Monday, July 27, 2015

Luc's Big Day

I decided to take Luc to work with me today. My equine dentist/vet/endurance expert/boss very generously offered to take a look at his limp.

This would be his first trip away from home. I was very apprehensive about it. Abnormally so. I envisioned him leaping and rearing, ripping the rope out of my hand, and possibly breaking down some fences. He hasn't done the leaping and rearing thing for quite some time, so I don't know why I worried about that. However, he did break down/through my fence and my neighbor's barbed wire fence sometime in the middle of the night just over a week ago. Luckily he was only scratched up a bit from that encounter.

Well, I needn't have worried. He loaded up, unloaded, did his lameness exam, and hung out all day watching horses come and go. All with no problems. He looked like he was having a blast with so many entertaining things to watch. Including large alien pack goats.

It looks like maybe his gimp is coming from his suspensory ligament in his left front leg. It's definitely that leg. And that's the only place that he reacted to when it was palpated. We didn't use hoof testers on him so that could be where the problem is, but I doubt it. 

The plan for now is to trim his hooves better (I've been too conservative and also haven't trimmed him in a while) and wait and watch. I will probably take him in for a real lameness work up if he doesn't improve soon.

Tonight I introduced a new (used) toy to the boys. Bella, being above such things, wasn't interested.

 They rolled it around quite a bit, and the treats did come out, but they didn't realize it, so I just kept putting them back in.
 I won't comment on the shape of the new toy, but I really want to. WTH?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pat pat pat

Horses don't like to be patted, but nearly everyone does it. I've had a couple overbearing male horse trainers insist to me that you should never, ever pat a horse. Sorry, but I disagree completely. They need to be familiar enough with a friendly pat that it doesn't cause them to react dangerously or even just be troubled in their own mind by it. It's not fair to them to not prepare them for what people ARE GOING to do.

Luc has been super offended by it, understandably, since I adopted him. I kept putting off dealing with it. Recently he's been handled more by people other than me and sure enough, every one of them patted him. Even when they were consciously trying not to. Even equine professionals do it. It's so hard not to do! If he had kicked them it would have been my fault for letting the situation come about in the first place. He isn't a kicker, thank goodness.

So today I patted him. A lot. I allowed him to graze in a lush spot and pat pat pat, rub rub rub. Gently and with rhythm, moving to different parts of his body, and gradually increasing the energy of the pats. Not slapping, though. We spent several minutes in the morning and another session in the evening, mixed in with some other exercises. I am so pleased with him! I should have done this a long time ago. It really wasn't a big ordeal at all. He still doesn't like it, but we'll eventually get to where it doesn't make him freeze up or move off in discomfort.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Luc has been lame. I don't know if I mentioned that yet. I think it is primarily his left hind, but both of his stifles go clunk sometimes. And his hips were looking kind of locked up. So I called a chiropractor. The one I had work on Scout has left the area, so we tried out a new one.

He thought it was very weird having someone new doing such strange things, especially when it came to his legs. I hope to see an improvement. She expects it to take a few days to see a change and then another adjustment to get him right. We have a secondary appointment scheduled for 2 weeks from now.

Scout was super jealous that he wasn't getting all the attention, and Bella was standing watch to make sure everyone behaved. It was pretty cute.

I haven't taken any good pictures lately, but here's one of Bella snoozing and Luc looking pensive while we waited for the chiropractor.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bad Dogs

Last night my dogs attacked a porcupine. Even the smart Aussies did it. Blue had two in the top of his head and Huck had about 10 in his face and leg.

Winston had several hundred.

Thank goodness my boss was willing to come back to work late at night for me. Saved me a very expensive emergency bill. I owe her big time. I'm so grateful for her, always.

We put him under anesthesia and 4 of us pulled quills. It went pretty quickly. The key with porcupine quills is to get it done as soon as you can, before the quills soften or migrate, and to keep the dog from rubbing them until you can get them out. If you can do that without getting stabbed. Even the back sides of the quills are very sharp. Winston held still nicely for me on the way in.

Winston is pretty miserable this morning. Poor guy.

Meanwhile, John is on the difficult part of the Mt Adams climb right now. He sent me this before he lost cell service yesterday.
Gorgeous! I can't wait to see more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Camping & Stuff

We had so much fun camping and riding in the national forest this last weekend.
 The weather started out just barely rainy. The temperature was absolutely perfect.
 Scout was a little goofy, as usual. We forgot a saw, and of course came upon a log blocking the trail (and more later) so my sister volunteered to go back and get hers. That added a mile and a half of fast riding to her trip. I'm not sure I could've done it. Scout probably wouldn't have left the other horses anyway. He spent the time poking people and generally being a pest.

I packed my rain gear just in case. Didn't need it though.

I love this picture of my niece, and Cowboy trying to eat her hat. She has the same mischievous look she used to get when she was a toddler. She's always been a lot of fun.

John and Henry packed their heavy packs all the way up the mountain. I don't know how they do it.

Pretty green trail.

Ornaments, and good grazing.

When I got home I was totally spent, but then I got a text from my boss/friend the equine dentist, asking if I wanted to ride her trails the next day. Of course!

The views were spectacular! We could see waaaay over into Washington.

It was neat riding with a vet who does endurance. When Scout was getting pretty tired she checked his heart rate and made sure it was falling as he rested. She declared him fit to continue. :) As she said, he has a lot of horse to haul up that mountain. Not to mention me! Her little endurance Arabian didn't think what we were doing was hard work at all.

Kamiak Butte in the distance:

Steptoe Butte:

We ended up near the top of Lone Jack Butte and then went down, down, down pretty quickly. That was probably the hardest part. We were tired and sore at the bottom, but it was totally worth it. Scout got to lead most of the ride, which was good for his baby brain. He was a rock star, and it helped the energizer bunny Arab have a more relaxing ride. To be honest, I wasn't sure how this ride was going to go because our horses are so opposite in terms of speed, but it went really well!

So now we have permission to ride up there whenever we want, to try to keep the trails from disappearing. She worked hard to create them, but doesn't get as much time as she'd like to go ride them. With so much land being closed due to fire danger, I'm really happy to have this option.

We did 2200 feet of elevation gain on Saturday, a short ride on Sunday (still a good climb) and 1400 feet of elevation gain on Monday in a short amount of time. Then Scout got Tuesday off while I busted butt working for 9 1/2 hours and then bucked hay for 3 hours for a friend in need. I'm tired. But we're going out again today. John's last training hike before climbing Mt. Adams. Should be fun!

Friday, July 10, 2015

More and more good times

The equines had some visitors over the weekend of the 4th.
Luc is still not too sure about strangers.

But he thinks maybe they're okay after all.

A tender goodbye:

My sister and I had a good ride on her birthday.

A lot of the forest land around here is closed right now due to fire danger, but state and federal lands are still open.

I got off and walked the last half mile or so. Scout was hot and tired and he deserved a break. Funny how good it feels to get in the saddle at the beginning and how good it feels to get off a couple hours later. I get a little stiff and sore.

Luc had another good stranger experience. He loves all people from across the fence, but he gets worried when they start touching him. I need more visitors.

A donkey faceoff:

A donkey belly :)

Donkeys make everyone happy.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


I've had more time to post, and more things to post about, because we're on vacation. I'm enjoying every minute, even the laundry and house cleaning. I even cleaned the horse trailer really well. (Not that I don't love my job, but I love my vacation too.)

We went huckleberry picking yesterday. It's not a great year for berries, but it was still good fun.

Huckleberry always likes to pick huckleberries.

Blue might not get invited next year. He runs around like a joyous, out of control rhinoceros, which isn't so helpful on a steep mountainside.

Bonus find: heavenly tiny strawberries!

In the evening we went camping at a local spot called Horse Camp. It's used more by ORCs these days, but it still has hitching rails. And a toilet, which is nice.

We set up the high line for practice. It works better for Bella and Scout if it's strung in two separate sections. Otherwise Bella pulls it downward and Scout chews on it.

We went for a 3 mile walk in the evening. John is still training for his mountain climb. This was the first time with boots and pack. I don't know how he does it.

Liam was our dog wrangler. Winston had to stay on a leash most of the time.

The full moon came up as the sun set. Gorgeous.

I didn't get much sleep, listening to the fidgety horses. At one point I decided to get up and see why they were making so much noise, and wouldn't you know it, they had just decided to have a lie-down. Of course they jumped up when I came at them out of the darkness. Dang it.

Bella definitely could use more patience training on the high line or even just tied up.

This morning, bright and early, we went on a quick ride, straight up the mountain.

Blue was pretty tuckered out.

It wasn't long before it was too hot and getting hotter, so we turned back.

Weird to see a traffic sign in the woods.

I really like this pictue of Scout.

I finally got to use my second-hand folding wheelbarrow. I absolutely love it!

We were all happy to get camp packed up and get home. It was too hot and the horseflies were driving us all crazy. But it was sure fun while it lasted!