Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Argus Spring Update: Knees, Teeth...And A New Brother!

For everyone that has been emailing and asking for updates, here you go!

After a very wet winter, spring is starting to emerge at Watermark Farm. For the most part, Argus has whiled away the long, bleak days with Odie and Ridge at his side. He continues to learn new things, and experience new things.

Argus loves to eat his nightly bucket of pelleted feeds in his stall, which is attached to a paddock which is attached to the pasture. He panics when we shut that paddock gate, so every night, Ridge and Odie come in from the pasture into their paddocks. Argus' gate is left open, so he can move in and out. This winter, for the first time, Argus was able to not only tolerate eating his meals inside his stall, but he LIKES it! Go figure. Each night, we we bring the horses in from turnout, Argus waits patiently in his stall for me to bring him his dinner. It amazes me that even after more than two years with us, Argus still makes changes.

Argus had his teeth floated and knees injected recently. His knees are extremely arthritic and so joint injections every 9 months are the only way to keep him pasture sound. The difference with those knee injections is incredible.

Argus goes from quivering knees that he can't straighten fully to being almost normal. Big thanks to his friend Dr. Miller for providing this service (which normally costs $500) to Argus at no cost.

Good news! When Argus arrived in foster care, his front teeth were a mess of black cavities. I'd never seen a horse with cavities like that. During Argus' recent teeth floating, Dr. Miller worked on the incisors. He noted that the cavities are disappearing! Since a horse's teeth constantly erupt, as the vet has filed them down each year, combined with Argus' good diet, the decay has stopped and now with time will simply be ground off. Dr. Miller says the cause of all this decay is because Argus was fed bacteria-laden rotting produce ---- lettuce, bell peppers, etc. The constant stream of bacteria in his feed also rotted his teeth.

Argus has had a hard time adjusting to Ridge, who is now being ridden regularly and has healed from his fractured pelvis (yay Ridge!) being taken out of the pasture and going on rides. At first, Argus panicked so much that we had to lock him in his paddock so he wouldn't run around and hurt himself. He ran himself into a lather, even if he could SEE Ridge in the arena right next to him. When we removed Odie for a ride as well, it was awful to see how miserable Argus became. With no Half Pint to stand in the pasture and calm him, this was a different experience for everyone.

Over time, and with a lot of patience, Argus is now able to tolerate our taking Ridge and Odie away in the trailer for a trail long as our sole mare (Angel) stands in the paddock next to him, AND as long as I ply him with alfalfa. It's taken several months to get to this point, but Argus is slowly getting used to having his friends come and go.

Argus' bond with Ridge and Odie is very strong, but at the same time, it's important that horses don't become so "herd bound" to each other that they cannot ever be separated for grooming, riding or farrier or veterinary care.

On New Year's Eve, we had a scary night. It seems that every person in our rural area decided to light off entire packs of firecrackers, or illegal fireworks, or shoot their guns. From 10pm to 1am, I stood in the barn, on guard. The horses were all calm, except for poor Argus, who was simply terrified of the noise and flashing lights. I could not catch Argus to calm him. A funny thing happened. I noticed that Ridge and Odie kept moving themselves so that Argus was sandwiched between them in the pasture. They stood very close to him, touching. He shook very hard. They calmly stood for hours, moving slightly to keep enclosing him. Thanks to those two sweet and brave horses, Argus made it through the night without panicking.

On a sad note, we lost our dear Shetland pony, Ginger, in February. She had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure last fall, so we knew it was coming. She lay down in the barn late one night, and could not get up. The vet came at 1am and put her to sleep. Ginger was about 35 years old, and we miss her terribly.

On a happy note....our little shrinking horse family just expanded. "Indiana Jones" is a 20 year old Dutch warmblood/Arabian cross that has joined us as a Pony Club mount for our 12 year old daughter, Shelby. Indy is also a rescue horse! It is entirely coincidental that he is also white. So this year, we'll have three white horses and one partially white mule out in the pasture. It should be fun!

(NO! This is neither Argus nor Ridge!)

Love and hugs to everyone from Argus, Ridge, Odie, Angel and their new "brother" Indy!


BluelineGoddess said...

I am so glad to see an update! So sorry to hear about Ginger, sounds like she had a full amazing life. A huge welcome to Indy, I'm sure he's going to fit in famously.

Julia R said...

Thank you so much for posting. Argus is easy to carry around in our hearts everyday, so it's a tremendous relief to hear how he has been doing.

Misae Silverfall said...

So glad to see an update. :)

It's great Argus's teeth are recovering! I wish mine did that.

And wow, Indy's beautiful!

Sydney said...

Glad to hear an update. Keep them more frequent ok? Thanks =D

cdncowgirl said...

Thanks for the update :)

My condolences on Ginger's passing. And also a congratulations on the new family member.

phaedra96 said...

I am sorry to hear of Ginger passing on, and congratulations on your new family member. Love grey horses and to have a herd of them...! Glad to hear all is well; was wondering when there were no new posts. I was afraid Argus was gone.

Pony Girl said...

Nice update....glad to see Argus is doing well. He has a good family, both equine and human, to take care of him! So sorry to hear of the loss of Ginger. 35 years is a long happy pony life! Indy sounds like a great find, I'm sure your daughter is enjoying him!

excaliber813 said...

So happy to see this update!
Ginger knew love and compassion with you, and the final dignity of passing with loved ones by her side.
Hubba-Hubba "Indiana Jones" what a beautiful guy!
So happy to hear that Argus is still making improvements. I think of him daily, and love hearing all of the stories about he and his pals!
Prayers from my heart to all @ Watermark Farm,

Sandra said...

Katie--------many thanks for posting this up-date of you and Argus and his herd, and sad for your loss. You and Argus are heroes to many of us, who try to wait patiently for news. Your evolving relationship continues to make me happy, as I live vicariously with you! Blessings and good thoughts to all!


Sandra said...

Katie--------many thanks for posting this up-date of you and Argus and his herd, and sad for your loss. You and Argus are heroes to many of us, who try to wait patiently for news. Your evolving relationship continues to make me happy, as I live vicariously with you! Blessings and good thoughts to all!


Della Micah said...

SO glad to hear all is well with Argus. Like so many other readers, I think of him often and of you working tirelessly to make his little world the happiest, safest and most interesting for him. It's amazing how far he has come.

Sad news to hear about Ginger, but as you said, you knew that day would come. They do leave a hole in your heart, though, when they go.

Thank you for this lovely update - I love to read your posts.


Katie said...

Thank you so much for an update. So sorry to hear about the loss of Ginger.

Indy is beautiful:-)

marie said...

thank you katie, for the update we have all tried so patiently (and somewhat unsuccessfully) to wait for. i check almost daily hoping to read your stories. while i am usually moved to tears i am so thankful to feel as if i am sharing the news with you. argus is an amazing soul, he is so lucky to have found you and the herd who help him become strong and brave. you have lost quite a few friends recently, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family (both 2 and 4 legged)thanks again and hope the spring brings joy to all at watermark!!!

icehorse said...

Sorry to hear about Ginger. I remember her from the Seabiscuit Trail ride. Here's a pic of her in the background.

So great to have an update on Argus! Amazing that he is still making progress. You are so lucky to have a vet like Dr. Miller. Congrats on your new horse, he sounds like wonderful addition to your herd.

Michelle said...

Argus is making amazing progress and that's so great to hear! Sorry about the loss of Ginger, but congrats on the new addition!

PaintedPromise said...

sothankful to see an update on Argus... i check in regularly and was getting worried... i am so happy that he continues to make progress. we pulled a starved older mare out of the desert recently... finally found a LIVE one dumped, amongst those who have been shot. sadly she was in such poor condition, with multiple health issues, that with her age it was obvious the best thing for her was to release her from her pain... but we were able to give her a few weeks of good food and loving care so that her end was better. darn people, the mare would have been better off if they HAD shot her before dumping her... another day or two and the coyotes we heard while walking her out would have brought her down.

well on behalf of "Melody" and others like her, THANK you for taking such good care of Argus. he is such an inspiration!!!

Rising Rainbow said...

Thanks for the update. I never hear of a horse with cavities. How sad. Argus is so lucky to have you in his life.

Interesting herd dynamic, the others consoling Argus through the fireworks.

Sorry to hear of your loss. It's always tough to lose an equine friend even when you know it's coming.

Yankecwgrl said...

Thanks soooooo much for the Argus update!
I've been wondering what's going on with him!
Keep us posted!!

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Mom said...

In a world that is so full of negative things, it makes my heart happy to read about you and Argus and all your friends. It's like seeing a spring daffodil blooming in an abandoned field. I am so sorry about Ginger. It is sometimes so hard to do what we know is best for them. Indie and Shelby look perfect for each other. Thank you for sharing happiness.