Thursday, December 31, 2009

I finally got to play with the horses. It was low-key play, which is what I was after but also necessary for the ice. (Speaking of ice, want an adrenaline rush? Try coming down my driveway. In 4WD, no less, sliding the whole way, gaining speed, going into a fishtail, and finally thinking to take the foot off the brake, then settling back to normal just before either going off the side or hitting the power pole at the bottom. That'll wake you up.)

Tonka and Scout were encouraged to pick up their feet nicely and KEEP them up, whether it be in my hands, on my knee, on the stand, wherever. With Scout I used treats. If he picked his foot up nice he got a treat, if he kept it there a while he got a treat, if he pulled away he had to "take two" laps around me and try again. He didn't have to take two very many times. I'm not sure the treats were a good idea. We'll see. He was being a little annoying and they were actually a bit of a distraction. Maybe I'll try without them next time and see if he still behaves.

Tonka got the same treatment, but no treats, just lots of praise and scratches. He was a bit nervous in the beginning so I didn't start right away. Boogeymen in the grass, you know how it is when it's windy. Once we got started he only had to take two a couple times.

Problem is, they aren't usually all that bad for me to trim. They were awful for the lady who trimmed them last time. She's coming back soon and I want them to behave. Hopefully some preliminary work will help, and they won't just be good for me and not her. I should have started working on this a while ago but I didn't.

Then they got weight and height taped and wormed with Quest Plus. Scout is 850lbs & 14.2 hands. Tonka is 1200lbs and 15.3 hands. Not bad for a mustang.

I forgot to take pictures of either of them. But I remembered Cisco!
Isn't he adorable? He had no idea that he was coming in to get some nasty wormer.

But first - Look what I saw through the fence. It's not a good picture, but it's cute as heck. Liam was training Angus. He loves to have him get up on that table. (Angus is wearing one of the crude baby blankets I made for Scout.)
Back to Cisco.
We did some basic groundwork and we actually got along pretty well for once! All this time I've been thinking he was just plain hard-headed, but I think most of it is actually that he's sensitive and we haven't built up any trust between us. And then of course I wormed him, which I'm sure didn't help in the trust department. "I was good, and you do this to me?" But we did a bit more and I gave him a little hay before I left him. Hopefully the bad taste was gone by then.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good, good news! No more chemo, no new port, put that cancer in the back of the closet and forget about it for a while! Of course there is still plenty of treatment to come, but the worst is over, things are really looking up and my sister is starting to get her life back. I love it. Brings tears to my eyes, it's so wonderful.

Life really is moving on, and tonight I finally bit the bullet and sent an email asking about possible openings as a working apprentice/student with a local horse trainer. I don't know if they have openings, or if they'll think I'm the right fit (I have time constraints, what with having kids and all). So it might go nowhere. In which case I'll figure something else out. My second choice would probably be working with my vet if they have any openings. I might even get paid for that kind of work. :) Someone else suggested I write. Not sure where I'd even start with that.

No horsework today, again! I was looking back at my blog posts and you'd have a hard time realizing this is a mustang blog. I need to remedy that, soon. Weather permitting.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just checking in. And wondering - what is with young girls and all the black eyeliner these days? (Does asking that question mean I'm getting old? Don't answer that.)

Christmas Break is awesome. I'm sleeping in until sometime in the 7:00 hour every day. I love it.

Today I got over a cold. Mostly. I felt good and was ready to do some horsework. But we went to town instead, which was also fun, and ended in a crafty evening with the kids. Then I took dinner to my sister's family and watched them play on their new Wii. I think that's how you spell that... They love it.

Lea asked, and I forgot to answer in comments. Yes, my sister got some new bad news on the cancer. I don't think it's seriously tragic news, but could mean she needs more chemo. It seems they found active cancer cells in the tissue they removed during the mastectomy. They'd been hoping to find it all neutralized by the chemo she'd done. She's been waiting for more information on what this means, which is never fun. Seems like the worst times are the times you don't know what's going to happen. Tomorrow she'll finally know more.

My grandma (my mom's mom) was in the hospital again, but is home now. I talked to her tonight and she sounded pretty feisty. She's awesome. We talked about milk cows, how I want one but can't commit. She told me how her mom got her and her four siblings through the depression in good health because they had a nice little milk cow who gave them plenty of milk.

So... Sorry for not having much in the way of horse news. No news is good news, right? They are healthy, and happy, and the boys play together quite a bit. I caught Tonka pulling Scout's tail the other day, not letting go, and they were going around and around in circles until I ducked into the other room to get my camera. Of course I returned to find them just standing there.

We have a snowstorm coming in tonight! For once I am glad for snow. John can stay home with me, and hopefully the kids can finally do some sledding. It should be a good, quiet day at home. Perhaps some good horse photo ops? I hope so.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas has come and gone and I hope you had a good one! My Christmas morning was beautiful, out in the sunshine, just me and the hoses, (yes hoses, not horses) filling troughs. I did actually spend a little time with the horses. Scout got to come out and visit for a bit when I thought I saw him kicking and looking at his belly. I put him back when he seemed just fine. Maybe he was just bothered by the sound of electric tape gate that he had knocked onto the ground.

A little later I went back out and started up the tractor, tried to use its weight to squish down the frozen corrugated mud that the horses were having trouble walking in. It kinda worked. Scout was NO help at all though. He'd get in front of the tractor, stick his nose in the bucket, checking out the various parts, and he would not move for anything! Finally I just drove into him (slowly of course!) and he'd move a step at a time, sideways or backward. He never really did get out of the way much. Goofy baby. I can't wait to ride this un-spooky horse! I bet he'd make a great police horse, not afraid to push into a big orange tractor with a hollering, arm-waving, clapping person in it.

Back to Christmas morning though. The kids got up at 4:30! Crazy. I told them they had to wait for 6:30, and they did. But they didn't go back to bed, they stayed up. They had a great Christmas and were busy with their loot all day, except when we went to John's mom's for dinner and more presents. Speaking of dinner, it's diet time now. I've been a pig.

Sorry I'm not blogging much. I'm thinking a lot, and there's something building. I think I need to make some life changes. I've been thinking a lot about how to grow as a person, how to move on with my life, build something more, and how to make the world a better place. Lots of things. One thing I really thought hard about on Christmas Eve, was how do you get out of a dark spot when so many things are going bad? All I could think of was to make something good of my own, something that spreads goodness, and heal myself a bit by helping others. Because all I seem to hear lately are the bad things going on in the world. I don't know how you people who watch the news can handle it. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do. But I need to do something different. I'll probably post more about this in a few days, when "new years resolutions" are all the rage.

All's well here on this farm. All the people and critters are currently healthy. So far as I know. My sister, well, she's still a fighter, but she's getting tired of bad news and the cancer battle. We're in the darkest part of winter and spirits are a little low, we're having to muster our strength. I found Valentine, my Rhode Island Red hen, dead on Christmas morning. She looked to have died peacefully in her sleep, cozy in her nesting box. Still sad though.

I worry, is it wrong to post sad thoughts here on my blog? Am I just spreading the disease? I don't want to bring people down. But I have a case of "I can't help but write it."

Oh! I have a good thing to share! If you have a chance, watch the documentary "Wild Horse Redemption." I liked it a lot. It's about the Canon City correctional facility and their program where inmates train wild horses. Part of me is irritated, because those guys break the law and get to do what I yearn to do - learn from wild horses every day with no distractions - but a larger part of me is glad that they get the chance to grow, through the grace of wild horses. Netflix carries it if you don't have TV, like me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I didn't realize it was their mud spa day or I wouldn't have taken the trouble of getting my saddle out.
"Move it, youngster!"

At least his armpit is clean. It's important to have clean armpits.

"What? It was his idea."

Tearing it up. My pasture. Literally.

Love the way his little hoof is in focus here. He's due for a trim...

Hahaha! You should've been there. This was toward the end of a good 15 foot side-slide after falling down at full speed. A good belly laugh is so good for the soul.

I wouldn't want that evil eye pointed at me!

Are you done now, boys?
(Poor old Soxy)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In case you can't tell, he's not the least bit sorry he covered himself in mud and I didn't get to ride. In fact, I think he's having the time of his life and inviting me to join him!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My house is too small for Christmas. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I don't enjoy decorating for Christmas.

Sometimes (okay, a LOT) I get weird songs in my head from nowhere. Right now it's If You're Happy and You Know It. (Clap your hands). Often it's Que Sera Sera. Or the 123456789 10 11 12 song from Sesame Street. Any OTHER time of year (not Christmastime) it might be a Christmas song. None of it makes any sense.

Jeffers still doesn't charge shipping if you spend over $49, but does, and they don't have the Country Cares program anymore either. (I just remembered to buy my December wormer.) If you want cash back from your shopping, you should Bing. Shop through their shopping option on their search engine and they'll pay you a percentage back. Pretty neat.

I've started watching the Walter Zettl "A Matter of Trust" dressage videos and so far I've very much enjoyed them.

I really want to ride my horse.

I really want to work with Scout.

I got home from my sister's intending to get Scout out and my butt somehow glued itself to a chair instead. Now, of course, it's too dark. To work with horses, that is. Not too dark to glue my butt to the chair again.

This concludes this session of Random Thoughts. I will now be eating cookies and decorating the Christmas tree with my kids.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just a quick and boring post tonight. Wow, it's late!

Today was our last puppy class. Bummer! They were fun. Puppy play time was the best. It was cool to see how much they'd progressed in their socialization from the first class to the last. The agressive pug was behaving himself and the timid dogs were playing too. Huck still liked the people almost more than the other puppies. :)

John and I might take Huck and Angus to the advanced dog obedience class in the spring. We'll see. It's pretty late at night for us, what with having kids and living out of town and all.

My iPod died! I'm still in mourning even though it happened a couple days ago. I bid on one just like it on eBay, but even used those things are expensive. I didn't win it. Not sure I'm going to pursue getting another one right away. I've got too many vet bills to pay (all the dogs still need some follow-up done, especially India). I can start lugging around my stack of CD's again, for driving music, and just do my boring repetitious poop scooping to the sound of my own head and the highway. Blah. Oh well, life does go on!

It's above freezing! Has been all day! Been raining too, of course. Now that it's warm enough to work with a horse, the footing is very slick. I might haul out to the arena, assuming I can get the trailer out of the driveway. I'm dying to get some work done with my boys.

My sister is still doing well. Painful, but that's surgery for you... I've been visiting her briefly every day. We watched the Lesley Neuman gentling DVD together. We'll probably watch something else tomorrow. Makes me itch to work with Scout! I imagine she's dying to just be able to go pet her horses.

To bed! I haven't been getting enough sleep lately.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Want your dog's undivided attention?
My dogs went absolutely bonkers over these homemade liver brownies:

1 lb beef liver
2-3 eggs
1.5 cups corn meal
1.5 cups wheat germ
3-4 cloves garlic

Puree all ingredients in a food processor. (I don't have a food processor - used a blender for the liver, eggs and garlic to make a tasty looking smoothie, then stirred in the dry ingredients). Spread in well greased pan (I used 9x13 for 1/2 inch thick treats) and cook for 20 minutes at 325. Cut to the size you prefer. Refrigerate or freeze unused portion.

I would imagine that if your dog is sensitive to corn or wheat you could substitute potato flakes, spelt, or any number of other dry ingredients. You'd have to experiment to get the right consistency.

Thanks much to my puppy class instructor for the recipe. I needed a better training treat for Huck, and these DEFINITELY get his undivided attention. Angus' eyeballs about popped out of his head and India let out a very unladylike snort as she tried to eat my hand. Normally she's a very careful and dainty treat-taker, so that is rather remarkable.

They were practically pawing all over each other trying to do a trick to get these. I had a 3-paw handshake going on a couple times, but didn't get it on camera. Did get the drool though. There was sure lots of drool going on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Huckleberry is feeling fine today.

Little Wolf.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This little piggy went to the hospital.And another little piggy came home.

Wait. Strike that. Reverse it.
(Name that movie)

First and foremost, my sister (who I don't have a good picture of, and isn't a piggy) is home and is doing fantastic. Sore, yes, but nothing like I expected. I guess it's all the people who do reconstruction who have a really hard time of it. Since she can't do that she's not in as much pain. And I may be wrong, but in terms of her state of mind she seems more relieved than upset about it.

On to my little piggy puppy and his hospital visit. After-hours emergency in a snowstorm, no less. If we're going to do it, we may as well do it BIG.

He played with my sister's big heavy dog, who plays rough. I watched her fold him in half under her flying body the other day. Tonight he goes to get in the truck to go home and "yelp yelp yelp!" Uh oh. Well, maybe he sprained something and will be fine when we get home. Not so, still yelping and belly is distended. I felt him shaking in my lap (shock?) while we drove home. John mentions internal bleeding.

So we call the vet hospital and fly in there as fast as we can in the snow. Funny how fear can make you brave. I have now gotten over my snow driving jitters for the winter.

Long story short, he had helped himself to the dog food that was left open at my sister's house. His stomach is over twice the size it should be and is packed with food. He is dehydrated from the water being sucked from his system to get that food digested. His heart is a little stressed from lack of fluid and from pressure on the big blood vessels above his stomach. They have him overnight and will be keeping him on IV fluids and walking him a lot to encourage pooping. But he is not in ICU and they don't expect it to get worse. It could, but it probably won't. As with horses, the internal workings can twist, but they didn't see any evidence of that in the radiographs.

My life. Holy cow. I think I'm ready for a little break. What's next? No doubt there will be another something. Life does go on. But I hope it holds off on the stressful stuff for a little while.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The surgery went fine, and they say they removed everything and saw no sign that it had spread.

It's been a really long day, and I didn't get to see my sister. I was stuck with the kids. Kids aren't allowed in the hospital because of the flu epidemic. But I did talk to her on the phone and she sounded good. I'm going to drive up again tomorrow and visit her. She's hoping to get out tomorrow.

BTW - DO NOT go see Light Before Christmas at the Imax theater. It's all of 20 minutes long, and it's pretty awful. There goes 60 some dollars plus parking, for nothing. I was trying to keep the kids' minds off their mom but that didn't take up much of the time. Luckily kids are pretty easily amused. They spent the day watching TV and playing games on the computer. Walked the dogs a few times.

I'm going to go try to get some sleep. Thank you all so much for all the kind comments.

(I've set this to post at the time my sister should be going in to surgery. Wish her well.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tomorrow is my sister's mastectomy. Pray they get all the cancer out. She mentioned that her doctor thought she might have to do more chemo in addition to the radiation. She dreads the chemo suite. She'll still have to go regardless, but just for Herceptin which doesn't make her as sick. I hope they get it all. Every last speck of it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Story of the Bonehead
(in short)

Once apon a time, when he was a baby (because that's when all sorts of unbelievable things happened to him) Liam had a big yellow horse with black spots. He was a very good horse, and Liam rode him around all over the place. Then he got sick and died and we buried him out in the pasture by the south fenceline. Sometimes you'll see his yellow hair drifting across the pasture in clumps, and his skull sits near the driveway.

In reality, none of this ever happened. The "yellow hair" is insulation from the neighbor's disgusting nasty trailer that is falling apart on the hill. The Bonehead really is laying near the driveway. It's lived here longer than we have. I have no idea what it's story is, but it is a horse skull.

And that, my friends, was what you saw in the mystery photo.

Behold, The Bonehead!

My son has an awesome imagination. And when he started calling it The Bonehead, I just about busted a gut. Love it.

I thought someone for sure would guess it was a skull of some kind. Or at least a bone. The holey texture, flat white... I guess I didn't realize how abstract the picture really was. Even people who have seen the bonehead couldn't guess. Thanks for playing anyway. Sorry I made it so hard! I really didn't mean to. I'll have to come up with a new contest to make up for it. But don't get mad if it takes me a while, my sister's surgery is in a couple days and I expect to be a bit busy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Scout may not have a freezebrand to mark him as a mustang, but today he had a frostbrand to mark him as mine. :)

Soxy is pretty well frosted every day thanks to her appalicious heritage, so hers didn't show up as well. Just an indent in her wonderful winter coat.

Tonka's was a bit abstract. He always has to be the "special" one.

Cisco is feeling pretty with his new eyelash fashion. It's an interesting image change for this big boy. Midlife crisis maybe?
He needs a few manprimping tips.
The eyebooger and the hayseed - not so pretty.

John couldn't figure this next one out so I thought I'd do a challenge.
If you can tell me what it is, you win. Be as specific as you can.
Prize... Hmm... I'll let you know later.

What is this photo?

It's pretty cold out. The thermometer this morning said -0, which I thought was pretty odd until I noticed the .4 after the zero. Not the coldest it gets here, but cold. The only thing I'm really not enjoying about it is hauling buckets of hot water to melt the troughs. We've contacted our electrician about having a couple outdoor outlets put in to get us by until we get the electric run back out to the horse barn, but of course he hasn't gotten back to us. I'm sure he's not interested in working in this cold!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Little Scout isn't too sure what to think of that big ol' saddle:

He's gonna be one heck of a horse when he's done growing. He's not very tall, and he may not get as tall as I expected, but he'll be a stout, sturdy fella. I need to work with him more. (I say that all the time and never do it. Bad horse owner!) He was very impatient with being tied and having his hooves handled.

It's cold out! And it's going to get worse. A high of 11 on Monday, with wind. Blech.
My sister is getting internet! So I wanted to ask y'all to post your favorite horse-related sites that she can check out. I could also use some new reading material. Blogs are great, but interactive forums or groups would be great too. Most of the ones I'm on right now are stagnating for some reason, and I'd love a nice new friendly place to join.

In other news, it's about to get nasty here. Wind chill up to -14 tomorrow night. Only -3 tonight... You can bet I'm going to feed lots of extra hay, and feed early so I don't have to be out in the worst of it. Normally I feed around 8:00 at night. Too cold! Especially in the wind with this ear trouble.

Kate - Thanks for the suggestions on that. I'm taking Sudafed, ibuprofen, 2nd round of antibiotics, Claritin and Nasonex. I think that's it. I thought I might try mucinex, and also try to take the ibuprofen more consistently. This is no fun. And I'm hearing lots of stories about people who always have this problem and can't be helped. That would be awful! I need to find some sort of solution. I might even go so far as to try an ear candle...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Today was another leather cleaning day. I got my breastcollar all scrubbed and shiny, ready to go back on my horse. The English bridle is still in process. I'm trying to decide whether to oil it or not. I also got a saddle started but didn't finish it.

Not really a whole lot to report around here. The horses are happy. I've started feeding them some alfalfa so they are loving mealtime even more than usual. Last year I thought Tonka got a little goofy on alfalfa, but this year I realized he's just a different horse in the cold winter weather. It probably doesn't help that I'm not spending near as much time with him. The alfalfa I have is by no means high quality dairy type hay, it's well suited to horses with plenty of stem and not a lot of leaf. Not near as pretty as a lot of hay I've seen, but not near as likely to get them revved up either.

Liam has been riding Soxy almost every day. We didn't go today because we had other obligations. Tomorrow may be a fun day for a snow ride. But it's also getting pretty cold so it might be kind of unpleasant. We'll see.

The troughs are icing up and I have no way to plug in heaters since we took the electricity down prior to tearing down the barn. If we get a bad enough cold snap I'll have to figure out a way to do it unless I want to be hauling out hot water all the time. That would not be fun.

Winter... It's a lot of work. And sometimes boredom in the long black evenings. But I'm getting some stuff done that I've put off for a while. Soon I might tackle cleaning out the attic.

Last minute question - anyone have any good advice for ear trouble caused by blocked eustacian tubes? My ear is killing me today. I'm on medication that isn't helping, and I tried a cup against my ear with a hot rag in it to draw the eardrum outward, which supposedly maybe helps open up and drain the eustacian tubes. I'll keep doing that periodically. Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

India - A dog of many smiles. :)

And an occasional snarl
(not nearly often enough for that little whippersnapper.)
(Wait a minute, I think Huck is bigger than her!)

A bored pup rolling about moaning and snarling in some imaginary game while I raked leaves:

It doesn't fit (too much rocker):

A beautiful moonrise:

A happy (and cold) kid:

Had a great day today.