Friday, November 30, 2012

Had an interesting week on the job!  My first two farm calls - all horses.  One to be euthanized, which I haven't actually been brave enough to witness before.  It went well, for what it was.  I felt bad for the owner.  Then one to be re-bandaged, and one colic who seems to be much improved now.  Some surgeries, x-rays, phone calls, lots of visiting with nice people and their nice critters.  I'm getting the hang of it.  I find coffee in the middle of the day really helps.  I normally would have a mid-day coffee at home, but hadn't had time for it my first week on the job.

Haven't visited with my own critters much, but I'm hoping to find enough breaks in the rain to do some hoof trimming this weekend, at the very least.  Looking forward to some time with my family as well.

I worked just short of 12 hours today after having nightmares last night.  I was tired but wired at the same time, but now I'm gearing down and I think I'll sleep okay.  I am NOT setting my alarm for the morning!  Think I'll let the sun wake me up.  :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

 Yesterday we took the boys for their first walk down the road.  I knew the neighbor horses would get all stirred up but I wasn't sure how Bob and Pedro would react.  They took it all in stride.  That's my nephew lugging Bob along behind him. 

When we got a ways down the road we stopped to look at some llamas.  I don't know the people who live there, but they sure have a lot of junk.  Some of it is really cool junk though.  The llamas and donkeys were both quite enthralled with each other.  No silliness though, just a lot of staring.

Pedro laid around a lot for the rest of the day yesterday, and he was gimpy today.  I think the walk on gravel wasn't good for his sore front feet.  Poor guy.  I'll keep the walks shorter and softer now that I know it bothers him.  I can't wait for his hooves to grow out normally.

This afternoon I cleaned out the truck.  I've barely been using it now that John has the company car and I can drive my little Echo.  So when I cleaned it out today it still had stuff I'd packed for the camping trip when Tonka had his accident.  In the back was a spoon with horse feed on it from the last time I mixed his grain.  The parking permit for the WSU vet hospital.  It made his death fresh again.  The sense of foreboding before the trip.  The panic, the desperation, the sadness, the horrible feeling in my chest. 

So what better to do that go love on my two fuzzy sweethearts?

Pedro is magnetized to me.  I walk away, he follows.  It's very sweet.
Doesn't he have gorgeous eyes?

Bob loves to be loved, but he also loves to eat.  And he was highly offended that I had insisted he let me look at his teeth.

I'm not an expert, and their teeth are weird which makes it even harder, but if I had to guess I'd say Pedro was in his teens and Bob was in his 20's, not 9 and 19 like the guy said.  That's fine.  I'm just super curious to know how old they really are.  Can't wait for their first vet visit.

Some people rode by on their horses up on the road, and our horses and Pedro were on high alert.  Pedro didn't stop watching until a few minutes after they were gone.  He thought about calling out to them but decided it was too much effort.  Which is probably good, it might have spooked their horses. 

As I loved on the donkeys I noticed Scout and Bella standing in the nearest corner of their pasture looking jealous.  So I went and loved on them too.  Scout is a lot like Pedro in that he loves to follow me around.  Unless he thinks there might be work involved.  Which of course there wasn't today.  I just have no inclination to ride.  I figure it won't kill him.  Eventually if this keeps up I may have to find him a home where he will be ridden.  Not yet though.  I figure in spring I ought to get the bug again.  I hope.

We had a wonderful holiday weekend.  I'm sorry to see it end.  It's nice to hang out with family with no real goals, just relaxing and getting work done when you feel like it.  I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend as well!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Can you help me caption this photo?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

 As I was loading pictures for today's blog I found 
these cuddly pictures of my good dogs.

This morning I slept in and the donkeys were honking their most terrible honks, wanting breakfast.  But then after I walked out the door I wondered if the donkeys had been trying to tattle on the horses.

Because these two errant beasties were in the driveway.
 They were enjoying the green grass, but also quite keyed up and excited.  I slipped through the fence to close Dyno into the small area by the driveway (you can see part of him on the left above) and then I went to the gate at the other side of the barn.

The horses had beat me there and were thinking about heading up the driveway, but they were also really interested in what I was doing.  All I had to do was open the gate and they rushed through, happy to have a "new" place to explore.  Even though it's their usual winter and spring pasture.  The goofballs.  I was careful to stay on the opposite side of the gate, they were that excited.  I didn't want to get run over.
Look at all of Bella's pretty hair.  She was really moving!

Then I finally got to my hungry donkeys to feed them.  I decided to walk through the pasture with them rather than go out the driveway to the hay.  That way I could get in some good hugs and pets on the way there.  That's Pedro in the lead behind me, and if  you look really closely you can see Bob's ear - he's back there behind Pedro.
After I fed I found 3 places where the temporary fence that contained the horses was laying on the ground.  We had a lot of big wind last night.  I wonder if it blew part of the fence down (one of the posts was on the ground too).  I could imagine that Scout might walk out over the fence, and then Bella might panic at being left alone and get out also.  She has been known to jump fences when left alone.

So now they're in the permanent fence, and I might just take down the temporary fence for the year.

Did you notice the sun is shining in my pictures?  It's the one day of good weather we're going to get this week.  I'm loving it!

The turkey is in the oven, and I feel like taking a nap...

Hope you are all having a lovely, relaxing turkey day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I made it through my first short week at the new job.  Long days, LOTS to learn.  It's kind of exhausting.  Today was better.  Pretty slow.  I'll work my last day at the Spay Neuter Clinic on Friday.  I won't be able to keep that job, and I'm really bummed about it.  I really enjoy working with the people there.  To be honest I'd rather work there...  But I needed to work more than 12 hours a week.  Darn it.  I'm going to miss them.  I think I will still be able to do the equine dentistry job sometimes.  So that's good.

Not much new to report here except I actually got to pet my donkeys today.  The weather has been so bad that even when I feed after dark I don't really want to pet them because they're all wet.  But today wasn't so bad and their coats were silky soft.  I think both Bob and Pedro have put on some weight, which they needed to do.  Now I'll cut back their hay and alfalfa pellets, but I think the grass is still growing so they are probably still getting some calories there.  They are by no means in danger, but I'll have to keep an eye on them.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  So much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Well, I got the job!  I think I was hired before I even walked in the door.  Good stuff.  :)

Looks like it will be either full time or pretty close to it.  Not really what I was looking for, but heck, might as well jump in with both feet.  Considering I'm sick as a dog I figure it can only get better from here on out.

Speaking of "sick as a dog,"  I wonder how that saying came about.  And "healthy as a horse."  Seems like it ought to be the other way around.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Busy days!  No time for the critters.

Just wanted to post that I may have another job!  Yay!  It would be front office at a vet clinic.  I don't know any details yet about hours and pay.  I hope I don't have to leave my two other jobs.

My brother in law is having back surgery today.  Cross your fingers for him. 

Today I am missing my Tonka in an, "I can't believe how lucky I was to have him," sort of way.
He was such a big friendly goof.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

 Today Pedro tipped the scales in the other direction.

 He made it clear almost immediately that he wasn't going to put up with any nonsense.

Then he clamped onto Scout's throat and wouldn't let go.

All the while he was making horrible donkey noises.
 It kinda scared me.  I turned around to grab something
 to whack Pedro with, but before I had to do that Scout broke free.  
He's missing some hair but there was no blood.

Pedro ran him around the pasture while I considered what to do.

It is slick as heck out there, so I decided to catch Scout and move him back in with his mom.
Which turned out to be a good decision because Bella was thinking about breaking through the fence to 
kick some burro butt.  She doesn't put up with that kind of crap, especially when her colt is involved.

So now I'll just keep them separate for the time being I guess.  I'll try them together again sometime when the ground is more solid.  I really would like for them to live together and chase each other around, just not too much.  And I'm hoping Scout will be smart enough to keep his tender throat out of reach in the future.  I'm sure that with time they'd work it out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

 Well there wasn't really anything going on here today that's worth talking about.  The wind was cutting and it snowed all day, then started raining.  The donkeys hung out inside.  The horses, although they could be inside if they wanted, stood around outside looking miserable and wet. 

So I'll share some more pictures from the weekend.

This seems to be the natural order of the boys. 
 Pedro lets Scout drive him around, so he's in the lead with Scout behind, pushing him on.  Bob won't be driven, but he is a follower, so he brings up the rear.  Pretty interesting actually, and could be useful information in training.  For instance, you might not get as good results trying to urge Bob forward with a whip/training stick as you would trying to lead him into something. And I think Pedro makes a better prospect for any kind of work, because he is more active and willing to move.

You may notice Bella isn't included in the equine playdate.  I'm afraid she might hurt the donkeys. Eventually maybe I'll feel more comfortable trying them together.

Here we have Donkey Dressage (AKA Move Your Ass):

Scout isn't living with the donkeys all the time though, because believe it or not they get fed more than he does.  Not much more, but it is more.  I may change that in the future so I can keep them together and they can all get more exercise together.

 Pedro's sweet eye, on alert:
I noticed he doesn't have very big "hangy things" over the top of his pupils.  (If you enlarge the picture you can probably see the black cilia at the top of his pupil, hanging down from the iris.)  I know there's a technical term for the hangy things...  Aha!  They are called corpora nigra.  I had to look it up.  These things protect the pupil from too much sunlight, and can develop cysts, as Scout has in his right eye, that obstruct the vision.  BUT Pedro's are much smaller than a horse's normal sized corpora nigra.  I wonder if it's because of his large brow ridges and overhanging "eyebrows."  Maybe he doesn't need the extra protection inside his eye.

That's about it for me today.  Cross your fingers for me that the snow on our driveway melts enough for the propane guy to get in here.  I want to be warm!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My niece came over today and we rode donkeys together in the biting cold.  It was great!  We rode around the round pen a bit, to get a handle on what exactly we had a handle on, and then we decided they were doing well enough to take them out.

They really thought circling around the round pen was fairly pointless.  Both were a lot more interested and happy once we went out and about.

 Bob says, "Can't we just leave already?"

The horses find donkey riding to be a very entertaining spectator sport.

Out and about!  Ariel and Bob are so cute together!

Me and Pedro in the front yard:

Heading back:

They almost seemed eager to get back to the pasture, which made me kind of sad.  I decided to be done.
But then when we took their tack off and led them back toward the gate they really didn't want to go.  They really do like getting out and doing things!  I love it!  Now that I know we'll do okay, I need to start doing lots more of this!  I can't wait to take them hiking in the forest and see how they take to it.  They'll be mountain mounts in no time.

Oh!  And they are SO SMOOTH to ride.  No discomfort whatsoever.  If you have a bad back, you need a donkey!  Also, at one point, out of the blue, John pushed a rattly lawnmower along behind us in the gravel.  If we'd been riding horses they would have spooked.  But Pedro just kind of gave it a bit more attention and thought and kept on going.  I didn't see any reaction out of Bob.  I love them!  So much!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm pretty sure Pedro figures I belong to him.  I'm his own personal ear-scritcher and jowl-hugger.  He doesn't like it when I pet Bob.  I have to tell him not to bite Bob and chase him off, and stand between them while I pet them both.  I love my Pedro more and more every day.  I love Bob too, he gives better hugs.  But for the aforementioned reason I don't get to love on Bob quite as much.  Pedro always just happens to be in a more accessible place for loving than Bob is.

I was going to write a more long-winded post, but I didn't.  :)

 Scout may be able to take on the big scary tractor

But Bob will not be moved.

More fun to come later, but now I've got leaves to rake.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Update: The donkeys in the ad "have been picked up."  I hope that means they found a loving new home!

There's an ad for two free donkeys in Lewiston, Idaho. They're being used for roping.  Even if only a little bit, in my opinion it's cruelty.

If anyone could find it in their heart to go pick them up I would be eternally grateful.  I would go get them myself but my husband says no, and he's right.  I hate having to be practical.

I keep wondering if one of them might be the little jack I befriended at the BLM adoption down there a couple years ago.  Probably not, but no matter the individual identity of the donkeys, they certainly DO NOT DESERVE that kind of treatment. 

As we were driving back from buying my two donkeys, my sister told me that the donkey is the only animal that ever speaks in the Bible. I'm not real familiar with the Bible, but I looked up the story.  (To clarify: Balaam is riding the donkey, the Angel of the Lord is blocking the path.)

Numbers 22

Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel

22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. 24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again. 26 Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”
30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. 32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Today was a better day.  I saddled and bridled Pedro and we worked in the round pen.  His bit is a simple Myler comfort snaffle.  It works much better than a halter.  At first he did the same thing he does with the halter, which is root into it and pull against me, but after the first few successful turnings of his head, with my immediate release and praise, he knew what the right answer was.  He doesn't always want to give the right answer, however.  But we're making great progress.  This was the third time we've practiced this from the ground. 

Once we'd practiced a couple successful stops, I climbed in the saddle.  We rode for maybe 15 minutes, doing fairly well, and then I hopped down, took his bridle off, petted him a lot, and we went for a walk.

I took him into some trees near the house, on the neighbor's property.  They're not much like a forest but it was nice to see that he wasn't really nervous.  At one point he was breathing heavily, I think smelling all the strange scents, but he didn't seem overly nervous.

Then, sadly, it was time for them to be wormed.  I'm doing it again to be extra sure they're all clean.  Then they'll go on the regular schedule.  They were very good about it.  Bob was a bit offended but didn't take much convincing. They were both very cute afterward, begging for treats.  Which of course they got.

The view from on high:

Vote for Pedro!
 All your wildest dreams will come true.

If you haven't seen Napoleon Dynamite, you really should.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Today sucked.  Nothing bad happened.  But it sucked anyway.  I want my horse back!  I want to stomp my foot like a spoiled toddler and demand him back.  But that doesn't really do any good.

I went on a short trail ride with Scout.  It was hijacked by a bunch of ladybugs.  If you look real close at the next three pictures you can see them swarming.

Turns out Scout doesn't like bugs.  I tried to get a pic of him tossing his head but the only evidence is the rein jiggling.

This was just a tiny fraction of a percent of the ladybugs we saw today.  They were in patches, we'd go a long way without seeing any, then there would be another swarm.  

At first I tried to correct Scout for tossing his head, but then it became evident that the only safe answer was just to keep on moving through them.  He REALLY didn't like them.  I wouldn't have been surprised if he had started jumping around in frustration if I'd tried to make him behave.  Other than that it was a real good ride.  No complaints.  Except that he's not the horse I want to be riding.  I have got to get to the bottom of my problem with Scout.  Note that I said MY problem.  It's not him.  He's a good horse.  I just don't love riding him.  He knows it.  So we're just like co-workers who try real hard to pretend we like each other and can work together.  Although I have to give him more credit than I give myself.  He's trying harder than I am.  I just can't find the want to.

Amy may have had a breakthrough realization with her horse today. He's been a bit dangerous at times lately.  At one point when he was having a herdbound moment and she thought he might be about to start bucking, I looked at him and he appeared to be half asleep.  Aha!  Looks like perhaps he's "checking out"/ internalizing / shutting down.  Which would explain why he suddenly blows up so explosively.  Lots of food for thought there.

I also got Pedro out and saddled and bridled him today.  We were in the round pen working on giving to the bit (unmounted) when my sister called and said she could go trail riding after all, so I quickly stripped him of his saddle and went to get Scout.

And speaking of donkeys - they are excellent therapists.  They give the best hugs.  You wouldn't think so, considering they don't have arms, but they really do.  You ought to come try it sometime.  However, they don't seem to quite understand what's going on when you sit in their dinner.  Bob was so unnerved he had to go stand somewhere else.  Pedro kept eating.  But he wouldn't give me any kisses.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Today I just did whatever the heck I wanted.  And I didn't feel guilty about it.  Well, at least I tried not to.

Actually I did get a little bit of practical work done.  The horses weren't fenced in, thanks to some clumsy deer.  I think the horses knew the fence was down but they just had no reason to go wandering.  I got it fixed, after two trips back to the barn for more materials.  One of these days I'll learn to take enough stuff with me in the first place.  Or the second place.

On my first trip out, Blue helped me.

On the second trip out, I made Huckleberry come along too.

(That's Blue on the left and Huck on the right.)

I couldn't decide which of these 3 pictures I liked best.  I think if it was centered better this next one would be my favorite.

I was about ten feet short on fencing.  Hence the third trip.

This time I took Scout.

He was a little squirrely and a lot distracted.  We rode a lot of big squares, working on going in straight lines, not drifting, and not turning until I asked.  Eventually he was happy to ride off over the hill with me and find the hole in the fence.

He needed to stop a few times and get his head together - we were leaving his herd and he wasn't sure how he felt about it.  Here he was very sweetly checking with me to see how I felt.  Of course I wasn't feeling apprehensive about leaving the herd. 

Fixin' fence.  :)

After I untacked him I got a wild hair and decided to try him out with the donkeys.

 Don't they look thrilled?

Cute belly:

This crackhead is the same horse who's hard to get any life out of under saddle...

 Look at him being so fancy.  :)

It went really well.  Scout moved the boys around a tiny bit, but if he got too pushy they just stood still and told him to piss off.  Mostly Scout ran around being all kinds of excited for no reason.  He got way more exercise after our ride than during.

Then I got another wild hair.

Pedro is so handsome in reddish brown tack.  It brings out his eyes.

See me sitting on my ass out in the pasture?

Actually that was kinda a stupid idea...  See, Scout and Bella were in the round pen, and I didn't want to get them out, and I figured Pedro would move forward more if we were out in the big wide open.  And he did.  But he didn't have any steering.  Actually he had anti-steering.  I'd forgotten how he just pulls against me if I try to give any input.  Eventually I had to bail off before he took me into the mustang pen, which is a bit short in places for a rider not to hit their head.  So then we went and got his bridle and practiced giving to the bit, without a rider on.  Next time we'll ride in the round pen.  Silly me, I thought my sweet lovable boy could do no wrong. 

As you may have noticed, I also spent a considerable amount of time today playing with my photo editing software.  Sometimes I enjoy that, sometimes I really just can't be bothered.  I had fun with it today.

So now I'd better quit being a slacker and actually get some work done.  I have a kitchen full of dishes calling my name.