Thursday, April 3, 2008

Way better day :>)

Thursday – Had a MUCH better day today. Marina contacted a man named Troy who was born and raised here in Utila. Seems he was free today to take me to his horses and get to work with his stable hand Juan Antonio. Marina dropped me off in her golf cart at Troy’s house on the coast, where I transferred over to ride on the back of his 4-wheeler. Off to where he keeps his horses in a beautiful inner area of the island. These horses were a bit larger than the horses at the Red Ridge Stable. Troy owns about 12 head of horses, including Peruvian Paso’s. These horses are for his and his family’s personal use as well as for the guests of the Laguna Beach Resort, but not the general public for trail rides. The first horse I worked on was his stallion Ventarone “The wind”. A beautiful Peruvian with the longest mane I’d ever seen. He had soft kind eyes and was very easy to work on. Quite a gentleman with his feet. Dr. Bowker stated in his presentation that I saw that the condition of horse’s hooves is directly related to the value of the horse. This was quite true with Ventarone. He had thrush in all four hooves. I had no White Lightning, nor Lysol. The only Lysol I’ve been able to find on the island is Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner:>( Troy had some providone iodine so I mixed up a bit of that to soak the hooves in. Man, I wish I had WL. It cleaned the hooves up a bit at least and let me get all the gunk cleaned out. I had brought “Ramey Goo” ingredients with me fortunately and mixed it up and spread it all along the collateral grooves and central sulcus. It’d have to do. I told Troy to have Juan Antonio pick the hooves clean every day and put the goo on for at least a week to ten days. I also expressed how important movement was to the horse. Ventarone was only getting 45 minutes of exercise 3 times per week. The rest of the time he spends in a large stall covered but no walls. A very nice clean stall, but a stall never the less. I shared the Paddock Paradise theories with Troy and encouraged him to get Ventarone much more exercise into his routine. I’m going to get a copy of Paddock Paradise and mail to Troy when I get home along with some White Lightning.

By the time we finished with Ventarone, it was lunch time. I was treated to the buffet lunch served at the Laguna Beach Resort which was only accessible by taking a boat across the lagoon. Troy is majority owner in this resort and called to have someone pick us up. Lunch wasn’t quite being served yet so I got a tour of the resort, including the whale shark shaped swimming pool. This is an absolutely beautiful place. Because of having to cross the canal into the lagoon, the resort isn’t easily accessible by locals and is private. It’s like another world, more like what us Americans are accustom to :>) They have individual cottages with air-conditioning, offer scuba lessons and diving, sport fishing, or just hangin’ around the pool or on the sandy beach. Truly a tropical paradise. Here's the link if you want to see more pics of this truly beautiful resort: So we ate lunch and then headed back to the barn where I continued sharing the natural trim method with Juan. We worked on the mare brought in specifically for Ventarone to breed. Unfortunately after 3 breedings, she still is not “knocked up”. By the way, this phrase is used quite frequently when speaking of pregnancy here. Anyway, Diamontina was a bit high strung and on the nervous side. She was due for a trimming so was a good candidate to train on. The fronts went well, but before we could get to the hinds, Juan Antonio and his father had to get 5 horses ready and saddled up for some guests of the resort to ride, so I was left to finish trimming the hinds. Now Diamontina was not real thrilled to have her hind hooves messed with, so along comes my stick and the Tellington Touch method of connecting the brain to the foot. This method worked on her as well, but took much longer than other horses that I’ve used it on. I just took my time and was eventually able to begin touching the legs with my hand and eventually safely pick up her hooves to work on them. The right hind was the only one I found with some serious thrush. Again, wishing I’d tried to get some White Lighting thru TSA and customs. I just knew it’d get confiscated though. So I cleaned up the frog as best I could and actually found a fairly nice frog underneath the black gunk and rotten outer frog layer, and smeared it with Ramey Goo. She also lives in a stall across the aisle from Ventarone and needs more turnout and exercise as well. The stalls were immaculate but it just proves that exercise and movement are so important. At this point we ran out of time and I didn’t get to look at the other horse’s hooves. I only saw them from the top in the pasture but most looked pretty good from that view. A few typical high heels, but overall not too bad. I’d like to try to get back out there before I leave, but time is running short now. I have to get back to Red Ridge tomorrow morning early. I want to supervise some more trimming by Hector and Sterlin, work with a yearling and hopefully trim him and also treat one horse for thrush and rain rot down his back and rump. Shelby, the man who helped me out in the bank, has just a few horses that I’ll see around noon.

I am so wishing that I had, and regretting that I didn’t start learning Spanish before I came here. While most everyone speaks English, NONE of the guys that actually take care of the horses speak English, so I always have to have a translator. Barbara Sierra, if you’re reading this, I’m going to start Rosetta Stone for Spanish when I get home! We’ll practice speaking to each other and drive Hector crazy:>)

On another note and not just horse related, I’ve met some really nice people here, from all parts of the world. There has been a young couple staying here at the Eco Lodge in the cottage across from me named Chris and Veronica. They are from the UK and live in western England. Chris is British and Veronica is Serbian. They both have the most wonderful accents and are very kind and lovely people. My host Marina is Yugoslavian. Then there was Martin who joined us at the Bundu Café for dinner the other nite to see Evie sing. He is from Germany. And then there is Jennie who takes care of “Donkey” and the horse. She is from Washington :>) It seems to be a melting pot of folks from all around the world.

OK – so I best get to sleep soon. I’ve got a big day tomorrow. After trimming and training most of the day, Marina and I have been invited to a bar-b-q at the Laguna Beach Resort in the evening. She is quite excited as she’s been wanting to see the place. Without Marina, the work I’ve been able to do here would not have been possible. She knows everyone and has been able to put me in touch with the folks and horses that needed my help.