August 2011

Cassie’s Column – August 2011

Charlie-and-Sara-and-the-endoscope
Charlie, Sarah and the endoscope!Poppy-trying-to-bring-her-HorseHage-to-work
Poppy and her HorseHage

I’ve just got in from finishing the horses and the weather outside is horrendous! Apparently these strong winds are the tail-end of Hurricane Katia so I’ve just informed Poppy that she and her friends are in for a windy night (although she didn’t seem too fussed whilst tucking into her net of Horsehage!) David, however , is finding it great fun, especially when watching me chase various grooming items, stable bandages and buckets as they are blown across the yard.. The joys of living on top of a hill in windy weather!

On my way to the Olympics – minus the horse
The first thing I have to report is quite possibly the most exciting news I’ve had so far this year- my Olympic interview. I applied last year to work as a veterinary assistant at London 2012, and just when I had given up hope of getting through, I was called for an interview. So off I went down to London to the ExCel Centre last week. I decided to take the train, which was going smoothly until I realised I had to navigate my way around the London Underground. I’m used to having my sister, Sue, who lives in London, just telling me where to go but unfortunately she was away in Japan! So there I was, in the middle of the London underground, no tube map, no mobile reception, no Sue and hundreds of manic commuters and 45 minutes to get to my interview, but I somehow managed and arrived on time – just looking a little like a windswept rabbit in the headlights.

The interview was really exciting. I got to see the designs of the various Olympic buildings, learn more about the Games and the vital part ‘Games Makers’ (volunteers) play in making sure everything goes smoothly, as well as a formal interview. If I get the role I’ll either be assisting the vets on the cross country course or in the treatment areas. It would be an amazing experience and definitely the next best thing to riding there. I’ll keep you posted on any news…

So, what have the horses been up to?

Calm down Poppy, it’s only a horse trials!
Poppy-and-Henry-enjoying-themselves-in-the-field

It’s been a long and hard decision but I decided to postpone Poppy’s eventing at affiliated level for this year. I realised that she was still struggling to work through the excitement and adrenalin that attending a larger event brings and with finishing uni late on into the eventing season, it’s been a bit rushed. Since I’ve had her on Mollichaff Calmer I’ve noticed a considerable difference in her temperament, concentration and general willingness to work. So I decided to stay at local level where she always proves to be consistent. I realised that I had made a big mistake in not competing her in any dressage competitions prior to eventing and this is our main area of weakness (trying to avoid it – maybe?!) I’m really lucky that I have a lot of local events in both jumping and dressage throughout the winter so I’m going to continue to work on this. I was amazed the difference the Calmer made, especially as her coat has stayed gleaming too. I would definitely recommend it to anyone with an ex-racehorse facing similar problems.

Last week I was moaning to Poppy that ‘Parklane Hawk’, who is an ex-racehorse, just won Burghley and this excitement and nonsense really ought to stop. I think if she could talk she would point out that ‘Parklane Hawk’ had William Fox-Pitt on his back and not her amateur rider having a ‘bash’ at eventing! When I first had Poppy I didn’t expect to do half as much as I’ve achieved with her now and I’m already so proud of everything we have done together.

A new arrival and an acquaintance for David
Ronnie-and-David

A few weeks ago we had a new horse arrive – ‘Big Ears’ aka ‘Ronnie’. Ronnie was bred by the Al-Egaily family. Natasha Al-Egaily has an impressive eventing record and her mother is a well-respected horse breeder. After a short time off recovering from an injury, Ronnie is now back in work and I am spending the summer getting him fit and ready to event. So far he has settled in well. Although at first David was a little unsure about sharing his paddock, but since learning that his new ‘bezzie’s’ granddad is the world famous show- jumper, ‘Handel II’, I’ve noticed them in the field together in what looks to be deep conversation debating how to tackle the post and rail fence – I’m keeping an eye on those two!

David is still turning heads in the village when out and about driving. We’ve been venturing further afield and even to the local pub (funnily enough, this was Simon’s idea!) I’m desperate to take him out and there are quite a few events going on in late September. I’ve been struggling to find some brackets to attach his trap whilst transporting, but thanks to the local driving club I’ve finally found some – so now we can crack on.

Hot stuff Henry!
Well since a new horse has entered what is undoubtedly Henry’s territory, he appears to have regained his youth in a bid to keep the lovely Poppy’s eyes on him and not on the striking grey, Big Ears! This has meant he has been demonstrating all kinds of manoeuvres in field. I don’t think I have seen him looking this lively for a long time – it has definitely woken him up and he seems better for it. Luckily for Henry, Poppy’s got her priorities right and knows how to treat her best friend. It was lovely to see Henry feeling so good about himself, so thank you Mollichaff Veteran for keeping him going!

A touch of fame
However, Henry’s definitely just proved that he is still the star attraction as I’ve also just been told that he is mentioned in this month’s Your Horse magazine in a feed special, discussing different horses diets, and with a photo too! (Page 76 – October issue).

An Interesting Case… 
This week I got to help with a horse that was experiencing exercise intolerance (reluctance to work) and making a noise during exercise. So, it was time to bring out some seriously fancy veterinary kit – The Dynamic Overground Endoscope – to see exactly what it was that was going on with this horse during exercise. Overground endoscopy is used for the diagnosis of upper respiratory tract disorders in exercising horses. The horse carries the endoscope (a tube inserted into the airway) and the images are sent via wireless connection to the vet’s portable computer – allowing observation of the larynx and pharynx during exercise. Charlie, the patient, an 8-year- old coloured riding horse was an absolute star and Simon, along with fellow Fyrnwy Equine Clinic vet, David Jagger , and Leahurst clinician, Neil Townsend, were able to make a swift diagnosis that Charlie had a rare congenital problem affecting his left arytenoid (The cartilage that attached the muscles that move the vocal cords). During exercise the arytenoid and its connecting tissues have been collapsing and becoming unstable which has been limiting the amount of air flow to the lungs. This has then caused Charlie difficulties in being able to draw enough air in when his body needs additional oxygen. There are many options for the treatment of this case. Being able to see cases like this where even pleasure horses have access to some of the most up to date equipment makes all the studying worthwhile! Best of luck to Charlie and his owner, Sara, for the future.

Well, that’s it for this time – I hope you’re enjoying hearing what we’re up to and I’ll update any Olympic news soon.

All the best
Cassie & my Horsehage-loving, four- legged friends x