Friday, September 23, 2016

Rollin’ On

Blue waiting for his after ride treat

Yesterday the nice people who picked Nate up and cremated him delivered his ashes to us. He will be buried next to Dusty as soon as we can get the backhoe attached to the tractor.

I’ve been busy around the farm mostly power washing the white vinyl fencing.  So far I’ve done about 40-50 sections front and back.  It’s not a hard job but time consuming and I usually wind up looking like a drowned rat when the breeze is blowing in the right or should I say wrong direction.  I despise this fence and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who has trees overhanging a fence. The sap seems to stick to it very well.


Since we haven’t been riding for most of the summer we had an abundant crop of weeds spring up in the small arena.  It has taken hours and hours of dragging plus spraying with organic weed killer but I’ve made some headway and most of them are gone now.  I did have two helpers who were never done doing their impersonation of “road blocking cones” so I had to veer off and go in other directions.  Thanks for the help guys…

"Official Traffic Directors"

Ginger resting after a full day of playing with Gunnar and "helping out"

The chimney guys are almost done building the new fireplace. Our old one was pulling away from the house and needed to be replaced. It was ugly stucco and didn't go with the house which was built in 1750. So this is more in keeping with the period the house was built in.


For some reason this past Monday I developed gout in my big toe.  Never had it before but I’m here to tell you it’s very painful.  Finally went to the doctor yesterday and he told me it’s usually developed from shellfish and alcohol.  Well, since nobody’s taken me out for a lobster dinner with wine lately, that’s not the cause.  I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage for a few months either.  It could be from dehydration, which is my bet since I didn’t drink enough water over the weekend.  When I start a project I usually keep going until it’s finished.  Note to self - drink more water. The doctor gave me heavy-duty anti-inflammatory pills, which must be taken with food, or they cause stomach upset etc.  No problem there!
I've spared you the pictures because my swollen toe looks ridiculous. 

The bright spot in all of this is I was able to ride Blue on Sunday.  We just walked around the indoor for a bit and reintroduced him to steering and bending. Blue is nineteen and he knows this but I think he likes to test me and see if I remember how to ask him correctly.  I do! We both had a nice ride for our first time back in a long while. He felt good and I felt good to be back in the saddle again.
A little graze and rinse off after his grueling ride

Off to find the herd

Until next time
Quote for Today
Feeling down?  Saddle up.  ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Goodbye "Tater"

" Nate"

Friday morning when my daughter went out to the barn to feed and turn out for the day she found her horse Nate dead in his stall.  Nate had been suffering for a while with stringhalt, which was exacerbated by his condition of shivers.  Though he had improved a lot with the medication, he was still having some difficulty walking.  While she was doing everything she could for him to make him comfortable and help him recover, he continued to lose weight and wasn’t looking or feeling good in general.  Even though his death was heartbreaking, he left our world on his own terms in the best possible way.  His heart stopped beating and he left peacefully in his sleep with his herd around him in the barn.  On his last day Nate grazed with his friends all day and came in at night to a hearty meal, his favorite carrots and treats, and lots of hugs.  That morning all his friends stopped by his stall to sniff him and say their goodbyes.

What can we say about Nate’s life?  Nate came to my daughter from Holland as a four year old Dutch Warmblood and immediately touched all of our hearts. He grew to 17.3 hh and was one of the sweetest, kindest, and gentlest of souls.  Everyone who knew him, whether human or animal, loved Nate.  He was always happy and willing to be your friend.  Nate was the most curious of our horses and would follow anyone around checking on what they were doing, pulling pliers out of pockets or looking over your shoulder at a job being done.  Nate was the mischievous prankster around the barn and if you were bending over to pick up or clean something, he'd give a little nudge with his nose and tip you over. More than once while scrubbing out a water trough, Nate has knocked one of us in head-first. And if you weren't careful, he might even give you a wedgie!

He and my daughter traveled all over Europe through Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, across the English Channel, into Wales, England, and finally to Scotland.  In Scotland they studied with the British Horse Society for a while and had many great adventures. One day, my daughter was leading a trail ride for the first time through the Scottish countryside on Nate. While on a sunken road between two fields, Nate spied a herd of Highland Cattle on one side.  He'd never seen cows before, and eyed them suspiciously, but continued along confidently. Then all at once they pushed up to the fence and said "mooooooo," and, well, that was just too much. He ran backwards until he hit the bank on the other side and fell over backwards on top of my daughter. He rolled around on top of the bank until he was on his feet, with her still in the saddle, and bolted, with the rest of the riders watching in horror. She got to the end of the field where there were no cows attacking him and they could jump down the bank back onto the road. He was covered in mud and had tufts of grass sticking out his bridle, but he regained his composure and was a perfect gentleman for the rest of the ride. That was Nate. He tried his best. Sometimes the world just didn't cooperate with him...

At home he could be silly and always made us laugh or smile.  Nate decided more than once he wasn’t comfortable working in the indoor arena and thought it was a good idea to jump out.  Which he did twice through the big doors on the end and once through the small man door on the side.  He was very athletic! He proved this by being able to dance around on his hind legs whether someone was in the saddle or not.  Nate wasn’t rebellious or naughty on purpose, but when he got frightened he didn't run, he got airborne.  His spontaneous airs above ground were a sight to behold! My favorite antic of his was one day when it snowed, and he somehow slipped down the hill from the run-in and made his body into a horsey toboggan and slid right under the fence. Not easy to do for a huge horse, but he managed it. My daughter found him hanging out on her front lawn when she came home from work, and found the skid marks under the unbroken fence. He was probably just as confused, wondering how he had just teleported through the fence and how he could get back to his friends. So, Nate had many adventures in his twenty years that we saw. I’ve always wondered what he got up to that we didn’t see. Then again, knowing Nate, maybe it's best we never saw most of that stuff...

Nate was also sometimes known affectionately around the barn as "Tater," because he was a big sweet potato. His show name was "Ex Animo," which is Latin, and translates roughly as "from the heart."
As you will notice in the video below, he and my Dusty were practically inseparable.  Nate was her guy and they were hardly ever apart. I hope there is a place for horses to be together again.  We’d like to think of Nate and Dusty grazing lush pastures, drinking out of crystal streams, and being young and healthy again. 

Goodbye sweet boy, you are missed more than you know. Your leaving has left a big hole in our hearts.


remember when our songs where just like prayers.
like gospel hymns that you called in the air.
come down come down sweet reverence,
unto my simple house and ring…
and ring.

ring like silver, ring like gold
ring out those ghosts on the Ohio
ring like clear day wedding bells
were we the belly of the beast or the sword that fell…we’ll never tell.

come to me clear and cold on some sea
watch the world spinning some machine

now I've been crazy couldn’t you tell
i threw stones at the stars, but the whole sky fell
now I’m covered up in straw, belly up on the table
well and sang and drank, and passed in the stable.

that tall grass grows high and brown,
well i dragged you straight in the muddy ground
and you sent me back to where i roam
well i cursed and i cried, but now i know…now i know

and i ran back to that hollow again
the moon was just a sliver back then
and i ached for my heart like some tin man
when it came oh it beat and it boiled and it rang..its ringing

ring like crazy, ring like hell
turn me back into that wild haired gale
ring like silver, ring like gold
turn these diamonds straight back into coal

Until next time

Quotes for Today

There is something about the sight of a fallen horse that strikes one's heart in such a way, even for those who are not particularly a horse lover...the significance of something so sacred, powerful, beautiful, intoxicating as the horse...when a fallen horse is seen overcome by life's obstacles, fallen tears and a jolt to the heart and soul can never be prevented...
    - Stephanie M Thorn

Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
~Stanley Harrison

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August Update

Blue- " I've had just about enough of this summer!"

There seems to be too many things going on at once around here and so there hasn’t been much time to post anything.

I’ll start with an update on the horses:

Nate (my daughter’s horse) has been suffering with a bad case of Stringhalt.  He’s been dealing with this for over a month.  At one point, it got so bad that he was completely paralyzed in his hind end and was stall bound for a while. His hind legs swelled mildly and he broke out with oozing sores around his coronary bands, front and back. Nate also has a condition called Shivers, which we think exacerbated or probably even predisposed him to the Stringhalt. Between my daughter and the vet they seem to have come up with a successful treatment plan.  The good news is that, after scaring the crap out of us, he seems to be doing much better and can now be turned out with the herd. He’s still walking very slowly, but he seems happy and at least he’s able to be with his buddies.

Shortly after Nate, Grady came down with a milder case of Stringhalt. He also has shivers. He's recovering much faster than Nate and seems to be doing much better now.

Mellon's legs--especially his hind legs--have been swelling, oozing serum, and breaking out in sores. He was also mildly lame behind, though it didn't look anything like the stringhalt in the other two. Mellon doesn't have shivers, though he did have EPM a few years ago, and he's got Cushings. Our vet thought it was cellulitis. My daughter said it reminded her of a milder version of the lymphangitis Nate had when he ate some toxic weeds he shouldn't have in Scotland. The vet prescribed a course of heavy duty antibiotics and topical ointment (which Mel finished and didn't seem to help), so she's been washing with mild antiseptic soap and wrapping with Animalintex which seems to help a lot.

Trying to find the common source for all of these problems might be a waste of time. But the stringhalt, at least, we assume had a common cause once two horses started to show the same symptoms. There is a variety of the disease called "Australian Stringhalt" that has been traced to a particular weed that grows in pastures called flatweed, catsear, or false dandelion. It looks almost identical with ordinary dandelions except the leaves are slightly hairy, the stems are coarser, and they can be branched (there are other small differences if you're into botanical stuff, but for the casual observer, that's enough to identify one in your field.) It's not always dangerous to horses. But under certain soil and weather conditions (i.e. drought) when the plant is stressed, apparently it becomes toxic. We believe that our horses already suffering from neurological conditions were highly susceptible to the effects of this toxin, and so exhibited the worst symptoms. All of the literature we've ever read about it, and all of the vets we've ever spoken to said it doesn't grow in our area. But after speaking to the local Cornell Cooperative Extention expert, my daughter went out looking for it, and it was everywhere. (My daughter is going to post more on what she's found out about the plant and the condition as the horses progress with their treatment.)

We've got probably 25 acres total of pasture, so there was no way we were going to dig it all up by hand. So in the meantime, to be on the safe side, we removed the horses from the pasture for a few weeks while they received their treatment. Then, though we don't like having to do it, we had all the pastures sprayed with a broadleaf herbicide to get rid of the weed suspected of causing Nate, Grady (and possibly Mellon) their various ailments.  We can't be sure if it was the flatweed or any other weed that caused their illnesses. But why take that chance?  They seem to be improving already... We will reseed in the fall.

Blue looks a lot better to me and I plan on starting back riding him this weekend.  He got a thorough grooming and bath over the past weekend.

Sami and Donnie are just fine. So there are a few bright spots here, too.

The Dogs:
Ginger the pup is doing fine. She was spayed two weeks ago and is as feisty as ever.

Gunnar has started having seizures.  He’s had three this month and so my daughter took him to his vet who referred him to a dog neurologist.  I didn’t know there was such a specialty, but apparently there is.  All of his tests came back normal. and they have no answers.  Every vet we use is on vacation so it’s been like pulling teeth to get him some anti-seizure medication.  Normally, they would use phenobarbital but since he has a liver shunt he can’t take that because it compromises the liver.  There is another medication that they are prescribing so hopefully we’ll be able to get that soon and help him.

We have what looks like green slime on the top of the pond so we called in a pond expert.  He says it’s called watermeal. And there is a spray that will kill it, but he can’t spray because the oxygen level in the pond is below normal (because of the watermeal) and it will kill the fish.  So we need to replace the broken aerator with a new one, which requires getting an electrician to run a line from the garage to the pond.  I’m hoping this can be done soon.  We may not be able to treat the pond this year, but at least we can get the oxygen levels back up to normal to help the fish out until the weather cools off and the watermeal dies off.

So, it's been a rough summer, and we're looking forward to fall! That’s about it for now.

Until next time

Quote for Today
 “ It just goes to show you, it’s always something.”
    -Gilda Radner-

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

This, That and Those

Well, for starters it seems that Blue is feeling a little better.  The OSPHOS "might" be working.  He looks like he’s walking better and is more comfortable.  I haven’t ridden him yet and I take the blame solely on my shoulders.  It’s just been too hot and I’m not a summer person.  When temperatures are in the 90’s with humidity to match I’d rather not ride. I’m sure the horses appreciate standing under their fans in the run- in sheds to cool off and try to hide from the insects too.  If I were a horse and someone decided it was a good idea to put a saddle pad, saddle and rider on my back I might not agree. So when the weather cools a little we will start back together.

My friend Linda at Beautiful Mustang had a book giveaway that I won.  Color me surprised because I’ve seldom won anything.  The book is:
Zen Mind - Zen Horse, by Allan J. Hamilton, MD.  It’s about the science and spirituality of working with horses.  I’ve just started reading it and it is very interesting.  Thank you Linda!

July 26th brought about another birthday…ugh! But since I choose to ignore birthdays anymore it’s not such a big deal.  I received some wonderful gifts and I absolutely love these grooming gloves.  They are great for bath time and I’ve found my arms don’t get so weary using them.

Ginger the pup is now 6 months old and doing well.  She’s growing so fast and actually starting to listen most of the time.  And we are finally potty trained!  I know this because she has a habit of jumping on my head and licking my face at 6 a.m. every morning when she needs to go out.  But that’s okay, I’d rather take a lick on the face than…well you know.

Until next time

Quote for Today
 What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance. ~Jane Austen

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Farm News

" Blue "

It’s been quiet around here lately with nothing much happening with riding.  Our vet was out last month for their Spring shots.  I had him evaluate Blue to see how he was doing and it seems he’s got sore hocks and arthritis.  We opted not to give him hock injections because he’s had them in the past and personally I don’t think they help him much.  He told me about a new treatment they have been using that seems to work better.  It’s a series of two OSPHOS shots a few weeks apart and should take about a month or two to work if they’re going to help him.  It's a treatment based on those given to humans to treat osteoporosis, and I think the idea is that it will slow degeneration of the arthritic areas and maybe even help remodel some of the damaged bone surfaces that are causing him discomfort. It's supposed to be the new wonder drug for a lot of arthritic conditions, so we thought it was worth a try for Blue. Anyway, it’s been almost a month and I’m hoping to maybe take him for a walk this weekend and see how he’s feeling.

Sami had a very mild flare up of laminitis and is wearing his grazing muzzle and Dusty’s SoftRide boots. He seems to be doing much better.  Except for the night he came in without his muzzle.  One of his friends (this means you Grady) must have helped him take it off.  The next day he was a little sore again, but he’s doing better now.

Everybody else is doing fine and had a five pound bag of carrots between them yesterday.  My grandchildren were visiting and the horses love to see them coming because they know there are lots of treats involved!

Until next time

Quote for Today

He knows when you're happy
He knows when you're comfortable
He knows when you're confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Great Story

Robert Borba jumped on his horse, Long John, and roped the fleeing man until cops could arrive and arrest him.

( Saw this in the Sunday papers today. I thought it was a great story and thought I'd share it with you. Hope you enjoy it!)

An Oregon cowboy came to the rescue of a damsel in distress — lassoing an alleged bike rustler in a Walmart parking lot.

Rancher Robert Borba was at the Eagle Point store loading dog food and a tent onto his truck Friday when he heard a woman yelling that someone was stealing her bike, the Medford Mail Tribune reported.

In the spur of the moment, he grabbed his horse, Long John, from his trailer and galloped after the bike thief.

“I seen this fella trying to get up to speed on a bicycle,” said Borba, 28. “I wasn’t going to catch him on foot. I just don’t run very fast.”

When the suspect ran off after struggling with the bike’s gears, Borba lassoed the man around his legs.

The varmint tumbled to the ground and was dragged to the end of the parking lot, where he grabbed a tree and tried to break free.

Undaunted, Borba and his bronco held on tight — leaving the suspect stunned by the Wild West corral.

“Do you have a badge to do this?” the man asked.

The cowpoke then called 911 and sat with the man for about 15 minutes until cops arrived.

Eagle Point Sgt. Darin May identified the alleged outlaw as Victorino Arellano-Sanchez, 22, from the Seattle area.

“We’ve never had anyone lassoed and held until we got there,” May told the paper.

Arellano-Sanchez was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge and thrown in the pokey on $3,000 bail.

Borba said he competed in rodeos while growing up, but left the circuit because his “heart wasn’t in it.”

“I use a rope every day, that’s how I make my living,” he said. “If it catches cattle pretty good, it catches a bandit pretty good.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bath Time

Over the weekend we took advantage of the 90+ degree temps to give everyone a bath and much needed sheath cleanings. Here are some pictures of the herd looking shiny and brand new but I'm sure it won't last long! There were no shenanigans in the wash stall so all were rewarded with Stud Muffins and carrots.

"Donnie" "Umm, I don't know what she was doing back there but it felt a little weird"

"Mellon" looking good for a guy who's almost 30 yrs. old

"Nate" patiently waiting for his friends to come out and play

"Sami" enjoying a few moments without his grazing muzzle, he's a little pudgy yet
"Mr. Blue" Very clean and shiny...for a few minutes anyway, we both know this won't last!

"O'Grady" Such a sweeheart
Quote for Today 
Life is good; a horse makes it better!