From the news coverage, many of you will know that the Caspian horses arrived from their long journey in less than perfect condition. Of greatest concern was the stallion, Talib. Talib is getting stronger every day and is developing quite the personality. But I couldn’t have brought him back on my own.
The first thank you goes to Dr. Randy Killeen, for advising me on nutrition and deworming programs for bringing the horses back to health. The second thank you goes to Trisha Willsher, my farrier, who implemented trimming at 3 week intervals. Talib’s right hind hoof resembled a donkey hoof in texture and it was beginning to curl leaving a separation at the white line.
The third and most profound thank you goes to Dr. Dan Martin and his wife Linda, at Stone Raven Ranch. In late November, Talib spent 10 days at Stone Raven, undergoing daily chiropractic and energy therapy. When he came off the trailer from Kentucky, he had a roached back and his hindquarters showed evidence of extreme muscle wasting. His stride and way of going did not match what his conformation said it should be. After his time at Stone Raven, he displayed a remarkably different topline and stride.
The fourth thank you goes to Patti Hanco at Omega Alpha Horse Health Products for advising me of products and dosages to help support Talib’s new topline. He was put on Antiflam, Vantiox and most importantly, Sinew-X. Patti’s e-mail’s arrived from her hospital bed, when she was supposed to be on vacation. But, sometimes I think that’s the only way to slow Patti down.
Talib and I then began a regimen of hill walking. As he became stronger, the Kubota was used for ponying at a slow trot, for increasingly longer distances. (see earlier blog “Truck Training Pony Style, December)
Talib has continued to receive chiropractic care, at increasingly longer intervals. Last Monday, we again hauled over to Stone Raven for an appointment with equine dentist Shorty Olson. Dr. Randy had checked Talib’s teeth on arrival and had encountered sharp ridges of points on both sides. By Feb. 4, he had severe ulceration from the ridges. I had hoped that Shorty would have been able to do Talib’s teeth while he was in residence. But although Talib was significantly recovered in my mind, he was not in good enough condition to undergo a sedative and dental work in early December. The first Monday of every month is Dentist Day at Stone Raven with Shorty (sometimes accompanied by Wes, from Calgary) doing the dental work and Dr. Rick Faintruck, from Stockyard Veterinary Services, administering sedatives and performing other veterinary services as required. Linda, a certified farrier, also gave Talib a badly needed trim, as I have been reluctant to strain my friendship with Trisha in the variable weather we’ve had.
Stone Raven Ranch also provides chiropractic services for dogs. Thursday is Dog Day. In late December, our St. Bernard, Olga (also from Michelle), became very sensitive on her right hind to the point of being non weight bearing. She seemed to be getting a bit better and bearing some weight, so we assumed she must have undergone something concussive and weren’t overly concerned. However, by the mid January, she was worse. Greg was on leave from the army at the time, so took her to the vet he had used throughout his show jumping career. The diagnosis was a torn ACL which, because of her size, would require a $4500 surgery with a specialist and an extensive 3 month rehab program. I had made earlier arrangements to take Olga with Talib to Stone Raven, but by the time that appointment had rolled around, the diagnosis had been made and I was still reeling with the options. I wasn’t sure how I’d get Olga up into the truck anyway.
Dr. Dan had been expecting Olga, but didn’t comment on her non appearance, except to ask if the vet had taken x-rays. We took Olga to another vet for a second opinion, as $4500 is a lot of money. He concurred with the first diagnosis and extended it to the other leg, as the muscle fibre was beginning to thicken there as well. At that point we were seriously thinking about having Olga put down, as the surgery was out of our financial reach and rehab would continue into foaling season. But Dan’s comment kept niggling at me, as well as another comment from a friend; his torn ACL was only confirmed through a MRI. So Olga has now had 2 adjustments from Dr. Dan and is going for a third on Thursday. She is also on joint supplements. She is definitely more comfortable and heading towards recovery. Dr. Dan’s work is now focusing on hip area, excluding her knee area. This has been an eminently more palatable solution, both economically and practically to having her cut open, or having her destroyed.
I cannot give enough kudos to Stone Raven Ranch. We are so lucky to have this wonderful facility in our backyard. Even though I’m glad to pull into our gate at the end of a visit (it is a minimum 3 hour round trip), encounters with other clients show them to be hauling well over 6 hours one way. Dan and Linda’s whole approach to horses is kind, gentle and non invasive. It sets a new standard for integrated care, using both veterinary and wholistic treatments, all in a one stop facility. Training services are also available from Al Porter, well known in the reining world, as the resident trainer.
I found out about them through an article I read in something; it may not even have been a horse magazine. I didn’t take note of it at the time, but Dan Martin had done some work for us several years ago, when Greg was still on ponies. When Dr. Randy confirmed a roached back was not structural but muscular, it defined my next step with Talib. A “Google” search for “Dan Martin Animal Chiropractor” led me to Stone Raven Ranch. The ranch name in itself is a story. It took awhile for just the right name for their new endeavor to present itself; I won’t relate it here, you’ll have to ask them, but it fits perfectly with how Dan and Linda live their lives and work with animals. It’s all about awareness, watching for and interpreting the signs provided. I can’t do all the services Stone Raven provides justice in this blog, so you’ll have to check their website at www.stoneravenranch.com. We’re in the process of adding reciprocal links, as what they do fits so well with our own mission statement.
We didn’t get photos of the composter or the cart last weekend; it was too cold. It doesn’t promise to be any warmer this weekend, but we’ll just have to brave the cold. Keep checking back.