Windham, New Hampshire
Best Dog In The Whole World
Sasha The Snow Dog 1990 - February 19, 2004
On Thursday, June 26th the bad news I have been expecting became official. He has been off his feed since early April even though there were others signs that appeared around November. The vet said she could feel the tumor in his abdomen and when I look at him while he's standing I think I can see the bulge on his right side. It spreads all the way across, right to left, but it's worse on the right. This is the fourth vet that has seen him since November. I'm sorry I found her so late in the process.
I force feed him with ground up food and chicken broth in the morning so he can get his medications. He's off the Trilostane for his Cushing's disease in an attempt to bring his appetite back. He still likes treats, those Pedigree Marrow Bones and any of the biscuits made by the Blue Buffalo Company in CT. So, he's getting enough nutrition for now and I'm just keeping him comfortable until it's time to let him go.
The vet and I agree he doesn't look like he's ready to give up. His attitude is still good, he likes to go for his walks, though not as far as before and he still wants his tummy rubbed. As long as I can get some food down him (and it doesn't come right back up) we are good to go for as long as he wants to stay around.
August 31st ... guess what... The Urinator is still going, going, going. He has decided he likes Backyard Burgers (NOT McDonalds) those mini bacon beggin' stipes and those other treats that look like mini steaks on the front of the package.
I fed him with a syringe for nearly two months and he hated it but now that he's in a phase where he has things he likes to eat (and he DOES like a treat one week and not want to touch it the next so I am always on the lookout for something new and yummy) I have cut back on the force feeds. His attitude is really pretty good, he comes into the living room to socialize at night, he still goes for walks and even jumps into the back of the station wagon on his own (most of the time)
He is a real trooper. I almost gave up on him two weeks ago .. I'm glad I didn't and he has rallied and seems to be doing okay right now. But that tumor ... good grief, when he lies on his side by the bed you can feel the mound of hard matter just under his skin below his rib cage. It stick up about an inch and is getting bigger every week. It is just frightening. I admire his courage and will to live and I hope to God I make the right decision at the right time for him.
December 23 ... yesterday was bad day. I had spent part of the afternoon re-arranging furniture and putting up a new portable clothes rack for Dad. He "decided" to lean on the one he had Friday morning about 4 AM and bent it in half. At 7AM, he finished destroying it. It's just too flimsy to support his weight, but he just doesn't understand, won't every understand, and I might as well save my breath than explain it to him. So Monday morning I take them to respite care, head over to BBBY and spend the afternoon re-arranging furniture and assembling his new clothes rack. At 5, I'm just bummed. The directions are missing key information, I have a 20 minute drive to pick them up and Chance has only eaten once today. I'm in a major hurry and lead him into the hallway for his feeding. The footing isn't good for him on the linoleum but if I take him outside it's harder to clean up the food that he spits out. He can't get his footing and slips. He's spread eagled on the floor and can't get up, so I roll him on his side and let him catch his breath then stand him up. Down he goes again. He's miserable. He hates the plunger. He goes into a little panic attack, breathing hard and blood starts to drip out his right nostril. I'm now going to be late to pick up Mom and Dad so I dab at his nose with a towel, set him in the office. kick P.T, who's barking like a madman by now outside, and close the half door. I don't even know if he'll be alive when I get back. I just pray that he will be and that his nose stops bleeding.
I don't know how this could get anymore pathetic.
I made the appointment for Friday at 10 AM. I hope I don't back out again. But I want to. I look at him and see him sleeping soundly and comfortably tonight and wonder if Friday is too soon? As miserable as he is some of the time, he still wags his tail at me. He still likes to greet people on the path when we go on our now very, very short walks in the park and he still likes his milk bones. I am all over the place on this one. I just want to wake up one day and have him be well again. I don't want to make life and death decisions. There's a 50/50 chance I'll be wrong.
Jan. 19, I took him in that day and then I took him home. No really bad days since the 23rd. He's taking Tramadol at night so that he sleeps better. He still doesn't seem like he's in pain. So, we go on.
The Sweetest Dog In Heaven
Jan, 29, 2009. That's what the vet said after she put him to sleep.
Thank you Tamme and Le Ann for your generosity and understanding.
He won't be forgotten.
P.T. "INTERVENTION" Rescue
This cute, pain in the patoot dog was found at a rent house in March of 2006. He had demodetic mange that had caused hair loss over most of his chest, face, legs and sides. He had scratched his shoulders bloody and his eyes were swollen shut with pus. He weighed 25 pounds. Within three months he had gained 25 pounds and now weighs over 55. Thanks Karen O. for all your help with him.
ADVENTURES With MR. ED February & March
Mr. Ed ..... gentle, kind, patient, senior citizen chestnut QH gelding is the lesson horse at Carma Farms. Did I say he was patient? He'll need it to put up with me. On the drive into the farm, what I noticed right away were all the big paddocks on either side of the entrance. I like that set up. They are very nice sized .. from 1/2 acre to several acres in size and allow the horses to be separated into smaller groups. There aren't enough trees in some paddocks where I'd like to see some more shade and I didn't see any fresh water ponds or streams, but I'll watch through the summer to see how they handle that. Yes, there are water troughs in each pasture.
LOOKING OUT TOWARDS ED'S PASTURE
FIRST LESSON - 2/05/08
My first meeting with Mr. Ed ... they had him waiting in the barn for me. You could tell he's been a lesson horse for a long time. He greeted me with a sleepy, indifferent, sideways glance wondering, probably, if I was going to be one in a long line of riders that kicked him at the wrong times, yanked on his mouth and in general bounced around the ring while he did his best to make me look good and then ran off and forgot about him.
He was right. Mostly. Well, except for the last part.
Let me tell you that even though he's only 14.2 or so, I had trouble lifting the saddle onto his back .. I had forgotten how to get the bridle on properly, I tried to put it under his chin, in his nose geez and my form was terrible... heels up, leaning forward, never looking where I was going, fixated on a pair of pointy, fuzzy ears in front of me, and gosh .. how to hold the reins, keep them even, hands low close to his neck ..... try not to kick him, jerk his mouth or fall off. So far I'm two for three. So far. I mean I haven't fallen off yet. When I do, I'll be three for three and Ed will have a nice horsey laugh.
Thank heavens the old guy has the slowest jog EVER. It's actually comfortable. Teacher didn't know he could jog that slow. LOL He was having pity on me, I just know it. It's so slow one time he was jogging with the front legs while walking with the back legs.
Did I tell you about the apples, the mints, the mash that I got from a Canter fundraiser? No, but I will. I bring them for him every time. I am a suck up.
YES ...a better picture is on the way, I promise!
SECOND LESSON - 2/12/08
Walked with Angie out to the pasture to get him. She did all the work. Not that getting Ed is work. He mostly just stands there and waits for you.
No mounting block this time just a firm hand on the butt from my teacher to get me lifted the extra inch or two I need to get into the saddle. Can you say glamorous?
Circles, slow jog, no cheating on the corners Ed! Walk, circles slow jog, figure eights. He speeds up and I jerk on the reins to get him to slow back down. Why did he speed up .. oh, my toes are pointed towards his sides and they are digging into him and I don't even know it. I kick, he speeds up, I jerk on the reins to get him to slow down. After we've done that about 5 times, when I actually ask him for fast trot uh uh .. he ain't gonna'. He might be a horse, but he ain't stupid. I think he'd rather be kicked in the side than have his mouth jerked on again. Besides, crazy newbie doesn't know what she wants anyway. Hey Ed! You're right!
Today he licked his bucket of mash clean .. licked the sides, too. Well, he grabs the sides with his teeth and sucks the mash off. He forgave me for the foot in the side and the pulling on his mouth and the death grip and the endless circles.
THIRD LESSON - 2/18/08
He was waiting for me in a stall so no trip out to the pasture. I think they brought him in early because of all the rain and wind.. He came right up to the stall door like he wanted to get out of that box and quick! He's a pasture horse. No big wooden crates with a bar on the door for Mr. Ed.
Started to canter today on the wrong lead. My first time getting him to canter. Wow, was that uncomfortable. I'm also learning NOT to have the death grip on the reins. Mr. Ed shook his head a lot during the lesson. I'm sure it was cantering on the wrong lead that got me tensed up and my hands were like vise grips at times.
I learned one other thing: do not ride a horse going any faster than a jog unless you're wearing a running or exercise bra.
Still getting the old hand on the butt from teacher so I can get on the horse without pulling the saddle off. It's still glamorous.
Mr. Ed and his owner, Carmen of Carma Farms:
FOURTH LESSON - 3/03/08
Went with Kendra out to the pasture to bring him in. I had the halter and walked up to first horse I saw with a big, white blaze. It was the wrong horse. Kendra is looking at me like I'm an idiot and even worse, so is Mr. Ed.
Daybreak and the other horse nibbled at his butt the whole way across the pasture and over to the gate. Mr. Ed was really annoyed with them. Kick 'em in the teeth Ed for laughing at you and the newbie. Now I know why you walk beside a horse and NOT in front.
Lots of horses in the barn today being exercised. Had to have Mr. Ed sideways today so his butt was pointing towards Tia in the stall across the way. She was trying to "help" groom his tail. Well, not really helping .. just trying to pull his tail hairs. She's a funny horse. Tell you about that later. I didn't know she was bugging him ... I guess I just hadn't realized that she was there, so as she pulled on his tail hairs, Mr. Ed was trying to nibble on me to tell me she was pissin' him off! It took me awhile to figure it out .. he had never done that before (the nibblin' part) and he hasn't done it since.
Speaking of sense ... I need some.
Cleaning out his left front, I noticed an odd smell. Kendra said he might have stepped in something. I have my doubts.
First anti-slaughter discussion with the owner and trainer. It's amazing how horse people are completely clueless as to the truth about slaughter much less any facts about over breeding and the role the breed registries have played in the mind boggling increase in the horse population during the past ten years.
CINDY .. the OTHER LESSON HORSE. GETS UP CLOSE!
FIFTH LESSON - 3/11/08
Went out to the pasture to get him by myself! How's dat for progress? Right horse this time but the halter fell off before I could get it buckled properly. I got one of those sideways glances from Mr. Ed which seemed to just ooze disappointment in me and my lack of horsemanship. I know he's doing his best to teach me. I apologized for embarrassing him in front of his frenz. Again.
Today, no mounting block and no hand on the butt. Poor Mr. Ed thought I wanted him to walk sideways. Dressage, anyone? LOL No, Mr. Ed, I was just trying to get on. Thank you for not stepping on me or laying down on your left side with me underneath you.
Well, yes, I got up .. it wasn't pretty .. but I got there. Speaking of not pretty, you should see some of my dismounts. I loved the one where my vest got caught on the saddle horn. I'm just glad it wasn't my shirt.
I noticed the same odor on his left front again. I mentioned it to Angie. She said with all the rain they've been having, it's probably a bit of thrush. She didn't seem worried. She thinks it will just go away on its own once the we start having less rain. hmmm
I LOOK A LITTLE SIMPLE MINDED BUT ED LOOKS GOOD!
SIXTH LESSON - 3/20/08
Hey hey .. a little variety in today's lesson. We all went down the path to a different pasture for a lesson in the big, outdoor ring. He was full of himself the whole time. As soon as he figured out that I actually meant for him to leave the small ring he just became a different horse. He didn't want to be last in line, either and told me so, repeatedly. I bent both thumbnails backward (must have been the death grip on the rains that didn't help any) this time.
We went in LOTS of circle today. He thought it over some. I'm not sure if we ended up seeing eye to eye or not.
"Did you tell him to do that?" says Angie.
"Kinda ..." is my reply.
He got lots of exercise that day and MOST of it WAS his idea. I'm not telling Angie.
VOW to SELF: Wear running bra for the next lesson.
I noticed the odor on his right front as well.
PEPPER - GOT A POCKET? HE WOULD CRAWL IN AND BE SO HAPPY.
ADVENTURES With MR. ED April & May
SEVENTH LESSON - 4/3/08
Much better today except I'm letting Ed get away with too much. I know when he wants to go and if I'm okay with it, I let him go.
"Did you tell him to do that?" says Angie.
"Well, I didn't say yes, but I didn't say no, either" is my reply.
One other thing I learned. A fast trot puts you into a fast canter. I don't think I've been on a horse going that fast in years and years. Decades and decades is more like it. Maybe ever.
Finally got the stirrups the right length so that my legs don't tense up as much while riding. A funny result of getting the stirrups the right length is not having as much leverage while trying to dismount. I mean, I straighten my leg to push off the left stirrup and my butt only gets about an inch or two from the saddle and my right leg goes NOWHERE. Uh, now I'm stuck! I can't get off the old way. What the hell do I do? Carmen is asking me what's wrong as she sees the funny look on my face.. Well, I have to find some other way to dismount ...I know, I'll just yell "WHOA!" and throw myself sideways.
ED GOT A BATH TODAY!
TO CANTER PROPERLY THE CARMA FARMS WAY:
1) relax legs
2) sit back in the saddle
3) look where ya' want to go
4) kick softly with inside leg
7) lift up with inside rein to encourage the correct lead while keeping reins parallel.
8) What happened to 6? oh yeh, relax the hands, relax the elbows, sit up straight. Relax.
I spoke to Ed's owner about the foot odor. We treated him with a spray that was half water, half bleach before the lesson. After the lesson and his rinse off, I treated him again before I took him out to the pasture. I bet that will be his last treatment until I go back. :((
As I was walking back through the barn I noticed Mr. Gallant that Angie had been riding during the lesson was moving side to side. I guess that's what they call weaving and I can see how that would be very stressful on a horse's joints. Poor guy. I gave him the last carrot. It looks so odd. I suppose Angie knows about it, but I'm such a pest I need to ask her about it next week.
EIGHTH LESSON - 4/08/08
Ed was ready to go again! I do mean go. Anytime I made sure I was back in the saddle or relaxed my legs in preparation for canter, he would take off. Next time I will spend the first part of the hour getting his attention and waiting for his cues. Even though I'm fine with the canter and his anticipation ... he also is half leased by a nine year old and I have to make sure he behaves for me so he'll behave for her, too.
There are two super friendly TWH that have been moved into his pasture so he is sharing it with two other horses. The gray/white mare (sorry pal, I see that you're NOT a mare) is the first to come up to you though he is more shy. Figure that one out. The dark bay gelding is right in your pocket. He'll take treats from my hand but the gray mare (gelding) doesn't seem to know what they are so Tuesday I picked a handful of fresh grass from the trail on the other side of the fence. That was what she (he) wanted. Human is a little slow but eventually catches on.
I treated Ed's feet for the thrush again. I hope to go back out Friday not to ride, but for a grooming session and esp, to take care of his feet. I know he's NOT getting the treatments everyday, so I hope what I can do a few days a week will be enough. We are having LOTS of rain.
I did go out on Friday to treat his feet ... also not paying attention I put my foot where his was in the process of going. I could feel him move his hoof across the top of my foot ... pressure, but not unpleasant. Good boy .. didn't step on me!
It's April 23 and almost two weeks since I've been out there. I've had so many things to do here plus two or three days lost dealing with migraines. Ugh.
I called and spoke to Pat (the owner) and told him I'd like to come out tomorrow morning and fuss over Ed for awhile. I especially want to treat his feet ... we've had lots more rain and that's not going to help him if he's got thrush. I miss the old guy. I'm sure he's forgotten all about me, but I want to check on him as well as Salt, Pepper and Cyndy. I'm afraid one day I'll go and they won't be there.
APRIL 24, 2008
Was today a breakthrough of sorts? Or was Mr. Ed just looking for treats .... only he knows for sure.
Today was the first day he actually came up to greet me in the pasture. Of course Salt and Pepper are in your pocket as soon as they see you. I can't crawl between the fence rails anymore as one of them will step on me or at the very least I get horsey drool on the back of my shirt. I have to enter the pasture through the gate. Now Mr. Ed never, ever walked away when he saw me even though he knew it was lesson time. He always waited patiently while I put the halter on, or dropped it or got it backwards or inside out .. whatever. He would just sigh and stand still. .. (I have noticed he is a bit of a loner even with the other horses) but never came right up to me until today. Well, if he does it next time, too, we'll have a trend.
Another thing happened today that was cute/interesting. I had to take him out of the barn and tie him up to a tree for his mash .. (the stallion who is ALWAYS in his stall, poor guy) was raising a fuss so I took Ed outside for his mash. I'm holding the bowl for him (why don't I put it on the ground, well, it's not that heavy and he could tump it over, so I hold it up for him to eat.) And he looks at me. His left eye gets a really soft expression and he just stares at me the whole time while he's eating. Ed, are you making goo-goo eyes at me? aww shucks
"Camen talked about me half leasing him and I might do that after I take a few more lessons. I'm not ready to be on my own, yet."
So .. there you have it.
NINTH LESSON - 4/29/08
I was tired but went out today anyway. The pastures look so nice and green but the flies are horrible already. I'm going to ask Joe at TB friends to say what he uses for fly spray. Not that I'm tight with Joe or anything, but I think he said once his concoction actually works for about thirty minutes. What they have at the farm works for about 15 seconds so anything would be an improvement.
Heck, just to be able to brush the horses without all that foot stomping would be helpful.
I really soaked Ed's feet today. I took a plastic container, about the size of a shoe box and put the half bleach/half water solution in it and actually got him to leave each foot in it for a few minutes. We did much better on the left than the right .. on his left front foot I rubbed his leg and that seemed to calm him. He really didn't like stepping in the container. I know he thought he was messing up and he was not trying to be difficult. I know how he was when my foot and his came into contact ... he immediately put his foot somewhere else.
I'm going back early next week to do the smell test and see if it helped. I also got a reco on some spray that is supposed to knock it right out. Luckily the frog and the bottom part of his feet look fine. I do think he needs a trim, though as there is some chipping/uneveness around the edge of his right front. He also has some cracking in the back hooves for which he is getting supplements. Carmen says they are better but I just can't tell.
As for riding .. we did better today. He still has a habit of taking off when I try to adjust my posture in preparation for a canter. I guess he has that figured out already. It's not his fault .. it's mine. I mean .. Ed .. we must follow procedures or Angie won't let me graduate.
One of the ladies that owns and still rides her 28 year old horse (who looks great by the way) was asked to go riding with a few others who board out there. So it came up in conversation about a controlled canter vs an out-of-control one. Looks like I'm not the only one out there who's not THE BOSS all the time. LOL It made me feel a little better but still need to work on many things. I would like, someday. to feel confident enough to ride a horse besides Mr. Ed. Right now I'm just not at that point.
Now Pepper was kind of a twit yesterday in a cute way. He decided that he would see how many times he could pull the velcro straps off my gloves .. he stole a bit of fresh grass that I had picked for Salt right out of Salt's mouth ... (Salt won't eat apples, (can you imagine ???) but I'm working on that!) and he tried to sneak out of the gate as I let Mr. Ed in and out. He really would love to be somebody's best buddy ... I don't think the owner ever comes out there and I've heard that both he and Salt are for sale.
Oh ... almost forgot!! I've told you that Salt and Pepper see you coming and take a bead on you .. hugging the fence line until you can squeeze yourself through the gate. Mr. Ed has been nonchalant. Well, yesterday, I got about 25 feet away and he stopped eating and started his way over to me. That's two in a row. .. I guess he knows me for sure now (maybe to him I'm the Apple Lady???)
I also told him at the beginning of the lesson...
"Now, Ed, you have to start paying better attention to me or we'll never get back out on those trails."
Angie (the trainer) just looks at me like I'm an idiot. It's the same look she gives me when I tell Ed to "Stay!" Instead of "Whoa!"
Well, I don't know if it worked or not, but he didn't take off on me AS MUCH as he has in the past. I know he's a trail horse .. he really wants to get out of that darn ring!
WHERE DO I RATE IN THE SCHEME OF THINGS AT CARMA FARMS?
Somewhere ABOVE spring grass, but way below fresh clover
MAY 07, 2008
Today I went out to the farm so see Mr. Ed. I wanted to check his feet in the hopes that the soaking in the bleach/water solution had helped any. I didn't have much time this morning to tarry, so be with the horses for a bit, and then get back home. The first thing I noticed was that they (Ed, Salt and Pepper) are all standing together in the field just munching away. This time, not only does Mr. Ed not walk over, but even Pepper ignores me until I get close. Salt, bless his little heart, does look up and wander a few feet in my direction. Thank you Salt! So, I look closer at where they are standing. They are in the middle of a patch of clover and they are neatly snipping all the fresh clover blooms off one by one as fast as they can. Somehow I know if I take Mr. Ed away from this little bit of heaven that he's standing in, I'll have to make it up to him.
Ed was happy to get going once I had the halter on. Pepper tried to sneak out of the gate and Cindy had her head hanging over the fence from he pasture looking at that patch of clover.
I washed his feet off with the hose .. (got a new appreciation with what the farrier has to put up with during fly season)... and let his front feet dry before spraying with the bleach. They still smell. I ordered some Hooflex, reco'd by an FOB, and it should be here early next week. Mr. Ed does need a trim .. he's got some cracking on his right front that the farrier should be able to even up in no time at all.
So, what was special about today? After I took Ed back to the pasture, he just hung out by the gate and watched me walk back through the front pasture to the barn. He never does that .. usually as soon as I get the halter off, he hangs out a bit to see if there are any more treats, then moves off. He seemed to want some attention this time so I stayed a bit with him in the pasture, but had to get back home so I left.
Maybe he was puzzled that we didn't have a lesson today .. I don't know .. but he did stand there and watch me. That made up for ignoring me when I came to get him. Like I said, I'm somewhere above fresh green grass, but way below new clover.
P.S. I got Salt to eat carrots today ... YAY! I gave him a small piece of apple and he did chew it up (took his time) and swallowed it. When I tried to give him some more, he ducked his head and turned away. But carrots might be the ticket. He took part of one, and then another and another.
You should have seen the expression on Pepper's face when I took a bite out of the piece of apple before handing it to him. LOL
May 12th, 2008 Just Visiting ....
Going out to see Mr. Ed today and take care of his feet. No time to ride. I'll go back on Thursday for the lesson. The first thing I notice is that Mr. Ed is up close to the fence, right by the pasture that Cindy is in. The next thing I notice is that Pepper and Salt are gone! Evidently some older folks own them and they just boarded at Carma for the winter and have gone back home. I wish them well. I'll miss them.
So today Ed sees me and saunters my way. I guess the clover is ALL gone? LOL
We head through Cindy's pasture up to the barn. He likes to stop for a drink at her water trough. Maybe it tastes better? It seems to be pretty fresh. Not much growing in the bottom. Today the stallion is in his stall .... snorting and making noises, so I just take Ed through and wash off his feet with the hose and take him back through for grooming, to spray his feet and for treats. No riding today and I'm low on mash, so carrots and apples have to satisfy.
His feet still smell and I'm waiting for the thrush remedy to be delivered but in the meantime, I spray his fronts with the bleach/water solution. He's such a good boy he never complains. I wonder if it stings?
So he gets his apples, carrots and then back to his pasture with the usual stop at Cindy's water trough. Not a bad job if you can get it, eh?
May 15th, 2008 TENTH LESSON
Well, this was fun ... I got to ride with no reins and my eyes closed for part of the lesson. What a totally different feeling that is! Mostly at a slow jog, though. With my arms out to the side I felt like I was on a boat going from side to side. At least the dirt in the ring is Soft and Deep!
Next week I get to do a posting trot, no reins and my eyes closed. Well, alrighty then. Where's that helmet? Full body armor, anyone? I'm going to make sure my life insurance is paid up and medical insurance, too. LOL
May 27th, 2008 ELEVENTH LESSON
Bless his heart .. he was up by the fence line (hanging out with Cindy since Pep and Salt went back home, and Music gets put up during the day because of the heat, he and Cyndi are all alone in their respective pastures most of the time.) So he sees me coming through Cyndi's pasture .. he just watches but when I get close he starts to amble along the fence line and only stops once to munch a little and almost gets to the gate before I do. Let me tell you this is BIG! Ed has seen a LOT of people in his day so while he's very agreeable, he doesn't always come over to say "Hi" and get right up in your face like Salt and Pep did.
But, bless his heart again .. when I got close to him I saw he had terrible fly bites on his girth ??? right behind each elbow. Can you say ouch .. and little drops of blood in places on his legs where the flies had gotten him. I was so alarmed so as soon as I got him up to the ring I showed him to Pat .. who said I could just give him a bath if I had time when the lesson was done. Well, okay ... I can do that.
As soon as I got him tied in the barn, I wet down the bites with some cool water. I have no idea if cortisol or something like that would soothe the sting, but I'm going to try to find out before I go back.
I put the saddle on him VERY carefully ... as I tried to tighten up the cinch, I got the head turn and the look from him. First time that had happened. Now, he tried to nip Kendra once when she tightened the cinch, but he's never done that to me. I bet it was the fly bites .. so I just walked him to the ring .. tightened the cinch a little more and got on.
YES I GOT ON! No hand on the butt, no one holding the reins, ED didn't do the dosie do. I just got on BY MYSELF. I just amaze myself sometimes! LOL
Today no riding with eyes closed today. We went down to the big ring (where they'll have a little horse show on Saturday .... maybe Ed and I should enter??? the walk, trot class? Who knows? We might get a ribbon for showing up?? That would be the only way we'd get one LOL)
Walk down to the big ring and Ed really doesn't like to be second in line But, today he was much better than that nail bender of a few months ago when he was an absolute PITA.
Angie says he used to be a barrel horse so the only real problem we had today was going clockwise in the ring and Ed could see the gate on the other end. He had a tendency to hurry up when he sees the gate so maybe he reliving his barrel racing days? Well not with me LOL
Today I did learn something. Angie has been trying to get me to do the half halt when Ed starts to speed up but instead, I start flapping the reins and pulling back on this mouth and instead of slowing down, I just tick him off until he just stops fighting me and slows down. So today, I realized that it's just like applying the brakes on a ten speed. It's ALL from the wrist down .. close up the fingers and release. I tried it. IT WORKED ... DANG!
Now it doesn't work everytime, but it got him to stop with out any shouting or pulling on his mouth more than once. Well, never too old to learn, I guess. Yeh, I'm talking about me.
After lesson (and by the way you could drive a truck through the space between the cinch and his belly) he got carrots and a bath. The water was a lot warmer today than in March so I know he liked it a LOT more.
I painted his toes with the thrushbuster .. yes, I wanted to use the Hooflex, but it has to be applied several days in a row and there is NO ONE there that will do that, so I went with Thrushbuster ... apply once a week or after it fades.
Keep your fingers crossed we can knock this out. He's had it since March and I'm tired of smelling stinky hooves and I don't want him to get white line. That would be very painful.
More carrots, a nice walk back to Ed's pasture and I'm done for the day. Did I tell you the bathing hose has pin sized leak in it about a foot down from the nozzle. I don't know who was wetter apres bath .. me or Ed.
Maybe we'll have pictures next week of the BIG show?
ADVENTURES WITH MR. ED JUNE/JULY
I can't afford to take lessons through the summer months, but I really wanted to go out and see the big lug.
JUST VISITIN' JUNE 30th, 2008
I swear he noticed my car drive up and was staring at it while I put my boots on. BTW, I got these kinda, crummy paddock boots made by Dublin (Imported from China) at Gallup's last week. It was the only pair they had in my size if anyone is wondering. If Ariat's are made in China, I'm NOT going to buy them but I get about two hours out of these new boots before my right foot starts to cramp. Even my Timberland steel-toed work boots are more comfortable than these things!
So he does really see me when I get about 40 feet from his pasture and he walks the fence line with me, Ed on one side, me on the other and we get to the gate about the same time. He wants to get out of the pasture LOL Angie's horses are in there and the mares really bug him .. try to run up his backside while he was waiting for me to open the gate. So I didn't even put the halter on Ed. Just let him through. HE WAS SO GLAD TO SEE ME HE WALKED OFF ABOUT 10 FEET AND STARTED TO EAT GRASS!
(Hey Ed .. I'm over here! Over HERE!)
Man oh man!!! his sides where the girth would go are just covered in fly bites and some bloody ones at that. It looks terrible, painful ... Next time I ride him I'll make sure that his belly is all washed off of sweat so the flies don't attack him there. He got a nice cool shower, with some medicated shampoo for his fly bites but poor guy .. that isn't all. His big white QH nose is all sunburned .. it's red and there are blisters on it .. some are dried and flaking but some are fresh and full of puss. You can tell his lips are actually swollen and puffy from the sunburn. So, I'm definitely NOT going to ride him until I can get that cleared up. I bet the bit would hurt like hell. Angie said that some aloe vera lotion would work on his nose so I hope she remembers to bring it out there for him. It might be late in the week before I can get back out there. I know it hurts him .. he didn't even like the halter today as it rubbed his puffy, old nose. :((
Ed didn't know of course, but Tuesday is double mash day. He knows now! Lots of carrots and apple slices. We share the apples even though his eyes get a little big when he sees me taking a bite out of one before I give it to him. I had him tied to one of the horizontal bars of the riding ring when a gust of wind came up and the rails made a banging noise. He threw his head so forcefully, he flung the halter right off. A little excitement for the day! I knew I had a lot of slack when I buckled the throat latch earlier. Maybe it's a good thing??? Maybe not?????? He backs up about 8 feet and starts to eat more grass. The excitement is officially over. I grabbed him by the mane and walked him back over to where the halter was hanging off the rope. As if Mr. Ed is going to spook and tear off running down the road. Right.
He looked so much better going back to the pasture. His neck was actually cool to touch and his feet, though thrushy, didn't smell worse than they had last time. (I hadn't treated him for a month so I really dosed him up this time) Sure enough, the gelding comes right up to bug him when I put him back in the pasture. Ed turns his big, QH butt towards him and I sense a little bucky, kicky thing about to happen (I'm sharp that way) and I know it's time to move on out. Anyhow, they get the posturing over and are friends again. Well, toleration is probable a better description.
I wish they'd give him a break and put him in a stall for a few hours a day .. just to get him away from the worst of the flies.
MOE THE LESSON HORSE
Okay .. just wanted to take lessons a little closer (Ed is about 30 miles away ) and on Wednesday I met MOE and a new trainer at a stable a little closer. I felt like I needed to ride a different horse and take a lesson or two from someone else.
My first time riding English saddle. Oh boy ... I ABSOLUTELY need to be a better rider to stay on. More about that later.
I found out that Moe (gray/white Arab) used to be an Endurance Horse. The guy who rode him could never catch him without a lasso. Catching him doesn't seem to be a problem for anyone else, though.
Seems Moe had bad habit of kicking out, so his owner ( the endurance rider) gave him to the Amish for a little behavior modification. This particular Amish had a special cure for kicking .. they tie a board to their hind legs and when the horse kicks out, they get hit by the board. Well, it seems that when Moe kicked out the board kicked back and broke off some bone chips in his left rear leg. Of course, when that happened the Amish had no more use for him. They sent him back to the guy who, after about 6 months of rest, tried to put Moe back in endurance races. Well, Moe just didn't run. He refused. And the guy finally gave up on him and gave him away. The trainer at Meadowcreek has had him ever since and his life is pretty good right now.
It took me about 30 minutes to get him to move forward past a walk and then he was quite willing to trot and even canter. Love that grab strap! NOT! Which if I ever really need it I will totally forget that it's there.
While we were there they put the horses in a different pasture that had a big pond .. they all went for a swim. It was neat to watch them play. It was 94 that afternoon. Found out Moe doesn't like water up above his knees. He's a little finicky about things, but overall a really pleasant horse to be around.
I'm going out to see Ed on Monday. I have my sunburn lotions and creams all ready for his poor schnoz.
Thursday, July 25, 2008
On Thursday I went out to ride Moe again. I'm getting more comfortable with that English saddle but if those stirrups twist you have to have calves of steel to be able to walk again.
Of course, I kept it to a walk and trot and slowed him down when he went into a canter .. no particular reason except that I didn't ask him to canter and wanted to try to control him better at a trot.
I do know that I could turn Mr. Ed when we were at a trot and even a canter, but for some reason, I'm having a hard time steering with the English saddle. Mr. Ed loved to cheat the corners, Moe likes to walk all over them and then through them. He especially likes trucking right on out of the ring and onto the grassy area. This ring is not enclosed like the one at Carma so in addition to working on my form, I have to actually make sure the horse is going where I want him to. It's an open air, packed surface in the middle of a field just down the hill from the stable. Thank heavens it's in the shade since it's been well, summer here in Arkansas and summers can get really nasty hot.
Moe does have one really cute trick. He sucks his tongue. He'll be eating a peppermint or whatever you give him and then stick his nose out and curl his tongue up and suck away. The expression on his face might be hilarious, but he rarely drops a molecule of food.
I like Moe. He knows how to enjoy life. I hope I remember to take pictures of him next time I go out.
I am still worried about Ed. I can imagine the flies are even more brutal to him in this heat. And I was told he's staying under the shelter in his field to get out of the sun which is good. The bad thing is if he's out of the sun, he's not eating. He looked about 30 pounds lighter when I went out last.
What can I do????? I sent some items out to the trainer at Carma for him and mentioned that I was interested in buying Ed should the owner's ever decide to sell.
I've heard that somethings are happening and they might be willing to sell their horses. I can hope, can't i?
I'm getting my backyard Ed ready, just in case!
Third Lesson with Moe Thursday, August 14th, 2008
The weather was a little cooler (I didn't get out there until 6:30 at night) I wonder what I'm going to do when it gets dark early in a few months? Perhaps I can move my lessons to the weekends? And why is the type getting bigger and bigger.
At any rate, Moe is a pretty harmless goof off. He THOUGHT he saw a deer in the woods close to the ring and his little old heart just started hammering like crazy. Of course, that was a perfect excuse to stand there for awhile and take it easy.
I'm getting a little better on my form. I don't "crack" my hip anymore when I want to turn .. I sit up straight, try to stay balanced in the saddle and turn my body ... I even LOOK WHERE I"M going sometimes and not down at a pair of ears. Ha ha But the right stirrup was a little twisted during the lesson and I ended up with a huge purple bruise on my leg. Ouch. We even had to shorten the left stirrup one notch as I must not have good enough control over my left leg and it is the foot/leg that comes out of the stirrup first when my form goes to kaka (right after Moe decides I'm a putz and leaves the ring for greener pastures.)
I'm also learning to relax my elbows and not have that death grip on the reins. (I should learn to spell check these entries better) The death grip was something that the former trainer noted and probably even ticked Ed off at times. (and it was hard to tick Ed off) And I still miss him. I'm glad the weather is cooling down and hope that the flies are giving him a break.
Speaking of broke, I broke the film transport on my ancient 35mm camera and will have to take it in next week to get it fixed. I promise to have pictures of Moe .. maybe me .. Claudia the trainer and some of the other horses at the barn. The last stable was all about Arabians, but here there are a lot of quarter horses, some draft x's and a few pintos. Some are just stunning but all of them are beautiful.
I FOUND ED
Yes, he had been kinda lost in a way. I called Moe's owner last night to talk about lessons and if she'd heard anything about what might be happening at the farm where he was staying. Yes, there were some rumors about what might be going on there. They seemed to burn through barn operators pretty fast and the latest one, or so I had heard, was going to quit .. well she is and they gave away Cindy (the gray MorganX - there is a picture of her above) and Ed was up for sale.
When the trainer heard Ed was up for sale, she called and made an offer. She had previously used Ed for lessons when she worked there and did I say EVERYONE in town that rides knows and loves Ed? "That noble head! " people say " What a nice horse!" people say. Too bad he had to be half starved before they would sell him.
When she got there to pick him up, she was appalled. He was thin, his coat was washed out and funky, there were fissures in his hooves, esp the back ones and she was thought to herself that he might not be able to walk out of the pasture to the trailer.
They have had him for a month and he's gained about 100 pounds. I couldn't wait to see him and went out today. He does look bad .. and that's saying a lot after the way he looked the last time I saw him .. with blisters all over his nose and bloody sides from all the fly bites. He is thin ... his coat has lost it's color, his neck is scrawny looking, his hips stand out and I can see his rib bones. Jesus... he went downhill fast. We have our theories as to why but LACK of FOOD is the obvious one. Honest to God, they made so much money off him as a lesson horse, I can't believe they didn't seem to care or maybe they just didn't notice that he was starving. Oh yeh, I guess not caring would be why they didn't notice.
I think he recognized me but this time he didn't start to walk to me until I was about five feet away. He started looking for treats, endured many hugs and is probably the only gelding in town to have lipstick on his nose today. I didn't even have to put the halter on him .. he followed me, he even led to the gate. He stumbled more than once and I had to grab his mane to get him to slow down. We went up into the barn and it was like old times even though he was more restless during his brushing than he used to be. (Looking for food, maybe???)
I could only stay an hour and walked him back down the land to the gate leading to the east pasture. He had dribbled mash all over someone's locker so while I was cleaning up I heard him rattle the gate and nicker .. he must have done that for about ten minutes. Very low and quiet. I went back to the gate three times to tell him "I'll Be Back" Ahnold style. I don't think he got it. So a kiss and a push away from the gate, telling him to go and eat.
What a sweetie. If I can, I'll go back out this weekend. If camera is working .. I'll take pictures. He looks hungry.
I have been out three more times to see him and hope to get back out there on Monday - 11/24. He's looking better, loves being in his stall, has gotten kind of pushy about his food, too. The color is coming back into his coat but his neck is still too scrawny and his top line is still too sunken.
I'm trying to teach him to bow for his treats using a method that I read about on ABR months ago. It's my version of someone else's method so it might not work, but Ed doesn't care if he has to jump through hoops as long as there's food at the other end.
When we were finished with the first "lesson" I told him what a good boy he was and how proud I was of him. He perked up and looked so pleased with himself while I was speaking to him that it really made me want to cry for him.
My camera is broken so pictures aren't going to happen. It's a shame, too since I'd like to document his recovery.
VISIT WITH ED 12/19/08
I can't get out to see him as often as I'd like. Either my car needs repair or my Mom needs to go to the doctor or I have to go to work.
But everytime I do get out for a visit, it's like seeing an old friend. He is looking better every week. Getting a round belly, hooves are beginning to heal, his top line is starting to fill out and he looks rather content, though he always seems to keep his distance from the alpha horses in the field.
I spot him at the edge of the pasture. It's muddy from the recent rain, and of course I'm wearing tennis shoes. My boots are at home. I guess as long as I bring the important things - mash, apples and carrots, I can't worry about the unimportant ones. The jeans and shoes will wash.
"Ed" I call him. He's 50 feet away. He's not looking or he's not listening or is this punishment for not getting out to see him sooner? Beautiful horses are coming from everywhere. Sweet featured horses, delicate noses, bright shiny coats. But all my attention is on the face with the big, white blaze. He sees me and looks up .. then lowers his head to look again, making sure it's me. He begins to walk my way. His footing is sure, his pace is quicker than the first time when we stumbled to the barn together. The other horses melt away. They know I am here for Ed. They are lovely horses and if I had more time .. but I don't. Ed stops for a moment and looks proud to have a visitor. Together we walk side by side to the gate.
He pushes through the opening and heads down the path. "No! Ed .. we're taking a left not a right. If you take off on your own, Claudia will kill me for not putting a rope on you." He slows to a stop. He wants the green grass down by the arena. Last time I came to visit we walked there together. But not today. I have less than an hour and we need to go straight to his stall. "C'mon Ed .. this way."
He stops .. but won't turn. I walk over with the rope and drape it around his neck. He turns, heads up the path and into the stall.
I'm teaching him to bow his head when he takes a carrot. He's ready to show me that he remembers and bows his neck, putting his nose to the outside of his left leg. The carrot is his.. Now I put the carrot in my hand and put it between his front legs. He's not sure where it is at first then realizes I have changed the game. But he knows this game, too, and goes for it, neck arched and front leg bent. I can't see his mouth and hope for the best. He takes the carrot, leaves the fingers and slobber. Good boy! Ed. I tell him in a not so high "good doggy" voice. I rub the sides of his face. He loves to be told how smart he is. And he is smart. He swivels his ears forward and lifts his head. He is pleased with himself and looks happy.
I check my watch. It's time to go or I'll be late to work. I walk him back to the pasture and through the gate. He stands and waits. They all do. They stand and wait, not believing the visit from their person is over. And Ed is the same. He nickers to me as I walk up the path. I walk back and give him a hug. I push him towards the pasture and tell him to go on and I'll see him later. He doesn't understand why this visit was so short. Why he can't go to the arena. Why we don't ride together, anymore. I push him towards the pasture, again. I tell him he's a good boy and that I'll be back as soon as I can.
I walk up the path, through the barn and to my car. As I drive out the gate I look to the left. I don't see Ed in the pasture. I drive a little farther and see him still at the gate, but his head is turned and he's looking right at me. He's probably 200 hundred feet away. I hope he knows I'm leaving so he doesn't wait for me to come back. I have that little twinge in my heart that says "I wish I didn't have to go. Please don't wait at the gate too long." I have no more time this visit and am already late to work. I drive away.
A VERY QUICK XMAS DAY VISIT
A very quick visit out to see the old man. I didn't have much mash left so I cooked several apples in honey and brown sugar. I feel sure he'll bo okay with that!
He saw me right away and came on over even though Razzle was there and tried to run him off. Ed is so low on the pecking order .. any horse out there can intimidate him. But I shooed Razzle away and fussed at him when he tried to pull Ed's tail and we made it out of the gate okay.
A very content Ed went into his stall and went straight to the feed bucket for some carrots. He even put his mouth next to his leg a few times looking for carrots, but I didn't have time to play today. Mash, apples a quick brushing, a few more carrots and then back to the pasture. He stopped dead when I started to unfasten the gate and tried to go back up the path to his stall. By that time, there were lots of people at the barn and he wanted to be where the action was! Claudia was there (going to give a lesson) another friend of her and others were coming to ride that day. That's good to know that the owner's come out, even on Xmas.
I really had to pull him through the gate. He was not happy. This time I walked him into the pasture aways so he wouldn't be left standing there at the gate. I went back and got a few carrots and fed him as he moved up the fence line. If you advertise that you've got carrots, you get way too many horses, a few tussles and maybe a few kicks thrown. Last thing I want is for Ed to get kicked by one of the bigger horses so I transfer the carrots to Ed like I work for the CIA.
I'm even able to pet Prince. Prince is also small, shy and smart. He knows if he waits long enough for the big guys to lose interest, there is often something left over for him. Two more clandestine carrot transfers to Ed and I have to leave. I'm off three days in a row next week so I'm sure to have more time for him.
Waiting By The Gate Jan 15
Didn't see him as I drove in but I took some time getting his treats ready and when I walk out of the barn and there he is staring at me and nickering. His owner cleaned the goop out of his eyes so he looks much better today. ( I met her for the first time.) I let him out of the gate (no rope on him at all, sorry Claudia) and he almost ran to his stall. I think he would have run me over if I'd been in his way. Do you think he could smell the apples, honey and brown sugar?
I had just enough time to feed him, brush him and talk with his owner for a few minutes. I found another gate to let him in and out of the pasture. A lot less mud at that one buthe absolutely didn't want to go back into the pasture today, either. Can't blame him. He's still gaining weight. And he's a very happy boy in his stall. It's his place. He doesn't have to compete for food and finally he's one of those horses that he used to see staring back at him while he was being saddled up in the barn for a lesson. I think he really likes being on the other side of the stall door for a change.
Have you ever noticed how horses in the pasture are like chess pieces? You look up and they are standing perfectly still, staring right at you. You look down and up again and they are still standing perfectly still, but they are all in a different place. Odd.
Ed Will Kick
Written on the bulletin board as you enter the stable. Just a little bit grumpy, eh, when you try to put him back in the pasture too close to feeding time. I tell him NOT to kick Emily until I can afford to buy him and keep him. I believe he and I have an understanding. (wink)
Ed Is Gone
Put down Sunday, May 3rd. Colic.
CODY HAS A NEW HOME
These are pics of a cute little stray that Angie found on the side of the road. She was hoping he would grow up and protect the feed room from the raccoons.
Last Thursday 4/23 I went out to fuss over Mr. Ed and he was gone. Carmen said they had to get rid of him. He was chasing the chickens. hmm....
4/28 UPDATE ON CODY: Angie found him a home .. he WAS chasing the horses, too, and she didn't want him to become a problem for the owners of the farm, so she knew a family with a young child and he HAS A HOME! whew!
Well, it took awhile. I haven't been avoiding it, just didn't want to get these people thinking I'm a loony. And most of all, I didn't want to get into an argument with them too soon. Wait until they get to know me a little better and trust me around the horses . then take on the topic. ( Around lesson number 4 or so) I was thinking of Mr. Ed and how many old lesson horses like him seem to end up in in the kill pens. So, I mentioned that I hoped he would always have a loving home and if they ever wanted to get rid of him to let me know.
The owner said "Stand in line .. the little girl that half leases him .. well he has changed her life. She's getting confidence, her grades have improved and she is finally speaking up and conversing with people." I know what it is she has found... something completely unjudgmental, accepting and kind.
So, I said to the owner that I knew sometimes things changed and if they ever decided they couldn't keep him .... The trainer then mentioned the four neglected horses she sees from the road as she drives to the stable ... and then came the comment ..
"You know, the worst thing they could ever have done is to shut down the slaughterhouses."
Well, I tried to stay calm, told them that the slaughter had merely shifted across the border and that just as many horse went to slaughter this year as last year, in spite of the American slaughterhouses being shut down. Then I mentioned to them how many horses the AQHA registers each year and how many they send to slaughter. And the fact that the AQHA auctioned off it's 5,000,000 registration this year and how it took less than seven years for them to register a million quarter horses, and that nearly half a million QH's had gone to slaughter in that seven years.
They don't know ... the scary thing is THEY DON'T KNOW. They are horse people and THEY DON'T KNOW. Slaughter is like a stealth fighter .. just as deadly as ever, but hiding behind the curtain. And no one seems to be able to pull the curtain back and expose it to the light of day. That would be half the battle right there.
COSTS of Euthanasia Survey
This is a sample survey of Euthanasia Costs around the country. It isn't a large enough sample to be a definitive survey and is still in the beginning stages, however it does have input from all regions of the country. Please leave me a note in the comments section if you wish to add information on euthanasia cost in your area. Please include vet fees, burial or rendering options and prices.
My thanks again to Jen E. and all the folks who offered information on such a depressing topic.
Click Here for Survey Results
Lisa I just wanted to tell you that I read your page about YOUR HOST - what a GREAT horse - and I had never heard about him before...SO sad, when he was "asking" his groom for help, when he was injured on the track. But what a great spirit!!! (You can take this section off, if you want, I just didn't know where to write this to you) :-) (swedishkat)