Bisto has gone

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Bisto pops the jump in the arena, clears the five bar gate (normally opened and closed for horses to enter and leave) and trots back to his stable.

We all look at each other.

Ollie shouts “Did you record that?” and then runs after Bisto.

I have to say, this colt is mighty sporty!

Leaving the arena and splashing through the mud back to the yard has turned Bisto’s white bandages the same colour as the rest of him. He is now all Bisto. Not such a good look for You Tube.

Having jumped out of the arena, Bisto clearly feels he has done enough.

I think he’ll just need to do a small planned jump and leave the arena with us rather than on his own and that will be his work for today.

However, he’s going to do a bit more and my job is now to be gate monitor as he is no longer heading for the herd (Justine and I in the middle) but trying to make a quick exit! And I am to wave a lunge whip, should Bisto dare to come close enough to the gate to escape.

This would not be so bad apart from Bisto is quite fearless and lunge whip waving has to be enthusiastic enough to make him stop and not leap out of the arena, but not enough to scare the living daylights out of him!

Each time he screeches to a halt just in front of me!

When he has done the jump he is supposed to jump and cantered to me, my job is to collect him back up and give him back to Ollie.

There must be a better way to film young horses, in fact any horses.

I wonder if Ollie has tried standing in the middle with a lunge whip with whoever is recording standing at the edge of the arena?

Getting a video of Bisto may not be as easy as originally thought. It could take a few weeks of loose schooling over small jumps.

That said, if you want an eventer, watch the footage of him leaving the arena: he makes the five bar gate look like a cavaletti!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Socks

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I squidge through thick mud, the colour of chocolate mousse with the consistency of custard. It must be nearly lunchtime as even the mud is making me hungry! My next thought is, there must be something you can put down to make field entrances less boggy, and there is, rubber matting especially for field entrances, but there isn’t any here, or if there is, it has been submerged under the mud.

I look up at Socks, a giant of a horse, whose head and neck obscure my view to the right completely, We are heading back to the main yard, just the field entrance to negotiate and the road.

However, this proves to not be so straightforward as we wade through the mud. Socks doesn’t like the mud any more than I do.

It would appear that I am sinking, and sinking! Socks keeps walking and I would like to keep walking with him but as I take another step forward my foot leaves my wellie behind, almost forgetfully, so now I am hopping. With a horse giant in one hand, my wellie stuck in the mud about three feet away, I struggle to keep my socked foot in the air.

If I can stop briefly on the wooden boards at the field entrance, I may be able to hop to my wellie. Yes, I can hop to my wellie! This idea might have gone according to plan, had Socks not decided that he was not going to walk on the aforementioned pieces of wood that Becky had put down especially for him earlier in the day in the field entrance. Not only will he not walk on them, but he won’t go anywhere near them.

So I hop, trying desperately to reach the boards before I put my socked foot down in the mud. Meanwhile, Socks avoids the boards with the same determination as me, but where I want to reach the boards, Socks is trying desperately to avoid them.

Socks strides on. Meanwhile my socked foot hovers in the air and…misses the boards and splidges into the mud custard.

Socks stops and turns, giving me an odd look as I hop, wellieless with a dripping, muddy sock.

I heave my wellie out of the mud and put my muddy socked foot inside my wellington boot. It squelches.

This is not a good feeling!

 

 

 

 

 

Larry has Mud Fever

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Larry has mud fever, weeping crusty scabs on the back of his pasterns.

Not surprising as the relentless October rain makes for poached gateways, muddy paddocks, muddy tracks, and water filled potholes – the perfect conditions for mud fever, so what is it exactly? What causes it? And how do you beat it?

What is mud fever?

Clinical signs of mud fever are sores on the lower legs, especially round the back of the pastern. It can range in severity from a few small scabs to a lame horse with swollen, scabby, bleeding legs needing antibiotics and painkillers.

Signs include matted areas of hair and crusty scabs; reddened area of skin; small circular ulcerated moist lesions some with scabs; some discharge – can be orange goo to thick, yellow pus; scabs may remove hair in clumps; deep cracks in the skin – these are often horizontal; hair loss leaving raw looking areas which may bleed; horses with mud fever can have swollen legs; mud fever can lead to lameness.

What causes mud fever?

A bacteria called Dermatophilus congolensis, which is found on the skin of grazing animals, is the culprit. Usually, it is not a problem but if the skin is compromised it can cause problems by invading vulnerable skin and causing an infection. Skin is damaged by getting wet or scratched by thistles or sand. Pink skin under white legs seems more prone to mud fever.

How do you combat mud fever?

Keeping the skin of the legs clean and dry is key, which may mean the horse needs to be stabled for some time.

There are many conflicting views on the treatment of mud fever. Some vets are keen on using hibiscrub, picking off scabs etc. My experience of hibiscrub used on people and in hospitals is that it is harsh and irritates the skin, so if you opt for hibiscrub, use it sparingly and dilute it a lot. I would also err on the side of caution re picking off scabs –  in a hospital environment, you would never pick off a scab in the treatment of people unless the wound was necrotic. Generally a scab forms and healing goes on under the scab. Picking off scabs causes bleeding and increases the risk of bacteria entering the skin. Yes, the cream you are applying needs to get to the infection, but you need to be very careful about how you go about this.

If you are applying a cream to treat the mud fever from your vet eg Yellow mud fever cream, the area should be clean and dry. If it is not clean, wash with a mild disinfectant such as diluted dettol, extremely dilute chlorhexidine (hibiscrub) – extremely dilute as this is nasty skin drying stuff and can aggravate skin and make skin worse. Vets sometimes recommend pov-iodine wash or a medicated shampoo eg Allermyl. Don’t get the legs too wet, too often and if they are wet, dry them carefully. Pat them dry with a soft towel.

Dry the limb thoroughly before any creams are applied. You must dry the legs very gently so that no further trauma to the skin occurs.

There are a lot of creams on the market and your vet may also prescribe a cream with antibiotics and corticosteroids. For very bad cases antibiotics and pain killers may be necessary.

Any brushes that have been in contact with the infected skin will need to be disinfected.

Interestingly, some people advocate the topical treatment of the affected area with Manuka honey. I have heard of the healing properties of Manuka honey but have never tried it myself. (It’s not just any old honey, it is only ‘Manuka’ honey that has healing properties.)

How to prevent mud fever

Try to ensure your horses aren’t standing in muddy, waterlogged fields. Use electric fencing to fence off muddy areas.

Rotate paddocks to avoid poaching.

Avoid riding in abrasive surfaces eg sand if your horses is prone to mud fever.

Make sure the bedding in the stable is clean and dry.

Don’t overwash legs or groom legs too vigorously.

Consider barrier creams on clean, dry legs prior to turn out eg tea tree oil, aloe vera, honey with vitamin E, dermisol cream, filtabac, udder cream or petroleum jelly.

Some people like breathable, waterproof leg wraps eg Equiwraps.

Keep your eyes open as the sooner you spot mud fever, the sooner you can stop it turning into a costly recovery.

Larry seems to like Yellow Mud Fever Cream! There is a God!