What a week!!!! This house has certainly had its fair share of horses with ailments, but that is of course having horses for you!! Jack has had a run in with infection, as a result of a stone that has made its way up the hoof wall over the past year or so!! The stone was found only a centimetre form his coronet band, and of course the infection was making trouble with a capital T!! Things were a little hairy for a few days, but he is thankfully on the mend now, but loving having a little bit of time off. Little Munchie is also out of action, so I have a very sad 8 year old girl here! Mix school holidays, a sore pony and a cancelled show, and the 8 year old and you get what I'm saying! :-) Thankfully I have Moo here to save not only the day, but also my sanity!! So because I've been spending a little more time with Moo, I thought this was a great chance to share her story with you :) I was lucky enough just over 4 years ago, to take Moo, or Miss Mickey Moo as she is really known as, on lease. She is a 12 year old Clydie cross Arab, Quarterhorse. She is a big, strong mare with the most magnificent tail you could ever imagine!! I can remember the day I first met her as though it was yesterday...I remember driving up her road, and seeing this big, beautiful Clydie Cross hanging her head over the fence looking at us - almost "I know you're watching me, so I'm going to watch you". From the minute I saw her up close I was in love! She has the most beautiful eyes - eyes that just look straight into your soul and make everything all right. Her gentle nature was just what I was looking for! She was kind, aware of everything happening around her and a willing girl. I had no hesitations at all...I was on for our test ride, but didn't even need to ride her, I just knew she was the one! I picked her up a week later. From the moment we got home, we didn't skip a beat. The whole family was totally in love, and we all trusted her implicitly. She of course had, and still has, her moments, but they are easily forgiven. After a year on lease, the opportunity to purchase her came up. At that time, we didn't have a great deal of cash available, however my husband, who had always said she was staying here, sold his dirt bike and we had the cash!! I tell you, that is love!!! Suddenly in November of 2011, all came crashing down. On a Thursday afternoon after a great lesson, I noticed her bottom lip was all droopy. At the time I thought nothing of it...she often had a droopy lip after a lesson - I put it down to a good lesson and she was tired/relaxed. The lip was still droopy the next day, but if you know Moo, you really wouldn't think anything of it, and I didn't. I'm actually ashamed to admit that we went away for the weekend, and I didn't worry at all. However when we arrived home on Sunday afternoon, her lip was still droopy. I began to be a little concerned then, but didn't notice anything else out of the ordinary. I decided to just keep an eye on her. By the Monday morning, things had changed. Not only was her lip still droopy, but she had lost control of her ears, and her eyes were slightly swollen. Apart from that, everything else seemed OK. A vet was called, cortisone was administered, and both I and the vet thought that this would be the end of things. She was monitored very closely for the rest of the day, but by Monday night, she seemed fine...apart from the swelling and ears. By Tuesday morning, things had gotten worse, her breathing was laboured, there was no feeling in her lip, she was struggling to keep her eyes open as the swelling was making it difficult and I could see swelling making its way down her neck. Vet was called back, bloods were drawn. After a sleepless night, the morning didn't bring any answers. The bloods came back negative to all toxins that she was tested for, there was nothing out of the ordinary, but there was no mistaking that something was wrong. Her breathing was close to normal, so she was reasonably comfortable. Specialist were called in to look over her results, and the best they could come up with was a brain tumour. My heart leapt out of my chest when I heard that. I simply couldn't comprehend that information. In fact I remember driving home for the school pick-up telling the Vet that "That is just stupid, and I'm not even going to acknowledge that!!"...but I did. The next Monday we were on our way for a full range of tests, including scopes, x-rays etc. That would have to have been the worst day I've ever had with Moo...the uncertainty, the not knowing, however everything came back clear. I can't even describe the relief. We put her on a course of antibiotics, but were also told that all is ok. The rest of the week was reasonably uneventful...until Friday, when she came hobbling up the paddock...she had foundered, and foundered badly. What she, and we, went through for the next 2 months, I will never wish upon my worst enemy. It was the most horrifying period of my horse owning life. The pain this darling mare was in was almost criminal...we reached the point that the vet would come and just say "I don't know what else to do for her". She was on massive doses of pain relief, as well as other medications. Summer was also well and truly upon us, and even a change in temperature would mean another episode. We ended up hiring industrial fans to place outside her stable in an effort to keep her cooler. Her legs and feet were iced 8 times a day, but nothing seemed to be helping. There were days where she would simply not get up...I would quite often go out in the morning and find her lying there groaning, and not getting up. I lost count of how many times I needed help to get her up and moving even a little bit. The amazing part was that in all x-rays that were done, very minimal rotation of the pedal bone showed. Although she had foundered in all four feet, the rotation was negligible...we had won one battle in the war. Just after New Years Day in 2012, I made the decision to ask for a second opinion. I felt that the Vet I was trying to work with wasn't really on the same page as I was. It's a difficult thing to do, to call another Vet. I think we place so much trust in not only the professional, but also our own gut feelings, but I had reached the point where I knew she wasnt going to survive if I continued along the same path. My next Vet arrived a few hours after he was called, took one look at her and I'll never forget his words..."I've destroyed horses in less pain than this...I'll continue with her, but I expect to be back tomorrow to let her go". That was the most horrifying sentence I could ever hear. At this point my husband took over, as I just lost it. I was handed a glass of water and told to go away. The next thing I knew, Moo was in the garage having more x-rays and after again showing minimal rotation, a plan was put in place by both my husband and vet. The farrier was also bought into this new plan, as the relationship between my previous vet and farrier wasn't one that was working in the best interests of the horse. 20 minutes later the farrier had arrived and he, my husband and Vet were all working for Moo. A slight change made by the farrier gave her relief, but then the decision to use a product called Equiphane on her feet made a huge change. Her breathing had slowed, an indication that she was in pain (even IV pain relief wasn't working at this point). By the time the farrier, vet and Craig had stopped for a cold beer a few hours later that afternoon, Moo was walking around her yard and she had life back in her eyes. From that point, nothing would stop her. She made slight improvements every day, and a warm day could pass without the fear that another Laminitic episode would find her again. Late in March she was able to go out into the paddock..only a few minutes at first, but then gradually she was spending more and more time out. I left her turned out over Winter, and although we battled against the odd abscess on occasion, she recovered really well. Her feet were the only indication that she had been so gravely ill. I remember the first day I hoped back on...and admit that I cried. In fact every single time I get on her I want to cry with relief, happiness, joy...she does nothing to make me feel otherwise. She is strong, willing, sometimes a little feisty, but still here and loving her life!! Moo taught me a lot during this time. She taught me to trust my own gut, she taught me patience, but most importantly she taught me not to give up on something you love.