Saturday, October 31, 2009

Anchor is still making wonderful progress. Check out how well he's leading!

Yeah, it's not perfect, but it's great.

In other rather mundane news, I cleaned off my desk today! Seriously, I barely had room to use the mouse.

I thought I'd take a few pictures to share with you all.

A beautiful blue won by Tonka, a pot my daughter colored for me, inside which are some dried gingko leaves from my grandpa's tree. Lying flat is the one and only shoe I have that was worn by one of my horses, which I pulled immediately upon purchase and never had her shod again. The cool cowgirl postcard book I got at Cowgirl Chocolates.

Cards I made and never sent. I am horrible at sending cards, even Thank You cards. It's one of my bigger sources of guilt in life.Tonka! Tracey made this for me a couple years ago. It actually lives in a baggie because I can't stand the thought of it getting dusty.

Still a mess, but a more organized mess. Horse books, horse magazines, horse shoes, horse videos, papers about horses... I think I might be horse crazy. And I love that hat. I got it here.
My rope is now out where I must look at it and remember that I meant to make things. I'll make halters with the colored rope, maybe a few fiadors with the white, and I think I'll turn the half finished cotton lead into a couple sets of hobbles.

I adore this bumper sticker that Della gave me a long, long time ago. The cards - Christmas cards I never sent. Hoping to do so this year. Maybe I should start now. The pen cup is one of my treasures. It came from the Appaloosa Museum before they were forced to stop using that design.
So, I hope I didn't bore you to death! This is just a very small sample of some of the things I'm sentimental about. It could never post them all, and if I did it might drive you nuts! If I remember, I might start a Sentimental Saturday tradition here at Mustang Saga. That might be fun.

I challenge you to post pictures of some of your tiny treasures on your blog. If you do, leave a comment here so I can come look!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have been unmotivated and somewhat busy lately, so Anchor has been on the back burner. Today I finally got some time with him. He's leading MUCH better now. I still wouldn't take him out for a walk, but it's possible that if I had to he would stay with me. I even got him started lunging a tiny bit. I'll have to get a video later.

He has a bellyache. I think it's just gas. Could be he's not drinking enough water, but I don't know. I'll keep a close eye on him.

I was able to get right up close to him while he was laying down, but then he decided it was too much of a risk and got up.

Here he is waiting for me to get done getting after Huckleberry, who'd gotten stuck in the round pen (where he isn't supposed to be) because his e-collar wouldn't fit under the rail he was trying to go under.
Cisco's been in the round pen since yesterday. Fencing issue... Took down the power to the barn, Scout figured it out immediately and plowed through the temporary fence keeping the horses separated, so they were all mixed together. Cisco tried to kill Soxy last time he got in with her so he's in time out now. I'll hook up my battery powered charger and move him back sometime before it gets dark. Isnt' he cute?

Is this not the saddest thing you ever saw?
Actually it bothers me more than it bothers him. He's looking at something intently, not sitting dejectedly like you'd think.

Cone-headed dog on the sledding hill.The view out my kitchen window. I love those tamaracks. Or larches. Is there a difference or do both names apply to the same type of tree?

I think I have the autumn sads. I don't like it. It's hard to get out of bed in the morning and hard to keep moving throughout the day. I haven't even wanted anything to do with the horses lately. Have to find some way to change that. I'm thinking vitamin D and maybe one of those light therapy thingies. And kicking myself in the pants to get up and get moving more. I really should quit drinking coffee but I'm not really willing to do that.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This is the calendar I'm ordering for 2010. You should get one too. Two adorable BLM burros are showcased throughout. I've always wanted a burro, but George and Alan have made me realize I can't possibly just have one. And I can't have any right now anyway, so this beautiful calendar of George and Alan will have to do.

In other news, Huckleberry is at the vet recovering from his neutering. Poor pup. I'll go pick him up this afternoon.

Today is a rainy, nasty day, but I did manage to play with the tractor some earlier. I pushed all the leaves that the boys raked yesterday into a huge pile.

Not much horse work done, other than getting after Scout for thinking he's king of the hill. Butthead thinks he can pin his ears at me when I feed. I think I'm going to have to get serious about putting a stop to that. I still haven't started working with him daily.

Anchor is sad and lonely, he kept calling when I was out and about. I'll go play with him here in a minute, but maybe not for long if it's raining too hard. Yesterday I loved on him, worked on his feet (he's not progressing there, just stays the same) and then stuck my fingers in both sides of his mouth. Today I think I'll squirt some applesauce in there with a syringe and see what he thinks.

Blah. It's a very blah day.

Tomorrow I head up to hang out with my sister in the Chemo Suite. One of these days I'd like to write about that. It's quite an experience. So many people, all with different cancers. So many beautiful, bald women, with hats and handkerchiefs, wigs, or even going au natural. Somehow the men seem to lose their hair less. Different chemo I guess. People from all walks of life. Some are hopeful and bright, looking forward to their cure, some are barely hanging in there, not doing so well. My sister said last week, "You don't have to look far to find someone worse off than you. Especially here." It's sobering and sad but also surprisingly somewhat uplifting, seeing the love of a wife for her husband having chemo, or the courage of every person there. Lots of people sit and visit with their neighbors, or you can watch TV with headphones. Some sleep, or just zone out. A common thing to hear there is, "So, what's your cancer?" which leads to stories. Stories that make me wonder at how strong a person can be. Pretty amazing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I've got an award from Tracey at Mustang Diaries. It's a little different from a lot of the ones out there. See below for the info on it. It's a bit more flattering, since it's only passed on to one person at a time. And while I don't see myself as fearless, I really appreciate the award! I didn't expect to get one. (Keep reading to the bottom and you'll see that I'm breaking the rules by passing it on to two people but I think I'm justified.)"This award is dedicated to those horse lovers and riders that inspire others to go deeper in ability, knowledge and understanding of the equine(s) they have been entrusted to."

"The good of the horse is the ultimate goal apart from pressure's to achieve ribbons and fit into lesson schedules."

"These riders are fearless, when it comes to weather conditions and the forecasting of them...being with their horses, fills these folks soul and takes the cares out of the daily routines."

"They are unconditionally loving to the horse and may have rescued it from known ailment or living condition. Others have researched and purchased/acquired their horse, to find a difficulty in temperament or a physical burden within the animal. Yet, being dedicated, they have persevered to proudly be in partnership with their horse, lovingly striving for deeper awareness between them."

"They might have been riding for years and suddenly had an accident that takes them away from the great joy and freedom they have, being aboard such a magnificent animal. They have allowed the healing horse to rise in their hearts once again, and beckon them back."

Intrepid Riders Faction~ "We strive to go where others only dare to go with our horse loves...healing, riding, playing, camping, jumping, swimming and traveling down the trails of life...with the horse in heart~overcoming many obstacles and sometimes weather, to ride!

"There are not many rules to this award- just:

1. That you give it to only one person

2. Link back to this post, so they may have an understanding of it's nature, and

3. You may use any or all of the above written descriptions."

I've given some thought to who I'd like to give this to, and I'm going to give it to someone who doesn't have a blog, or even internet access. My sister Amy totally deserves this award more than I do.

About eight years ago she bought an emaciated quarterhorse yearling with slipper feet and a horrible load of worms. It was love at first sight. She eventually got him healthy, although he always did have problems after being so infested with worms. He gave her so much trouble. He was a pill. One story she told me had his butt so high in a buck that it was against the back of her head, and he had his head tucked so she couldn't see any horse at all below her. She stayed on somehow, and the guy she was riding with was white as a sheet, telling her he thought she'd be leaving there in an ambulance. Many a time she had to match her move to the rhythm of his buck, wait for his head to come up so she could grab his halter and pull his head around, with a few choice words about his parentage. He wasn't an easy colt to ride. Unwilling and opinionated. But no matter what anyone said, she never gave up on him. She put so much blood, sweat and tears into that horse that she could never, ever consider selling him. Despite it all, she loved him deeply.

Well, years later she finds that he has a genetic disorder that makes certain things very uncomfortable for him. EPSM or PSSM is a disease where the horse ties up. He was in pain all those times he said he wasn't gonna do what she asked. (Well, maybe sometimes he was just having a good time.) It had gotten so bad that his kidneys were compromised. Now he's on light work only, and nobody knows how long she'll have him.

She held him up despite all the people who put him down and she made him into a darn good horse.

Now it's his turn to hold her up. She has advanced breast cancer that is requiring very aggressive treatment. He carries her steadily through her chemotherapy, giving her something to lift her spirits between the bad treatments. Taking care of her. Nursing her back to health. Giving her something none of us can give. He's an angel in horse's clothing.

Her courage kept him, and now he gives it back. I think they both deserve the Intrepid Rider's award. (And of course my Tonka sneaks his way into the show here.)
Now, I don't want to end the chain of Intrepid Rider's awards in the blogosphere, so I'm also going to have to award it to a blogger. So I'm kind of breaking the rules, but I can't help it. I know just who to give it to, but I'm not sure if she'll be real excited to get an award. I tend to worry that people will be irritated at the trouble they have to go to for them.

I award it to Carmon of Life at Star's Rest. She has been struggling with cancer over the past year, but has had some excellent news recently. She works with mustangs, often troubled mustangs, bringing them back to mental and physical health. She also teaches people, and I'm sure her teachings are the kind that should be passed on. Her compassion and love for horses is great. Her horse Griton is absolutely beautiful and he is just ready to start working again after training, learning to trust, and then a long period of intermittent lameness. For many reasons Carmon absolutely fits the bill for the Intrepid Rider's Faction. If you don't already follow her blog, check it out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Old Red Barn Just Ain't What She Used to Be
It wasn't built with that forward tilt.

It really seems a shame to have to tear down such a neat old barn. It's much older than I am. But it could kill somebody one of these days. So today I backed the horse trailer up and started loading it with junk from in the barn. Mostly garbage, but some of it was still worth keeping. I also started taking off some of the old metal hardware on the doors, and took a few of the siding boards off, just to see how that would go. I'd like to save as much as I can, maybe to side a smaller shed or make rustic picture frames or signs.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of this window. None of them seemed to turn out as emotionally moving as the scene seemed in reality. I love the piece of grass that's growing inside though.

Then there's this door, which wasn't quite as photogenic as I thought.
Or maybe it 's my photography skills. Or the camera. Must be the camera's fault.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We took a little trailer ride over to my sister's barn for a ride today. I picked up a friend of hers along the way, and her young horse was very cute and very well behaved.

I tried out the new bit. It was fine but he was a little heavier in it than he is in the bosal. I'm not sure if part of that wasn't because he had thought we were done but then I bitted him and got back on. He wasn't extremely well behaved after that. Not that he's ever all that bad.

Amy's dogs hung out hoping someone would throw a dirt clod for them.
Here's my sister, in pink of course, and her friend in the background. Tonka's ears were stuck like this today.Levi, being cute:
It was a good day but now I'm tired.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today I went on a fun field trip with a friend. We went to look at used tack up near Coeur d' Alene. That woman has my dream job! Rooms full of glorious used (and new) tack! I was like a kid in a candy store. Even so, this is all I walked out with:
I passed on a padded britchen and now that I'm home and looked up what they cost new I'm kicking myself. I might call her and ask her to hold it. Or just wait to find one another day. It's one of those things I want someday, but I don't need it now.

I can't wait to see what Tonka thinks of that bit. Hopefully I'll find time to try it out tomorrow. I might even just slip it into his mouth tonight. I'm a little worried it might not be big enough. It's a 5 inch and I've been riding him in a 6". (Update - I tried it on and it fits just fine!)

I didn't have any time for Anchor today, but I did hear from his owners. They didn't offer to let us keep him. :( It bummed me out a lot more than I thought it would. I don't know yet when he'll be going home. I'm hoping I'll get his feet fully trimmed by then, but we'll just have to see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anchor leads! He followed me all the way around his pen and then got some treats and gave a big sigh. I think he was relieved to realize that's all I really wanted.

However, going around the other direction with him wasn't as easy. He'd get stuck and he did bolt a few times, but he only spun and got the rope around his neck once. The other times he gave to my pull on the rope, turned toward me and stopped. I'd call that great progress.

In another exercise he was having trouble moving his hindquarters away and was crowding me with his head/shoulder so I did have to bring my hand up and block his head at one point. He didn't like that but he didn't crowd me like that again and he started paying more attention and moving his hindquarters the way I was asking.

I put more pressure on him today, just expecting him to step up to the plate and do what he was asked rather than being reactive. It worked beautifully. He was a little shaky but he was responding correctly and in the end he did lead around the pen in the way that had been difficult for him. I gave him the last of my treats (which he consistently takes from my hand all the time now!) and gave him a good jaw rub and called it a morning.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Poop. It's everywhere. This is how much Anchor has pooped while he's been here. Actually, John took one tractor bucket full away, so he's pooped more than this. He's a poop machine, even more so than the others.
What's your poop plan? Do you clean stalls daily? I try to, but don't always. Do you clean outdoor areas also, or just indoor? I should, but I don't. What do you do with it once it's cleaned up? We have a big poop pile. Someday we'll have to get rid of it somehow, but not for quite a while yet.

Scout had a swollen leg for some reason but it's better now. I cold hosed it once and then I remembered that I have these nifty ice pack inserts.

They go inside a support boot. I love them. I loved them a lot more after I came off Tonka the last time. I would lay down with one under my head and it really helped with the pain.
They don't give you the massaging action of pressurized water from the hose, but you don't have to stand there forever making mud. Apply, go do some chores, and then come back and take it off. It's great. My only wish is that they'd stay cold a little longer.
Isn't Scout getting big? He still looks like a baby but in these pictures he's shockingly stocky. Maybe fat would be a better word. I need to get this kid some exercise. (See, more poop).
Speaking of fat...
Cisco says Hi! (Even more poop.) He'd also like to tell you that he's hungry. All the time. So much so that he'll eat poop if there's nothing else to eat. Anyone know of a good treatment for that? Or a source of info on lifestyle changes for fatties? I'm pretty sure he's insulin resistant. Our mare Soxy is the same way.

Tonka says Hi too! He was a big help while I adjusted tension on the fence today.
Hope you had a wonderful day today! I did.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Anchor had a very big day today, with many visitors.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Anchor is such a handsome fellow.

Here we have just a touch of gore to brighten your day. My friend's horse Lyric had some stitches that needed to come out.

So I pulled them for him. Looks like the wound is healing very well! He was an angel, didn't even flinch.

Here we have Anchor learning to lead. I love the look on his face.Asking him to back for the first time. It didn't scare him as much as I thought it would.

He took a treat from my hand! I had to kind of make him keep his head in place and hold it on his lips. It took a little bit but eventually he took it. And another, and then a handful.

I stole a kiss too! I've been wanting to kiss his soft nose for a while now.
A classic Mr. Ed moment:

Things didn't go extremely smoothly today. He bolted away and got the rope stuck under his tail twice. He didn't like that. But we did manage to end on a good note, and I found out that he loves Berry Good treats. Unfortunately they're expensive and I'm out. I'll see if he likes peppermint horse treats tomorrow. I have lots of packer pellets and they work well for him, but they don't inspire him like the Berry Good treats did today.

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts about Coda. It was harder than I expected, but I still believe it was the right thing and that helps.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Five years ago a horse was rescued. He could have died that year, horribly, in a slaughter house. He didn't, and he has touched so many lives since then. He has brought joy. He has been Golden. Every child who has had their first ride on him will keep him forever in their heart. As I will keep him in mine. He has been loved by many, many. He has kept our little ones safe, and brought smiles to their faces.

He has done his job well.

Rest in peace, old man.
Coda (Skipper's Gold Rush)
April 1, 1979 - October 14, 2009