Chunky Monkey gang

chunky monkey

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May 2, 2007
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Keep thinking it would be nice to have a diary of the things I get up to with the two boys and my menagery of animals on the farm. I'm always taking pictures on my phone although there not the best as I'm no photographer but it would be nice to make use of them in some way.
Currently passing the time before I do a late night check on a couple of ewes that were due to lamb today. Still waiting. One has not eaten her food since last night. Hasn't eaten much hay either. So getting a little worried. But I'm sure I saw mum being kicked earlier so hopefully it was just baby moving into position to enter the world.
 

chunky monkey

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Haven't ridden since last weekend. But one of the girls is riding with me this afternoon and hopefully tomorrow. Just hope this storm dies down. It's very gusty out at the moment. The boys are on the back burner at the moment with the lambing. The two ladies finally lambed on Wednesday. Both with twins. The one is eating normal again.
Unfortunately on Tuesday when I went to feed the cows there hay. Poor Fleur was very lame again. She was lame six weeks ago but with an antinflam and time she got better. She is worse this time and was in fields which have steep woodland between them so it's unfair to leave her. Fortunately she is halter trained so we lead her back to the farm so she is currently in the shed on rest. It was near mile to walk and took 1½hours so it was almost dark before we got her home. She seems a bit easier on the leg now and I'm going to give her an unhand walk later to eat some grass. She's been a little grump and noisy as we had to wean her from her calf. It would have been being weaned next month anyway, but as the calves are now six months old then are quite independent although they still drink from mum they don't get that much nutrition as they are eating the hay and grass which now gives more but the mother baby bond is still strong.
 

chunky monkey

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My first early morning ride today. It's been a while due to all the lambing. I struggled to get myself up as I'm still mega tired. But once I committed it was nice to be out in glorious sunshine. So i did a little pole work in the field with Billy and some log jumps. Then a little 15 minute hack down the road and back to cool off.
He seemed quite chilled, a little lazy on the poles hardly any pulling. He woke up though when I got to the logs. I changed the bit yesterday to a hanging cheek with a French link and did actually have some brakes when we cantered up the field after. There was limited chomping and head throwing so maybe he likes that bit even though it's all metal.
 

chunky monkey

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Managed a few early morning hacks last week and this week on Billy now the sheep are easier to manage. Also checked on the cows as I rode round.

IMG_20190507_072809.jpg


Mane is starting to grow with vengeance from his hogging. Need to take the scissors to it to tidy it up. It's starting to lean.

IMG_20190507_073309.jpg


This popped up my photo memories. Cant believe its 6 years ago. This was chunkys first day in harness. It was another two years before I actually got a carriage for him. Such a superstar. So love him. Chunky 1st time in harness driving 002.jpg

Weve come a long way since our first tyre pull. A few helpers to ensure he didnt tank off at a farm open day whilst pulling the tyre.

Chunky 1st time in harness driving 007.jpg
 

chunky monkey

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Last week I managed to get in a few rides and some driving. Poor chunky feels quite stiff when I go to bring him in. I watch him walk down the bank and he struggles. His back is swollen so ive given him some bute to see if it helps. Hes had a few days off as I've had cows and sheep and a job to juggle.
Cows are having there TB test this week. Vet came yesterday to do the jabs. So we shall have to wait to see what the outcome is on Friday.
My last sheep lambed over night on Saturday. That was a disaster as she had a dead lamb. I somehow thought that I didnt hold out Hope's for her. She is a complete nut job. If you go anywhere near her she will just run away. If she cant get away she will just charge at you. Quite a few of my sheep are friendly and love a fuss. Not this one. Anyway she didnt lamb last year either so has no motherly instinct. Although when I picked her dead lamb up she did call and pine for it. She was off her food all last week and once the lambs are out they will quite often go back to eating again but she isn't. Shes eaten no hard feed or hay. Shes drunk a little water but is now losing weight. So I've give her two days of antibiotics she will get another tonight. I suspect some internal infection going on. I pulled her some grass and ivy last night. She went over and straight away started on the ivy. That's the most interest shes shown in food in a week. Ivy is such a good medicine when they wont eat anything. Let's hope she picks up on it.
 

chunky monkey

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Well I think I put a little too much ivy in for her as yesterday it well and truly came out the back end running. Shes parked up. Still not eaten hard food. A little hay eaten and I've pulled a bucket of grass for her to eat instead of the ivy. It's got some vetches and cow parsley in for a bit of variety. She seems to be eating that. Cant turn her out in the field as she still has a big udder. So the less she eats of any protein rich fodder the better. But I cant starve her. So if she gets a bit if grass at least something is going through the body.
We had the vet on Tuesday for the TB injections. Today was d-day. Sadly one of the inconclusives from our test 2 months ago has failed again. Shed been kept seperated from the rest of the herd but unfortunately another in the herd failed as well so they will both be leaving me in the next few weeks. Both had run with the bull so they were possibly going to calve in the autumn. So now I've lost 5 cows and 5 potential calves. Im quite upset as its another couple of my lovely friendly cows. We'll have to have another test in a couple of months and then another two months after that.
Weve weaned the calves off that were born last autumn as well today so they are now in the shed. So it's a little noisy currently. I will spend the next few days when I go to feed just sitting in the shed with them so the get use to me. It gives me an opportunity to see if there are any brave soles who want to be friendly and openly say hello to me. Find out if there are any that like to be defensive and strike out with there back legs. Then will be a bit stressed for the next week but then I will start catching and halter training them. This year I have 13 to halter train so I shall be very busy.
I managed a quick ride on Billy, and a short drive with chunky on Wednesday. But they've had a little time off this week. Hoping to take Billy to a funride Sunday. So I need to squeeze in a ride tonight and one tomorrow or I will be riding at a flat out gallop for 10 miles which will not be fun.
 

chunky monkey

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Went to a gorgeous funride today with Billy. Loads of lovely logs. Just perfect for me. Had a few run outs but I think hes testing me to see what he could get away with. He put the brakes on at a large barrel jump. Ill forgive him as we haven't tackled barrels yet. We were cantering up behind some other people on one stretch, was going great then one of the horses put the brakes on at a jump, and put a leg through it which clonked a bit . Horse behind went into it. Fortunately I was behind enough taking the small jumps line but Billy took exeception to the horses breaking in front so he thought he would do the same.
He put so much effort into trying to tank off in the first two miles that he ran out of oomph over jumps towards the end. But a lovely 10 miles. Cant wait to see the photos.
Got back and thought I would take chunky out for a carriage drive as well, so he didnt feel left out.
 

chunky monkey

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It been a quiet week on the riding front. Last week both were lunged everyday mon-fri. Only because it was my busier working week and I've been getting lots of headaches and tiredness. Also moved them onto one of our hay fields. Weve decided not to cut it for hay this year as we had too many animals on it over winter and it's been slow to recover. I've been offered another field so that is ready to be cut if the sun ever shines. As they went onto long grass I felt it important to at least lunge to boys to help keep there weight under control. Both had been having saddle slip issues as and it was clearly because they have lost weight. Rode and drove both days at the weekend.
I'm passing some time this morning as I'm currently waiting for collection of joosie and prunus the cows who failed there TB test a couple of weeks ago. Well joosie failed it two months ago as well but as she was an inconclusive she was allowed to stay and pass a second test. Unfortunately that hasn't happened. It's been hard work as I've had to keep her separate from any of the other cows for near 3 months. Initially she was very stressed being on her own but she settled. Although I think she would have preferred company. On the second test they found prunus reacted badly so they are going to take her too.
We will have to have more tests in another two months and again two months after that. So it's going to really mess up our grazing routine. As the cows that are in calf normally come off the hill and go to other fields for calving. This year we will have to have them at home for calving in the autumn so they can be here for the TB test, which means there wont be any grazing at home by the time we get to the winter. As we cannot sell any cows we will be very over stocked during the winter. We were up to our numbers last winter and hoped to sell some cows this spring. I can see us having to take some drastic measures and send some direct to the abbatoir just to reduce our numbers. We have a few months before we have to start really panicking about that but it's in the back of my mind. Mind you if any more fail the TB test that will automatically reduce the numbers. At least I wont have to make decisions on which to send, as the decision will be made for me.
Calf halter training is going okay. I've had 8 on head collars out of 13. One wont come and eat anything but 12 will now eat out my hands, so that good progress in a couple of weeks. Once the two cows have gone I'm going to turn out the 6 most pushy food oriented calves. They will be had fed in the field and just got in at weekends. The other 7 not so food oriented will stay in the shed for a bit longer so they can gain confidence with me to eat from my hand. The better they are at eating from my hand the easier it is to halter train. It's called bribery.
 

chunky monkey

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Just a weeny update. It's been a stressful couple of weeks. I had to make the awful decision on my poorly sheep last week. With it now turning colder at night and a wet month my one who's been poorly since May was just wasting away to a bag of bones. Shes been out in the field grazing since June but rarely came in with the other sheep twice a day to eat the nuts. Everytime she didnt come up with the other sheep I feared the worst, so I'd have to go and find her each day. She was obviously not eating much grass either. I brought some other food but she refused that and I got some molasses and syringed it down her throat with some water to get fluids in but she just got so thin and weak from not eating that she was getting tottery on her feet so I felt it was time as she was clearly suffering.
I ride and drive as much as I can, but I haven't managed any jumping recently. So mega disappointed about that. The jumps are just stacked up in the field currently. Hope I can lay them out soon for a bit of a play. But I'm waiting for some water pipe to be delivered so I can reposition the horses water and move there temporary fencing so I can ride down the field to the jumps. Currently the fence goes across the field so it means I'd have to keep taking it down to ride though and put back up. Its impossible for me to get on and off without a mounting block on the bank and Billy gets rather excited in the open field so it gets a bit unsafe. I'd planned to have lessons over the summer too, but time has been so limited that I haven't had the time to get out. Maybe over winter I will be able to book some polework lessons.
We had another TB test last week and failed that. We have one reactor and one inconclusive, so we are now waiting for a phone call to tell us when the one will be collected. The other will have to stay on her own for the next few months until our next test. If she goes inconclusive again she will be going. Unfortunately she is also possibly due to calve before our next test so I will probably end up hand rearing a calf for 6 months. Sounds lovely but the extra work involved will be a nightmare. This whole TB thing has messed up our grazing rotation. We will end up writing off loads of cows as we are not set up to have a bull long term on the holding so we wont be able to put anything into calve. Unfortunately if you dont keep calving Dexter's they seal over inside and go infertile, so that makes them no value as they give no return. So if the TB doesnt get them they will end up going to the abbatoir far too early. It's so darn wrong.
 

chunky monkey

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Had the physio out on Tuesday. Not good news. I knew chunky was seizing up. So I thought physio might help. Theres a distinct lack of movement in his back end. They think I would be best to put him back on the bute daily, to help with any inflammation. But thinks I really need to discuss with the vet if theres anything we should be doing to find out what's wrong or if it's just old age. Whether he should have any other supplements. The physio is only secondary help and we really need to address the cause. I dont see what else I can do, surgery at his age isn't an option regardless of any issues found. Whether it's worth having xrays done to confirm where the problem is. I dont know. Hes done less this year, which has meant less back swelling but he seems to have got stiffer in his back end quicker. So its catch 22.
We trotted up Billy and I was informed he looks lame. I've suspected something is not right hes been sore a few times in the saddle area, but he doesnt ride lame at all and his back didnt seem sore when the physio looked. I had a hint a couple of weeks ago on a hack when he didnt want to trot or canter. But the next day he happily cantered at full speed so I thought he was having an off day.
Hes been footy on the stones but his feet have gone soft now where getting heavy dews overnight and weve had a lot of rain recently. I'm riding first thing in the morning so the feet are very soft and dont get chance to harden and dry out before I ride. Theres also no distinct foot that he finds more footy.
The physio said he was moving okay through the back and couldn't find tightness. When we trotted up a second time the physio couldnt decide which leg he looked lame on, so it's a complete mystery.
Vet is coming tomorrow for both to do there teeth and Billy is due his flu jab. I will talk with him about chunky and his future. I'm going to put him back on daily bute, the vet already said I could do this but having read up on people saying would you bute to ride etc and the long term damage of bute i took him off it and only gave if he did a very long ride or drive but I think now is the time to give it regularly. The physio showed me the difference between the two boys flexibility and it really shocked me. Chunky reminds me of an old person shuffling along on there zimmer frame, looking like they've pooped themselves. I wish I had a magic wand.
I will be having a discussion on billys lamenes, and hope the vet might be able to spot something. Physio said not to ride till vets seen Billy and not to bute either. I'm going to have one very excited horse having done no work all week. He was a bit funny with the physio. He just doesnt like strange people. Maybe having had this week off he will trot up sound. I can hope. By the time the vets examined him he will be very hyper and frustrated. I envisage flailing legs. So getting a needle in to then sedate for teeth will be very dangerous. I envisage some spinning and rearing there as well. Maybe even a hospital trip. Roll on tomorrow.
 
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Jessey

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Oh bugger, that wasn't a very positive visit, but rather caught early than late. Hopefully there is something they can give to help Chunky, I am one who won't bute to ride but there is a caveat to that - unless the exercise is beneficial, which it sounds like it could be for Chunky. Bute is crappy for the body long term and I think to be avoided as long as possible, but when they need it I think the long term impact on the liver and gut becomes a paling concern. Hopefully the vet finds something really simple for Billy too and you get the go ahead to get him back to work, everything crossed for you here :)
 

Trewsers

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Like @Jessey says, the implications of using bute long term pale into insignificance depending on why you're using it and at what stage. I have used it for a number of years now on and off and we up and down the dose on Storm as required. It's enabled her to live out her retirement comfortably and also with the tendon injury - it has helped that at times when it's flared up. I don't think too far ahead on that score, yes I know it is bad for them long term but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Fingers crossed for your Chunky. I know what jessey means too about buting to ride, I did that with Storm but only because my old vets suggested it - and that it was better for her to keep moving and be exercised (waistline issues!). Lots of vibes.
 

Trewsers

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I just wanted to add for Chunky - that there may be some supplement that will help. I started mine on Nutraquin plus and the results speak for themselves. She went from shuffling out of the stable in a morning to a sprightly step again. It was like magic on her hocks really. So there is always something to try.
 

Bodshi

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Good luck today @chunky monkey. I hope Billy behaves and your vet has some positive ideas.

Jack is on a Danilon daily . He's a big horse, in his 20s and has navicular and arthritis but he looks really well. I discussed the long term implications with the vet and we both agreed on quality of life over quantity at this stage.

Fingers crossed for you today.
 
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chunky monkey

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Well both were pretty good. Just waiting for the sedation to wear off before I turn them out. Billy was okay being trotted up and flexion tests but when it came to injection time he suddenly got a little hot headed but we managed to get the needle in before we got injured. Bad news is vet is coming back on Monday to xray him. Hes confirmed lameness and worse on flexion but more than that we dont know.
As for chunky he thinks for his age we just have to carry on managing the best we can. So I am going to bute to see if theres any difference. I should carry on working him to keep the muscles. I could go down the xray route but for his age it's not really worth it and treatment would most likely be steroid trials.
We talked about supplements and I may well look at it. But it is a trial and error thing depending on the horse.
 

Trewsers

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Glad they were both pretty good @chunky monkey
Do you use Devil Relief at all? I have both our old girls on it, and it definitely makes a difference. I use the Naff one.
I think it might be worth you looking at supplements. I know they don't always work for each horse. Being honest, a few years ago we tried Storm on the Cosequin and it did nothing. Which is weird because the ingredients are pretty similar to Nutraquin. Yet that makes a huge difference to her.
Lots of vibes for your next visit on Monday.
 
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