Saturday, March 28, 2009

Red's New Fashion Statement

Red was very pleased with his new horse collar.  While he has always presented his nose for the halter, he also has seemed quite relieved when the halter was removed.  One night I came across the horse neck collar while scanning Country Supply.  Thought it would be a nice alternative to heavy, stiff, wet halters in stormy weather.  After 2 1/2 years Red is very consistent about giving to pressure and dealing with being tied.  I believe the collar is a safe option for him.  Boy, what a far cry from 2 1/3 years ago when I would get him from the GP and he pranced circles around me, screaming for his herd.  Sometimes I actually used a stud chain.  Yuck!   Thank you natural horsemanship training methods.  Thank you Red!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Once Upon a Time (about 2 days ago) . . .

. . . Red noticed that his beloved Coal with muching down on something tasty. 
 "Hmmmm, what's that you got Coalie Sweets?"

That Red Horse mosied right over and saw that Coal had the salt lick ALL TO HERSELF. 

Red wanted some, so he just pushed his sweetie right on out of the way.

"Come on Red Horse, share some with me,"  pleaded the beautiful Coal.

"MINE!"  BACK OFF!!!  What a greedy Red Horse.

That Coalie girl spun around and . . . thought she'd try a little flirting to
distract mean Red Horse from the salt.  It IS Spring, afterall.

HAHAHAHA!  It WORKED!  Red forgot all about the salt lick.  But then . . . 

. . . he saw me out of the corner of his eye.  HEY!  Its MOM!  Oh yay, time to eat dinner.  

"I'm ready mom, here I come."

Let's Go.

"HEY! Where you headed to?  I'm over HERE! 
You gotta be kidding me?  Lyra?   You're looking for that silly mare again?
But I'm ready to go eat my dinner NOW!"

No Lyra on the West side of the pasture.

"Sweet Grass, where is Lyra?"

There she is, in the very farthest corner of the pasture.

"Fine, you got her, can we go already?  I'll meet you at the gate."

Skywatch Friday #37

After the Storm

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Neck Thread Worms & Midline Dermatitus

Red looks VEERRRRYYYY pleased with his belly scratch in this video from Summer, 2008.  I really never thought much about the raised, scabby spots along the midline of his belly.  Figured they came from fly bites and were no big deal.  

Well, thanks to Chocomare and her thread on Chronicle of the Horse (COTH) about neck thread worms, I'm thinking Red's summer itchiness may be something pretty significant that demands immediate attention.  Here is the thread - get a cup of coffee or tea and settle in for over 54 pages.  Did I say NECK THREAD WORMS?  EEEUUUUWWWWWWWW!!!  GROSS!!!!  Until a couple of hours ago, I'd never heard of them.  Here is what I've learned so far:

1.  The scientific name for neck thread worms is Onchocerca.  According to Dr. Robert Ogelsby, Onchocerca is a "parasitic filarial worm (nematode)."  The adults live in the connective tissues of horses.  There are four different types of onchocerca - Onchocerca Reticula prefers the suspensory tendon and flexor ligament where it can cause swelling and lameness.   Onchocera Cerviculus hangs out in the ligmentun luchae.   Their larvae, or microfilariae, are ingested by gnats and midges and then spread from horse to horse.

2.  The hores's reactions to these nasties and their larvae can cause havoc ranging from mild irritiaton, scurf, lesions,  swelling, and even unsoundness.  Sometimes the microfilaria migrate into the eye of the horse.  Some believe this is implicated in some forms of uveitis.  While sweet itch is a distinct and separate condition, the midline dermatitus caused by neck thread worms is often misdiagnosed as sweet itch.

3.  Treatment.  Here things get a bit dicey.  Some worming protocols state that regular worming with ivermectin will kill the larvae of neck thread worms and that there is no way to kill the adults.  Blech!  If you check out the COTH thread, you will read about many people finding success with a double (by weight) worming with Equimax, repeated in two weeks.  The Federal Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of ivermectin and praziquantel oral paste for the treatment of dermatitis caused by neck threadworm microfilariae.  However, the COTH thread's suggested dosage was established by antedotal accounts of success treatements.

So for Red?  I just ordered many tubes of Equimax from Country Supply.  If you are interested, here are some additional links so you can research this for yourselves:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Skywatch Friday No. 35

Visit Skywatch to enjoy photos of skies from around the world.

In the Spring, thousands  of daffodils bloom in the pastures of Humboldt County.
How did they get there?  
Fortuna, a local community, even has its own
  daffodil show in March.  

Light a Candle for Arruba of the Night Farm,

Tamara's beloved endurance partner.  He is currently in the hospital being treated for a small intestine impaction.  Surgery is not an option.  Prayer is.  Please light a candle for this talented horse and rider and jingle healing energy to bring him through into full health. 

Sick, Sick, Sick! Got a Cure for Bronchitis?

Gaaaaaaaa!  I'm home sick for day # 5.  I've caught one kick-butt case of bronchitis.  Been to the doctor, started a Z pack, and it is starting to budge this nasty stuff.  Seems like every Spring this crud settles into my lungs.  Any favorite oldy time healing tricks for this nasty bug?  Red and Lyra will sure thank you cuz I've actually been too sick to gather them from the general pasture for their nightly meal. Red is just fine (but you know he is pretty dang miffed).  Lyra was just hovering on the very edge of acceptable weight so this is not good for her.  

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Search for Spring and a Very Close Call

In between the hail, rain, and fog, SPRING is insisting that it is time for growing things 
to wake up and show their stuff.  Daffodils!!!!  Pussy Willows!!!!  New leaf buds, and
 tender shoots of green are shooting up all over Humboldt County.  

All that tender green grass just beyond reach is more than a certain Percheron mare in the general pasture can stand.  Her supersized self just reaches right over the fence and pussssshhhes.  Snap, crackle, pop - there goes another fence board.  Here is one that landed with a daffodil to pillow its fall.  I check the fence line every night on my way home.  

Someone else is trying to figure out how to get out of a fence.  Lyra is still unhappy during the short time she has to stay in her round pen.  She can see her herd and wants no part of being able to eat to her heart's content when she has to do it by herself.

So she sends me pathetic looks clearly begging.  "Mom, pleeeeassasssseeee don't leave
 me in here again!  Wait!  Come on back here!  You forgot to take me with you!!"  

Yesterday Lyra decided to take action on her own behalf.  When I opened the gait and started to push the wheelbarrow in to muck, she charged forward and pushed her way  past me and over the wheelbarrow.  Off she went, headed straight to the general pasture.  Unfortately, her timing perfectly matched a motorcycle roaring up Freshwater Road.  Traffic goes really FAST past the stable.  

As my runaway mare trotted toward her herd, I trotted a long distance after her yelling "LOOSE HORSE, LOOSE HORSE!"  Judy, Kay, Neena, and Emily all helped direct traffic and keep Lyra semi-contained in front of the pasture gate.  All the general pasture horses helped by gathering at the gate and talking calmly to her.  Thanks everyone!!!  We got her safely back in the round pen.  Thanks to the driver of the little silver car who stopped to help.  No thanks to the driver of the blue jeep like vehicle who REFUSED to slow down.  

When it was all over, I counted my new grey hairs and did a training session in our  little round pen.  What was the theme?  Respecting my space in relation to the gate.  What the person driving the blue jeepish vehicle just didn't get was that driver's must slow down or stop as appropriate when approaching a horse or horse drawn veheicle.   She also didn't get that her refusal to slow down could have had lethal consequences.  Tell ya what I DO get - the reasons to be aware and present around horses are many, starting with the need to ensure safety.  If Lyra's break-out ended in tragedy, the negligence would be mine.

I let my attention lapse while I was pushing the wheel barrow through the gate.  I am grateful my new grey hair was the only consequence!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Happy Trails Scary, You Sure Will Be Missed

One of my very favorite blogs is closing down - Scary's West.  This was one of the first blogs I followed faithfully, one of the blogs that got me thinking blogging was a pretty cool thing and a gateway into a worldwide community.  This photo is from the talented photographer and storyteller's blog.  Please stop by for a visit to a special place before it is no longer visible on the world wide web.  Sure will miss this very bright star in our modern Indra's Net.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Skywatch Friday #34

A Day of Wind, Rain, and RAINBOWS!

Perfect for Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Science Experiment?

Oh NO!!!  The general pasture water trough has become absolutely disgusting.  This is not good.
Time to do some major santizing.  Poor Red and Lyra.  Poor GP Herd.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And Just When Winter Seemed to Settle in for Good

Here come the first signs of Spring!

Postscript 3/2
Hmmm, Red seems to have survived the winter rather well.  
His nightly hay and crunchies certainly maintained his weight. 
It's not too early to plan out our "spring grass" strategy to protect Red's hoofs AND his girth.