Friday, September 26, 2014

Settling In

 This first week has purposely been kept pretty low key. A three day trailer ride is hard on an adult horse and moreso on a youngster. I have kept busy making sure he is comfortable , giving him as much to eat as he wants and getting to know each other.  I go out to visit him several times a day , refilling his water buckets , giving him more hay , or cleaning his pen. He is pretty much like a big baby. Eats, mostly constantly, drinks, poops, lays down, rinse and repeat. It was only a day or so ago he jumped and bucked and ran around a bit. This colt has legs that go on forever and an appetite to go with them. He is definitely in need of increased calories. We are slowly adjusting his grain rations . I started introducing Safechoice Mare and Foal with some beet pulp. He pretty much thinks it's the best thing ever. I also started adding Equipride as a top dressing. Hopefully it will keep me from needing to give him too much grain while still covering all of his nutritional needs. Given his size, balancing his growth rate while maintaining his weight will be an ever adjusting thing. Right now, he is 660 lbs and about 14.1 hands. He 1.5 years old. He's not exactly little.

 From what I can tell so far, he is a pretty affable colt . He's very sweet natured and loves attention. Yearns for it.  By the second day he was greeting me with a nicker as I approached his pend. He doesn't  seem to get overly concerned about things and seems to take it all in stride. All very good signs. He knows practically nothing and it's very evident no one has asked him to do much, but he seems to be pretty willing, even if he is unsure. We have had alot of noise around here with wheat harvesting, road construction, neighbors revving engines on dirtbikes, plus we live right near the airport and the Police department's shooting range. He doesn't get rattled by any of it.

  I take him for daily walks around the pasture so he can  get a sense of his surroundings. He  doesn't lead very well so it's kind of like walking around like a drunken sailer. He seems to prefer to walk on top of my feet or crowd into me with his shoulder,  or walk directly behind me. The concept of walking along side of me is a foreign concept, but I have already started working with the flag to begin to teach him how to walk on a lead. He seems to be a quick study. He has already started to look forward to his walks because then he gets to lay eyes on the other horses he can hear but can't really see from his corral. He desperately wants to meet them and likewise for the other geldings. They are curious and will occasionally call to him.  He's terribly lonely but his quarantine is short lived.

His feet are the most concerning thing to me right now. It does not appear anyone has ever done anything with his feet.  His has pretty long pasterns right now but  his right hind  appears to turn out little more from the pastern.  At this point, I am thinking the turning out looks worse than it actually is because of his overgrown foot and how he has worn it.  It seems to depend on how he is standing. Sometimes it looks more pronounced then other times. It's not uncommon for  young horses with long legs to have legs that are less than arrow straight. Usually with turnout and plenty of running around, they strengthen and straighten out just fine.  My initial thought at this point is that its likely a combination of weak legs from being penned up and not able to run combined with lack of proper hoof care.

One of the days  I was leading him out of his pen to take him for a walk , he must have caught his one leg with the other hoof (they were so long and had  pretty signifigant flares to the inside) and reacted like he just cut his right leg off.  He held his foot way in the air and nearly tipped over. Obviously it hurt but I couldn't see a  cut, blood or anything obvious that would easily explained his reaction. He wouldn't let me touch it.  After a  minute or so , he walked out of it and seemed  fine.

That night, when Tom got home, we planned to start working with his feet anyways and I mentioned the reaction Otto had from earlier that day with his right leg .We  took a closer look now that I had a second set of hands.

We discovered that on that same back right, he has what appears to be an old injury of some kind. There is a hard nodule or lump there and he is very tender if you touch it, promptly jerking his foot away. Same reaction from earlier when he caught himself.  Whatever it is, its closed up and looks like there was a scab that recently fell off  but he definitely didn't want us messing with it. That made things a little difficult in trying to work on trimming that foot, which happened to be the one foot that needed the trimming the worst ! But atleast I had an explanation now.

 The good news is that overall he was a  pretty good boy about having his feet handled,(all but the back right) considering he probably hasn't ever had it done.  He came around pretty quickly and we were able to take some of the flares off. This is going to be a process to get his feet in shape.  I should have gotten before photos but was a bit preoccupied.

As much as I didn't want to add any  stress to his life,  I wanted to know what we were dealing with on the back right, in case there was some kind of foreign object stuck in there. He wasn't lame on it or anything but it seemed like it was something that warranted a closer look and since he didn't want to cooperate to let me look at it, I decided a trip to the vet was the best thing , where they could sedate him.
photo of inside view of leg
The vet couldn't really determine anything. Ultrasound revealed no foreign object  or damage to any tendons or ligaments . All good news. The nodule does however run right over a nerve , which could be why he's so sensitive. They mentioned Sarcoids as a possibility but honestly, they weren't sure that was it either because it's not really presenting like a sarcoid at this point.

Photo from back view of leg

After alot of hemming and hawwing and discussing the options (surgery to remove it , stitching and then casting) we decided that  for now, we are going to watch it and see what happens. If it gets crusty , or oozes or gets big and ugly, I guess we will have to take the next step. I reached out to owner to see if they were aware of any injury at any time .  Ofcourse, they said no.. but indicated that he did play rough so maybe caught himself or something. It will remain a mystery at this point and something to just wait and see. It doesn't seem to hinder his movement from what I can tell. Once he gets turned out, and can run more, I will have to see if he keep catching it with his other foot and reinjuring himself

In the meantime, I started applying MSM and Aloe Vera gel combined into a cream. I figure it can't hurt, and if it is a sarcoid, it won't get any better. The only trick is getting it on there. That is another story.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Otto has Arrived!!!

I got a call earlier than expected this morning from the shipper. He was 20 minutes away at about 9:30 this morning.. I was only just barely through my first cup of coffee after a restless night , due to both being anxious for Otto's arrival and also having some severe stomach pains. I hurriedly got myself dressed, threw on a baseball cap because there was nothing else I could do in short order with my saturday morning bed head . I  poured myself a second cup of coffee and walked to the end of the road to flag down the shipper so he didn't go zooming by our road. I didn't want him to have to get his big rig turned around because he missed our road. He was there in short order and I am not sure who was happier that the trip had come to an end,  me, the shipper Bob, or Otto..

When Bob opened the back of the trailer, I wasn't sure if he had a horse in there or a giraffe because seriously , all there is to this colt is legs...

He leaped out of the trailer ( and almost onto Bob)  took a look around and quickly put his head down to eat grass. Bob said he did a great job traveling and reportedly ate and drank well. He didn't look too bad but definitely seemed on the thinner side than I like my colts to be.. however, he could have had a recent growth spurt so I don't mean that as a negative towards the previous owners. I also know how it is to keep weight on TB and TB types.

 I led Otto over to his corral , while Bob unloaded the hay bale and bag of grain the previous owner sent along. Bob and I chatted briefly but I could tell he was ready to get home, so we got all squared up with paperwork , I thanked him and  sent him on his way, which he was glad to go.  Mr Legs promptly ran into the electric fence with his nose within 5 minutes of being turned loose in his corral and got a little snap on the nose.. (a half hour later he did the same thing so hopefully he gets it now.. don't touch the fence) He was interested in drinking but didn't want to get too close to the stock tank so I gave him a bucket instead, which he dove into. He promptly started grazing as well. He seemed to be taking it all in stride, atleast as well as can be expected after a colt has been on a trailer for three days(with overnight stops and unloads ofcourse). Certainly not easy on the poor kid!

He was surprisingly quiet and seems to be a reserved horse. It might just be the shock of all the changes but I hope his quiet attitude is just his approach to life. Through the day today , I would throw hay and check in on him. He wasn't too interested in me for most of the day but I didn't expect anything different. Once I felt that he was mostly settled in and wouldn't try to go through the electric fence or do anything to try to kill himself, I had to run into town. I was gone about 3 hours, and worried the entire time ofcourse but made it home to see he was still there. He  was however laying down. I wasn't really alarmed by this as I am sure he was probably exhausted and kind of glad he was feeling safe enough to rest. He promptly jumped up when I parked the car and got out. He seemed fine. I unloaded the car and then made my way out there to check on him again. (Yes, mother hen mode was definitely in the on position today).

He had just about emptied one of his water buckets and I noticed that he was very sweaty in his chest and neck area. I thought that was strange . It was warm out today, about 75,  but he is from Missouri , and he doesn't have much of a coat so it didn't seem like he should be sweating.  I was a little concerned at seeing this because it didn't really make any sense.  He seemed fine otherwise. He had been eating, pooping and drinking and didn't  seem to be in any distress of any kind. I haltered him up and took him for a little walk (oh we have work to do on leading properly!) to take a look around and for me to see if he showed any sign of an some kind of issue. He pooped again and seemed fine so after about 10 minutes I put him back and gave him a flake of hay , which he dove into.

 Some of the sweat had dried but it was a tacky sweat. The kind of sweat a horse gets when they are dehydrated. I did a shoulder pinch and he was definitely dehydrated. I wondered if maybe his electrolytes were just off kilter , which would possibly cause this?? I wasn't entirely sure but it seems to be the only thing that made any sense.

The good news was that he had been drinking well all day so I am thinking he just needs time to rehydrate and replenish his electrolytes. Until about 5 pm I had only seen him urinate once and it did look a little concentrated. I mixed up some soaked beet pulp ( I was anticipating needing it and soaked it ahead of time)  and his grain (3 -way , which I will be changing , but one thing at a time ) and added a little salt. He ate it right up. Then drank and drank and drank... then a little while later, I saw him urinate again. It looked better and he definitely had more volume output.

He has a salt block and loose salt in his corral but hasn't touched either. I will repeat the beet pulp with salt again tomorrow and see if he is any better.
He seems to be acting fine in spite of the dehydration, or what I believe to be the case. Hopefully it will sort out by tomorrow.

He let me groom some of the mud off of him while he ate . I thought Montana had mud.. Apparently Missouri's mud hardens up like cement. I still don't have it all off him but didn't want to over do it. He is pretty thin skinned. He needs his feet done really bad but that is going to be a process over the next several months.  He doesn't seem to know much but he is fine about being handled and he isn't the slightest bit stud like. He definitely needs some increased caloric intake. It's possible he recently had a growth spurt but he is pretty thin for my liking. I will be starting him on a junior feed along with Sweet Pro's Equipride supplement to try to get a little  weight on the boy. Ofcourse, my concern is his joints. With him being so big at such a young age, that is always a concern. He hip bone reaches just below my chin. I will have to stick him to see what he stands at but I would guess he is about 14.2.

He does seem a bit lost and lonely,which breaks my heart . I would like nothing more than to turn him out with Cassidy, but I  want to keep him quarantined for about a week to make sure he doesn't start displaying any symptoms of anything. I don't need 5 sick horses.

 I am so glad he is here and I really like him. He seems like  a very sweet boy. He already has it figured out that I have treats in my pocket most of the time and is getting pretty sure of himself about asking for them.

More updates as the week progresses.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Autumnal Equinox is Coming: Readying for Winter begins

I was sitting in the living room this morning , after morning chores, drinking my coffee and making my weekend To-do list prior to my  real work day starting (and  thanking the heavens above that my morning commute involved shuffling over across the living room and into my office.)

It dawned on me that next Tuesday is the first day of fall which means Monday is the last day of summer..It's always sad to see everything turning but I love the fall season.. The colors , crisp air and no bugs!  
It is the summer's great last heat, 
It is the falls first chill: They meet
- Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

But, it also means there are a few things to get done around here.  It's going to be a busy weekend.

The boys "digesting " breakfast

 Since the hubby is on his elk hunt  it looks like I have lots of projects to catch up on or maybe , more appropriately, finish what was started.

heavily laden branches of apples to pick

Onions to put away since they have been drying for a week
 And then there are the tomatoes: I think I am done with trying to grow tomatoes on this place.

We seem to have  the same thing happen every year . Wait and wait and wait until the weather is warm enough in the spring to plant and that is usually late June.  Then wait  forever for fruit to start forming. This happens in August  usually. Then just as things are really cooking and plants are getting ready to really start ripening, our first frost  hits in September.  Yep, happened again about a week ago.  

I had only gotten three measely ripened tomatoes before the devastation.. Three.. !! The tomatoes got smoked last week when we had lows dip into the 20's.. In spite of my best efforts with covering them , they died a quick death, now sitting there looking brown and shriveled. The fruit itself seemed to be ok, so I  left them on the pathetic looking twigs,  thinking they would be better off ripening on what was left of the vine since our weather got back into the 70's during the days. It wasn't working.

Yesterday I finally had to pull them all off and put them into brown paper bags with newspaper and hope they ripen and not rot. It usually about 50% loss. Next year, no tomatoes. I will be better off going and buying a flat from the farmers market from people who have the luxury of a green house. Tomorrow, I will take great joy in ripping out those brown pathetic plants that remain in the dirt .
Sad tomatoes.( I hate you )
  I have fencing to repair and rails to finish staining. I started the staining project months ago and I am almost done. Maybe another 3 hours should have it completed.
Pretty rails , already stained.. 
Ugly rails that need stained...

and ofcourse, there is always ball throwing to keep up with.. because in Duncan's eyes, I live to throw the ball

and time to admire the Oaks as they change color and the leaves are gone till next year. 
There's always more to do ofcourse, like cleaning out the hay barn to make room for two more loads of hay scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks. The lawn needs mowed again , the garbage needs run to the dump, and the compost pile needs to be moved out to the pasture in the big pile. Oh, and there are horses to ride! At some point this weekend, I hope to sneak away to try to see one of my favorite fall Rocky Mountain scenes.. the changing of the Aspens..

I think all that should more than keep me busy enough while I wait for Otto to arrive on Saturday. Don't you think?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Its Official!

Word reached me this morning..

Otto spent the morning tearing around his old pasture for one more romp in familiar Missouri territory prior to his big trip west (and quite a ways north). He loaded like a champ from all accounts and he is ON HIS WAY!!

I expect Saturday at some point he will be here..

Can hardly wait!

Monday, September 15, 2014

To Clear My Head

For the last several weeks, I have been working on something that was going to be a somewhat of a life/career shift.  It was a great opportunity to do something career wise that I have been wanting to do for a long time. An opportunity to own an equine related business that actually made a profit and had potential to make more with the right marketing and additional product lines to offer.  I was so close to having it all come together. This was the week that was going to happen for me.  Weeks of work, research, paperwork, meeting with financial advisors, meeting with business mentors, meeting with attorneys and friends and family for advice and direction. I was being responsible and doing my due diligence and research , resisting the urge to be impulsive (which I tend to be at times when I get excited about things)

I was damn close..

But this weekend,   I received news  that it wasn't going to happen.  Getting the news felt  something like getting a kicked in the chest, (or atleast this is what I think getting kicked in the chest would feel something like),  knocking the wind right out of me. I might have been naive but I really did not expect to have lost this opportunity. I thought it was meant to be . Everything was coming together. But it got swiped right out from under me. I guess I took too long in my research,  so as to mitigate any potential risks.  Friends and family who were supporting me can only only offer this..." I guess it wasn't meant to be"  but right now, that doesn't offer any comfort. I am kicking myself. I knew I should not have taken so long. These opportunities only come along once in a blue moon and it feels like I let it slip right through my hands. Damn it all to hell.

There isn't much I can do now. I have essentially beat myself up over for two days now.. so I think I am just about  ready to move forward, put it behind me.  I tried, I failed.. lesson learned. Maybe something else will come along, maybe not.. It doesn't matter right now. I  had to put my energy into something positive.

I took JB for a ride . He was wonderful and it definitely cleared my head of all the negativity I was feeling. He was happy to be out and I was happy to be with him. He has become one of those horses that I always know I can just get on and go and there won't be any nonsense.  We never get anywhere very fast but he happily plods along and that is just fine.

Did you see that Coyote?? Lets go get him
 We plodded along and saw a fairly large Coyote in the distance...we decided to see if we could catch up and get a closer look. (highly unlikely but still fun to try)

He's out there.. just a small speck.. 

He ran way out there by the closest standing tree. so we followed..

Eventually we made it across. There is a  dried up creek bed just beyond that tree where we last spotted him heading..

Creek bed is to our right.. We are too slow, he is long gone.. 
But we continued on along the creek  and the perimeter of the field ... It's about a 150 acre Wheat field

 Stop , Listen, I hear my boys at home calling for me..we should probably head back...

Not yet... 
We made our way  around the scary remains of what used to be an old irrigation pond ,   that is surrounded by cotton woods  and went past the abandoned house and headed back home.  All in all we were gone for about an hour and that was enough for JB. When I got him home , unsaddled and brushed him down, and turned him back out to his pasture, he promptly went over and laid down to rest.. 

Coyote chasing is hard work...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Whistle While I wait...

Well first of all, what is wrong with this picture??

Ready for ???
Yes, it's empty.. and full of nice , cured off pasture grass. I have been coveting this spot for Otto's  new digs for weeks, keeping all the other horses from grazing it. This will be his corral for the first couple of weeks after he arrives here at Acer Farm.

The far side of the corral is the exterior pasture fence (near the Russian Olive trees) since I don't have enough of the metal panels to make a big enough area with the panels alone. I did score a new gate panel for about half of what they go for new but I couldn't justify  buying 5 more 12' panels at this point. Using the corner of the pasture actually seems to have worked out pretty good.  It's 84x72. I wanted it bigger so he could run a little bit but I guess he should be able to move around pretty well. I suppose I don't want him building up too much speed.!

Oh, I nearly forgot, when is he coming? Well , he should be getting picked up in Missouri about the 17th and then directly to MT. I believe that part might take a couple days so by next weekend, I expect this corral to be occupied!

Tweet Tweet... (that's my whistle part of the Post header:)

I was finally talked into's done. Twitter Account set up. I have a few I am following, sent out a few invitations, etc.. I am officially "Twitter"fied, twitterpated, twitterized.. whatever we all call it these days.

I get it, it's like a mini blogging social network thing ,it's pretty straighforward to use and all,  but the whole concept seems so.. well...weird..??

 I suppose I felt the same way about FB one time too and now it's just one of those things that is part of everyday , or almost everyday, life.  It's how we get information, keep up on the things we love to keep up on , and where we go for  inspiring words or images. Everyone loves photos and videos it seems. Stop by and say hi. It's Keln75 or just my name.. Jonna Kelner

Today, its sunny albeit, chilly so I am going to spend some time with the horses, riding around here a bit. Tom took the trailer out of town for his last Western Dressage Clinic so I can't haul anywhere,  but we have several harvested wheat fields that just ache to be ridden in...
Nothing says fall like a harvested Wheat Field

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Buying a Horse from a Afar

Missouri to Montana- According to MapQuest:
I-90 E 1585.76 miles
24 hrs 42 mins 

Why couldn't I have found a suitable horse a little closer?? Well he wasn't even that suitable come to think of it.. (remember the criteria?) But that is water under the bridge now.  Otto's a long ways away from where he needs to be here in MT.  Buying a horse  from a distance can be tricky. In my situation there were a couple of added "wrinkles" to the process. All in all it worked out ok for me  (well I think it has, I don't have him quite yet)  but I thought post about the whole process was in order. Maybe someone can take something away from  it and pass the time on blogosphere while I wait for my new boy!

What do I know about Otto so far? Other than the fact that he isn't gelded yet and according to the vet and now past owners, he is very intelligent, curious , friendly and loves attention? Not a lot really. He apparently likes giving kisses. The daughter has been training him on that little trick I guess. By the daughters report, he will come over and put his nose up to ask for a kiss. The owners daughter thinks its cute I guess. To me,   that could easily lead to biting so I will have to see about it. Maybe it will be perfectly fine.. but I am not much on encouraging these types of behaviors , especially on young stud colts.. ! He recently had to be penned up alone because they have mares and didn't want to take a chance on someone getting bred, which even though he is young... can happen.. believe me.. (that is how Brego came to be actually)

Anyways, I got distracted ..

This  whole buying a horse long distance thing was new to me. I might have mentioned I haven't actually bought a horse for a number of years, and now I was buying one from a very long way's away. In recent years, I have always been on the other side of the sale, the one selling a horse to someone else , usually in another state. It's a similar process but definitely different being on the buyer end of the deal. Less sense of control for sure.. your kind of at everyone else's mercy to hold up their end of the bargain.

 Obviously,  I wasn't going to be able to lay eyes on this colt in person. All I had was some limited  video and pictures.  I definitely wanted to do a Pre-Purchase exam. I probably would have done one even if I could see him in person because it's a good policy.

So after alot of looking at videos of dam, sire, colt and obsessing for days over it, I decided to take the next step...

Rule #1-  PRE PURCHASE EXAM= MONEY WELL SPENT- In my opinion.... Always, always, always do a pre- purchase exam, and if you can afford it, do the xrays , which is usually an add on option. The value of a prepurchase is priceless. If your going to make an investment in a horse, you may as well do what you can to identify any underlying issues,  especially if you are buying from afar.  Yes, they are horses, and they could kill themselves in the blink of an eye... but.. you want as few surprises as possible.

If your  not familiar with what it involves, it's kind of like going to our doctor for an annual checkup. The vet should do an overall look at the horses conformation, stance, and physical condition. They should also check the  heart, lungs, eyes , ears , teeth and gut sounds. Often the dental exam is done to confirm the age but also checks for any mouth issues that could cause the horse problems as a riding horse that will have a bit at some point. The vet should also check for neurological issues. They can do this by turning the horse in tight circles and asking the horse to back up. Another check is the reflex response by tapping the horse in certain areas of the body, kind of like when the doctors check our knees.... similar thing. If the horse 's conformation doesn't reveal any potential issues, then your vet should move onto the lameness check.

This is generally a two part process. Passive versus Active Lameness Exams.

First the vet will do a hands-on examination, palpating and feeling the tendons, joints, ligaments , etc for any signs of issues  or abnormalities. .  Ideally the vet will check the hooves carefully, examining the size and shape as well as using hoof testers to check for any soreness. The vet should also be palpating the spine and pelvis area. The horse is just standing there for this exam and not being asked to move. This is the Passive Lameness Exam.

The next phase is the Active Lameness exam where the horse will be asked to  move. The vet will have an assistant walk trot, and canter, if able , in hand while he watches the horses gaits, looking for any issues in movement. At this point, the vet will perform what is called Flexion tests, which will reveal any pain or issues with the lower joints like the pasterns or fetlock area. Usually the last step is that the vet will lunge the horse, preferably on a hard surface to see how his movement is in a circle.

At this point, the owner can opt for xrays if they would like. Most people that are purchasing a horse that they plan to compete on for reining, jumping, dressage, etc will want xrays, but it can also depend on what the vet saw in the exam and what the situation is.  In my case, I opted out of the xrays because of my conversation with the vet I used for the pre purchase. Details on that later in the post..

I knew I wanted the exam done.. The question became how to go about getting it done. This is where it started to get a little tricky for me.

The owner, who I will refer to as P,  was totally ok with the notion of a pre purchase exam and before I move on... here is another point to make:

RULE #2-  WATCH FOR A RED FLAG  This wasn't the case with my situation but I thought I would mention it. If the owner tries to talk you out of a pre purchase.. major red flag.. walk away or do some further investigation! This exam is at the buyer's expense so as the buyer, you really are the one to gets to decide. And....don't forget  the vet is working for you, the potential buyer. General guidelines dictate that the vet  not discuss their findings with the owner you are purchasing from. If you want to share that with the owner, your welcome to and I did in my case.

Ok back to what I was saying.. the tricky part:

The vet that P  typically uses was 40 minutes drive away from where Otto is.  That was going to cost me quite a bit in the trip charge alone. I had to save where I could given the transport costs and the owner completely understood. Unfortunately, there was no way for P to bring the horse into the vet for me,  because she isn't even living where the horse is located..

Remember I said I had some wrinkles in my story???

Apparently, P had just moved to the area where the horse was located only a few months prior, bought the farm,  moved the horses from the old place to the new place  and then had to leave town shortly thereafter.  She is in the military and got transferred for a temporary assignment in another state.  That is understandable but less than convenient when your trying to buy a horse from her. Her  daughter is home at the farm with the horses, but works full time and has very limited time off. Add to that she had no way to haul the colt into the vet herself. No trailer.

I kind of had to decide if this was all going to be worth it because it was going to require alot of legwork on my part. I really liked the colt.. so after alot of phonecalls, google searches and map questing inquiries, I did manage to find  one vet through a recommendation of another vet.

Keep in mind.. I didn't know any of these people , nor did they know me,  but I will give a shout out to the midwest folks. They are a helpful bunch!

I had to trust what I was being told by complete strangers on who was a good horse vet and who was not. ......oh.. ....and Google Reviews.. thank goodness for that.. It helped tremendously as well.

The vet I found was only about  8 miles from where this horse lived!  The vet himself called me back and said he could swing by there  one night that week on his way home and check the colt out for me.  He asked me what I was planning to do with the horse and if I wanted xrays or just the basic overall exam.   I told him endurance and jumping were the primary goals but pretty much an all around horse.  Before I even had to ask, he stated.....

"then you probably want to make sure those legs and feet are going to be up for the job?"

 I suppose most people want to know the legs and feet are in working condition for any prospective using horse,  but I think he understood just HOW important those things become with endurance and jumping, compared to some other disciplines.

Based on our conversation, we agreed that he would do the regular exam and if he saw anything to indicate an issue with the legs or feet, then he would call me to see if I wanted to move forward with xrays. Sounded good to me. I had already decided if there was something not right based on the basic physical exam,  I was going to pass on the deal altogether, so xrays were out. No sense going any further.  This might be another rule that could be added here -Know your limit- Decide how far your willing to go or what your willing to spend before you talk to the vet and send him out there.  

I gave the vet the horse  owners contact information and he made all the arrangements with P to  meet the daughter for an evening appointment.

Rule #3- QUALIFY YOUR VET ( as much as possible from distance) that you decide to use. This was a weird experience to try to find a vet who you don't know to do a pre purchase exam. It is hard to qualify them based on a phone call. Generally with a few questions over the phone, you can get a sense of a person. I found that having an open conversation with the actual vet  and not just talking to the office staff went a long ways. The vet I found was a really nice guy and clearly knew what he was doing. Talking to him gave me a comfort level and I felt like the vet exam by this guy was going to be money well spent.  I think it also helps the vet to know what your after so he/she can do a good exam. I think the fact that I didn't end up using P's  normal vet was probably to my advantage, not that he would have done a bad job at all, but I think  it's  best to have an objective set of eyes. For Pre Purchase exams, vets are  are supposed to be objective if the horse happens to already be one of the vet's regular clientele but sometimes that is hard to avoid.

I did know that this particular vet did alot of work with barrel horses and the racetrack so I felt pretty confident that he knew his way around horse legs. Granted I was still paying for this service,  but I got the distinct impression that he was definitely being pretty flexible with his schedule in this case to accommodate the daughters schedule. I was eternally grateful.

I called the next day to find out what the results, since no one called me from the clinic ( I waited until noon....which was ample time in my opinion..)  which I thought was a little odd. The staff were clueless and had no idea what I was talking about. They even got a little snotty with me. Apparently, an exam never even went into their appointment calendar so they thought I was crazy when I was telling them that the vet did a pre purchase exam. They couldn't find it in their little magical box so in their world,  it didn't happen, I guess.

Vet =1, Vet office staff=0

Anyways, the office girl had to ask the vet about it and call me back. I did get a call back later that day from her. She was much less snotty , the vet had in fact gone out and the news was all positive. She said the vet did the exam and stated the following:

"he's was a nice little colt, sweet natured, easy to get along with , friendly, and I really liked him". " I think he would be a great prospect for what you are looking for".

The office girl also said that he noted that he checked to make sure both testicles were descended.  I had forgot to mention that when I spoke to him so I was glad he checked.  Little Otto WILL be getting gelded and the last thing I wanted to deal with was a cryptorchid!

**Side note here- You should get a document in writing from the vet for the exam.. I am still waiting for mine which is a little bit of an irritation right now. 

It looked like all was a go.. I just needed to decide if I was going to bite the bullet , write the check and figure out transportation to get him here. Easy Peasy.. right??

I talked it over with the hubby that afternoon , thinking he would talk me out of it.. 

Only he didn't..

having a spouse that is involved in horses sometimes has it's down sides!  

I even tried a few friends..none of them tried to talk me out of it either. (bad friends...)

I called the owner that night and said I would take him. I had no reason not to and so far I have not had buyers remorse.. !

Next hurdle: Tom was headed back to work (summer break goes so quickly)  on 8/25 and we just weren't able to get the paperwork and everything else in order that has to be done  before he started the school year again. Once school starts, he can't really request a few more days off after being off all summer!  I wasn't interested in making that kind of trip alone and I couldn't find any willing volunteers to go with me.. :-(

Transport company it was..

Transport of a horse is kind of a big deal when your having someone else do it for you. Add to that, Otto is a young horse, not very well trained at the trailering thing and he's sporting a set of boy jewels.

RULE #4- FIND A QUALIFIED SHIPPER- I think this is the part I dreaded the most. I really wanted to do this ourselves because of the fact that he was so young and inexperienced. My biggest concern was that I didn't want his first major trip in a trailer to become a bad one. There are alot of horror stories out there with shipping horses. But, I had to remind myself,  there are also a lot of good companies as well. I know from experience that I prefer the smaller family owned operations over the national companies. It seems to be that, in most cases,  family owner companies here in MT atleast, seem to be livestock owners themselves and  not just "truck drivers". There is a difference. I would just recommend to do research , ask alot of questions, and check reviews and/or ask for references. A reputable company will not hesitate to answer any questions or provide any references. I found three shippers that work out of my home state that I was able to get bids from. One I was very familiar with and he lives about 20 minutes from me which is good because where I live, I am kind of the end of the line unless someone is headed to Canada. Two of the shippers I contacted could get a horse as far as Billings but that is a 9 hr trip from me. That didn't help much. The o
ne I was very familiar with I thought had retired , otherwise I would have just contacted him first and been done with it !  I was pleased to hear he had not retired and as luck would have it, he was  going to Florida in September. His bid was by far the best and I knew I could trust him to do a good job. Better yet, he could accommodate the colt with a box stall  and has camera's in his trailer. Can't ask for much more than that.

I had another option as well that might be worth a mention because I wasn't aware of it until recently. When I sold Maggie, I learned about this very neat website.  That is how her new owners arranged for shipping . Basically it's a site where you can put in a request for bids to ship just about anything you can think of. There are reviews and rating from customers right on the site which helps. When I started my search for a transport company I actually threw a request out there for a bid . The same company that hauled Maggie gave me a bid within only a couple of hours of putting the request in. The bid was reasonable and they did a good job with Maggie. I would have gladly used them again but their trip was scheduled too quickly so I had to decline. It all worked out and I am happy with the quote and the company I went with but it's good to have options.

Now that I had a shipper and a date parameter to work around, I had to get the appropriate paperwork for Otto to travel which meant I also had to arrange for the vet to get back out there again for a blood draw for the coggins. With the tricky scheduling situation with the daughter , that is what took the longest but it finally got all done this past weekend.

RULE #5- STATE REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVEL PAPERS- Ok,most of us know this and I am not trying to be captain obvious  but it's worth a mention because MT is a little different than some other states on paper work requirements.Most states just require Coggins and Health Certificate. Coggins requires the blood test and is generally good for 6 months. The Health Certificate is only good for 30 days. Timing is important here when transporting to make sure your working within those parameters. Also, keep in mind, it will take some time to get the blood test back from the lab. Most times, the vets plan 7 days to get those results back, although it's usually sooner. My local vet can get a coggins done in a two day turnaround  time if need be. This vet I was working with was not able to do that.

In some states there is an additional piece of paperwork called a Brand Inspection. MT requires one of these and it doesn't mean the horse has to be branded. It's just another piece of paper but it has to be completed by a State Brand Inspector.  Missouri doesn't require a brand inspection but alot of  western states do. In my case, the shipper will need to obtain one when he enters that first state that he travels into that requires one,whatever that state might be ( I think it's Wyoming). In order to obtain that very important piece of paper, he will need the bill of sale. The bill of sale is given to the brand inspector and then he gives you a new piece of paper that supercedes everything else for proof of ownership.The bill of sale goes on record at Department of Livestock for Montana.

In spite of what alot of people think:
*** Registration papers with your name on them does not mean anything when it comes to ownership of the horse. Brand inspection and an actual  brand (freeze or hot) rule the law on proper horse ownership in MT. We actually do brand all of our horses. We have had our own brand registered with the State for a number of years. I actually don't particularly like the idea of branding the horses but there is a good reason for it. In MT, if you happen to lose a horse, especially in the wilderness, the  Department of Livestock and the Forest Service is obligated to assist you in searching for your beast, IF your horse is BRANDED. If not, they are not obligated to help and you are on your own. You would be surprised at the number of horses that have been lost in the forest/wilderness here. Especially this time of year with all the hunters that head into the mountains. 
So, we brand all of our horses. Our brand is a Heart raised Three. Front right shoulder and I think we are also registered for back left rib on cattle (if we had cattle).

RULE #6 -COORDINATE and COMMUNICATE- The last thing you want is for you your hauler to show up and the paperwork to not be ready. Your not only risking messing up his schedule and  the schedule of his other clients/ passengers aboard , you might just end up paying for a trip without a horse arriving. Make sure when planning paperwork  you coordinate with your shipper. In my case, my shipper plans to pick up about Sept 15 but he wanted the paper work done a few days in advance in the event he is early, while still working within that 30 day window of the health certificate,  so we had to  make sure the paperwork was done by the 10th.  More logistics to work through.

There was one small red flag that came up.  Otto has only been vaccinated for tetanus and that was last year. He has had no other vaccinations. In general, we have actually scaled back on what vaccines we give our adult and senior horses . We only do flu/rhino and tetanus  in consideration of our geographic location , my horses exposure levels to other horses (low) and  travel schedule of our horses (not much and not out of state).  But ,  when it comes to youngsters, I follow the recommended guidelines for the first few years of their life. And then, situational beyond that..

The fact that this colt hasn't had anything, lives in Missouri and will be getting on a trailer with horses from who knows where...??

That made me cringe a bit.

So when the vet goes out there for bloodwork, I arranged to have him vaccinated for all the recommended vaccines like Eastern Western, tetanus since its' a year since he's had it, Rhino, Influenza and West Nile.  It will give him about 10 days prior to the time he steps onto the trailer. I only pray it's enough time to build up some antibodies. The vets said 2 weeks is the general timeline of when they get protection. I always thought it was about 6 weeks before they gained any significant protection.

RULE #7-  VACCINES BEFORE TRAVEL- Confirm and Reconfirm that the horse is up to date  on vaccines and ask for the medical records to be released. (this was more of a lesson learned) I assumed this colt had had all his vaccinations based on what the owner told me on one of the phone calls we had (there were many).. but maybe I misunderstood. I was pretty sure she said that he had all his regular vaccines as a colt. But then when I asked her again,  because I wasn't sure what shots exactly she had said,  she said he had only had tetanus. She had not had him to the vet because she did the tetanus shot herself so there were no medical records on him.  I was glad I asked for clarification because I was able to get him vaccinated, but it was cutting it a bit closer than I wanted to. 

With all the details and leg work completed, we are now just waiting for him to arrive. Time is going slowly.

Once Otto arrives, around the 15th of September is what the plan is, I will be keeping him in a corral area away from the other horses for a few weeks as a "quarantine" of sorts,  just in case given the vaccination thing. 
That will also allow him to settle in and get to know me instead of immediately bonding to Cassidy,who will be his babysitter to start.

Eventually , my hope is to run all the boys together but we will have to see. Brego and JB might be a bit hard on him.

Stay tuned for updates....

***** Just a quick JB update- He is finally sound. I rode him this weekend a bit around here and he did great. Things have cooled down here signifigantly but I love fall riding so I am looking forward to getting a few rides on the trail with him before the snow flies.