Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Poor Buster, he's so abused.

I soaked his front hooves in CleanTrax yesterday to try to get ahead of his white line problem.  He hated it! Of course having a gallon of liquid tied to his leg was scary. I was going to do both front feet at the same time but I decided to do one at a time so it didn't panic him more.

CleanTrax is a small vial of powder that turns into chlorine dioxide when mixed with water. It's active for 90 minutes, giving you time to soak each hoof for 45 minutes. Using the full gallon supposedly creates more pressure to push it into the hoof better to kill bacteria and fungus. I hope so. It doesn't hurt live tissue and supposedly doesn't discolor hair, but it will discolor your clothes. It smells a bit like bleach, and feels a bit like bleach on the skin.

Of course he went back and stood in the pissiest, shittiest spot in their corral when he was done. That's helpful, I'm sure.

I think that "white line disease" has a dietary component. A bit of feed that is too rich, a bit of laminitis, and the lamina is compromised, it stretches and deteriorates, and then microbes get in there and you have a mess. That's why it's so common in donkeys. They need poor forage. Mine have been in a dirt lot for a while now. I need to do some more fencing and soon I can put them out on dry grass. Some of the pastures are overgrazed and all that's left now is birdsfoot trefoil, which is a lot like alfalfa. Not good! The cattle tore down some of my fence and we're almost done fixing that. Apparently my neighbor will be fixing his fence in the fall.

Buster got a different saddle yesterday. We've been having g Troy le with his saddle rolling when I mount and dismount. We'll see what happens with the new one.

I gotta get to work! Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Lavender and Ashes

We went camping over the weekend and Sawyer was colicky again the first night. Rolling, very little gut noise. Gave him oral banamine and got him moving and he was fine. The next morning he was raring to go. Still not a lot of stamina.

Scout is jealous that Sawyer gets good feed.

My dad is visiting and his horse is such a good boy. Rode out like a trooper even though he hadn't been ridden in a while.

We scattered my sister's ashes out there by her favorite aspen tree. That was hard. The next day was her birthday. That was hard too. It's been a hard week. I did find a u-pick lavender farm though.

We got most of our hay in yesterday, even though John is gone. My nephew-in-law Scott, a hired stranger lady, and Liam helped. Excellent crew. Liam was a bit problematic. Kids. They know everything, you know. Except I've been stacking hay longer than he has. He only helped with one load so that was fine. Just 46 bales to go, and those will have to wait because my brakes fell apart after the last load. Not in a scary way. Just annoying. I need to go get a caliper bolt.

I also sold my Sharon Saare saddle and took it to the UPS store yesterday. I'm sad to see it go. It's a work of art. But it's going to someone who actually rides endurance and she's super excited about it. It doesn't fit Sawyer anymore and I adore my treeless saddle. It's not nearly as pretty though.

Today my farrier is coming to see my dad's horse. ... Haha, he showed up right when I was typing that. Got him all fixed up. Liam has been working with my farrier, learning a lot about hooves, anatomy, blacksmithing, horsehandling, and just generally having a good time. We both got some coaching on trimming today, since I had done a cursory trim yesterday to take off the worst of it. Liam got some horse handling coaching. My farrier is a pretty cool guy. He loves horsemanship.

Next... I should be cleaning my house. My good friend Allegra and her daughter will be here soon to visit for the day. I can't wait! I haven't seen them for too long. They will love me even if my house is a disgusting, disgraceful pit of despair, but I can't really stand the mess. Ugh.

Off I go! Have a lovely day!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Some Results & A Good Dog

My farrier didn't think Sawyer's recent episode had anything to do with his hooves. Could be joint pain I suppose, but we both kinda thought it unlikely. He isn't lame.

We went to the vet yesterday also, and his initial chemistry and CBC look normal. Because of that, she thinks his cortisol is unlikely to be abnormal, but it's possible. We can check it later. He was agitated, which can skew the results. I'd rather draw blood for that at home. We sent off a test for selenium and trace minerals. He is supplemented for both, but low selenium would explain his problems. It is possible he's not absorbing the selenium in his diet, especially with his age. Or I could be overdosing him on it for the last couple months, but the symptoms don't seem right for selenium toxicity.

I babble. Sorry, just processing it in my own mind.

Oh, and his cecum was pingy/gassy. Gas can be pretty painful. I keep meaning to get the one probiotic he'll eat (Probios Powder) and I keep forgetting. I finally ordered it today.  I also ordered some Cosequin just because.

My niece came home to her dog dead in the road yesterday. He got out of the fence. Shit. She's had a bad run of it. He's only a year old. They lost another 1 year old pup to a congenital defect - found her dead after an apparently violent seizure - about 6 months ago. And an old dog and two barn cats. Plus losing her mom and 2 elderly in-laws. She's having a really hard time. And Marshall was her joy and comfort. We buried him here last night.

Goodbye good buddy.

Damn. He was so full of life. It was hard seeing his body, empty of him.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A Beautiful Ride, Until it Got Weird

We haven't ridden in this meadow for quite a while. The horses love it. I love it. It's relaxing and uplifting at the same time. We saw a family of elk and several good sized deer.

The meadow part of the ride is about a mile.

I'm going to come back to this photo in a minute.

After this there's some nice forest riding along a pretty good-sized creek (Big Creek) where Huckleberry was a bit surprised to find himself swimming, not wading.

Then we crossed the creek and a short jaunt on the road and we were going to make a loop of it but the loop has been ruined by logging, so we took another way and figured we'd just eventually go back the way we came.

Not far down that soft logging road Sawyer started sniffing the ground, then itched his foot. Not that weird. He doesn't usually sniff the ground, though. A little ways further he put his head way down again to sniff the ground, or so I thought, but he laid down! I jumped off as fast as I could in case he rolled, but he didn't. He laid there for a bit, sternal, and then got up. We walked him back. He seemed tired and he kept nudging me & stumbling. He stuck his nose in a hollow stump and parked himself there for quite a while. His gums were wet & pink and his capillary refill time was good. His heart rate was a little high at one point but after standing still for a minute or two it was normal.

Now, we had only done just over 2 miles on level ground when he laid down. It was warm in the sun but probably not over 75 at 8:30 in the morning. But look back up at his neck in that last picture. After only a mile in the meadow he was that sweaty?

This isn't colic, he was pooping nice wet poops. No gas. No dehydration. Maybe he's just too old? Maybe he does have something wrong internally? Maybe his toes are too long? He's due for a shoe re-set in 3 days but his hooves grew too fast. Aarrgh. Horses. I might have the vet run some blood. I'll definitely ask my farrier about his hooves.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Bits, Anatomy, Britchen and Donkeys

I just thought I'd share this video that came up on one of my riding donkey forums today. I've watched this trainer's other videos on bits before and he really gets down into the nitty gritty details. I really like his videos. This one is even better because you can see the anatomy on the skull and he explains it well. (Note the difference between wolf teeth and canines. A lot of people do get confused by this and want canines removed. Not possible or necessary.) I didn't know the details on those nerves in the face until now. Good info!

Also, Buster's fancy new britchen from Outfitter's Pack Station came in yesterday. Happy Birthday to me from John. It doesn't look as pretty on him as it did on those shiny, well groomed mule butts at the show, but it is a very nice piece of equipment. I love the pretty buckle covers with hearts.

This wasn't our final adjustment, but you get the idea (and turns out we did still need a flank cinch):

View from the saddle:

I wasn't sure I could figure out the buckle covers, but they sort themselves out when you adjust things. And all the buckles are real roller buckles! Yay! No Conway buckles! I hate those things!

Miss Juniper Joon Junebug Jones is almost shed out and I forgot how beautiful she is. I'll get better pics but this is the best I got yesterday.

She is soooo starved for attention. Most of the time. Other times my guts stink and she won't come near me (usually when I'm trying to bring them in from the pasture. Or wearing a hat. Or gloves. Or she saw the hoof trimming tools. :) )

She's a spicy jalapeno.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Thoughts From Corral-side

Heyburn State Park

It probably looks like I just screw around all the time. Super self-indulgent. Yeah, maybe. But one could say I'm desperately holding on to happiness. Which sounds desperate. Which isn't quite right. More like I'm making my happiness and health and enjoyment of life a priority. I don't believe we were put here to suffer. We need to make the best of what we've got. I am sick more often than not with migraines. A lot of the time I sleep, thanks to that darn sleep disorder, and the rest of the time I need to keep my butt moving! Especially when the sun is shining! Forget having a pretty garden or a nice lawn, I'm going to do what I love.

I do know how privileged I am to be able to live a life I love. I wish everyone in the world lived in their own personal paradise.

I wrote the above yesterday as I was sitting with the horses in camp while they enjoyed their breakfast. I sat waking up with my coffee, listening to the birds, watching the sun on the leaves. I tentatively thought I had just ended a 5 day migraine. It started up again a few hours later.

Today is one of the dark room, ice pack, and ALL the pills sorts of days. I'm having trouble making technology or my eyes work so I'm going to just load some pics, leave them all a little small (click to enlarge it you like), and probably not say much about them. We had a nice weekend despite the pain. Probably would have been better today if I hadn't pushed through the weekend, but it was lovely.

 What do you think this is? We've narrowed it down to a bird with the beak missing.

I'm going to nap now & hope to spend time with Buster later. Have a good day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Colic

For Father's Day all John got from me was a Papa Bear mug and a trip to the wilderness. He was happy. :) He doesn't drink coffee anymore, the weirdo, but he still likes his mug. Henry, my step-dad, went with us too. We had fun.

Scout looks like he's paying respect to the aspens:

We all appreciated the shade, even though it was early in the day.

Water was much appreciated as well. I love the ripples around Huckleberry.

John was being a dork, try to ruin my picture. I finally got Huckleberry to look at me! What a gorgeous meadow. We found the trail we were told went up the mountain there by following the faint four-wheeler tracks in the grass. The horses were back at the corrals resting.

I wish my camera picked up the yellow flowers better. They're so cheerful!

If you look closely you can see Henry behind John, hiking with his pack.

On our last ride on Sunday we saw a mama bear with two cubs! (Black bears, we don't have grizzly.) At first I wasn't sure if she was a burnt stump but then she stood up and looked at me, then ran off. One tiny cub followed, and the second was a little slow to figure out what was up. It ran the wrong way, climbed a little ways up a tree, then thought better of it and followed mama. 

I just stood where I was on Sawyer at the lead of our group, about 100 yards away, not crowding them, giving them room to decide what to do and where to go. Of course I was making a lot of noise hollering at Huckleberry to LEAVE IT! COME HERE! LEAVE IT! I was so afraid he was going to chase them but apparently he's not totally stupid. Sawyer stood like a rock.

Sawyer... He colicked again a week ago.  I had the vet out to tube him with lots of water and mineral oil. It took him almost 3 days to pass the mineral oil. He was dehydrated at the time of the colic but had super hydrated poop during those 3 days, just small quantities. If I didn't keep him moving his gut noises would slow or stop... I have been giving him salt and such, and he's drinking like a champ. I worry that he either has a partial blockage (the vet ran into something in his stomach with the stomach tube - maybe just dry feed) or his peristalsis isn't working like it should. 

I am over thinking his diet, of course. It might be time to stop feeding hay. Long fibers not well chewed won't help. But he does love his alfalfa. I'm going to try out some Chaffhaye, maybe. It's moist, fermented, chopped alfalfa. Can only get it in Spokane, of course... Also adding soaked chia and flax for mucilage and fiber, to help him poop maybe? He won't eat the senior feed if I soak it, so I'm going to get some sweet feed and see if I can moisten his food if I add that for flavor. Picky dude. Add some probiotics. Maybe Epsom salts for slight laxative effect and magnesium? Tastes bad though, and I'm not sure daily use is a good idea.

I think continuing to ride him is good for him. Movement obviously helps. Within reason, of course. I hike half of our rides if they're very long.

Any suggestions/thoughts?