Saturday, October 7, 2017

Sweet release

Last Monday I lost a dear friend. She had been battling cancer for the past few years. While I'm sad about the loss, I have also been relieved to know she is no longer suffering.

Rather than focusing on the fact that she's gone, I have been remembering the good things she's done and things she enjoyed in life. She loved her dogs and there were several she owned with personalities much larger than they were. 

I imagine her riding her big red horse Rebel. Mounted on him she was fearless. Rebel was a great horse in the fact he was a total badass, yet a babysitter at the same time. They both had their quirks but that's what made them a good match. 

She loved her truck and the Saab she owned long ago. Hated living in Hellizona (that makes two of us!), was very outspoken at times and she was very smart at some things like the rest of us. She was also married to a wonderful man who had also beaten cancer a few times himself. 

Although I will miss being able to call her or text, I know she will be watching over several of us and haunting us when we screw up. She had a twisted sense of humor and if she had her way, at the end of the funeral service, closed casket of course, would have had the organist repeatedly playing Pop Goes the Weasel just to screw with everyone's head.

She will be missed but I'm sure she is happy to be with her parents and family who has passed before her. 

RIP Auntie M. Love ya much and I'll see ya on the flip side!

PS- please skip the part about sorry about the loss. Instead let's use the comment section to celebrate things we have loved about those we have lost

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Just Rotten

From what I've seen online in all my digging to figure this out, Rain Rot they lose hair. River Rot they lose skin. I've also seen Mud Rot and just about every other rot imaginable. So which is it?  Maybe a little bit of all of them.

So far the mare is still swollen and her skin looks like it's all burnt. I wrapped her legs twice and the first time, as I took her big puffy pillow wraps off, they were stuck to her skin in places and the smell of rotted skin was bad. The second time I wrapped her legs, I wrapped them in paper towels first, then the pillow wraps, then the standing wraps.

One of the girls watching me asked if I was seriously using paper towels? Yes. Yes I am. The paper towels would absorb any moisture but when it comes time to take the wraps off, if needed I could rinse the paper towels away. I have another roll in the tackroom and they worked well actually.  

Kat is starting to lose skin and hair and is only swollen behind. He is losing skin almost all the way up the inside, but only from the hocks down on the outside of his hind legs, which doesn't make sense at all.

The filly in their pasture fares the best and although she has a Lot of pink skin, she is already almost thru the process and it doesn't look like it will turn into scratches so that's a good thing. Scratches are a total pain in the ass to deal with!

The gelding in their pasture? I feel so bad for him. They are hardly ever out there and I never see anyone treating him. Poor guy is always there at the gate wanting to have someone dote over him, treat his legs and give him some meds to ease the pain. (Yes there has been inquiries to buy him, but the bottom line price is in the "Crazy money" amount.  Besides that, they are seriously confused or misled about his age. By about 10 years under kind of off.)

Mine have been on low doses of Bute daily and I have been hosing the mud off their legs and spraying them with antiseptic. I have also been soaking the horses in fly spray. I know the mosquitoes are going to be bad from all of this. I also ordered up a dose of wormers since they have been eating outside a lot and who knows what washed thru the field in the high waters.

It's going to take time and it doesn't just happen overnight. The road to recovery is sometimes a long, painful and tedious one.  The filly is almost thru, with very little scabbing left on her legs to shed. My little ponyman is still shedding skin and hair very slowly. Their stalls were dried up enough they could be stripped, left a few days to dry out, packed with sand and bedded with 2 bags of shavings each.

My mare is still out in the pasture as her stall was bedded pretty deep and in need of stripping before the flooding. Now it's super wet, super heavy and digging it out as well as leveling it, will be quite the chore. It was still drying when the horse in the stall behind her, broke the waterer off the first night back in and flooded the 5 stalls their owner occupies. The gelding's owner is part of their "clan" so he remains out in the pasture too although his stall wasn't flooded by the water tub incident.

Because my mare is out, she has dropped weight again. I'm trying to get her back inside so she will again have a healthy amount of feed to snack on at will. She has the pasture and a round bale to share with the gelding, but she sweats a lot being outside. A few people have asked me what she gets and why she's so thin?  For one thing, she doesn't handle change well. When horses moved into or out of the barn and the 'energy' changed, she lost her mind, began pacing and dropped weight in nothing flat. We all know it;s easier to take weight off a horse than it is to put it back on them. Wish we could say the same, right?

She's definitly not an easy keeper! Besides a slow feed hay net stuffed full of coastal grass, she gets a half scoop of 12-8, two scoops of senior feed and about 4 scoops of alfalfa pellets. The 12-8 is 12% protien and 8% fats. It's a pelleted feed like the rest of everything else she's getting. The alfalfa pellets, it seems like a lot to put in front of her all at once, but she has gotten to the point of nibbling on it and picking at it to where I can dump it all in once a day and she still has some the following day when it comes time to add more. She has only coliced once or maybe twice in the 13 years I've had her and the last time was about 9-10 years ago.    

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Something new

I finally got out to the barn on Saturday, a full week since I had been out there. One of the updates I had gotten was that my TB mare and one of the other horses in her pasture had suffered some effects of having stood in the water. Her hind legs were stocked up, or stoved up as some people call it and she was walking funny. Every step is like a hose wearing wraps on their hind legs for the first time.  She picks them up really high like she's trying to either step over something or shake something off. She does this if she has been standing for a few minutes or longer. Once she starts moving though and thing loosen up, she's bck to normal.

I have plenty of Bute on hand and told the girl at the barn to give her 1 gram, see how she does and there's paste and tablets, so whatever she's more comfortable giving her, she can have up to 4 grams a day. I was also thinking to have her hose her legs off, slop on the Mineral Ice and put wraps on. When she said she wasn't comfortable putting wraps on and I realized my wraps are here at the house, I had to come up with something else. Splint boots! Her boots were at the barn and would work in  pinch.  Something is always better than nothing, right?

What I found when I got out there was different than anything I've dealt with before. My mare had mud on her legs again and was still walking funny and Kat was also stocked up in the hind legs. The skin on their legs also seems almost like they've been blistered or something. WTH??? The other horses in the pasture had similar issues, the gelding being swollen in all 4 legs and the filly having the same blistered skin look.

Their stalls are a total wreck and it's probably going to be a week or more until they can come in.  One of the water tubs had mosquitos breeding in it, so I figured I would bring them up to the front of the barn to eat while I brushed them off, assessed the damages and soaked them with fly spray.  They each got some Bute with their food and my mare was okay with me hosing her legs. Most of the mud came off and there was no hair or skin loss. 

When I hosed off Kat's legs though, it seemed to hurt like hell and he was obviously in pain. He would lift that leg as high as he could, leaning as far away from me and the water until he was about to fall over. I felt bad and was apologizing profusely to the little guy. If ever a horse or pony could scream, I believe he would have. I readjusted the nozzle to where it was a gentle spray and that wrked much better for him.

The other two horses also got their legs hosed and were given some Bute and a few of us put our heads together to try and figure out the best course of action. We each felt that Mineral Ice and pressure wraps to keep the swelling down would be good, but then since the skin already seemed irritated and somewhat damaged, the extra moisture from the MI and wrapping them, didn't make sense. 

If wet is what created this, more wet and trapping it in, might just make it worse. Adding chemicals (MI) seems like it would just compound that even more.  I've had chemical burns before from laundry soap and let me tell you, they are NOT fun or anything to screw around with. Anything touching your skin hurts like a mo-fo and even putting lotion on to soothe it- Doesn't!   We all decided to let them air dry and leave them as is for the night while we go home, get online and see what we can find something to explain this and figure out how to treat it.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Houston Strong

A week after Harvey made landfall and we're still here.  Last Saturday, things were pretty much normal. Then on Sunday, all hell broke loose.

I-10 from one end of town to the other was under water for the most part.

These semi's were going thru but when they got thru here, they would be stuck with road closures and high water. 

A lot of the underpasses were flooded and you can see a white truck or car on the far right side IN the water under the N in Transtar. 

Yeah... We all know how high those signs over the freeway are.  That's how deep the water on the freeway was. They were showing one bridge with a sign saying the clearance height was 17' 4" and the water was almost up to the bottom of the bridge.

Last year on Tax Day, April 15  and Memorial Day, we had a Lot of rain and a few places got flooded. Below they were comparing the amount of water that we got. Even as of the time they had this up, they were saying we had far exceeded this and we were at more like 600+ Billion gallons.

They were telling everyone to just stay put. Stay home as long as it was safe to do so.

There was no going to the barn. A lot of people were not going to work on Monday. Tuesday was questionable and Wednesday was still up in the air too. 

Sunday morning I got a text from one of the girls at the barn. At 7 am there was water in the barn knee deep and rising. Horses were all being kicked out into the pastures.  Later she sent me this->

If you look closely, you can see the water is almost up to Kat's stomach. He's standing in front of my TB mare and the water is up just over her knees.  He used to give me grief at water hazards at driving competitions...  little brat.

You can also see there is higher ground behind them and they could go stand there, but no, they choose to stand IN the water.

The round pens in the foreground are under water and so was everything else.

What followed over this past week was, well, interesting to put it in one word. There were a couple girls moved their horses out of the barn, drama erupted on Facebook, neither of them are coming back and at one point the barn owner and everyone out there had to leave the property because there was water being released from a levee and things could be getting a whole lot worse.

Most of the horses were already moved to a neighbors property, but mine stayed behind with a few others. Mine were actually ON the trailer for the last trip out and it was decided that getting out of the driveway one last time, wasn't going to happen.  I let them know that whatever they needed to do with my horses, I'm good with that. They know to behave, are easy to catch, lead, load, tie and just deal with in general. What I heard was that my mare couldn't be caught and nobody at the barn could be reached for updates.

When I spoke to the one girl primarily taking care of my horses, I thanked her for the brief or quick updates every day and I explained to her that I completely understand that at times, she couldn't be reached or fire off quick responses to text messages because she was dealing with shit that changed from minute to minute. I appreciated everything she did for my horses and essentially treating them as her own. She told me it was no problem and thanked me for being one of the easiest people to deal with out there.  When shit like this happens, adding to the drama is just sooo not my game.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Days of Old

A while back I came across a video on YouTube posted by a guy named Rick Gore that goes by Think Like A Horse. He has a whole bunch of videos on there where he critiques other people's video as well as making some of his own when the hate mail comes flowing in. In a way he reminds me of Cathy who posted Fugly Horse of the Day (FHotD). He's a bit snarky while being up front and honest about things.

While Rick has no problems voicing his opinions, I don't agree with everything he says. That's fine, because there's nothing saying any of us have to. Like Fugly, there are plenty of followers who also have their own opionions and the comment section brings them out.

Random links to some of his video's

Baby in carseat 5 minutes
Stallions first time Lunging 12 minutes
First Ride 12 minutes

Monday, April 17, 2017

Walking along

As we made progress going down the driveway and back, a few others at the barn had noticed what was going on and how I have been working with my mare in getting this accomplished. They have seen that while I am not letting her get away with anything, I'm also not asking for anything more than my horse can handle either.

The other night after working her in long lines, I hopped on her to walk her around and cool her out. Since blogger L. Williams has been having lunge line lessons and learning a lot, I figured I would work on me a little in the round pen since I don't have anyone to keep my mare on a line or anywhere to really do it otherwise. I dropped my reins on my mare's neck and put my hands on my waist. It was kind of weird not having reins in at least one hand. A few laps around the round pen without the reins, moving her on and off the rail using only my legs, I figured why not go down the driveway?

We now go thru the gates without me having to dismount so we did that and headed down the driveway. Mostly I was planning to leave my mare alone and not pick at her, as long as we were moving and she kept it at a walk. She did really well and walked all the way down the driveway. Coming back, she kept it at a walk almost all the way. It was a quick walk, but it was still a walk. I kept my hand on the buckle of the reins, my legs hanging close to her sides and enjoyed the walk back to the barn.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Simple things

It's funny how we take the simple things in life for granted sometimes. Like walking down the driveway. My mare had a big issue with this. First we were walking away from the barn and all. the. other. horses. Then I expectd her to walk back. Without all the tenseness, anxiety or anticipation, let alone speed. Was I crazy for asking her to do this? Apparently I am.

My mare lacks confidence in herself and her work. She hasn't really learned that I will help her get her thru things yet or that she will be ok on her own (for real), but we're getting there. Walking down the driveway has been a big deal for her. Something we finally accomplished.

A while back even just taking her to the local arena and not just getting on her but being able to really work her and get some solid accomplishments laid out was a big deal. If any of you remember me taking her along with my WB mare over to Cindy's place (in AZ), she was mostly along for the ride to get used to working and listening , somewhere other than at 'home'. Her first time there, she was all about taking in the sights and riding her was probably not the best idea, which I decided only After I was on her back. Yeah, smart...

The second time I took her, I figured I would do some long line work with her. Get her to moving around the arena sort of on her own and let her figure things out without me on her back and both of us staying reasonably safe. She worked okay for the most part, but walking her around to cool off afterwards was a different story. She wouldn't settle down and ended up sweating nervously more than she had from actually working. This is why being able to ride her at the arena was such a big deal. Not just walking her around, but getting some actual trot and canter work in too without her losing her shit and walking around afterwards to cool her out too- monumental in her case.

My friend and I decided to take our horses out one day, just a short ride down the street. Out and back in 15-20 minutes or so. Nothing major, just a quick trip out and back. Her horse was fine for th most part. My mare got anxiuous and jittery going down the driveway. To the point that my friend's horse was slowly putting distance between us, which added to my mares building excitement level. The other day we tried riding just ut the diveway. Pretty much the same results for my mare. She got herself all wound up and worked up over nothing.

A few weeks ago I decided that this driveway work would best be sorted out on the ground at first. I worked her in the round pen and to cool her off, put her halter on and led her down the driveway. There was excitement and nervousness and she thought she would ignore me, walk over me and do her own thing. She also figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't buying it, not playing her game, letting her ignore me or walk on top of me either. If she turned her head away from me, I brought it back to where she had an ear on me. If she tried going in front of me and looking back, I put her back in her place beside me. If she tried 'leaning into me' and getting in my space, a well placed elbow reminded her it was not appreciated, allowed and not happening. If she took her attention Off me, I just insited she focus on and worry about me, rather than whatever got her attention over there. The first time was pretty bad, but the next time it got better.

Then I rode her down the driveway. She got all kinds of nervous and high strung. What was I thinking, insisting she focus on me instead of her pony whinnying in the barn behind us, the cows-> 3 fields over, the sky being above us, the ground below us, and the tree next to the drivway on the neighbors property? Going out was one thing, coming back was another.

She tried to turn her head back towards the barn, but did keep moving away fom it. Sometimes we inched along, other times we moved a bit more quickly. There was no even-ness in her stride. No rythem in her movement. Coming back she wanted to prance and jig because I wouldn't let her go and let her just take off. No, mean ol' me kept insisting that she walk instead. What a grump I am for that, I know.

The next few times she did increasingly better. She started to relax more and while there were 'rough spots' along the driveway where she would tense up and start losing focus, she started to piece together the idea that when she wasn't paying attention I would ask for her to focus and listen to me. Focusing and listening meant remembering I was up there and wasn't putting up with her misbehaving. Bummer! Slowly things were getting better. There was improvement. Her walking down the driveway was starting to happen more and more. Coming back, she still tried to jig and prance, but that was also going away. Jigging and pancing meant we had to do circles and sometimes ended up walking away from the barn again.

She also got fussy in the face. Leaning on one rein or the other- whichever one was keeping her from the barn. baring her teeth in frustration, opening her mouth with the western bridle in hope of evading the bit and just trying everything she could think of to let me know she didn't like the idea of cooperating and going so damn s.l.o.w. when she could just run back and be there already.

The circles and walking away from the barn became less and less. The initial 'leaving' to go down the driveway became less of an issue. She began to relax a little more each time, both going out and coming back. We were making progess. Slowly, but we were making progress nonetheless.