Tuesday, November 6, 2018



Today is Nikita’s 3rd birthday.  She has been with us for about eight months now and has found a place in our family and our hearts.  For the first fourteen months of her life she was with a “puppy raiser” for the Guide Dogs of America foundation. Nikita was socialized with lots of other dogs and people and taken to so many different places for her training.  The ‘puppy raiser’ was kind enough to send me pictures of her life before I got her.  Nikita has been to restaurants, parks, Boy Scout troop meetings, children’s hospital, painting classes, doctors and dentists offices, movies, on a ferry ride, Santa Anita racetrack, Christmas parades and many more places too numerous to mention.  At the end of her training she was assessed by the foundation and sadly turned down because she didn’t have the right temperament to continue.  I was told she gets too distracted to be a good guide dog.  I could definitely see how that would be true. 

Nikita was raised with two female Labradors, so transitioning to one sister, Ginger, my Australian Shepherd, wasn’t very hard for her since she was always trained with her sisters and many other dogs too.  At first they got along great and then not so much as they both vied to become the dominant one.  Nikita won for a while but somehow Ginger is now dominating and Nikita follows her around and takes her lead.  She won’t even go out by herself unless Ginger goes first. So they’ve worked it out between them. They play and run together and have a good time all in all.

The only thing that Nikita has still to master is her unauthorized horse herding.  She will sometimes run into the paddock and bark and chase the horses.  They mostly ignore her but Rosie did give her a warning kick out with her back legs once.  She’s getting much better at behaving and sitting and staying during turnout and bring in times. 

Here are some pictures of her life so far:

"How cute am I"

"Valentine Puppy"

"I'm a Halloween Butterfly"

"It's Election Day, I voted for the candidate with the most treats!"
"Here I am at Santa Anita, I bet on the winner"

"Saying Goodbye to my friends was hard"

"Nikita in her new home with us"
"I'm in my new home now with my new sister Ginger"
" I don't know what this white stuff is but I like it!"

" Um, I never saw one of these before"

"It's my stick...no it's MY stick"

For a California girl she loves the snow

My Co-Pilot

Can't get in the Kubota without an assistant to help me drag the arena

"Soaking up some sun on the patio"
"No I'm not coming in, one more step and I'm outta here"
" I know nothing about how these flowers got crushed, I think it was Ginger"

" I heard it's my birthday, where's the treats!"

Quote for Today
 My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Long Overdue Update


Where to start?  The first two weeks in October my daughter took a trip to Ireland, which left me solely in charge of the farm.  When she left, Grady had a bruise on his left front hoof that he was favoring but with a few days of Bute he was walking better. 
"I can look even sadder if you need me too"
Then Blue decided to come up lame on his right front hoof.  He struggled to walk for two days. Bute didn’t help, and on the third day he just refused to leave his stall. Which was fine as he was allowed to leave his stall and wander around the barn areas if he felt like it.  He didn’t. We treated it like an abscess but after a week, nothing happened. We got worried so I had the farrier check him out. Apparently, the whole hoof was sore. Then he took to lying down in his stall and not getting up. Next the vet was called to come and check him out. We got x-rays just to rule out founder or a fracture. Luckily it was nothing so drastic. The general consensus was that he was working on a really big abscess.

I’ve got to say Blue is a real trooper…not!  As he lay in his stall moaning and grumbling he was brought hay to munch on, he’d pick up his head and take a few bites then lay back down until he was brought water to quench his thirst.  I honestly think that if he could have put his hoof to his forelock he would have said, “ Woe is me!”  Typical male behavior, such a drama queen. We had to soak his foot in a plastic bag while he was lying down and then wrap it in an Animalintex. Thank heavens his abscess finally blew about two days ago.  It was pretty disgusting and he’s feeling better now but still not quite there, so he’s still wandering around the barn and small paddock in his Soft-Ride boots. He may be able to go out with the herd soon.  He’s been missing them since they have refused to come in for the last four nights and he’s been alone in the barn.

Around two weeks ago my Australian Shepherd Ginger started having seizures, three in twenty-four hours. I took her to a vet and she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy.  The vet put her on phenobarbital and for the last two weeks she’s had no seizures but she is a little zoned out.  She’s only two and a half years old.  So I’m hoping that her dosage can be cut down or she can come off it entirely eventually.  I’m still not convinced it’s epilepsy and not something she ate outside.  She’s always grazing on weeds or mushrooms or horse poop or who knows what else.  So I’ll wait and see what the vet says when I take her back in a few weeks. 

It’s been a stressful few weeks but things are calming down now and getting back to normal.  Not to be a total bummer there is some good news.  The day after my daughter got back from her trip her new horse was delivered.  We had gone down to our friend’s to see him when she got him in and she rode him before she left. My daughter worked for our friend who is a horse dealer when she was in her teens and twenties. It’s the same woman I bought Rosie from.  So without further ado, here is the new addition to the farm.
" Handsome Hanz"

Hanz is a German Mecklenburg Warmblood, 16.2hh originally from Europe. He’s a very kind and smart horse.  She’s had a few rides on him since he arrived and Hanz seems unflappable.  He’s fitting in with the herd bit by bit. Sami is his best friend and for some reason Rosie has taken an immediate dislike to him and charges him occasionally.  She’s being kind of bitchy really.  Maybe once she gets over her heat and gets used to him and Blue is back in town she’ll change her attitude.  
"Hanz & Sami" (his new best friend)

Quote for Today
Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Rosie’s Walkabout

Just need the bridle and we're "Ready to Go"  ( I know it's a bad picture but she moved!)  

 This past week Rosie got to take a short walk around parts of the farm under saddle.  I had a feeling she hadn’t been out in the world at large much before I got her so it was time to test out my theory.  My guess is that she was kept in a stall and only let out for short times in a paddock or to work.  She’s gotten the whole, “Oh, I stay out all day now,” thing down pretty well and she’s adapted to being the only girl in the herd.  She still hangs near Blue most of the time but occasionally she can be seen with Grady or Sami.  Blue can be a grumpy old man and although older men should be wiser and safer sometimes he’s just a pain. Sorry Blue, but you are.

After she was mounted in the outside arena and thought she was going to work in there, she got a surprise and was walked out and down the driveway to the gravel road by the pond.  She wasn't too crazy about the pond because there is a beehive beside it and there are huge carp in there that can be seen swimming near the surface at times.  Even Grady spooks when the carp swim by.  So, for her first time out she wasn’t forced to stay anywhere she wasn't comfortable because she was a little nervous.  Next, she went on with her excellent adventure to explore the path around the outside of the indoor arena.  This went a little more smoothly in the absence of strange wildlife. She then was taken into the catch pen and into the next paddock to walk around in the shade under the trees.  She’s not only used to being in there everyday, but there was a nice breeze in the morning so it wasn't too hot yet, and it seemed like a nice way to end the ride.

What I like about Rosie is even though she gets worried or nervous, she doesn't have a big spook in her.  She doesn’t bolt or spin. The most she does is break into her little western jog.  It must be what she feels safest with and so she reverts to her comfort zone.  Which is totally manageable.  After this successful outing, Rosie will have lots more time out of the ring and little by little she will go farther afield as she gets used to being out by herself. 

Now, it would help if Sami would stop calling to her the whole time she’s away from him!

Quote for Today

The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A Little Humor

Only In New York City!

Unfortunately, this poor guy must have parked his carriage illegally.  In his defense he did try to get out of the ticket by appealing to the police officer, telling him his brother was "on the job" as a crowd control horse with the police force. Apparently, the officer wasn't buying it and ticketed him anyway. Personally, I think he should be allowed into the court room and be able to state his case to the judge in person. 

Quote for Today
Give me food and drink; and care for me. And when the day's work is done, shelter me. Give me a clean bed and leave me not too small a place in the stable. Talk to me, for your voice often takes the place of reins.  Be good to me and I shall serve you more gladly and love you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018