Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Of Riding Alone and Vaccines

Saturday morning the girls went to the river to ride again. I had some other obligations and got back to the house just after they left. Ah, this would be a good day for a solo ride. The ipod is loaded up (I even have a "Riding Jessie" playlist) and fully charged.

Once I had Jessie cleaned and tacked we headed out the same we go on about 80% of our rides. It amazes me how the dynamic changes with the number of horses in the ride. As we were alone, everything was especially scary. I decided to try and improve her bravery by making her work at everything she shied from. The day was warm, around 80 degrees, and it didn't take long to work up a sweat. It seemed to me that once we were about a mile out, she gave up on the scary stuff. I wondered if it was that the "magnet" of home had lost it's effect.

We worked on a few exercises, but for the most part we just rode around listening to music. It is a wide open area so I could ride around comfortably with the ipod on because no one was going to be coming up on us. This was not the case on the canal bank we generally ride along. With the occasional four wheeler, I ride with only one ear bud in to be able to hear them coming up on us. (Although Jessie has a good alarm system.)

Sunday, my wife had plans for the afternoon and we had a short ride together in the morning. I got most of my work around the house done by 4 pm and decided to go out again by ourselves to see if Jessie's "solo out" had improved. It hadn't. She balked at the same things we've passed a hundred times, so we got to work a bit harder. We would do roll backs along the canal bank and jogged and loped most of the way out. Once we got to that certain distance, her demeanor changed and she was happy to go just about anywhere. Obviously, this is something we need to work on a little more.

I had given Jessie the West Nile (Encephalomyelitis-West Nile Virus, Eastern and Western, Killed virus, Tetanus Toxoid, Fort Dodge) vaccine on the Sunday, 17th. She had a raised welt a little larger than the size of a quarter until Wednesday. She had no reaction other than that. On Sunday the 25th, it was time to give her the flu vaccine (Equine Rhinopneumonitis-Influenza Vaccine, Killed Virus, Calvenza -03 EIV/EHV, Boehringer Ingelheim). Remember, because she had reacted to this vaccine the last time I gave it to her the vet suggested I give it intra-nasally. I don't think that I wrote that he mentioned I twitch Jessie to give her the nasal vaccine. The last time I gave a nasal vaccine to my gelding 5 or so years ago, I wasted much of it as he fought the cannula going up his nose. I don't own a twitch, but I had been working with Jessie for the last two weeks. Every time we were doing something where she was comfortable and relaxed (grooming, pen cleaning, resting after a ride) I would put my finger up her nose and use the lowering the head cue on her pole. When she dropped her head I would take my finger out. She got quite used to me doing that. The cannula is much longer than my finger though and I wasn't sure how she would handle it. The vaccine is twenty five bucks and I didn't want to waste it. I did have a needle and just figured if she fought too much with the cannula I would just inject her. We took a treat out to her pen, my wife put the halter on her, I rub her head a bit, then just threaded the cannula up there and she took it just fine. The treat afterward seemed to make up for the indignity of it all. This morning there was no sign of the lethargy as there was the last time I had given it to her.

Because my wife's horse, Dusty, had had no reaction to the West Nile and we hadn't worked on the intra-nasal with him, I just injected him in the right hip (an area the vet suggested). Jessie hasn't shown any reaction to the flu vaccine, but Dusty was moving rather gingerly on the rear leg. He was not off his feed, but he did look a bit down. Early this morning he looked like he was walking better. He is still eating and that's always a good sign.
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