To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pardon my absence!

Sunday I came face-to-face with a friend who follows my blog. She said, "I've been checking every day for 17 days now to read the results of Lance's allergy testing that you promised back on August 31!" I know, I know; I've been a ba-a-a-a-ad blogger. If you follow my other blog, you know that time and energy have been in short supply; in the case of this blog, I've lacked motivation, too. Oh, there is much to report on, but when you are dealing with a chronic condition like Lance's you never get to announce a recovery or cure.  :-/

About the allergy testing. On the last Friday of August the dermatologist and his resident came out to do a skin test on Lance. Rick was running late so they weren't sure how to proceed, since they often tranquilize their patients and Rick was going to do that. But I told them I thought the test would be a non-issue; Lance has always been a great patient and needles aren't a problem. Sure enough, he stood like a rock for getting shaved, marked, and finally, "pin-pricked" (Rick showed up once the test was underway).

The results were pretty clear – and heartbreaking. Out of 61 sampled allergens, Lance has several "hot triggers": nettle, mosquitoes, household dust (not to be confused with "dirt dust," they said), alder, maple, walnut, and black ants. Only one of ten different mold spores got a reaction, which was a pleasant surprise since molds are a common trigger and they run rampant here three seasons out of four. But nettles, alder, maple, and walnut grow all around us, and their pollens aren't just around when they bloom because those pollens become part of the dust/dirt. I don't see black ants around here, but we do have some mosquitoes.

What to do? Allergy shots for that many triggers would be prohibitively expensive and would have to be redone at regular intervals. Moving him to an environment devoid of most if not all his triggers would be ideal, but where would that be and who could I trust with my big red goober? One name came to mind: Anna Blake. The photos on her blog don't show our lush green growth, and from blog posts, emails, and meeting in person, I knew I could trust her with Lance . . . if my heart could let go of him. Shipping Lance to eastern Colorado – and shipping him back to OR if CO didn't help him – would be expensive. But it might give him the opportunity to live a long, loved, useful life without daily drugs. Anna and I have exchanged emails, and for now have left it hanging because I'm not really sure my heart would go on....

Sorry; I was going to update you to the present day, but am having trouble seeing my computer screen at the moment. More later.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Drive-by posting

I have so much news, including Lance's allergy test results, but life has been crazier than usual this week, including this (note the blue ribbon!):
But I have to dash now to pick up Brian from school so he can drive in his second and last class at the Oregon State Fair Draft Horse Show, the Junior Team class. Later!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Views and viewpoint

Sunset from the back of my horse – priceless!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dr. Mellow and Mr. Hyper

We've been enjoying much better weather since the weekend. I rode in our arena Sunday since we got a little rain, then last night I headed out for a walk around a nearby field and down the gravel lane. Lance was moving v-e-r-y slowly; I was thinking that moving around in the sand of the arena took more out of him than expected.

As we approached the paved crossroad, we spotted two horses being ridden double. Lance could hardly believe his eyes, as we have never encountered other riders on our hill. It was the other family on our road with horses, out riding for the first time since moving in. We greeted one another and passed, moving in opposite directions, but Lance stopped on the other side of the pavement when he spotted dead ground squirrels (thanks to a neighbor who has been shooting them and the vultures who have dragged them around) crawling with yellow jackets lying in the gravel. I definitely didn't want to provoke the nasty insects, so I turned Lance around to follow the other riders towards our house. Already amped, he went into hyper mode, acting like he was getting left behind and preparing to join them posthaste at all costs. Uh; nope. I jumped off and headed in the opposite direction, Lance bouncing around on the end of the reins like a large, unwieldy box kite.  :-/
We eventually went home on MY terms, me leading him all the way. We both got some exercise, but Lance ended up sweatier than I did. Sure wish I could access that energy at will!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Moving forward, slowly

Our air quality has been abysmal, with frequent warnings for the young, old, and those with lung issues to stay inside. I'm certain Lance would come in the house if I asked him to, but I'm also certain that our hardwood floor would suffer for it!

Still, his breathing hasn't gotten worse; there's just been some occasional coughing from the dusty conditions. Last week, when our air quality was at its visibly worst, we kept the horses in their stalls/paddocks a couple days so they weren't snuffling in the dust on TOP of the particulates in the air.

Friday evening a most refreshing coast breeze came up, and I just had to go for a ride. Lance had to stop and catch his breath often when faced with any incline, but it felt wonderful to be astride and I think he enjoyed it, too. Then over the week-end, Rick commented that Lance is FAT; I guess my preemptive efforts to keep his weight up have worked a little too well! So I eliminated the olive oil from his daily rations and determined that no matter how slow or short our rides must be, we would both benefit from getting back to routine exercise, and rode again Sunday evening. We were blessed with a beautiful sunset:

The specialist I consulted last week gave me the name and number of a veterinary dermotologist to contact. Fortunately, he has worked on horses and is willing to come out and do a skin test on Lance August 25. I am excited, and nervous; excited to see if testing gives us information to better help Lance, and nervous that the result may tell us that living in a different area would be the best option for him. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.