Friday, November 28, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

May We "Rest in the Grace of the World"

Blessed Thanksgiving to all of You Dear Friends, and to all Beings Sharing this Planet!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Day with the Vet

Filled with dread, I prepared for Red to have his day with Dr. Branch. Dread? His last dental session was an ordeal. After having one dose of sedative, Red went ballistic when the power float tool entered his mouth. A second dose of sedative was administered and Red was barely able to stand. We had to hoist his head up with a rope over a beam.

Yesterday's teeth floating was light years better. Dr. Branch was able to get the job done with one dose of sedative. When Red's adrenaline kicked his head up, Dr. Branch said it just made it easier for him to access Red's teeth. Good news, no wavy mouth or ulcers. There was evidence that Red was starting to bite the insides of his cheeks and our vet thought we did the procedure just in time. I was so proud of my boy - he did not fight us (unlike two years ago), not one bit. He just kept his one wide eye pinned on me. I was filled to the brim with appreciation for my horse's trust in me. Dr. Branch finished up with a hand float on a couple of remaining sharp spots. Gotta say, even doped to the nines, Red was still determined to try to steal some of our barn manager's hay.

Red passed his senior exam with flying colors -
all systems looked good and he trotted sound. He is holding a good weight on his current diet. Blood work will be in today. By the end of the
night he had fully recovered from his sedation and was back to his personable, opinionated, beloved self. When he ate he still experienced a couple of minor choke incidents. My friend Mary reminded me that his mouth was sore and he would have to get used to his new grinding surfaces.

Lyra did not need her teeth floated. Dr. Branch confirmed her age as "twenty something" and guessed it was closer to the twenty side of a decade. Her most obvious need is her weight loss. She needs to gain 75 pounds. She also had a slight rattle in her upper lungs. Dr. Branch was not concerned about this but noted it as something to watch. After examining Lyra's eye, Dr. Branch did not find anything that might contribute to her vision issues. Because they are so, so evident at night and when she is in a dark environment (seems worse when there is light outside) I've still got unanswered questions.

So putting weight on Lyra is a major goal. She really needs to be fed twice a day. This means I need a way to keep her in overnight. She cannot tolerate being in a stall and the photos give an idea of what happens in the round pen. My original plan had been to alternate nightly stall time and morning feedings between Red and Lyra. My revised plan was to use this pen I'm subletting for Lyra overnight. I don't think this will be possible. Just don't think it will work (it the big picture of my life) to find and retrieve Lyra from the general pasture every morning before starting work at 8:00 a.m. It is too soon to rule out the potential weight gain from beet pulp and rice bran. Today I will weight taped her so I can start closely tracking her condition. Dr. Branch wanted to guard against further weight loss. She "weighed in" at 975 lbs. The good news is that she is not losing more weight since adding the beet pulp and rice bran. OK. Maybe we have turned a corner on this.

Something Just Ain't Right . . .

. . . in the general pasture. I look for Red and he is not to be found.
His beloved Coal is upset, does a complete GP gallop, then making forays up and down the fence line.

Red's arch rival, the little scruffy gelding, is following the bounteous Coal, determined to have her! Where in the world is Red?

My friend Elsie trots over, "I'll help find him." First she has to sniff me all over.

"Come on, I know where he is."

Then I see him, a small red horse, far away in the HAY FIELD (smaller pasture next to GP).

He is just PO'd, not a happy boy. Poor Red, he REALLY wants to get to Coal and
teach the young upstart a lesson.

"OH NOES!!!! She is leaving me!"

Then he sees me. ' FINALLY! What took you so long?"
"Hurry, there is the gate. GET ME OUT OF HERE!"

Soon Red was back in his pasture and we solved the mystery. Some horses knocked down the fence between the Hay Field and the General Pasture. The grass really is greener on the Hay Field side. When our manager put the fence back up he counted the correct number of horses for the Hay Field but didn't notice that one was the wrong color. One was Red.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lyra's New Blanket

My beauty and I got some quality girl time while there was sun. Look at this cute face in her new, too cool, chocolate and cream light weight blanket. I thought long and hard before blanketing my girl. Our nights only get to about 39 or 40 degrees right now. Many folks believe that blankets do more harm than good. Horses have this incredible natural waterproof insulation system, their thick winter coat is designed to stand on end, creating an insulating air space that keeps the horse warm. So why am I mucking with what nature provided? Cuz Lyra was losing weight and I have, accurately or otherwise, concern that she is using too many calories trying to stay warm. Thus her new stylish winter coat.

I think I have perfected her diet - in addition to the overgrazed general pasture, she is now getting several pounds of grass hay and 8 cups (dry measure) soaked beet pulp, 6 cups (3 lbs) Nutrena Safe Choice, 2 cups (1 lb.) MaxEGlow Stabilized Rice Bran, and Farrier's Formula. Her bucket of crunchies weighs TONS, but is full of water from the soaked beet pulp. I'm hoping this helps turn around her weight loss.

I'll be consulting with our vet tomorrow during Lyra's senior horse exam. Both Lyra and Red are getting senior exams. Our local clinic is having a special - only $75.oo for a general exam, body condition & nutritional assessment, trot out and bloodwork. I appreciate this gesture as support for ensuring your senior horse has the best possible health.

Here are more pictures of Lyra modeling her new blanket while enjoying her new diet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Walking Through Glory, Touching Indra's Net

Sometimes my life works in the most awe some ways. Like tonight when I just wanted to take my sorry butt home, get in bed and recover from my first day back after 3 days down with a COLD. But, come 6:15 I'm pulled into the nightly second act of my life, time to head to Freshwater Valley Stables and the general pasture. Three days, three days my little herd has gone to bed without their munchies to supplement the sparse winter offerings of the GP.

The night flew by, from no where or everywhere came the energy to do what needed to be done. It was 10:00 by the time Lyra was fed, bundled into her new blanket, and walking by my side, down the dark lane leading to the pasture and her herd. Lyra, I recently discovered, has very limited vision at night. She moves beside me, tentative yet trusting, taking soundings with her breath and nose, following my lead into the dark. Tonight she and I walked far into the fields, looking for the herd. I don't like to leave her by herself in the dark, she can sort her way around but I can feel her panic.

It is so cold, my breath floats across my face in cloud of mist. Coming towards me I see a streak of white - my Red horse, his blaze catching the light of my headlamp. Impatiently he pats me with his clever lips, trying to bring forth a carrot or cookie. Disgusted by my empty pockets, he sighs, then falls in beside me as I turn away from the herd and begin the long trudge through the mud back to the gate. Red had already eaten so he wasn't hungry. I actually think he just wanted to hang out with mom, his own special herd mate (grudgingly shared on occasion with Lyra). Side by side we walked, leaning into each other, breath mingling and catching the light. Then I looked up.

Spinning across the sky was a brilliant net of blazing stars. After fog and rain, the sky had become crystalline. Glory overhead. Side by side, Red and me - walking through Glory. Red, Lyra, the herd, me, all our relations - caught in Indra's Net.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Just Gotta Visit Margaret and Helen

If you haven't already discovered this blog, you're gonna love it. Or hate it. Margaret and Helen provided my bellweather throughout the election. Today's entry just has me in stitches. The truth of it! Money, guns, and sex!!! The final planks of the Republican Party. Go there for a visit. Please.

Don't ask me what this post has to do with the photo. Now that I mention it, I took this picture with my old Konica Dimage Z-5. The lens jammed up a couple of years ago. Sure miss that camera.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Legalize Equine Slaughter? Horse Meat on American Tables?

Horses are in trouble! Again. Seems like their relationship with humans tends to put them in harm's way over and over and over. In this time of escalating economic peril, more and more horse owners are finding they cannot provide for their horses. Breeding farms and ranches are closing by the fist full. Rescue blogs describe hundreds of horses who need sanctuary. Within this rising flood of desperate need are online discussion board conversations debating what to do to make a difference. And tucked away within some of those boards, rescue boards mind you, a concerning theme is emerging. Just say yes to slaughter in the United States; put horse meat back on American plates. Let horses be slaughtered in the same HUMANE way cattle and pigs are. This is humane? THIS will save them from the brutal ride to hell, shipped over our borders to die in Canadian slaughter houses and Mexican Kill Pits?

To those folks suggesting that a legal American horse meat industry is a dandy solution to the crisis facing American equines, I just gotta ask, "When did American profit driven commerce ever improve anthing about the quality of horses lives and deaths?" HELLO PEOPLE!!!!! Want to know what legal horse meat would mean. All those PMU farmers going out of business along the U.S. northern border would be just delighted cuz they are already set up to exploit horses and legal horse meat would make it a hell of alot easier to dispose with the nuisance of unwanted foals. And hey, GREAT solution to the irksome problem of what to do with surplus mustangs currently chomping away on government purchased hay - SUSHI! Not to mention the easy transition to actually breeding and raising horses for chevel. Sweet - a nice way to boost the economy and create new jobs.

Excuse me while I get sick.

Get ready folks, these pro-slaughter activists are hiding the reality of equine slaughter with words like "compassionate solution".

Excuse me while I get sick.

Here is the FACE of the "compassionate solution" of equine slaughter. Pictures from the UK and Europe where horse slaughter is perfectly legal. Legal and brutal. And so, so sad. So, I really want to know. Here is a video of equine transport to slaughter in Europe. Do you know that in modern European slaughterhouse, "horses are rendered unconscious by electroshock, then dispatched by controlled bleeding. " Tell me, PLEASE DO, what about this is humane?

What on earth makes ANYONE think that legal or otherwise, slaughter is the answer, the compassionate answer for our horses needing homes and care? When horses' final moments are shaped by corporate profit, the outcome will be neither compassionate nor pain-free.

Please consider visiting these anti-slaughter sites.

Commone Horse Sense
Equine Protection Network
Mary Nash's Horse Meat Website
The International Fund for Horses

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Have I introduced Stella? She is my sweetest dog - my pittie girl. Think she may have some German Shepherd in her. Stella radiates heart. She has friends wherever we go.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Favorite Tag Game - Book Tag!!!!!

I've been tagged to play "Book Tag"
Cactus Jack Splash and his DOR
over The Journeys of Cactus Jack Splash Blog.

Here are the rules:
1)Grab the nearest book.iu98
2)Open the book to page 56.
3)Find the fifth sentence.
4)Post the text of the next two to five sentences.
5)Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one.
Pick the Closest.
6)Tag five people to do the same.

Got a whole pile of books sitting at my elbow. First book I see is Retraining: Teaching New Skills to Previously Trained Horses. Page 56 has some stuff about snaffle bits. Red hates having "metal squeezie things" on his face so I'll skip that (oopsie, think I broke a rule). Next Book is Horse Sense for People by Monty Roberts. A
ctually forgot I had this book. Page 56? Hmmmmm . . .

Most of the round pens of the old West had a very large tree trunk standing in the center, with deep grooves worn into it by the ropes that were used to restrain the wildest animals you can imagine. A couple of wraps around this snubbing post would cause a wild horse to come crashing to the ground literally at the end of his tether. The round pen was the classroom for "traditional horse breaking." Horses were restrained, blindfolded and broken to submission.

Round Pens have sure come full circle. Previously used to break spirits, they are now used to join up human and horse. The snubbing post has been replaced by a human seeking to build a partnership with the horse.


Time to tag five more.

I love to read Horse Noob.
Wonder what Liberal Cowgirl is reading?
Desert Horses should have an interesting read close at hand.
Hmmmm, I enjoy reading Gray Horse Matters, wonder what she is reading these days?
One of my favorite blogs is about Foxy Pants, a much pampered rescue horse, wonder what her mom is reading?

ooohhhhh, I need ONE more. Gonna have to add that as an edit.

Heartfelt Thanks to the Millions of Human and Non-Human Vets. . .

. . . who sacrificed, and died for our freedom. And for those non-human, brave souls who were sent to die by warring powers, I honor your memory and your suffering. Please take a moment to visit some of these links. They offer a glimpse into the horror and courage of the millions of horses and mules that had no choice in their participation in battle. Few equine survivors of the WWs got to enjoy a celebrated homecoming. Most equine veteran's who survived the butchery of the battlefield were sent to die on the slaughterhouse floors of Europe.

58th Division Memorial
At Chipilly Ridge

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Big Ole Goofy Girl

So this is not a "true confessions" blog - mostly it is about horses, with a little other stuff thrown in occasionally. Just like today - horses with a bit of other stuff thrown in. See, I'm thinking about goofiness and congruence and horses. Do you know that line in John Prine's song:

There's a big old goofy man
dancing with a big old goofy girl,
Oh baby, it's a big old goofy world

I just love that line. Makes me laugh and cry all at the same time. Because I have this great, big old goofy, geeky self that I have spent just years and years carefully camouflaging. OMG - is that what this blog is about? Outting my inner goof?

Thing is, you see that big ole goofy woman sitting on top of that delicious red horse? She is filled to over-flowing with delight. Thanks to some little silly cosmic twist, delight and goofiness run hand-in-hand through my heart and body. Together, they often tumble out as exuberance - I can be one of the most exuberant folks you'll ever come across. Exuberance is a mixed blessing.

Function:adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin exuberant-, exuberans, present participle of exuberare to be abundant, from ex- + uber fruitful, Date: 15th century

1: extreme or excessive in degree, size, or extent <exuberant prosperity>

2 a: joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic <exuberant praise> exuberant personality>
b: unrestrained or elaborate especially in style : flamboyant <exuberant architecture>

3: produced in extreme abundance : plentiful <exuberant foliage and vegetation>

About 6 months after Red and I became a team I was walking across the general pasture with another woman to fetch our horses. I am positively overflowing with exuberance on the way to meet my beloved Red. Other woman looks at me, asks, "Are you on speed." I ask her how come she said that and I learned that she sees me as extremely happy and bubbly all the time, ie, exuberant. "Well I have a horse, of course I'm happy all the time (duh)." I was exuberant, as in abundant, excessive, joyously unrestrained.

Oh yeah, that is how we roll - well, usually when no one else is looking. Cuz baby, "joyously unrestrained" is can sometimes be just too much for folks to be around for long. It was definitely not cool from day one in kindergarten. Really I care not one tiny bit about being cool. These days. But little Cherie Ann desperately wanted to have friends, and making friends was forever a puzzle for which I never found all the pieces. On that first day of school, encountering legions of other kids coolly accessing my geeky little self, came the first lesson of Incongruence 101.

Incongruence is the art of masking what you truly experience and feel. One thing outside, something altogether different on the inside. It is the ticket for growing up uncomfortable in your own skin. For some of the introverted geeky little kids of the world, at least this one, it becomes the trick of learning to "fit in" and make friends - sort of. I guess I developed a host of tricky disguises that sort of squashed all that exuberance down to a small sputter, one that thankfully never fully extinguished. Becoming congruent - becoming consistent within myself, has meant kissing outgrown disguises farewell and daring to risk the discomfort, to revel in the comfort of just being me - silly, goofy, uses too many big words me.

Walking the General Pasture in the Dark

Lots of changes this week. Most I am ecstatic about. Daylight Savings Time is not included in the ecstasy list. With the shift of time, horse time now begins in the dark. Bless my little herd. Red and Lyra frequently wait for me close to the gait, most welcome on rainy nights like tonight. When there is no rain, I enjoy walking through the wildness of the general pasture, listening to the coyotes, feeling the hair on the back of my neck ripple to their song.

Getting Lyra in the dark has provided a new challenge and potential health need. She is very hesitant to leave the herd. This is very different than in our early days when she felt safest with her friends. She clearly trusts me these days. I think she may have great difficulty seeing at night. She walks hesitantly with her head down and is very spooky when we veer from 0ur regular path. She relaxes her stance when Red is with us, seeming to trust him to choose a safe, obstacle free trail.

Our local vet clinic is offering a "senior" exam special. I am going to schedule one for Lyra when I have Red's teeth done.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lighten Up

This is an unusual blog entry but these are unusual times. Stay grounded and hold the light. Our horses are here to help us physically and emotionally. Ask them. They will immediately respond. The planet is going to surge, it has already begun. There will be great resistance to the new form but for the last twenty years the template has been perfecting. Encourage others. Bear light. Wield light. Heal. We are supported and sustained by many at many levels. The gate is open. If this has no meaning to you, move on with a light heart. If it does, then walk with eyes and heart open for what you need is moving close beside you. Wake up! The need is great and you are one of the light bearers.

bear·er (bârr)n.1. One that carries or supports