Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fandango - Goldmember - Part 2


Fandango walked on the trailer like a champ last night and was behaved the whole 2 hrs home. My parents unloaded him and put him in a stall, my mom said he just went in and started eating right away. I went home and got Schaeffer before I took the trip to my parents to check on him. He was very settled, even though one of my moms mares already went into heat from him being there. He goes in tomorrow morning for his consultation, where they will look him over and most likely ultrasound to see where his bits are tucked away. He will undergo the surgery on Thursday morning. I always say Fandango is the real Spirit Stallion of the Cimarron, can you see the resemblance?

Onto the story.....
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......... His results were positive. He was showing high levels of testosterone and they would need to come back out and administer a series of blood tests to see how high the levels were, and determine whether he was properly castrated or not. A few days later the vet came out and met my friend who would be doing the tests for me while I was at work. The test consists of measuring the male hormone testosterone in the blood before and after administration of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Stallions and cryptorchids have higher levels of testosterone and levels of the hormone increase after hCG administration. Castrated horses have low levels of testosterone and levels do not increase with hCG. A blood sample was taken before the hCG was administered, and then once again after. After half an hour, another blood sample would be taken. After another half hour, another sample was taken. Overall there were 4 intervals at half hour where samples were taken. Fandango stood like an old pro for it all.

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A few days later we got the call, the vets were very excited. He was DEFINITLY a cryptorchid, and his testosterone levels were actually higher than that of the average stallion used for breeding. The vets said they had never seen results like that. We went over the options for treatment. I could try putting him on Depo-Provera with a monthly injection, or go for surgery. Depo was about $50 an injection, and depending where I took him for surgery it could run from $1000 - $5000 dollars. I decided to try the Depo until I could save the money for the surgery. Since Fandango wasn't showing any stallion tendencies where he was, he didn't start Depo injections until he was moved for the winter.

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My step sister and I were discussing Fandangos' results and condition, and she told me that the vet she works for does the surgery now. This vet, is my parents vet and has been our vet for years and years. He is a good friend and very trusted, so I was excited to hear this. I sent her Fandangos results to show him, and he agreed to do the surgery. He even offered to put me on a cash payment plan so I could get it done earlier, and at a great price. I would only have to pay 1/5 of what I would have had to pay if he was shipped to a major equine hospital. Both other hospitals that do the surgery were quit far at 5 and 8 hours away. This was really good news.

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For the winter I moved Fandango to a facility with an arena. I started doing a lot of ground work and free longeing to help him develop muscle and balance without me hindering him. He had only been hacked all summer so although he was fit, he was still in need of learning how to balance, engage himself, and basic training. There were a few mares at this place so he went on Depo almost immediately when he got there. It seemed to really help with his pushiness, but he was still very vocal. He had to be on individual turn-out as he was very aggressive with the other geldings. Over the next few months Fandango was showing great improvement in his overall appearance, and way of going. I started riding him more just concentrating on forward forward forward. We did basic exercises like big circles and figure eights while going forward. He has such a big trot at times he gets ahead of himself and his legs end up flailing everywhere.

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With all the ground work I was doing Fandango was becoming quite the pony. He is completely voice trained to walk, trot, canter, lengthen his canter, half halt, stand, and change direction. It's hard to believe until you see it yourself, but it is really something. He will change direction across the diagonal like a little dressage pony, and when you say "big trot" he will push from his hind end and step out at a higher gear. It's not perfect, but it's decent for a self taught lengthen from the ground. Around Christmas, the care where Fandango was started to diminish. He wasn't getting enough hay, or bedding. His stall was frozen dirt and peat moss. His water bucket was a solid block by 6pm, and the horses came in at 5, so it was clear the water hadn't frozen that solid in an hour. He started losing weight and I decided to pull him out of there.
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The owner of the barn where I got Fandango agreed I could bring him there temporarily until I found somewhere else. I can't thank them enough, they were life saving. It's hard enough to find a good boarding facility (remember my blog about it here: ), add the stallion behavior in the mix and it's not easy at all. For the last 2 months he has been at this barn, and I have been taking care of him myself. The vet clinic where the surgery is to be done was undergoing renovations, so when my sister told me she could book Fandango in finally, I was psyched! So, that's where we are now. He is at my parents farm until tomorrow morning and I have been given news he is behaving himself. Only a couple more days to wait to see if we are going to kick these problems once and for all. I can't wait to see what an amazing pony he is going to be after surgery!

I will update when I know anything!

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