1 Dr. Elizabeth Kilgallon, my large animal veterinarian, came to the farm to check on Rutger, and to be sure he was healing properly after the procedure he had to correct a sinus issue a few months back.
2 Dr. Kilgallon brought several pieces of equipment with her - a portable X-ray machine, a monitor, and an equine endoscopy kit. An endoscope allows veterinarians to visualize and examine the horse's upper airway from the nasal passage using a fiber-optic camera.
3 My stable manager, Betsy, assured Rutger everything was going to be just fine, but Rutger is a very stable and calm horse, so it was expected he would be quite comfortable with this experience.
4 Dr. Kilgallon gently checked the skin at the site where the procedure was done. The coat appeared to be growing back slowly, but the wound site was all healed.
5 In order to properly examine Rutger's sinus, an equine endoscope had to be used. Dr. Laura Faulkner, another equine veterinarian, who focuses on sport horse medicine and imaging, assisted with the exam.
6 The endoscope is comprised of a thin tube, with a light source at one end and a viewing camera scope at the other. It allowed Dr. Kilgallon to see Rutger's sinus cavity by way of his nasal passage.
7 Dr. Kilgallon is very thorough with her examinations. She wanted to be sure she could see every crevice of Rutger's sinus, and rule out any complications.
8 Rutger was given a small sedative, so he wasn't in any pain at all. After the endoscope was in place, Dr. Kilgallon could see the magnified sinus cavity, and check for any conformational, infectious or traumatic abnormalities.
9 Dr. Faulkner also took a look and both doctors agreed Rutger's sinus was healing perfectly. There was no sign of infection or inflammation.
10 And, that's great news for Rutger! Friesians are best known for the jet-black coats, flowing manes and high stepping gaits, but also for their loyal, placid and cheerful temperaments.
11 Ramon was next. He needed a check of his gums and teeth. Because horses are grazing animals, good dentition is essential to survival. Grazing creates certain patterns of wear, which should be regularly examined.
12 Again, Dr. Kilgallon had the necessary equipment - a portable X-ray machine and monitor. Friesians generally have their teeth checked annually, or bi-annually when under six years of age and above their late teens.
13 Portable X-ray machines are used extensively in remote locations and allow equine veterinarians to have instant review images.
14 An X-ray panel was held on the side that was being examined. An adult male horse has up to 44-permanent teeth. Like humans, horses get two sets of teeth in their lifetime. By the age of five years, most horses will have their full set of adult teeth.
15 Dr. Kilgallon directs the X-ray machine toward the panel and takes the image. Having the equipment at the barn was helpful in making it a more comfortable experience for Ramon.
16 In just a few minutes, the image showed up on the portable monitor.
17 A couple more images were taken to be sure all angles were thoroughly examined.
18 Dr. Kilgallon explained to Betsy that everything looked good and that she didn't see any tooth abnormalities or injuries.
19 While Dr. Kilgallon was at the stable, she went around and checked all the horses, ponies and donkeys. Everyone got a little bit of personal attention, and all received clean bills of health.
20 The horses were then led to the field, so they could graze and enjoy the beautiful weather. The best time for horses to graze is at night, when pasture plants have used up most of the sugar built up during the day. Pastures are healthiest during active growing season when plants are green and not stressed.
21 During this time of year, when temperatures rise above 55-degrees Fahrenheit, gnats and other flying insects come out. Horse faces, ears and eyes are sensitive to flies and other pests. They all wear fly masks to protect them from the annoying bugs.
22 Horses love to roll, especially after they are turned out into an open area. Rolling is a normal grooming and social behavior. It didn't take long for the Friesians to start rolling on the grass.
23 Friesians are such beautiful horses. Their height averages between 15.2 and 16 hands, and they can each weigh up to 1500 pounds.
24 They look so beautiful running through the paddock.