Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Smart Horse

A friend of mine just posted this video on my FB page with a note
"Don't let your horses watch this!"
He doesn't have horses, in fact we only met through playing vampire wars, back in the day.
Yet we have been friends for what, 4 years now I think.  We have absolutely nothing in common, and live several states away,  but we seem to find something to say to each other at least once a week. Kind of cool, I think. It is one of the things I like about FB. One of the few things I still like about it.

But that isn't supposed to be what this post is about.

I had another post for today, but when reading it later on, found it to be too depressing.  Although I appreciate the two comments I got. They shared good information and really made me think about where I was coming from.
I need something to make me smile.

Here is the video that made me smile.

"Do not let your horses watch this"

One smart horse!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Comments about all the Comments

I have had so many wonderful Comments on Sassy's feet, and tried to reply to them all, but computers don't like me, so I'm taking this quick second to thank you all.

"Picking her apart" was exactly what I needed.  I have discussed much of what was said with my vet, and our next course of action is a few more x-rays and a new exam of the LF to make sure we have eliminated the chipped coffin bone issue. It is important to know if we are dealing with one issue on two feet, two different issues on two different feet, or if she has one issue on two feet combined with the coffin bone issue on the LF. Then he wants to do a couple of x-rays down the navicular bone.   I'm not sure what his goal is, but I know what mine is.  Mine is to have a wheel barrel load of information when I take her to the NB farrier. My vet frowned when I mentioned an NB trimmer. But, hey its my money and my horse.

BUT NOW, my little-hoof-picker-aparters, you folks did such a wonderful job breaking down for me what you saw in her feet, I'm soon going to give you another job.  This time it will be Trax.  Trax is not lame, that I can see, nor that anyone else can see either. But what Trax does have is two different front feet. In fact when I got him, he almost was completely clubbed on one foot.  Jay has been trimming him almost exclusively for for two years now, and he has come a long ways. But you can still clearly see that one is different than the other.  So very, I am going to post pictures of his feet.  I will be anxiously waiting for the picking apart of his feet.  Why? Well because I want him to stay sound forever.

Speaking of Trax, I did ride last Saturday. Him and Killian. Well I tried to ride Killian.  I swear that horse just kills me. I just wanted him to trot around the arena.  I just wanted him to work up a sweat and burn a little fat.  I cannot trot him that long. It is so rough.  My kidneys start to hurt long before he breaks a sweat.  I even post with him.  Of course, part of the problem could have been that I had Tom's saddle on him. It is a 17.5 or 18 inch seat. I swim in it.  Next time I won't be too lazy to switch my saddle from Trax to Killian. Yes Killian has feet issues too. Not lame, but flat round feet that do not grow. (He is getting trimmed this weekend so perhaps some before and after pictures to show my "pickers" are in order.)

So I rode Trax, he was a little frisky that day.  TC was there and took some video, but was wanting to leave, so the video was shot before I really had him warmed up.  I have to wait till Feb to upload to you tube. I'm out of my allotted Internet usage right now.

Trax waiting to get to work. 

We did a lot of cantering trying to work on getting in the right lead.  He is more than happy to canter along in the wrong lead. This week I learned that for Asymmetrical horses that is not unusual. I also learned that it is common for them to need to warm up at a canter.  Well that is my horse for sure.

I am trying desperately to get him to stand next to a wall and when I ask, take a step closer.  Gonna need some help with that. We will never get past the gate task, if he can't learn that.

I wanted him to just drop his head, he insisted on backing up

It wasn't that good of a ride, but I did finally find a positive to end on, and when we were done he was just soaked.  I loosened his cinch and walked him to cool him down. Then he rested quietly while I rode Killian. When I was done with K, I took Trax out to the trailer, unsaddled him, and then took him back inside.  Trax can be notoriously hard to catch, especially after being ridden, so when I made the decision to turn him loose in the arena, I seriously questioned my sanity.

I wish I had got pictures.

I took off his halter which was still tied to the wall.  He looked at me with complete confusion.  I gave him a motion to tell him to move away from me.  He took two steps.  He looked back.  I told him to go ahead. He didn't bolt, he calmly walked across the arena, found a nice spot and rolled.  Then He got up, moved to another spot and rolled the other side.  Now Killian was between us and I couldn't see Trax very well.  Imagine my surprise when he did not make a beeline for the back corner.  I almost fell over when he quietly walked over to where his halter was still tied and dropped his head and waited.  

He said, "Thanks Lady. Can we go home now?"

Trax has never done that.  EVER!
Can you say many treats for the spotted pony that day?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The importance of discipline.

I know that in this post, I am actually preaching to the choir.  The people who read my blog already know all about what am I about to say, but some one someday, years from now, might run across this blog and read this and take it to heart.  

Besides, I want to tell you how I spent my lunch break.
WARNING:  if you are squeamish, you'd better stop here.

If you read my post about "Some People" then you know the story of the gal with the mare and the torn ligament.
Rose, is a very pretty mare.

With a "I am the boss" attitude.  You would think a horse in this much pain, with only three legs would have a  hard time asserting her position as boss.  If you thought that, you thought did I.

"Poor thing" probably hasn't really slept in a week. She has been standing on three legs for a week. She can't lie down, if she tried I doubt she could get back up.

Her leg was wrapped tightly to limit mobility.  Bruce, my vet who x-rayed her, is scheduled to come back this Thursday.  Today the mutual friend, Cheryl,  texted me and said Rose's leg had burst open.

They decided to get some antibiotics to give her.  I asked if they needed help. They said yes, so I went there on my lunch break.  They had told me she was pretty good for shots, so I figured it would be no problem.
We pulled the bandage off and cleaned it up.

The hole in the back is where it is oozing from.  I got the syringe ready, and had Cheryl try to hold her, while Michelle the owner stood outside.  Cheryl was not strong enough, and the bossy mare basically just ran my butt over.  Never even got the needle in.

We opted to try for the butt, figuring that being on 3 legs kicking was unlikely.  We figured wrong.  I saw the warning tail flick, and the leg start to come up and I backed off.  All I needed was an angry, hurt horse to fall on top of me while I have a 16G needle in my hand.

We tried the neck again, with Cheryl giving her treats to keep her distracted, same thing, dang near pinned me against the wall.

Sorry folks, I'm not getting myself hurt because of your unruly horse.

Most horses try to move away when you give a shot, but she was headed straight for me.  It could be the confined area, it could be that she wanted to head toward the gate. I don't know for sure, but I wasn't about to let myself end up with a broken foot, or worse.

We tried a couple of the local vets, to see if anyone would come out, the refuse to work on her unless they can shute her, which requires getting her into a trailer. A three legged horse in a trailer is going to have issue, but one vet was close and a slant load with panels might have done the trick  BUT, she hasn't been trailered since the day she brought her home. Heck if we could get her in the trailer we could give her the shot there.   Finally one vet agreed to come and try a shot of Bantamine to maybe calm  her down some.  Then Cheryl will try the shot of Penicillin again.

Meanwhile I gave Michelle a task to do while she waited till three for the vet.

Grab the halter and hold on. The minute she stops fighting, let her go and give her a treat. Keep doing this until you can hold her without her fighting you.

I doubt she will do it, but it was the best advice I have for her.

I had sent one of these pictures to Bruce who called me shortly after I got back to work.  He is worried. Worried because the horse is so hard to treat due to her lack of discipline. Worried because she should not have this much pus pouring out of her leg over a torn ligament.  Worried that there is more going on here than what he originally thought.

So what is our lesson from the story of Michelle and Rose?

An undisciplined horse is a dangerous horse.

Even pet horses need rules.

A person may think they are being nice to their horse by never subjecting them to something they don't like, but the reality is that someday, that lack of training is going to come back to haunt them.

Boundaries are vital when dealing with an animal that outweighs you by more than a thousand pounds.

Our horses are not our babies, but they need the same leadership and stability that our children need in order to keep them safe and to help them function in our human society.

I watched the pain in Michelle's eyes as she realized that the reason her horse is suffering so badly is because she never took the time to teach her anything.  She is helpless right now to help this mare that she loves so much.  Her mistakes were not out of neglect but out of ignorance.  Her heart is breaking, she is learning the lesson in one of the hardest ways I can imagine.

I remember a time when I was very much like her. I was lucky and found a friend who taught me the proper way to own a horse, and I listened.

Hopefully when this is all said and done, if the mare survives (doubtful) she will take the time to work with her everyday,teaching her respect and boundaries,  and seek out advice from someone who knows more than she does.  If Rose doesn't survive, then hopefully Michelle will turn her attention to her other horse (yes she has two) and learn from her mistakes.

The one thing I know for sure....I learned a ton from watching this little 3 ringed circus.

My horses are pretty respectful, and well behaved, and in an emergency I can give them shots or Bute or what ever, pretty much with out incident.   But I have seen my own tendency to focus on one horse at a time and let the others sort of do their own thing.  Sometimes I get so focused on that one, I slack off on my time with the rest, which gives them plenty of time to revert back to their pushy, bossy selves.

Danny gets bossy at feeding time, snaking his head at me, and pawing at the ground.  Sassy likes to sling her head sideways into mine at feeding time, and point her butt at me when it is time to halter her. Trax becomes a solitary soul and impossible to catch.  Killian gets even more lazy and stubborn and then pretends he is afraid of things he isn't to get out of working.

If I'm going to have 4 horses I need to remember that 4 horses need my attention. Even if it is only a minute a day.  I have to go up and rub Trax everyday, I have to force Danny to be respectful at dinner, Killian needs to move when I say, Sassy needs to keep her head and butt out of my face. They all need that constant contact...just like my kids.

Sassy Saves me From Monsters

I was able to change my hours at work so that I can go in earlier and go home earlier, which affords me an extra 30 minutes of daylight in the evenings.  (One of the perks of having the word "manager" in your job title)  So I went home and made a beeline for the barn.
I'm afraid I don't have pics so you will just have to use your imagination
The evening went something like this....

Sassy, would you  like to go for a walk?
Do I have to wear a halter?
Yes, you have to wear a halter.
But halters make me look fat!
Sassy, your fat makes you look fat.
Okay, well can I wear the purple one?  It brings out the blue in my eyes.
Sassy your eyes are brown.
Well how was I supposed to know, its not like there is a mirror in my stall.
Perhaps next time you are nosing around on my pick up you could use one of the mirrors on it.
Oh, so that's what those things are, I always wondered what a mirror looked like.

I put on her favorite purple halter, we waved good by to the boys and headed on our merry way.  It had been snowing on and off all day, and I found myself wishing I had worn my blizzard stalkers. The Twisted X boots had nice traction but not much insulation.

Every so often I would feel a tug on the rope.

Sassy, what are you doing?
Muffin. (talking with mouth full)
Sassy what are you eating?
Well there was grass sticking up through the snow, so I thought I would taste it.  Look there is some more! CHOMP!
Sassy!!! Knock that off, we are walking not eating!

It was pretty uneventful from there to the end of our road. The dogs were not loose this day.  We still had plenty of daylight so I decided to make take her around the whole block.  My street starts makes a nice loop off of the main road which leads to many mini ranches. So our "block" is actually a D shape.  The main road is 2 lanes, with a 50 mph speed limit. Most people run it at about 65 or 70.  It does have nice wide barrow pits on each side, so we had plenty of room to walk safely.

As we turned the corner I felt another tug on the rope, a little stronger this time.


I turned around and she was rearing up on two legs as high as she could go, just as a pick up went by.  I took a quick step back so that she couldn't hurt me when she came down. I seriously have never seen her rear up that high before.

Sassy, that was not a monster.
Yes it was and I saved you! Did you see how it ran away!

I moved in and rubbed her neck and then started walking again.  When the next group of vehicles were coming by I turned her so she could see them coming. She did a little dance to the side, I rubbed her again and told her she was fine. We kept walking.

I gave her about 10 feet of line while we were walking so she could feel free to move from side to side if needed without coming into my circle.  A couple of time she tried to get close to me, but I made her stay back.  Every once in a while a car would actually slow down to pass, but most of them didn't.  It matters not to me.  None of my other horses spook at cars, so she needs to get over it too.

By time we reached the turn back onto our road, she was calm, like the cars didn't matter. She learns quickly.

Yeah that's right, just keep moving.  I may look like I'm not looking, but I'm watching you!

When we got back to barn she couldn't wait to tell the boys.

Man you guys should have seen me, I saved the lady from monsters with glowing eyeballs and loud roars!  She was so lucky I was there!  I made myself real big and scared them off!

Killian said, "Sassy you don't leave without me any more, I just know you went to see some other horse didn't you!  Didn't you hear me calling you to come back?  You know you are mine, next time you listen to me!"

Trax said, "Hey Lady, put the little story teller away and get us some food please"

Danny said, "Yeah! I second what the fat guy said."

Trax said, "Hey I'm not fat, I'm buff!"

Can I just say that I love my ponies.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sassy's Documentary

For diagnostic purposes:
These are the right front.

Next we have the LF

X-rays of the RF

(I have copies of the LF that we took last year, but will have to locate them  and update later)

Last but not least the video of her moving is right here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Some People...

I try hard not to judge other horse owners...really I do.  Sometimes I just can't help myself.
Twice today I found myself thinking, "That lady has no business owning horses"

The first gal, a tad younger, has a mare the same age as Sassy.  The mare tore a ligament in her knee.  She is so swollen and in a ton of pain.  My vet went over and treated her last Wednesday, he x-rayed and wrapped and gave her a shot for the pain.  He said to keep her on Bute, but not too much, until he is back down next week.   Well she hasn't been able to give her horse any Bute because if she touches the mares halter, the mare throws her head, and the girl immediately lets go and says, "Oh she doesn't like it." (On the bright side she doesn't keep the halter on all the time)

I went over this morning with Tom to show the gal how to do it.  I ended up never getting the chance. They decided that they didn't want me stressing her out.  They opted to remove all the food except for some Jr. Feed with some Bute mixed in it.  I spent some time trying to show her, and explain to her that it is ok if the mare doesn't like it, she just needs to be persistent and firm.  By time I left I was holding the mare by the halter and moving her head all around. But still they wouldn't let me have a shot at it.  Poor horse has been standing on 3 legs for 5 days.  She is exhausted.

The reason I say she should not have horses is because to her they are "babies."   I explained to her that her horse has taken the roll as leader and unless she takes it back, she is going to end up getting hurt.  I'm pretty sure she didn't hear a word I said. this gals brain goes 90 MPH and very little info goes in. Lots of stuff comes out though...really crazy stuff.  She was a nice gal, and she does care for her horses. They are in wonderful condition, (better than most of the horses at that barn) but she is a classic case of all love and no discipline. There is still hope for her at least and at least her horses are cared for.

Interestingly enough, she won this particular mare in a raffle.  A raffle that I spent $100.00.  She is beautiful, well balanced, relatively nice temperament, even with the whole leader follower role reversal. I could have done a lot with that mare....oh well.

The second time I found myself passing judgement on a horse owner was much later in the day.  It actually started this morning but my judgement wasn't issued out until a few minutes ago.  My neighbor down the road with a bunch of horses called me at 6 am to tell me two of my horses were out. (My kind of neighbor!)
But I looked right out my bedroom window and saw all four of mine in their pens.  Check for the Arabian Brothers next door, they were also home.  The minute it was semi- light out I started looking for the runaways.  I found them right next door to the neighbor's who had called me.  They were staying put in this lady's back pasture (which no longer has animals) so I did not go after them. No sense chasing them out into traffic if I didn't have too. 

Then I started making phone calls, and those people made phone calls, who made more phone calls.  I was back and forth down my road all day, always checking to see where they were. They stayed there, so I still did not go after them. The last time I went by I did not see them so I assumed that one of the calls had reached the owner and they were home safely.  I was wrong.

About 30 min ago, I was in my front yard, I saw them again and saw people out there so I went over to see if they needed help. They caught one horse easily, but the other was being elusive.  They kept chasing him from behind and he kept running off. (well duh)  Finally he stopped by a fence I took a few steps forward, he started to move forward, I stepped in front.  He started to move back, I took a step back. I held my hand out for him to sniff, he sort of did from a distance. Then I slowly moved towards his side. When he let me pet his side, I knew I had him.  I just reached  up and grabbed his halter. (This one wears his halter 24/7)

Now here is why she should not own horses. It has nothing to do with them getting out, or her inability to catch the one.  It was what I saw as I started looking at these two.  They were both covered in big scaly lesions of some kind. The geldings hind leg was all swollen from it. The mare had it all over.  The gelding mostly had it on his legs. The lady says, "Do you have any idea what this is?  Some one told me it was bots so I wormed them but it didn't go away" 
I'll be honest, I don't know for sure what it is but I'm guessing mange, or rain rot.  It might be ring worm but I really don't think so. What ever it is, it is obviously contagious.  I told her what I thought. I looked at it as closely as I could (thank goodness I was wearing gloves), but told her it darn sure isn't bots.  That is when she told me that they have had it since summer time.  
So let me get this straight, since last summer your horses have had this, it is obviously contagious, the only thing you tried didn't work so you just gave up?


The next thing she said was, "Well we get our tax return back soon, so I'll be able to call the vet then."

That is when the fateful words went through my head and almost out my mouth.  "If you cannot afford to have a vet look at your horses for something as simple as a skin condition until you get your income do not need to be owning them."

I wished her luck, while biting me tongue, came home and threw my new gloves in the trash.

Forgive me lord for passing judgement, and please, if I ever get so financially strapped that I cannot properly care for my animals, give me the strength and the insight to let them go to someone who can.


I say we thumb up our noses at all this cold crappy weather!
I say we make a stand for the things that we want!
What do we want???
Warm riding weather year round!
I say we pool our resources, buy a huge piece of property someplace warm, and start our own equine commune!!!

Hey, you know what they say....Every girl has gotta have a dream.  This one is mine! (for the moment)

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Walk in the Park

I took Sassy for her first walk last night.  I thought I would have enough daylight to make it all the way around the block, but since I had to pick up Simon from practice first, it didn't quite work out that way.

When I got home, Tom had already fed the ponies, and Sassy wasn't so thrilled about being pulled away from her food. Once we got moving though she was fine.

She is such an easy horse.  I gave her a loose lead and she walked gently behind me about 6 feet. Naturally she was constantly looking around at all the sights, which made me wonder if she was paying attention to me. at all. I found out for sure when I stopped and bent over to pick up a turkey feather for one of my grandsons. (He makes home made bow and arrow sets) I did not give her any warning, I just stopped and bent over, when I stopped she stopped and did not even come close to stepping on me.  Good Girl!

We went on up our road, it was getting dark quick.  About 5 houses down from ours is a pack of "wild" dogs. Not vicious dogs, but really noisy dogs.  2 Boxers, some sort of little rat dog, and a St. Bernard.  They all came running out barking and yapping at poor Sassy.

I wasn't sure how she was going to react.  When I got her, she was impossible to catch and her previous owners used dogs to chase her around so they could catch her. There for she isn't real fond of dogs.  Especially barking dogs.  In the time that I have had her, she has spent many hours in my dog yard mowing the lawn, and my dogs could care less about horses, so it has changed her opinion of dogs some. But still, she was getting it from all directions this time.

Let me just say that she totally impressed me last night.  She never once balked, she never once pulled on the lead rope, she handled it like the "big girl" that she is.  I stopped, she stopped, we turned together to face the dogs. She looked at the dogs with her ears up, she looked at me, she looked back at the dogs, and then looked at me.  I gave her some rope and said, "Go ahead" She pinned her ears, put her head down and took 3 serious warning steps towards those dogs, the dogs ran away. She stopped before she hit the end of the rope, on her own, and came back to me. (Now I don't think she understood the words, but she was very aware of the length of rope she had and the minute I gave her more she knew what she wanted to do.) We walked on a ways, then turned around towards home and had to go past them again.   One of the dogs ran up behind her  barking and biting at her back feet.  She kicked out at him, but kept on walking. I don't think she hit him, but it scared him off.  Meanwhile the dogs owner's were trying desperately to round up their dogs. It was the boxers mostly, and those poor guys kept apologizing.  Personally I didn't mind the training experience, but I told them, "If she hurts your dog, its your own fault."  There is a leash law ya know. I probably would have been more bothered if I had been on her or if I didn't already know that the dogs were not vicious. But in that situation we were totally in control...unlike the dog owners.

About half way home we went past a house that has  many horses. The horses aren't close though.  All of a sudden she let out a loud blowing sound, you know the agitated sound, She didn't spook but just stopped for a second sniffed the air, and then turned towards home.

Throughout the entire walk I could hear Killian calling for her. I wondered if she would  whinny back, but she didn't. She is the only one who isn't herd bound.  Not sure why.

There was only one time where she started walking past me, and that was as we were coming up in the driveway. As soon as she did I stopped, asked her to move to the left, and she calmly walked around me and got back into the "safe" zone.  Then we went in.

I have to tell you, she hasn't always been this good. She was pretty wild when I got her.  Most of what she knows is a result of Jay. Either from when he took her for two weeks and worked with her, or just the lessons he gave me.  Anytime we have found something that bothered her, we subjected her to it twice as much until she wasn't. It made a huge difference.  I will say though that in the last year, she has grown up a lot mentally.  She really isn't a "filly" any more, but a mare.

So even though we didn't go far and we were attacked by the "pack of wild dogs", our walk really was so a walk in the park.   Today I talked to my boss.  I am changing my hours so I come in earlier and go home earlier so I have more daylight for our walks. It was actually fun, and I learned that one of us is really out of shape!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The beginnings of a plan

Still in the baby stages, but I'm starting to formulate a plan in my mind of where I'd like to head next with Miss Sassafras.

I just order some Platinum Performance Equine, and some of their hoof supplement as well.  This product was recommended to me by Revlon's new owner.  She had one horse who suffered a major injury running barrels, and she was able to do him much good with this stuff. Plus I really like what I read on their website.
In my mind it cannot hurt.  When you are grasping at straws....

I am also cutting back her hay cubes, she isn't obese but she is a bit heavy, with a roll of cellulite on her neck. Not a huge one, but it is there.  The true deciding factor though was what I saw yesterday. I noticed that she is getting pronounced rings on her hoof wall. Rings like Killian had when I got him.  It is clear it started about three months ago, which is about when we started feeding the Utah Hay cubes. I knew they were third cutting so it doesn't surprise me to see this. Third cut hay tends to be a little hot.  Now whether or not this will have any impact on her lameness, remains to be seen. I doubt it will, but the rings worry me, I know they are sign, so I might as well read the sign for what it is.

I will go back to daily walks, and complete stall rest.  She obviously loves to get out, so walks around the block will be fun for her. Luckily she doesn't spook at cars, since "around the block" requires walking next to roads the whole way.   They have pretty nice wide area's to ride in so even if she gets flighty I have room. Also I am starting to have just enough daylight when I get home to pull this off.

Next I will make sure she has softer footing in her stall, (Meredith's idea) perhaps even giving her the stall mats.

This weekend will be about documentation.  I will video tape her movement, and the photograph each hoof from every angle.  Armed with those visual aides and the copies of my x-rays which I will have soon, I will start emailing all the smart people around the world who do this sort of thing for a living.  The first email will go to Gene Ovenick (the godfather of natural balance trimming), in CO.  Jay truly believes that if anyone can help her, it is this guy.  It would be a long drive to get her there, but not so long that I couldn't make it happen pretty easily.  If he says he can't, or needs a more positive diagnosis, well then I will keep on keeping on.

So there it is..the beginnings of a plan.  I'm sure it will change as we go.

I did just get a nice email from my vet.

" I euthanized one horse yesterday and saw another that is probably pretty bad. But the one that bothered me the most was yours. I do not take defeat easily and am still searching for my next step with Sassy."

Well at least I know I'm not the only one who hasn't given up yet.

What to do With Sassy- Part 2

Which is worse; knowing what your horses problem is and not being able to fix it, or knowing that she has a problem, that you can't properly diagnose and not being able to fix it?

Today I am going with option 2.  Even after more x-rays and flexion tests and hoof tests, we are no closer to an answer with Sassy than we were before.  Well except that we know what it ISN'T.

She is definitely  more lame on the right front than the left.  The left was the alleged chipped coffin bone.  The x-rays show no issues with any of the bones or joints. Her soles are plenty thick, her coffin bone looks good.     The hoof test shows the pain to be towards her heel areas.  At that point Bruce stopped and said, "Look I could sit here all day and take x-rays and burn up your money, but the answers will be the same.  I don't know what is wrong and I don't have the right equipment to find it. She needs an MRI."

Oh ok, that should be simple right?

Well not really. The closest place to get an MRI is at CSU. He says it will cost thousands just to diagnose her. That doesn't even include what ever treatment she needs, if it can even be treated.  The truth is, right now I don't have thousands.  I can usually come up with a few hundred at a time, but not thousands.

So let me back up a little with my story.

When I got off work, I ran home, started my truck (the one with the nosey prints all over the window) , grabbed a bucket of grain and walked to the round pen. She practically beat me in the gate. I let her eat some of it, haltered her up without issue, and lead her to the trailer. She took one sniff and jumped in, eyes wide with wonder and curiosity. It has been a while since she has gone anywhere so she was pretty excited.  Not in a bad or unmanageable way, just in her cute little Sassy way.

My neighbor followed me over so that she could watch and help out if needed.  When we got there, Bruce was not there yet, but I went ahead and unloaded her.  She walked around with her head up, taking in the surroundings.  When we walked to the indoor arena my neighbor started looking for a latch for the big door.
Before she could even get to it, I had Sassy inside through the man door.  The girl has no fear.

While we waited on Bruce, I did a little training with her. We pushed the ball around, she thought that was fun. We went to the bridge, at first she tried to go around it. I moved her back into position and then just waited. She sniffed, she put one foot up, then she put the other foot up, then up she went!

Her first time
After that we couldn't keep her off.

She did this on her own. I didn't even ask.

She says "You're getting all this for the blog right?
 I want people to see how smart and cute I am!"
Yes Sassy I'm getting it.
After that the cats came in. As soon as she saw them she started to follow them. She was not afraid, just curious.  She sniffed at them and nosed them around until they decided they had enough and went where she couldn't get them.
We played with a tarp. When I flung it by her side like a giant plastic bag she was bothered at first but calmed down quickly. She wore it on her head and walked around, she walked on it. She did not care.  She was just so happy to be out and about.

When it came time to do x-rays she stood so still on the blocks and was just so good. I have never been more proud of her than I was then.  Then it was time to load up and go home.  She is the only horse I have who does not want to go home. She wanted to investigate more. She didn't want to go in the trailer. She did go without too much trouble but she let me know first that she was not ready to go.  She is such a bright young thing with one of the best personalities I have ever seen. She loves to learn, she loves to see things. She loves new challenges. What more could you ask for in a horse.....besides soundness. :(

So now comes the time where I have to make a decision on what to do next.
She is in pain. It is obvious. She still runs around the pasture like a fool, but at a trot her pain is clear.  Sometimes even just turning on her front is hard for her. She has to unload immediately. If she is this lame at 4, just being in the pasture, imagine what it would be like for her at 10 or 15. So keeping her as pet isn't even an option.
I do not have the money for the MRI, right now anyways.
She cannot be bred unless we know this is from and injury and not poor breeding, so selling her as a brood mare is out.
There is the option of donating her to CSU as a learning tool for their veterinary program. They would try to heal her and then place her in their horse program, or put her down.  Of course that means giving her up forever, and constantly wondering if they were good to her. But maybe it is the right answer.

I find myself wanting to grasp at straws...ultra sound?  Stall rest and supplements?  (stop all that running around all crazy)   Special shoes, special trimming? What is going to work?  Is anything going to work?  Do I give up and just put her down and spend the rest of my life wondering if I gave up too soon?   If I knew what was wrong and that I couldn't help her, then the decision would be easy.   Do I keep trying different vets until some one says what I want to hear.  Will they tell me what I want to hear just to get my money?  (it happens)

I am at a complete and total loss here. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I would love to hear them. Even if it isn't the suggestion I want, I still want to hear what you guys think. I am stuck and having a hard time being objective.

For now, I guess I am going to go with stall rest and supplements.  I will try some stretching, although I'm not sure that is going to do much. I will take her for walks everyday, but will stop all the craziness for a while. But soon I am going to have to decide what to do.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dog training update and a silly filly

Today will just be a quicky, as time is not on my side today.  Vet is coming at 3:00 to re-xray Sassy and I have much to get done between now and then.

The training classes went great last night.  It is all completely different than what I learned about training dogs back in the 80's.  No choke collars allowed, no pop corrections. It is all clickers, and treats.  Pure madness I say!

Actually it works really well, especially with two dogs who are highly motivated by food.  The first thing we learned was the "Its yer choice" game where we hold a handful of treats closed up in our hands.  Naturally Mason put my whole hand in his mouth trying to get too them. When he back off I open my hand, if he tries to snatch one I close it. The minute he waits quietly without stealing the food I use my other hand to give him one of the treats. It was not long before he was waiting patiently for each treat and I never had to close my hand.  The second thing we learned was "Loading the Clicker"  which is simply Click= treat, over and over again for 5 min straight. click, treat, click, treat.  In Masons case, a clicker is useless but the trainer came up with a brilliant idea...use a little light. As it happens Tom always has a little flashlight, so we used that. Brilliant I say! I did read on line yesterday that they make collars with little vibrators in them just for deaf dogs. you push a button, they feel the vibration, and they know to look at you because a treat is coming. I may have to invest in one of those.

Now here is the silly part.
The other day when I went out to my pick-up which sits in the pasture hooked to the trailer at all times, I noticed this:

In case you can't tell, those are nose prints.  Horsey nose prints.  They are on every window.  It seems as though someone wants to get in side the pick up.

I'm pretty sure I know who it is...

Me: Sassy come here, and let me see if your nose matches these prints
Sassy:  Who me?  Why do you always assume it is me?
Me: because it usually is
Sassy: That is Equine Profiling!

Silly Filly

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Time Has Finally Come

Tonight we start Mason and Smarty Pants in obedience school.

We cannot put it off any longer.

It has to happen before they end up loving some small child to death! 

You don't very often get to see good pictures of Smarty. Being a black dog, your lighting has to be perfect.  My mom sent me some of him as a 2 year old. I will share them with you now.

A perfect "English" head. 
Look how handsome he is!

He actually is in better shape now than in the pic.
He now weighs 100lbs, but is solid muscle.
In this pic he probably weighs about 108
This was Mason as a 2 year old.
He was in better shape then., than he is now.

Since both are set up in a conformation stance, I will give you all a short lesson on Labrador conformation.  Not because you asked for it, or even really need it,  but because I have nothing better to do right now.

Both dogs have fantastic heads, but Masons is slightly better. It is a little broader, but Smarty's is still very very nice.  If you look at their stifles, you can see that Mason is pretty "straight in the rear" where as Smarty has a little more "angulation".  That rear angulation also gives Smarty a better top line with a nice slope to it, where as Mason is pretty flat. I could have stacked his rear out a little farther to slope his top line but doing so would also emphasize his lack of curve in the stifle.  Both dogs have nice thick bone and well set tails.  Yellow labs are prone to having pink noses, but Masons is a nice dark color as is the skin around his eyes. Dark pigmentation is correct, light is not. Both dogs have dark colored eyes Both dogs have nice deep chests and all over balance.  The real clincher that would place Smarty over Mason in a show ring is the movement.  Mason moves decently, but when Smarty moves around a ring at a trot, he really drives. It is the angles of his front and rear that do that for him.  Both of these dogs could have easily finished their championships had they been shown.

Notice how Mason sort of has a little bit of a gut?  Well it is much worse than that now. I am constantly researching about him, and his issues. I have read that it is a sign of Insulinoma.  I have been in contact with one of the top veterinary internal medicine specialists in the country.  She has spoken at length with my Mom about Mason and she is convinced that he actually has a small tumor in his brain in the hypothalamic-pituitary area.  I had another vet from the University of Columbia who also specializes in this area, tell me the same thing.  Of course these are guesses made without testing or even seeing the dog in person. But his sagging gut, his inability to lose weight, his constant need to gorge himself,  his intermittent loss of control of his urine (yes it happens), and his partial deafness, all point towards that tumor and abnormal levels of insulin.  Hopefully once I get past all my Equine lameness issues I can start on testing for Mason. There is medicine that could help him some, and hopefully help him live a happier healthier life. Although if he has the tumor, his predicted life span is a bit shorter than most dogs his size.

Smarty on the other hand, doesn't seem to have any health issues.  He was retired from a show dog career due to a very minor congenital heart defect. But it is so minor it will never be an issue for him. We almost lost him once though.  It was Christmas Morning a year ago and he started vomiting a little. By 6 am I could tell that he was a little bloated but the main thing I saw was that he could not get comfortable. We rushed him to the vet who took xrays but all she saw was gas.  We followed up with our regular vet 2 days later because he still was not eating or pooping.  He took more xrays but could not see anything. He prescribed different medicines to give him some comfort and to hopefully get things moving again. A week later we took him back, he was not any better. This time they did a barium xray and saw a blockage. Surgery followed and they removed a baby pacifier from his upper intestine.  Toms grandchildren had been there 2 days before Christmas, and  Smarty obviously found what he thought was a new toy on the floor. I'm sure, smelling all babyish, it was irresistible.   We are lucky we were so persistent, another day or so and he would have died.  What I learned from this experience, is that when a dog has stomach issues, ALWAYS start with a barium xray.   Even now we have to watch him constantly...he is the thief in the night, stealing everything from gloves, to dog beds and my favorite bras.

So there they are, my retired show dogs, my pain in the butts, my bulls in the china shop, my 2 bad dogs.
I am anxious to see how the night goes.  I have never tried to obedience train a deaf dog, so this should be interesting!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The important job

Well thanks to some great info I found on another blog- I uploaded Google Chrome, and got my full blogger back.
So now I can return to picture posting as usual.

This the Might Killian, doing his important job, holding the Camera Bag with my new, very expensive telephoto lens in it.  I have to tell you that while he stood there, we were filming Trax, there were other horses moving in and out of the arena and other people as well. Note that the reins are looped over his neck, he is not ground tied.  He never even took a step.  He stood there and held that camera bag like it was precious cargo, which it is.

With that in mind, I will also post another video here, of Killian's even more important job, taking care of Simon.  Before you watch it, let me say that Simon obviously inherited his video skills from me, as my video of him is just as shaky as his video of me.    Killian really is a very good boy.  I would like to see Simon ride him in the youth division of the RH Comp in June, but he says he isn't interested.  It would be good for both of them. Killian would get some good exercise without getting too much, and Simon would get some seriously needed riding experience.

Now let me conclude today with some random pics from the other day. 

 Hey it okay if I go roll?
 Trax: I'm not waiting for permission!

 Killian: Are you bringing food?
 Killian: Seriously Lady...where is the food?
 Sassy:  Can I have mine over here so Killian doesn't eat it all?
 Trax:  Hey Lady!  Watch this!
 Danny: Hey! I wanna roll there! 
Trax:  I like being NAKED!!! (without a blanket)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ending on a good note

Saturday- yesterday, I took Trax and Killian down to the arena.  I made Simon go with me so that he would get his nose out of the dang video game. (I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas and he has taken it upon himself the down load all kinds of free games and I rarely even get to use the darn thing)

It was a good day for a ride, and when we got there the arena was empty!  Perfect.

He rode Killian who was happy for that, since little kids mean a lot less work.  Simon needed a little help saddling him (short kid tall horse) but that was all, he picked his feet out, and did all of his ground work all on his own, and did a fine job of it too. Then he climbed up in that saddle without a step or a boost or anything. I was pretty darn impressed.  Then I left them to their own demise but made sure he knew that the big boy needs some exercise so I expected to see some trotting.

I knew that I wanted to work with Tax and his rope issues, so we started with lunging but added a rope on the saddle horn and down around  his back end.  Not tight, but there.  He reacted a little at first but then settled right down. Nice!

I mounted up, he stood as still a statue and did not move till I asked him too.  He was a little wound up, took a few spins to get that lateral flex without moving his feet.  Once we got that down then we did our serpentine drill for a bit.  It was less time then before, because he is getting to where he anticipates the turns now.

 Oh I also switched bits on him, to something with a little bit of shank.  Not a lot, but something that I can legally use in a RH Comp.  It pivots in the middle, but I do not know what it is called.  I threw my idea that I needed to stick to the d-ring snafffle.  He is not a young colt. This is not an unseasoned horse. I have seen some of the bits that previous owners have used on him. Much harsher than this little old thing.  It took us both a minute to get used to it, as it functions a little differently, but it didn't take long. So that was good.

I asked for some flexation at the poll, got more fight than give.   I decided he had too much energy and we proceeded to lope. Now here is the thing. I get Parelli news letter via email, and I read constantly on what to do with a horse like Trax.  They all say working their feet and their mind will get you farther than just running the piss n vinegar out of them. That may be true, but I have learned that with him, a really fast moving," I really wanna go" type of horse, sometimes just giving it to him is the right answer. Especially if you consider that I am not a super smart big time trainer with a full bag of tricks in my pocket.  Am I taking the easy way out?  Perhaps, but it also does something for me.  It gives me a good steady lope with which to practice "my seat".

So we loped...a very fast, high headed, I wanna race sort of lope.  I did my best to just relax and sit down in my seat and move with him.  Pretty soon I saw his head drop.  This is where I always wonder if he is putting down so he can buck or just putting down to show that he is giving in a little. I felt him slow down, he was giving in, I urged him faster.  We did a few more laps and then he really wanted to stop. So we stopped and turned in the other direction, and went again.  This time it was fast for a second,  then nice and smooth, and relaxed.  His head was down I was feeling good in my seat. So we switched to big figure eights, a little less speed but a little more thinking.  We did about 10 of those and then I asked for a stop.  I asked for a good stop.  He gave it to me to the best of his ability. I said Whoa, and sat back and he really tried.  Now I suspect that my timing was off because it wasn't what you would call a  sliding stop.  But I was happy with his try.

After that we walked, and cooled down a little. I took him to the wall where the rope was at.  I was able to use a leg yield to get him over to it.  I was even able to reach over and grab it before he bolted!  I had to use my one rein stop and it took a minute but finally he relaxed.  We walked around the arena while I smacked the rope against my leg and slid it over his butt.  It took a few but he worked through his fears and I was careful not to hurt him with it.  Then we roped a barrel and dragged it around.

The first time it hit his butt he spun around and dragged it any good rope horse does.  I couldn't fault him for doing what he was taught to do, but I asked him again to just drag it.  He did so without question.  YES!!!! (fist pump)

If you would like to see him drag the barrel you can watch the video right here.  I did notice that when the barrel came into his vision, he tried to turn towards it again, but I just urged him on and he kept going.  Also if you watch closely you get just a glimpse of Killian who is standing quietly untied to the side holding the camera bad. Simon hooked it on his saddle, put the reins up on his neck, and said, "Stay"  Killian didn't move a muscle...what a good boy.

After we did that we did a second video.  It is not as good but I am going to share it anyway.  I ask him to spin slowly in a circle. He is trying, but his hind end moves too much. Afterwards we go over the bridge, and then I ask for the side pass.  He does it some to left but you can barely tell to due to the angle of the camera, but when I turn him around and ask for it to the right he does a wonderful job, which is why I am posting  that video.  As I watched it again, his spins aren't even close. I have to figure out how to get him to sit back some so his hind end stays in place.

I had a video of us cantering and stopping but my camera kid is not good at holding the camera still and he shut it off right at the beginning of the stop so it isn't worth watching.  I'll try again next time.

After we shot that last video I called it day for old Trax. He was really sweaty and some dressage riders were gearing up to ride.  I did shoot a couple of videos of Simon on Killian which I will post later on.

See how I brush his hair up so it dries faster?

Trax:  Did I do good Lady?
Me: You did fantastic buddy!

One sweaty pony

Now what I learned from my videos is that I am still awkward in my riding, and my cues are too big, I need to get them smaller.  I still have a long ways to go, but I feel like I/we made great progress.

Friday, January 18, 2013

EC Day #18

Your grooming routine.

I do not have a routine per say.  I have two metal curries, a rubber curry, a stripping comb, a dog brush that works well on manes and tails, 3 different hoof pics, a bottle of "Mane n Tail", a bottle of Cowboy magic, a spray of some kind, fly spray concentrate, three spray bottles for the fly spray, three different bristle brushes of varying stiffness, and a grooming block (which was amazing when I was dealing with the bot infestation)  I have oatmeal shampoo, which I have used on Trax...once.  Why in the world would I use soap on them?  They live in a pasture and love to get dirty.

I only hose them down when it is really warm, and only after a long sweaty ride. If it is chilly I don't do it.  Besides, the minute I turn them loose they roll anyways, so it isn't like they are going to stay clean.   After I ride I curry again and get the sweat off. Then I use the bristle brush to push the hair up so it can dry quicker.   I always pick out hooves before and after each ride.

Last summer Killian ended up with a few dreadlocks in his mane.  I gal I know told me to just cut it out.  I used the Mane n Tail goop and spread it through with my hands and combed it right out. I love it for his tail too which is generally so thick.

Part of grooming, is sheeth and teet cleaning. Sassy cycles a lot it seems and tends to get pretty icky.  In the summer I try to keep her back end hosed off some to keep the flys off.  She loves being hosed down. Its just the boys that don't like it. She get that black icky crap in between her teets. I'm sure it has to itch, so I try to clean that out as often as I can.   The boys aren't bad about sheath cleaning, well except for Trax.  He is getting better, but the only time he has ever tried to kick me was when I had my hand up in there.

In the spring when fuzzy coats start to fall away, they all get brushed almost daily.  I use the flat stripping comb which works wonders.  The birds love me!   I get so much hair out Trax and Danny.  The red horses give up some but their coats don't get as thick.

I do not trim whiskers or ear hair. My horses are not show horses, they are working ponies.  I did cut a bridle path on Trax last year which I think was helpful so the bridle was not pulling on him.  I do strip the extra hair off of their legs but I do not trim it. Again, they are working horses and trail horses.  They need that protection.  With all of that in mind, I know that in June I will have to clean Trax up a bit for the RH competition.  Still I will try to stick as close to a natural look as I can.  The one issue I'm not sure what to do about is his mane.  You may or may not recall that last summer when he was so loaded with bots I ended up giving him a bad hair cut to get rid of them. It has grown a lot since then and looks better but it still looks a little funky on the ends and I will have to do something about that.  I do know who to ask though. My friend Kim will know just what to do.  The upper portion of his many likes to go on both sides. I like it like that.  Jay says I have to train it to go to one side.  I say that my horse is who he is, wild hair and all!

I will  tell you what is routine for me though. It is the wellness check. Everytime I am close to them I look for anything out of the ordinary. I look at their faces and their eyes,  I run my hands over them, down their legs, pick up their feet.  I don't clean their feet every day, but I take a second to pick them up and have a peek.  Even when it is cold I do this.  I do it for a few reasons.  One just to keep them used to contact, but second, because it is so easy to miss stuff when I just throw food and leave.  So although it isn't really part of grooming, in a way it is.  I also feel it is much more important than daily brushings.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

EC Day 17??? (I hope thats right)

Who is my equestrian idol.

Well of course we all would like to be more like Buck, or Dennis, or Clinton, or Parelli, or Charlie Hill, or any of those big name guys who seem to have it all figured out.

Temple Grandin of course is also just amazing.

But my real idols?????

Well that would be the most amazing women I have met through Equine Blogging.
Let me tell you why.

The first blog I ran across was when I searching out information on stringhalt.  The first one I found was Shannon's.  Through her I found more, and more and more.  I have a pretty huge reading list now and everyone blogs about different things, but there is one thing that many, if not all of us have in common.  It seems we almost all have at least one horse with special needs of some kind.  For some it is physical, for others it is in regards to training.  Many of the blogs I read share a common theme of women who work so hard to keep not so sound horses, more sound, or at least comfortable. 

I feel that I am often surrounded by people who say, "Why are you going to all that trouble for that old horse, or that unbroke mare?"  They would have me ship them off to slaughter, or just take them out and shoot them.  I believe, that with perseverance, my horses can be helped. I am willing to go the extra mile for them. I am lucky enough to have a man in my life who feels the same way.  But truthfully I felt isolated in my goals, and often felt depressed when even the vets had nothing more to say than, "He can't be helped".  

Then I found you folks, the ones who treat their horses with EPM instead of just putting them down.  The one who duct tapes her little donkey's foot (with a hole in it) and searches for new boots that will fit him.  The ones who rescue mustangs and give them a new life. The one who has the for sight to chose leasing a horse for now, until she is more prepared to own.   The ones who have learned how to do their own trimming.  The one who is starting over with her Arabians to rebuild their foundation. The ones who rescue the donkeys in NM.  The one with the Morgans.  The one who pulled off the shoes of her mare and rehabed her into a barefoot life of comfort. The one who lost "her guy" but then was able to rescue the mammoth brothers, even through the pain of her loss.   All of it...all of you.  I'm sure there are some I have left out, but every blog I read is included in this.


At a time when most of the world sees animals as disposable, I have run across a group of people spread out all over the world who go to great lengths to help horses with different health issues. This is a big deal to me. 

As far as I am concerned it is people like you that are the real hero's of the equine world. Not the big time trainers who make all kinds of money. It is you ladies, who keep on keeping on, for the love of your horses, and donkeys, and dogs.

You are the people I want to be when I grow up.

Experimenting with Shenanigans

Well lets see if I am smarter than my computer.....

Here are a few of the pics I took this morning.  I had to upload to my header, then delete so they would be saved to my blog. Then open a new post so that I could include them here.  Yup pure genius!

Danny runs funny, but Trax doesn't hold it against him

Can you see the joy in his eyes?
Terrible lighting even after editing

 I love this one!
With his hair squished down from the blanket he
does not look quite so chunky
 Can you guess what Big K is saying to me?
 Sassy and K did not roll first thing.
I'm not sure why because Sassy usually does
 Killian's first order of business...
Make sure Danny knows who's boss
I took this one to show how K's mouth is shaped different.
Most horses always look like they are frowning
he usually looks like he is smiling
but now I don't see that here :(

Can you Strangle a Computer?

I am so fed up with computers.  My computer at home is archaic. I cannot edit any pics there, and most pics I take need a little help.  My internet service (Wild Blue) is the worst (but all I can get). Remember the video I posted the other day of Jalan Crossland?  It is a 4:02 min video.  It took 324 minutes to upload that to you tube.  I'd be better off with dial up.  It wouldn't be that big of a deal if I wasn't paying top dollar for that lousy service.  Over 100 a month and if I go over my alloted "usage" they cut my service in half.  I hate that company.

 I have a great computer at work, but for some reason everything has gone whacko.   I cannot upload a pic to my blog from here. For some reason our internet service at work is all jacked up.  It takes forever to load a page and sometimes it never does and I have to start over.  This is true for all websites. My banking websites, parts suppliers websites, and my personal non work related stuff too.
IT says they have fixed it, but everymorning it starts again.

 (Before you think less of me for doing personal computer stuff while on the clock, let me point out, that the shop guys take smoke breaks.  I take blog breaks.)

Ok, moving on.....

For Christmas Tom gave me an IOU for a new lens for my Sony Nex 5.  I was not going to redeem it, as he spends too much on me as it is.  He insisted.  When I got the camera I thought it came with a pretty decent lens but it didn't have a good zoom on it. The new one is a 4.5-6.3/55-210.  Not exactly sure what that means (200mm???)

I haven't had much of chance to use it yet. But I did experiment a little.

I took this through my bedroom window looking down into the pasture.  I did not crop or edit this one. It is what it is. Not to shabby when you consider how dirty my windows are.  (Hey second story! LOL)

Now in order to get this on here today, due to a limit of time this morning.  I had to upload to an unpublished post, then save, then come to work and ad to this post. What a pain!

Oh wait.  I did say I was moving on, didn't I?

Here are some pics I took a few weeks ago.  These are pics of pics that are hanging on the wall in Toms Mom's basement. I guess these are of her late husband, George.   I just think they are great pics!

Today is Thursday, I unblanketed my ponies this morning.  I tried to get some pics of their shenanigans this morning as they went out and rolled and scratched their back.  I will hopefully post those either tonight or in the morning.  Keeping fingers crossed!
UPDTAE # 2: Thank Marissa, got it fixed!