Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shift and Shift and Shift Again

I suck as a blogger these days.  I've got a lot going on in my personal life and I find I am having a hard time answering emails, much less keeping up on blogging.  But here's the updates:

I am still not advertising Enzo, but letting folks know about him in case he finds his perfect match.  So far, that has not happened which is okay.  I continue to work with him and love on him and take care of him.  He will ONLY go to a home that can provide the right ownership and environment, which may very well end up being staying with me.

We still like each other.  Lots.

I had a funny feeling about his laminitis episode.  Something just wasn't adding up.  He foundered in February 2013 and then again in June of 2015.  Neither time was he fat and out on pasture all day.  I've had bloodwork done twice, but decided to empty my wallet and do it again.  I must have been on to something, because his ACTH came back elevated.  Really elevated.  Normal levels in fall are somewhere between 19-52 and Enzo was 597 on the first test and 192 on the second (a fasting one) test.  We have a third test going to a separate lab just to be sure.

Elevations of ACTH levels are a sign of Cushing's disease, which I still need to research the shit out of it.  At this point, I know it's something in his system having to do with the pituitary gland.  Enzo has no other symptoms of Cushing's except for the strange laminitis episodes.  I am a firm believer in using a holistic approach, so though I may end up medicating him, I also want to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to his.

He currently is still in the dry lot and my vet and I will be discussing options next week.  I'm concerned because the dry lot has been great for the summer, but 'dry lot' in the PNW becomes 'mud lot' in the winter and that's a huge concern.  I love, love the barn where I'm at but they're really set up for horses that can go out on pasture all day.  I'm hoping that maybe we can work out something with a muzzle and part days on pasture, but we'll see.

In training news, Enzo continues to improve every day.  If you had told me a year ago that I would be working my horse at liberty and riding with no bridle and no saddle, I would have told you that you were crazy.  We're taking it slow and steady and building a partnership in a way that I have never done with a horse.  If you had told me that hand walking my horse every day for an hour and backing him up every day for fifteen minutes would change him into a different horse, I would have been skeptical to say the least.

But I'm learning that slow and steady truly is the answer to horse training.  Really slow and really steady and paying attention to every step.  Enzo is quieter, more willing, more forward and more interested in work.  I am also quieter, more willing, more forward and more interested in Enzo.

Which is not to say that we spend every day in quiet meditation without a saddle.  Nope, I got me a new Western saddle and I still dressage it too.  In fact, I'm starting to learn to relax and just have fun.  My inspiration is a 12 year old girl and her pony.  They don't spend a whole lot of time contemplating the difficulties of things, they just go.  Bareback, with a saddle, rope halter or bridle, whatever....they just go.

So....sorry for the scattered nature.  I am not the same person who started writing this blog and I'm not sure how to even broach the subject properly.  I have new confidence, new attitude and a whole new idea on how to work with horses.  I would also like to give a shout out to my mentor, Elsa Sinclair.  You can read her incredibly eloquent and thoughtful blog at  I'm almost overwhelmed at all the new ways of thinking and doing that are possible and I can't wait until I'm brave enough to trust Enzo and I to gallop off down the beach with no saddle and bridle like The Black Stallion.  Yes, I will wave my arms and yes I will war whoop.  And yes, I will also wear a helmet!