Monday, December 31, 2007

The title of this post shall be I Ponied My Giraffe While Riding Bella,or Picture Overload. (Don't forget you can click on the picture for a larger version. Some just don't look like much all small like that...)

Bella: Ears:


Really trying to schmooze the lady:

Hi Mom!:

See what I mean about the giraffe?:
Pretty Bella, restful picutre:

"Can I come over?":
Bella Belle Belly from Behind:

He wants a piece of that dog:

Landing pheasant tracks, too cool!:
Bye bye now:
Here's my big handsome goof watching the four wheelers (turned out not to be a snowmobile).

Here's Bella's pretty self. My camera really doesn't pick up color well in the snow. There's probably a setting I don't know about that will compensate for that. I'm a lazy picture taker.

Here's what I found sleeping in my bed yesterday, a little while after my son left the room. Angus LOVES to sleep in my spot. Not sure why he's always dirtying up MY side of the bed...

Here's a cute (if fuzzy) picture of Maya, telling me all about how she loves to help with chores.

I spoke too soon about Tonka being well. I assumed, based on poo piles and a lack of nastiness in his tail and on his back legs, that things had firmed up. He had a little squirt while I was out there though. Very little. I think he is improved a lot, if not totally well.
It is a BEAUTIFUL day! The sun is shining, the wind is gone, and Tonka is well! I buried my face in his warm furry shoulder and inhaled his good horse smell and sent a huge wave of gratitude and joy out into the world.

Bella is having another taste of freedom today. She wouldn't go out the gate by herself so I grabbed some baling twine and wrapped it around her poll and helped her through. She and Tonka are happily munching away together, curiously watching the guy who's trying to unstick his snowmobile up on the road.

I think I'll go take some pictures before I start cleaning up the house for our little New Year's get-together tonight. Be back later!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm just dropping in to give a quick Tonka update. He seems about the same, diarrhea may be slightly improved. He's happy and was enjoying many kisses from my daughter earlier. Have a wonderful evening!

Friday, December 28, 2007

He had a couple roundworms and a couple tape worm eggs. Not too bad really, but she did want me to worm him now with a product that contains praziquantel. Luckily I was going to do that in a couple weeks anyway so I had Quest Plus on hand. It goes against all my instincts to give wormer when he's already feeling bad, but she said it won't hurt and should help. I wormed him just now so I'll have plenty of time to watch him before bedtime. That stuff smells BAD and I'm sure tastes even worse. He's getting tired of the tubes of icky stuff I'm thrusting into his mouth. He doesn't seem to mind the Probios too much, but all the rest - Ick.
Just now I went out again to check Tonka's water levels. Still the same as they were after his big drink this morning. He was looking depressed so I let him out. He took a small drink out of the trough and then followed me all over the place. Ate some snow. He checked out the sound his lip made on my coat, all the while not looking at me as if I'd not notice his sneaky wiggling lip if his attention was directed elsewhere. I decided to let him out into the big pasture until feeding time. I marked the trough where the water is now, and it's not currently heated so I know the water's not going to evaporate away. Still no word on the poo I sent to the vet this morning. Starting to wonder if they forgot me. I'd like to know if I need to get him some pepto or something. I think I'll go call them.
Ugh, what a morning! I can't believe it's not a lot later than it is. I've been trudging around in the snow forever.

Tonka is fine, well, as fine as could be with awful diarrhea. He's in his little pen, drank 4-5 gallons in the last 12 hours. When you add the water that's in his soaked hay, I think that's enough.

I looked all over the place in my tack/feed area for the electrolyte paste I had forgotten I had. I couldn't find it anywhere. My tack room is a lot more organized now though... Then I remembered the first aid kit in my trailer. Duh! Trudged way out there through the ever deepening snow (6-10 inches) and found not only the electrolytes, but also a whole tube of Banamine! I can't believe I forgot about that and sent my husband out into a snow storm to get some. Then drove to town on bad roads with my kids the next day to get more. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I guess I don't keep my head on straight in times of emergency as well as I thought I did. So now I have 2 tubes (6 doses) of Banamine that I hope I never have to use, that will expire at some point. The stuff isn't cheap...

THEN I decided to fill troughs. Got the one that was 2 hose lengths from the house filled no problem. Dragged hoses around to the other end of the house, added a third hose, hooked it up, turned it on, had a blockage. Darn frozen hose! I did drain them well! I wonder if when it was raining cats and dogs, some water got in through the holes in the hose (that one has several duct taped leaks). Whatever... I ended up putting that hose in the trough with the tank heater, and bucketing the water out of Tonka's trough (which he isn't using) into the other to raise the water level over the coiled hose. It'll thaw pretty quickly that way. But I think I'll wait until tomorrow to tackle that job again.

So there you go. My life story for today. Now I'm off to do dishes and laundry and all kinds of other glamorous stuff. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Still not sure what's up with Tonka. I don't know if he's drinking. Now he has bad diarrhea. Taking a fecal sample to the vet tomorrow, and penning him up tonight so I can monitor him better. Hope he doesn't do anything stupid when he's stuck in a small area. I knew a young horse, three year old like Tonka now that I think about it, who was kept in a stall and run and died from it. He liked to rear and play and he got his foot caught between the panels of his pen and broke his leg almost clean off and bled until he was found in the morning. Then the vet got lost and he had to be there like that for another 45 minutes, although they did get his leg out. Lovely story eh... Sorry. But you see why I worry... Tonka covers a LOT of ground in a day, and rears and jumps around a bit. Penning him up freaks me out.

I'm still soaking his hay, giving him salt, and dosing him with Probios (good gut bugs, like yogurt for us humans).

I remembered another sure-fire way to make them drink. Put dish soap in their mouth. Going to try that when I go out to build the pen and feed.

Here's Tonka enjoying his nice warm, wet hay. I soak it for a couple hours in hot water in a sealed container so it'll steam the hay that isn't submerged (I can only lift so much water...), then I drag it out in the toboggan and dump it in there for him. I leave the water with the hay rather than draining it like you would with a horse who needs limited sugars. He doesn't drink the water though.

And here's Bella eating her breakfast. She's a good, pretty girl.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I think Tonka is fine! Hooray! He's still on limited rations, with his hay soaked to get more water into him. But I found 5 fresh poop piles out there tonight. Poop is a beautiful thing. Especially well-hydrated poop.

Bella was being a real sweetheart tonight. Standing droopy eyed and relaxed while I untangled her mane. (I got some Cowboy Magic detangler for Christmas, but keep forgetting to take it out with me). Then I checked her bag (or lack thereof), and rubbed some of the crusty dirt off of it. She loves that.

I really enjoy spending quiet time with the horses when it isn't feeding time. Just standing, exchanging breath. It's wonderful.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

He's doing much better now. Standing wondering why he can't eat with his friends. Much better than trying to lie down constantly, groaning, glazed eyes, not a care for his surroundings.

I'm checking him pretty constantly, and will give him another dose of banamine at midnight per vet's instructions.

Merry Christmas!
Tonka is colicking tonight. I'm taking a break from the walking while I wait for a call back from the vet. My husband braved nasty roads and a white-outs to get us some banamine from my sister. He's taking over the walking for a bit too.

Send us thoughts of wellness! I think he's improving, he looks a little brighter and isn't trying to lie down as much.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Tonka is fine today. His normal, perky, hungry self at feeding time. He took off at a nice trot halfway across the property to join Soxy and Mack since I don't need him with Bella right now. I checked his front feet anyway, since that's where his hesitation seemed to come from last night. Thanks to the snow his hooves were pristinely clean. Looks like he may have had a small abscess that surfaced in his heel bulb. Very small, very clean, not tender to touch, so I'm not worried about it at all.

Soxy on the other hand... I found a bunch of drops of blood in the snow and couldn't track down the source. Mack was very offended at my groping. Then I watched Soxy eating and saw her dribbling blood. Great. But it wasn't a tooth or anything horrible. A nice-sized cut under her lip. The bleeding has all but stopped now, and she's eating fine, so I'm just going to keep an eye on it. I took Katia out to see what had happened, since it's her horse, and she was very disturbed by the blood. I told her that she better toughen up if she's going to own horses when she's old enough to be the one responsible for their care. They do tend to be accident prone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tonka was sure acting strange tonight. He'd take a step forward, stop with his head up in the air, then take another step forward, stop, step, stop. Then when I went around the shed to feed him he stood in front of it, pawing, before coming to where I was. Then he walked normally but stopped and snorted a fair amount, and walked sideways a bit. I don't get it. I looked him over as well as I could in the dark and muddy rainy nastiness, and I didn't see anything wrong. I can't wait to get a good look at him in the morning. Bella also was pawing through her hay, which I've never seen her do before. Hopefully they're just feeling silly tonight.
My innocent, sweet little girl escaped last night. Not really escaped, just went into the bigger pasture with Mack and Soxy. She must have scooted under the temporary fence. Poor Tonka was standing there all forlorn and sad because he'd been left behind. I'm sure he probably thinks of Bella as "his" mare, and there she was hanging out with another gelding.

She was easy to catch, and I put her back in with Clara. I'm just too busy to worry about her over the next several days.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Miss free bird.

Sorry for the dismal pic of the frozen mud. She's standing in the highest traffic area, and the weather today isn't exactly inviting. She stayed in overnight and seems pretty darn happy where she is. I've been loving on her a lot today. What a good girl. Now I'm off to go drain hoses. Yay, such fun on a bitingly cold, windy day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bella has graduated to pasture living! Yay! I'm a little apprehensive about leaving her out overnight, but it has to be done sometime... She's very afraid of the fence, so I think she'll be fine. She and Tonka are in the same small section of pasture, so she has a buddy I know won't push her around.

I am way exhausted tonight, so I'm going to leave you with that short bit of info.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm grumpy. Some people have poor planning skills or something. Well, we all do at times... But there's one thing I don't really feel wishy-washy and forgiving about. I like to look at both sides, I understand that circumstances aren't always ideal. People get sick, people don't have time, etc, etc. But this I firmly and strongly believe: People need to quit breeding horses that there is no market for! If your horses are crap, don't breed them. If you think they're breeding quality but nobody is buying, don't breed them! Especially once your herd numbers get so large that your property and your pocketbook can't handle it. Castrate your stallions and start scrambling to find homes for them all! Don't wait until months after you ran out of hay, hoping to talk someone who was just trying to help into paying top dollar for your horses, then send them to their deaths! For $30 a head! Poor, emaciated, sick creatures. Babies and pregnant mares. All loving and looking for attention. Sickening.

My sister called me crying from the livestock yard today, made me cry, because she'd fallen in love with a pregnant mare, starved and snot nosed. She made the mistake of watching her go through the sale and watched the kill buyer win the bidding on her. $30 and the sad cruel end of what was once a bright and shining living creature. Well, of course she's not dead yet, these things take time. He has to get her and the others up to Canada, and he may feed them up first. Actually she may still live, my sister talked a friend into going down tomorrow to try to buy her from the guy. But all the others... And I can't save them. I just can't. There's a limit to what a person can do, and we can't all be responsible and pay for the idiocy of others, even if standing aside means the painful snuffing out of a terrified being and her unborn, unknowing wee tiny foal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I want to go trail riding so bad! This arena thing is getting dull... We went and rode today, just kind of dinked around. It was okay. Nothing to get excited about. And that's about all I have for today.

Oh, except that my sister thinks Bella looks very pregnant. Maybe I'll play with her later and try to get pictures. The weather is gross though... Raining today, on top of snow and ice. Lovely, I tell ya.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I know I said I wasn't going to be here to entertain you today, but here I am anyway! Underpromise and overdeliver! Borrowing a motto from my husband.

Bella had her first vaccination outside the BLM chutes today. She was a good girl. When the needle went in she jumped away and thought for a second, then we petted her for a few minutes and John attached the syringe and did his business. With intramuscular vaccines, like this one, you have to pull back on the syringe before you inject the vaccine. If you get blood you need to reposition the needle so you're not injecting into a vein. So it's not as quick as a stick and plunge. But John's good at it.

This was the pneumabort vaccine, given in case of pregnancy, since Tonka could bring home the bug that causes horses to abort in late pregnancy. It has to be given every 2 months starting either 3 or 5 months into the pregnancy (depending on who you ask) because it gives a very short term immunity. I did consider not giving it to her, because there's a chance she doesn't need it, and if she did lose the baby it'd be one less horse in a world that has way too many horses as it is. But that's too detatched a way of looking at it. I'd be really upset if I found a dead baby. So she got a "poke," as my son used to call them.

It's a beautiful day for torturing horses with shots. A warm thirty degrees, bright and sunny.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I've been a blogging slacker the last few days. Mainly because I've been a horse slacker too. Christmas shopping and family obligations and all that. Don't expect much tomorrow either. So, here's a little treat for today, taken on the old crappy camera, but still...

Tonka, my big goof, says, "Hey, wait a minute, you're supposed to be feeding me. Put that thing away already!"

Here's Mack, being cute.

A little farm tour here. The new round pen, the mustang pen behind it, and next to that is our Costco canopy hay shelter. Tacky looking, I know... Up above it all up by the trees is what Liam calls his igloo. Don't ask me, I didn't build it. Gave me the creeps the first time I saw it. Little did I know I'd be living here someday...

Here's the view to the north. Prettier in person.
Finnigan was there, demanding I carry and pet him all the way back to the other side of the property. He's a cat, therefore he gets what he wants... He's a sweet lovey boy, and a phenomenal hunter.
This is Das, one of my favorite hens. She's pretty, and agile, and waiting to be fed, thank you very much!

I love this picture of Peekaboo, Das' baby. She's the only one who actually gives us any eggs, although she's on strike for winter right now. She's extremely belligerent, always alarmed. Strange bird. She had a sister who was mellower and just as pretty, and I meant to keep her sister, but grabbed the wrong hen in the dark when I was giving half of them away (because we had too many eggs. Now look at us, with none...) I'm not sorry Peekaboo stayed with us, she gives life variety, which seems to be the only purpose of these particular chickens... Actually, truly, they earn their keep just by being chickens. I get a great amount of satisfaction from just watching them.

Lastly, Bella with her old biddie buddies. They dart around under her legs and you can tell she's slightly irritated about the whole thing, but she's a graceful hostess nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bella finally got some attention today. I went out, chased her a bit, rubbed her with the rope, eventually haltered her. She seems to be under the impression that she's supposed to run away before she lets me halter her. So I'm going to have to start doing it a couple times a day again. We did a little lateral flexion, which took her a few minutes to figure out, she just wanted to walk circles. Once she stopped and gave her head and I released, then she did it consistently, having figured out what I wanted.

I rubbed all over her head and made her keep me in both eyes while I massaged her jaw and lips and the inside of her mouth. I finally remembered to get a look at her teeth again, and they're totally perfect! No sign of the mangled mouth she had before. So it turns out she was just losing baby teeth.

We went inside, where I noticed her hooves were starting to flare and peel again, so I touched them up with the rasp. She really has soft hoof wall.

After I took the halter off I stood around and rubbed her head and jaw some more, in a relaxed way. Then I just stood nearby but outside her "bubble" and watched the dogs play and howl. I'd like her to realize she doesn't have to be tense whenever I'm near.

I left her alone for 3 hours then I caught her again, flexed her neck on both sides, let her go and left.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Well, here they are, the new herd:
Here you can see the shoes on the stallion:

Here you see the results of the removal of the brown mare's shoes, and you can also see the contracted shod hoof of the stallion:Naked Running

Is all this shoe removal necessary? After all, they are just rubber models. Yes, it's necessary. These'll be gifts to my daughter, and she has been known to put a horse back on the shelf when she sees the steel on its hooves. That's my girl! This time when I went shopping, enough of them were shod that I figured I shouldn't hold it against them, after all, they did appear to be quality horses, and the coat colors were quite nice. So I decided we'd pull their shoes and rehab them instead of rejecting them completely.

If you hadn't noticed, I've provided a link to some previews for a documentary film called "Naked Running." Definitely worth checking out. I hope it makes it to TV so the whole darn world can see it. Naked Running

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Well, we got four new horses yesterday. Nice calm beasties, all of them, and the foal is adorable, of course.

A nice brown mare with feathered legs, I think she's my favorite. She has a very compact mustangy look. A small (for a draft) draft type mare, her foal is a sorrel pinto, and a nice grullo appaloosa stud.

I tried to take pictures but apparently my camera was too cold to turn on.

Unfortunately two of them came with shoes on, so of course those shoes will have to come off so we can begin to transition them to healthy, happy barefoot beasties. It's kind of a pain, since I don't have the right tools for shoe pulling. It can be done though, with patience and perseverance. I've started working on the brown mare, and she stands for foot work like a champ, even though I have to put her in some awkward positions and fumble about. Her feet seem pretty healthy despite the shoes.

Luckily the drafter isn't shod, she's got big heavy feet. And of course now the foal will never see a shoe. :)

We'll see how the stud does later. I don't have much experience dealing with stallions. He seems to be a pretty normal horse. Luckily he never had to live the box stall existence that a lot of stallions have had to, he was out with a herd prior to coming here. (The foal isn't his).

I've got a lot of driving to do today, will be home late, so you probably won't see pictures until tomorrow, sorry!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Tonka has a few little quirks. One of them is really baffling. I haven't known a horse that does it, although I'm sure he's not unique. If he sees something he's mildly worried about, he wants to investigate it. But he doesn't leave it at that. He really wants to interact with it in some way and scare himself. It's bizarre. He doesn't do it just to prove to himself that the thing is okay, he really is looking to spook, and he does. Or sometimes he does just knock it over or run over it or whatever, and wants it to disrupt whatever we're doing so that he can not do it. Maybe that's what the spooking is about too, just looking for a break in the work. Whatever it is, it's goofy.

Yesterday as we were going past a pasture where my brother in law stores all his farm equipment, Tonka got a little goosy and worried, then started very pointedly drifting toward some huge blue grain augers. I really had to get after him to get him back on the road. What a dork.

Another thing he displayed yesterday was hmm, let me think of a good term for it... Trail sourness? The opposite of barn sour. As long as we were headed OUT, he was a mover and a shaker. But turn back toward the barn and he was a poky booger.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's been a great week. Lots of mustang fun. I wrote about our ride on Wednesday already. Thursday (yesterday) we went back to the arena, worked some more on softness, walk trot transitions, and both improved greatly. We tried loping some more, but it wasn't as successful. According to my sister he was "crossfiring" which apparently means he's on a different lead in the front legs than he is in the hind legs. And unfortunately it was the wrong lead up front too... Goofball. He kept knuckling over on the hind legs, all clumsy like the big puppy he is. I got worn out, but we did get a couple good ones before we quit. When I walked him out of the arena he went from sleepy tired boy to alive and alert and interested, and I thought I'd better get him out on a more interesting, less technical ride tomorrow.

So I did! Today I changed the flat on my trailer (was a blast with my new homemade jack - - such a sense of girlie accomplishment!). Then I loaded up Tonka, waited for the school bus with horse in tow, and headed over to my sister's for a nice ride down the road. Her friend with the gorgeous red dun paint came along, it was a blast. All the horses were really well behaved. My sister was on her 2 year old, I was on my 3 year old, and the other horse is older but hadn't been ridden in a while and thought my sister's horse was "his." So we could have had a terrible ride, but it wasn't! Tonka spooked twice. Once at a pile of boulders. Goofy boy. Once he smelled them he dismissed them as if they'd never worried him, after falling apart about it. Jeez. Later the dog came galloping by us and he wasn't expecting it I guess. His spook spooked my sister's horse, but they both kept themselves together and went right back to normal. Tonka was so happy to be out, so interested and engaged. They kept making comments about how cute he was. He really is like a puppy dog. He can sure walk out too. We spend a lot of time riding alone up ahead. I'm okay with that. I hope they don't think I'm rude, but I don't want to have to keep nagging him by working circles or asking him to slow down, etc. I did stop and wait when I felt like we were too far ahead. Doesn't make for great chatting... Which is okay because I'm not too good at chatting.

When we got home I thought about letting Bella out with him. But it turned out not to be a good day for it. She was hard to halter, got scared and ran off, then was all worked up, so it took a while to catch her. Once I had her haltered I took her out into the pasture and it turned out we were going to have a little battle of wills... I guess she needed a leading refresher. :) She learned to move forward, give me her head, back up, etc, all over again. Silly girl. Then I put her back, put a halter on and off repeatedly, and brushed her and let her be. I've been neglecting her, and it shows. I need to spend more time with her. But it'll probably always be this way, one horse will get more attention than the other at times.

Good times though, very good times!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

We finally got to the arena to ride today. We are both very tired, and having a nice lunch. Tonka doesn't usually get lunch, but he worked hard today. We did a LOT of trotting, working on walk/trot transitions. I found that we need to work on that a lot more.

Okay, I'm lame for taking so long to do it, but... We loped for the first time today! What a boy! He was a dream. I was very happy with him.

I really wish I could board him over there and ride every day. But it'd be a box stall, and rather expensive... Of course, with the fee to ride there, the board would only be a little more than if I took him over there every day to ride... But it'd still be a box stall. And we all know if he's not over there I won't ride every day. Oh how I wish... I just need to get my trailer tire fixed and go ride even if it means going alone. I'm sure I'd be fine. It's no more dangerous than riding with nobody around over here.

Babble, babble. I'm not even sure I'm making sense. I'm tired! That's hard work! I know, I know, I'm out of shape. So's my horse. Really need to ride more...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bella went for a walk out in the world today. Well, okay, not really out in the world, but out in the pasture. I put a halter on her and on Tonka, just in case, and shut the other two horses out in the big pasture, then opened the gate wide and invited her through. Tonka of course was happy to head on out, but Bella was pretty sure it was a bad idea. She just stood and looked and looked. So I hooked up the lead rope and gently asked her, a step at a time, to come on through. She investigated a lot and finally was able to commit. Then we walked to the end of the enclosure, stopping to sniff every pile of poo. It was a long trip for such a short distance. :) On the way back she walked right out, no switching sides by ducking behind me, no fear, just walked out briskly. I put her back and gave her some hay. She walked through the gate with no hesitation that second time through. She's come a long way! Still a long ways to go, of course, but I'm pretty pleased with her!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? If I don't leave the house she'll probably spend the whole day out in that section of pasture with Tonka. I may take Tonka and go ride (I hope so! It's been too long!), but if I do I'll just put her back while we're gone. Hopefully she won't be hard to catch. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007



GROSS weather today. Raining hard all day, and extreme winds. This is the kind of weather where I feel really bad for the horses. Which isn't exactly why I put the blanket on Tonka. I was thinking of going to ride at the arena so I blanketed him hoping it would help dry him off, since he won't stand inside. I have a flat on my trailer but my sister was going to come get us. Then she decided she didn't want to bother in this weather, so I went outside to do some work. An hour later I came back in and she'd called saying she went ahead and hitched up and her horse was in the trailer ready to go. Unfortunately I got the message way too late. Some people are really hard to make plans with. Such is life. And I can't go tomorrow because I have a physical therapy appointment during my kid-free time. Ah well...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

No horseplay today. By the time I was done with my other work, it was snowing and the wind was blowing and it was COLD!

The Breakfast Club:

The Uninvited Guest:

Sparkle Snow Princess:

Flocked Mustang Ears: