Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Red Tee Bar

One day belated, my Red Horse turned 17 on April 27th.   

Tonight one of my barnmates, a lifelong horsewoman with a keen eye and exacting expectations, gave Red quite a complement.  She said, "he's sure turned into a good horse."  My friend and I both know he didn't just "turn"over night.  Red and I have traveled many trails together since our first night when he planted a horseshoe sized bruise on my right cheek (the one I sit on).  Back then he was a 20 foot tall wild boy.  I actually (hate the very idea now) used a stud chain on him.  These days I have a partnership I treasure with a horse I adore.  Red is absolutely himself and "submits" not one little bit.  Rather, he gives me his best try in all I ask him.  I work hard at maintaining a respectful relationship.  He watches me closely, keeps me alert, serves as my equine instructor in my practice of mindfulness.  Red Tee Bar, you are my very, very good boy.  

My World Tuesday XXIX

Freshwater Valley Stables, The General Pasture 

I board my horses at this wonderful facility.  This is where you will find me most evenings and weekends.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunday Stills: Barns

The Redwood Barn, My Home Away from Home

Once a dairy barn, the Redwood Barn at Freshwater Stables now provides boarders with tackrooms, stalls, and tie posts.  You'll find me there every night enjoying  my two horses and the company of my barnmates who share the "night shift."

Visit Sunday Stills for more photos of barns.

Elsie, My Friend

Elsie is one of my general pasture herd friends, one of my favorites (don't tell my dog Stella - Elsie once seriously scared her).  A large pony, Elsie will follow me (even when my carrots are gone).  She is respectful of my spance and enjoys a good conversation along with a few scratches.  Friends with both Red and Lyra, Elsie is the social butterfly of the GP.  She moves easily between the little bands that make up the GP herd.  Every summer she leaves the pasture to accompany her owner to work in a National Park.  I'll miss my friend and will look forward to her return.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skywatch Friday # 41

Sundown on Semiahmoo
 July, 2006

I've been saving these favorites of mine for a time I had no photos of current skies.  This is one of my favorite places on earth, a small sandspit off of Boundary Bay.  Once it was the territory of the Semiahmoo Nation.  There was a camp a few feet from where the photos were taken.  When I visit my father in Blaine, Washington I like to visit this spot, walk along the tide line, offer my respect for what was lost and my regret for how it was taken.

Please visit the Skywatch Friday Site and cyber journey through our world as you see more glorious skies.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

When an Equine Emergency Strikes, You Want to be Ready

Or as ready as you can be.  Tonight Red and I had a medical emergency.  First, all is ok now, but it involved his eye.  IMO, anything involving the eye requires a visit with the vet, day or night. In our case, it was night.  When I got him out of the pasture tonight, he seemed a bit slow to decide if he was coming.  I had to walk to him and put the halter on, a bit different from his usual take the lead to the gate style.  We actually took a few steps before I noticed something was not right with his right eye.  This is what I saw . . . 

Looking at the photos, now, even when I know my Red Horse is okay - I can't believe how awful his eye was.  It looks even worse then I remembered.   

In the pasture I briefly stopped to be sure the eye was intact (in the socket), then I got us up to the barn as quickly as I could move.  Immediately got a thermometer under Red's tail, checked his breathing and the color of his gums, then got on the phone to call our vet - it was already after-hours and the answering service was busy for what seemed like forever.  Finally got hold of Dr. Mott who told me we would be her second emergency call and she wasn't sure when she would be there.  She was on her way to see a horse who was having an allergic reaction and was in respiratory distress. So. We were on our own until the vet made it to Freshwater.

What next?  Got Red's temperature - normal!  Then I got Red in the sunlight where I couldlook more closely to see if he was injured - there was  so sign of trauma.  Whew!  The great thing about where I board is there are folks to act as "backup" and they have some fine experience behind them.  The next thing was to irrigate the eye.  I keep sterile eye wash solution and ginormous syringes so was able to do a little washing out of the eye.  We went back into the sun to see if there was a visible foreign body in Red's eye.  I saw what appeared to be stinger (bee?) lodged in his upper eyelid.  A  friend removed it, dropping it so we could'nt be sure.  I gently applied cold compresses and tried to remember to breathe deeply and calmly so that Red would not feel mom being crazy anxious.

It took over an hour for Dr. Mott to arrive.  She drugged Red and put a colored liquid in his eye that would help her to see any abrasions on the eyeball or cornea.  He had none.  She then flushed his eye by running a thin tube up a small opening in his nostril which led to his tear duct - imagine having medicated water forced up and out your tear duct.  Yeeeech.  Red also got a banamine shot.  By the time Dr. Mott was done, Red's eye was much less inflamed.  I'm hoping he got stung and that there is no lasting damage.

Throughout everything that happened, Red was SUCH A GOOD BOY!!!  We've spent alot of time working on Red's acceptance of my touch on every inch of his body.   You never want to see your horse in pain or any kind of danger, but if it happens, you will be so glad you were prepared.  There is another story about equine eye panic time and how to be respond over at Equine Ink.

Red seemed much better when I left the stable about 30 minutes ago.  Well, better except for the body slams against his stall wall to let me know how much he hated the idea of spending a night inside.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You're Gonna Pay Mom!!!!!!

Lena is NOT happy.  

Read about what I did to Lena and her revenge at Going to the Dogs, our other blog.

Sunday Stills: Religion

My religion does not live within constructed walls.  
It soars, wild and joyous, when the Creator 
touches my heart as my hand touches Creation.

All that is Holy rises, immanent, through the fields, 
deep within the velvet eye of my equine beloved,
from the full hearted pleasure of my canine friends.

For me, it has always been this way.  
As a child I found solace in the grass, attended by birdsong.

When I see the elegant, surging flight of the herd, I am
overwhelmed with gratitude for the Creator's blessings.

When my hand is touched, with sentience, by another being, 
I feel the touch of spirit, of life, of the Creator.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why Our Tiny Round Pen?

At Freshwater Valley Farms there is quite a selection of facilities for boarding.  This blog is full of stories of the 40 acre pasture, the general pasture, where Red and Lyra live with their herd of 15 horses.  There are 3 multi-acre pastures, stalls (we have one that is basically unused but necessary if we want to rent a tackroom), stalls with small runs, paddocks that vary in size, and a few tiny pens made of round pens.  The paddocks and pens rarely become available.  Some folks have been renting there for over 20 years.  I was just escatic when I was able to snag a small round pen.  Why?  Our little pen helps me manage some of the challenges that come with providing Red and Lyra a herd life with plenty of movement in the general pasture (GP).

For most of the year, I need to bring Red and Lyra out of the GP together.  They both need to eat more than the GP provides from late fall to early spring.  Lyra cannot be stalled - she panics.  This has meant that Red must tolerate having another horse eat with him, cutting into his (in his opionion) indulgence entitlement.  On the flip side, to spend quality 1-1 time with Lyra, I had to put Red in his stall.  With the round pen, I can have one horse eating while I'm working with the other.  Sometimes I do keep them together to ensure they deal well with this closeness - it needs to be one of their jobs.  We now have a place to confine a horse if they need to recover from an injury (and to loan to someone else with such a need).  I can also use our pen for a (cover Red's ears) "fat pen".  

Throughout this winter, Red fared quite well, perhaps a bit too well.  Lyra lost too much weight, even with her Nutrena Safe-choice/rice bran/beet pulp nightly meal.  I have added alfafa pellets and think I've got it right for next winter.  Now that we have made it through the season of starvation in the GP, we are about to enter the time of SPRING GRASS.  This will not be an issue for Lyra, but Red?  Hmmmmmm.   He is already at prime weight, just needing some muscle conditioning to be ready for the trail.

I'm worried about the quickly approaching spring grass growth cycle.  Red  does not have a crest and so far shows no sign of Equine Metabolic Disorder.  A greater concern is spring grass lamititis.  Last year during the grass season Red showed some signs of mild lamatic inflamation - tender footed with the tell tale black lines showing in his white line when I trimmed him.  This year I can give him a time out in the round pen if his feet start to become tender.   I may have to turn him out only at night when the frutans in grass decrease.  Red will not appreciate my vigilance.  I can just imagine his grumpy face.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Skywatch #40

Welcome Skywatchers!

One thing I value about Skywatching is how the weekly event encourages me to pay close attention to the environment I see every day.   My relationship with the land and trees is growing as I deepen my awareness and appreciation of the beauty that surrounds me.  Thank you Skywatch.

Visit move lovely skies, gathered from our glorious earth.  Visit Skywatch Friday! 

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Notice anything about these windchimes?  They are perfectly still, hanging quiet in the sun.  There is NO wind.  Finally.  Quickly I collect my garden tools, and fire up the lawn mower.  

There is a serious jungle starting in my front yard.  Weeks of rain, wind, rain and wind, and did I mention bronchitis?  I don't even want to talk about my back yard.  Notice there are no pictures.  Here is a hint - I can find the dogs by looking for the tip of their tails, er, Lena doesn't have a tail, looking for the tip of Stella's tail

Much, much better.  I was even able to do some weeding.  I carry on a campaign to claim my garden from two invasive plants.  One is a mint I planted.  Silly, silly, silly.  Thought it would be nice for tea.  That mint is the T-Rex of the plant world.

Then there is this nasty stuff.  Bind weed.  It is the most insidious, tenacious, evil creature in all of plantdom.  My property was infested with it when I moved in. Green pestilance.  And it has a huge start on me this year.  Not at all good.

When I got to the ranch, the herd was lounging by the gate.  And who should be closet?  Lyra!!
Usually she is the horse farthest from the gate, as in many, many acres away.  Here she is just a few feet.  And LOOK, I call her and . . . 

She turns around and begins to come to me.  Finally!!!!!!  Lyra coming when I call her.  Amazing!

Red was extremely opionionated today, as in "I see no good reason why I should have to go ALL the way down the lane." Then half way we saw the herd of Freshwater deer.  

They seem to know they are welcome and safe.  The horses find them good company and they find what the horses don't eat.

Look at silly Red Horse.  "No Red, deer have NEVER been known to munch down on horses.  Don't worry so!"

Listening to the Wind

The wind has blown without mercy.  All the horses are on edge.  In this picture Red just went on hyper-alert.  His head was down, he was calmly sending me a horsey mind control message, "bucket, bucket, bucket, bucket" and suddenly he looked like something zapped him.  HIS herd was on the move, running.  Without him.  Fully attentive he searched the wind to see if he could learn what was causing the herd to run.