Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dams About to Burst

Still no foals yet, but I have pictures of baby bellies.

Dyma Hi passed her due date Sunday, so she should be anyday. Her belly has that pointy look. Rosalee and Rosina are pretty round too.

Come on girls!!!

Dyma Hi
Dyma Hi and Rosalee

Rosalee and Rosina

And a flashback to Rosemary's bellie shots the last three months




6-19-11, Just after the bath and literally just before the birth

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Comrade Captured and Waiting

Since Comrade had his acupuncture and chiro visit, he has been moving really well. I brought my camera so that we could capture it on film. He was a great subject, letting Peggy direct him while I took the pictures.
Meanwhile, we are still waiting for his sister to give birth. Dyma Hi seems to be taking the full gestational period. Hopefully she will decide the time is right soon. Why is time going so slow now, when the year previous has gone by so quickly?
The other thing going slow is the healing of my hand. The swelling is now reduced to just the area around my middle knuckle along with the pain. Trial and error has shown things like using a stapler or my nippers produce an immense amount of pain. I went back to the doctor, but they just said to go to the orthopedic doctor who can't see me until May 2nd. So I continue to try and minimize the actions that cause pain, but still get my work completed. At work I had to move my mouse to the left side of my computer because muscle memory was killing my hand. Everyone cross your fingers, because I can't, and hope that I get full use soon. I am missing my ride time I had last month.

That face...

Making sure I got his good side :)


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Trail of Painted Ponies: Sonny

By now most of you probably expected this post following the news about Sonny. I had his pony a couple days after, but wanted everything to settle before writing his post.

Sonny came into my life about 17yrs ago when my high school friend purchased him sight unseen. He was at least the third horse she had tried and stuck the longest. We would go on trail with him and Barry and switch horses during the ride. Sonny, an anglo arab, was always full of energy. The rides were never boring. He and I jumped the cross country course and had a great time with my friend on Barry. Barry and Sonny loved to play together in the turn out too. But when Sherman was added to the mix, it turned into a National Geographic moment looking at two stud-dy geldings. They made quite the picture both being bay and posturing.
Eventually my friend sold Sonny to Peggy, some drama included. In the end it all worked out great and Sonny ended up exactly where he needed to be. Peggy and Sonny had some interesting rides that may not have always been deemed successes, but they always kept a strong relationship. When Sonny let you in and dropped the company manners, it was truly a honor. Under saddle he was a free spirit and loved to move. Sometimes his rider would end up on the ground due to his "movements" and he would stop and look down like "What are you doing there?" He never tried to get you off, he just thought we were suppose to stay on.
When it was discovered he had a level 4 out of 5 heart murmur, he was retired from work. The night he died the vet mentioned she thought it involved both sides of his heart and it sounded musical. Sonny settled into retirement, playing with Bingo, Comrade, Addie and Mickey. When Rosemary came he mooned after her until Comrade freed him from the stall and he could take action. It was quite the surprise to my Dad to find Sonny and Rosemary engaged in hmm... well you know, with Roscoe looking on. No wonder Roscoe always looked up to and conferred with Sonny.
Of course Sonny transferred his affections to Dottie when we moved there with our herd. Despite Rosemary chasing him, he loved having a bunch of horses around. He watched them come and go, and made sure we stayed on track for feeding. He was special and he took full advantage of it.
Sonny always charged a toll tax to be paid before or after taking another horse for a ride in the form of sugar. And since his stall shared a wall with the hay stall, he always stole bites when he could. More than once we found the hay net pile tumbled with quids next to the nets. Sonny was a character.
So when I went looking for his Painted Pony, I worried about finding the right one. Then I came across Butterflies Run Free.

If you remember the day he died, when I arrived and Peggy told me what was happening a butterfly landed right over my heart. I knew then whatever happened, would be right. This Painted Pony features Monarch butterflies on a dark horse which is the same color of the butterfly who landed on me. Plus running free is exactly how we think of Sonny. And the true personality of Sonny was beautiful once he released it to share. In the days since we lost him, we see the butterflies everywhere. I felt that this Pony was the one. I checked with Mom and she agreed. I hoped Peggy would understand the significance of the butterfly since that day was so emotional. When I gave it to her, she knew right away.

Sonny 1984-2016
And so Butterflies Run Free joins the growing herd of Painted Ponies we have as memorials, while Sonny joins the herd waiting for us above.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Moving On, Moving Around

Just last year :)

Thank you everyone for your comments. It was completely the right decision, especially when we look back a month or two and see Sonny's actions in a different light. But the hole is still there and we all find ourselves trying to make Sonny's food or check his level of chopped hay. I had to blanket horses and felt so incomplete because my count was wrong. You don't realize until Sonny was gone, how much of the barn activity was centered around him. Two old horses snarking is not the same as three doing it at feed time. And the quiet is tough. We are moving on though and looking ahead to the arrival of Roscoe babies. Which, by the way could come any time now.
The other moving on part is Deliah. She had her second acupuncture session yesterday and felt better than the first time. We need to get her working the hills to build up her butt muscles. Two weeks of little activity has definitely decreased her muscle. And similar to what we do with the horses, she needs belly lifts to stretch and strengthen her back. Once it gets warm enough, she can start swimming. Deliah will be a happy puppy to be able to get out of the crate and with care play again.
And yes the horses are moving on too. They all grieved and some worried. DaVinci, now the oldest, was stressed and we gave him some extra TLC. Working wise, I am getting the Cobs moving on and around better then ever. With both Rosemary and Roscoe I used the set up from my lesson and did the Circle, Diamond, Square exercise. At each of the blocks, I could ask them to moves haunches or shoulders, then move on to the next point.

Can you see the paths for the different shapes?
For some reason, only the Cob brain understands, the blocks worked better than the fence. Rosemary was responded less defensively and actually moved the requested parts. For Roscoe, it helped with his bend. They both figured out to wait and see what I would ask after we had a discussion about anticipating my requests. The best part was the consistency they developed and maintained through the changes of shape. Amazing how simple visuals can aid in such a big way. Though I am now itching to ride Comrade, I have only had a chance to lunge him. This was the first time since his adjustment and acupuncture. We were all surprised to see him moving the best we have ever seen. He was reaching through his shoulder while pushing and stepping under from behind. I seriously wished for my camera. He looked that good. Hopefully he will offer it again so I can get pictures. Comrade easily picked up canter both ways and did not pull on the line. We ended out on trail where he jumped over the blue barrels with little hesitation. Someone benefited from his experience as a pin cushion. The chiropractor said he did not feel that bad so even she was surprised by how well we said he moved.

So Sixpence Farm is moving on with life and learning, but will forever be touched by the grand old gentleman Sonny.
(And Carly, I nearly cried when you used that description as it was exactly what I called him that day)

Monday, April 11, 2016

We Had To Say Goodbye

Little did I know I would walk into a nightmare after work tonight. My head full of plans to ride Roscoe as I pulled up to the barn, I noted Larry out in the field talking to Sonny. Then as I walked to the barn, Peggy came out and said "We're about to lose the Old Man." We both began to cry. And then I looked down to see a butterfly sitting on my chest. I knew even if the worst happened, we would be okay.

Peggy told me the vet was coming and maybe there was hope. I looked over to see him moving, kind of tottering across the field with his head down. I heart sank. Sometimes you just know. The vet came and did a rectal and found his parts were displaced, like his spleen. Very limited gut noises and flank watching pointed to colic. Plus he was dehydrated. So she tubed him, very nicely done too, and gave him fluids with epsom salts and electrolytes. We worried as his pain returned quickly after one, then two doses of sedation. After watching Sherman and Rebel react similarly, my hopes waned. The vet did another rectal and found an impaction in the ceacum. Not good :( At 32 years old Sonny is not a surgical candidate and this kind of colic normally results in surgery. The next option was to bring him to the clinic, but Sonny was not a fan of strangers. So that seemed to be an option that would stress him more. Come what may, his battle would be at the farm. We knew that if his pain continued, he would need to be put down. It was a heartbreaking decision, but the right one. I felt helpless as I supported Peggy and stood by Sonny. He was awesome, listening when I asked him to stay standing. I made the calls to my family as Peggy informed Larry. We waited and watched. At one point, Peggy heard a gut noise on the right side which before had been silent. A glimmer of hope.
Meanwhile the other horses were quiet, gently touching each other. Sonny watched the Red Boys and ruffled the grass. Then weirdly he picked up a stick and it was hard to get it away from him. Peggy said he only picked up sticks to play with Bingo, his funny friend. Peggy fed the horses dinner and Sonny moved into his stall. The wait was hard.
Then he began flank watching again. And that made the decision final. We had to say goodbye. Peggy wanted so much for the vet to tap his nose and make him all better, but as the vet said "She left her wand at home." So Peggy called the back hoe owner, while the vet prepped Sonny. We led him out to his spot near by Bingo's grave. All the horses watched and Roscoe trotted the fence line. Sonny went quick and joined the herd over the rainbow.
Now we have a hole in the barn where he was supposed to be forever. I so wanted to see his reaction to Roscoe's foal, but now he will see from above. Who knows he may be meeting before they even arrive. It was so hard to let my friend who sold Sonny to Peggy know he was gone. Sonny was a wonderful old gentleman  and will be sorely missed.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My...Uh Teaching Experience

We have had a burst of cold weather out here and I can't believe I had to pull out the horses' second heaviest blankets. Anyway we are still riding despite the cold, though I did call Uncle during the rain.

 One ride Peggy asked me to give the Barn Rat a lesson. Have I mentioned that normally Mom is the teacher? Cue the mind spin. What the heck was I going to do with this girl. I had to dig back in my memories of beginner type riding exercises and came up with steering.
Rosemary and I went to the arena and started to set up jump blocks to use as visuals. She followed me around for the first couple, stood for the third and decided to take off out of the arena by the forth. Yes my silly Cob ran away. I followed her until she turned toward the front of the barn as Peggy, BR and Dottie were coming out the back. I called to Peggy asking her to collect my pony who was gazing down the ailse at the front.
How about that for showing a student? Well what the hell, she already saw me get kicked by Roscoe.

I told BR to take Dottie around the jump blocks which were set at A, E C, B on a uneven circle. Yeah one block was a little off since I had to track the runaway. Well Dottie showed her that even steady ponies will pull tricks if the rider is indecisive. BR needed to mean what she was telling Dottie. I tried to get her to focus on the jump blocks and plan ahead for the turns. If she knew Dottie dived inside in one spot, she needed to look wide to the outside. Gradually the concepts seemed to hit home. We had to go through the don't pull back on the reins to turn, lead to the side lesson when Dottie would randomly stop. BR smoothed out her steering on the circle, so I started to tell her letters to aim for and which side to go around. I told her this was a  barrel racing pattern, but that for our purposes we would call it barrel snail. Because Dottie was walking as slow as molasses. She knew that was all BR was up to. Together they did manage the turns and pattern. Then I sent her back to the circle where Dottie tried her tricks again. I told BR she could not leave the ring until Dottie did two circuits without Dottie taking control. They managed it and we ended with a trail ride.

The whole time I had no idea whether BR was enjoying the ride or if it was too boring. The teenage ennui look was too consistent. Whew, a tough crowd. Peggy told me later that when she brought BR home, BR was talking excitedly about the lesson. I guess my first teaching experience had a positive  ending.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Final Guesses and Pin Cushions

Surprise, my friend in TX, her mare had twin fillies

So first up are the final guesses for the foal pools. I am just showing the dates, so that the final winners will be a surprise. And no my guesses do not count. Bring on the babies!!!

Next Deliah had her acupuncture appointment today and was joined by Griffyn and Comrade. Griffyn actually saw the big cube she uses and jumped right up, so he went first. He has a ton of sore muscles in the rib cage area from compensating for the rear end. Today he let her work a fair amount in some of his worst spots. Griffyn even got one acupuncture needle to help with rear end pain. She believes he might need some herbal remedy to help with his body pain for a more consistent relief. He happily jumped off when she finished. Then Deliah took her turn. She did some touching to get a feel for her hot spots before starting the acupuncture. As a way to ease into the painful spots and get some endorphins flowing, began placing the needles at the rear and neck. Then she started on the sore muscles around the damaged disc. Deliah gave her hurt eyes when they first went in, but soon started to relax. My little pin cushion resembled a stegosaurus. Afterward she crashed in her cage, probably zonked from the endorphin release. She will have another session in two weeks.

Black tops on a black dog kinda tough to see

Rounding out the visit was Comrade. I was surprised when she did a tongue pull on both sides. She explained that they have found that the tongue serves as a back door to the rest of the neck muscles. Soften the tongue and it helps with the rest. I can't wait till my hand is better and I can try it on Dottie. Anyway, she felt he was not too bad. We worried with Roscoe jumping on him more recently his hind end would show some tension. Fortunately, that was not the case. She used a little tool to scratch along the meridians and detect any points needing attention. He was slightly reactive at two points along the back and the the top of his butt. She placed needles at each and immediately we saw Comrade relax and wiggle his lips. Some horses can't handle the opening of the flow, but he definitely enjoyed it. Back in turnout, he looked so much looser already.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Final Entries Accepted Through Sunday

Okay I decided ending the Foal Pool entries on April Fool's day just did not work so now you can enter until Sunday.

Thank you guys for your comments about Deliah. She is feeling better with the pain pills and being difficult to minimize her movements. Mare and Alli you both have helped with my worries.

Today I calculated the horses work in March and was pleased to see an increase due to Mom, Peggy and the BR riding more. And I only missed one day, giving me 28 rides during the month. Roscoe was 11 of those.

Rosemary kicked off this month with a ride to the water and being brave enough to wade in :)

And now for my guesses:

Dyma Hi
April 18th
2 Socks, narrow blaze

April 29th
1 coronet, 1 sock, 1 stocking, blaze

May 3rd
1 coronet, 2 stockings, blaze

May 10th
4 stockings, wide blaze

May 13th
3 socks, large star