Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Strange phone call....

Last night I listened to voice mail at home. A woman had called looking for a doe kid, aged 6-8 mos, milk and alfalfa fed... to eat.

Furry Husband and I both raised our eyebrows a bit. Generally, dairy goat folks don't sell the females for eating since they are the milk and kid producers.

Furry Husband called the woman back. He told her we didn't have what she was looking for and she might want to contact a Boer goat facility - those are the stocky meat goats. We gave her the name of a local ranch we know raises Boers....

She said she'd eaten an intact male goat and it was awful. I don't doubt it! All that testosterone and stink? Eww.

She was looking for goat meat because she has some sort of digestive issue, and get this, her Dr. told her that she could only eat:

goat meat
Not so odd... I know goats are popular in Hispanic and Middle Eastern countries. I'd heard goat meat popularity is on the rise and we have some goat in our freezer....

buffalo meat

I do love a good buffalo burger...

Here is where it begins to get a little unusual....

turtle meat

I don't know this as fact, but isn't turtle a popular Asian dish?? I've heard of turtle soup.

And more unusual still....

zebra meat

Uh. Where exactly would you FIND zebra meat? I mean c'mon.... seriously? Zebra meat?

camel meat

oh man, my mouth is watering just LOOKING at that hump.... nom, nom, nom

llama meat
I personally don't have a big fondness for llamas, but that doesn't mean they look like good eatin' to me either....

She should really consider finding another Dr. in my humble opinion.

I bet she got our number from the nut milk lady....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chiropractic work...

I had another chiropractic session with Rosso a week ago. Not that I'm looking for a "cure-all" for his bad behavior; at the same time two different DVMs found him very painful over his loin and rump, so I do want to make him comfortable and find the source of his pain.

This chiropractor was SO incredibly COOL! She was incredibly thorough and Rosso - who can be "reactive" and "fizzy" was falling asleep and really relaxed through 99% of her exam and adjustments.

She thought his posture was asymmetrical and he walked asymmetrically behind. She examined him before adjusting him and found that one of his wither bones had been broken... probably from pulling back and flipping over.

His hips were uneven with one side obviously higher than the other side and she thinks he had a stress fracture in his pelvis from racing. She said 80% of race horses have stress fractures there.

As an aside, when he went in for his tooth floating on Friday, he is missing 2 of his upper front teeth which makes him look like a complete gomer. There are 2 tiny tooth nubs there and a large dip in his gums above the tooth nubs.

My vet thinks his 2 front teeth were crushed. Upon further exam, there is a definite line in his upper palate and those ridges we all have on the roof of our mouths?, Rosso's are out of line - like one side of his mouth shifted forward and the other shifted back. That makes her think he broke his upper jaw.

Sure would be interesting if they could tell us their stories doesn't it? He's obviously had an interesting past.

Anyway, the chiropractor suggested some alternative therapies. One was to put 2 strips of duct tape, each strip being 12 - 15 inches long on each side of his rump parallel to each other. She said he would feel the tape as he walked and he would feel his asymmetrical footfalls. This would result in him trying to even out his footsteps.

The second one was that when I work him, he should wear cat collars with bells on his hind fetlocks... again the idea being he would hear the irregularity in his footsteps and take efforts to become symmetrical.

I don't know if those therapies will work or not, but neither one costs me much and it can't hurt him to try it out.

I also had Anthony, the cowboy trainer, stop by the other day. He said in his thick Aussie accent, "I hear you've been having trouble with your horse."

I gave him a shortened version of what's been going on... he offered to come and ride Rosso at my house a few times free of charge. I told him I would pay him because I know he's busy and it's his time... but he won't hear of it. (what a NICE guy!)

He asked why I hadn't called him and y'know it's not that I was afraid to call him but I figure that it's Rosso disrespecting ME and I need to step up and make Rosso see that I am to be respected just like he respects Anthony or Rex or any other trainer or rider more experienced than me.

I will call Anthony to have him come out and ride since I am afraid to ride Rosso at home right now... will be good for both Rosso and me.

It's not that Rosso shies or bucks that bothers me - I can sit those on Sera - I don't like it but I can sit it, remain in balance, correct it and move on. For whatever reason, Rosso can pop me off his back easier than I can pop the top off a beer. It's only happened twice and both times I got right back on and rode him hard - walk, trot, canter... but after those two times, my confidence and trust in him is completely shattered. I stopped riding him without help because I don't need him to think the rider coming off his back is standard operating procedure.

My trainer, Rex, thinks Rosso dumps me so easily because he is narrow and it doesn't take much for narrow horses to step out from under their riders. She has complete faith I'll get through it. I wish I had her faith... in the meantime, Rosso has his duct taped ass, I bought cat collars yesterday and he's to be worked on a long line for a week before being ridden per the chiropractor's orders. I'll give Anthony a call and we'll see where that goes.

Since I have my mare, Sera, to ride and have fun with, I'm on no time line with Rosso.... I have the luxury (tho I dunno if the anxiety he gives me is really a "luxury"?!? heh, heh) to keep Rosso and take my own sweet time with him.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

He's getting old...

Wait. He IS old.

My gelding, Brandon.
He didn't get this shiny this summer - more Cushing's looking... furry and curly and dull coated - and loss of muscle and ribby and compared to this pix when he was in his late 20's he looks OLD.

I bought him when I was 16 and he was 8 yrs old from a nice lady in South Dakota. I still send her a Christmas card each year to let her know how he is. He was born in 1979. I have the flier his owner gave me showing his sire in my file for Brandon - his sire was an Appaloosa that threw 98% color. As you can see, Brandon is a solid, dark bay.... brown with black legs, mane and tail. Not a spot or a speck on him to show he is 1/2 Appaloosa.

His dam was a Quarter Horse...

Brandon has ALWAYS been very stout. Easy keeper. Too heavy. Cresty neck. "This horse needs to lose some weight".... He has lots of bone and huge feet that have always made the horseshoers sweat because they were rock hard which comes from his Appy heritage. People always mistook him for a Morgan or an old fashioned Quarter Horse.

This summer for the first time in his life he was ribby. Even being out on pasture all day and in at night for his beet pulp/Equine Senior mash.

I had our vet pull some blood just to make sure there was nothing obviously wrong.

Brandon with his clod hoppers on... I bought him some Cavello boots for when he's sore. They help him quite a bit.

I mean, he has things wrong - I don't think a horse gets that old without something wrong.
He has high and low ringbone (arthritis) and he has Cushing's disease so he is prone to founder, tho' he hasn't all year (knock on wood)... some days he doesn't get around so well.... more in winter with the hard, frozen ground....and we give him bute (horse aspirin) to help him out. And he has an odd white spot in the corner of his eye that we are pretty sure is cancer - tho' there is no point in taking a scraping cuz that could piss the cancer off and cause it to begin growing. So far, it doesn't bother him and isn't growing rapidly. Best to just leave it alone.

This summer has been good to him. He's gotten around better than he has in a long time, the farrier is shocked to see his feet have improved and how well he's moving around. He's been seen trotting - trotting! - out to pasture and in for his mash at night....

Yesterday I left work early to take Brandon and Rosso over to the vet for tooth floating... the vet rasps down any sharp points on their teeth so they are able to eat better...

Last year, there was a tooth or two we thought might fall out with Brandon, his teeth were wearing down but overall things looked good for his age. I guess I had no idea their teeth could deteriorate so fast.... tho' I suppose a year is a long time and he is 31...
Oh the indignity of having to pose for Christmas pictures!

He lost many teeth and the ones he still has are worn purt near to the gum line...

It gave me a little sharp pain in my heart.

I KNOW he's old... but you get used to a certain level of "old". This hits home that he's old-ER you know?

No more hay for Brandon. He'll get beet pulp mixed with Equine Senior and some rice bran with some trace mineral salt thrown into the mash for his meals from now on. He doesn't have enough tooth to grind up the hay and he'd either colic with impaction or choke trying to get the hay down...

Oh, he's still getting around fine. He is still top dog and keeps Rosso and Sera in line. He is bright eyed and alert - he nickers for his dinner....

He just isn't going to be here forever...

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm still here!

Here we are to see Bob Marley... My custom bumper stickers were a hit. Bob came on stage and I put my sticker on... he noticed you could tell by his facial expression.

Then I think Furry Husband and Sally put their stickers on.... and you could see Bob Marley's face recognize more "fans of Marley otherwise known as Farleys"... then Shonda and Paul put theirs on and Harry put his on... Bob Marley's face sorta lit up as the whole front row morphed into hard core Farleys.

We were all sitting FRONT ROW and CENTER.

So close we could reach out and touch our favorite comedian. It really was a hilarious show... we all laughed until we cried...
Then there was mountain biking... more for Shonda and Paul, the fit, coordinated people. I walked our 3 dogs and had a good time. It was a spectacular day.
Look! We are fit and trim and we eat pudgy people like you for breakfast!
We drove up to Red Feather to see this crazy Buddhist Stupa. Well. The Dali Lama doesn't think it's crazy. He came to bless it and give some speeches a couple years ago but regular folk like us couldn't get there, only the up and up Buddhists.

It's sorta odd cuz it's just right in the middle of the mountains and you wouldn't think there would be this elaborate, shiny temple...

They had these bamboo poles with little bird silhouettes tied on long strings so they'd "fly" - I thought those were purty durn kewl. Those Buddhists.... they do the neatest, most peaceful things!

Then Shonda and Paul left and we were so overcome by sadness we've been in mourning ever since... 'sniffle'

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

House guests....

We have house guests arriving tonight! My best friend from high school, Shonda, and her husband, Paul, are coming... they normally reside in Fairbanks, AK and it is a HUGE deal for them to be in the lower 48.

They'll stay with us through Saturday, then head out to UT for some extreme Moab mountain biking.

We have all sorts of activities planned... one of which is to see Furry Husband's and my favorite comedian, Bob Marley.

How odd is it that he's playing at the Comedy Works in Denver this week? He isn't a cool, black reggae dude but a skinny, dorky, white guy from Maine... complete with Maine accent. He is wicked funny!

Fans of Bob Marley are referred to as a "Farleys". Because I am such a dork, I had bumper stickers made up that say FARLEY.

Our friends Harry and Sally are meeting us the Comedy Works, I'll hand out the bumper stickers to everyone so we can plaster them all over our clothes.

Furry Husband gets a pained look on his face when I tell him of my plans and wonders why I am compelled to do stuff like this.... it looks like it physically hurts him.

My answer?


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


We let the dogs out for one more potty break before bed last night. When they came in, Toe ran to his dog bed in the living room and began chewing on something.

I was in the bathroom... (I'm tellin' ya, everything happens when I'm in the bathroom....)

Furry Husband asked me if I'd given Toe anything to chew on.

No, I hadn't.

Then Furry Husband says, "Can you come here? .... Quick?"

"O.k." and I finish up with washing my face or brushing my teeth ... whatever I was doing in there.

"That's not quick!" he says and there is some urgency to his voice.

I come out of the bathroom and he has Toe's muzzle in his hand. "Look."

I start to look at Toe's mouth thinking I need to fish something out or he's cut himself or something....

"No. Look down."

Lying on Toe's front paws is a big ol' dead vole. It is wet and it's fur is all spikey from being in Toe's mouth and being chewed on.... gross, gross, gross!

I picked it up by the tail, put on my birkenstocks and headed outdoors to toss it in the field. Eww, ewww, ewwww!
Furry Husband got these shots... Toe didn't want to give up his "prize".

That is IT Punkin. That is the last straw! I'm not playin' with you any more. You keep bringing these voles into the yard and you've left me no choice.

Your catnip supply is cut OFF!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I don't know where the time goes...

I keep thinking I need to post every day but somehow the days just get away from me!

This weekend was a busy one... I took Toe to Ft. Lupton, CO for a spaniel hunt test. Of course I called before coming to make sure it was o.k. to bring my dog and for me to come and watch. The chairperson told me as long as my dog was on lead, newbees were welcome.

Toe is a bird dog, an English Cocker Spaniel and I wanted to see his instincts in action.... or if there were any instincts in there. He's never been around game birds. The breeder who sent him to me didn't work him on birds.

The hunt test folks had some extra orange for me and my friend Ann to wear. Did I mention there is a bunch o' orange in the field?

A BUNCH of orange.....

The hunt test committee buys chukar birds raised on a farm, they plant them out in the field and the dog teams go one by one and level by level - there are Junior Hunters who have to find birds, Senior Hunters who find birds and retrieve them and Master Hunters who find birds, retrieve them and are under control at all times - steady to wing and shot.

It was really interesting. And super cool to watch the dogs do the work they were bred for.

Spectators can go out with the hunter and their dog as long as they stay back about 20 feet. There is a woman who leads "the gallery" (the observers), and we all stay clumped together quietly watching the dog and handler work. Every so often, the volunteers and show committee take breaks to plant more birds in the field and the next dogs/handlers head out.

I asked a ton of questions.
Furry Husband has been making noise about getting a shotgun... I see that as an opportunity to investigate training a gun dog. (yeah, I totally see the oddness of this. Me - the saver of baby voles, watching bird hunting. But they aren't babies, they are feathered vs. furry, and most importantly, they aren't in my yard needing assistance. They are dispatched quickly and efficiently by guys like this.)

A very kind woman took the time to introduce Toe to birds... she let him sniff them... he was definitely interested.
She tossed a dead bird maybe 8 feet from us... Toe instantly and without any hesitation ran to the bird, gently picked it up and brought it right back to us. THAT was really cool. The bird dog instinct is just there... I love that.
All the different breeds of dogs were developed specifically for very different tasks and that instinct is still there in our modern day world... how did people do that so long ago? And how cool is that?!
Toe and my friend Ann's dog, Elzie, a Welsh Spaniel.
Lookit Toe with a chukar in his mouf'!

I met people, gathered names and numbers for training and working my little bird dog in the field. AND, I found a woman who could teach me all I ever wanted to know about tracking - I have ALWAYS been interested in tracking... dogs following a scent and using their nose....

I'm all geeked up and ready to go do sum'thin' with my new speckled up!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What a party!

A big, huge thanks to the Divine Ms. K for having her camera cuz I sure didn't!We had a barn party the other night to watch the Las Vegas World Cup finals DVD. It involved LOTS of really good food, beer, wine, fun women and ummmm....

2 or 3 rides in on the DVD, Rex's gas detector went off with it's shrill ear drum shattering alarm. The message on the front read "explosive gas". (yes. there were fart jokes galore.)

The local fire department arrived with 2 flashing trucks. They brought out the sniffers and checked Rex's house.... turns out the place was clean and it was probably a faulty detector.

Better safe than sorry and all that.

But who DOESN'T like lookin' at all them young, buff, firemen in the middle of the night, after throwin' back a few?

No, no - you must come away from the fireman... c'mon now, back in the house with you!

Once the firemen left, our DVD watchin' resumed....

Really. I AM having fun... I swear.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My lesson on Rosso

Turns out my trainer, Rex, has a person who comes out to clean stalls M-W but this person forgets and doesn't show up or begins to clean, says they forgot something, leaves and never comes back to finish or they do a sorta half-way job and the stalls look like crap...

I used to be a regular stall cleaner. You clean stalls twice and you earn a lesson - or she'll pay you $20 cash each time you clean, whichever you'd like. I am a lesson whore and I always, always choose lessons.

These days, I'm the back-up... when one of the regular stall cleaners needs a day off, they call me to see if I can pick it up. I don't mind it at all - it's pleasant enough for me to be around the horses and they are all well behaved and it takes about 1.5 - 2 hrs depending on the weather and condition of the stalls. It helps out with my bank account to earn these "free" lessons.

BUT that said - I really like being the relief pitcher and not being committed to 2 days a week. I used to be a regular stall cleaner and my back just can't take it so much when it's regular work.

I told Rex I'd make her a deal... I could commit to one day of stall cleaning (cuz I knew another stall cleaner wanted to pick up Wednesdays) if Rex could give me some more face time to help me deal with Rosso.

I sort of want my cake and eat it too.

I don't want to give up my regularly scheduled weekly lesson on my mare Sera cuz we are working on 2nd and 3rd level stuff - stuff I've never done before and it is SO cool and fun and fascinating and yet I really do need to get Rosso out of his, "I don't WANNA" phase. Besides that I need to just build my bridge and get over it with him. (cuz quite frankly he has me a little a'feared of him right now)

She said she'd talk to the M-W gal and get back to me and why don't I bring Rosso over on Monday cuz she'd be around.

I took Rosso over today.

Good gravy - my heart was doing little back flips in my chest and my stomach felt funny and I kept giving myself talks.... "oh, c'mon Shanster. You haven't been hurt - it's not like he's bogging his head down and really bucking. You used to get bucked off all the time when you were a kid and you just got right back on.... get in touch with that 14 yr old girl and take your skirt off dammit!"


You can say allllllllllll those things but the lizard brain still reacts to perceived danger... you know that lizard brain? The one that keeps the very core reactions in our bodies going - the instinctual ones - things like how your eyes dilate or the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up when you are scared?

Stoo-pid lizard brain.

I loaded Rosso up - drove to Rex's barn - unloaded him - spent some extra time grooming him and reminding myself of all the GOOD rides I've had on him. All last winter and fall at home and up at Rex's - with her nephews riding their big wheels up and down the alley way - with fuzzy, furry, paint gypsy cobs in the arena with us, and how I rode him up the road twice after he came home from The Cowboy trainer....

I tacked him up and headed into the arena. I lunged him. I asked Rex if it was time to swallow the frog. (yeah, see, if you swallow a frog, can things get any worse in your day???)

I walked him to the middle of the arena. I slapped the stirrups, I hopped up and down in the stirrup, I laid my belly over his back and slapped and smacked and made lots o' noise.... I slowly brought my other leg over and there I sat...... mouth full o' cotton.

Rosso offered to walk forward with his head level, nice and relaxed. No flinging head, no spinning in circles... not one purty hoof outta place. We walked in both directions - easy as pie.

We trotted in both directions - easy as pie.

Rex asked if I wanted to canter. No. Not really. But I told myself I would and I'm up here and I'm gonna swallow the damn frog.

I asked him for canter - it went easy as pie. We turned to go in the other direction.... he took the wrong lead but he went and he was relaxed and was going forward so I took it. Rex asked if I wanted to go again and try for the correct lead but I thought I'd had all the frog I could eat for one day. I walked him, stopped him, let him chill out for a while with me on his back, asked him to walk again... all easy as pie and no fuss, no muss.

More rides like that and I'll get my confidence back and once my mojo is back, I can begin to push the envelope....

I don't talk about Rosso much cuz right now it really doesn't feel so good. I'm skeered of the big red horse.... Not on the ground but it is so unnerving to me that he can just pop me off his back easier than I can pop the top off a beer bottle.

I had a good talk with Rex. I have to trust in the training. I have to let go and let Dressage.

It happened with Sera - my mare. She went through an awful, awful phase as a youngster. Even today I could take her somewhere and she could plant my butt in the dirt if she wanted.... but she doesn't. She knows to go FORWARD. She has been trained and trained and trained. I've been thru countless lessons and clinics. It's because of the work and the training that I believe she will behave in most situations I put her in. The same will come of Rosso.

John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." And that is exactly how I feel.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Warning - adult subject matter

I can have a warped sense of humor.

I wanted to teach our little cattle dog, Bequia, a fun trick when we first brought her home. When I said, "Who's da man?" I wanted her to run over to Furry Husband and jump on him. Funny thing. She happens to be just small enough that when she jumps up on him, her front feet hit him square in 'da nuts.

I found this really amusing.

I honestly didn't plan it that way - it just happened to work out that way.

Bonus for me! Not so much for Furry Husband.

Poor Furry Husband has been putting up with random "Who's da man?" tricks for about 10 yrs while girding his loins.

Today we were out walking and trying to get our cattle dog, Bequia, to play with the new pup, Little Toe. Furry Husband started in with "Git 'im!"

I started in with "Git 'im, Bequia! Git 'im!"

Sometimes she isn't sure exactly what to get but that cattle dog drive kicks in and she MUST "git" something! She came running to me and did the bouncing off my crotch area. Which in itself didn't hurt cuz I don't have testicles.

BUT, she decided to take a strong nip at my pants..... at my soft, baggy yoga pants.... and her strong nip happened to grab a swatch o' my pubic hair along with the pants.

I thought I was going to die.

It happened in only a microsecond but the pain was instant. I thought I'd have a bald patch. Nope. I opened up my pants to look... everything still there.

Furry Husband almost fell down in the middle of our dirt road laughing so hard. Who knew that could happen? Only to me; it's payback time for those 10 years of random nut kacking.

Owie, owie, owie - those paybacks HURT!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mrs. Kravitz and the vole....

Do you remember Mrs. Kravitz? She is our very lovable yet very wacky neighbor who likes to watch the goings on at our house with binoculars and then calls to give us commentary on what she saw.

She'd do anything for you and has a good heart. Yet, she watches us with binoculars and does some pretty wacky things.... fer instance.

I ran down to her place to see if she had one of those gel heating pads that holds heat for several hours when I was saving the baby voles Punkin, our orange tabby cat, kept bringing me.

She was questioning me about why I was trying to save these little rodents that people usually exterminate.

I told her cuz they are just helpless squirming babies; I can't walk away from them and I can't kill them, so I try and "save" them.

She had a more than a few store bought 3.2% Budweisers in her at that point because it was past "beer thirty" at her house. (She can't buy beer from a liquor store - it HAS to be the 3.2% beer from the grocery store - another fun Mrs. Kravitz quirk! shrug. Hey, we all have 'em....)

She looks at me in a funny way and tells me, "You'll have good karma. You are doing a good thing and you will be repaid."

She goes on to say, "Y'know, the BEST thing I ever did in my ENTIRE life was when my sister was dying. I snuck her out of the hospital because it was summer and she wanted to run through the sprinklers one last time. I put her in a wheelchair because she wasn't strong enough to walk, I snuck her out and I pushed her as fast as we could go through the sprinklers. That was the BEST thing I ever did in my WHOLE life."

I looked at Mrs. Kravitz.

I can appreciate her story and I know it was a wonderful thing for her to do. But. Ummmm. She's referencing a baby vole that I'm saving from my cat to her dying sister.

I looked at her and I said, "Mrs. Kravitz, that was your sister. I can honestly tell you that I will NEVER, EVER say the best thing I did in my entire life was to save this baby vole."

She stopped her story. Blinked a few times and we both burst out laughing.

Oh - you just gotta love Mrs. Kravitz!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I had hock injections done on my mare Sera. She was acting really pissy for collected canter work - stuff that shouldn't be difficult for her. Her personality can be a little that way; she's complicated. But when she began to look a little short in her left hind, I had a lameness exam done on her.

The vet picks up her back leg and holds it flexed for a couple minutes - when she puts it down - I trot Sera off with her halter and lead rope away from the vet so the vet can watch her move. I trot Sera back toward the vet and we do it all over again with the other leg.

There was some slight lameness in her left hock.

Next the vet did a back exam - ran a plastic needle cover (think ball point pen cap) from Sera's neck, down her back and over her rump... owie... she was sore over her back. Another indicator that she was compensating for discomfort in her hocks.

We X-ray'd Sera's hocks. There were no significant changes. (SHEW!) No bony growths, no bone spurs, no sign of arthritis. Maybe a teeny bit of narrowing in the middle plates of her hock joints.

We decided to inject.

The vet injects both sides of the joint with a solution that is partially steroidal and partially a compound similar to joint fluid that keeps things lubricated and moving well. Sera was rested for a day after the injections. Then light work for a couple days and back to regular work.

She improved. Her pissiness went away. She seemed smoother when I rode her.

When our vet returned to examine Sera's back and do some laser therapy, the pain in Sera's back was diminished significantly. We did the laser treatment anyway to assist with any lingering discomfort that may have been there and lemme tell ya', it feels wonderful to have my sweet Sera Sue back.

I know most performance and working horses have this procedure at some point but this was my first go 'round with hock injections. I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first - didn't feel good about it at all to tell you the truth. Spent a lot of time thinking it over and talking to veterinarians about it. Now, however, Sera seems so much more comfortable that it's sitting purty good with me.

How about you? Has anyone else out there had hock injections performed on their riding horses? What was the outcome?