Friday, July 30, 2010

Cochise and Apache

I brought Cochise home from the horse hospital today. He is no worse for the surgery and is in good spirits. We had no trouble getting him into the trailer at the hospital. He will stay at my ranch for a couple weeks until he is completely healed. I don't have indoor stalls at the fort and don't want him exposed to the weather while he is recovering. Hopefully, his surgery will keep him in the Army for a few more years.

The military vets wanted the portion of his anatomy that was removed for more biopsies. Thus, I had to carry this thing home in a jar of formaldehyde. The jar fell over in the front compartment of the truck and was rolling around on the floor of the cab as I was driving back to the fort. The formaldehyde was leaking out a little and causing my eyes to burn. I was hoping the gate guards wouldn't stop the truck for a search. It would have been hard to explain having a severed penis in the truck. Fortunatley, I was not stopped. The jar is sitting on top of my desk at work now so I can take it to the vets on Monday. I don't know if I want to keep it for my museum of horse parts, though. It's tough to look at it without thinking of John Wayne Bobbit.

Yesterday, I took Apache out for more work. I know I'm supposed to focus on a single training objective but both Apache and I get bored by that. We worked on several things including military horsemanship, jumping, and lead changes--all in the space of about 45 minutes. Apache was in good form and didn't beat me up the way he usually does. We still have some rough areas to work on but he's really coming along with jumping and lead changes. His transitions are unbelievably smooth and he remains light in the mouth if not completely on the bit. I wish I had the time to ride him once a day. He'd be outstanding if I did.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Horse Detecting

We had a strange request yesterday from the Army. They wanted us to pack some loads onto a couple of our horses and then ride around in the woods with the pack horses in tow to see if they could detect us. They set up all kinds of sensors on the ground and even had one up in the air tracking us. As an observer to the test, I couldn't help noticing that you cannot hear a column of horses walking through the woods unless they cross an asphalt road. Modern warfare sure has taken a strange turn. It seems the horse is coming back. Someone recently gave me a copy of Horse Soldiers about the Afghanistan war and how horses are being used there. Can't wait to read it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surgery for Cochise

Photo by Ty Holland

Debbie and I took Chili and Cochise to Arizona Equine today to be examined. Chili has a cracked tooth and Cochise has cancer growths on the end of his penis. They were evaluated for possible surgery. Chili has had the cracked tooth for a long time but hasn't had any real problems with it. However, as part of the tooth as broken off our military vets thought we should get a second opinion on whether or not the tooth should be removed. With Cochise it was a case of determining if the cancer had spread too far already or if it could be stopped with a partial penis amputation. After a consultation between AZ Equine and the mil vet, it was determined to hold off on removing Chili's tooth. However, it was determined that the cancer in Cochise had not yet spread and that he could be saved with surgery. Thus, Chili came home with us tonight and is safely back in his pen while Cochise was left in Phoenix to be operated on tomorrow. Apparently, there is little post op care required for this surgery other than pain killers and antibiotics. No wound flushing or other difficult treatment. We will probably pick Cochise up again in a couple days. Hopefully, the surgery will stop further spread of the cancer. He's a solid cavalry horse and we'd hate to lose him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Military Horsemanship

To help units prepare for the National Cavalry Competition in September, the US Cavalry Association offered to send one of their members around to interested parties to give a clinic on military horsemanship. B Troop took advantage of the offer and benefited from the instruction of Ray Thomas who has a lifetime of experience training horses and riders. For two days, he showed us some of the basics of military horsemanship. He imparted a great deal of useful training techniques and knowledge that our guys and gals soaked up like dry sponges. Ray is interesting to talk with as he seems to have a horse story about just about every situation you can think of. We all enjoyed his visit and wished he could have stayed longer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independance Day

Sunday was the annual 4th of July celebration at Veteran's Park in Sierra Vista. B Troop is an integral part of the ceremony as we are charged with delivering a proclamation to the city mayor as part of the event. We also set up an "encampment" and put on a few demonstrations with the horses and cannon. I was planning on riding Apache but as he is still having problems with a runny nose, I chose to ride Duke instead. I figured I'd have problems with Duke as he was fairly traumatized by the riding demonstration the previous week and it turns out I was right. He was as nervous as an illegal alien mopping floors at a Border Patrol agent convention. I decided not to ride him in the ceremony as the area was tiny and I feared he would trample someone during the 50-gun salute and Air Force fly over. I did use him, however, during the little riding demo we did later. He was reasonably calmed down by then and we had enough room that I wasn't worried about him stepping on someone. He was very agitated at first until he realized I wasn't going to fire a pistol or do anything scary. He settled down after a while and he managed to take the first step forward in his training since the demo disaster. It will take me a while to ease him back to where he was before but I'm sure he can do it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Horse Dental Work

While our mililtary vet was floating teeth last week, she noticed that one of our horses had a cracked tooth. Not just cracked but physically separated in the jaw. We scheduled the horse, Kidd, for surgery up at Arizona Equine in Gilbert (near Phoenix). It takes three hours to drive up there and any treatment at AZ Equine is expensive so we don't make these decisions lightly. We took him up today with the intention of dropping him off and then picking him up again tomorrow but the doctor said he could get it done while we waited (only another three hours). Our military vet and vet technician showed up to observe the procedure, so Debbie and I went and found some place cool to have lunch and kill time and left Kidd in their capable hands. When we returned, the surgery was done and Kidd was waking up in his hospital pen. They had removed the tooth by cutting a hole through his sinus cavity and driving the tooth out with a center punch and hammer. Our vet tech filmed the procedure. They saved the tooth for us which will go into my museum of spare horse parts. Someday, I will be able to assemble a complete horse with spare parts. Frankenhorse.