Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thanks to everyone that gave me this award... The Jumping Percheron, The Many Misadventures, Chasing the Dream, Living a Farmer's Life, and From Bones to Beauty.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Hmm, 7 things about me? I think I've went over this before with the Honest Scrap award, so I'm going to try not to repeat myself.

1. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a bit of a "bad ass" but really I'm just a white girl who grew up in a middle class neighborhood, loved animals, and got good grades.

2. I like to go to punk rock concerts. (See #1)

3. People always think I'm younger than I really am.

4. I don't have kids. (See #3)

5. I love rocks and the metaphysical qualities they have. I can spend hours at rock shows. I got a Herkimer 'diamond' for Christmas, it's so cool!

6. I'm a down-to-earth Taurus with "woo woo" tendencies. (See #5)

7. I really appreciate this blogging community. I love all of the support I've received and the online blogger friends I've made. Writing things down helps me organize it in my head. Plus I like to go back and look at the progress Jasper and I have made. Sometimes it's hard to remember how far you've come until you go back and look at the picture of your horse jumping a 6" crossrail at about 3 feet. And how it took 6 very patient people and horses to get your horse close to the creek he has to cross to get to the competition grounds. I like that there's a place to post my photos, I'm a very visual person and a picture really does say a thousand words.

Here are some blogs I like, and I wanted to acknowledge those who leave awesome comments here. I know I don't always get back to you. Some of you have already gotten this award and written about it. Some are new, some are not. If your blog is listed here, consider yourself tagged. I tag you! Collect your award! Write about yourself!

Mugwump Chronicles
I is Roxie!
The Jumping Percheron
Always there are the Horses
The Many Misadventures
Mountain Music
Chasing the Dream
All Horse Stuff
Cross Country Dreamin'
A Year With Horses
The Equestrian Vagabond
Nina's Story
Living a Farmer's Life
Texas, of ALLLL Places
MiKael's Mania
Bobbie No Socks
Golightly Sport Horses
Adventures with an Ex-Racehorse
The Only Shining Star

And non-horse related but very entertaining:
Hyperbole and a Half (a MUST read)
The Blog of Becky: How Not to Live Your Life (sometimes she blogs about horses, excellent writer and very funny)

And we are hand walking.

I thought I'd use this title in case anyone thought this might actually be an interesting post. HA! On this day, day 2 of rehab, we made 4 loops of the road around the outside of the arena. For the most part we walked, got excited, stopped, backed up, stepped sideways, walked again. On the far end of the arena, on the opposite side, are pastured horses. They saw Jasper coming and ran to the fence. THIS was very exciting to him. Then they proceeded to run down the fence line. It was more than he could take. However, he really only got in big trouble twice. I don't mind a few prancing steps or a few small leaps, but threatening to rear is a big no-no. I gave a few very hard yanks on the rope halter, a smack on the chest, backed him up, and told him to knock it off. The first time didn't seem to have much effect but the second time did. On the last loop he HELD IT TOGETHER the entire length of the arena (in a bug eyed quivering kind of way) while horses galloped, bucked, and snorted up and down the fence line next to him. I was floored. I really thought this was outside the realm of possibilities for this horse.

I think I may have hurt his feelings. He truly wasn't doing it out of defiance. He's been in a stall for 3 weeks. He's the horse that looks for any excuse to run and play, and when he runs he runs hard. Many times he doesn't need an excuse, he'll just be out there running. But he feeds off of other horses, and if there are horses in a pasture 2 fields away that are playing he feels it's his duty to join in. In his own way. I feel bad for him, I wish he could function in a group turnout.

The funny thing was that he THOUGHT about doing naughty things more than he actually did them. We would be walking along (at a brisk pace mind you), and all the sudden he would stop and throw his head in the air. In anticipation. Even though he didn't do anything. I ignored him and kept walking while muttering endearing things like "dopehead" under my breath.

Wow. That was a lot of writing about a 10 minute walk.

Friday, January 21, 2011

And the vet says...

Alexandre & Jasper: "It's cookie time, right? As in NOW, right?"

The vet took Jasper's stitches out on Tuesday and said he's healing well and really fast. She said she was surprised at how good it looks and that she was expecting it to look a lot worse at this point. It looks like he is always going to have a bump there where the muscles pooched out, but it doesn't look like it is in a place that will bother him or rub.

So... phew.

He's stallbound at the moment, but hopefully the BO will be able to make him a little makeshift "run" off his stall this weekend. We're talking 8x8 or 10x10, just enough space he can get outside and to the waterer. It's mostly to help him transition to being outside again without going ballistic. Uh, we'll see. On Monday I can start hand walking him 5-10 minutes a day. I have mental pictures of me flying a kite, my horse floating above me over treetops and in the clouds...

Though I have to give the little guy a lot of credit. He has been a star patient. This is a horse that flinches and acts like you've just beaten him when you pull a scab off or even just a snowball off his fetlock hairs. He requires a soft gooey curry and soft brushes. He can stand in one place for about 10 seconds before moving sideways.

He let me clean out the wound every day. Because it was so deep I had to squirt syringe-fulls of saline solution into it to help it drain and heal. I used warm water and rags to clean around the stitches and wipe up all the drainage, it was not pretty. I used freezing cold water from the hose and a lot of soap to clean up the rest of his leg. He didn't move a muscle. He put his head down and went into a zone and didn't move until I was done. It was amazing.

Alexandre got a lameness exam. He's now on 3-4 months stall rest (4 months because he technically has a small 'run' off his stall), and his new owners got Adequan for him. I think this is awesome. He really, really, really objects to shots so that part could be interesting. He is also on 5-10 minutes of hand walking, although only if he actually walks. If not back into his stall he goes.

I highly recommend Dr. Jackie Anderson. She's excellent.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alexandre has a new family.

One of my favorite pics in Glacier National Park where we led trail rides for a season.

Alexandre officially has a new family today though they've been leasing him since summer. Kerstin, Jens, and their daughter Sharon have won over Alexandre's heart with love, cookies, and trail rides. I was initially not sure how a lease situation would work out since I'm pretty much the only one that's ridden him (with some exceptions- thank you Karlin and a few others) in the past 11 years and he is VERY particular about which humans are allowed in his space. Very, very particular.

We decided to give at a try and throughout the summer Alexandre went on a trail ride almost every day, sometimes two. They rode him. Friends and relatives from Germany showed up and rode him. Exchange students rode him. Everyone loved him, but how could you not? He is gorgeous and huge and impressive and has good manners. He has 11 years of semi-professional-ish training. He loves trail rides and walks along on a loose rein, interested in his surroundings and happy to be alive.

About mid-summer they asked if I would sell him and my immediate answer was "no." I didn't even hesitate. Too many memories, too many hurdles hurdled, too much trust build up between us. Too many horror stories of horses ending up in bad situations after they're sold. Even though it was a perfect situation for my 18-year-old guy. Even though I didn't have time for him and he is waaaaaaaay too good of a horse to be retired in a pasture somewhere. Even though he would be staying at the same barn as Jasper and I could still see him everyday and could take him out on a ride every now and then.

Then one day they pulled up and as they were getting out of the car he nickered to them. He doesn't really nicker, but makes a "huh huh huh huh huh" sound like a Harley motorcycle starting up. He was theirs already. We talked logistics and they wanted to continue to ride him and would then eventually retire him. They are in the process of buying a house practically next to the barn with 20 acres that can be fenced. They are willing to make payments on him even though he pulled a tendon and is on 3 months stall rest.

So. It was not an easy decision. I battled with it for a long time, but he is going to an awesome, loving family and it really is the perfect situation for him. There is a right of first refusal in the contract, so if anything goes awry he will come back to me. Man, it is hard to give up that last little bit of control though. Lots of big life changes for me lately. I'm glad this is a positive one even if it's brought a few tears. So here's to his new official family, congratulations on being Alexandre's new caretakers. He is truly an amazing horse and I know he will continue to bring you joy and many, many memories.

More about Alexandre

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mindy Lou, April 28, 1984- Jan. 8, 2011

Jet's Paradox (Mindy Lou) & me at WSU in the early 90's.

At age 26 and after 25 years together, Mindy was put to sleep last night. She laid down and didn't want to get back up. Her legs were arthritic and she was tired. Pam, Chuck, Jackie, Bridgitt, Anke and I surrounded her with love and let her go.


A wise old soul with a huge heart. You raised 2 little girls and helped us become who we are today, while touching so many others along the way. My life was changed forever the day I saw you standing in the pen with your big eyes and the bottom of your tail chewed off. We made it through junior high, high school, and college together, I don't think I could have made it through college without our midnight bareback rides through the fields while I told you of some tragedy or another, usually about boys. I'm glad you're in a place where there's no pain. I look forward to seeing you again when we can gallop down dirt roads so fast tears blur my vision and the pounding of your hooves matches the rhythm of my racing heart.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Look Ma, Four Legs

...have weight on them. Pain meds please.

WARNING: graphic picture below.

The white stuff is just Neosporin. It's draining really, really well.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

At what point?

At what point do people just not want to hear anymore? I know everyone has their limits to how much "stuff" they can handle from someone else. In some ways I feel like I should just start keeping everything to myself, and in other ways it seems to help to be able to talk about it. So I don't know. It's not about sympathy, it's not even 'poor me', it's like things build up to a critical mass and something has to give. I'm lucky to have some friends that don't seem to be too overwhelmed by me right now and are pretty much willing to talk whenever. A lot of the time it's not even talking about my dad, who had a massive stroke the day after Thanksgiving, but just talking. It's good to sit and listen to someone else's day. It really seems to be the only thing that can get my mind off of things.

My old girl, Mindy Lou, is 26. She was my first horse and I got her when I was 13 and she was a yearling. I wrote a tribute to her here. This winter has been hard on her, and she had a bad night on the 23rd where she laid down for too long and her body temp dropped to 94. It's supposed to be 100. Her back legs weren't working very well. The vet said it's up to her to stand up before morning. With an electric blanket and comforters and blankets from Pam's house her body temp got back up to normal and she stood up on her own a little after midnight. She seems to be doing OK, kind of back to just being an old horse, although is going to be in a stall with hand walking until the temperatures warm up. I remember when I was overseas and couldn't sleep I would think about showing Mindy to relax. That point in a class where you've scoped out all the competition in your peripheral vision and KNOW you've won the class. And know that your horse won't take a wrong step, will go through all the puddles, and will do a halt to canter transition if need be. Made even sweeter by the fact that your dad, who knew nothing about horses, got up at 4:30 every horse show morning and hooked up the old orange truck to the 1968 green 2-horse to get you there. And carried water buckets. And mom would show up to "help" although her version of holding a horse was following it around letting it eat hay from hay bags tied to other people's trailers. And that you trained your own horse through a lot of trial and error, and often placed higher than the trainer you took lessons from.

Poor Alexandre had 30 days of stall rest because he was off on his left hind. After 30 days he was let back out into his paddock and re-injured it. It looks like he's back in a stall for but for 3 months this time. Luckily the people that are buying him are caring, patient souls.

Jasper's stall and paddock look like Armageddon. There are bloodsickles everywhere. The stretch of white vinyl fencing is dripping with frozen blood, there's blood on the electric fence, there's blood on the walls and floor of his stall and in his feeder. A LOT of blood. There was not a scratch on him. No dried blood in his nose or cuts in his mouth. He had to have sneezed it out due to the spray patterns on the fence. Hopefully it was just a bloody nose. He was not appear to be in any distress at all. Bright eyed, eating, drinking, playing, and doing his normal running and bucking up and down the fence line when people took their horses into the arena that shares a fence line with his paddock. (The other boarders realllllllllly like that).

Today he really and mysteriously injured himself. He has a huge gouge in his right front arm pit. The vet was able to stick her whole hand up in it. She had to suture muscle and skin. His whole shoulder shakes. He's not putting any weight on it. He rears back, loads his hind end, and hops forward on his good front leg. He's locked in his stall, and I'm going out in the morning to see if he's putting weight on it. If not we'll do x-rays to see if there's a fracture. The problem is that the high today was 17 degrees and the x-ray machine's readout screen doesn't work in these temps. If there is a fracture it would be his Humerus, which is a major weight bearing bone in his leg/shoulder. There wouldn't be anything we could do.

I don't know. It seems like this would be enough, without stuff like my source of income ending sooner than I thought, or my (practically new metal) roof leaking, or the fact I hit a deer with my dad's car and knocked one of the mirrors off. Or the fact that school is starting tomorrow morning. Don't get me wrong, I know I have a lot to be grateful for, it's just that I'm feeling kind of numb at the moment.

And I think I may erase this pretty soon after I put it up.

I haven't been doing a lot of riding lately, but took Jasper out for our first walk in the snow yesterday. He loved it.