Friday, October 3, 2008

Who ordered this rain?

Come October, the trails that I've been riding are officially closed. I'd forgotten that when I rode Sandy up yesterday. Of course, it was the first day of rain in October and the trails are in better shape than they were a month ago during September's torrential downpours. Still...I'm not looking forward to having to stay on the logging roads.

Yesterday I had both my stethoscope and a stop watch along with me as I rode out. I took Sandy's pulse before leaving, not really sure I was doing it correctly, and got a reading of 42. It had been considerably lower last month while he was standing at the vet clinic, which I found odd, and hence I'm wondering if I got it right. I took it both prior to saddling and after, getting the same reading both times. Good enough for a base line, I decided, and headed out.

Upon climbing the first level, Sandy's sweating was considerably less than it's been the past few weeks. In fact, I'd say it was back to normal. I dismounted and checked his pulse. 72! Wow...that seems high. I waited a couple of minutes and took it again. 60. Dropping, but not very fast. Two more minutes, 54. Two more minutes, 48. Close enough, I decided, as he obviously was not laboring with his breathing (he'd been huffing just a bit more the last time), and we continued up.

Next level, his pulse was back up to 72. Five minutes later and I couldn't coax it any lower than 54. That seems high to me, but again, no heaving of the sides and he'd been moving out better than he had since the injury, so on I climbed and up we went. Same story at the top. 72 dropped within 1 minute to 60, but five minutes later and we were still at 54. He was greedily grabbing at what little grass there was and not at all stressed outwardly, so back on I climbed and down the hill we began towards home.

Our ride lasted 2 1/2 hours, much longer than I'd anticipated, although normally I wouldn't have had 15-20 minutes worth of stops along the way. Once at the bottom of the hill, I took Sandy around the flat, level tree farm. Despite him not getting as wet going up, he was not cooling down during our descent, something that was totally different than we've been experiencing and I hoped that a bit of lazy walking would remedy that. It didn't.

Upon arriving home, I let Sandy finish his beet pulp (something he'd started before we left) and again took his pulse. It was 54. I untacked and took it again 4 minutes later. 42. Perfect! Okay, so a little high, but the same as when we'd left and it'd come down in under 5 minutes, and that was good.

Today we were blessed with more rain and there was no way to tell if he was sweating or not. His pulse was low when we headed out at 36 on both checks. It dropped faster at the first level, too, and was down to 48 in four minutes. Less than two hours later we were home again, but I couldn't get his pulse to drop below 42. Ten minutes later he was at the same rate, so I gave up. I was wet, he was wet, and neither one of us wanted to be standing out there in the rain.

Tomorrow we'll give it another go.


Jessie said...


I hope you find out what's up with Sandy soon, and I hope it's not something serious. Good luck with your boy.

BITRCountryGirl said...

Poor Sandy. I hope he gets better soon. Again got my fingers and toes crossed that it's nothing serious. Have a good weekend!

Andrea said...

I still think selenium could be the problem. A blood test should be around $80-$100. I know you're not worried about it, but it scares me if it starts to affect his heart. I probably already mentioned that my neighbor's stallion died from it. It basically liquified his heart. My horse wasn't that near death but it wasn't safe to work him until we got him healthy.

A couple blurbs that sound a lot like what Sandy is going through:
"Selenium-deficient horses can experience compromised immune systems or nutritional muscular dystrophy where the muscles break down. "When the heart is affected, the prognosis is very poor," she said"
"Clinically, selenium deficient horses will often 'tie-up,' a degenerative condition of the
muscles also known as rhabdomyolysis," says Dr. Scoggins. "It can affect the heart muscle,
the muscles of respiration, as well as the large muscles of the

back and limbs. It can also cause a decrease in the efficiency of the immune system, leading
to opportunistic infections."

A horse that has rhabdomyolosis will have severe muscle cramps resulting in sweating,
stiffness, and increased pulse. The breakdown of muscle cells can result in coffee-colored
urine. "Do not walk a horse that is tied up," stresses Dr. Scoggins.

Shirley said...

Here is a link to heart rate monitoring; if you cruise their site, you should find some helpful info.
And I sure hope Sandy is OK!
Stop by my blog, there is an award for you.

Katee said...

I love that Sandy is still your horse. I am so happy that he didn't get adopted by someone else at the Western mustang makeover. I'm jealous of your trails, though!

photogchic said...

I don't know a lot about horse heartrate's. What is the target for at rest and at work? Love that saddle...gorgeous. Keep us posted on your boy...worried about him.