Saturday, December 27, 2008

I'm back!

Wow, has it really been that long since my last post? Yikes... First, thanks you so much to everyone for your comments on The Dude's anniversary post. I am grateful for the well wishes, even if it took me this long to respond.

My excuses for my absence are probably best explained with a complete update on the horses, the house, and the Three Left Behinds (me, brother #1, and brother #2).

The horses have been doing well. The weather turned cold and frequently foggy/rainy/frosty several weeks ago so Mira's meals are all made with hot water now. (Andolu gets stuffed with grass hay to keep him warm). I've ridden Anatolian several times but haven't gotten into a routine yet. Bad me! He isn't making grumpy faces any more when ridden, which is a real relief because it tells me his occasionally bad attitude before the laminitis attack was from his feet, and now they feel better. I had measured his mouth a few times in order to get him a new bit. Mira's 5" snaffle always seemed too snug at the corner of his mouth, and besides I wanted a french link (double jointed) bit, since they can be really nice and mild. I bought this bit, but the 5.5" is definitely too large. Oh well, the joys of mail order! I need to return it for the 5" now. He did like it, though. I actually tried riding him in his rope halter (just in the driveway for a couple minutes) and he was quite responsive in that, too. So far so good. If it'll stop raining long enough I might get to ride tomorrow - I hope so!

Andolu was a bad boy in one thing though this last few weeks. I am almost finished replacing all my fence so that it is all 2" x 4" welded wire with electric tape on the top - I only have a couple hours and about 150' to go. However, with all the new grass Anatolian decided at one point that the double shock from a section that was still just two strands of tape was worth the grass... and yes, he pushed the posts and tape enough that he got through. I heard the dogs start barking really loud and looked out and absolutely freaked to see him milling around on the road. He was perfectly easy to catch, but I think it scared a couple years off my life! That part was immediately replaced to keep him from getting more ideas. Eek. Not a funny trick.

Mira recently popped a splint on her right hind. It is right below the one she had two years ago. At first I was totally mystified why she was lame - no obvious cause for a stone bruise, no swelling on the leg, etc. etc. Then I found a little bump below the old splint and realized it was tender. So that got iced for a few days and I am still trying to keep her from moving much, but she has been trotting around as normal as one can in this mud we have. However, it seems like every time I go out there I think the bump looks bigger than a couple hours ago and I always have to feel it to make sure it really is the same size. I swear Mira likes getting fussed over, though. The more I hover around and poke and prod and come out every couple of hours the happier she is.

The boys and I are going to go in on a new camera, so hopefully pretty soon I'll be able to show you guys pictures of the horses again!

Now, imagine this picture - everywhere I go outside nowadays there is a gray tabby running right in front of me, a fat pure black cat running all around me, and a smaller pure black cat lurking at a distance, all meowing at intervals and giving me meaningful looks. I am now the Feline Pied Piper. When the parents left I took over feeding the cats, which happens at least twice a day, sometimes more if it is extra cold. I haven't really spoiled them a whole lot; I do stick to a schedule, but I guess they are always hoping for more, because they won't leave me alone!

Brother #2 and I also feed and water and walk the dogs every morning and water plants (fortunately not necessary lately). With the animals and various other outdoor chores, it has been quite a juggling job to get everything done at the right time every day and still do my other responsibilities. It's funny, parts of the house are staying super clean and organized and parts... need some work right now. We've also discovered that none of us "kids" seems to remember to build a fire until it gets to be about 50 degrees inside. Once we start a fire, we do keep it going all day, but we haven't gotten in the habit of doing it every day yet!

I never thought of myself as someone who loved to cook for fun. I enjoy it, but there are always other things I would rather be doing. Well, I've been discovering that I really like running the kitchen and making healthy things. I've been making soup the traditional way regularly and am having a lot of fun with other dishes also. When I get the time I plan to try making eggrolls. Any other fun dishes you guys want to suggest I try?

Christmas was quiet but good. It snowed on Christmas day, twice! That happens about once in a blue moon in this area! That was fun. The parents up in Washington had over 20" by Christmas day, and my siblings are enjoying it, although it is weird to have to shovel pathways. It's mostly melted into mud now around here, as yesterday was mostly sunny.

Overall, it has been a very hectic couple of months as I have been adjusting to life "sort of on my own." I really didn't have time to blog, and maybe it was a good thing to take a break for a while. A little vacation. That is my story and I'm sticking to it! Anyway, I'm finally back!


Friday, November 14, 2008

A Whole Year!

Wow, it has been exactly one whole year today since I got Anatolian! I can hardly believe it has already been that long. He's such a smart guy and I'm so happy to be able to ride him again... Phew! I'm working on building his fitness up carefully again.

One of my favorite things about the Racehorse Dude is that he enjoys laughs and will work to get them. Thus, he taught himself how to do various things like his lip flapping trick because everyone always laughs when he does it. He likes to test his boundaries a lot, but the longer he's here the smaller the "tests" get - which is good, because I didn't like it when he used to try to nip! He kind of rules Mira too thoroughly (and she's too timid), but it has been very good for her to have him around, in a lot of ways.

He's a good boy, and as he is only 6.5 years old I hope to enjoy many more anniversaries with him.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rain and mud and other fun stuff

Wow, it's been really hectic around here! The parents are leaving tomorrow... Sheesh! Today my sis will get one last ride on Andolu. I feel bad that he finally gets rideable again just before she has to go away. Neither of us has gotten to ride him much yet, and now it'll be quite a while before she gets to. Oh well. Her dog is staying here too. But they'll have a lot of fun up there, especially as there are a bunch of kids their age really close by up where they are going. We've had a lot of company the last couple of weeks as everyone tries to say goodbye to each other.

The horses are doing well. It has rained a lot in the last couple weeks, which has been nice. Of course, it's amazing how uniformly brown they both look now. I think Andolu especially loves waiting 'till I come and knock the dried mud off and then sneaking off to roll again. :-D They really love the pea gravel I bought and have been spreading around and Mira loves lying on it, so I'm sure I'll be buying more eventually to put in even more spots.

I have wheat planted and a few other things. I am not finished yet with what I wanted to grow this year, though. I'd still like to do potatoes and a bunch more peas! The grass is already up and I have been taking the horses handfuls; can't wait to take them out to graze. One of these days I do need to get pictures up again soon.

Well, later y'all. I shall return after the excitement dies down around here.


Sunday, November 9, 2008


The below article is my last post on politics for a while. I try to keep my blog just a fun place to talk about horses, but I wanted to get this out. Please feel free to not read it if you will get offended. I am not trying to bash anyone, just stating my viewpoint about what our country needs versus what it has chosen.

Well, we have a new president now. I am glad the suspense is over. I am just going to hope that either Obama is very ineffective or that he manages to get a whole bunch of his agenda done at once. If he gets a lot of his agenda accomplished quickly it will make Americans very, very mad and maybe wake people up. This country is like the frog in a boiling pot that has not noticed how bad things have gotten. I still can't believe we actually voted for a socialist/communist to run what is supposed to be a free country, but we did and now we get to experience the joys of socialism. It's worked SOO well in places like Russia, Cuba, most of Europe (with its extremely high levels of depression, an almost majority of people who never even try to get jobs, and hardly any children being born - getting taken over by immigrants), and all those other places it's been tried. (Yes, the sarcasm is a little heavy!) And don't quote China as a socialist place that is doing well. Their increasing prosperity is DIRECTLY correlated with every move they make towards a free market society.

Oh well. At least some good bills got passed, for a change.

I had a hard time before the election just leaving things to God. I know He is ultimately in charge and whatever happens is in His plan, but I felt like I was watching somebody stab themself over and over and I couldn't make them stop. Watching my country deliberately do such self-destructive things is really hard, but now it's done and it is the time for me to pray harder and keep living my life and doing the things I know I am supposed to do. One of which includes respecting the office of the president and showing some class towards the new president with whom I have almost nothing in common, unlike the majority of liberals the last eight years. I don't want to call names or things like that.

I also hope that this might actually clean up the Republican party. They have gotten so liberal leaning and so wishy-washy lately that it is disgusting. We need people with spines, who will articulate what and why they believe and who don't go around trying to make people like them but who actually do the things they are able to do and don't back down just because someone accuses them of being mean. If you believe something is best for the country, then TRY TO DO IT and don't let whiners stop you! At least now the GOP can see that pandering didn't help them win.

At least one good thing is that we have finally elected a member of a minority as president, so hopefully that will settle a great deal of the angst about racism and associated issues.

I am going to miss President Bush. I really am.

In the toughest of tough political climates with a media that functioned as an opposing lobby and with very little support from his own party, he still managed to do some amazing and audacious things. He stuck by his principles and his decisions consistently during the whole eight years and was consistently gracious to hateful people who stopped at nothing to smear him. Having been very involved with the Iraq War news and Iraqi blogs for about two years (not so much anymore) I am still dumbfounded at the completely biased way the media has misrepresented the efforts over there and what really has and hasn't "been found" and all the straw-men that were used to discredit our strategic purposes over there. I am amazed at how everything, even the weather, has been spun so as to try to find a way put blame on Bush, and cannot believe the way people would actually openly wish for bad things to happen to America just so that they could use it against Bush. I also am quite disgusted with the Republicans for not having the courage of their convictions and for not really trying hard to get the conservative message out.

I still am amazed we were lucky (blessed) enough to have President Bush for eight whole years and I hope the rest of his life is good. I disliked his big-government policies, but I respect him a great deal and am not looking forward to having a new president who is wobbly and inexperienced on some things and on others firmly set on courses that will be very, very bad for our country long-term.

Finally, the current financial crisis is something we all share responsibility for. It has been building for decades and warned about thousands of times. The problems come from a combination of programs trying to fix things by throwing money at problems, laws trying to regulate things to make them safer and less risky and/or more fair, and a general (natural) human desire to get fun stuff before the right time. The government can fix its share of the problem by allowing citizens more freedom (and thus opportunity), by not trying to "make" fairness happen, and by not trying to solve every problem for everyone. Then it is up to us, The People of the United States, to work on our own problems with the tools we have, which are many.

Most of my readers are horse people. Hay prices have gone dramatically up in recent years. The price spikes are actually quite predictable (and have been predicted many times) due to policies that started during the Great Depression and that have gotten more involved over time. Farmers in our country produce a great deal of the world's food - in fact, America produces 25% of the world's GDP every year! However, being either a small family farmer or a big farmer in this country presents many, many challeges. Meat and dairy inspection laws in most states favor only the large producer, such that a $500,000 state-of-the art slaughter plant would be required if a family wanted to sell 20 chickens a year to their neighbors, already processed. The laws could be modified so that farms could produce and process meat (and dairy) just as hygienically in a clean room with stainless steel and concretee and good refrigeration. However, the tangled bunch of laws keep getting more tangled. When the powers that be decide that too many farmers are planting corn in a year, thus bringing the price down, the government will PAY some farmers NOT to plant corn. Huh? What is with that? As a result of all the tinkering by the USDA and other buraucracies, milk prices paid to dairy farmers have stayed almost the same as in the 50s. Everything else went way up, though, so farmers now have a very, very small margin of profit on each cow, and must have thousands rather than dozens of cows, and feed antibiotics and growth hormones to try to get slightly more profit out of the cow before she dies at 4 or 5. If the government had not been messing with the market economy in farming, we would be paying a lot less taxes, but quite a bit more at the grocery store. However, the food we bought would be from farmers who were actually earning a living most years and who were able to raise the food in a healthy manner with far less pollution, chemicals, and environmental impact. We all want that, but we keep electing people who make laws that take us farther and farther away from any chance of that. Hmm.

Below are various random links:

Anyway, enough with the ranting now and thanks if you managed to read it all! I'll get back to planting wheat and playing with the horses. Hopefully I can do a more fun post about The Spoiled Ones tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Major Changes

Big things have been happening here lately.

Backstory: For the last couple of months my dad has been out of work. Not one of his usual clients have had work they were ready to give him yet (a couple of them had projects they wanted to do but weren't able to go ahead with yet.) Obviously, my parents have been kind of stressing about it. Dad was searching all over for some more clients and my mom even looked for work, which she has not done since my older brother was born. Now that the two youngest are teenagers they don't need very much attention while doing their schoolwork, etc., so she thought now might be a good time to get a job. However, nothing was available at all in the area for either of them. Meanwhile, their ministry partners in the state of Washington have been having a lot of change happening. My parents and their partners do part time family ministry, with my parents focused on Hispanic families and their partners involved in several specific groups right now. So, they kept telling my parents they should come up there for a while and help out with all the things that are really "popping" up there right now. Everyone was praying about it and door after door kept closing down here. Eventually, dad felt that he had gotten confirmation to go to Washington. (Interestingly enough, the next day after the decision, his favorite client called up and wants him to start on a project, so it turns out dad will have his favorite kind of job to work on while they get settled in up there!)

So, my parents and my sis and youngest brother are moving to Washington for an indefinite amount of time - Brothers # 1 and #2 and me are staying here and running the place and we're going to be really hoping the grandparents all stay healthy and don't get hurt!

I finally get to run a house and make menus *almost* on my own now! It'll be interesting and fun in a lot of ways, but I am really, really going to miss them! I'm sure it's going to be really difficult to adjust to. I told my best friend that she was going to be hearing a LOT more than she ever wanted to about horses now. She says (now!) that she won't mind. Hopefully not, as I usually blabber to mom and sis about horses and they at least are somewhat interested, whereas my best friend is not really an animal person...

Feel free to give me suggestions for getting used to living independently! I expect to get along pretty well with my brothers, but advice on making the change to no parents around is welcome.

Signed, Rather Jittery,


Update on the skinny bay oldster

Initial post here:

When my vet was here doing the boosters and checkup on The Spoiled Ones, I asked him if he had ever been able to catch a glimpse of that horse when driving by. It turns out the owner of the vet just called him and had him come over last Friday! Apparently several other people besides me have called Animal Control and so they called him. The owner told my vet that the horse is about 29 or 30 and he has had him since he was 2. The horse is apparently still bright eyed and moving around, just has been hard to keep weight on, and he wanted advice now that people were calling Animal Control about it. So the vet has given him some advice and I am VERY relieved to know that at least the horse is getting something to eat, got medical care, and should hopefully look a lot better soon! Now I don't have to lie awake on cold nights worrying about if that horse has anything in its stomach and if it has anybody that cares about it - I'll keep an eye on it, but I think it should start to look better soon with some supplements and help. Phew!


Laminitis Update: 8

Hopefully this will be the LAST laminitis update I have to do on the Racehorse Dude! The vet was out here a couple days ago and cleared him for exercise and normal horse life once again! Phew, what a relief... It was really weird having the vet out for a NORMAL vet visit, which sounds bad, but after all the disasters this year I got used to seeing him on half an hour's notice and with all sorts of worries going through my head. I forget how many times he's been here this year, but starting with Mira's eye injury saga last January I've spent a lot more than I want to think about on vet bills.

I asked him to check their teeth and float them if needed, so he looked at both their mouths. He informed me that Mira was missing a lot of teeth (sassy me thinks, "what, they didn't grow back yet!?!") and that even though she has all sorts of interesting bumps and ridges in her mouth, floating would just make her mouth worse. OK. Andolu's mouth was in great shape and didn't need anything. Cool.

I had asked him to give them tetanus and rabies boosters, but I also asked him to show me how to give them their shots myself. So I did three of the injections and it turns out horse shots are much easier to give than dog and cat shots. Another useful skill learned now. Andolu didn't even stop chewing!

I can hardly wait to start riding again! Yippee!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Update on the bee project

Initial post here.

Shortly after that first post, my mother actually posted our info on a local beekeeper association bulletin board saying that we would like to offer our property as a place to store hives during the downtime from pollinating crops. We had two beekeepers call up right away and they acted very interested, but neither was able to come up and check our property out at the time. I suppose the one guy must have found a place for his extra 20 or so hives or didn't think it was worth coming all the way up here to drop off a few hives, but we haven't talked to either one in a while. One of the beekeepers did give us some very useful information though, about a new/ancient kind of hive that is MUCH easier and less stressful on the bees and produces LOTS more honey.

There is even a variation of the hive built with the Fibonacci sequence that has been found to have dramatically more honey production than would be expected of a hive with that total number of inches inside. Isn't that funny? Fibonacci sequence is so fascinating to me!

Anyway, the current status of the bee project is on hold, due to the fact that we were not able to get alfalfa started. Now that I know it needs hard ground, we'll see what we can do next spring... Until then, I don't think there is quite enough food for a hive in this area. I still really want bees, though.

The only bad thing about bees is their unaccountable prejudice against barnyard animals and the smell of manure. Sheesh, what's wrong with manure? :-D We'll just have to put their hive(s) near the pond and away from the horses when I do get them.


Another NHR post

Hopefully this will be a somewhat shorter post... Yeah right :-)

Following up my last post on socialism, I will say that neither candidate has a record of exactly supporting true democracy and capitalism. McCain's so-called campaign finance reform laws (limiting free speech and not reforming anything. Too many hundreds of blog posts out there to pick from to link to) and his records of wanting more regulation on this or that issue do not make me happy, any more than the fact that rather than being a "maverick" he strikes me as more of a "try to please everyone" type of person. From watching him over the last few years he seems to equate making people agree with him to getting things done. I think getting things done means a little more than that and often, unfortunately, getting things done means you will be less popular.

However, Obama really scares me. See this great article for a few of the reasons why. Another consideration - even if you really liked all his social policies, what about the way he would be viewed by other countries and by terrorists? Even if it were possible to prove that he never had any knowledge about the Communist/terrorist work of the various people he worked so closely with, do you think that would get through to Al-Qaida and other organizations? Al-Qaida is a lot weaker now than it used to be, but there are still plenty of people out there who are constantly working on ways to attack us. It is amazing to me that we have not had any more attacks in seven years. It's incredible. If we get a president who is percieved as wanting to be friendly to those people, it is not going to make them decide to like us. They will just decide the time is perfect for a new attack now that our guard is down. What would Obama do? Would he get panicky and use nuclear... would he not react enough and let more attacks happen?

It might be possible to stand a president who does his best to ruin the economy and personal freedom but protects the country's borders, and it might be possible to stand a president who is careless about our safety but protects personal freedom and the economy, but one who actively attacks personal freedom/the economy AND actively weakens our safety is a nightmare. I don't want that nightmare to come true.

Slightly different: What is with this sort of treatment of reporters? For Pete's sake, I can possibly understand charging reporters to travel around with the campaign, but not that much! Limit it to $300 or $400 a day, treat them like human beings, and try to remember what they are there for. Either give them help to do their jobs (i.e. news, information, sound bites) or don't have them there. I do understand that running a campaign is a very difficult job and that leaks can be extremely damaging to any campaign. Newsflash: Leaks inevitably happen. If you build a decent rapport with a press corps, they will be nicer to you in the event of embarrassing leaks. I just cannot understand this seemingly universal abuse of reporters covering campaigns. Oh well. Enough ranting for the day!


Monday, October 13, 2008


It really got cold this last week, down into the 30s. It's been a long time since I could see my breath around here, so it was kind of fun. The horses have been getting extra grass hay at night to keep them warm and they like that. Mira doesn't seem to have as heavy of a coat as she usually does. I could be wrong, but I think it's usually a lot thicker by now. I don't mind if we have a mild winter as long as we have plenty of rain.

My mom made a really cool discovery a few days ago. Apparently there is a kind of Ethiopian grain/forage crop with really, really tiny but nutritious grains that needs heat, very little water, and a short growing season. As long as it gets rained on at least once while it is growing it will produce some sort of crop. If you cut it early it is a great forage for animals (similar to timothy hay, but slightly better) and if you let it grow two weeks more you get a very good grain. It's called Teff and I found a variety that would probably let me grow 2 tons of hay per acre in our area. I plan to order some of this variety soon and plant it next spring. The planting instructions also illuminated what is probably the reason we never got alfalfa to grow - they both need to be planted on firm ground that your foot does not sink into at all. Well, we have plenty of that around here, but we always tried to work the ground a little and make it fluffier before planting the alfalfa. Well, now we know!

I am counting the days until Andolu gets cleared by the vet...


Sunday, October 12, 2008

A rather different type of post

I try not to get too political on my blog, because I started it as a fun stress reliever. However, I couldn't resist putting this post up. I keep seeing all the panicky news articles on the economy. It's been quite obvious for years that we are due for a very bad depression. The roots of the problem go back decades. For example, when the US and other countries went off the gold/silver standards, that was a bad choice for stability. It does seem to have allowed more rapid growth of the economy, but that came with a price - less security.

The incredible amount of debt that most of the world's countries are in is also very bad for economic health. There are so many things that have contributed to this problem and I am surprised the system has done as well as it has for as long as it has. I have a few basic beliefs about politics that rule my opinions/who I vote for/what I want to see happen. What are your basic, rock bottom beliefs about government and economies?

I believe:
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Translation: Any power the government has will inevitably be abused at some point. Thus, the more limited the power of the government, the more limited its power to do harm. There must be a balance between its power to protect the citizens and its power to control the citizens. Part of the way to achieve that balance is by having as few things as possible controlled by the central government, and as many things as possible controlled by each local community. The local government is closely watched and controlled by the people it is overseeing. It is much harder for the local government to abuse its power than it is for the federal government. And, when it does abuse its power, it will affect far fewer people and is much easier to stop.

The opposite, socialism/statism, where everything is controlled by the central government, has always resulted in multiple disasters affecting millions of people and a general ongoing degredation of the population's standard of living. Even the most cursory knowledge of history proves that point. The current world economic crisis is mostly the result of too much centralized power (which means less accountability and far more abuse). Our sub-prime mortgage mess here in the US is largely due to too much regulation and yet because people are scared and reality hurts there are actually calls for MORE regulation! Sorry, but I grew up in a third-world country and I hate watching my beloved America turn into a third-world country. I remember when my childhood country elected a man they knew perfectly well wanted to be dictator. Our friends said quite honestly that they knew it was stupid to elect someone who would take away most of their rights, but they told us that they needed a dictator to make sure things got done. This is a country that has a hard time developing businesses for reasons like the following example:

Say you start an auto mechanics store. You hire a couple of mechanics and buy some of the necessary parts and put out your shingle. One day when you come back from your lunch break, none of your employees are there, and most of your parts and supplies are gone - headed for the black market. You still have a little bit of money left, so now you hire your nephew and buy some new parts. You hang around the shop as much as possible to make sure he doesn't steal from you, but at least he's not as likely to try because he's related to you. You make a decent living now, but you can never feel at ease going on vacation because who knows what might happen if you are not there personally? And of course it would be quite difficult to start another branch of your store because it is so hard to find employees who won't steal and who will actually show up every day.

This is no joke. I lived there and that is what it is like. In order to pay phone and electric bills every month everybody goes to the offices and pays them in person - you can't send checks through the mail because they usually won't get there. That takes a lot of your time every month, especially if you don't have a car. I loved that country, but even as a child with no responsibilities I could see the effects of all the issues due to people not being trustworthy. If the post office had too many letters they would take some out back and burn them. Hmm...

If you talk to policemen or whatever they will loudly complain about all the corruption in the government and how it really needs to be cleaned up and people need to stop accepting bribes. But it was always "other people" who needed to change first. If you asked them, they would tell you that a man has to make a living so they would accept a bribe even if it was wrong, because, after all everyone else was doing it.

A third-world country is that way primarily because the "lowest common denominator," if you want to call it that, of morality, is too low. The less you can trust people, the poorer the country will get, inevitably. We did know some amazing and incredibly honest people in my childhood country, but they were not the norm. America used to have a lot of people with strong characters. Whatever your theory of why, everybody seems to agree nowadays that there are increasing problems with cheating and crime and and more and more hurting people. I see more and more resemblances to the country I grew up in and it scares me. The bad thing is a lot of the socialist, big brother government-type policies have encouraged less and less personal responsibility and more and more laziness. It seems like we're such a busy country, and we're so used to our comforts, that I wonder how much of the famous American backbone is left. Are we like the Romans now, "give us bread and circuses and we'll be happy" or are there enough of us like our forebears who hated the tax on imported fabrics and so began wearing buckskin to make a point to England? I think Americans want to be a strong, kind, and trustworthy people, but we are so busy and distracted that we don't have time to think about things like that much any more.

We've already lost a lot of our freedoms. Both of the presidential candidates and most of the congressional candidates would like to make a bunch more restrictions on those freedoms. Will we wake up? I don't know, but I really hope and pray that this financial crisis will wake people to the dangers of giving too many powers to the government and inspire more of us to take initiative ourselves. Thus, my continued efforts to learn to grow different kinds of food and my resolve to vote (even if I can't stand what's on the ballot) and do my best to push for fewer laws and more freedoms in this country. I also keep noticing how hard it is to find time for people and even just thinking. Have you noticed the same problem? It's really hard! But, it is essential if I want to experience my life rather than zoom through my life doing five things at once. I keep trying to decide what is vital and what isn't. This type of recreation, or that type? Do I need to do this first, or that first?

A final thought:
Issues such as healthcare and education are prime examples of capitalist versus socialist methods and what works to create the kind of healthy, efficient, working system we all want.

Sorry for the LONG post. I suggest reading Instapundit's blog every day for a month if you want a quick and extremely comprehensive education as to the state of the nation and all sorts of opposing views on issues. It's a great place to clarify one's thoughts and beliefs. Anyway, tomorrow I plan a much more cheerful and easy to digest post. Thanks for reading this far!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rain, rain - don't go away!

The last couple of days we've had a decent amount of rain, very soft and misty so it soaked in well. I just love rain... Especially now that I can get up after dawn! Of course the horses like rolling so Mira almost looked sorrel like Andolu until some of the mud came off. They are both doing well and Andolu was a good boy and hasn't been taking advantage of his freedom to zoom around too much. One really good thing about him backing up to voice cues is it made him really good about keeping his distance when I was carrying buckets of food and flakes of hay to the shelter. He is MUCH more respectful now than he used to be, which is very nice when my hands are full!

No update on the horse mentioned in the previous post yet. I didn't see it the last couple times I drove by, but that's pretty common. We'll see.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So frustrating

First, the background story. On the highway to the town where I used to (and occasionally still do) work, there is a certain hilly area with a couple little houses and a really old barn-like structure. It is probably about 35-40 years old is my guess. Anyway, you can't really see much of the houses or the barn because the hill goes up very steeply right next to the highway and then levels out a bit and then goes up steeply again. There are trees and brush all over. Years ago I remember seeing a fuzzy bay horse grazing next to the barn/shed. It was probably at least 6+ years ago, but for quite a while after that I always craned my neck going past to see if I could see it again. (Despite having my own horses now, I'm still a kid when I see any horses. Not blase yet - I always like to watch horses!)

So, a few months ago I was driving past and I saw a bay horse next to the shed! I have no idea if it's the same one. I thought it looked a little skinny, but told myself not to be the nosy, hyperanxious lady who imagines abuse and starving animals everywhere. Every time I go past now I always look for the horse. It is hardly ever down on that level, and if it is there is only one spot it can stand where you can see more than its head or top of its back. About two months ago I got a really good look at the horse and realized I was not imagining things. Its spine is bony and has big hollows below the spine and above the ribs, all of which are visible. The hips are about what you'd expect, i.e., not really there, and the neck is also too skinny. At the time I thought it was probably a 3 on the Body Condition Scale judging by how easy it was to see too many bones with a glimpse at fast speed. I called the SPCA and asked if they could check it out. The officer told me, "Oh, I drive past that horse every day. He's probably just old. Besides, he has shelter so there's nothing we can do anyway." I realize that Animal Control laws are usually really hard to enforce, and that officers often do not have much horse knowledge. I also realize that it is possible that hearing all the stories about hay shortages and starving horses could be making me hypersensitive. Plus, I do not want to unnecessarily upset some poor old person who might be feeding their oldster that has health issues bags and bags of Equine Senior and just can't keep the weight on. That is possible, although unlikely from the way the horse and his enclosure looks. So, I kept trying to get glimpses every time I drove by. On Friday I saw the horse very clearly again, and he is probably about a 2 on the BCS now. I called Animal Control again and explained the situation. Today I called to ask if they could tell me if they did check the horse out (not what was being done about it, just if they did respond). She said they always check it out same day or the day after. I sure hope so, because he really doesn't look good to me.

I asked my vet about the horse last week and he said he had no idea there was one there, (remember, it is almost impossible to see the horse from the highway) but that he was out on three similar calls with Animal Control just in the last week! I don't like that number... So at least he knows there is something there and will probably be watching for it too.

I'm just frustrated because I saw the horse again today. I was hoping he'd be gone, or that he would at least be eating. Nope. Just standing there. I am doing my best not to get all mad for the horse's sake until I know more facts. But still! I suppose the next thing to do is wait a while and if nothing seems to happen, then try to get some photos without being seen and without trespassing (tricky) and send them to Animal Control with a copy of the BCS. I know there are horse people in the area who would take in this horse if the owners gave him away, so if the officials can't do anything and the horse continues to look worse then I will figure something out with them.

The situation just kills me, though, because the horse is literally a half mile from the feed store!

Sorry for the rant, I'm just worried.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Just in time!

Wow, that was close. Last week we tore out the floor in a building on the other side of the property. It was actually built as a hay barn for the previous owners' BLM donkeys, but has never been usable as one for me, especially since it is a long way away from the actual horses. Since I bought the squeeze of hay, though, we decided it made sense to tear out the rotting floor in the protected inner room and spread sand from the pond and then put pallets there. We started moving hay bales this morning. At least 2/3 of the stack should fit in there, and the rest will be easy to cover by tarp. Whenever I need more I can ask the guys to bring up 7 or 8 bales and thus keep the hay in good shape all winter. The funny part is that right after we got the room ready it started clouding up. This afternoon it got much cloudier, so we went out and covered the stack with the lovely teal tarp - just as it began to pour! I went and put a halter on Andolu and took him over to the shelter, where I had put some hay and water. Mira hadn't gone in yet, but I figured she would as soon as she got wetter and once she finished her Eq. Sr. Anatolian nibbled a little and then dashed away up the hill. I kind of expected it. :-) He took over Mira's food and so then she, typically, went over to his round pen and began eating his leftover hay. I have to admit I kind of enjoy getting rained on too, so I suppose I can't blame them for not going under the shelter until the sun came out again! LOL

It is still quite cloudy and I am really hoping it rains more tonight, so I think I'll leave Andolu out of the round pen so he can get to the shelter. It's almost been four months anyway, so I doubt the vet would be very upset.

The pond only has about an inch of water left in the bottom after this long summer, so we really can use a good soaking rain!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Progress this week

I am glad to note that that the irritated skin on Andolu's back really liked the olive oil. I applied it twice, and it just soaked it up. He is already looking MUCH better, and now I know what to do if it happens again, so that is a relief.

He still is acting perfectly comfortable and sound lately. The advantage to him having that abscess at the hoof wall right after his episode of laminits is that I can tell exactly how much new hoof wall has grown since then. He currently has grown about 1.5 inches. In counting the time since his attack, I realized that early next month will be four months already! I already told the vet I'd like him to come out the middle of that month and do their teeth and rabies/tetanus shots, so hopefully he will clear Andolu for exercise then. That would be really great. Of course, I would gradually start with leading him on walks at first, and work on getting him somewhat fitter before starting short rides. If they both stay healthy and don't do anything stupid, then things looks promising; although, before I start riding him again, I plan to get some lessons at the trainer's so I can get back in the swing of things myself.

It is so nice to feel fall weather here. We're working on planting the winter veggies now. I am trying to decide where and how much wheat to plant, for one thing. Decisions, decisions. I am determined to do a lot more planting than I've done in the last few years. Well, that's it for this update.


Is your horse a rock star?

This is so cool! I just read this article last night and took the test for both Mira and Andolu. I loved their results:

Mira -
The Goddess is loved by most of the other horses and most people. They are expressive and sensitive and emotional. You will know how they feel. They try very hard to please and will worry and be anxious if you are not happy with them. In the negative they can have scattered energy that is hard to get focused. This personality can be loved on as much as you want.

"This totally describes her. The longer I have her the more I love her because she is fearless about experiences but at the same time super sensitive to me. This is only bad when I'm sick and she gets sick too."

Anatolian -
The Rock Stars are confident and charismatic. They are expressive and strong-minded. They love to show you what they know but are hard to get to focus on the small details of the task. They are found in many competitive arenas, usually at the top of their field.

"I love that it says they are usually at the top of their field (tee hee). I hope he will live up to that that if and when I can ever start riding again! I do know that every time I do anything like work with him he eats it up. He really, really loves work - especially if he can get people laughing.

If you take this test for your horse, please let me know the results! I thought it was very cool.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Arte y Pico Award!

Thanks to OnTheBit for giving me this award! The original blog, linked here per the rules, explains that the title means something similar to "summit of art" or "high art," (my interpretation of what they said). My pictures are all snapshot quality, so I will consider myself flattered. :-)
I had fun deciding who to pass this award on to, and I revisited some blogs I have not been keeping up with lately. So, the winners are:
  • Prophotobylori - She is actually a professional photographer, and her pictures are always excellent.
  • Equus Ink - Lots of videos of her horses, one a TB and one an old Arab mare (like mine).
  • Freelance Instructor - Another blog I need to catch up on and stay caught up on. She is a riding instructor over in the UK, and has all sorts of cool info and pics and videos on her site. Pretty cool.
  • Mikey - Lots of cool pictures of her houses and her ranch. I also couldn't resist giving an award just because of the recent story...
  • Saving Argus - Photos that capture Argus's amazing, really amazing, journey to health and happiness.
Don’t Forget to Pass on the Rules with the Award:

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the ward itself.

4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y pico” blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) To show these rules.

Have fun visiting those blogs and enjoy!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Suggestions welcome - irritated skin

Ever since I got Andolu he has had slightly thinner hair on his back. His hair is never really thick anywhere, but his back skin seemed extra sensitive (maybe genetics, maybe from the NOT fitting Western saddle that left white spots on his withers) and lately it has gotten a lot more irritated. The vet said I could use Neutrogena T/Gel shampoo (leave in for 15 minutes once a week), but NONE of the stores carry it here. I can order it from Amazon, but I was wondering if anyone has any other suggestions. His skin got worse with all the hosing to keep him cool this summer. The rest of his coat is a little dry, but his back is sort of peeling a bit. I just decided to start rubbing some olive oil on his back at the night feeding to soothe it. Oil can be really good for skin and hair. Any other ideas will be gratefully considered!

Also, did you all read about Keller? If you haven't yet, go read it right now! What a wonderful thing to happen at the last second for this poor old blind Appy mare. I have a soft spot now for blind horses since Mira's eye injury and I just loved reading the "happy new beginning" for this old sweetheart!


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Nothin' much to say. Things actually went smoothly this last week, even yesterday (usually Saturdays are the days I get the really, really hard doctor dictating)... It's nice getting to relax!

Here are the horses hanging out this afternoon.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget

Again on this day our country remembers the heroes who showed such courage on that day in the towers, the planes, and the streets.

We remember all the people who never got to say goodbye.

We will always remember.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I just got in from feeding the pigs... er, horses. It was dark - I could barely see when I came back in, but I know the way so I don't mind. I stayed out longer than usual after they were both fed, and just looked at things and listened. I love nighttime. You can feel winter coming now, just barely, and everything is so calm at this time. Of course, the perfect background noise is the sound of frogs chirping and horses chewing happily. :-D

Anyway, I'm not good with words, so I'll just say it reminded me of all those sayings about "velvet sky," and "gentle twilight," and "still of the evening." I've always had a hard time slowing down, relaxing, letting go, etc. etc., which I think is one reason I love being out after dark, with no flashlight. The quiet and dark force me to relax and I even breathe slower.

Now, my sister on the other hand can relax whenever, in almost any situation. Lucky her!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Training Experiments

As you might have noticed, I really enjoy training animals! One reason that having Andolu on stall rest is such a drag for me is that I was just starting to be able to really work with him - and he loved it, too. However, I have figured out various little things I can work on that do not required him to move a lot or get excited. The verbal and/or hand signal backup command is now installed on him. My main challenge with that now is to keep mixing things up so that he never knows whether food or another reward or just praise is waiting when he does it. Meanwhile, I am now working on getting him to move his hindquarters away from me with a hand signal. Eventually I think I should be able to stand in front of him (facing his head) and ask him to sidepass to right or left and have him do it smoothly and quickly and straight. That would be such a kick! I also want to train a come sideways towards me cue, also - so that if I give the cue, he will move his front or rear or both towards me as I stand facing his ribs. Anyway, it's a lot of fun and is helping me with the waiting. I can hardly wait until I can finally ride again! I got to ride in a carriage behind some adorable flaxen chestnut Belgians this weekend and even riding in a carriage I got that "horse high." It's weird, but I can get a high that lasts for days from something as simple as riding in a carriage or sitting on a horse for a few minutes. At least I have lots of company!

The farrier was here last week doing Andolu's feet again. He said that The Dude looks great in his movement and his feet look really good. He said he thought I'd be able to ride him again really soon. Of course, he tried not to contradict the vet's "four months" order, but I could tell the farrier was really happy with Anatolian's progress in this six weeks. And I was happy with how the farrier did change some things about the trim this time as I requested. :-D

So, we'll see how soon that "10 day truck" comes by again... Tee hee. For now I'll just enjoy things. My last brother now has chickenpox, so hopefully in a week or so we will all be done with that stupid disease!


A lion introduces his lionesses to his best friends

Oh my goodness! This is the most amazing footage!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update to Alfalfa Patch

See the first post here.

It looks like we haven't figured out alfalfa yet. Last time we tried planting in the spring, this time in the summer. Both times we used the appropriate innoculant and watered faithfully - both times the plants sprouted and stalled and died. Bummerific. What IS the correct time for this area? Oh well! This is what the "alfalfa patch" looks like now - we finally got a good crop of weeds before deciding not to water it anymore. I do have about a dozen black bean plants that are producing pretty well, for my personal project, so at least one garden thing worked for me this year. Now that fall is almost here, I am going to get ready and try to plant carrots, peas, potatoes, peas, wheat, oh, and peas! Ahem. We call fresh peas "garden candy" around here and we can never get enough. Young peas are soo sweet!

Anyway, I don't think alfalfa would do well planted in the fall or winter, so for now I am going to focus on growing people food and ideas for helping the native grasses over the winter.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Actually, it was chickenpox

How can you get chickenpox twice? Seriously, that is NOT fair - I had it when I was little. Oh well, it explains my other symptoms, and I got a week's vacation (almost NO work! Yay!). My brother and sister also got it, but I definitely had it the worst. The good thing is that while I was so sick I could do nothing but lie in bed, I caught up on my reading - mostly. I think I read about 20 books, including a lot of my old favorites. I really needed that, as I don't feel like myself if I never get to read. On a different topic, I am never going to be grumpy about how oatmeal is boring again. It is boring, but it also seriously saved my sanity/life/skin/something! That stuff worked miracles.

I wish I could have gotten video of the horses' expressions, though. There were a few days when the kids had to do most of the feeding, and when I did stagger out there once a day or so, both horses were so quiet it was scary. They just looked at me (and sis swears they were watching me walk, like, "Is she lame? How do we call the vet?") and did not do their normal nickers and whinnies. I'm glad that they are back to normal now.

One very good thing that came out of this is that my boss and coworkers were all super nice about my being sick. The cool part is that I am a workaholic (I realize that about myself, even if I haven't figured out how to be more balanced) and I keep pushing myself to do more and feeling guilty when I don't do as much as I want to or feel that I should be able to do. Being sick was good for me - they got behind, yes, and missed me, yes, but they all said not to worry but just to get well. I really appreciated that.

I am going to try to do an update about the alfalfa project and bees soon. :-)


Monday, August 25, 2008

Wow, the truck strikes again.

Hi guys. You know how I've said this year has been a solid stream of "getting hit by a truck every 10 days?" It happened again. I got a fever, chills, aches, etc. last weekend and thought it would probably pass quickly. Then a rash started. By the time we figured out it was poison oak (NOT been in my range lately!) it was really bad. Lizard face me. I have bumps all over, and am feeling extremely whiny. Anyway, I'll post sometime when I'm feeling like a human again and can sit up for longer than 10 minutes. Hope everyone is having a good Monday.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Post # 202

The last few days have been pretty nice. It cooled down again from highs in the 110s, so that is a relief. Andolu is so weird. In the middle of the day he'll stand out in the sun like it is nighttime. He loves getting hosed off, but to keep him in the shade I have to feed him there. Oh well. I think I mentioned I have been working on training him to back up from a hand signal. He has always been really reluctant/grumpy/stiff when backing. Since I'm pretty sure he has stiffness somewhere in his back end, I never got on his case too much. But now, every time I feed him I ask him to back at least one step before he gets his food. Soon I am going to ask for two steps each time, and work up. Anyway, he is picking it up fast. One thing I do notice is that at first I had to stop using my voice to say "back" and just use body language. He picked up what I meant quicker that way. Eventually I hope he'll be able to respond to just the voice command, too. Now, when he's especially anxious for his food, he doesn't just dance around forward, he'll back up too as I'm coming over. His backup looks a lot smoother now with all the practice.

I was comparing pictures of Mira's coat last summer with this summer's, and I can really tell a difference in the quality. Last summer we had a great spring with tons of grass, and this year... not. It was depressingly obvious. I really hope this winter we get lots of rain! I hope I have time tonight to catch up on Olympic coverage. I've hardly seen any of the horse footage...


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Laminitis Update: 7

Anatolian has been off the bute for three days now - the one month supply was used up in exactly one month - and I have been watching him carefully but cannot tell a single difference in his behavior and comfort level. He looks good to me. I plan to have the farrier out in a week or so to take his shoes off and retrim and put new shoes on. What I know from reading the barefoot websites is that laminitic horses need frequent trims, sometimes every two weeks, for proper healing and hoof regrowth. If I have to do shoes right now, I still don't want to let his feet get too long, which they almost are already.

Meanwhile, a few days ago the grandparents' well had some trouble. Since the horses get water from their well, I ended up hauling water across the road to them the last few days. Bah! SO not my favorite thing to haul five gallon buckets every couple hours all day long... Oh well. At least I can finally use the hose again. The horses liked it - I split their meals into even smaller portions and fed them almost every trip. They sure liked that! I remember in the jungle when we had "walking water," (i.e., walk to the river, fill buckets, cart up to the house, filter by hand) thinking it was fun whenever I was allowed to help carry a bucket. Nowadays though, running water and refrigeration rank side by side in my "favorite inventions."

I am loving the new hay stack. This hay is definitely better quality than the feed store stuff I was getting. Mira probably eats twice as much hay as she usually does, and Andolu is now holding his weight on the grass hay. And I just love seeing several tons of hay up there; it is like looking out at a dark rainy night while sitting in front of a fire drinking cocoa. :-D


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Six horsey things I am proud of

A couple weeks ago I was tagged by Onthebit for this meme. It struck me as ironic, since this whole year has been very difficult for me and I have had such a hard time juggling all the different aspects of my life. I am an ISTJ through and through and to go for months feeling like I really cannot quite keep up with everything has been very hard for me. I have been at a really low ebb in my confidence. I know everyone has times where they feel like they just can’t get it together and, well, this has been one of those times for me. It goes against the grain and was a bit difficult for me to think of six horsey things I was proud of, but here goes.

Six horsey things I am proud of:

  1. My horses both like and obey me. I am always so glad to see their happy faces when I’m around, and the way Mira follows me when I’m doing chores or whatever. I am also proud that I do always follow through to make sure they do what I ask.
  2. I am proud that Mira has such great manners now. When I got her two years ago, she was antsy and tended to run into people leading her. She was well trained as a youngster, but had forgotten a lot of it. Now, she never lets the rope go taut, and you can even lead her without a halter, just holding her lower lip gently. She is a complete lady.
  3. I am proud that Mira is healthy and a perfect weight and energetic at the age of 28, even despite most of her teeth being gone.
  4. I am proud that Andolu is so much happier now than when I met him. He was a little depressed and a little uptight. Now he is just fractious and high-spirited!
  5. I am proud that I have continued to remember my vow as a child to do my best to share the joy of horses with kids when I had my own horses. I do try to invite people over to play with them whenever possible.
  6. I am proud that I learned how to install an electric fence system! Don’t laugh, I am not an engineer type person and though electric fences are simple, I was still surprised I could figure it all out without help!

This was a fun meme and lifted my mood. Hmm, now I think I'll tag risingrainbow! With all she's come through and accomplished, she might have trouble sticking to six! And anyone else can feel free to consider themselves tagged. :-)


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Better Pictures

Here are some better pictures of The Spoiled One from after her bath. Now I am just trying to get some pictures of Andolu playing with his toys - he won't do it when I'm around because he's too busy asking for more food!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Some pics from the last week

Here are a couple pics of Mira shortly after I finished her once-yearly all-over bath with soap. I don't do her all over with soap very often as she hates it so much. So, she usually gets a whole body bath or two in the summer, usually around the "anniversary." Spot cleaning and spraying with just water work most of the time, but it is fun to see the sparkle when she is really clean! Unfortunately, the lighting was not as good as I thought when I got these photos right after she was dry, so in these ones she looks way more yellow than she is. I'll post more photos as I have the time to get them up.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2 Whole Years!

Wow, it has already been two years exactly since I bought Mira! I can hardly believe it has both been such a long time and been such a short time! She has definitely been a blessing to me (and to my family) with her truly sweet nature. The way she loves being around people and loves new things always makes my day brighter. It's hard to say enough good things about her personality and how much fun she is, even though she is retired now. I am giving her extra peaches today, and a good long grooming. I won't have time to post more pictures until later tonight or tomorrow morning, but I am trying to spoil her today. :-D

The photo above is me unloading her the day we brought her home. Yes, I did sort of break my picture rule, for once...


Friday, July 25, 2008

Laminitis Update: 6

Tomorrow I am going to try and catch some pictures of Andolu playing with his things. For now, though, just a quick post. He is still doing great, and squeals at me whenever I am too late with another meal. I like to try to keep grass hay in front of him to chew on, but he does run out sometimes. He has always had the cutest way of squealing when he's excited about something. He nickers too, but he likes to squeal, and buck if allowed. So cute! You can see his ribs now, but he is not too skinny. Let's just hope I can keep him from losing too much!

I think I mentioned before about how he likes to make flehmen faces. My brother #3 likes to visit the horses and rub Andolu's nose and then tell him what a good boy he is for displaying the flehmen face. It's just a funny trick. Laughter really motivates Andolu, and he likes showing off, so he mostly learned it on his own. One of these days I should solidify it with a better cue... Anyway, all that to say he has an active little brain.

He likes to tip over his water buckets, and then bang them on the ground to call us out to refill them - that is when he is out of other things to do. Sometimes he gets thirsty before we come out, and then he will nuzzle around the hose as I am filling the buckets, waiting until he can put his head in and drink. I've been laughing and encouraging him when he does that, and sure enough, today he started biting at the stream of water! One of these days I am going to have a horse that knows how to drink from a hose. :-D (Now, If I can just get a rideable one...)

I am still waiting for the hay to come. It'll probably be Monday now. Ciao until tomorrow.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Laminits Update: 5

The farrier did come yesterday and put aluminum plates on Andolu's front feet. I was talking to one of my friends and she said, "I know how frustrating it can be to have to do something for my kids that I never planned on doing that way, but things change and we have to do whatever is best for them at the time." I was like, yeah, I know, I know. I am still conflicted over the shoes, but the vet wanted him to have support to prevent further tearing of the lamina these next few weeks, and hoof boots 24/7 would have issues like rubbing and retaining heat, stuff like that. The main reason I did go ahead and get the shoes, though, is because now that my really good trimmer doesn't want to travel all the way up here anymore, I have not been able to find another committed and experienced trimmer, and this farrier is committed and experienced with laminitis care. They are Natural Balance shoes, too, which means they have good breakover design. Anatolian was almost sound before the shoes, but still obviously tender on asphalt. After the shoes he was moving better on the asphalt and still walking slightly heel first, which is ideal. He didn't seem to care at all about having shoes on, either, so that was good. Once he can have controlled exercise I will still put boots over his feet for shock absorption. Hopefully he can go back to barefoot soon, as I do believe that proper barefoot is much better overall than proper shoeing. But, we'll see!

Mira got trimmed too. She didn't need much of a trim, but now her feet look absolutely perfect. It really is cool what fabulous feet she has! (Sorry, couldn't help the brag)

I finally, after 2 months of looking, connected with someone who is putting loads of hay together for delivery to our area, and I am going to buy a squeeze of mostly grass hay. (A squeeze is 84 bales) I can hardly wait - it will be SO nice to have the next year's supply of hay on the property! Phew...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Laminitis Update: 4

The Racehorse Dude is MUCH better. It is amazing how quickly he recovered from that abscess. He is now pacing again when waiting for his food, and he moves with just barely noticeable tenderness rather than obvious ouchies. I, on the other hand, need some rest. I feel like this year started out with me being hit by a truck and has continued with a truck running over me at regular 10 day or so intervals. One of these days I would like to have a routine I can count on! Oh well.

Mira is looking pretty good, and Andolu has actually started losing weight, which is good. Oh, and when the vet was here last week I was somewhat surprised that Mira didn't turn tail and run when she saw him after all the shots, etc., last January! She was friendly but looked a little suspiciously at him when he was petting her. The scar on her eye hasn't changed much lately, and I don't know if it will ever decrease its size more, but at least she is comfortable and can see out of it!

I probably won't update again until after Andolu's appointment on Friday. I am glad the weather is better this week - when he first had the flareup we had three or four days of 115+ temps, which was not very good weather for being sick in!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Laminits Update: 3

Anatolian popped the abscess this morning - yay! I still did the hot packs/hot soaks four times today, and the swelling is pretty much completely gone from his leg, and he is MUCH more comfortable! The top picture is a photo of the drainage point. Gross, I know, but I'm so relieved to have that come to a head!

The middle picture is of the Dude this afternoon, and the bottom one is Mira keeping tabs on the medical procedures.

Well, over and out for now. I'm too tired to be coherent...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

I TRIED to take pictures...

... but the batteries were dead. I put them in the charger earlier today but unfortunately someone removed them too soon. So I will try again tomorrow!

The swelling has gone down by about 40% to 50% so far with hot packs/hot soaking, but that leg is still pretty sore. Hopefully he pops the abscess soon. You know, I wish he was prone to abscesses rather than laminitis, I really do. They are painful but not nearly as serious!

Meanwhile, he is not really losing weight yet. It is rather odd to me, since the last time he was on grass hay only, when I ran out of alfalfa on a weekend, he got ribby in just those few days. That is one reason I've been feeding him alfalfa, because I didn't think he could hold weight on grass alone. We'll see! I have about six bales of alfalfa sitting around - they'll probably last Mira until Christmas. :-) She is feeling rather neglected. She is used to being the one with issues/illnesses and being pampered, and I'm sure she misses her walks, too. When things settle down a bit I'll have Sis take Mira down the road while I stay with Andolu and keep him quiet.

Today I was sitting behind Andolu while I kept his foot in the bucket, (behind meaning towards the outer fence, away from Mira) and she kept running around and whinnying at us. I guess maybe she was afraid he was stepping on me, or something? She knows he's not the kindest boy there is and can be a bit of a bully. Anyway, she didn't settle down until she could see me clearly again. They both are such cute little horses. I really love their personalities and how different they are!

Tomorrow I will make some toys for the Dude and see what I can do to occupy his mischevious little mind.


Laminitis Update: 2

This morning Andolu turned up with swelling in that right front leg. The vet said he most likely has an abscess, which apparently is very common after laminitis. SO, no more cold soaking - now we're going to be do doing hot epsom salt baths to draw the abscess out of his hoof. And I guess I'll microwave the ice packs and use them for hot packs for his legs, too. Pictures later on today...


Friday, July 11, 2008

Laminits Update: 1

Do I have to do an update series? I really hate having a reason to do another injury/illness series...

Andolu is still not out of the acute phase yet. I've been icing him 3 times a day, bute, etc., but I can still feel the digital pulse. He has also started holding the right front bent a lot of the time. He often used to do that for a little bit when eating - it looked like he would start to take a step, and then pause and stay where he was for a bit, finishing what he was eating. He would do it with both sides, and I could never tell for sure if he was sore or just a goofball. But he is definitely extra sore on the right front and is holding it up a lot - that just started yesterday. He still has not done the classic laminitis stance, though. The left front is much more comfortable already, but obviously is taking too much strain right now.

I'm going through phases of freaking out and being too tired to worry much. Right now I'm kind of in the "keep going and we'll see what he's like in a week" mood. At least he figured out the new rules and has realized he is IN THE PEN ONLY for now and will not be getting out and will not be getting any "nice" food at all. He has mostly behaved better today and not tried to buck and rear while I feed Mira. He is still going through a crash course reminder of just how stubborn I am and how he cannot remove his foot from the ice until I say so. He doesn't like ice, but oh well! I'll get a couple pictures tomorrow of him. I feel so sorry for the boy, I really hope he isn't inflamed at all any more tomorrow.

Thanks for everyones' well wishes.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Better News

One exhausting part about horses and illnesses is how your emotions can swing so wildly. I just talked to the vet, and he said Anatolian's x-rays show only a 2 or 3 degree rotation. He said he has had low-grade laminitis for a long time now, probably since before I got him; I agree with that now that I've thought back to ever since I met him and little things I've noticed about him. (I would also bet quite a bit that that was why he was such a dramatic flop at racing - Racehorses can be prone to laminitis due to all the grain they are pumped full of starting when they are babies, and if he consistently had a little bit of inflammation in his feet, then no wonder he didn't try very hard).

Anyway, I told the vet honestly that I am not capable of dealing with a horse for the next 20 years who has to be fed a very strict diet and has to be watched every day to try to prevent flareups, and who would still inevitably have flareups occasionally, causing his feet (and my wallet) intense pain. I also said that, while I had been resigned to him possibly having bony injuries from the track to keep him from being ridden much, if he was a permanent cripple/on the edge of lameness, that that would not be fair to him at all. The vet listened to me, and said that in this case, if it were his horse, he would definitely try the bute for a few weeks, icing, and simple egg bar shoes. We discussed shoeing/barefoot options this morning, and even though I am a strong believer in barefoot for soundness and recovery from laminitis, it does require a good and experienced trimmer to help. Since the guy I was using has been so reluctant to come up to this area any more, there really isn't anyone like that around here. So, we will try the shoes once. The vet works with this farrier all the time and says he's had a lot of good results. So, we'll see!

Anatolian has a reprieve of a few weeks. Very little movement for him (fun, fun) and lots of icing and bute. Grass hay only, with applesauce and bute to relieve the boredom. I am really hoping this works!

Andolu is usually a good boy about medical stuff/cleaning stuff, and he is good about the bute. But it has been a bit interesting doing the icing so far. I'm not doing his legs now, but his feet. I do have a wide rubber pan to put the ice and water in, so it is easier to get his feet in. Then I sit on the stool next to him and try to read. I keep the end of the lead rope looped around his leg, and that way he can't take his foot out of the pan. He is supposed to eat while he soaks, but it seems to be making him grumpy, so he has been making persistent efforts to bite me or eat my book. Argh! Despite this, the only times I've been able to relax today have been out there with him...

Anyway, I am amazingly ecstatic that it was such a "little" bit of rotation. The vet says he does not expect this to escalate into Mira-style bills and that we will re-evaluate immediately if he does not respond the way he should. So for now, I am to pray a lot and try to keep him sane! Does anyone have any good ways to make toys?


Bad news

I am in shock. Andolu has laminitis, in both front legs, and the vet thinks it is pretty bad. He also says he does not like beet pulp for horses at all, and never recommends it. He considers it really bad for laminitic horses especially. I know I told him that they get beet pulp mixed with senior feed before, when we were treating Mira's eye, and he never said anything about it then. I guess he was thinking about her eye at the time and didn't remember to warn me or something. I've seen so many articles recommending it as a good feed that I thought their diet was pretty much safe from laminitis with that and the grass/alfalfa mix. He gets three flakes of alfalfa a day, shared with Mira, and I didn't think that would be too much. I asked the vet a lot of questions. He said yes, Andolu is too chubby (which I have been trying to bring down without it being too sudden) but not that fat, and he said there really aren't any obvious things he sees that caused it. Just "luck of the draw."

He'll develop the x-rays later and we'll see how bad it is. I'm pretty sure it is bad, though. It's weird, 'cause I kept trying to feel for heat, and never could really tell. I checked in the wrong spot for the digital pulse, because as soon as he showed me to move my fingers, I could feel it pounding. Not good. He hadn't reacted to my prodding, but he did react to "real" hoof testers. In the pasture, he was standing pretty square, and, if anything, under himself rather than in the "laminitis stance." On the gravel it was pretty obvious how sore he was, though. I'm glad I iced him, but I wish I'd done it sooner and more. For now he is in the round pen, is not to move much, and is on anti-inflammatories. I need to get a bucket to ice his feet in.

For now, things don't look good, though. Laminitis is such a chronic illness, and it can be so hard to keep them comfortable much less usable, that unless the x-rays show very little damage at all, the prognosis is not good.

Please pray for me - I really need it today. Now I have to get some work done.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday and the Racehorse Dude's progress

Andolu is actually a bit better this afternoon. He is moving around voluntarily quite a bit more than he was, and starting to think about depriving Mira of her fair share of food again. The last few days I could feed her 20 feet away from him and she would eat her whole bucket in peace; that is how bad he was. Hopefully I'll have to start feeding her in the pen again soon.

The vet will get here Wednesday morning, and I want to get x-rays. I was going to have some done in September anyway, but we might as well do it now. I want to know the exact state of his bones - I don't like guessing!

I have to say, Anatolian is a really great patient. He is good about bathing and fussing in general, and he really seems to like having me go out there every 20 minutes to change an ice boot to a different leg. He did seem better after icing, and he likes being cooed over, too.

By the way, I though exercising horses was supposed to tire them out so they didn't think up so much mischief to do, but I think it woke his brain up! Before all this happened, I was going to post about the various things he's figured out in the last month. For one, I have often left the hose partly in their pen so that I don't have to move it each time I fill their water buckets. However, somehow in this hot weather, the little pill managed to figure out that if he stepped on the end enough times, that the hose would turn on and spray a mist up into the air. Then he and Mira would stand right next to it, not in the spray, and watch it like it was TV while they enjoyed the slight cool breeze. When I wised up and figured out that all those incidents were NOT accidental, he then started reaching under the electric fence to grab it and bring it inside. So, it had to be even farther away to keep him from getting it. There are various other little things, too. And he is getting better and better at deciphering directions given by voice and by pointing. :-)

Now that I am really clicking with him, I sure hope he gets all better soon!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Photos and an update

Well, Andolu is still not any better. He actually seems to be generally sore to me, so I guess I'll have to ask for ultrasounds or x-rays. There is still absolutely nothing I can point to. He could have started to roll and done something to himself then, but that's kind of a wild guess. I am feeling guilty about the fact that we live in such a hilly area. They do have a sloping pasture, with several wide flat areas, but Mira doesn't seem to mind it. Neither do the other horses that live around here in the same terrain. I keep wondering if going up and down our steep road did something to him... Sometimes it seems to aggravate Mira's hip arthritis. Below is the section of road right above their pasture. A few hundred feet after that it levels out and turns into dirt road with various hard, weedy places you can explore off the road. That is pretty typical for our area. This is a place with a LOT of horses, too, but maybe it is hard on them? I don't know what to think.

My main worry in this whole thing is that he might have just been truly wrecked by the racing. I knew it was quite possible that he would not be sound for riding when I got him, and I took the risk that he would have to be a pasture pet. But it is a different matter altogether for him to not even be able to tolerate exercise being led - that sort of unsoundness is not a good thing at all. We'll see how this turns out over the next few days.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Racehorse Dude is limping...

And I have no idea why. He has not been exercised for three days, but yesterday he started acting sore on his front legs. It is the left more than the right, but it is definitely both. He stands square, which is good, but occasionally he will point one of the front legs for a few seconds. He is reluctant to move, but is still a pig as far as feeding time. I have not been able to get any tenderness/reaction on the bottom of his feet, which means it isn't something "simple" like a stone bruise or an abscess. Definitely nothing going on with the tendons, and even though I keep imagining his fronts are warmer than his back legs, I can't really convince myself they are. I have been hosing his legs, and I'll use the ice boots tomorrow too, but this is really a mystery. He has a couple bug bites, as usual, but nothing that could possibly be causing the soreness. He has had something like this once before, on his right front. That was months ago after he somehow managed to bend one of the metal pipes in the fence and understandably was sore afterward for a few days. There is nothing bent this time and no signs of a struggle.

The best I can describe it is he looks like I do when I'm "bone sore" if you know what I mean. Like having the flu; all your joints ache, you have a headache, and you really do not want to jar anything so you walk very carefully. I'm afraid it could be his knees. I have mentioned before that I think they are a bit back at the knees, which makes them weaker, and having been a racehorse does predispose him to problems there. It is really upsetting though, because I haven't even started riding him yet - so did just taking him on one mile walks cause this? ( I borrowed some hoof boots from the tack shop for his back feet, and have been waiting until my order comes in to start riding him.) I sure hope this wasn't by caused by light leading exercise! Anyway, if he's not much better soon then we'll see what the vet says. Humph. I like my vet, but only in social situations...

Oh well, here's hoping tomorrow he feels a lot better and is chasing Mira around again like normal. I did take some pictures today - here is one. Tomorrow I'll put the rest up.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

One of the best inspirational horse clips ever...

I don't think I've ever posted this one here. If you haven't seen this before, watch it now. Extremely inspiring! If you have seen it, you'll be happy you watched it again. There are so many things I could say about it, but I'll just say that I hardly breathe when I watch it. And I love the pinto foal at the end!


Friday, June 27, 2008

And the Award goes to...

Suvalley! She did an excellent job rehabbing a starved mare recently, a mare she does not own, and at her own expense. I appreciate Suvalley's outlook on animal welfare issues and how much knowledge she has to share. Not only does she work hard to make sure her own horses have great care, but she also tries to educate Alaskan horsepeople on proper care and help make good hay supplies available up there.

Here is one of the posts about the mare: