Zoe's Story

Saturday, 31 October 2015

17. Flicka's Journey - Our Nice Little Riding Pony!

Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. It has been almost a year of rehabilitation and it is so nice to report on her success!  Flicka had a year long journey of recovery and there is still a journey of learning and developing as a trained pony ahead.  Her story is a good one; so good to share good news stories.  Please feel invited to scroll down to post number 1 and check out her story. 
Flicka posing at the end of the summer 2015.  Isn't she pretty?

August 2015 trim - all new hoof polished up!

August trim close-up! Nice!

It is not only the feet though, and July was time to pay attention to the teeth!
Flicka traveled to Country Vets in PIncher Creek for some dental work.

Bathing . . .
 Flicka at the obstacle practice in October . . . nothing  phases her!

 Fun with noodles . . . and fun with tarps!

What is next for Flicka?  Just wait and see . . . 

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

16. Flicka's Journey - Gaining Confidence Under Saddle

Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.  If you would like to read the whole story, scroll down to post number 1.

Now that Flicka's feet are back to normal and she has been professionally started by Bob our trainer, it is time to give her confidence and experience riding and traveling into the mountains.

Bob gave Flicka a superb start, 15 rides in the ring and around the farm. He taught her to move her feet if she needed too, and that carrying a rider is a good thing!
Sarah, our volunteer from England, has taken over riding Flicka.  She is confident riding around the farm; taking time with gates, riding with different horses each time and trotting and cantering across the grassland! 

On Sunday, Flicka joined us on a 5 hour trail ride in Bob Creek Wildland!  She has been gaining condition and we thought ponying her with 6 other horses would be a nice change.  Flicka kept up with no trouble, and as much as she was a little cautious with the horses she did not already know, she seemed to enjoy the distraction of a few steep hills, creek crossings and logs.

I can not emphasize enough how important it is spending consistent time doing a good variety of regular things with a horse new to riding.  It builds their confidence and helps them learn that a new experience is a good experience, and lets them practice a variety of difference tasks in a calm, low pressure way.  This is what makes a riding or driving horse . . . the time spent after the trainer, after the starting, the time spent enjoying new experiences!  What that does is train their mind so they can become that confident, safe, reliable horse (or pony) we all want!  Flicka is on her way . . .

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Sunday, 7 June 2015

15. Flicka's Journey - Ride that Pony

Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.  If you would like to read the whole story, scroll down to post number 1.

Her feet are almost completely regrown at the correct angle, without the separation.  She is a few hundred pounds less, a nice slim neck and is so happy to be going to work.

Flicka's 3rd ride goes outside the ring with Heidi and Grinner as support.

Love a quiet country road with good ditches.  Flicka steps right up to riding horse status!

Forth ride back in the ring . . . Flicka gets used to the snaffle.  Thank you Bob!

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

14. Flicka's Journey - The Process of Healing

Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.  If you would like to read the whole story, scroll down to post number 1.

Flicka's front hooves when she arrived in November 2014, before the first trim.  She had
chronic laminitis - a separated hoof wall.

First trim, left front November 2014.  Keep your eye on the horizontal crack on the left front as it
moves down with the new hoof growing in at the correct angle.

Second trim, December 2015

Third trim, January 2015

Forth trim, February 2015

Fifth trim, April 2015
copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Thursday, 16 April 2015

13. Flicka's Journey - The First Ride

Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.  If you would like to read the whole story, scroll down to post number 1.

This just in, Flicka has started riding!  Her feet are coming along nicely and the time to get started on this project is now.  Flicka is now off the green grass as well, so needs excersize.  Bob has been working with the new horses at Windy Coulee the last month and has made super progress with all of them.  Flicka of course responded very well to the ground work and took to the saddle with ease; she was, after all, a well trained pack horse!  Then, after some careful consideration and watching her reactions to ground work, Bob just hopped on!  I was surprised to see them riding around the ring when I went out to the barnyard to watch the progress!

Great working shot of Bob and Flicka.  What a super little pony!

First ride, in the wind.  It can not be helped at Windy Coulee!

Bob did extensive ground work, "read" Flicka correctly, and got on!  I arrived at the ring to find them riding around.  Her feet are solid and she is showing no sign of lameness.  She is still under strict hoof care and nutrition protocols . . .     and her feet are being trimmed monthly to keep that good hoof growing in.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

12. Flicka's Journey - The Third Trim. This is Bob's Hoof.

 Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.  If you would like to read the whole story, scroll down to post number 1.

If you keep your eye on the horizontal crack in Flicka’s left front hoof, where an old abscess erupted some time ago (probably when it was around her cornet band), you can observe the new hoof growing in above.  This is what we are going to call, Bob’s hoof.  It is the hoof that can grow when a proper "set up" trim occurs allowing the horse to walk properly and also help keep the hoof wall from separating any further due to the hoof wall falling away from the sole.  Bob’s hoof is growing fast, he comes out several times a month to keep the whole herd trimmed and is preparing some of the youngsters for their first ride too!  Flicka's has kept a regular schedule of trims once per month and it has greatly contributed towards her rehabilitation.  

You can still see the wall separated from the sole at the front end of the hoof.
You can also see the new healthy hoof growing in above the abscess mark!

Bob’s hoof is growing in at the proper angle. You can see the angle below the abscess is a completely different angle.  The video in this post has Bob pointing out the angles and break over point he has created for this pony.   In less than 6 months the whole hoof will be completely new; created by proper hoof care.  Bob's work of art. 


copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

11. Flicka's Journey - A Rational Ration

 Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.  If you would like to read the whole story, scroll down to post number 1.

As soon as the rations were sent down from Amanda with ARK Nutrition, I got to work getting the horses used to their new mix. There is always a bit of loose salt in the menu, and I finally found a great way to bypass all the anti-clumping chemicals you find in agricultural loose salt for feeding to domestic animals.  We now purchase Kosher salt by the crate.  It  contains, salt, only salt, no additives! 

Flicka comes in with the herd for her ration of mineral (EquiSynergy, ARK Nutrition), probiotics through a yeast mixture developed by ARK Nutrition, and a bit of protein via one cup of alfalfa pellets.
When I began working with ARK Nutrition in 2008, I wanted a mineral mix that supported my herds needs as they grazed the native prairie for their main forage.  It had to contain no animal byproducts, had to be simple and easy to feed . . . it has been wonderful working with such an accommodating and talented equine nutritionist.  Flicka is benefiting from the very best.
I tie her away from the others so she can take her time and eat everything down to the last bit of mineral. Then back out to winter pasture for high quality roughage and movement!

It takes an hour or so to make sure everyone in the herd gets their allotted ration and then they all head back to their winter pasture. I head into the house for my "ration" just as the sun sets, and dream of training sessions, rides and competitions with the Canadians in the spring and summer!  And Flicka?  Well, when her feet have grown in solid, which they are doing so well right now, we will get her started too.

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Friday, 6 March 2015

10. Flicka's Journey - A Visit by The Chiropractor!

 Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.  If you would like to read the whole story, scroll down to post number 1.

Smokey calls and is able to make it to the farm to look at two horses on January 1, 2015. I head outside again, it is windy, but warm.  Flicka and another horse I have in training come into the corral.  Smokey Provost is our horses chiropractor.  By observing his work on my competitive trail horse in 2005, I am a dedicated follower of this practice.  Not only is it needed, it is required to keep horses working happily and soundly. 

 Horses can adjust themselves as well, you see it in the field when they roll or rub against a fence post.  In some cases they need help. I find Smokey has the touch, experience and skill to do a proper job.  I am not sure if the adjustment is needed because of the recent fairly rough entry into the herd, or if it is from a long term issue; it is however needing to be dealt with.  We both notice Flicka moving around uncooperatively, I am having a bit of trouble handling her and taking pictures at the same time. 
Flicka is not relaxed.  I walk her away and back as Smokey observes.  He works on her left shoulder first, then moves to her back.  You can see a strip of dander and dust come through the coat as he feels for inconsistencies along the spine.  Smokey stops just above the kidney area.  I remember what Amanda said during that first health assessment . . .  Flicka was very tight in the kidney area.

Smokey has targeted that area, without the background of the health assessment and it all starts to make sense.  I tell him what Amanda had noticed, and he relates that a nerve could be pinched with vertebrae being out of alignment, that could cause tightness over that area.  I love how all the observations support each other from all three professionals who have worked on this pony.

After the work on her back, I notice Flicka settling down; she stands feet square, head low and relaxed as Smokey massages the muscles on either side midway down her spine.   I walk her back and forth, and she walks evenly.  May as well have everything working properly; this aids recovery.  I have already set time aside for Flicka to see the horse dentist this spring. 

Now, folks may be wondering why I have not brought Flicka directly to my veterinarian.   I have spoken to my regular horse veterinarian about the rehabilitation.  And to be sure,  if I have even the slightest inclination of anything going array during the rehabilitation, Flicka will be loaded up and brought in for an examination.  As it stands now, the pony is improving, moving well, loosing weight; everything appears to be mending.  Vet is on standby.  Our farm works with a top notch local veterinarian, who answers all my questions, and is full of knowledge.  There are just times when the other specialists have to put in the work instead, and this is one of those times.

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Saturday, 28 February 2015

9. Flicka's Journey - New Friends

 Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.

December 22: Flicka trots in, keeping up with the herd, actually, she is in front! She barely shows the stiffness she had when she first arrived.  So nice to see her movement  becoming more and more proper, and see how she has developed relationships in the herd.

The day is warm, crisp and sunny, no wind; first day of Christmas Holidays.  I stay home and do what I enjoy most . . . spend time with the horses.  Everyone comes in for mineral, a little love, and some de-burring.  The horses all have fairly long winter coats.  I always take some time to pet everyone on their side, checking the fat across the ribs.  I am pleased with the majority, most are in great shape for the winter.  Some I have to keep a careful watch to make sure they do not loose too much condition, and the few “way to easy keepers” I happily faintly feel ribs where I could not before!

Flicka and Missy - the only brown equines in the herd buddy up!

Later on I look out at the pasture, and two smaller equines are standing in the sun, out of the wind by themselves.  Flicka and Missy . . . a new friend.  In fact, Flicka leads Missy back to the herd when I approach them.  She has moved up in rank and has a follower! 

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

8. Flicka's Journey - The Second Trim

  Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.

December 20th, 2014 - Bob Laye, our hoof care specialist, arrives in the afternoon to trim some of the horses; he works on Flicka first. Bob takes his time with this second trim, and explains everything he is doing and why.
Bob checking the angle of the hoof before getting to work.

I hope I can capture all of it.  He taps the outside of both front feet, the sound reverberates in the same way it would from tapping a hollow bowl.  It echoes the way it you would expect coming from unhealthy hooves with separated walls.  A much lighter sound than one coming from solid, healthy hooves. 
He continues and thoroughly removes dead material, projecting the angle the new hoof is growing in, and puts the bevel under the toe to match the angle of the new hoof. Check out the video with explanation, I have never seen an example so clearly demonstrated.

I ask Bob to walk Flicka, so I can video the progress.  Progress it is; I would not have dreamed she would be walking this way after only a month.  With the proper trim, the angle of the hoof aids in the restoration of a proper hoof.  Simply said, a properly trimmed hoof prevents the hoof from flaring, stop the flaring, the wall will stop separating and a new, healthy hoof can grow in. 

Bob notes “I never remove sole from a barefoot horse, however, this pony is an extreme case due to lack of trims in the past, and I was able to remove alot of dead, excess material.  You have to have a thorough understanding of the internal structure when you do this, because you still need to leave adequate protection under the coffin bone.  You have to start over with the foot when it is this overgrown.”  There is still enough thickness to protect the internal structure of the hoof.

Bob pointed out that one of the pony’s hips stays higher than the other when she is walking, her back is probably quite misaligned.  I make a mental note to call the horse chiropractor and get an appointment as soon as I can.

Flicka returns to the herd.  Happy and getting healthier, I swear her neck is not as thick and hard as it was a month ago. In 6 or so months, the entire new hoof, healthy with wall attached to the sole will have grown in. She will have lost excess fat, gained muscle and tone.  By then she should be in training with a bright future ahead of her.  I can not wait.

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

7. Flicka's Journey - On the Hill in the Herd

 Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.

December 14, 2014 - I visited Flicka and the herd on a warm sunny day in December.  They were contentedly grazing on the hillside.  Flicka is pretty much a part of the herd, pretty low in the kicking order, but there none the less! I photographed her taking a break, with a few of the herd behind her. 

Flicka in the sun on the north hill

I am so glad she has a herd; they keep her moving and provide security.  A horse that is under stress from a health issue, will gain comfort and reduce its stress when the horse knows there are other horses around to protect.

I videoed her walking along the top of the hill.  She is significantly better.  It looks like her muscles have started to support her new corrected hoof and posture.  Bob is coming back to continue work on December 20th.

copyright 2015  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Sunday, 11 January 2015

6. Flicka's Journey - Nurture verses Nature

Flicka arrived at Windy Coulee in November 2014. She has a long journey of recovery ahead. She was fit and healthy in 2011 this is her story.

Saturday November 29th I let the big gelding out into the field again, see if he can behave himself.  He thinks he is the head horse out there.  In a truly natural herd, Flicka may have been injured or worse, and that could mean death.  Nature can be cruel, and that is where I draw the line with natural horse keeping. I removed the gelding again.

Sunday morning I hiked out to the horses and videoed Canadian horses in their natural environment.  They had just spent a chilly minus 30 celcius or so night out in the pasture.

Flicka has a herd now.
All the horses were taking turns sunning themselves in the cool, but bright sunlight.  A few were pawing through 2 feet of snow and eating prairie grass.  Flicka was shaking.  I was tempted to halter her and bring her into the corral, but stayed and watched a while.  She was nipping low branches and twigs to eat, and then found a spot the Canadian horses had cleared and munched on grass.  She grazed the cleared patch.  Next, she found a snow covered spot, pawed her way through and found more grass.  Resilient, tough, with good instincts.  She had after all, thrived while living on a expansive grassland ranch in southern Saskatchewan for her first 4 years.  I feel those 4 years gave her the strength and good health to make it through the later 3 years of not such a great situation.

I told my nurturing self, that keeping Flicka in the pasture was the best thing to do, even though a human probably would have needed a cup of hot chocolate, a blanket and a seat in front of the fireplace at a time like this.

She is eating prairie grass and warming herself in the winter sun!
Keeping tabs on a small dark brown pony in a herd of various sizes of black Canadians simply takes a pair of binoculars and some inferencing . . . “oh yes, Flicka is fine, I see a pony just a bit further from the bunch, grazing, ah, then she runs away from a black horse making a statement, a little buck of protest, and then goes back to grazing.”  I think she is going to be okay.  Though, I kept that big gelding out of the mix for the week!

copyright Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

5. Flicka's Journey - A Little Herd Time, Good for the Sole!

Sunday, November 23rd.  Now that her feet are trimmed, and Flicka is in process of gaining proper posture, I consider putting her out in the big pasture and integrating her with the herd.  I am eager to do this because she was depressed and lonely as well as in need of light exercise and proper low sugar, fibre rich food. And it is movement that pumps the blood through the hoof, brings in the nutrition, takes out the toxins, starts to build the sole and in the end, will grow a healthy new foot.  The one big challenge is that Flicka is not very fit, and while she is moving well despite her condition, she could seriously injure herself if she runs too fast, too much, too soon.  While she walks like you would expect a laminitis case to walk; staggered, front hooves out front, in a wide waddle; she is walking, and even took off in the riding ring at a trot and canter, with a buck or two thrown in for good measure. 
Sunday morning, I lead Flicka towards the herd.
This pony hardly knows me, but we already trust each other.  "Okay, I will follow you across the ice . . ."

Now that her hooves are trimmed properly, her tendons and muscles need to readjust and strengthen for the right posture - and that takes time and it is painful.  In the end, I choose to put her in with the herd.  The benefits outweigh the risk. I also choose not to give her bute, those of you reading are probably wondering why I did not do that first thing.  It is like any human, if your back is sore, and you take pain killer and go and shovel snow anyways, you run the risk of injuring yourself more seriously; and we have a brain that processes information in such a way that should help us make the right decision.  Horses do not have that advantage. I was hoping Flicka would self regulate, and drugging her is not wise in that situation.  I also assumed my horses would behave normally, kick and bite and chase a bit, then settle down to grazing.

One of the most satisfying things in the world, is putting a new horse in a 120 acre pasture, with a herd of horses, willows for natural wind breaks, a spring for water, hills for great exercise, covered
There they are . . . Flicka had already met them across the corral fence.
with native prairie grassland.  This forage in the fall and winter is the best forage in the world for horses.  They eat cured nutritious grass with a high fibre content for much of the day, moving who knows how far, some estimates are 20 km per day, grazing, walking, grazing, running, grazing, standing in the sun, grazing and walking . . . and so on.

I brought Flicka out on Sunday morning so I could supervise and evaluate the herd joining process while having my coffee. 

After a short while, I decided my one big gelding was going above and beyond normal chasing instincts, and I interfered, caught him and corralled him.  A fit horse could take chasing and herding, but not a fat little pony, with little muscle tone with laminitis.  On a positive note, Flicka did offer up some well timed kicks and squeals in protest.  She probably could have taken care of herself, but I am not willing to risk her getting injured.  By the next day, you could see Flicka with the herd, just a bit outside the circle, with the odd horse pointing out she was not fully accepted yet.  It will take a while, but in the end, they will accept her, and some of the broodmares will most likely start to take care of her sooner than later.  Patience.  In the mean time, Flicka is getting good roughage, filling her belly with low sugar, natural horse food and moving on soft ground; with a proper hoof trim!  All is well.

copyright Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel