Thursday, April 21, 2016


I wasn't sure if I was going to talk about this on the blog, but as with most topics I wasn't sure whether to address, I'm going to do it anyway. I can't explain the story without context.  I've spent the past week in various hospitals, visiting my uncle who had a massive heart attack, and three open heart surgeries in the span of 36 hours.  Been a stressful, exhausting, anxiety-ridden seven days. He's still critical, and we are not out of the woods, but he's steadily improving, and I'm very thankful for the people in the cardiac unit at RWJ who have done such a great job coming up with a plan to make all that improvement happen.  

One particular late night, the night nurse (a man I've grown to love over the past week) was telling me about "nurse's intuition," which comes from years of experience with patients, and knowing in your gut what medication to reduce or increase, or what to try next, or when to do any of the numerous tasks nurses are given on any particular day or night.  He explained that's why nurses can't attend to family, because they lose their objectivity and don't trust their intuition like they would with another patient.

So it occurred to me, one another very late night as I was driving home (actually, it could have been the same night, the days of the past week are completely blending together) that maybe I should spend a little less time beating myself up for being a terrible mother and a little more time coming up with a game plan and trying to figure out how to improve things.  

I thought about his behavior, which includes not wanting to go forward, spookiness and tension, reluctance to bend left and sensitivity to my left leg, and the report from my barn managers that he was restless and "looking for something to do" all week.  Although I had originally thought this was all due to the abscess he blew last week in his right hind, it's not a perfect fit.  He still felt NQR on Saturday, after the abscess was excavated, but I had more pressing issues and couldn't really give it my full attention.

After more time to think, it occurred to me that in addition to the abscess, his ulcers could be acting up, what with the change of seasons, change of barns, my schedule being a little sporadic, etc.  I decided to go with my gut and order 30 tubes of Abgard.  (Yup, I buy the Canadian stuff.  It's not approved by the FDA. However, what I read on the subject from the FDA reported that this company's product had slightly higher doses of omeprazole in their product than advertised.  I figure that compensates for whatever portion of the product ends up on my shirt or in my hair.  YMMV.)

Last night I took a break from hospital visiting hours and went to the barn, with the goal of a light, easy hack.  I put our hunter tack on, which was kind of fun in and of itself, because I haven't dressed him up in brown tack in a while.  It felt sort of good zipping up my old field boots.

I said hunter, not conformation hunter.
I went out to the outdoor ring and Tucker balked at the in-gate, which is not like him.  I let him stand for a while and stroked his neck and talked to him, but it took me a few tries to get him in the ring. Since my goal was to tread lightly I didn't make an issue out of it, and he eventually walked in on his own accord.

The ride was lovely.  I floated the reins at him and he poked his nose like a hunter, when I asked him to canter and stretched up into my half seat he gave me a big, loose, happy loping stride, and he walked back to the barn on the buckle.  I left my spurs off, and I was extra gentle with my left leg.  It was nice to be back on my hunter.  Felt like riding a horse I haven't been on in a while, actually.  Like seeing an old friend.

Dancin' in the moonlight
When we got back to the barn and I had him on the cross-ties, I was in the middle of sending an over-analyzing text to my barn friend about him, that he was sound and managed to relax during our ride, and had no sensitivity in his back or anywhere else.  As I typed, he started violently swishing his tail like he was being bothered by flies.  Only there were no flies.  And then he turned himself sideways in the cross-ties and pressed his butt into the wall (incidentally, it's also time to worm him, but now I'm going to wait because wormer can upset the stomach).

He ate all his dinner and gut sounds are loud and normal, so I don't feel like he's in immediate danger or anything.  But, it does sort of feel like there was a giant neon sign hanging over my horse's head saying his tummy hurts.  Glad I ordered all that Abgard (bye bye money!), which should be here soon.

I guess there's such a thing as horsewoman's intuition too?  If you can be objective, that is.


  1. People always say listen to your gut but sometimes it's hard to hear it and/or trust it. Glad you were finally able to connect the dots :)

  2. Have you found a way to order Abguard without doing a bank transfer? I bought from them years ago and didn't have to pay that way and I'm really sketched out by paying by bak transfer.

    1. I paid with my CC about 2 months ago so I don't think that's a problem with Abler anymore.

    2. I think it depends on the quantity and the charge. I've bought 6 at a time using a CC, and this time I bought 30 and paid by way of electronic check. Which was easy, they called by phone to verify and that was it.

  3. I bought the AbGard for my mare and it worked wonders. I keep like 10 tubes on hand to make sure that I have some on hand to treat when traveling for the day of and while we're gone. I've thought about treating Houston too now but I'm going to hold off.

    Have you tried the pop rocks before? I don't think I would want to use them for treatment but I'm curious if those would be an option for me
    When I treat while traveling...

  4. There is so much to be said for intuition with horses, they can't talk so we have to interpret all their other cues. Sounds like you are on the right track, I hope the AbGard helps!

  5. Ugh ulcers are the worst. Glad you recognized his issues for what they are tho!!!

  6. We've been using abprazole at my barn and it also seems to be a great choice! It's around 180 for a month of treatment.

    I do agree on the intuition. I don't think there's anything mystical about it (I know some people think it's a little supernatural), but just that we have all this information floating around in our brains and sometimes a little something will trigger a memory that is relevant. I definitely listen to mine (when I have it, which sadly is not often!).

  7. I suck at being objective with my horse

  8. I definitely believe in horseman's intuition! Here's hoping the Abgard fixes Tuck right up <3


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