About Me

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I am a 42 year old woman that is about as happy and content as one person can be. My husband of 21 years and our 15 year old daughter live on five and a half acres out in the country. We moved from the city four years ago and never looked back. I homeschool our daughter. We also love our animals. Our daughter has a miniature horse and two rabbits. We also have a border collie, two cats (again), two pot belly pigs, four peafowl, three emus, 2 llamas and an undetermined number of chickens, lets just say ohhh about 200. I have many breeds, from layers to fancy chickens. I love poultry shows, I love fowl in general as I have come to find out through having more than just chickens. Chickens will always be my first love though. I do show some of my birds occasionally.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Lets Talk About Derby

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See that hose? Yes, he had just had a bath. Why oh why do they like so much to roll right after a bath? It is kinda funny to see though...I have to laugh when he does it.

Lets talk horses today. I am a novice horse owner..I try to learn as much as I can before acquiring and animal, but as my farrier says, you never stop learning about horses. He also told me that anyone that owns a horse has to be crazy, and he has four of them, so go figure! LOL

It is coming up on one year that we have had Derby. When we got him he was fat, over a hundred pounds overweight. The owners I believe lied and told us he had never foundered. How can a horse that is kept at such a heavy weight not founder. I believe that he had. Once a horse founders, he will be forever damaged goods. His feet will never be the same, and you will have to really watch that horse closely, his eating, his feet, his weight. Not that you wouldnt with any horse, but especially one that has foundered.

When we got Derby he was an unruly, spoiled brat. He expected lots of treats and lots of food. If he didnt get what he wanted he could and did bite. He bit Shelby the second day we had him. He bit me several weeks later and kicked the fire out of my leg at one point. It took a lot of doing, but we have managed to make him into a reasonably mannered and behaved horse. A year ago I would not have trusted him around kids.

Derby foundered not long after we bought him. He didnt go down, but he was hurting and in pain. The vet was out with anti inflammatory drugs and pain meds and in two weeks we had him back to a somewhat normal place. He gets no grain, no cookies, an occasional carrot is okay for him to have. He no longer molests us and checks pockets constantly for treats. Unless you are new here. If you come over...he remembers...and will check your pockets. Cause new people might give in to him...nope sorry, not gonna happen.

We have plenty of acreage. Three of it is fenced pasture. He cannot enjoy it though because miniature horses do not know when to quit eating. You have to have them practically live on a rock pile as the farrier puts it. He has to stay in a small lotted area just for him. He has all his comforts, a barn, fresh water...but he would eat himself to death if he was out back, so he stays in his little area. The farrier says that it is an enormous area to him. I don't know about that. Either way, I have to keep him up, or he will eat and founder. Over the summer I think he has probably lost about 20 more pounds, which will make about 50 he has lost since we have had him. The farrier says he has to lose more. I am not feeding him anything now. He only nibbles on what grass he can get in his lot. It is a catch 22...if you give him more room...he gets more exercise...or so you would think...but they don't, he stands and eats all day. If I keep him up he sure isnt getting any exercise though is he. Lesser of two evils is to keep him up.

I have learned a hard lesson. The farrier and I talked for quite a while the other day. He said he wasnt telling me that Derby was on the edge of having to be put down or that I should get rid of him, but basicly I have damaged goods. He does, and always will have foot problems. This particular visit he said Derby has the beginnings of seedy toe. He also has fever rings on this front hooves. Seedy toe is where the white line in the foot is stretching. That is bad. Fever rings are from swelling and going back down, swelling and going back down. He says it doesnt necessarily mean he had a fever, just means there was swelling.

I cant feed him any less than he is eating now. That would be starving him. He isnt eating that much at all now. I moved the fence line and closed off a portion of his lot, made it smaller. So he has less to eat now than before. I needed to close that off anyway as he was scrubbing and scratching himself on the chicken pens and destroying them.

I went to Tractor Supply and bought some Hoof vitamin pellets, and some all around vitamin pellets. If he is only eating small amounts of grass he needs some vitamins, and anything that will help his hooves will be a good thing.

What have I gotten myself into. We have worked so hard to make him a good horse, and he is now, and it isnt his fault that his feet are messed up at six years old. But we will forever have to manage his feet. The farrier showed me a color chart of the four stages of laminitis, foundering. He is in that third stage. As in, he is not foundering NOW, but the result of him foundering before has made it to where he is permanently at that damaged stage.

I have told Shelby we will do everything we can to promote healthy hooves and a healthy horse. But I do not believe that he will make it for say twenty more years, not on those damaged feet. I told her that if he goes down, ever, I will not let him die like that. He will have to be put down.

Now I make it sound horrible I know. He really is a happy healthy boy, and I have a commitment to any animal that I get. I don't get rid of an animal just because I was stupid enough to buy a horse that had messed up feet and behavior problems to begin with. I know it was a big change and traumatic for him to be sold, and I will not sell him and make him go to another home and have to get used to those people all over again.

But, in retrospect, I wish I had just gotten a couple of goats. I like goats. But then, Derby was and is not for me, he is Shelbys horse. She takes good care of him every evening. She brushes him and sprays him with his fly spray. She talks to him, sings to him, loves him, hugs him and gives him kisses on the nose. They do love each other...so we will always have him, from now, until the day he dies.

We worked hard to make him a good horse...and I just can't let him go, and I can't ask Shelby to let him go either. She loves that horse.


ally123130585918 said...

Kelly what a lovely and interesting entry and the pictures are great ~ I had to click on "Permalink" at the foot of your entry to see the pictures properly ~ Derby I can tell is a much loved part of your family ~ Ally x

wwfbison said...

He is absolutely adorable!!  What a pretty boy.  I have alot of experience with founder.  BeBe has been dealing with founder for almost 7 years now, abscesses and everything that comes with it.  I do know it can be managed and we have found wonderful (the vet & the farrier are both amazed) supplements.  If you are interested email me and I'll send you the link.  I know how difficult it is with horses, until you have one you have no idea.  I applaud you for everything you have done and continue to do for him.  He is lucky to have you & Shelby.
A big hug to Derby!!!

deshelestraci said...

Owning minis is a whole lot harder than full sized horses.  He is such a cutie pie, I hate it for him.  Our mini is doing well but wishes I would feed him more too!  Don't they all?  I spent all morning talking horses with some women who I spin with.  It's a horsey day!

geocachelinda66 said...

So sorry to hear about the problems with Derby.  He does seem like such a nice little pony..  Linda

mosie1944 said...

You don't have to guess or wonder about founder:  The hooves tell the story.  Any vet or farrier can tell you for sure if a horse has foundered.  In fact, I could tell you myself, once the hooves are freshly trimmed.

gen0507 said...

Derby is so beautiful.  I know that you love your animals & that you are committed to them.  Derby is so lucky to have you guys.