Thursday, July 8, 2010

Welcome OverDrive

We welcomed a new member to the family recently. He joins us from the west coast of Canada - Victoria, British Columbia to be specific. OverDrive, affectionately known around the barn as Spike, is 15 years old and tops the measuring stick at a bit over 18 hands. He is a BIG boy!

OverDrive, aka Spike, and his mom at a show. I absolutely love this picture of the two of them.

Spike and his mom have been together for nine years and spent many happy years showing together in the jumper ring. Spike has well known ancestors on both sides of his pedigree so it is not surprise that Spike himself was a gifted athlete with a huge jump. Although his mom mostly showed him in the 3'6" - 3'9" jumpers he could jump 5' easily. Personally I love knowing that the horse I am riding is capable of doing far more than I'm ever going to ask. I tend to ride better as I'm not worried I'm going to make a mistake so big that my poor horse can't save both of us. I would imagine that riding Spike was kind of like steering a great big security blanket around the jumper ring, you knew he could handle anything that was going to come up!

Spike and his mom over a jump. You can tell this jump is nothing for him and he is hardly having to try.

Spike's sire is the well known Thoroughbred stallion Truck Drivin' Man. Spike's name of OverDrive is clearly a nod to his famous father! Truck Drivin' Man was one of the "in" stallions of his time and was especially well known for his outstanding hunter progeny. Spike's dam is Flora who was sired by the well known stallion Farn. Farn is considered to be one of the fathers of the modern Dutch Warmblood sport horse in both the dressage and jumper disciplines. Farn sired many famous stallion sons with one of the most well known of those being Nimmerdor. I am a bit of a pedigree junkie myself and Spike certainly has outstanding breeding on both his sire and dam sides.

Spike with his mom and his baby brother. I told his mom when I saw this picture that both of her boys are too cute. I want to reach into that picture and squeeze her little boy's snow boots!

About three years ago Spike started having intermittent lameness issues. One day he would be sound, the next day he would feel off. It was never the same leg and extensive x-rays and ultrasounds did not reveal anything amiss. All of us horse people know how frustrating and emotionally challenging that is to deal with! After about a year of trying to diagnose the problem Spike's fetlocks showed visible signs of drooping, and it became apparent that Spike was suffering from DSLD.

DSLD is short for Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Desmitis. DSLD is essentially a systemic connective tissue disease that affects tendons and ligaments throughout the body. DSLD typically presents as bilateral meaning either both fronts or both hinds are affected, or all four legs. As his mom said, hindsight being 20/20 the roving lameness was clearly due to the front legs compensating for the back legs. Spike's mom and attending veterinarian attempted several things over the last couple of years to try and rehab Spike and see if he could be made comfortable enough for light riding. Unfortunately after a lot of time, money and TLC they did not have much success and the decision to fully retire Spike was made.

Spike and O'Reilly grazing

Our first week with Spike was challenging. His mom had told us Spike had a very nervous and sensitive personality, and he spent his first few days doing his best to give me a raging case of stomach ulcers. I was ready to swipe one of his tubes of GastroGuard and dose myself with it! Spike had very little appetite and I drove both him and myself crazy hovering over him trying to convince him it would be ok and that this was really a nice place to be a horse.

Spike and O'Reilly grooming each other

On his third day we buddied him up with O'Reilly and that got things moving in the right direction. Normally I don't like to allow nose to nose contact for at least a week just as a quarantine precaution but that clearly was not going to be ok with Spike. When we put the two of them in a paddock together for the first time there was no sniffing, squealing, snorting or posturing. They just started grooming each other like they had been friends for years. Spike latched on to O'Reilly and finally began to take a look around and realize that this place wasn't so bad!
He was even happier after being integrated into his "family" group and suddenly Spike was a completely different horse. His favorite place is near O'Reilly, but as he gets more and more comfortable with the other horses he likes to be surrounded by as many of them as possible. He also really likes having regular physical contact with other horses. Often this takes the form of a mutual grooming session but he is also content to just be touching his nose to someone for a moment before returning to grazing.

Spike has an incredibly expressive face as you can see in this picture

We're looking forward to getting to know Spike even more and watching him blossom with his new friends. He loves a steady routine and lots of contact with other horses so he came to the right place. Welcome Spike!


Sydney_bitless said...

What a BIG handsome boy! Wow thats a long way to travel too!

amy324 said...

Welcome to the gang, Spike! I'm looking forward to following your happy adventures. You're adorable!

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Beautiful! He's a lucky boy to have such a caring owner who would place him with you for his retirement!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet boy - glad he's settling in! That's great that his owner was willing to put his interests first.

Java's Mom said...

Aw, poor guy to have DSLD. He is clearly so loved, and adorable! And, what a good boy O'Riley is to buddy up with him and help him acclimate.

Good job Melissa and Jason for stressing out to make him as comfortable as possible in his first days. They should make ulcerguard for barn owners when new horses arrive, I could use some sometimes too. OK, what time of day did the horse arrive?

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Java's mom he arrived at 10pm - pretty tame arrival time for dealing with commercial shippers and a cross country trip!

ZionFarm said...

Spike is absolutely gorgeous. Its good to hear that he is settling in nicely with his buddies!

Sylvia said...

He sounds so sweet. What a nice pretty boy :)

phaedra96 said...

He is beautiful! I like that first photo of the two together--Mom looking one way, he the other. Wish him many years of happy being a horse.

Cherdz said...

Necropsy results have shown DE affects not only tendons and ligaments, but also nuchal ligament, patella, the eyes and aorta, various organs, skin. The entire body becomes affected as the disease progresses. It was for this reason that DSLD was recently renamed ESPA (Equine Systemic Proteoglycan Accumulation). DE appears to be an equine form of Marfans or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

If you'd like more information, please visit:
(support group for owners of DE horses)
(links to research, various articles and stories of DE horses)
(information on DSLD-ESPA, links to vet pages, diagnostic protocols)

RuckusButt said...

Photo caption for the last one..."Spike begins to realize he's hit the jackpot of retirement farms" :)

raphycassens said...

What a cutie!!!! Lucky boy, Spike.