Sunday, 29 May 2016

7 days

Allie has been on the bronchodilator for 7 days as of Friday. Saturday we had some rain so I took the opportunity to ride while all the stupid dust was wet.

Under saddle she felt amazing. Everything was easy, her canter was astounding, transitions were amazing. She was on fire and made me miss riding her so so much. She hasn't felt like that in a long time, I felt like she was at a show she had that much presence and was a little bit wired for sound (in a good way).

As for her coughing, she did cough 5 times. Severity of cough was about a 4. I'm going to ride her again Monday/Tuesday then call the vet on Wednesday to see what she thinks.

I've been wetting down her hay and feed and I've even bought hay cubes to try as they aren't dusty at all. But we have had a stack of back burning going on the last few weeks (in Australia we burn all the bush around residential areas in winter as it is less likely to have a bush fire in summer if it's had a recent burn) and it's been so bloody dry so I'm not surprised at all that she is still coughing. I've started her on three days of 5ml of bute (vet said I could try that too) just to give her the best chance but I really think, for this first bad flare up, that she'll need steroids to calm everything down.

In other news I've been riding a friend's thoroughbred for her while she recovers from falling off and being stepped on (ouch!). His name is Prince and he's also recovering from some pretty awful owners who pretty much just thrashed him around. He's quite weak in the hind quarter and back so has trouble with balance and freaks out a bit when he's asked to do something without leaning very heavily on your hands. But, after just a couple of rides with me being very stern when it comes to being soft to the bridle and NOT leaning on my hands, ever ever ever, and he's doing so much better already. His owner hasn't had her own horse before and is a lovely girl who got him a little over a year ago and has spent this whole time getting him better. Hopefully he just keeps going from strength to strength. She's going to get some lessons from me and probably from Linda too once she's all better. I'm excited to see this horse in such a great home (we've known him for a long time, I used to trim him for an old owner about 5 years ago).

I'll leave you with some Prince schooling photos. He was a very very good boy yesterday. Both horses were. Just if I could get this bloody cough sorted I would love to get Allie to some dressage clinics or comps fairly soon. I'll look at jumping again once she's been in remission for a while. Things are looking a bit better today. :)

Friday, 20 May 2016


Allie has Recurrent Airway Obstruction or RAO or Heaves or COPD - basically she is having an allergic reaction to something in her environment resulting in inflammation and mucous build up in her airways.

So that's what has been causing her exercise intolerance and the reason why she's been coughing on and off for months.

My theory (and I mentioned this to the vet and she says it's possible) is that allies immune system went from taking a big hit with her surgery and multiple si us infections to being in overdrive (this paired with her itch which is also an allergic reaction make me think this). She got itch initially after she stopped getting recurring sinus infections. It's just never gone away when the itch season ends. And now this.

So treatment is 80% management - trying to reduce or avoid altogether her exposure to allergens. So wetting down feed and hay, no stabling, not riding her in dusty arenas and not riding her with other horses (that stir up dust), not keeping her in the grassy paddock where she keeps flaring up, etc etc. Then medicating when she has a flare up. We are trying to find the meds that work for her - at the moment she's on Clenbuterol which is a bronchodilator. She can have that for up to two weeks and if it works alone then fantastic. It has a two week swab time so to compete I would need to treat any flare ups and get her off it two weeks prior to the event.

If the Clenbuterol doesn't work then she will need to be tried on a series of corticosteroids until we find the one that works. To be honest I would like her to go on steroids to also help her skin initially. But that's not the way the vet wants to treat so I'm following her lead.

The vet says this might be seasonal or it could be a year round thing. We don't know yet. If it's seasonal it's easier to manage because you know when she might get sick and you just medicate during that time and don't compete then.

Other things I'm doing (vet suggested and also from my own research) is upping her omega 3 intake (omega 3 has an anti inflammatory effect) as I think it is out of ratio with omega 6 in her diet right now (she is on sunflower seeds which are high in omega 6 and omega 6 has an inflammatory effect). There's been some research that shows feeding high amounts of linseed can help treat itch conditions due to anti inflammatory properties. So I've added linseed to her diet. I'm also putting her back on a toxin binder for mycotoxins in case that's part of what she's having an allergic reaction to. It won't hurt her adding these and might help.

Long term I'm thinking I need to have a hard look at what exactly my goals are. I'm not getting any younger and we would like to have another child when Evie is about 5 so I've only got a small window where I can get out and compete and really work on my riding before the next big break from riding. But I want to ride Allie, not some other horse. I want to compete Allie. And that might prove very tricky if I need to manage her allergen exposure and medications and all the perfect timing that will entail.

Some of my friends think I should just send her away to spell for a few years and work with a second horse (either buy or lease). My vet says that there are plenty of competition horses being successfully managed and are quite competitive out there, even at the higher levels. My husband thinks I should have given up on Allie by now and sell her on (who the hell would have her? Just the bloody doggers I'm thinking). My sister thinks this is my heart horse and I have the dedication to make this work so to keep trying with Allie for my dream with her.

Right now, I'm a bit emotionally spent (although my cup is rarely full in that department since having a kid. She still wakes 2-3 times a night screaming and needs resettling. She is still on the boob and she is a temper throwing little darling right now who hates being separated from me. I'm fucking spent). I'm so sick of paying vet bills, taking her to the vet, stopping and stalling, scratching from comps, hopping on after a good spell only to have her cough her guts up during a ride so I just get off in tears. Do I want that to be my life for the rest of Allies time on the planet? Can I mentally handle that for years on end? I don't know.

I'm sorry for being a Debbie downer. Allie should have been named Ballymount Rollercoaster.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


I've scratched from Mudgee. Apparently today is the last day to scratch and get a refund.

Allie is coughing just walking up to me in the paddock to get her feed. I think she needs steroids to finally get over this. I can't expect her to perform in the state she's in now.

I'm a bit devastated but I guess that's horses, huh?


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Post-Hawaii Drama.

So, where did I leave off? Allie wasn't coughing anymore, and needed a clip.

Ok, well I went on holidays to Hawaii for two weeks so Allie sat around spelling while I was overseas. I got back last Friday and rode on Saturday. We had a little jump and she went well. I put her back in her grassy yard up the back of the property afterwards because her front yard is basically dirt and I don;t like paying for hay if I don't have to.

Well, the rides we have had after puttin gher back in the grassy yard have progressivly gotten worse with the coughing. I'm so frustrated!! So, back to the dirt yard and back on hay again. She will have the next couple of days off as I'll be at work and I'll see how she is on Friday. Grrrr.

I got the vet bill while I was away for all the investigation of this stupid cough - $1329.65!! And she is still coughing! I'm pissed to be honest.If she needs steroids then she should have gotten them a long time ago.

Now, I'm hoping she comes good as we've got our first away event on the 28th which I desperately don't want to scratch from. Every time I get going with this horse some other shit happens. I am so sick of it. Am I just want her to be happy and healthy! She friging deserves it after everything she has been through.

Anyway, I ave her a light lunge today then had a go with our brand new set of clippers I bought. She was really good! Shes been clipped before but never without sedation. I got her left front and shoulder and neck done. She was super good, I'm proud of her.

Not too bad for my first ever time using big arse bloody clippers.
She's not particularly impressed.

I wish I had better news for you guys. :(