looking for the right information to help them on their path.
There is a story to the photo
If you notice Lee is very much focused on the horse she is on and with very good reason.
I was out judging a show and doing a clinic that weekend and spent time with Lee living the horse life we both know so well. We had a couple of eye raising times that weekend. The first at the show in which some what we were told"Big Time Trainers" from Missouri came up for the show, well if you know Lee and I ,that never meant much to us , show us the goods first then we'll decide. Upon entering the arena with a stallion in a model class, the handler was carrying with him one of those long Circus type steel poles with the big sharp hooks they use on elephants in this country. I did not even see these used in Thailand, all they had was a little bamboo stick they carried in their back pockets most of the time.
Lee was sitting ring side, I looked her way, our eyes met, you know just when you think you have seen it all and she gave me that look saying" You know what you have to do , so just do it".
So lets just say those trainers went home not thinking I was much of a judge as they did not make it on my cards.
Felt good too I have to say!
The next day was the clinic and the horse Lee is on was one that she knew so well and owned by some of her lesson clients. Great show horse, been there done it all, even steven kind of horse, but something had changed!
He had started that summer busting out for no reason in all out bellering, head down bucking fits, not the little kind either!
Both Lee and I we're in not the best shape that weekend body wise. She was in a bunch of pain from old injuries to her body and I was still having some bad back issues healing the year before from a hair line pelvic fracture from a training horse. I was in the much better shape though and we had both that morning taken our anti-Inflammatories.
I offered to ride the horse since knowing Lee was worse off the I was that weekend but she said, nope, she knew the horse and it knew her and felt if things broke bad at least she had a better chance of bringing the horse out of it if anything happened, so she donned her helmet, up she went. No one could find an answer as to why this was happening so Lee wanted me to take a look to see if I saw something she may have missed, which was pretty unlikely. Saddle fit great, bit was fine, Lee had all the equipment correct and in order and nothing had changed in that department through the summer. We could see the concern in the horse eyes and as Lee started asking him to move off you could see him tight in the body and suck up a little in the flank.
He moved sound and as Lee asked for more speed he had gone pacy from his fox trot as well. One could see the horse tense and tense badly, Lee had the feel though and she would easy him back down softly till she felt him relax some and then move him back up. I just saw no indicator as to what was wrong but he was saying something was, and Lee could feel it too.
So she brought the horse over and decided we better just go over the body. Before that though in looking at the hooves I noticed they were really, really yellow in color as the horse had light hooves. I made the statement that there are newer hoof polishes out now that wont make them yellow with build up. The answer I got back from the owners was" Oh we have not shown him this year. So we have not been using hoof polish". In my mind, I remember saying "Yikes", so with Lee still up, I looked at the gums of the horse, yellow they were, with very poor capillary refill.
Bad sign, so went around to the right side of the horse and looked at the gums on that side, shocked at what I found went back to the other side and told Lee , "you need to get off, very quiet and slow". I told her quietly about the gums and the huge abscess on the right side I found on the gums, she knew what that meant when our eyes met once again and she did not even wait for a mounting block to get off.
We recommended to the owners that the horse would need to be seen by a vet as we suspected ulcers. Although we did not elaborate to the owners how bad we suspected it was, for a horse to be yellow of hoofs, gums and have ulcers on the gums. We have both learned, folks want to hear the truth but really don't like the person delivering it, better the vet give them the details with the science of tests to back it up.
The horse did scope with sever ulcers , it's actually amazing the horse had not coliced before that. Horses with ulcers can behave in a lot of ways not normal for an animal we may know so well and we had both experienced that many times in the past.
The cause for the ulcer the vet also knew, as nothing had changed in the horse life, not feed, home, care, no new horse or old horse gone, but that year that was a state in such a sever drought and it was a state burning. The fires had been just every where and even while I was there my eyes burned from fire smoke in the state. The stress of that summers drought and fires was creating ulcer problems in a lot of horses .
So another adventure together, a horse helped and lessons learned.
Still very missed but she's still working!!!!!!!!!!