The good: In some ways Tonka is doing really well. His feet are rock solid, his teeth are good, and his winter coat is remarkably plush. His weight is good (he could maybe lose 50lbs), his attitude is cheerful and his eyes are full of sparkle.
The bad: Despite all of The Good, I’m forced to admit that Tonka is becoming an old horse. He’ll only be 23 in March, but it seems like a hard life is catching up with him. First of all, he is stiff. Kerstin had me try a month of 1 gram of bute per day, and that helped a little. One scoop of Recovery per day didn’t help at all. There is some risk of metabolic catastrophe for anything I add to his diet, so I haven’t tried other options. To be honest, I don’t feel like I need to try anything else at this stage. He appears perfectly happy, but he’s slow to get moving and less likely to kick up his heels than he used to be. Sometimes he still goes for a lovely big trot around the pasture, though, or comes galloping back into the paddock. A pasture-sound pasture pet suits us just fine, so it’s not a big deal. Second of all, we continue to battle the itchy sheath. Kerstin came up with the theory that it might be a severe contact allergy to something I often have on my hands (perfume? dish soap?) and I switched latex gloves for all netherworld interactions about 4 months ago. It seems to help a little. I read something on the Internetz about geldings getting yeast infections, so I treated him with Monostat 7 for an entire month. It seemed to help a little. I got a huge tub of hydrocortisone cream. Sometimes it helps a little. The guy has a seriously itchy sheath, and there’s not much I can do about it. Third of all, there are funny little lumps and bumps popping up all over his body. This is only to be expected with a grey, but my deepest fear is that he’s riddled with internal melanomas. The ever-practical Kerstin is kind enough to tell me that it’s quite likely. If true, he doesn’t seem much bothered in the here and now and that’s what is most important.
The handsome: This photo comes courtesy of our friend Natalie, and features our friend Mike’s daughter Martina. Fizz is about to muscle Tonka out of the way, but he managed to get his treat.