Thursday, April 30, 2009

Well, just as I suspected, I'm going to be just fine. But I had started to get worried so I guess I'm glad I went. Although I'm sure it's going to really hurt our bank account. They wouldn't even see me at the doctor's office, they made me go to the ER. Good thing John went with me or I would have gotten stubborn and went home at that point, it made me kinda mad.

I got a doctor in the ER who praised me up and down for wearing a helmet. He said some of the worst head injuries he sees are from horseback accidents. (One good thing has come of this, my sister has worn a helmet every time she's ridden since she watched me wreck. But that'll probably change the next time she rides in front of her cowboy friends.) I did get a CT scan and there's some swelling in the back of my head but no bleeding. So the good news is I'm going to live. :)

The bad news is I'm not supposed to ride! Not until a week after all of my symptoms have passed. So you can bet I'm going to take it easy and let this heal.

The worst part of that is that I can't go on the horse camping trip with the mustang club this weekend. I've been looking forward to a ride up there by Odessa for a year!

But I am thankful. So very thankful that I can still ride once I'm healed, and that I am going to heal.
Alright, alright, I'm going to the doctor! People keep telling me horror stories! I'm sure they'll just send me home but at least I'll have a little peace of mind.
Okay, I'll quit whining about my concussion. Kara, I hope Todd's mom heals up real well. How scary. I can't imagine how heartbreaking it would be to have to sell all my horses and never ride again.

On to why I love mustangs. I recently realized that although I've loved and appreciated most of the other horses I've owned, the mustangs are the ones I wouldn't want to let go of. The ones I think of as special, my favorites. I am of the opinion that a horse is a horse. So why are the mustangs more special to me? For me it comes down to the bond I have with them. These horses I have trained from scratch. I couldn't just throw a saddle on and expect them to work for me. It's been a two way street, I couldn't expect them to trust me without building up that trust, that bond, day by day. When I see the fear in their eyes and they just keep on trying and doing what I ask despite the fear, I feel so incredibly honored. And I try to do my best by them, try not to ask them for something if it's too much to ask.

Another reason why I love mustangs is that they are a clean slate. I don't have to overcome past trauma or untrain bad behaviors. What I put in is what I get back. They're not all the same though, they still have personal differences. Tonka is naturally very light, whereas Bella would push on the halter in the beginning. When you're looking at them at an adoption, trying to pick the horse you're going to adopt, you don't know exactly what sort of personality you're going to get. What you end up with is a surprise gift, a new horse, new experiences. It's an adventure.

I know looks are very important to horse people. We may appreciate many different types of horses, but there is usually one type that will make us go "WOW." Among mustangs there are lots of different body types, but in any group I can always find at least one that has my wow factor. Tonka didn't have it at the adoption, but he grew to have it, sometimes. I think it's more an aspect of self-carriage than conformation.

Let's see... Well, I guess one of my biggest reasons for liking mustangs is I love the gentling process. It shows so clearly the willingness that all horses have to be our partners. They overcome such fear, so many natural tendencies, to do what we ask, to be with us, to work for us. Why should they be our partners? We strange beings who don't speak their language, who "talk" too loudly, move too fast, invade their space? We must seem so wrong to them in the beginning. Disabled, incapable, socially incorrect. I'm in awe of their ability to adapt, to forgive, to understand, and to love.

And speaking of social behavior, I agree with Kara that living in a wild herd is the best place for a horse to get its basic training. It just makes sense that horses would be the best horse trainers. That early learning translates very well into beginning training with humans. It's like etiquette school for horses. I've known a couple horses that grew up mostly in stalls, and they were a pain in the butt. Rude, pushy, challenging, etc. Just plain not good citizens.

The other thing horses get while running wild is a good solid foundation to run on. Every hoof-fall builds strength in their hooves and their bones. That's something very few domestic horses can get. It's something I wish I could provide for Scout. All I can do is give him as much room as I can to roam, but it's nothing compared to the miles and miles a wild horse will travel in a day.

I'm definitely not knocking other breeds. I could find a horse in any breed that would work for me, especially since I don't follow a certain discipline. But I enjoy the adventure and the process of loving a mustang.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm not feeling quite right today. Not quite ready to give in and go to the doctor, but I'm getting a little worried.

One website I was reading says that if you have a concussion you shouldn't go back to regular activities until symptoms disappear. Do you think that means someone else will do my work for me? I wish. Being a mom and horseowner doesn't really allow for that kind of time off. Although I have been taking it easy. And I may ask someone else to feed tonight. I'm a bit dizzy. But I hate having nothing to do, and I can't even read blogs and stuff online, I can't focus that well. Darn it anyway. Doesn't leave much to do if I can't do anything physically or mentally active. I think I'll go to bed early tonight and watch a movie tomorrow.

On a positive note, my neck and back feel a lot better today.

So, enough about me. Leave me an interesting comment so I'll have something to read, if you have a moment. Tell me what's your breed of choice and why do you love them? I like to say I'm open minded, I like all horses, and that's true, but obviously I prefer mustangs. I'll get into why next time. I've been giving that a lot of thought lately. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm feeling pretty darn good today considering all the ugly outcomes that could have been. My sister likes to blow things out of proportion so it's hard to say how bad it really looked. She says I landed head first (that's what broke the helmet) and the impact was really loud. I don't know, but it sure hurt my head. But I didn't get kicked or stepped on, I didn't get hung up in the stirrups, Tonka didn't get tangled in the reins, etc, etc. I don't think you can ride horses and think too much about the list of things that might happen. It makes for a crappy, timid, stiff rider (and thus, horse). Which isn't to say I'm the most confident rider. I have trouble, worrying about things, especially with the help of my overly paranoid sister. Who, by the way, didn't help things when she called while I was on my way home John to tell him what happened. I was greeted by a very worried husband who said if I'm allowed to ride horses he should be allowed to make homemade explosives (fireworks). I don't think so!

Anyway, today my head hurts a little, my neck is tight, my back is sore, and one hip has a little issue but I have trouble with that one a lot anyway. Seems like I somehow got a bruise on my calf where I shouldn't have been able to bruise it. Maybe wrenched it? Odd.

I tried on my daugher's helmet and I think it fits. The fit is a little different, seems like it sits kinda high on my head, but it's not too tight. I tried to talk my sister into riding at the arena with me today (it's raining/snowing) but she's going to spend the day with her husband, who can't plow/harrow/cultivate in the rain. I think she's just a-scared to ride with a "special" rider like me. :D

Hope you're all enjoying your day! I'm at a loss for what to do with myself... Stuck inside. Blech.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm a good example of why helmets are a good idea.

Breakaway stirrups would probably be a good idea too. But for now I'm still just banking on my boot coming off if I get stuck. Or maybe I'll buy the cheaper breakaways that look stupid...

I am going to buy a breastcollar tomorrow, and take advantage of Troxel's helmet replacement program.

What happened? My saddle rolled. I went splat, and Tonka ran and bucked for a few minutes but then calmed down and I led him around with his belly saddle. (Dad, if you read this, your saddle is mostly okay... Just need to replace a screw. Amy told me I should tell you I still want to buy it but I don't think it's worth as much now. Haha.) I did get back on for a while. Oh, and I should point out it totally wasn't Tonka's fault this time. Well, maybe a little... My sister said he jumped after the saddle rolled but before I came off. I don't know, I was busy deciding just exactly when to bail. But it wasn't his fault the saddle rolled.

I thought I was fine, but the longer I sit here, the more I hurt. Dang it.

Bella went with us today. She didn't like it one bit.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm home. Great trip. Grandma is doing great, got out of the nursing home yesterday. My other Grandma and Grandpa look great too, and I got to see some aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in years. I think my dad was happy to have a visitor even though I kept him running around more than he's used to.

My niece gave us a scare today. She and her friend started a rock slide (by accident of course) and ended up in the ER. She is okay but her friend was hit hard by a big boulder and fractured a vertebra. She has an 80% chance of healing up okay, so hopefully all will be well. I'm sure it really hurts right now though.

Now that I'm home, it's back to the grind! After an 8 hour trip home I visited with the kids and then spent a couple hours getting some stuff done outside. I'm a little concerned that Soxy is not transitioning to grass as well as I had hoped. I am penning her up at night in the mustang pen, which means cleaning a bunch of old alfalfa up. Other than that it was the usual feeding routine, pretty easy except that Bella and Cisco and Soxy made me make 3 separate trips to bring them in. If I was smart I would have grabbed more than one halter and not expected them to follow the leader.

I don't even want to think about the list of stuff to do tomorrow. Most of the fun stuff will be put off though, we're having a birthday party and I've got to do some housework. I hate housework. But having guests when my floors are this grimy is probably not socially acceptable...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We're heading out to Longview here pretty soon. I haven't fed yet but I've got that super simplified for John so it won't take long.

Hmmm. I'm trying to think of something to write about so I have an excuse to sit here and drink my coffee... But I've got nothin'. Hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yesterday was so packed I got no horse time, other than when I fed. But we did make a lot of progress on the fleeces and I'm hoping we'll get them finished up today. Yay! I'll feel much better when that job is done, but I'll miss working with Melissa. Hopefully she'll have some time to ride with me soon.

We'd like to plan a ride on Skyline Drive at McCroskey state park. I was looking at it on Wikipedia and after seeing the pictures there I'd really like to go while the wildflowers are blooming. Which would be soon. I can't go this weekend or the next though, so maybe it'll have to be during the week.

I'm leaving for Longview tomorrow morning. My mom is going to go with me to visit her parents. She insists that we take her Jaguar instead of my little Toyota with 200,000 miles on it. I don't think she appreciates my good little car. I can't wait to see all my grandparents. I wish I could be gone longer, but it's not fair to leave John with so much work.

Speaking of work, it's time to move those turkeys out. John was nagging Katia about her grades, telling her she needs to apply herself, she can do better than 100%! when suddenly Katia was yelling, "Turkey out! Turkey out!" and ran to save the day. The little brown turkey was perched on the side of their box. He didn't know how close he was to becoming a tasty little crunchy doggie treat.

I got a great deal on a saddle this week. Well, I paid what the saddle is worth, but it was cheap! An old Simco saddle, not pretty, but it's comfortable and it fits both Soxy and Bella passably well. Much better than the synthetic saddle we had for Soxy. Now that each of the horses has their own tack (for the most part) I wish I had a big enough tack room to make them each a spot with their name on it. I could get all creative with name plates and everything. Someday...

Here's Bella saddled up with the new saddle for her second ride.
Please excuse the out of season orange halter. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bella's second ride didn't go so well tonight. It wouldn't be long before it got dark, I didn't have much time to play with her on the ground, and I was thinking, "This isn't a good time for her," but for some stupid reason I got on anyway. Just long enough to realize it really was not a good time for her, and I got off again. She didn't do anything bad. As a matter of fact John, who was watching, didn't seem to understand why I didn't think I should ride. But she was tense and ready to do something, and I didn't want to find out what. Over-stimulated. We did some more practice to get her more responsive to tiny pressures on the halter, crossing over on the front and hind feet, then I remembered I had kids and unsaddled so I could run in and tell them it was bedtime.

And now I think it's my bedtime. Good night!
Boy were my horses spoiled today. They got to meet all kinds of horse crazy kids. I just love seeing horse crazy kids feeding handfuls of hay and grass (and leaves, whatever's handy) to a horse. Especially my nice horses.

We rode the loop today and about 3/4 of the way through the ride these strange creatures started approaching us through the tress, kinda creepy-like. Or at least that's what Tonka thought. It was actually a couple of very eager kids in their own yard, nothing creepy there, and they were dying to pet the horses. Their mom even went and got her camera, and the little girl's too, so they could both take pictures. It was great. One of the girls was about the tiniest kid I've ever seen actually walking and talking. She got up to Tonka to pet his nose and then screamed and ran away, saying, "Too big!" It was super cute. She did eventually pet him when her mom picked her up and put her more on his level.

This afternoon PCEI had a crew here planting 105 little baby trees. It was a 4-H group, with lots of little sub groups like robotics, rabbits, cats, dogs, gardening... You name it, they probably do it. Liam had a blast showing off his horses to everyone, and they all fed them hay and grass through the fence. I got to talk mustangs with some of the adults there. None of them were really horse people, but one was sheep people, and she had heard of and was asking about their hardiness and strong feet. In return I asked her about her hair sheep, and she said Dorpers seem to be more personable than Khatadin (sp?) which was good to know.

Pictures, of course, are required. I didn't get any of the kids, besides I probably shouldn't post strangers' kids on my blog. But there are a few pictures from our ride.

My mom and Soxy:

John and Cisco. They look short from way up here. :)
(John loves his new Tipperary helmet by the way.)

Me and Tonka. I like this one because I don't look as fat as usual, but if you look too closely you'll see my tongue is sticking out. I do that a lot when I'm thinking.

I saw this picture and thought the color was wrong. My horse isn't that red! But this is Cisco.
I realize I should write more about Bella's first ride. I have to be brief though. As much as I'm capable of being brief, that is...

I took her into the round pen and tried 3 saddles on her. None fit just right. My dad's was the closest, so I saddled her up. She's been saddled before but didn't like the cinching part. She'll get used to that. I take it slow and gentle. I flapped the stirrups, patted the saddle all over. Then I moved her around on her long lead rope at the walk, flagged her a bit, and then lunged her at the walk and trot. She wasn't too worried about the saddle but it took her a couple minutes to warm up to the flag. I made sure to flag her a lot over her back, in case I wanted to get on. We did some lateral flexing on and off. Then I hopped next to her, rubbed my leg all over her barrel, thumped her on the butt. After that I put my foot in the stirrup and bounced. Then stood in one stirrup. Then leaned over her back. Both sides, several times of course. Then I finally decided to go get my helmet and climb on. And I did. And she stood there. Eventually I disengaged her hindquarters in both directions. Once I'd done that she was comfortable enough to move forward a few steps. She was worried enough that she kind of forgot how to steer and stop. She would do it, but with a LOT of stiffness. We went both directions, avoiding the muddy part of the round pen. Then I got down and tied her to the trailer and unsaddled her. Happily uneventful for a first ride.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

(for real this time, saddle and everything)

More details later. Running running running... (Me, not Bella.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Well, it's time for me to get ready to go on a trip. My grandma is back in the hospital. It doesn't sound life threatening but I'd like to be there.

So... I must get ready. Which means more fencing so the horses don't totally kill the grass in the area they're in, and so that John doesn't have to walk them back and forth to keep them stalled at night. I also need to get the turkey poults moved to their bigger enclosure out in one of our sheds. I have a couple halters to make, feeds to pre-mix, laundry to do. I don't know why I'm sitting here instead...

Tonka and I had a nice short ride today, checking out fence. Happily, a lot of the old split cedar fence is still usable, just needs a hotwire strung along the top. So my fencing job is going to be a lot easier than I thought. After we did that we worked on collection. He gets so strung out and stumbles, especially when hurrying down hill. We also kinda worked on rollbacks just long enough for me to realize I don't know exactly how to do that, where the feet should be when I ask. When we were done riding I left him tied at the trailer and forgot all about him for a while. There was an ag plane spraying the fields around ours, flying by repeatedly right overhead. Glad Tonka doesn't worry about that sort of thing.

Okay, time to get to that work.
Bella is going to be fine! It's just a locking stifle! I never would have thought it, because the most obvious sign was that her leg was giving out, not locking. But in reality it was locking and unexpectedly unlocking. There are a couple different types of very minor surgery that can be done, but Bella shouldn't need that. She just needs conditioning to get her quadriceps strengthened, and it should stop happening. "Start riding her," was the suggested treatment. :)

Dr. Dave Rustebakke is "gifted with lameness" is what my sister told me. Well, I know I'm happy with him! And his prices are about the best I've personally seen. I'm really glad I didn't go to WSU. Their quote was 500% to 1000% more (yep that's a thousand), and I bet they would have been twitching their little student fingers to do the surgery, and probably would have told me it was the best thing to do.

Oh, and going down the grade with the trailer was no problem at all. Last time I must have had my trailer brakes adjusted incorrectly.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I made the appointment for Bella's in-depth exam tomorrow. Heading out real early, going to a vet I've heard a lot of good about, down in Clarkston. He has the diagnostic equipment my vet doesn't have, and he has the respect of my vet, so I know we'll be in good hands. I decided against WSU for many reasons. There is one type of X-ray that can only be done at WSU, but I'm hoping we won't need that.

Wish me luck. I'm worried about what they'll find. I'm also worried that the lameness won't present itself well, since it's intermittent, and they won't be able to figure it out.

Wish me luck going down the Lewiston Grade too. I hate doing that with a trailer in tow.

Wish I had someone going with me to keep me from worrying the whole time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I just love my Bella-belle. She's so peaceful, polite, and wonderful. She's wormed her way right into my soul, this girl. I just can't say enough nice things about her.

These are the eyes I fell in love with at the adoption.

Here's Cisco's mud fever. They all seem to be improving, but Soxy is going to take a while.

And here are my dirty boys today. I never did get to spend time with Tonka today, other than to take him a few carrots. Scout looks fat here, but he really isn't. Maybe he's just stoutly built.
Bella made some great progress in her acceptance of the hose today. She tries so hard. She didn't leap but once, and she stood nice and still and even ate some grass while I hosed her legs. Oh, and I don't know if you all remember my very worried post about her shutting down a while back. She hasn't been doing that since then. I guess maybe she was having a really bad day that day. Or maybe it was me. Or who knows...

I don't have a whole lot to write about tonight, but I thought I better post some pictures since I have been neglecting that part in my blogs lately. We have some great weather coming! I hope you all do to, and that you can enjoy it with your horses.
Boy, how I'm thirsting for a good ride again. But after three days riding with company last week, riding by myself just doesn't sound as appealing. I miss my horse though. I've been spending so much time with the three that have mud fever, and the rest of my time working, that I barely get to say hello to him in passing when I feed. I'll be gone most of the day today, but I think I'm going to make time to at least groom him today.

The turkeys are still doing great. I'm pretty excited that they're all surviving. I wish I knew what the difference was. I'm giving them store-bought water, they're a bit older than the ones I bought before, and I may be keeping them warmer, but I don't remember how warm I kept them before. They're spunky little things! I stick my hand in there and I get attacked by the four whites. They love my wedding ring. The brown is wilder, wants nothing to do with me, so I hold him more often. Couple turkey terms for you: A baby turkey is called a poult. The guy at the store where I bought them apparently didn't know that, he thought I said pullet. Totally different thing... Also, when the male is grown (not sure about the female) he gets this long dangly thing that goes down over his beak. That is called a "snood." Heehee.

I'm looking into buying a breeding pair of Blue Slate turkeys and I'm realizing how little I know. I know, how to raise a fast growing turkey for butcher, but I know nothing about heritage turkeys. What do they eat when they're done growing, when they're broody, when they're laying and breeding? Do they lay in nesting boxes? Will she hatch out her own eggs and care for them? Do I have to separate out the tom when the poults arrive? I'll be doing some research.

Lately this is my horse work: I give Bella her grain laced with Bute and put ointment on her dry legs. Go to Soxy and Cisco in their stalls, put ointment on their dry legs. Lead Soxy out, leave her in the green grass, lead Cisco out, follow Soxy a ways while she wanders, pick up her lead rope, and then take them to the new grassy pasture. Then I go get Bella and put her with them, grabbing Coda's mush as I go. Then I go feed Coda his mush and hay, and feed Tonka and Scout their hay. Then I go eat breakfast. Come back out to mix grain, set Bella's and Coda's to soak, feed the chickens and check for eggs, then take grain to Tonka and Scout. Yesterday I also worked on fence a bit so that Coda could get out on grass. I must have walked a couple miles at least, going back and forth.

In the evening I go out and turn on the hose, get Soxy and Cisco, and wash their legs with betadine scrub, leaving it on for 10 minutes before rinsing. Pat dry, take them to stalls. Whoops, I forgot a step. At some point I have cleaned those stalls. Give them their grain and hay and make sure they have water. I hauled buckets the first night, but then set up a rain collection system. Unfortunately I ran out of rainwater, so will either have to haul buckets or put a trough in there today. Then I go get Bella and wash her legs. This is the part I hate the most. She's terrified of the hose, even after at least 3 times doing this. She leaps and bolts, but never tries to break away. Always respects the lead rope. What a good girl. I hate scaring her like that, but it has to be done. She's getting resentful about being caught. She doesn't run off or anything, but backs up and makes it plain she'd rather not.

I tried to clip Soxy's legs the other night. What a rodeo. She was terrified! Not of the clippers, but of the cord. I shouldn't have tried doing it at night in dim lighting, knowing her eye issues. I didn't have a halter handy for Cisco with his big head, so I just showed him the clippers and he acted a little concerned, since he had seen Soxy afraid. Goofy old horses! I've clipped both of them before! Now I really, really want a set of good cordless clippers. Except I almost never use clippers... Oh well.

Weird question for you. How on earth to worms get into containers of water with vertical sides? Do they fall from the sky? It's raining worms! Seriously though, the only thing I can think of is that birds drop them? Glad I've never had one fall on my head! Although when I lived in New Orleans a rat almost fell on me. Landed right next to me. Ugh. They used the power lines as highways. I guess this one lost his grip. I also got a flying cockroach stuck in my hair once, and a couple times found lizards on the wall in my room. Those are hard to catch and evict, they're so fast.

Boy I've been long winded today, with no pictures at all. Sorry!

Monday, April 13, 2009

This is Brownie. He looks like he suspects he might be what's for dinner.

This is Herman. He looks like he thinks his cuteness will win him a reprieve.

And this is Cecil. He looks like he's plotting a menu change.

No really, they don't have names. Well, Brownie does, because he's not white. John wanted to name one of them GWWS (Goes Well With Stuffing) but I don't know how you'd tell them apart.

I've been thinking it's probably weird to baby talk to my foods, pick them up and pet them and remark on their cuteness. But I like them! They're adorable! Butchering time will be no fun, but I can enjoy them until then. I love turkeys! Sorry to interrupt the mustang theme here, but you'll probably see more of these little guys as they grow.
We have turkeys!

Aren't they cute? They'd probably be cuter if they were looking at the camera. I didn't want to bug them too much after their long ride home in the car. These are the broad-breasted variety. I still need to order some heritage poults, but I couldn't pass up the chance to bring these home.
Wow, it's a beautiful morning. Very windy, but with the sunshine and all the green grass it's very nice to look at out the window. Inspiring.

Yesterday we kind of finished a mud-free pasture for Cisco and Soxy. I say "kind of" because part of it is temporary fencing. Just can't set posts in this mud. But they are loving it. Since they're our two most likely to founder we have to be careful about introducing them to pasture. So, off I went to the other side of the property to clean out the stalls. I'm trying to perfect my left-handed poop-scooping to try to work one side of my body as much as the other. It's hard! My body just doesn't want to do it. But I made some headway on developing the muscle memory. Then I put panels up to block them in but give them air and a view out, and they stayed in nice dry stalls all night. Those two... They're the least likely to enjoy being pampered. Not that they mind being stalled, but they don't seem to appreciate being loved on in their nice dry peaceful stalls. They've been using horses in their formative years, not buddy horses, so they're a little different. This morning they were thrilled to go out on the pasture again.

Bella has been in her separate pen since Friday, with the idea that she'd move around less without other horses to push her. WRONG! She runs and bucks and runs and bucks. I think she needs to be back with her buddies. I'm still confused about that stifle. It was really bad Friday morning, and then not so bad. She can be very athletic on it, with sliding stops and quick turns and of course bucking... I wonder if it goes out and hurts really bad, then goes back in and that's when she seems mostly sound? I'm hoping this week of bute twice a day will curb any inflammation and magically cure her, but I think we're going to have to take her in for an in-depth exam.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yesterday we went to an Easter egg hunt in the morning. My daughter is too old! When did that happen? But the boy got to go, and he had lots of fun. The kids were like a mad mob when the starting whistle blew, and my niece, who was guarding the starting gate, almost got knocked over by a bunch of munchkins. It was funny.

We went to town to do some Easter Bunny shopping while my mother-in-law colored eggs with the kids, then we came home and got to work on the fence.

It's very strange, tearing down fence. Will we regret it? I don't know. But with hay prices the way they are, our pastures are becoming hay fields again, and the horses are moving to the hill. The sooner the better, to get them out of the mud and onto the grass that is already growing pretty well.

It was fun, wading around the flooded pasture and over by the pond, looking at all the really weird bugs swimming around in there. It reminded me of the game Spore that my family went through a period of playing a lot. Flagella are cool.

We got one stretch of posts and HorseGuard completely removed, and John put in corner posts in the new area. Slight problem there though. He said most of them looked like he'd poured chocolate milk into a hole, so we'll have to just use t-posts as corners until the ground firms up. It won't be tight, but that's just the way it'll have to be.

After we came inside I got a call from my cousin and my grandma is out of the hospital, doing a little better. I got to talk to her and she sounded good, but tired. I'm going to have to head over there sometime soon for a visit.

The shelter has been set aside for a couple days while we move fence. But here's a pictorial progress report. Before:

and now:
It's coming along. Probably could have been done in one day if we didn't have anything else to do, but life does go on, and things come up.

Here's a little visitor who was quite alarmed at our interest in him:
Today it'll be more work work work, then Easter dinner at my sister's.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I feel better now. Tonka's sheath is now squeaky clean. The thing I've always hated most about sheath cleaning was the rinsing. I was never sure it was rinsed well enough. I found a solution! I used empty agave nectar squeezy-bottles. Kinda like old-style restaurant ketchup bottles, with the pointy end... Anyway, it worked great! AND I got the bean! Finally! He is good at tucking that slippery part away, but I reached way up in there and there it was, and I got it out. Yay me!

Then I worked on picking the scabbies off Bella's legs. Boy do I feel like a bad mama on that one. I've never had a case of mud fever before. But if it was gonna happen, it would be this year. We've never been wetter. And Bella likes to stand in the water eating the grass there, so that probably didn't help. I'm going to check Cisco over later. Or maybe get John to do it. He is his horse after all. All of the other horses have had their legs washed recently, so I would have noticed it then. I'm going to gate off the worst of the mud today, and some of the horses are in areas where the mud is pretty much dried up, so I don't need to worry about them.

Even though it wasn't fun stuff, it's a wonder what a little horsey time will do for the soul. Sorry for my whining earlier. I get worn out with these long days full of endless activity.

I think I'll go wash AGAIN so I can go out in public without smelling like smegma. I did wear a glove, but apparently that wasn't enough.
I'm feeling overwhelmed... I took Soxy to the vet this morning for her health certificate, since my mom wants to ride her and we need to be able to cross the state line. That went just fine, nothing special there except I need to be better about keeping her fly mask on her. She has those appy eyes.

Then I asked him about Bella, who is very lame this morning, same hind end problem but much worse. I'm pretty sure it's her stifle and he said to bute her for a week, keep her by herself so she can take it easy, and then we may have to take her in to WSU to diagnose the problem. Sigh. Stresses me out, that horse. I love her very much. I wish she'd magically become sound.

Tonka, who is the king of smegma, can be cleaned up to once a month, he said. Yay... One more thing to add to the to-do list.

I got home and found out my grandma is in the hospital. She'll be okay, and actually this may be a good thing because she's been refusing to go to the doctor and now she has no choice. But it really stresses me out. I want to be over there. I'm thinking of just dropping everything and going.

Which brings me to my to-do list. It just keeps growing! I got Bella moved to a new area, fresh grass, full trough. Taught her to put up with hosing, which uncovered mud fever on her legs. So now I need to go get some stuff to treat that, and clean up Cisco to see if he has it too. There are still trees that should have been in the ground a week ago, and the shelter to build. John is awesome, he's been working on that while I messed with Bella. I need to go to the post office, was supposed to go days ago, and also have to go check on a friend's cats. There's more stuff but I don't want to list it all... So I better get going, get it done, and think about whether I'm going to go on a trip. I think I'll start with those trees. They're going to die if I don't get them in the ground. Might already be dying...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tonka and I ponied Bella around the field yesterday. Had a little issue at first, Tonka was eager to go and I was asking him to stop and he wasn't listening. So I decided to give him a treat when he did stop. I think I did that two or three times and his stop was great after that. Problem was, he decided that stopping was fun, it got him treats, so he rather rudely insisted on stopping, and I insisted that he not stop, so he pinned his ears and swished his tail, which is something he never does. But after several tries he got over it and we went about our business. Bella was a very good girl, as long as I kept her on my right. She has no desire to be on my left. She'd get out behind and try to drift to the other side. I didn't feel like fighting her so we just did it her way for the first time out. We'll have to work on that.

My mom was riding Soxy and she got to see how horses are different on a windy day. Not that Soxy has it in her to be really bad. But I didn't ask her to take pictures of us. Here's my crew when we were done:

And here's why we quit early. Around here, if a kid wants to ride, you better take advantage of it! They almost never want to ride. I love that old horse.

Then we drove my mom back up to Spokane and headed back home and ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Sadly enough, it was a piece of beef jerky that blocked my view of the little blinking gas light. But in my defense, it wasn't old jerky! Just a piece Liam didn't want. I called John to rescue us but it took him an hour to get there.

Katia had a book. I was jealous.

We tallied every car that went by. The count was 51, but we didn't start right away so we missed some.
Liam posed for a portrait

We took pictures of eyeballs. My kids got lucky and got pretty colors.

Then I gave the camera to Liam.
And I won't share with you the videos. Oh, how embarassing that would be!

I'm off to go do something productive. Hoping to get a lot done today.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

We have another little ride planned this morning. You know, I'm probably crazy, but I want to ride Bella instead of Tonka. Nevermind that I've never ridden her with a saddle, and nevermind that she's never moved forward with me on her back, and nevermind that I've only sat on her once. Yeah, probably crazy. But I think I will at least get her out and saddle her up. Maybe I'll pony her out on our wee-teeny ride too. It'd be good practice.

Here are some non-horsey pictures I've taken over the last week:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Another great day, another great ride. We have to stay close because the kids are home from school, but that works well for my sister, who is trying to see how much work her horse can tolerate now that he's on the EPSM diet.

Amy and Levi, my mom and Soxy:

Bella got ponied for the first time today, and Tonka ponied a horse for the first time today.

Look at these two sweet faces:

John and Cisco:

John and Cisco again.

I'm starting to wonder just how old Cisco was when he was gelded... He wasn't too happy about riding with a new gelding when "his" mare was along for the ride as well. A little protective, a lot herdbound. But that could just be normal gelding behavior too.

I rode Tonka bareback for the second time yesterday, and the third time today. We did pretty darn good! He's got a bony back though. And he kept trying to challenge the other boys, which I was not too happy about, being bareback! So we did a lot of backing.

Now we should probably go do something the kids enjoy. But I still have a shelter to build and some trees to plant... So much to do! I hope the weather doesn't get too gross over the next few days.

Monday, April 06, 2009

This weather is wonderful! I was outside in a t-shirt today and was too hot, and I got a sunburn! Granted, it was only in the 60's, but the sun was warm.

We had a nice ride today, my mom, my sister & I. We're going to do it again tomorrow, and I think John is going to join us. I'll take my camera.

Yesterday... well, the other day we went camping. Got home yesterday. Planted some trees. Planted some more today. Boy, I'm tired, having a hard time being coherent... I'll just have to come back and babble at you tomorrow instead. It has been a long, active day, and I think I'm done.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Here are a few birthday pictures:

"Thbbbt. I refuse to be cute."

"Where are my treats?"

Yeti-boy, after his thorough grooming.
Shedding out is always a messy business with him.
Blissfully grazing.
The silly old man. I had put him in the mustang pen last night because it has better shelter from the wind. When I went to feed him I left the gate open, thinking he's so into his food there's no way he's going to take off. Wrong! He shot out of there like a kid at the end of the school day. He was so happy! He trotted about 50 feet away and then his brain kicked in. "Hey wait, where was I going?" Looked back toward me with his food, kinda headed my way, then wandered some more. Tasted some grass, and then he wasn't going anywhere. Luckily I had a temporary pen I hadn't quite taken down, so I just had to string up the ends of the tape. He can stay out and enjoy the grass or go back in and eat real food. I may have to cut him off in a bit so he'll actually eat his real food and not get the runs. But it was so great seeing him so excited about escaping!

Oh, and I went out and tried to find tracks of whatever was out there last night. Not a thing to be seen, other than deer prints, and that was definitely not a deer. It must have traveled very lightly over the mud.
Happy Birthday to Coda! He's 31 today, the sweet old man.
He's so handsome. And did I say sweet? He's very, very sweet.

He's been with us about 4 1/2 years. He had been taken to auction, a rack of bones, and a rescue lady bid against the kill buyer and bought him for $130. I looked at his ad for a long time. I was looking for a horse for my daughter but I didn't want something old and unhealthy. We had just had her old mare euthanized and I didn't want to deal with that loss again too soon. But finally I gave in and went. His sweet face won us over, and we've loved him ever since.

He's hairier than a yak right now unfortunately. I think I'll groom him really well today if I don't go work on fleeces. He loves to be scratched and groomed and fussed over. He must have gotten a lot of that in his days as a kids' show horse.

Yep, I sure do like this horse. He's a good one.