The first round of chemo treatments

Starting off with a warning that the photos in this blog may come as a little graphic and nasty. On Monday, we finally had our first session with the chemo treatments to try and take out the cancer. 

The veterinarian showed up at about 1 pm, and we were ready to roll. She started off cleaning him again. There was a lot of dirt and still some infected areas, but it’s looking much better than before already. The whole day was a bit of a process, so let me take this step by step.

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Photo taking while doing the wash and cleanup. The photo above shows the discoloration that we were troubled with. It’s starting to dry out and flake off, so it’s a good sign already. But there is still a long way to go.

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Still not done with the washing, but here you can see some of the residue.

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In the photo above, you can see our main problem, the benine cancerous papillomas. The occur as white spots, almost looking like blemishes, all over his penis. They have yet again grown in size and number, so it’s good we are able to start the treatment so soon.

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There is also being formed some kind of tallow around his urethra.

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The Efudix is being applied. This is the cream that acts like chemo. It will slowly burn away the skin and the papillomas. A painful process, but hopefully they will be gone in three treatments!

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Finally, Baldur getting a good dose of pain killers. I also received some pain killers to give him the two following days through a tube in the mouth.

 

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Above and under are the two new additions to my health supply. The Efudix cream and Metacam(pain killers).

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Ending this little blog post with a picture of the patient recovering from the drugs. He doesn’t look very pleased, does he?

Snuggling up with Aztec Diamond Equestrian

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As an update for you all, I talked with the vet again on Monday. She had talked with a specialist in equine reproductive organs, and they decided the best way to go was with chemo therapy. We will hopefully start the treatments this upcoming Monday, that is if they can get a hold of the drugs. The drugs have to be accepted in to Norway(some strong stuff), and we hope to have it in by tomorrow. Baldur will have treatments every two weeks until the papillomas are gone, and no one knows how many treatments it will take. But I am starting to feel optimistic.

However, Aztec Diamond Equestrian doesn’t stop to impress me with their base layers. I am wearing the white base layer in these photos. I also had this one under my show jacket when we competed in gaited!

And of course, I can’t have a post where I don’t show a tad of motherly love towards Baldur. These photos are from a few days ago, when we decided to take a little photo shoot up in the fields. As you can see in some of these photos, you get a taste of Baldur’s personality. He is curious and goofy, but he is still so gentle and warm. These are some of my favorite traits about Baldur.

I’d also like to point out that when I first got to know Baldur, he was extremely head shy and was not interested in being “friendly” with people. If I tried to pet him on the face, he would turn away in a blink, and if you wanted to brush his face, you’d have to hold him by the halter. Right now, we are at a point where he seeks the contact, and doesn’t say no to being massaged in the face with his favorite brush.

It took us a lot of time, and a lot of building trust, but we are finally getting somewhere! It’s kind of weird to look back at how he used to be when we first met versus how lively he has become. He has come a long way, and I can’t wait to see what else will change!

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Photo above: After getting a good taste of my face, Baldur was interested in getting to know what my riding helmet tasted like as well! This is one of my favorite photos. It shows Baldur’s curious personality and me just having to cope with it(I was having a blast)!

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Autumn vibes

So, a few days before we got the dreaded diagnosis, me and Maja took advantage of the autumn colors that have appeared in Norway recently. It had been a while since we teamed up to photograph the boys, and the weather was too perfect for photographing to turn down this opportunity!

The autumn view in Hamar is just so beautiful right now. Almost all the trees have turned bright red, orange and yellow. Very soothing for a tiny-bit stressed soul. Of course, the horses are enjoying the dry, colder weather! I am looking forward to snow, but at the same time, I am not! I am not very excited about walking to the stables when it’s icy and cold outside. But nothing beats a nice canter in half a metre of snow!

The snow has already come to several parts of Norway already, so I am at high alert and I won’t be surprised if I wake up one day and notice that the autumn colors are gone and all I can see is white. But we will take it as it comes! Looking forward to getting winter pitcures again!

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Photo above: Starting off with a little squaring to be able to look back at how well his body looks at the moment! He is fit and has a fair amount of muscles!

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Photo above: Of course, no photoshoot is complete without a smile!

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Photo above: This one can never turn down a treat, so he gladly performs to be rewarded afterwards!

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Photo above: And here, ladies and gentlemen, a typical Baldur. Calm and zen in one minute, and in another, something is dangerous! I think it was a cow that spooked him this time, as they have a large pen behind the stables. Baldur never really appreciates his family.

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Photo above: And of course I wanted to get a semi-closeup of his new show halter. I even got him a nameplate!

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Photo above: Another typical Baldur moment. Having only three legs must take a toll.

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Photo above: Baldur sure knows how to act like a model!

Cancer; the reality

I am not going to lie and say that I am fine. I am not going to say that not crying while I am writing this either. Today has been a literal roller coaster. I woke up before my alarm due to stress. I knew today was the day I might get the results back from the biopsy. I couldn’t sleep, so I woke up early and got ready for school.

The only thing I could do at school was to keep looking at my phone and when the screen lighted up, my hear would skip a beat. I was finished at school at around 1-2 pm, went home and made something to eat. No call yet, and at 3, I went to the stables. Baldur greeted me as he always does. Stalked me around in the paddock while I was mucking. At times he would bump into my back with his muzzle for attention. I cuddled him, stroked him and I was just so happy in that moment.

After the stable chores, I took Baldur out for a bareback ride in the huge fields, and it was such a relief. To be able to breathe normally and enjoy the moment without worrying that I would get a call. Baldur was a total sweetheart. We cantered some, walked some, and stopped to enjoy the view. Baldur got some treats as well, he was such a good boy.

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Skipping to about an hour ago, I was sitting in bed watching a TV show. The clock was at 5:30 pm and I was at ease because I thought I would have to wait till Monday for the call. Out of the blue, my phone rang and it was the veterinarian. My heart stopped and I almost couldn’t bring myself to pick up.

The veterinarian could unfortunately confirm that Baldur has cancer. As it looks now, it is thankfully a benign cancer(papilloma). Of course, there is a risk that it can develop into a malignant cancer. On Monday, our veterinarian will talk to a specialist in equine reproductive organs and come to a conclusion on what treatments to go for. I will make sure that Baldur gets the best treatment possible, even if that means I have to live on the streets for the rest of my life. I can’t express enough how much this horse means to me.

I know this is a good case scenario for having cancer, but in my mind, cancer is cancer. And I am scared to death. I am so worried I am about to explode and I have no idea how to act and what to do. But I know one thing, at that is that I am going to do anything in my power to beat this cancer and get Baldur back in 100% health.

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*TRIGGER WARNING* Symptoms and biopsies

I have to start off by yet again warning for triggering photos. I decided to share the whole experience from the veterinary visit yesterday. I will say straight out that the symptoms have gotten worse, and it’s not looking good. His swelling is almost gone and there wasn’t as much infection, but the white spots have grown larger, and the discoloration has gotten worse.  

The first thing that happened yesterday what that Baldur got his shoes trimmed. And to prepare for winter, he got studded shoes! His toe has come a little too far forward for my liking, so I asked the farrier to work on shortening his toe to give him more balance in the hoof. So it’s a process!

Instead of writing a long post and showing the pictures later, I thought I’d show pictures and then write the story behind the photos. Here we go.

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New shoes are on, and his hooves are looking pretty okay.

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The veterinary giving him a dose to relax and let him drop his manhood. I am so glad our vet is female! Baldur doesn’t easily trust men, so it’s good to have Hege(the veterinary).

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Wrapping his tail to keep it out of the way for Hege and when taking the biopsies.

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Baldur getting sleepier and sleepier by the minute!

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She starts off by doing a thorough clean. He wasn’t as dirty and infected as last time, but sadly, the symptoms are worsening.

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Going over with alcohol to clean up as much as possible for the biopsies.

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Baldur got some local anesthesia so that the whole experience would be as pain free as possible. I can’t imagine how much it would hurt without it! And of course, I got the pleasure of holding his manhood down to make the job easier for Hege.

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She used pointed tweezers to grab one of the white spots and clipped it off using scissors, delicate!

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The hole that remained after she removed one of the white spots. It wasn’t necessary to get stitches as the whole wasn’t too big.

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More local anesthesia! This time on the discolored and almost elephant-skin-like part of his foreskin. Also one of the concerns. You can’t see it so good in the photo, but the color was very yellow and his skin was very rough!

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In comes the tweezers and scissors again! And yes, I am sitting on the other side holding him again!

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The whole that was left after taking another biopsy. This one had to get stitches as it was bigger and further up inside.

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Baldur got two stitches to keep it in place!

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And here is a lovely photo of where the first biopsy was taken. If you look closely underneath the folded pink skin, you can see two white spots. These were smaller before, and have grown since last time. And these spots are all over his penis.

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Baldur became soooo sleepy! He even started snoring. I released him from the ties when he became this droopy, so that he could relax his neck.

So I am feeling okay, but I am not very optimistic at this point. I am however getting more and more used to the fact that it may be cancer. I have talked to a couple of people now who know or have gone through the same, and they have ensured me that the horses are fine with treatments. Only time will show what the results are, and we are hoping to have the results by friday. Until then, I will not take the sorrows in advance, but I feel it in my gut that the answer is cancer.

However, Baldur is feeling great, and is acting like his loving self. He is so strong and even though it must be painful, he still pricks his ears at me and begs for treats like he always does. I am giving him pain killers in his feed, and tomorrow is the last day of the pain killers. But this one is a fighter, and so am I.

Above all expectations at Biri

I have to start off this post by admitting that I am quite speechless. Baldur really had me shook today, he kept surprising me over and over again! He was an absolute gentleman, and he performed like never before!

In the light of today’s competition at Biri Travbane, I also have to mention that today, October 1st, marks our second year anniversary. Exactly two years ago, I signed the contract for my amazing horse. Days like today make med look back at that moment and I know I did the right thing.

I was honestly expecting the worst today, as we have literally not been in the sand arena more than once in three months. The only training and working out we have done, has been on trails and hacks. This also proves that there can never be too many hacks! Baldur has been in great shape for a long time now, but since I never had access to ride in the sand arena, I have been anxious about how he would perform. But man did he surprise me today!

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My alarm was set to 6AM and at 6:30AM, me and Maja were picked up to head to the stables. I got all the tack and equipment ready, and then I groomed Baldur and put on his transport protection. At about 9AM, we arrived at the showgrounds. I was first in class, and the class was set to start at 10AM. I was really nervous, but the workout we had for Caroline Gleditsch Holstad a couple days before helped me keep calm.

Baldur felt really good at warm-up, and he was great in the arena! He was a little strong in T3(tölt class), but he had just the right amount of energy to handle. He collected nicely and had probably the best slow tölt he has ever had(with me at least). And he did great at the fast tölt as well, so he gave me a really good feeling. We ended up with a total grade of 4,83 which placed us at 2nd in the first class!

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In the second class, which was V2(four gaits), he also did great! We had a very slow trot(I tried to push him forward, but he was happily ignoring me at trotting on like I didn’t exist), but he still delivered! The tölt again was fabulous, so nothing more to say about that! His canter was a little so-and-so. He was a little feisty, so I had to hold him back quite a bit, and at one point he tried to bolt. I managed to get contact with him again just in time for the fast tölt!

Despite the two mishaps, we ended up breaking our old record! So our total grade in four gaits was 5,43, and I couldn’t be more satisfied! And guess what? This meant another 2nd place ribbon for us! I am extremely excited, as we have never come so far to actually get 2nd place ribbons, so getting two at one competition really exceeded my expectations!

Of course, Maja came with me as mental and physical support, as well as being the photographer! I am forever grateful to her for always being there for me. So I have to say that today was a perfect day. I am more than happy and it brought me so much joy to see and feel that Baldur was happy too.

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Equestrian Blogger Recognition Award

I was nominated for the Equestrian Blogger Recognition Award! I want go give a big thanks to Sophie(teamtunnaheventing) for nominating me for this award.

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What is the Blogger Recognition Award?

The Blogger Recognition Award is awarded to bloggers by bloggers who appreciate the hard work, dedication, and vast amount of hours we all put into each and every post.

In order to accept this award, I must nominate 15 other bloggers, that I feel are also deserving of the award. The rules listed are as follows:

  • Thank the nominating blogger.
  • Respond to the nominating blogger with a link to this post on their blog.
  • Write a post about the award.
  • Share a story of how and why you started your blog.
  • Offer at least two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Pass on the nomination to another 15 bloggers.

 


 

Passionforhorse’s Beginning

It all started with a young girl who had a big dream. Going by “passionforhorse” on every platform except the blog. After blogging as “equestrian” on a norwegian platform for 7 years, I decided to take the leap and make my own platform for blogging – and blogging in english. So 20th of June, I published the very first post on my new blog. I was pretty used to blogging from the norwegian platform, but there, the audience was pretty limited to only norwegians. So going onto my very own blog and blogging for the entire world to see is a big step.

The very day I lauched my new blog, I searched around on Facebook to see if there were any groups where I could post and get in touch with other bloggers – and that is how I joined Equestrian Bloggers on Facebook. I have learned tons in being there, and I have been inspired to blog about different things and being more active in the other medias. So I later made my Facebook page Mathilde Kvernland, for posting news and blog posts as well.

I have no idea where this blog will take me, but I am sure ass hell coming along for the ride!

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Advice for New Bloggers

  • Get in touch! Find a group, a forum or anything where you can connect and get to know other bloggers. I have learnt so much just by being in contact with fellow bloggers, and it’s a great way to be inspired and inspire others as well!
  • Don’t be photo shy! If there is anything I love with a blog, it’s the use of photos to illustrate what you are writing about. Did you lunge your horse today? Get a photo so that your readers can see what you are seeing when you write. We want to know how it is to be you!

 

My Nominations

The 15 equestrian and pet blogs I have chosen are ones that I personally follow and interact. These people and pets have made a difference in my life and how I run my blog. These bloggers are a support system and an inspiration.

Blog review: The Scottish Rider

In light of an amazing group I am lucky to be a part of, also known as Equestrian Bloggers on Facebook, I made a little challenge to the members. The challenge was to join be assigned a blog to review honestly, and in return, getting a review back from someone else. Excited to see how this goes, and if this will be a success or not. But I do hope it helps to put more bloggers in the light. I was assigned to review Fiona Murray’s blog The Scottish Rider.

Let me start by introducing Fiona Murray and her horse. It is not unclear that this equipage is located in beautiful Scotland. She bought her stunning red mare at her last year of university, and she is currently working full time on developing her own career as well as her mare’s. When her mare was purchased, she was still very green. They ended up at a barn that holds competitions on site, and they are ready to really start developing together.

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My very first impression when going into Fiona’s blog is the layout and header. The layout is very clean and easy to navigate, which is lovely! And the header image is of her beautiful chestnut mare. I think the design itself is very nice and simple, not too much going on, and not messy at all! Which makes it very comfortable to navigate through her blog!

Something I find interesting about Fiona’s blog is that she posts the competition results in a page of it’s own! Something I will most likely take inspiration from on my own, as it’s super clever to have so both you and your followers can keep track of results! And as a number two, I love the timehop memories, it’s really great to look back at earlier days and reflect! If there is one thing that trumps the two reasons mentioned above, it’s Fiona’s use of GIF’s(especially in the moody mare and rider fitness blogs). It’s absolutely hilarious and it’s impossible to stop reading when she uses the GIF’s!

Fiona Murray sitt bilde.

As for the blog content, I find her blog very helpful! Not only does she post about her daily life in the equestrian world, but there is also much knowledge to receive! For example rider fitness and horse rugging.

When it comes to photos, I would absolutely love more of them! I think there can never be too many photos, even if it is in a blog! I am not a huge fan of mobile phone pictures, but in this case, I feel it gives more of a personal trait to the blog, and that’s not a bad thing at all! But again, I would love more photos!

All in all, Fiona’s blog is definitely worth a peek! Her blog is fresh, only a month older than my own blog, and I love being able to follow her from the start(almost at least).

Oh, and Fiona! I loved your first vlog, I would love to see more!

Check out The Scottish Rider here!

Pray this isn’t cancer

This blog post is going to be somewhat messy and chaotic, but I am trying my best to collect my thoughts. I recently noticed that Baldur had swelling in his sheath, and I contacted the vet and we made an appointment. As well as checking up, I decided to get his teeth fixed in the same go.

The vet showed up at 10 AM monday morning. Drifandi(Maja’s horse) had his teeth floated first, Baldur was second in line. The floating went really great, and his teeth was perfectly fine, nothing wrong.

The vet gave him a “special” drug to make it easier for Baldur to drop his “magic stick” for inspection. It was not pretty. There were loads of tallow, dirt and it just looked very infected. The vet cleaned everything up, and then noticed that Baldur had white spots all over his manhood, as well as discoloration. She told me not to take my sorrows in advance, and not to panic, but she had treated a horse that had the same symptoms – and this was cancer.

When the words fell out of her mouth, I think I kind of died on the inside. How, what, why? I was completely clueless and lost for words. Of course, this was worst case scenario, and it wasn’t sure at all that this is cancer. Best case scenario, this is “just” an infection that can be treated with antibiotics and such, but I am honestly just so worried and I am of course fearing the worst.

Behavior-wise, Baldur is unchanged, and he is acting like normal, thankfully. The competition is still on, but I have really changed my mindset. I am not entering to get good grades and showing off my horse. Now I am entering because I can. The day after the show, we have a new appointment with the vet. She will inspect again and see if we need to get a biopsy to send to the lab.

I hope and pray that it is only an infection and that it does get better in these two next weeks, but I am, as mentioned earlier, clueless. October 1st is our 2 years anniversary, it is supposed to be a day of joy, happiness and celebration, but I don’t know how this day will be. October 2nd is the next appointment with the vet, and I pray to the higher forces for a healthy horse.

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Photo above: Baldur had is first dose of the drugs before floating, slowly getting tired.

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Photo above: Dose number two, as he was still too awake.

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Photo above: The floating begins!

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Photo above: A couple hours later, he is enjoying his meal outside in his paddock. I used his rebound time to do some fur-clipping.

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Photo above: To try and keep the area as clean as possible, I shaved around his sheath when I shaved the rest of him too. 

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Photo above: Baldur enjoying his meal and new clip!

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Why I would never get a prosthetic leg for my horse

Recently, a photo of a horse with a prosthetic leg has been roaming the internet(this horse was later put down because he didn’t get better). This is not the first time I have seen these “glory” cases of horses being “saved” with a prosthetic leg. So I give myself the opportunity to tell you why I would never choose this life for my horse.

If I, as a horse owner, ever got into a situation where I had to choose if I would put my horse to sleep or do a surgery that will guarantee my horse pain and restrictions, there is no doubt what my answer would be. To be completely honest, I believe it is very selfish to keep a horse alive this way.

Firstly the surgery aftermath. There will be months in and out of pain and adjustments. If the horse ever adapts to the prosthetic leg, there will still be pain from not only pressure wounds and sores, but think about the anatomy. The horse will not be able to use his body correct, which will most likely end up in heaps of lockings in their muscles. I don’t think any chiropractor would be able to correct that either.

Photo above: This is the photo that was roaming around, creating heated discussions.

Some may think that I am heartless for choosing to let my horse go to sleep instead of doing surgery, but think about the quality of their life. They will not be able to run with other horses, nor will they be able to buck out or roll around. These are basic things that horses enjoy doing almost every day, and taking that away from them, what life will they have? Exercise? Nope, forget it. Riding? Nada. I am not saying that a horse needs to be ridden to be happy, but no basic exercise or movement at all is not in a horse’s nature.

I do not condone “pasture puff” horses from the start, so having a horse who won’t be able to use his body at all without being restricted is not a life I would wish for anyone. I know it is heartbreaking to say goodbye to your best friend, but sometimes saying goodbye is the best thing to do, and the most humane.

I know there are a ton of people with other opinions, but at some forums it can go overboard. Today I was bashed for being a spoilt brat because I would rather let my horse go than to keep him alive in pain. Is this where we are at now? “My opinion is right and if you think otherwise, you are a spoilt brat”. This person also had to show being superior from 20 years of experience, which I to be honest, couldn’t care less about. It doesn’t take 20 years of experience to see that an animal is suffering. That, ladies and gentlemen, is basic humanity.

To end off this post, I know there are many mixed opinions on the subject, but as we say in Norway, “a dead horse doesn’t suffer”.

What are your thoughts on the subject?