Category Archives: Financial

Building Your Own Barn

We are beginning to build a barn on our property!!! While it is super exciting, there is much more to the process than I could ever imagine. I will be updating my site throughout the process. Below are some helpful resources along with the plans/lay-out for our barn.

Resources:

http://www.stablewise.com/construction.html

https://www.buildingsguide.com/faq/how-much-does-storage-horse-barn-cost/

https://practicalhorsemanmag.com/lifestyle/build-horse-barn

https://www.wickbuildings.com/blog/a-dozen-tips-for-building-horse-stalls-and-barn-storage-space/

Plans for a 6 Stall Barn

Horse Record Keeping? There’s An App For That!

I have been using the app “HorseNotes” on my iPhone for over a year.  It is by far the best software I have ever used and the best part is…you can access it on your computer as well as your iPhone (I believe it is also available for other smartphones).

Horsenotes.co allows me to make a profile for each of my horses and track their health, shoeing, tack, feed, vaccinations, worming, everything….There is a note section where I am able to log what I did that day with my horse.  I can log everything I purchase or every horse-related expense and with a press of a button the app/website even generates an expense report.  I can keep all of my contacts in one place- vets, stables, farriers, tack stores, etc. The app has a calendar that alerts you when you need to book the farrier or when the vet is coming. Plus, I can provide a log in for other people to add information as well.  You can upload records (sales, purchases, competition info, coggins) and pictures as well. Seriously, I don’t know how I was able to keep track of everything before I began using this incredible app!

I Wish Money Grew On Trees

It is a new year.  So, what better way to start off the year then to make a budget for my horse-related expenses.  Yay!!!! (NO!)  Owning a horse is not just like owning any other pet…it is far more expensive.  Especially when you have a senior horse with maintenance vet bills and a rather large diet.

The average horse has the following expenses:

  • Feed
  • Hay
  • Supplements
  • Board
  • Farrier 1x a month
  • Dentist/Float about once every 6mths
  • Vet
  • Vaccinations and worming
  • Coggins

And that is the bare minimum….

I have always known how much my guy costs to keep happy and healthy and living a life of luxury but when I added it all up on one spreadsheet and saw all of the numbers right there in front of me I almost hyperventilated!  How much!???

Below is my personal budget for Chance.  I set up the average cost of each item/service and set up a column for each of the upcoming months.

Budget



 

Below are some useful resources for making your own budget.



 

Horse Expenses

Horse Expense Calculator

The TRUE Cost of Owning A Horse

Research, Research, Research

Tendon Injury Handbook

After I left the barn, I drove home and went straight to my computer.

What was happening?  What are the masses? Scar tissue?  Nothing was able to be extracted out of them…How can I get rid of them in order to see behind them?

Again, I stayed up until the sun came out the next morning.  I already had two binders full of research and now I had a third.

Research made me believe that C has an infection in the Synovial Tendon Sheath that was being masked by the masses on the outer lining of the SS. The masses could be scar tissue from his MANY past Lymphangitis flare-ups. Perhaps, his immune system was not able to fight last attack and the infection settled in the SS and was walled off.  Thus his CBC & WBC were normal and no fluid was extracted from SS masses due to the large size of the scar tissue.
C has a major hx with his RH and “flare-ups” and lameness. I never realized this until I took the time to study his past records from the first 5 years I owned him.

Symptoms are similar to an infection- what if we proceeded as if it were?
Lack of a positive culture does NOT mean that there is not an infection in the sheath!

Current Symptoms:
1. Swelling decreases after being active
2. Fails to extend fetlock
3. Lame- exasperated by flexion
4. Positioning for fetlock flexion

Septic Synovitis: Cartilage degradation ischemia, Fibrin deposition lead to lameness to pannus form and adhesive form

Entrobacteriacaea
Strep
Staph
Most common is Staph

Treatment: 

Systematic Procaine Penicillin 22000 iU/kg or Sodium Benzyl Penicillin & Gentamicin 6.6 mg/kg for 2-9 days

Then change to oral potentiated sulfonamides 5mg.kg Trimethoprim and 25 mg/kg of Sulphadiazine

Other potassium penicillin w/ Amikacin Cectiofur or Enrofloxacin

IV antibiotics for 7-10 days switch to oral for 2 weeks

Regional limb profusion or placement of impregnated Polymethyylmethacralate or PMMA

I immediately called Vet4 and told him my theory.  He said that it was possible and that we should begin treatment asap.  He was still out of town so I called Vet3 to order Baytril. Vet3 felt my theory was legit and immediately ordered the antibiotic!

Road blocks

 

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The first round of injections provided Chance with some relief, in his ability to move around and the swelling went down a bit, but that only lasted about a week.  At about day 8, Chance was swollen again and 3 legged lame.  Thankfully, a family friend of the farms owner called me.  She explained that the farrier was out shoeing one of the horses and saw Chance’s leg, and when he arrived to shoe her horses, he expressed his concern.  I immediately contacted Vet4 an he was out the following day.

Vet4 injected the masses again as a temporary fix, until we could make some decisions.  The ultrasound showed that the masses were the exact same as they were in the first ultrasound- they hadn’t increased or decreased in size.

Later that evening, Vet4 and I had a lengthy conversation about where to go from here.

We discussed the options again, at length.  We could do an MRI to gain more insight into what is happening with that leg, go in with an Arthroscope and clean it out, or look into Stem Cell Therapy.

Well, I wasn’t comfortable putting Chance under anesthesia…he was too old and too frail.  Plus, he could break a leg or a hip going down.  So, that ruled out the MRI (unless I could find a standing one) and the surgery.  The Stem Cells would run about $3000.00, plus he would need to goto the hospital to have the procedure done.

I took the night to think it over, and stayed up until sunrise reading as much as I could on leg issues, the different options vet4 and I had discussed, and other potential causes.

That next morning, I received a call that Chance was worse.  Vet4 was out of town due to an emergency, so I called Vet3.  She got out to the farm immediately.

Vet3 gave Chance Surpass topical to put on the leg, Banamine, Ulcer Guard, and continued with the Prevacox to keep him comfortable.

I asked her what she thought about the options- she felt, as I did, the surgery wasn’t a good idea and that an MRI should only be done without sedation.

I called Vet4 and we spoke about the current situation.  What else is going on? He suggested changing the course and trying different diagnostics.  He explained that TSMs (Tendon Sheath Masses) can cause swelling and pain, but they are usually relieved by the injections.  The ultrasounds showed that his suspensory tendon and ligaments looked good.  Could this be an infection? Soft tissue damage? A bone issue?

I asked him if he felt moving forward with more tests was a bad thing…was I being cruel keeping Chance alive like this?  Something that had been weighing on me from the start.  And what Vet4 said, empowered me to continue down the path I initially felt in my gut to be the right decision.  He said, “I am not the kind of person to ever give up on someone or something.” I asked if we were able to manage his pain adequately and make sure he was comfortable and he said, yes.  He advised me to “make a decision based on the horse” and “not to listen to the opinions of everyone else”.

The next day, I cleared my schedule, and headed to the farm.

 

Coming Home to Love & Peace

Chance was able to come home a week later.  Sam & John went to pick him up at the hospital. However, upon arriving, they soon found out that Chance did not want to get on the trailer.  Sam later told me that one of my sweatshirts was in the truck, so she brought it out and let him smell it- he finally loaded.

I got his stall ready- tons of fresh shavings, hay, a new water bucket…

The moment he got off of the trailer he was shaking!  I gave him a warm bath and let him out in a small, flat paddock so he could be in the sunshine.

This is what happened when I let him out!  He did something he had not been capable of doing for months and months, if not longer.

Answers

Vet4 came out immediately.  I was beyond grateful!

He did an ultrasound of the back right leg and called me.  He found that Chance has Chronic Cellulitis and that there was Vascular constriction, and masses on the tendon sheath between the superficial and deep tendon sheaths.  The Doppler showed good blood flow and a thickening of the synovial lining. Hoof testers- Negative

We spoke about my opinions- MRI, Arthroscopic surgery, Regional Diffusion, Cold Compression Therapy, Nerve Block Injections, Steroid Injections

We decided  to try the Steroid Injections into the 3 Synovial masses to hopefully reduce the size and thickening.  Thus allowing us to see behind the masses to see what is actually happening.

Injections were into the Proximal Digital Flexor Tendon Sheath with 6mg Betamethasone and d100mg of Amikacon. Leg was covered with SSD and DMSO and bandaged.

Once injected, cold compression therapy for about 5 days twice a day and stall rest. Banamine daily.

The Guessing Game

IMG_7563The month passed by slowly….I kept hitting a brick wall over and over again…with each diagnostic test we ran.

Vet2: This was Chance’s vet for many years and where Chance lived the summer I moved home.  Vet1 was used because of connivence and due to being the vet of the owner of the farm.   I called Vet2, desperate, and she came out to see him.  Vet2 had always been amazing with Chance- kind, calm, and seems to act on intuition in conjunction with science.  She ran a CBC, tested for Cushings, Lymes, an did x-rays on the back right leg.

RESULTS:

* Metabolic Syndrome- Cornell

GLUCOSE: 10mg/dl

LIPEMIA: 8mg/dl

HEMOLYSIS: 1mg/dl

ICTERUS: 2mg/dl

*Endocrinology

ACTH endo 21.4 pg/ml

INSULIN 15.22 uIU/ml

THYROXINE T4 baseline 0.77 ug/dl

*Lyme Mitpix- Cornel

OspA Value 1253- Equivocal

OspC Value 79- Negative

OspF Value 592- Negative

Temp: 99.1, HR: 42, RR: 12, No murmur

Received Potomac Rabies and Stanozanol 4ml 7 vit B12

The X-rays of his back right showed nothing that could cause his flare-ups.  While his thyroid was a bit low, it was not clinically significant.  He was negative for Lymes and Cushings.  Next step, aside from pain management, is to call Vet3- the holistic approach.

Horse's Leg

Tendon Injury Handbook

The Call

One day I received a call that I needed to come out and see Chance because he wasn’t doing well and, according to Vet1, he needed to be put down.  I quickly canceled my appointments and got on the road.  The 4 hour drive was excruciating…once we finally arrived, my heart broke.

My old guy was skin and bones.  His back right leg was swollen and he wasn’t able to bare weight on it.  His eyes were dull.  He could barely walk, and when he did, he wouldn’t put any weight on the right hind.  There were even times when he would do this “neurologic dance” (coined by the farm’s owner and C’s other mom) where he would lift up his back right leg and hop!

But when he saw me pull up, he whinnied.  He was excited to see me.  He ate the pureed carrots but refused the apple puree (only my mom would make this for him).  He wasn’t ready to die.



I called the vet who said that Chance should be put down to see what his thoughts were.

Me:   What do you think is going on with C?

Vet1: I think he is ready to be put down. 

Me: Because of what?

Vet1: Lymphangitis

Me: Okay, well, what is the cause of the Lymphangitis? Did you run any diagnostics?

Vet1: No

Me:  I would like to manage his pain and run a few tests before making that decision.  (I reviewed the research that I had done and asked where to go from there.) Could it be EPM?

Vet1: “It’s not EPM”

Me: How about Cushings? Or Laminitis? Lymes?

Vet1: Nope. Just old age.

Me: The journals I read said that some of the symptoms…(I was cut off)

Vet1: “I don’t care what journals you read!  It’s a bunch of…”

Me: One was from VA Tech actually…



Well, that was that! Vet1 did not completely lack compassion but he was more “old school” I guess one could say.  He was well respected in the horse world and up until this point, he did the job I needed. But I will say I was disheartened by our conversation.  

I decided to contact the other vets that I had worked with in the past, who also knew Chance, and get second, third, fourth opinions.  

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From Sunset Beach to Take A Chance

I purchased Chance from a farm in Middleburg, Virginia.  I remember the first time I saw him- this big 17.1 hand, 10 year old, chestnut thoroughbred gelding.  He had these sad big brown eyes that made me instantly fall in love. I got on him and we cantered around a field together and over a handful of jumps.

We vetted him and trailered him back to the farm in Lorton, Virginia.

Immediately upon his arrival, we all noticed that this horse was scared of everything! He was a cribber. He was constantly hurting himself.  And he refused to pick up his left lead.

We began working with our trainer- mostly on our flatwork- and he loved to rear! Yay! (note sarcasm). He hated trail riding and riding in the field.  What horse dislikes being ridden in a huge green field!?  We managed to jump a bit here and there.  Every time we made progress, Chance would get hurt!  Colic, a huge gash above his eye, a hurt leg- you name it, he had it/did it/hurt it.

After much consideration, I decided that I should lease him out so that he would have more time under the saddle.  Next, we decided to try Dressage to build up his back muscles.  We worked with an awesome trainer, actually two, who were pretty well known in the Dressage world.  And, honestly, Chance was amazing at Dressage!  And what a difference it made! I began to actually enjoy riding him!  He was much calmer and easier to handle.

I left to goto college and a few weeks later Chance came to meet me.  My poor trainer trailered Chance the 4 hours and it took much longer than expected because of the directions! Chance’s behaviors were all over the place.  The only stable with availability was one the held a rodeo on the weekends.  It was great fun, but Chance was not a fan of the bulls.  We ended up moving to another facility where he was receiving training and I was receiving lessons.  That soon stopped because of the frequent encounters with lameness and back issues.

That summer I went home and decided to leave him at vet2’s stable where he would have 24 hour care and someone who knew him well. Plus, maybe a break would do him some good.  However, after that summer he was officially retired.

I moved him to another stable closer to school.  It was a perfect place- a three stall barn, with individual runs, and big green pastures. He soon fell in love with the mare there and was content.

Thankfully, after graduation, I was able to leave him at this farm while I completed my Masters degree and almost finish my Doctorate.  Without the care the farm’s owner extended to Chance (and the care extended to me as well), I have no idea what I would have done. The truth is though, I wasn’t able to make the drive as frequently as I would have liked with school and everything…4 hours there and 4 hours back in one day… I had always envisioned bringing Chance home upon graduation….

Chance lived there for almost 8 years.  He had flare ups of Lymphangitis and would stock up if left inside.  The symptoms were treated with each episode but the flare ups would continue and each episode would last a couples days and was manageable with medication. The mistake I made was instead of doing my own research about Lymphangitis, I took the vet’s word for it.  I was under the impression that Lymphangitis was more of a disease instead of a symptom.  If I had only done my homework I would have known that is was in fact the symptom of a much larger problem.

The day "Sunset Beach" became "Take A Chance"

The day “Sunset Beach” became “Take A Chance”