Out of Control, “maybe we should put her down” type of Proud Flesh – Cured! Read on!

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 | Filed under Medical

This is a traumatic story with a happy ending.

My wonderful mare (see post 2/4/10 Canker ) had a baby in 1999 who I nicknamed Ava.  She was a beautiful filly with incredible natural knee action and a really sweet demeanor.  It was love at first sight.  Here is a picture of Ava with her Mommy when Ava was two weeks old.

Isn’t she cute?!  Full of life and talent!

Well, the very next day, Ava got her foot caught between a piece of wood and the automatic waterer.  We don’t know how long she was caught there, but we didn’t discover her until the next morning.  Needless to say, the sight of this little filly, exhausted, hanging on by a thread, balefully looking at us as her back legs were about to give out.

OMG.  My friend was the first to her.  Marla swooped in, picked up the filly and removed the leg from its awful entrapment.  In a flash of action, the filly was stabilized on the ground and the vet called.  It was obvious that Ava had struggled for a very long time as the wound was huge.  We were so thankful that she didn’t give up and sit down or she would have snapped her little leg.  What a strong little girl!  After we washed away the dirt, we could see clear to the bone.  Our first inspection of the gaping hole gave us hope.
Her tendons and muscles were there, she could use the limb normally and there wasn’t any profuse bleeding – so we hoped it might turn out OK.  We had no idea that with no broken bones or any other injury, proud flesh alone could kill her.

The vet came out immediately (bless her) and did her thing.  There was cleaning and probing, X-rays, sedatives, antibiotics administered orally and topically and then a cast.  The diagnosis was pretty good, at first.  Nothing was damaged except the flesh.  Ava should fully recover with no long-term effects.  But the flesh wound was daunting at about 5″ long and almost fully around her little leg. Yet, the vet was very optimistic.  All we would have to do is change the cast once a week for several weeks and all would be good.  Or so it should have been.

What really happened was very different.  For some reason, it would not heal. Cast after cast was applied.  The wound was abraded and treated every week.  Nothing happened.  It literally stayed the same size for 5 months.  Here is a picture of Ava at 5 months with her cast still on.

Believe me, everyone was frustrated.  Baby Ava was stuck in a little pen. The vets (at this point we had several involved) were upset that nothing was helping and I was heavy under the vet bills with no results.  I’m not blaming the vets.  We consulted every specialist possible.  No one knew what to do.

Eventually, we decided to leave the wound open during the day and soft wrapped at night.  We thought that maybe the air would help it more than the dirt would hurt it.  Nothing.  It was at this point that a few vets mentioned that maybe it was time for euthanasia.  Gawd.  Ugh.  Yes, the filly had no major improvement in 6 months.  Yes, we were all tired of treating her.  But, NO, I wasn’t going to give up on her.  I read everything I could and prayed to the horsey god in the sky…

Finally, with no answer in sight and in a fit of frustration, I pulled out the Healing Tree T-Zon cream I had gotten at the Horse Expo that year (I have no affiliation).  I knew it was created by a vet whom I had met at the Expo, Dr. Eric Witherspoon, DVM.  He said it was a great cream for healing the dermis (skin).  I remembered that.  And, since I am a fan of tea-tree oil, I figured it “couldn’t hurt, could help.”  I slathered that stuff really thick on her wound and wrapped it.  I held my breath and waiting until the next day to remove the wrap.  Gently, I pulled the cotton away and the area looked less pink, I thought… was I just wanting to believe?  I left the wound open in the air for a few hours.  Again, I slathered on the cream and wrapped it for the night.  The next day, it was definitely better.

Now I was on a roll!  I did this for two weeks.  It was better by a half of an inch and the middle was not so angry looking.  I did it for another week with the vet’s approval.  After the next two weeks, much improvement!  We kept going and after only 6 weeks, the wound was almost totally healed!  And, hardly a scar!  Here is a picture where you can see that Ava is only slightly older than when she had the cast.  (Obviously she is having fun torturing my donkey…)

It took about 2 more months for all the tissue to heal perfectly and after another year, there were no more white hairs.  OMG!  Here we went from a filly who was suggested to be put down to a filly with no scarring and a potential to actually meet her potential!

Well, a few years later, this picture was taken of my Ava as she was winning the World title in English Pleasure at the Morgan Grand Nationals.  She healed really well!!

So, I am not affiliated with the product, but I am a sworn disciple.  I use all of the Healing Tree line!  You can go to the website and check it out.  I use the cream on my skin every time I get a cut or burn.  I know it is not legal for humans, but I use it.  It does sting a little (the tea-tree oil…) but it works!

As for Ava, she was sold to a wonderful woman who has since retired her into motherhood.  Just imagine if I hadn’t found Dr. Eric Witherspoon at the Western States Horse Expo… What if I hadn’t bought his T-Zon cream…?  I wonder where we would be now… 

And, of course, this lovely filly would never have been born.  This is CBMF CHEATING HEART, born to Ava in 2009.   She is beautiful, healthy, happy and in a lovely environment to grow and thrive.  The cycle of life continues.

So for today, if you ever have proud flesh, remember this story.

And, if you see Healing Tree products — buy them!  They literally saved my filly’s life!

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Go Bitless and Feel Secure! I Love My LG Bridle and so do 5 of my Horses!


It is totally a personal preference if you wish to use a bitless bridle.  So, I’m not writing this to convince anyone to go bitless.  I’m writing this because I finally found a bitless bridle that gives me as much control as possible, a nice headset and is comfortable for my horse.

(Since I originally wrote this post, the dressage rider in the USA who was importing them no longer imports them, I think because she was a Mom and it became too much to organize.   I did contact LG and they asked me to import them  — see below in red to order. )

Here is the original post:

I’ve taken this picture from their website. (I have no affiliation with them, I just like the product.)

WHAT IS IT? I know it looks odd, sort-of like a wheel.  Let me tell you, it works beautifully!  The LG Bridle was invented by a German Dressage Rider.  She needed or wanted a way to bridle her horse without a bit that would give her head set plus control and that could be sanctioned by the dressage community.  This was her invention.

I don’t remember how I found out about it, but I remember going to the website to check it out.  There are several videos there that show the bridle in action.  Impressive.  You see jumpers and dressage riders as well as trail riders using the bridle.

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS… You use your own headstall.  What you are buying are the two wheels and the nose/chin straps.  You fit it to your horse according to how they hold their heads and move.  So, the spokes are levels of control, let’s say.  You connect the top of the wheel to the headstall, the inside of the wheel to the nose band, the back of the wheel to the chin strap and then the adjustable part is where you attach your rein.  The closer to the chin strap, the less severe of a pull on the poll and nose.  You can set it to be more like a side-pull or to work like a rein that encourage a head set.  When you lift your rein, the contact lowers the poll and pulls the nose to whatever degree you have it set.  Does that make sense?

THE DIFFERENCE here than with other bitless bridles (and I’ve tried them all) is that you have no crossed  or single reins that go through a ring(s) that then need to release once the horse gives.  Most all other bitless bridles don’t release immediately.  My horses were frustrated with other bitless bridles because they either didn’t release, got hung up, or pulled too hard on the poll – or for me, were too ineffectual for the head set.

I BOUGHT THIS BRIDLE BECAUSE it sounded right from the website.  I could see how it would work.  Truth to tell, it took me a few tries to get it adjusted correctly.  But, once I did , my Morgan mare was a DREAM.  I swear, she was so happy!  Granted, this mare was trained to a bit or a hackamore, so one could say that she was already comfortable with a hackamore style so that is why she took to this bridle.  Read on for my answer to that.

I TRIED IT ON 5 HORSES AND HERE ARE MY RESULTS:  OK, well, in the paragraph above, I described how my Morgan mare who has a lot of “go!” loved it!  So now I was ready to try it on my other horses.  I put it on my Tennessee Walking mare.  She had just 90 days training and that was in a bit.  But,  she hated the bit – any bit.  I had tried them all.  Poor girl just fought with it and threw her head a lot.  You could argue that maybe I have bad hands.  But, her trainer also had the same issue with every bit she tried.  Anyway, I was a little nervous to put the LG on my TWH mare because she was young and green.  But, I did.  And, the mare loved it!  She was so responsive because she wasn’t so worried all the time.  And, she heard me!  She was listening.  It was so easy.  Her arena work was great!

Here is another photo from the LG Bridle website. 

After that experience, I tried it on my TWH gelding.  He is older and used to a bit or a hackamore.  Although well trained, he has some zip to him, if you know what I mean.  I don’t do arena work with him, I only trail ride him.  So, I had to be brave.  I put the LG on his headstall and adjusted it.  We trailered to a his well-known riding spot.  I figured I would be safer in a spot we both knew.  Then, I mounted and left as usual.  I tried to act like he was wearing his regular tack.  Well, honestly, he was better than he had ever been and gaited more smoothly.  I thought maybe that was a fluke.  So, I tried it again the next day.  Perfect.  Wonderful.  So, I tried again and brought along a horse that usually riles him up.  Yup, we had a little antsy pansty session but the bridle held up and I felt as if I had the same control as with a hackamore or a bit.  In fact, I felt like I had more control because he couldn’t grab on and run.

I put it on my Mustang with the same results.

STARTING A HORSE IN AN LG BRIDLE? I called the company and asked if they had ever started a horse with one.  The rep said, Yes!  So, I started my Icelandic filly in the LG Bridle.  So far, so good.  She responds just as she should and she has never thrown her head or chewed on the bit (of course).  I see no issues with this bridle.

I will say that several trainers have told me that I should not start a horse in the LG. They believe that I need to train in a snaffle to get the general idea down first and then switch to the LG once she is trained.  I don’t know if they are right or wrong… but so far, I see no reason to snaffle train her.  She is doing just fine.  And, she is the strongest minded of the bunch.

I DON’T USE BITS ANYMORE… So, that is my story.  I now have five of the LG Bridles for all five of my riding horses.  I have archived all of my bits.  I don’t use a bit ever anymore.  I figure if a dressage rider can get the head set she needs and a jumper can control his horse, I am just fine with this bridle as a trail rider.  I love it.  I love all 5 of them.

Here is a picture of my bridle rack in my trailer.  As you can see, I use all different headstalls for 4 different breeds of horses, gaited and trotting. 

PROS & CONS: The LG is “expensive”.  I say that in quotes because it is an investment but it works and is solid so I didn’t mind.  All of the nose bands and chin straps that I got from the company were too big for my smaller, American horses.  I think these bridles were developed in a land where the horses are HUGE.  Dunno.  But, I ended up just using the wheels, the nose bands on their smallest rung and my own chin straps.  I do use a chain on some and leather or rawhide on others.  I also wrapped all the nose bands in fleece, as you can see.

LET ME KNOW if you test one or purchase one.  I love mine!  And again, I have no affiliation with LG.  I just am really happy and want to spread the word!

Any questions for me?  What do you think?  (LG video #1. LG video #2)

ADDENDUM:  I JUST FOUND OUT THAT CLAUDIA IS NO LONGER IMPORTING THESE WONDERFUL BRIDLES.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE ONE, I HAVE CONTACTED LG IN GERMANY AND THEY ARE WILLING TO SEND BRIDLES OUT FOR YOU.  JUST COMMENT OR EMAIL HORSEANDMAN@GMAIL.COM.  I WILL GET ONE FOR YOU.  THEY WILL BE $125 EACH  including shipping to wherever you live in the USA.  *If you want one immediately and we are not already ordering, the price is $145 to get it specially shipped from Germany.  If you want one, either leave a comment here or email me at:  horseandman@gmail.com

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If you want an update on the Iron Man Rescued Foal Bucket Fund or to donate, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!