Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I forgot

Shoot, I completely forgot I had a blog. Took me a minute to remember how to post, after I read a few posts from my favorite blogs I'd forgotten about. Jeez.

Have I been so busy it made me forget? Maybe? Most days I have a few things on my calendar. Today I don't, but I have so much to do. Boring stuff. Housework, workout, go to the parts store for brakes. Eww. The snow is drifting badly, I don't wanna go! Not that my car has any problem in the snow, thank goodness for that.

I have started a weekly challenge through Ty Evans, the mule trainer. It makes me get out for at least 5 minutes a day, even if it's storming. This week we're "catching with quality." I should be doing it with all the equines but I'm just doing it with the donkeys. Juniper needs it more than Buster! She can be a spicy jalapeno.

Recently I got certified for CPR, yesterday I got certified for QPR, which is a suicide intervention much like CPR but obviously not for the same type of emergency. This weekend I'm taking a longer class on Mental Health First Aid. I don't know where this is going, if anywhere, but it doesn't hurt to have this kind of training. Considering EMT training too... We'll see. I can handle blood and gore but maybe not the heartbreaking situational aspects of the emergencies. Self harm. Kids traumatized. You hear stories... I'd rather do wilderness first responder. Seems like the accidents would be "cleaner" in a psychological sense. But probably not always.

Anywhoo. It's winter. Lots of snow piling up. Gross.

Sunday, December 22, 2019


Get it? Donkeyshines, like monkeyshines? Sounds a lot better than saying assplay instead of horseplay. :D

Buster is doing well, and he is SO relieved to be done with his course of antibiotics. So am I. We can't do anything to get his respiratory rate up but we can work on softness, stroll around, and cuddle a lot. He even let me sit next to him and love on him while he was lying down the other night, which actually scared me, I thought he was sick, but he wasn't.

I signed us up for a Ty Evans clinic in Spokane in June. My birthday present. So far just the groundwork portion since the ridden portion is sold out, but I asked to be put on a wait list if someone cancels. If nothing else I can audit the parts we don't participate in, and 4 days of uninterrupted time with my donkey and other mule and donkey people will be wonderful. I am so glad to have my new trailer to camp in! I can't wait.

Juniper went for a little walk with me yesterday. She was feeling just a bit saucy. She seriously doesn't like my stupid dog. But she didn't kick him. Good girl. I'd like to start getting her out more and doing some more serious training. She's old enough now, and big enough too! Maybe not very mentally mature but that's no excuse to let her sit.

I've been busy with holiday prep lately, some extra things on my schedule, and headaches, but I made another tweak to my diet and I think it's helping. And I'm trying a new treatment. We'll see. I'm feeling like more donkeyshines are in order, and that's a good thing!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Recovering Well

Buster is doing well after his surgery. He's sad because he's separated from his friends and he hates the oral meds twice a day. But other than that he's on the mend!

Monday, December 09, 2019

Buster's Day(s) at University

Buster went to WSU to have his upper airway scoped today to check why he has trouble breathing when going uphill, and we have an answer and a solution! It was not at all what I thought it was, which would have been a hard fix.  He has a big cyst blocking his airway! It was kinda shocking. I'm surprised he can breathe as well as he does. It also causes him to get some food in his trachea where it shouldn't be, and I bet that's why he doesn't bray. If he tried he'd suck that thing right down his throat!

This whole big round bit shouldn't be there:

That wee hole in the triangle is part of his airway peeking out:

Bits of food where food shouldn't be:

So, the plan is to sedate him and kind of lasso the cyst with an electo-cautery tool and remove it. They showed me a video of a similar surgery and it was very quick and clean and looked like no problem at all. Of course there will be some irritation in his throat, and there are always risks with surgery. But he should be SO much more comfortable afterwards.

They will do the surgery tomorrow. It was so, so hard to leave him at the hospital. I hated it. Juniper gave me a look that made me feel even worse when I got home.

He was such a good boy for everyone at WSU. They always have at least 3 vets and 3 students working on each case, so it gets a little crowded, and they did an ECG as well as the endoscopy, so there was equipment rolling around. Also, they asked him to hike around on a hill with an assistant to try to reproduce the breathing noise. I really enjoyed watching him cheerfully work for other people.  I even saddled him up and tried riding. He looked like he was having fun! He thought the black asphalt was a little weird, but only in one specific spot. He was great for everything. No sedation at any point. What a guy. Gosh, I hope he doesn't mind being there for a few days. Maybe he'll enjoy making new friends. I'm sure everyone will love him!

The senior doctor on the case is a mule man, and he's owned some nice mammoth donkeys in his time, so it was nice to talk shop a bit.  I had seen his daughters showing mules at Mule Mania last summer.  He mentioned that there are a LOT more donkeys at Montana Mule Days the following weekend, so I'll have to go to that this coming year.  Fun stuff to look forward to! 

It was also kind of fun to give the doctors there something they don't see very often.  As long as it's not so weird they don't know what to do with it.  Two of the doctors hadn't seen this before, and the senior doctor had seen some on the epiglottis, but not often on the soft palate like this.  Probably never in a donkey.  Most American donkeys would probably go through life not working, never showing signs of distress, self-regulating their work/play to their air supply.

I hope everything continues to go this well for the whole duration of this little journey...  I wasn't expecting to get an answer, and if I did, I was expecting it to be something we couldn't treat.  What a great thing to see on that screen.  Buster will be a normal donkey!

Monday, December 02, 2019

An Equine Day

Today after a two hour eye exam (that's excessively long, right?) I went to a friend's house and we kind of poked Halla's comfort zone without making her feel totally attacked, and she dealt with it pretty well. She relaxed after each exercise and toward the end was licking and chewing more and more. But also still mentally checking out at random moments.

Here we were curious if she was hobble broke, so we tried it. It seems like she's not, but she didn't over-react.

Overall I think it was a positive experience for her. She needs to get out as often as possible, poor thing, and learn how to cope.

When we got home I put her back in with the donkeys. I had taken her out thinking she was the one pulling Buster's hair out, even though that seems out of character for her, but it's definitely Juniper doing that. Those two play rough. This way I'll have all my projects in one place. Plus they like it this way.

I was going to pull Buster out right away but he walked off and Juniper intrusively volunteered to stick her head in the halter, which is a little uncharacteristic of her, so she got to come out. I've had her out almost not at all in the past year. She thought it was pretty dumb when I tied her to the trailer. I groomed her grody self and threw a saddle pad up there. She was uncomfortable enough with it that I just showed her the saddle and then took her for a wander to find some treats.

She's so pretty. Joon Juney June-bug.

Pasture Parade.
 She's not much smaller than Buster. I see saddle training in her future.

I absolutely need to find a lighter saddle. I weighed Buster's mule saddle without the heavy britchen and it's 38lbs! No wonder I threw my neck out the other day. Poor buster, he doesn't need to carry that. I'm having trouble finding a used cordura version of that saddle (or rather, I can find them, but getting people to communicate is near impossible). So I thought I'd try the grippy cinches from that saddle on my EZ Fit saddle and see if it would not roll when I mount up. It still rolled. My cinches were a bit loose though. Can you see what else is wrong? I didn't catch it until after I mounted up from the off side.

Buster was more mobile and adventurous than usual today but we still spend a lot of time just sitting here thinking.

Juniper seems to like standing on Sawyer's grave. Buster likes to move the dirt around there, too.

The stuffed panels on the EZ Fit are moveable. This is the rear of the saddle, underneath. The panels were so close together at the back that those 2 white lines didn't quite show. I thought that was too close to the spine so I widened the gap a tad bit. We'll see if that makes a difference for his saddle slippage. I should also cinch up better next time. I don't want to have to cut him in half, but I could get my hand under both cinches today. I need to be able to mount from the ground. If I can make that happen, maybe we don't need a new mule saddle.

In other news, we have meat rabbits! Three does and a buck. They're pretty cute. Rabbit is very tasty, and the processing doesn't have to be stressful.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned my insulated, waterproof riding skirt. I love it! It's easy to put on and take off to do chores, lightweight, and I totally forget about it when I'm riding. Get yourself one!
 We went for a snowy ride the other day. I rode a friend's horse, Louvisa. It was nice not to have to haul anyone anywhere.

Lovely day.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Goodbye to Sawyer

Last night Sawyer colicked. The bad kind. The desperate, throwing himself on the ground, grinding himself into the dirt, really bad kind. So, all of my dithering and indecision about how bad he really was, whether I could/should keep him going despite the look in his eyes over the last several months - all of that is over.

Panic in the dark, ask John to stay with him while I gather supplies. Scramble for my headlamp, a tube of sedation, injectable banamine and syringe/needles. Find my gun muffs and get back out there. Send John for his rifle. Then wait for the sedation to take effect so Sawyer could stand still.

There was no sense calling a vet, I've helped enough clients through the same situation enough times, and I know my horse. And I don't like injectable euthanasia for horses. It's too slow and they can make it just into the excitatory stage and do backward cartwheels. It's very dangerous and ugly.

Sawyer was shortly more comfortable with the drugs onboard, and he passed quickly and painlessly. He doesn't have to suffer anymore. I miss him. I miss our complicated feeding routine. I will miss our uncomplicated rides, very much. There aren't many horses as good as him. What a good boy. We sure have been lucky to have known him.

If anyone has any recommendations for someone to make tail hair keepsakes, I'd live to hear them. I'm thinking a mecate and a hat band.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

I can't believe this weather

We're still getting out to ride in late November!

Lots of rides at home.

Halla is making progress. Lots of fear at the mounting block, but then tons of licking and chewing and yawning and walking with her head and neck long and low. She's realizing she's not going to die. Literally. Poor horse, to be so worried!

I got a thermal waterproof riding skirt on Etsy for Christmas and I LOVE it. I would have preferred brown. If you go searching for it look for the ones made by Gala Grin in Ukraine. Her store is called Horse Related Gifts. Some of her stock is in the US so gets here fast, as with this skirt. I could have custom ordered brown but I didn't want to wait. It's great for chores too.

Old man, not feeling like riding.

Beautiful Hala.

She doesn't have bitch face!

Scout man

Wenalmost missed our ride yesterday! See John in the truck engine?

But I saddled up as he worked and we made it!

Getting ready at a new friend's house:

Road riding is not my favorite but it allows for some experiences you don't get on the trail, like crazybhorses and mules running up, semis driving by, and bad dogs creeping through the grass trying to follow us. :D Also, it's always good to make new horseback riding friends!

I'm not proofreading, so forgive any heinous typos or auto corrects! I gotta run!