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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Saturday Morning Mayhem

I was hoping that today would run smoothly allowing me to get some rest in between the usual horse feedings.  However today has already proven to be one of those days where you never know what's in store for you.

For some reason I chose to head out the door a bit earlier than usual before it became day light.  As I headed over to the first group I did not find them hanging out in their run in shed.  So I turned on the lights and began calling for them.  I figured they were in their normal resting spot under some trees.  I couldn't see clearly as it was still a bit dark.  I began to walk the field and become uneasy when I could not find them.  Then I saw the lower gate adjacent to the next field laying flat on the ground smashed in one place.  Then I look up to see that the 2 dark horse figures that I presumed were Haley and Tess were actually Eagle and Maggie.  Willie, the little houdini, had struck again!  I knew for a fact that it was his doings getting the gate off it's hinges, unbolting the chain and letting he and his pasture-mates go for a romp in Haley and Tess's field!  I mumbled a few choice words under my breath and went about the task of moving the 3 of them back where they belong and rigging the gate back up until my husband came over to re-attach it permanently, which he promptly did.

Eagle and Maggie compliantly went to their run in shed and acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  Willie, however, was all bent out of shape that I dared take him away from his new found freedom and spent the next hour running, pacing the fence and screaming.  No one called back though or seemed to care.  He's finally settled down but is still hanging out at that gate I presume plotting the next escape!

When I go to feed Haley I see that he has fallen as he has 2 new cuts on the outside of his right hind leg, fresh and red.  I say a few more choice words silently as I am guessing in all the commotion, he got off balance and fell and cut himself.

Previously I had to take the grounding rod out that attached to the top wire between Haley/Tess and Tee/Toube's field because Haley had been hurting himself on it, so the top electric fence wire is not hot.  Toube has taken it upon herself to push on that top wire.  Well she broke it in one spot.  It was repaired yesterday and again she leaned on it and broke it last night.

Then I noticed a large tree had been uprooted and had fallen over from Tee/Toube's field into another unused field and part of the tree was leaning on the roof of the run in shed in the empty field.  Not to mention that the fence was attached to that tree and had split in one place.

That has been the first 3 hours of my Saturday morning.  So instead of getting any much needed rest today, I will be patching, repairing and trying to stay at least one step ahead of things around here!

Inspiration behind Ferrell Hollow Farm

My Inspiration for Ferrell Hollow Farm

In 1982, when I was 13 years old, my father bought me a three-year-old Thoroughbred mare named Turnip. She was green broke and trained to be a Hunter/Jumper. Her show name was “Turn To Me” and she was long legged and thin – just like me.

She was an extremely talented yet high strung yet mare and it wasn’t two months after owning her that one of her bucks tossed me off her back and I suffered a hairline fracture in my left arm. So while my arm was in a sling, my mom stepped up to the plate and became Turnip’s “groom”. She did everything for her except ride her. We left that adventure to my trainer.

Turnip and I shared many years of competing in local and “A” circuit Hunter shows throughout North Carolina. We also dabbled in Dressage and Combined Training. My father had a Pace Arrow motor home that he would drive to the shows so we’d have a place to stay. I’ll never forget one show in particular … we had gotten all settled in for the evening and Turnip was in her stall resting. My dad decided to take a stroll around the show grounds and stopped by her stall to pet her. Well, apparently, Turnip wanted nothing of the sort and reached out and bit him in the stomach – hard. As you might imagine, he had few choice words to say about her at the time. I suppose he was entitled, after all he was paying for his middle child’s hobby and this was the thanks he got (from the horse, that is, not me). Eventually he forgave Turnip, although he always made sure there was a respectable distance between them!

Daddy made me leave Turnip at home while I went away for my first year of college. He actually wanted to sell “that hay burner” and, despite vehement protests from me, began looking for a buyer (half heartedly, I’ll admit). Thankfully, one never materialized. My sophomore year of college I got to take her with me and put her back in training. We even participated in several local shows in Eastern NC. All the while, Daddy still wanted to sell her, but fortunately that never happened!

When I decided to move to Tennessee in 1991, the barn owner where I stabled Turnip approached me about leasing her for year to breed for a foal, so I agreed. After the filly was born and weaned, they trailered Turnip to Tennessee to be with me. At this time, Turnip and I decided to focus on Dressage and participated in some local dressage schooling shows. When she was 16, I decided to breed her to a Selle-Francais because I wanted a younger Dressage prospect to work with. After the colt was weaned, I resumed Turnip’s Dressage training; however, shortly thereafter she began to show signs of lameness. Through veterinarian testing, it was determined that she had Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) in her hocks as well as beginnings of bone spurs in the same area. I was given the choice to inject her hocks to keep her sound or retire her from competition. I chose the latter.

It was then that I decided to pursue one of my life-long dreams of owning my own farm so I could have my horses with me. I began searching for property and it took less than a year before I stumbled across what is now Ferrell Hollow Farm. That was April of 1996. Cindy, Turnip and her colt had found their home at last! Needless to say, the farm has evolved quite a bit since then. It was – and still is – such a beautiful setting, with gently rolling hills, that I would on occasion take Turnip out for a hack in the pastures. A couple of years later, however – by the time she was 19 – I decided not to ride her anymore and retire her.

For the next 10 years, Turnip had many ups and downs with her health. Caring for her presented numerous challenges, yet she was always, always an inspiration – and she taught me more than I could ever imagine. Turnip passed away in November of 2008 at age 29. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life, but because of her (and thanks to her), I have devoted myself and Ferrell Hollow Farm to making sure older and special needs horses live out their remaining days in a comfortable, peaceful setting with the best care possible.

1983 Turnip

Inspiration behind Ferrell Hollow Farm





My Inspiration for Ferrell Hollow Farm


In 1982, when I was 13 years old, my father bought me a three-year-old Thoroughbred mare named Turnip. She was green broke and trained to be a Hunter/Jumper. Her show name was “Turn To Me” and she was long legged and thin – just like me.


She was an extremely talented yet high strung yet mare and it wasn’t two months after owning her that one of her bucks tossed me off her back and I suffered a hairline fracture in my left arm. So while my arm was in a sling, my mom stepped up to the plate and became Turnip’s “groom”. She did everything for her except ride her. We left that adventure to my trainer.


Turnip and I shared many years of competing in local and “A” circuit Hunter shows throughout North Carolina. We also dabbled in Dressage and Combined Training. My father had a Pace Arrow motor home that he would drive to the shows so we’d have a place to stay. I’ll never forget one show in particular … we had gotten all settled in for the evening and Turnip was in her stall resting. My dad decided to take a stroll around the show grounds and stopped by her stall to pet her. Well, apparently, Turnip wanted nothing of the sort and reached out and bit him in the stomach – hard. As you might imagine, he had few choice words to say about her at the time. I suppose he was entitled, after all he was paying for his middle child’s hobby and this was the thanks he got (from the horse, that is, not me). Eventually he forgave Turnip, although he always made sure there was a respectable distance between them!


Daddy made me leave Turnip at home while I went away for my first year of college. He actually wanted to sell “that hay burner” and, despite vehement protests from me, began looking for a buyer (half heartedly, I’ll admit). Thankfully, one never materialized. My sophomore year of college I got to take her with me and put her back in training. We even participated in several local shows in Eastern NC. All the while, Daddy still wanted to sell her, but fortunately that never happened!


When I decided to move to Tennessee in 1991, the barn owner where I stabled Turnip approached me about leasing her for year to breed for a foal, so I agreed. After the filly was born and weaned, they trailered Turnip to Tennessee to be with me. At this time, Turnip and I decided to focus on Dressage and participated in some local dressage schooling shows. When she was 16, I decided to breed her to a Selle-Francais because I wanted a younger Dressage prospect to work with. After the colt was weaned, I resumed Turnip’s Dressage training; however, shortly thereafter she began to show signs of lameness. Through veterinarian testing, it was determined that she had Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) in her hocks as well as beginnings of bone spurs in the same area. I was given the choice to inject her hocks to keep her sound or retire her from competition. I chose the latter.


It was then that I decided to pursue one of my life-long dreams of owning my own farm so I could have my horses with me. I began searching for property and it took less than a year before I stumbled across what is now Ferrell Hollow Farm. That was April of 1996. Cindy, Turnip and her colt had found their home at last! Needless to say, the farm has evolved quite a bit since then. It was – and still is – such a beautiful setting, with gently rolling hills, that I would on occasion take Turnip out for a hack in the pastures. A couple of years later, however – by the time she was 19 – I decided not to ride her anymore and retire her.


For the next 10 years, Turnip had many ups and downs with her health. Caring for her presented numerous challenges, yet she was always, always an inspiration – and she taught me more than I could ever imagine. Turnip passed away in November of 2008 at age 29. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life, but because of her (and thanks to her), I have devoted myself and Ferrell Hollow Farm to making sure older and special needs horses live out their remaining days in a comfortable, peaceful setting with the best care possible.


1983 Turnip

Haley & Francis

Haley and Francis–my two big boys!  They weigh about the same, but are different breeds and statures.  Haley is a dark bay 17.1 hand Selle Francais (French Warmblood) and Francis is a black 15.3 + hand Percheron/Fresian (Draft cross) with both weighing between 1,300 and 1,400 pounds. 

Take me seriously if I say that either of them are having issues involving their feet because that's a lot of weight to be working around!

Haley is the result of my breeding my TB mare to a Selle Francais many years ago.  He is big, gorgeous and sweet and we have a special bond.  It became apparent early in his life that something was not quite right with him.  After many vet vists and trips to the equine clinic, he was confirmed as a Wobbler at age 2.  He has lived his life with me on my retirement farm taking it easy and being spoiled.  Almost 11 months ago he was striken with a horrible case of EPM.  If not enough to live with one neurological disorder, now he is living with two.  I have not yet met anyone that has a horse with both of these disorders.  One is enough to deal with. 

He has continued to amaze and astound all of us with his willingness to go on and be present and be taken care of.  He has good times and bad times and some in between. 

For almost 2 weeks now he has been going thru a bad time.  Two days ago he had a seizure.  He was in his run in shed and I had just given him lunch with hugs and kisses and walked back to the house.  Within 10 minutes he was down and seizing.  I ran back out and he was able to get up and move about, tongue hanging out the left side of his mouth and disoriented.  If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of witnessing such an event, you can understand it when I say I am afraid to let him out of my site.  I just try to listen to what he needs and continue to love him unconditionally.

Haley 9-6-09 house  Haley   Francis 10-7-09 Francis
 
Francis has been here for 3 weeks now.  He has a multitude of issues to deal with.  Being a carriage horse for many, many years has contributed to the feet and leg problems he has now.  He was lame on his right hind when he arrived.  After being taken off of the bute, more noticeable lameness and strange movements and stances made me realize that he might not just have one issue, but many.

My barefoot trimmer had not met him yet, but I was emailing her photos and describing the issues.  I knew he needed a good trim, but until then was trying to address the thrush in all four feet.  As the days went by and he only became worse, I called my vet out.  At his first inspection, he thought the thrush, seedy toe and white line issues in the right hind foot might be his main problem and he may be trying to abscess.

A few days later when the poor guy was not improving, I started giving him bute just to see if he would respond to the anti-inflammatory drug.  I had decided to give him a 3 day trial of a low dose of bute,  then I would switch him to Naproxen as it has much less risk of gastric upset.  Of course I always give these medications with a good probiotic.

I called my vet back out as I wanted to have his feet x-rayed.  Fortunately the x-rays did not show any fractures or bone rotation, but showed signs that Francis was dealing with chronic laminitis, which is inflammation in the feet.  We also know that he has ringbone and sidebone in the hind pasterns and arthritis in the fetlocks.  Most recently I believe he may have a contracted tendon or ligament in the right hind leg as well which prevents him from placing weight evenly on his foot.

So what are the treatment options?  Well for now he is in a large paddock with his friend Mary 24/7 with access to a large run in shelter and pea gravel paths in the tree groves.  He is fed a diet of low sugar/starch forage based products with herbs and supplements as I see the need for.  His appetite is very good and he is fed three times a day.

I now have soaking boots large enough to fit his feet and therapeutic boots for turn out will be here soon.  I must continue to clean & spray or clean & soak his feet to eliminate the thrush.  The Soft-Ride boots are considered therapy or rehab boots and will be used on his hind feet for support and comfort.  Pain medication will hopefully be decreased and even eliminated, but pending any progress with the boots.

I am constantly observing the horses, listening to what they are telling me and hopefully will be able to pull what is needed from the knowledge, experience and support systems I have and find what is right for each of them.