Tuesday, March 6, 2007

More Reflections on Twin Arabian Foals Part 2

The beginning of the twins story starts here

We left off with the twin Arabian filly, Scandalous Surprise, showing signs of soreness in her right hock. Other than the lameness, the horse looked like she was feeling fine. The twin Arabain colt, Scandalous Trouble, was eating and drinking fine but still seemed to be "too quiet" for a healthy foal. The veterinarian and I had decided not to take the advice of Pilchuck Hospital and re-start a course of antibiotics in the filly. Instead we planned on waiting for conclusive proof that the treatment was necessary. Even though delaying the antibiotics would put the horse at grave risk if we were wrong.

The other possible explanation in the young horse's hock soreness was an injury. It could be a "normal" injury but more likely it was an injury caused because of abnormal ossification of the bones. In layperson terms that means the bones might not be hardened properly. This is one of the usual symptoms of dysmaturity in twin horse foals. While this diagnosis wasn't favorable for these susceptible young horses, it was not as life threatening as the return of the septicemia. The only way to tell for sure was X-rays. If the x-rays ruled out injury, then we were back faced with the possibility the septicemia had returned.

We needed to get x-rays done on the horse asap. With Dr Gillette's new digital x-rays machine we could get more definitive pictures. The machine also had the capability of sending them by email so we could speed up the diagnosis. The only problem was Jack didn't have the hardware he needed to take picture in the field yet. So to use this machine, we had to take the three Arabian horses down to the vet's clinic for x-rays.

Moving the three Arabian horses has been a challenge. Our last trip the mare got stressed and her milk production backed off. Keeping the two foals out from underneath the big horse's legs was a task by itself. There was no way to safely transport the horses without a person riding in the back with the Arabian mare and her twin foals. My daughter, Lindsay, has balance problems, so she wasn't a good candidate to manage the trip. That meant I needed to wait for help to arrive. In the meantime, the vet and his assistant went off to the clinic to get the machine set up.

As it turned out my older daughter, Colleen, was off work for the day. She was able to help transport the horses (Arabian twin foals and their mother ). The vet's clinic is fairly close to my farm but is down a steep, windy hill. We needed to keep the twin horses as quiet as possible on this trip. If the problem with the twin filly was from soft bones, any excess or uneven pressure could cause more damage. The odds were if the filly had immature bones, so did the colt. Both horses were at risk for more damage to their joints if the horses were stumbling around in the horse trailer. Colleen had her hands full.

By the time the horse trailer pulled into the clinic, they were all set up and ready for us. The vet assistant, Colleen and I each grabbed a horse and headed inside. The mare was a saint. Even though she's never been to the clinic before, the horse walked right in giving Colleen no problems. The Arabian twin foals were not so willing. Not that they were afraid, mind you, the horses just wanted to play. Normally, a frolicking foal isn't a problem. But when faced with the possibility that the horses' bones are not hardened properly, it becomes a scary proposition. Fortunately, the twin horses were still small enough to be carried so that's how the sqwiggly foals got inside the clinic.

It was pretty clear that this was going to be an adventure. Dr Gillette put the mare (horse) in the palpation chute. He figured the twin foals could be turned loose in the clinic. I just laughed at his foolishness. Having lived with these characters (horses) for almost a month now, I knew how much trouble the horses could be. While the vet and his assistant did the final preparations, the twin Arabian horses bucked and kicked and romped their way around his clinic. The poor mare in the palpation chute was nickering to the horses but they didn't care. Colleen and I couldn't help but laugh as we tried to catch the little varmits (horses). "Slip, Sliding Away" comes to mind when I think of the horses' adventure in the clinic that day and the picture of us trying to catch them..

Finally, we caught the Arabian filly to begin her x-rays. It took four people to do the s-rays, one to work the machine, one to maneuver the horse and the other two to control the little monster (horse). Surprise (young horse) was not pleased with being confined. The twin Arabian foal wanted loose and used every trick in her little horse book trying to free herself. To say we needed to do multiple X-rays to even get a clear one would be a gross understatement. The other twin horse saw this situation as Surprise (the other horse) getting all of the attention. So while we wrestled with the filly, the colt was pulling on our clothes, biting at the wires on the machine and just plain reeking general mayhem. I, for one, was a sweaty mess by the time we got the first x-rays of the horse's legs done. I don't think the other faired much better.

While we waited for the vet to check the filly's x-rays, we let the horses loose in the clinic again. Surprise (twin filly) took her bruised horse ego over to her mother (horse) in the palpation chute to nurse reaching underneath the bars. Trouble (twin colt) was right behind her. The older horse (mare) stood in the chute shaking her head up and down. I'm pretty sure the horse must have been saying, "Come on you guys! Give me a break!"

Once the security nursing was over, the Arabian twin foals (horses) were back to "slip sliding away" around the clinic. It was obvious that while the filly had soreness in that right hock, the young horse had no intention of letting it slow her down. The colt was up for anything the filly was. Both horses strutted around that clinic like they owned the place.

Unfortunately, many of the x-rays were not clear because the horse had done so much wiggling. We had to do another round. Tthis time the horse was given a mild sedative, just enough to slow her down. We still needed the horse to stand on the leg. This time things were better but it was still a zoo. The small filly shook her head and stomped her front feet in protest while her brother (the other twin horse) pulled instruments out of the vet's pockets, kicked me for not paying attention to him, and head butted Colleen. You get the picture.

This batch of x-rays turned out better despite the filly's best efforts to sabotage them. So it was time to send them off to the experts and wait. In the meantime, the twin Arabian horses would need to be continually monitored for changes in behavior, just in case septicemia was the cause of our current problems. More stall rest for the three horses was also the order of the day. We loaded our charges back into the horse trailer and headed home.

The trip in the horse trailer was more difficult for the horses. This was the uphill pull on the steep, windy hill. Both of the yound horses had problems standing up and added pressure was put on their hind lims. Something we were trying to avoid with soft bones being a threat. Downshipting in the middle of the hill sent the horses and Colleen staggering. Thankfully, no one was hurt and we were soon home.

The twin Arabian horses were compelled to do a little acting out on the way back to the barn. Neither horse was happy about being dumped on their little hoorse ears in the horse trailer. So the horses had to puy on a display of bucking, kicking, striking and rearing to be sure we understood the extent of their displeasure. Both horses put on the brakes at the door to their stall. Neither one wanted to go back inside. I think if either horse had an idea of how long they (the horses) would be stuck in that stall, we'd still be out there trying to put them in.

To be continued....
Part Three

Thanks for all of the comments. I appreciate your input. If my rankings are falling and I have no comments, I don't have any idea what to do to work on the rankings. With input I can tell what posts interest you and I can tell what I need to write about. I can pretty much write about anything having to do with Arabian horses and be happy. So as it goes now, I'll keep on writing both the series about the Arabian twins and also how I got started in the horse industry with Scandalous. Along the way I'll throw in a few of my opinions and other horse experiences and you guys will let me know if you like or don't like what I'm writing about. Thanks to everyone for your support and a special thank you to those of you that have emailed my blog off for your friends to read. Hopefully someday, the story of Scandalous Trouble and Scandalous Surprise will be published.


  1. Oh dear MiKael the ending doesnt bode well for a happy outcome. You have certainly gone the extra mile or two or hundred for these babies, I can be sure they will not be leaving your ranch in a hurry. I know how I feel about my bottle baby, your attachment must be far greater.

    I love your stories, wish we could boost the rankings for you, what do we need to do? Is it just the comments that do it or is the visits/hits to your blog?

    If your blog doesnt succeed in getting them out there for people to see then maybe we need to look at other options, I think their story definitely needs to be told. I think children would love them in a story book (without all the technical stuff of course LOL).

    Keep em coming and I hope you are fully recovered from your ordeal on Saturday.


  2. Mikael these are wonderful stories! I just like to give you a hard time when you leave me hanging. It certainly keeps me coming back. Any story - any time!

  3. I really enjoy reading about the twins and would very much like to see you published. I submitted your story and blog to a site that has helped me in the past with traffic and exposure. Hopefully you will see a difference within the next hour or two... I hope it helps!


  4. http://reddit.com/search?q=horse+twins

    This is the link if you would like to see it.

  5. one more thought... Try posting to netscape, delicious and digg every once and a while. Its a good way to get traffic and get your name out there.

    Kelly- www.everyrider.com

  6. Hi Mikael, Thanks for the blow by blow of the trip to the vet. I recognized the name Pilchuck. It is one of IDEXX Labs Inc. Customers. I always giggle when I see that name. They do BETA testing for our Digital Radiography equipment. I test the software for that product as well as a host of other lab diagnostic equipment. small world. I am so unused to comments on my blog, I didn't notice yours for a while sorry to just be getting around to checking out your groovy space here.

  7. Thanks, Kelly, I'll check into those other sites too.

  8. Oh, and ELL. you've not heard the last of Pilchuck in these stories. And their radiology equipment sure got used in the Arabian twins behalf.