Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dusty's Days

Nate & Dusty
Dusty and I have been trying to get in as many rides as we can lately.  Okay, to be truthful, I’ve been trying to get in as many rides as I can.  Dusty couldn’t care less.  As a matter of fact she would rather graze all day and stuff as much grass in her mouth as possible.

We did get in a nice ride yesterday after she led me on a magical mystery tour through three paddocks while I was trying to catch her.  She thought she was being very clever by hiding in the shed, but she made the mistake of sticking her head out the window to watch me.  She should have done what Blue did last year and hid behind the shed and peeked out occasionally.  Then I might have found that as amusing as I did with Blue and not ride her.  Dusty was smart enough to have Nate stand in front of her so I couldn’t get to her, but to her dismay he was easily moved.  They are a constant source of amusement and quite a cast of characters.

Nice try but it didn't work this time
Dusty and I have been taking things slowly until she gets fitter.  We do lots of walking and I work on my position. We’ve been incorporating lots of circles and bending and changes of direction so it doesn’t get too boring for her.  At one point I was thinking about doing a little trotting and without changing my position or reins she took it upon herself to trot off.  I let her trot for a little bit then went back to walk.  Sometimes I think she can read my mind, which can be a good or bad thing I guess!

Until next time

Quote for Today
A little horseplay... the way best to enjoy a summer day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Little of This…

A little of that…  Not much to report here from the farm.  There’s been some riding, grooming, baths, longeing and lots of cleaning.  Seems there’s never enough time in a day to get everything done.  We’re still in cleanup and organizing mode around here.  The paddocks need mowing, arenas need dragging, there is tons of laundry to do. Then there's all the tack that needs to be cleaned and oiled. 

I sometimes think it was so much easier when I boarded my horses elsewhere and left all the maintenance to someone else.  Then I remember all the things I didn’t like about boarding too.  At the end of the day even if I don’t get to ride as much as I want I’d still rather have the horses at home under my care.  When I do manage a ride I appreciate it more than if I trained almost everyday like I used to.  There’s no pressure now and the ride is more relaxed and pleasurable than it was in the past.  I guess I’m trying to say that even though I don’t ride as much as I did that’s okay too.  As long as I can be with happy healthy horses it’s all to the good.

Here are some pictures from this weekend:
Sami waiting patiently for his treat after his bareback ride

Blue - Just making sure there are no treats from humans before heading out
Nate - "Looks like we're out of luck on the treat front today Blue"
Mellon, Grady, Nate and Dusty with Sami in the corner hanging out under the fan
Donnie and Blue trying to look inconspicuous so they won't have to work
Dusty - "Am I next or what? I can't keep hanging around here all day, places to go things to do..."
So much little time
Gunnar - The exceptional "guard dog" keeping an eye on everything

Quote for Today
Some are slaves on the ground but are free on a horse.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


 "Look back at our struggle for freedom
Trace our present day's strength to it's source
 And you'll find that man's pathway to glory
 Is strewn with the bones of the horse.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Country Livin’


Spoiler alert.  This has nothing to do with horses but I found it interesting.  I was in the kitchen when I heard this rapping on the glass windows in the den.  Upon further investigation I found this turkey tapping on the window with his beak.  Turkeys have been visiting for the past few weeks or so usually in a gang of three.  Not today, the Lone Ranger was apparently looking for the birdseed I put out every morning.  Unfortunately, the resident squirrel was hogging the bird feeder. 

The turkeys are usually very skittish and take off the minute they see anyone looking out the window. I was very surprised that he climbed the two steps and was having a look around at everything inside including the dog and me.  I grabbed my camera and wasn’t two inches from his head and was able to snap some pictures through the glass.  He never moved.  Tommy Gobbles may have been trying to tell me to chase the squirrel and refill the feeder.  I’ll never know because I don’t speak turkey.

Here are some pictures to prove I’m not hallucinating:
The gang of three

The morning ritual of breakfast


" Umm, excuse me, there seems to be an intruder in my feed"

"Are you even listening to me"

" So what are ya doing in there, any good shows on"

"Might as well leave, the service around here is for the birds"
Meet the fattest squirrel in the neighborhood!


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Peaceful Days

We’ve officially managed to do a decent job of grooming the herd.  They don’t look like wooly beasts anymore thanks to lots of currying, brushing and the shedding blade. Our Vet was here Friday and they all got some of their Spring shots.  The dentist will be here Monday.  I’ve started cleaning the barn from top to bottom.  Cob webbing is not one of my favorite things. You’d be amazed at how much dust builds up in the loft, and on walls, corners and ceiling fans in a barn over the winter.   When I was done I looked like one of the horses after a good roll in the dirt.

Gunnar (the pup) is doing very well after his surgery.  He met up with our resident fox last night that was in the small pasture on the side.  There was a lot of barking and they simply stared at each other for a while.  Once we investigated the barking and found out what all the commotion was about, Gunnar was told it was okay and how brave he was.  Then he went and found his “lambie” for extra protection and everything settled down.

Here are a few pictures of some of the grooming victims:
Blue - "Oh no, just how many brushes do you have in that box!"

Glad that's over with.

Sami - Is this the cutest little guy ever?
He sure is the sweetest.

Nate - " I'll put my ears up when I start enjoying myself"

O'Grady - " I seem to have this pouffy dandelion forelock thing going on"
But just as handsome as ever
Donnie - "Umm, I could use another treat, that was exhausting"
Dusty - "I'm not sure this is the fashion statement I want to make for the Spring"
Just look at that face, I'd say she's pretty mad at me right about now.
Hi, it's me Gunnar! Don't know why I'm on a leash, I wasn't digging again...really.
"C'mon Maggie, lets play with my new rubber chicken toy"
" I'm a lady, I don't play with rubber chickens.  He's such a little pest"
Looking this sad ought to get someone to play with me.
Milo - The original Grumpy Cat who hates both dogs and is never done hissing and growling at them.

Quote for Today

Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
 George Elliot

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Update on Gunnar (the pup)


Dec. 3o, 2014 (First day Gunnar was found in the road)

January 4, 2015

Shortly after my daughter found Gunnar abandoned on the road in late December she noticed that he wasn’t quite right health–wise.  He was only about 6 weeks old and had been out on his own in the cold and snow in the woods for a few weeks. I honestly don’t know how he survived. After a few trips to her veterinarian’s office he was diagnosed with:

Portosystemic (Liver) Shunts in Dogs
Portosystemic shunts (PSS), also known as liver shunts or portosystemic vascular anomalies, are anatomical defects where one or more veins let blood bypass a dog’s liver. These veins are remnants of embryonic blood vessels that are supposed to regress shortly after a puppy is born. What causes portosystemic shunts is unknown. They may be caused by some insult to fetuses inside the womb. There almost certainly is a strong genetic component. As the abnormal veins shunt blood around the liver, substances that normally would be filtered, metabolized or modified by the liver stay in circulation. Many of these, especially ammonia, are harmful - especially to nervous system tissue. Affected dogs usually develop symptoms by 1 year of age. The signs of PSSs are nonspecific and episodic. They include lethargy, weakness, disorientation, drooling, vocalization, vision disturbances, pacing, stunted growth, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, appetite changes, changes in urination, itchy skin, tremors, seizures and collapse.

If you’re interested in more information on this condition click on the link below:

Needless to say my daughter was very concerned, as we all were, to see if we could help the little guy lead a normal life.  I’ve never heard of this condition in dogs but now we are all becoming experts. 

Gunnar is the friendliest, sweetest dog I’ve ever met.  Everyone who meets him falls in love with him on the spot.  People actually come over and ask to pet him all the time.  My daughter is lucky she can bring him to work with her.  He’s made friends with everyone there from the UPS guy, the mailman, the people who work in the building, and even random people in the parking lot that he meets on his potty runs. Gunnar loves to explore outside, meet new people and dogs, and play with his many toys.  His Lambie is still his favorite though.

Needless to say, we all wanted to do the best we could for him. His regular vet referred him to a specialist at Cornell where he was given a CT scan.  It turned out he had the more difficult kind of shunt to operate on.  Gunnar's is inside his liver instead of on the outside.  The vet there referred Gunnar to his mentor who has pioneered a new procedure for the kind of shunt he has.  So he was scheduled for an appointment with that specialist in a month or so.  In the meantime, Gunnar was being treated with medication and a special diet while we waited for him to get a little bigger and put some weight on. 

The day came for his consultation with the new specialist in Manhattan. When he arrived they examined him and decided he was ready for his operation the next day.  There is a 95% chance of success with this surgery.  The doctor seemed confident that he would do well.  The operation is done laproscopically (if that's the right word?) and they go in through the jugular vein in his neck.  It’s less invasive than the other surgery he might have had if the vein was outside the liver. For that surgery they would have had to open him up and recovery time would be about a month or more. During the operation they put in a stent and 14 coils--he did great.  We had to wait to see if he would have any complications after the procedure, as seizures and hepatic hypertension are major concerns.  The day prior to surgery they gave him anti-seizure medication. 

He stayed in the ICU unit for a day.  Apparently, they let him walk around and he kept going over to the packages of food and bringing them to everyone who worked there. Sort of a “how about it guys, I’m hungry!”

Afterwards, when everything appeared ok, he went into the general ward and got ready to come home.  I’m happy to report that he’s doing fine and there was really no down time for him. (As far as he was concerned.)  He’s playing and just being super cute.

The vet did say that when he’s full grown he might need another operation to put in more coils.  It all depends on whether the shunt begins to leak as he continues to grow. Fingers crossed.  We will deal with that if and when the time comes. But for now we get to be friends with a very sweet lovable pup who is one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever met.
Here's Gunnar a few weeks before his operation. (Both pictures)
 No gloves are safe since he was allowed to play with one of my daughter's!
( I have no current pictures of Gunnar -  I blame this on my daughter who is terrible about taking pictures!)

Quote for Today
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles M. Schulz

Monday, April 6, 2015

It's Spring!

Even though we had a little snow flurry yesterday for Easter this picture tells me it's definitely the beginning of Spring.  Longer days are welcome.  Now if it would just warm up a bit that would complete the whole "Spring has arrived" scenario.

"Um, excuse me, I think you missed some spots!"

" That's better "

And there's plenty more where that came from.
 Not looking forward to this job.
  NEXT! Step right up...
Quote for Today 
 Grooming: the process by which the dirt on the horse is transferred to the groom.