Sunday, December 31, 2017

Signs of Foaling? I'm Crazy?

Today I spent quality time in daylight with Juniper for the first time in what seems like forever. So it's hard to say if there has been a sudden change or not, but she looks skinny and kind of poorly in the hind end. Which could be a sign that foaling is coming. When the baby moves into the birth canal the belly gets smaller, looking like mom isn't pregnant all the sudden. Also, to prepare for birth the muscles of the hind end relax, which gives a sunken look around the croup. Before Scout was born I could actually feel him moving up under the muscles on either side of Bella's tail. I felt for that today with Juniper, but it's hard to say... What I felt may well have been her own muscle movement. Her vulva is slightly darker with a bit of discharge. Still able to clamp her tail but it may he slightly weaker. No bag at all. No change in behavior or eating habits.

It could all be in my head but I'm a little excited. On my Only Donkeys group on Facebook a donkey who was rescued 14 months ago just had the cutest baby, and bagged up just the day before. So Juniper is definitely not beyond the possible range of giving birth.

Right now daytime temps are above freezing and it's not terrible at night, so I guess this is an okay time to foal, if she has to do it in winter.

Oh! And she's shedding! Spring will eventually come. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pneu NO nia

I've been sick for so long I finally went to the doctor.  I thought they'd tell me to go home, I have a cold. Not so.  I don't know what I have but it's not pneumonia. They gave me some treatments at the doctor, then I brought home $120 worth of prescriptions (after insurance paid their part) and a list of OTC stuff to take too. My lungs and sinuses and ears are full of shit and I'm not taking in enough oxygen. The doctor didn't give me a word for it and that drives me nuts. Is it bronchitis? I don't know.  Phlegmcrud sleepy-yuck, maybe.

BUT on the good side I will definitely not be contagious for Christmas so I can spend it with my sister, who has already started cancer treatment and can not be exposed to germs.  Happy dance for sister time!

No sign of baby donkey coming. She tells me no secrets, no matter how nicely I ask.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Poor Winston

He got a boo-boo. And of course it happened when our clinic wasn't open and my boss lady had a million appointments of her own to take care of. Luckily I know every vet in a 100 mile radius. Or so it sometimes seems anyway. :)

He was quietly cuddling with me on the couch and suddenly started frantically wiping eye boogers off his face and rubbing his eye. Weird place to have a crisis. He would not leave it alone so we had to cone him, poor guy. I couldn't see a puncture. So the way he wouldn't open his eye made me pretty sure there was something still in there even after I flushed it and put ointment in there, hoping it would float out.

The vet didn't find anything other than a slight abrasion on the cornea, probably from all the frantic rubbing he'd been doing. But I've had them not find anything before and had a grass seed float out days later, so I knew it could still be hiding. 

Yesterday at work Deb wiped an eye booger off his face with something small and hard in it and he was suddenly miraculously holding his eye open again and not trying to rub at his eye. Thank goodness! It can't stand when they're in pain and I can't help them. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Fun Time was Had by All

 It's not too terribly cold and the fog is making for some gorgeous frost in the mornings.

Feeding time is everyone's favorite. Bella and Scout have one pasture all to themselves:

Sawyer gets separated twice a day for his good grub. They all know the drill so it goes pretty smoothly. Juniper and Duncan stay out while I shut the doors, and Sawyer paces like a hungry dragon while I mix up his supplements.

Juniper will happily leave her food for some good lovin'.

Huckleberry stands perfectly still for ages when hunting mice. It's crazy how much noise they make when you sit still and listen.

In the afternoon it warmed up enough for Sawyer to take a break from his blanket. This is what happens when I try to take his picture to show you how nice he looks:

Because why would I want anything other than an ass in my face?

This is the best I could get. He has gained a lot of weight. His back is nicely covered.

Here I wanted to take a picture of my pasture parade - Duncan first, then Sayer, then Juniper, but as soon as I stopped of course Juniper got out of line, Duncan didn't ground tie, and Sawyer was just kind of not sure what was going on. Still, not a bad picture of Duncan's glossy curls!

Duncan came out with me and played. A fair amount of work with the flag moving on and above his back while he was moving, and then circling around me as I stood above him on my mounting table in the field. We kept it mostly relaxed but for him it was uncomfortable. I made sure he didn't shut down, he was tense at times but still blinking and he appeared to be thinking.

Juniper wanted to come out and graze, but instead we did a tiny bit of lunging practice and then loaded in the trailer. You wouldn't have known it had been 10 months since she last loaded. She looked around and loaded right up. Then she got to graze.

Scout came out too. He was so happy to be chosen for once, he practically shoved his head in the halter. Then he was kind of a turd, rooting and pushing and generally needing a reminder about manners. He really thought he needed to eat grass. But he remembered his manners pretty quick.

Bella didn't come out to play but she doesn't mind. She's entirely happy being left to her own devices, and she remembers her manners without tuneups. She's been lame this past week but she's feeling better now. I'm pretty sure she kicked/stepped on her heel bulb. Either that or it was an abscess but there was no heat in the hoof. Either way, she's walking well now.

I sure do love these guys. Not sure what I'd do without them!

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Holding Hands

Who held your hand when you were little and afraid? Who hid with you under tables, saw the same boogeymen, made forts out of toilet paper, sang Christmas carols and hung tinsel together? Who can reminisce about catching salamanders, sliding down mud slides, sitting on the roof and staring at the stars, all the little moments of growing up? Then having families, horses, still roaming the wilderness, still staring at the stars.

If you have a close sibling you know what I'm talking about. You live the same life out of different eyes. You have different strengths and you stick together. Nobody else will ever know the story the way you two do.

My sister has cancer again. It is a metastasis of the old breast cancer, this time in her bones. Whoa Nelly are we in for a rough ride.

Monday, November 27, 2017


Not much going on here in terms of action. The horses are happy & the donkey is the same.

Speaking of myself for one moment. I can't remember what I've written about, but I was able to try Botox injections for my headaches. It's working! I've had a cold and coughed myself up some headaches, but in general they're mild and not near as many. Even my tight neck and shoulders are happier. Now if only this cold would go away! It's been a week and a half now of coughing. But it is getting better.

Sawyer is still gaining weight well. He sure does love his food! I've committed to blanketing him over the winter once it really gets cold, to help him utilize his calories. It's still so warm I haven't really had to keep his blanket on much. I did ask for a heavyweight blanket for Christmas, for when it's really cold. Now we'll be all set. :)

The other day I ponied Duncan around a bit. I think that will be really good for him, having a rider above him and getting out and doing things. Sawyer thought it was great! He was ready to take off on an adventure with his buddy in tow. Duncan wasn't so ready to expand his horizons. We mainly stuck close and worked on obstacles and maneuvers to make sure we know what we're doing, and then did a little short journey out away from the comfort zone and back.

I've been doing a little hoof trimming without causing myself harm to my neck. I'm so excited to see if I can start doing more now that my muscles aren't in a riot all the time. Juniper still doesn't love having her hooves handled, but for treats she will stand for it. She's never bad but she makes it clear she'd like to leave.

I've had to trim Sawyer because we were in between farrier appointments and he needed it. He has such very soft hooves. I have him on a good hoof supplement, but of course they have to grow a new hoof before you see results. I tried my easyboots on him yesterday. He thought that was a little weird. The fit wasn't great. I think I need pads to put inside, for his comfort and to improve fit.

Well, that's about all the excitement around here. Not a lot, but it's enough. I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, and I wish you all enough!

Monday, November 13, 2017

I take it back

The Juniper baby decided to make his or her presence known again last night, kicking up such a tempestuous storm it rocked the whole mama. I guess I've just been visiting at nap time lately.

I don't know if you've all heard of the old way of checking whether a baby is a boy or a girl by hanging a pendulum, usually a wedding ring on a string, over the pregnant belly, and seeing which way it swings. Straight line is a boy, circle is a girl. I've been convinced that it's a girl, but the pendulum (my Tonka ring) swung in a straight line. So... Well, considering this isn't science, we still don't know. :)

Sunday, November 12, 2017


The weather has definitely changed on us, and the time has changed as well and my afternoons are dark.  Also, my headaches have been a lot worse. So my time is more limited. But such is the cycle of life! Spring will come again. The prospect of winter isn't bothering me much this year (so far). Maybe it was the long, beautiful autumn that made it easier to bear. Maybe it's the drugs. One of them is a lovely little anti depressant. :)

One thing that is bothering me is the prospect of having to give up my wonderful Duncan. He should go to someone who is going to train and ride him. Yes. But. Every time I actually spend time with him I fall in love with him all over again. I have no business riding a green horse though. Even so, I can't bring myself to advertise him.

He just makes me smile. He tries hard, but sometimes he would rather not, mostly in a cute way.  Like standing ground tied. I think he knows what I want but he'd rather follow me.

Sawyer is slowly gaining weight. He gets to see the dentist tomorrow. And it just so happens that Tonka's blanket fits him so I may decide to blanket him this winter. I did blanket him for several days through our first snowy cold snap and he didn't seem to mind too much.
(Shh, don't tell my husband, but I wonder if he might have Cushings. Look at his weak topline and big belly. He also drinks a lot, has a voracious appetite, and flat feet. I think I'm going to start him on chaste tree berry.)

He got a bloody nose yesterday when I took his donkey away for a walk. I'm not sure why. He wasn't running around but he was a little excited and whinnying a bit. I'll have the vet peek up there tomorrow.

Juniper is cute as a bug in a rug. Is that a saying? No. Well, anyway. She is a sweetie.
She sure doesn't look too pregnant does she? Today is the one year anniversary of the day I met her. No bag, no baby movement recently. I have no idea what's going on. But they have been known to go 14 months so I'll keep my eyes open for a while yet. And honestly, I hope she doesn't have a baby.

I wanted to get her to pose pretty in front of the tall yellow grass but a donkey will do what a donkey will do. She must get in the middle and eat it.

She looks a little different than she did a year ago:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

More Fun

My daughter rode with me yesterday! I decided not to take her out into hunting-land, so we rode at home, which turned out to be less than super fun.

I saddled up both of the older horses, Ruger (my dad's horse) and Coy. Ruger seemed pretty worked up so I rode him. He really wanted to be with Bella and Scout. We had a nice little ride just cruising around the property, but both horses were a little magnetized to their friends.

Ruger went back to his big herd at the boarding stable after that. I think he likes it better over there, and we won't be riding him now. Liam's interest was short-lived.

Late in the day I went back out and trimmed Coy's hooves, fed him, let him graze in the yard, then rode again. Mind you, these are short rides.

Everyone posed for a nice picture for me:

So, as to Coy's name. I can never remember it when I need to. And I don't really like it. I do like its meaning: a quiet place, a woods, or a forest. But I'm constantly calling him Cal by accident. A product of either my head injury or my migraine drugs, I'm sure.  So if his name changes, that's why. I'm trying to call him Coy, but it's not working well for me. And even though he's an older guy and he should know his name, he doesn't respond to it, so I'm not sure he does know it. We'll see. I can't just keep calling him, "My horse."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

First Ride

Oh my gosh I had so much fun with my new buddy yesterday. We hauled out to go on a trail ride but it ended up being a hike for me. We weren't planning on snow, and Coy kept getting giant snowballs in his hooves. But it was a lovely hike even with the bad footing. It smelled so good, pine trees and mist rising off the snow. Perfect.

John LOVED riding Scout again. So I guess we know whose horse is whose.

After picking out the billionth snowball, we turned back. I wanted to actually ride, and for that we had to go home. Coy is a blast to ride! We rode over tarps and into hiding grouse who spooked up into the sky. Nothing seems to bother him except the idea of leaving his new horse friends. And even that he's not terrible about.

I can't wait to ride again today.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A New Friend

I'd like to introduce you to Coy. He is such a cool old guy! He fits right in here with the gentle herd (Juniper and Duncan). He's totally all about food right now.
He was out to pasture with some sheep at his previous home, which his owner thought was quite good food, but the pasture has dried up. He's a bit thin. Not that his owner didn't love him, he very much does love him, but his wife has cancer and he wants to make sure Coy gets all the love he needs while the family deals with more important things.
Coy is a traveller fore sure, he really likes to move around and explore. He doesn't look for boogey men, he just goes. No drama. He's supposedly 18 years old, been-there-done-that, and my farrier likes him (he's known the horse for years), which is a big plus. His hooves could be better, but they could be a lot worse too. I've started him on my good vitamin supplement (HorseGuard) and Farrier's Formula double strength, which has excellent reviews online, and am gradually increasing his equine senior. Plus LOTS of grass hay. He's a happy camper. I love feeding them up, so I'm happy too. I may have to buy more hay though...

I looked at a couple other horses before I looked at Coy, drove a long ways, had a funny feeling about the first seller, and it was just a weird experience. Too iffy. The second horse I didn't even ride. Fighting the bit, really raring to go. This horse that you could supposedly put anyone on. Horse shopping is such a strange experience. They all sound great in their ads.

We should be taking the horses out for an easy trail ride today. I woke up with a splitting headache though so I need to get that under control.

John hit an old cow elk (the size of a horse) with his Prius last night. I'm a lucky lady to have my husband unscathed. It killed the elk and may have totalled the car but he's fine. 

Monday, October 02, 2017


I love the tiny rain ripples in the water in the photo above. We got a little wet on that ride. I didn't even carry a jacket. Whoops.

The total barrenness of post-harvest Palouse sometimes makes me think of Mad Max. But I was kinda in a funk that day.

Glorious view! On top of the world!

Yesterday we drove up to Spokane to help my parents with ripping out their deck. I tried to help remove nails. Nope. It caused a headache. So I had an enforced day of rest.

Today I have to go up again to see the neurologist, so more driving, which causes headaches, but if I can I'm definitely gonna ride later.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Lots of saddle time

Photo taken by my sister

We had a lovely ride yesterday. The fall color is so glorious & the temperature is perfect. It was windy but that's never quite so bad once you're in the mountains.

Scout kept kicking and bumping his butt up and I found a bunch of small houndstongue burrs on him and thought it was strange that he was being so sensitive. I picked them all off and went on, but he was still upset, so I checked again. He had one way up in the sweaty crease of his groin. Ouch! I guess that's a good argument for making sure your horse lets you touch his underbits.

Other than that it was a relaxing, uneventful, gorgeous ride.

I was going to share photos from three other rides this past week but blogger is being difficult.

I got to ride with John and Ruger on Monday, and a baby deer almost ran me down, it was so weird! I heard something galloping straight at us through the brush and got ready for trouble (maybe a spook), kind of confused because it didn't sound very big. The wee thing realized we were there at the last instant and stopped short, stared, and took off in another direction. Poor thing. There are hunters in the woods right now stirring things up. Scout got excited and wanted to go after it.

I also rode on Tuesday with my sister and a couple of her boarders, and Wednesday with Cindee in the farm fields near her house. We are making the most of this good weather!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Riding with Cindee

My friend Cindee is finally riding with me! Yay! Her Morgan mare, Trixie, is amazing. She hasn't had a lot of life experience, never had been hauled anywhere to ride, never had been to the woods at all (she lives in farm country about 30 miles away), and had never seen wildlife or cows.

We've been on three rides now and she's pretty impressive. One spook and attempted bolt (at a log of all things) and a big heart pounding fear when the cows were in the brush but she couldn't see them. But when she could see them they were no big deal. She goes through brush no problem, up and down steep terrain, nothing much seems to bother her.

Cindee is having a blast. And I absolutely love having someone to ride with who has the free time to get out and go, especially now that the weather is cooler. We even rode for three or four hours in the rain one day. Granted, the forecast said it was going to clear up or we probably wouldn't have gone. But we're die-hard riders now. :) If you've got rain gear you might as well use it, right?

Scout has been having fun too. He cracks me up. When we go to turn back he suggests that we keep going or take a different branch in the trail and head back out into the mountains. He says there's plenty of grass out there, no need to go home at all. I don't think he realizes how much gear he'd have to carry for me to live out there without starving or freezing.

We took Liam on his first trail ride. He looks good on Ruger.
He wasn't feeling well that day so he didn't have much fun, but he was out riding the next day so I guess it didn't scar him for life. He sure does like Ruger. My dad got a darn good horse.

We'll be out riding again tomorrow. Can't wait!