Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And we're off!

Saturday is a big day, ultrasound for Miss Tres! Gotta see what that follicle is doing :) Maybe we'll get SUPER lucky and she'll be close, but with my luck, we'll have just missed it... haha.

On the plus side, the vetericyn is working WONDERS on Topaz's lip. The droopy/bell's palsy look she had going on is pretty much gone, and its filling in SO nicely. I am taking pictures every other day, to document the progress :) totally grossed out my boss, haha. Now I need to get suture scissors to take out the remaining stitches on Friday. Maybe we'll get lucky and the scarring will be minimal :)

Had a great conversation with Leigh Anne today (the trainer for Corona Real) today! Talked about breeding, training, showing, all kinds of awesome stuff. I really do wish we lived closer to her barn, so I could spend more time out there in lessons and having my horses trained. At any rate, she had some interesting propositions for me, and a lot of possibilities have opened up for me to occupy my time with while Tres is on hiatus from the show ring cooking a baby :) I will post when I know more, but in the meantime, send good cycle vibes to us on Saturday!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Very big update!

Sorry for the delay in this update- I tried to write it last night, but the site was down!

OK. Bad news first. I realize I've been a little vague about Topaz's lump on her lip, so here's the whole story! After our disappointing experience with Quail Valley, we had Equine Medical come out and biopsy. Less than a week later, we had our results- the lump was actually a mast cell tumor. VERY rare in horses (of course). When the vet broke the news to me, all I could do was shake my head in disbelief- if its some kind of weird medical thing, its gonna happen to me or my horses *sigh* The vet and I had a very long conversation- the usual protocol for these tumors is immediate surgical removal, but the size and location on her lip complicated things. The second best option was radiation, but it was prohibitively expensive ($2-6K). As much as we adore Topaz, she is not proven as a mount or a broodmare, and we couldn't justify spending that amount of money on a horse that hasn't proven itself yet (although we have no doubt that she will eventually!). The last option is one not generally tried in horses, but is popular in dogs (where mast cell tumors are VERY common). A regimen of corticosteroids to shrink the tumor, then surgical removal.

After much discussion between myself, my husband, and Lauren (who is training and riding Topaz), we decided our best option was the steroids and hopefully surgery in a few weeks. But lucky for us, we had an amazing vet who was determined to do better for us. He headed up to Mizzou (an excellent veterinary medicine program with a wonderful equine clinic) to speak with some colleagues there about their opinions on a course of treatment. Lucky for us, a case this rare with such interesting tumor placement sparked some interest, and one of Mizzou's best equine surgeons offered to do the surgery at an INCREDIBLY reasonable rate. We had her up to the clinic that week! Surgery was textbook, and it looked GREAT when she got home. Of course, she has since ripped out all of her stitches, but with lots of care, the surgeon is optimistic that it will heal with minimal scarring- and the most important part, she will be healthy and retain full use of her lip and mouth! It looks pretty rough in the last photos in the album below, because they were taken the day she ripped out all the stitches. It's looking much better now, and I will continue to update it with photos :)

Photos of the journey.

Now, on to the best news of the week!!! Thursday, I got a phone call confirming shipment of Fugitivo's frozen semen! It arrived at Equine Medical this morning :) so now I'm waiting for Dr. Ortis to set up an appointment to bring Tres in for an ultrasound. Apparently this year, when I was anxious for signs of heat, she's decided to go incognito :) so I think we may have to go the regumate route, but I don't even care at this point! We're so close!!! So cross your fingers, I will post when I've got more news!

We had been planning to hit a small fun show in Fulton this weekend, for some halter and English classes, but its been raining for about 24 hours, so I'm not sure how thats going to work out. Anyway, very excited!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week full of ups and downs

Its been quite a week! Both at work and at home, lots of craziness. Got the contract sent off for Tres, so that was a relief! Now just waiting for our "shipment" to arrive, and Tres's cycles to cooperate :) but there is no rush. I wouldn't mind an early summer baby.

On the Topaz front, we're still working with the vet to resolve the issue, but its looking like she'll be slated for surgery sometime in the next month or so. The timing is actually good (well, as good as it could be), because she will have the surgery while Lauren is home for the summer, so by the time Lauren is back in the fall, they should be ready to get back to work and hit the ring!

Aside from that, I'm just trying to keep my head above water at work. We had a HUGE event today, 250+ people, including state legislators. It actually went off quite well, so hopefully now things will get back to my normal, manageable routine :)

Will update soon, just not much to talk about yet!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stalls are in and the contract is signed!

I really do need to get back in the habit of updating this regularly, sorry guys! Since I last wrote, a lot has happened. I spent 2 full days at WWU photographing their USDF dressage show, which was so fun! There were some BEAUTIFUL rides, and some lovely horse and rider combinations. I've sold a few pictures :) but am still deciding if its something I want to pursue in the future. If you're interested in seeing pictures, go here. While I was gone all day last Sunday, Myles was a busy bee at the house, putting up 2 of the three stalls! :) All that is left is the foaling stall for Tres. We're not using the stalls yet, waiting to get the stall mats in and a shavings bin built, but its nice to have them in the barn!
On the Topaz/melanoma front, the tests Quail Valley did were not conclusive. Despite my specifically making the appointment for them to biopsy the lip, all they did were compression slides, which showed a lot of infected cells (duh, it was oozing blood and pus, so clearly there was an infection). They wanted us to put her on antibiotics for a few weeks to see if we could shrink the lump at all. At this point, I was very disappointed with our last few visits- they came to microchip Topaz but didn't bring a scanner, I made an appointment for a breeding soundness exam for Tres and he was completely unprepared, the melanoma diagnosis off of just a physical examination.... so we decided to have a second vet out to see her and switch our horses over to a new clinic. Equine Medical in Columbia has a stellar reputation, as well as being one of the premier reproductive clinics in the nation, so we made an appointment with them. They biopsied the lump, and we should have results on Monday. Either way, its nice to have a vet that will do the requested tests and is just as anxious as we are for a course of action. I don't do the passive, wait and see approach very well, so its a relief to be on the same page with the new vet.

In other exciting news, I received both Tres's new registration papers and the contract for her breeding with Fugitivo XII!! I sent in the transfer of ownership nearly FIVE months ago, and IALHA finally sent it back. I can only imagine how long finishing Topaz's registration will take, but I will worry about that later this summer, after Tres is bred. I've got my paperwork for the breeding all filled out, except I'm still debating about which vet to use. I had been comfortable with the idea of using Quail Valley, but I'm still pretty disappointed in our experiences with them in the last month or so. So I am speaking to Equine Medical early next week to find out if they could fit us into their schedules :) I'm sure they are more expensive but I'd rather have it done right the first time!

Aside from that, the rain is really putting a damper on everything else. We've had horrible weather, including hail and tornado warnings, and it doesn't look like its going to let up any time soon. Today we had a brief break and a bit of sun, so I put the horses out front, even though the ground is still horribly wet. They are so focused on inhaling the grass they aren't being rambunctious, so thats good :) They can enjoy it for a few hours, then back to the barn lot and hay.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Barn Work!

Sorry I've let this lapse a little bit, things have been rather crazy at work! Still waiting for our contract to get the FXII semen shipped out here, but hopeful that we'll get it in the mail this week!

Some good news and some bad news. The bad news first. Topaz was being aimed at her first dressage show last weekend. Unfortunately, the Wednesday before the show, the growth on her lip (which our vet had diagnosed as melanoma), had grown considerably, and was bleeding. The vet came out on Friday to take samples, as it isn't really behaving like melanoma. We're still waiting on the results, but we're planning to have it surgically removed in the next few weeks. While we're sad that this is now the second show she missed because of injury, she still has a bright future ahead of her with Lauren :) and we're looking forward to their adventures in the next year!

Next, the good news! The ground finally dried up enough to get our contractor out here to do the dirt work necessary on the barn to get our stalls in! I came home tonight to find the barn floor all leveled out (and as a plus, the contractor removed our HUGE manure pile for his garden, yay!). Next comes laying the stall mats and putting up the stalls! We are VERY excited! Hoping to have everything done before we leave for vacation in July, then the foal paddock will be a fall project.

We're very slowly making headway :) I've also started a small side business. Since I go to horse shows and take hundreds of pictures anyway, I've started selling photos and videos. I photographed my first horse show last Sunday, the CDCTA Spring Dressage show (the one Topaz was supposed to be in). It was exhausting, but a lot of fun! I'm hoping people like the pictures as much as I liked taking them :) The big challenge will be this weekend- the WWU USDF dressage show, encompassing about 27 hours of dressage crammed into 2 days. I'm going to be EXHAUSTED at the end, but hopefully its worth it :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

New stalls!

Sorry for the delay, its been a long week! Earlier in the week, a friend forwarded me a Craiglist ad about some horse stalls. I've been interested in pre-fabricated stalls for a while. The barn where I used to board had home-made stalls, and I noticed a lot of issues with them. The few barns I'd seen with pre-fab stalls seemed to hold up better- but that came with a price! I had looked into buying the metal pieces and the lumber separately, and it got pricey very fast! So while I kept an eye on Craigslist for used stalls, most of them were either too expensive, or not what I was looking for. But the ad my friend Michelle (shout-out Michelle!) sent me on Monday looked perfect! Even the price was perfect. But the catch? They were 3 hours away. And because the price was right, they guy had TONS of interest and wanted them out ASAP. First person there with cash took them.

Of course, I was at work, so I couldn't do anything about it. This is where my crazy amazing husband comes in :) I called him, and before I could even finish telling him about it, he was looking up truck rental places. He enlisted some help, and took off. HOURS and HOURS later, he returned victorious! The stalls had been bolted into the barn, so they had to saw them off. Then the stall pieces weighed a TON! It took 6 full grown men several hours to load all the pieces into the box truck. Luckily gravity helped my husband and his brother unload them alone, which was good, since it was at about 2 AM! Now I'm stuck trying to figure out how to get them from next to the house, to into the barn, since they weigh so much! The ground was too muddy to drive the truck over there, and it had to go back to the rental place. Anybody up for a stall-moving day? :)

But they're PERFECT!!! 12 x 12, sliding doors, beautiful cedar wood, name plate holders on the door, windows in the sliding door, nice SOLID bars, swing out feeder and waterer... I LOVE them!!! Now just to get the barn levelled so we can install them, and find some mats! Topaz and Tres will be styling this winter!!! We got 3 stalls, which will transition into one stall and one FOALING stall next spring! (we will probably have to enlist more help to remove the divider next spring, haha).

I didn't have much luck finding pictures of ones that look similar, and of course, I didn't save the pictures in the Craigslist ad. So you will have to wait until we get them into the barn, then the girls will be the subject of a barn photoshoot :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another step on our journey!

I spoke with Dr. Baisel at Valley Oak Ranch tonight! I called earlier in the week, but apparently California is experiencing some horrendous weather (not unlike Missouri!) and things had been a little crazy. We had a nice chat :) I should be getting the contract tomorrow, and then we'll go from there! We had a nice chat about our respective climates (haha) and about Quail Valley (who will be storing the semen for us, and handling the insemination). Just another small step on this long journey we're taking!!
Got the last of my 7 books in the mail today. So I'm going to be up to my ears in pictures and pages for weeks! Which is good, since it will stop me from incessantly checking Tres for ANY signs of heat. She is quite sick of me, I'm sure... haha.

Unfortunately the beautiful sunny 75 degree days we were enjoying have transitioned back to snow, sleet, rain, and general nastiness :( oh well. This weekend is the WWU spring dressage show. We had hoped to have Topaz attend, but the weather has made it impossible for any consistency in training. Oh well. She will make her debut later this spring or summer, there is plenty of time!

Sorry there isn't more interesting news to report. Wait, I forgot! :) We working on a website! My brother had originally been working on the outline with his Mac. We weren't concerned with anything too fancy, since we weren't planning on breeding for a while. However, obviously, plans have changed! Lucky for me, we just hired an amazing graphic designer at work, and he's offered to work with me on a simple, but nice, website :) yay! If you have any suggestions on what to do, what not to do, anything, as far as a website, send it my way! We're doing soooo many things we've never tried before!