Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


It’s supposed to get down to 19 tonight, and I believe it. It’s 29 already with clear skies.  My entire body is protesting the cold weather. Oh well such is life or at least my life. I haven’t written because there’s really not much to write about.  I still have some winterizing to do. I did manage to get the barn doors to close. We’ve lived here for about 7 years, and never closed the barn doors. Rudy made doors for the back, and side, which were just open doors but the front doors we’ve never closed. It seems to me that I remember Rudy saying something about them being too old, and rickety to close. Well the one door definitely needs some TLC, but once I cleared away some of the accumulated hay, and dirt they closed just fine. Well not completely because the one door doesn’t hang straight so I couldn’t latch it, but hey an open inch or two is better than a wide open door. With the wind raging through the barn it can’t stay all that warm. We’ll see tomorrow morning how much warmer it is.
April did get on Star (was it only last week?), and rode her around the round pen at a walk, and a little at the trot. This week is supposed to turn warm so she should be able to ride her again. Once she has her basics I’ll start training her. While I’m riding Star April will start working with Stormy. Star had some exposure to riding before she came home so she has been easy. Stormy will be totally from scratch. He is also more skittish so It will probably take him twice as long to do. By the end of winter I hope to have all the girls under saddle. Ser-Haat will be another story. I will have to work with him at first. Slowly I’ll introduce April to him. He’s the one kid that April hasn’t been able to win over. I’m hoping that once I can get him under saddle he will be less shy. We’ll see.
April also started on Sadie’s feet. I just haven’t been able to even rasp them. As April said I don’t know how she’s been able to walk. Of course that’s part of the problem, she doesn’t walk or trot or anything when she’s in a stall. In pasture her feet are perfect, but then she gets too skinny because she’s on the bottom of the pecking order. I just can’t seem to win.
Everyone has put on some weight, but not really enough for me. I’m really starting to believe it’s the oat hay. They get enough of it that’s for sure. Ibn, and Marina refuse to eat it so I’ve gotten grass for them Sadie, and Lizzy. Angel will leave for Ca in the next week or so. She’ll be gone for approximately 5 years. God willing we will be more financially stable by then. Sandy wants to breed her to Mystic this spring. I told her that was exactly what I planned. I can’t wait to see what she drops. I really wish horses had shorter gestation periods. A year is a long time to wait.
Except for finally getting my house in order (ok so I’m not quite finished), nothing much else has been going on. My pain issues have prevented me from doing much of anything. Along with that comes fatigue, and now numbness in my hands, and arms. Since I don’t have the wherewithal to go see a specialist, I’m living on pain pills, muscle relaxers, and Advil when needed. Isn’t growing “mature” just so much fun?????

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

AB Moraddinn

Like many young girls when I saw National Velvet, and Pie, I dreamed of jumping. Let me give you a word of advise mid forties is not the best time to learn to jump, unless you have lots of riding experience to begin with. Rudy knew I wanted to learn to jump so when we went to an auction in Phoenix, we looked mostly for me. All the horses were in stalls so the most we could see was their heads. There were two gray geldings stalled next to each other. One was a Khemosabi grandson, and one an Aladdinn grandson. I had no clue who those stallions were, but Rudy had trained decedents of both stallions. He was partial to the Khemosabi grandson, and I of course wanted Moraddinn. We found someone working there and he took the Khemosabi colt out for us. I looked at the horse, and in my mind I thought no, he’s not that good of a horse. The only thing I had to draw on was my artistic sense of balance. I knew nothing of length of shoulder, free moving shoulder, properly angled hip, or short back, all those things I learned about later. All I knew was that he didn’t look right. Thankfully that sense of what looks right held me in good stead because Rudy took one look at the Khemosabi grandson, and asked to see Moraddinn. Even at not quite two Moraddinn was tall, and straight. He was a little long waisted, but I just knew he would be able to jump. I look at old pics of him, and wonder what it was I saw in that skinny, gawkey 2 year old.

Moraddinn became my very first horse. He was skinny as a rail, but not because of neglect. I swear his stomach was like a deep dark black hole. No matter what we put in it, it just disappeared into nothingness. He was a growing boy, and I do mean growing.  At the time I was 5’6” so a tall horse didn’t bother me. I had ridden tall, medium, and short horses, and it really made no difference, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking tall horse, good jumper. Ok, I have already said I was very ignorant when it came to horses, and am only slightly less so now.


Back to Moraddinn. By the time Moraddinn was ready to ride I was ready to ride him. When Rudy felt he was safe, I began riding. It really was great for me because it was the first time I had ever ridden a green horse, and I was the one who was going to have to teach him what I wanted him to do. In a way we learned together. We learned how to understand one another.  I learned what he could, and could not do. For instance he had a straight neck, and I do mean straight. That combined with his longer back made him less flexible, and quick than for instance Marina, who naturally arches her neck, and collects herself. Moraddinn was a different story.

Moraddinn was not only stiff, but a clutse as well. It wasn’t his fault, he just wouldn’t stop growing, and of course his growth wasn’t exactly even all the time. I spent hours working on flexing exercises. We put special shoes on him so he wouldn’t forge so badly. I tried numerous bits to get him to properly collect finally deciding on a Pellum (sp?), and a Kimberwick.

We went to one show in Phoenix, a Paint show actually, and I rode western. It was all I knew then. The first class I think I got like 6th place, but with each class we did better, and I finally got a blue. Boy was I impressed. Mind you I was terrified the whole time, but we managed to do quite well. I was very proud of my boy.

It wasn’t until we got to Ca. that I learned to ride English. First Rudy found me an old military saddle to learn on. Oh how I loved that saddle, unfortunately you can’t show in an old military saddle. They are so picky about things like that. It’s a horse show not a people show after all. Anyway, I did finally get a real English saddle, but I had to give up my military saddle to get it. Oh well you can’t have everything. I showed in practice shows in Gilroy, and finally worked up to getting a blue.

Still I hadn’t tried jumping. One day Rudy came home with wood to make some jumps. I was going to learn how to jump. Marina loved it, Moraddinn not so much. I’ve never fallen off a horse, at least not until I got Moraddinn. Rudy told me you aren’t a real horseman unless you have fallen off a horse. Well I finally did, twice. I worked hard at jumping, and it wasn’t because Moraddinn couldn’t do it, he could. He was racing around our pasture one day and he took a turn too wide. The only choice he had was to jump our fence, our 5' fence, and he cleared it easily. The problem was me. I wasn’t really comfortable in the English saddle even though by then I had been riding English for a number of years. Still, that really wasn’t the problem. I just couldn’t figure out how to set him up for the jump. I couldn’t get the timing right. When we moved to Auberry we didn’t have a flat area for jumping so I sorta just stopped trying.

It was in Auberry that we finally got into breeding and we decided to try to sell Moraddinn or trade him for a mare. One day a lady called, and sent us a picture of  a gray mare in foal that they were interested in trading for Moraddinn. They were endurance people, and Sadie just wasn’t an endurance horse. She was too hot for one thing. We traded videos, and then found a place halfway between the two of us to trade horses. Moraddinn was nine by this time, and a whopping 15.2 hands. It was the best thing for both horses. I loved riding Sadie who is a great brood mare, and Moraddinn found his calling. He and Lynn are devoted to each other and he has excelled in endurance. She told me that one day she was riding with a veterinary friend of her’s, and he commented that Moraddinn was perfectly built for endurance. He could canter for miles, and his trot was the most efficient trot for endurance that he had ever seen.

I still hear from Lynn, and she always sends me a pic. I love Moraddinn, he was my very first horse after all, but he’s where he belongs. He taught me the most important lesson of all. Regardless of what you want a horse to do, they will only excel in the discipline they are meant to do. Every horse is different, and you must treat each according to his or her individual talent, and temperament.

I’m really not that disorganized…

I’m actually a very organized person it’s just that no matter how I plan out my days, something always seems to interfere. The first few hours are always the same. I get up wait for my body to unclench itself while I have coffee, feed, and then start my day. That should only take me to about 10:30 am or so. If things haven’t fallen apart by then they will soon after. I have discovered that it takes about 4 hours for me to get water, and siphon it into the storage tank. I have another 250 gallons to get this weekend, then on Monday I will buy another 750 gallons, and start the process all over again. Father came up with an idea, and he is now going to watch the water (weather permitting) as it goes from the tank to a bucket to be siphoned out by our sump pump (that is trying to die) into the storage tank. He said he could read while he watches the water. You see no matter where I have the truck either the sump pump siphons faster than the tank the water comes out of, or vice verse. Where I have it now for the first half of the tank the water comes out of the tank faster so periodically you have to shut off the water from the tank, and let the sump pump catch up. Then for a while they go at the same rate. Once you get closer to the bottom the sump pump is faster so you have to turn it off, and let the water build up in the bucket again. Nothing is easy in my world.
To give you an example, there was the day petty much everything was going wrong. Sadie decided to colic, at the same time (I was feeding of course) Katy brings in a roll of grass hay. Now I can’t use my right arm for much of anything. In point of fact I spent all afternoon with the heating pad wrapped around my neck, and shoulder. I have the horses fed, they have their truck in the breezeway, and Sadie goes down. I kick them out so I can take Sadie out of her stall (I still have to make their goodies for the next morning). God love her for a horse person Katy knows very little about horses, but she knows this is serious. She, and Harold are arguing about how to get the roll of hay in the stall I let her use to store her hay, while I take Sadie to the round pen to try to exercise those cramps out. Remember I have no Banamine, Jazzy (Sadie’s daughter) used the last of it when I cut that flap of skin off her chest). I told Sherry that if I didn’t have it I would need it, and sure enough I needed it. Sherry calls in the midst of all this, and says my meds have come in. A lot of good that does me as she’s about an hour round trip from here. She can’t bring it over because it’s getting dark, and she still has to bring in her horses. Sadie is not cooperating. She does fine till I leave he alone, and then in about five minutes she goes down again. She has pooped, and starts eating as soon as I let her then down she goes. I swear she’s doing it on purpose so she can get some nice fresh grass.
Meanwhile Katy, and Harold finally get the hay where they want it, and leave me alone to deal with Sadie. Ok so I was a little miffed there was no offer of help, but such is life. I carry on. By this time I’m walking around like a drunk I’m so tired. I don’t know who’s worse off, Sadie or me. I skirtch her head, and can tell she’s not going to walk this one off. I tell her ok, I’ll go get the meds, but she has to hang in there until I get back. I know she will go down as soon as I leave her alone in her stall. I call Sherry, and tell her I’m on my way.
I make really good time (only going a little too fast mostly) until I get to the main road to her house. Four cars turn on Ft Stanton Rd in front of me. Ok I can deal with that only the speed limit is 55 mph, and they are doing 40 mph. Give me a break. I had a speech all ready in case a cop stopped me, but this is ridicules. About the only good thing was that two of them turned on Sherry’s road, which I was afraid I was going to miss in the dark. Half the time I miss it in the daylight. Then they drive 30 mph till I turn on Sherry’s street. Why me Lord, don’t answer that! Sherry is waiting in the garage then she can’t remember where she put the box the meds came in. She gets frazzled easily (like I don’t!). We find the box, and I’m on my merry way back home. I got the big bottle of Banamine this time. I race to the barn leaving the gator’s lights on so I can see to fill the syringe, but that doesn’t help me see once I get to Sadie’s stall. She’s down (the moon finally rose so I have some light), but gets up when I come into her paddock. She sees that syringe, and says no way Jose! She used to be real good about shots, but the older she gets the crankier she gets. I tell her the more she fidgets, the longer it’s going to take, and eventually I get it in her. She can be such a pain sometimes.
I feel her tummy, which is slightly damp meaning I got back just in time. She was starting to sweat up. I call Sherry to let her know what’s going on, and she tells me to let her rest so long as she doesn’t start thrashing. It takes 15 – 20 minutes for the Banamine to start working so I leave her alone for about half an hour, check her, and she’s no better, but no worse. I go back in the house, and check her again in about 30 minutes, finally she’s up, and eating her dinner. Just because she got a lot of good grass while I was trying to work out the cramps doesn’t mean she can’t eat some more after all. By this time it’s about 11:00 pm so I simply email Sherry to let her know Sadie’s fine. I’m not going to call her at 11:00 at night, but I don’t want her to worry either.
See what I mean, I had the whole day planned, then the wind came up, and my body said you’re going to spend the day on the heating pad, then Sadie pulls her thing while Katy, and company disrupt my evening schedule, and not only is the day shot, but all night too. This weekend is supposed to turn cold, and I still haven’t worked on my woodpile. I did get a new blade for the miter saw, and if I can clean off a place for it on Rudy’s work bench then Dad can cut the small branches while I work on the larger branches with my (ok so it’s really Rudy’s) reciprocating saw. That was one of my other projects I was supposed to get done the past two weeks.
I haven’t started working any of the kids, but I did discover why stable Espree has lost so much weight. It seems someone has been pilfering her feed. I wouldn’t have discovered it if I hadn’t decided to start Espree on supplements to try to get her weight up. When I went back to give her her goodies I found half her hay in Regalia’s stall with her contentedly munching away at it. No wonder Espree’s always starving no matter how much I increase her hay. Needless to say the hole Regalia had dug out got filled back in. I expect I will only have to feed Espree goodies for a week or so before she starts to fill out again. That little snit, I’ll probably have to increase Regalia’s feed now that she isn’t getting half of Espree’s hay on top of what I normally feed her which I can tell you is a lot!
So see it’s not that I’m so disorganized. How can one work on a schedule when it’s disrupted before one can even start a schedule. If something isn’t breaking, the weather screws me up, or someone is gets hurt, or sick, or any of a dozen other things is going wrong. I haven’t even gotten Mother’s room cleared out. I need to clean the chicken coop (I’m getting about half a dozen eggs a day now), finish a coat rack, clip, and bath the two little dogs, clean my house, get a real wood pile done, unpack the remainder of the boxes of my mothers glassware, re-arrange the computer room, make an exercise room out of Mother’s room, haul about 750 gallons of water a week (250 gallons a trip, and I do not like hauling water, that’s another story), clean some stalls, finish the front yard (that means moving the very heavy fountain pieces off the porch to the outside), cut the weeds around the porch, paint the ramp we had built for Mother, fix the Blessed Virgin statue that broke in moving, try to get my mower fixed, finish re-arranging the garage, somehow get the stuff in the garage to the dump, and in between get Star under saddle, and Stormy, and Ser-Haat started on ground work. Oh, and I have to trim feet, and get LBM so I can trim his feet. Is that all or have I forgotten something? Dear Sweet Lord in Heaven, please let that be all!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I know what I said, but…

I suppose that if my life was normal, I’d be bored to tears, but a little normalcy would be nice once in a while. I had every intention of getting back to writing on a regular basis, but there were doctor appointments, a disaster of a house to clean (still no better), things to do outside (I really need to get a real wood pile before winter comes), and yes, my taxes. I did a few things trying to do my taxes at night, but it wasn’t enough. Well they’re finally done, and I now I can get to all the other projects I have started.
I did manage to get Star & Jazzy into the arena, and started them on supplements. They are putting on weight, but have a way to go yet. Jazzy decided that since Jeri was almost all healed up I needed someone else to doctor. Now mind you I’ve had several horses in the stall I made off the arena, and no one got so much as a scratch. Jazzy being Jazzy decided to try to impale herself on one of only two T-posts along the longest stretch of panels. Sherry is in Kansas (her father had open heart surgery, and is now doing fine) so I can’t call her. I didn’t see the injury until I fed at night, and she probably did it soon after I fed in the morning, because the edges had already started to dry out. It was too late for stitches, but after what happened to Jeri I pretty much knew what to do. She took her shots just fine, but didn’t like getting doctored. She was very good, just not pleased about it. I washed the wound with Benadine shampoo, irrigated it with solution, and used the same concoction I used on Jeri. The wound is on her chest at the shoulder so I can’t bandage it. Thank you Lord for Alu-spray. It keeps most of the medicine on for a while at least, and it keeps the flies away. Of course it has turned chilly so there aren’t too many to bother her. The penicillin wasn’t strong enough so I had to get another antibiotic. I also had to cut off a flap of skin. My first surgical procedure! Ok so it was only a little flap of skin that had to be cut off, but I did have to cut, and that makes it surgery. I gave her some Banamine, and she didn’t even flinch. She’s fine now, still doesn’t like getting doctored, but she puts up with it.
The rest of the horses are doing well now that they have been on supplements for about a month. Ibn, and Marina are just about at their perfect weight. Jeri looks fantastic for an old man with no back teeth, Stormy is almost where he needs to be, and so is Ser-Haat. Little Big Man is good, but Espree still needs some weight. She inhales everything I feed her. Lizzie & Sadie are still skinny, but I doubt that I will ever get them where they need to be. Sadie has always been thin, and Lizzie being a TB is just showing her age. I remember when we lived in Buckeye, there was an old palomino in the pasture across from us. The rest of the other horses were nice and fat, but he was skin & bones. It wasn’t because he wasn’t getting his share of the food, trust me he was, he was just too old to put on enough weight to get him through the winter. Sadie, and Lizzie are like that. They also have big hay bellies. As soon as it stops raining (thank you Lord for that), I’ll start working them again. I have to get back to doing Sadie’s feet too.
I’ve started feeding them oat hay. I can get a one ton square bale for $80, so whether they like it or not, that’s what they’re getting. All the supplements are killing my budget so they get oat hay. Marina loves it so long as she doesn’t have to eat the stems. The rest are so so about it. It was a novelty at first, now they’re getting a little tired of it. The boys are still getting grass, and I’m giving some grass to a few of the others. I’m also cutting down on the goodies, except for Jeri of course. I have to get back to giving them just hay, ok so maybe most of them will get hay, and some will get goodies too. So I spoil them what else is new? All our animals are spoiled, and that is as it should be. Now all I have to worry about is whether or not I will get money back from our taxes, break even or have to pay. Like I have any money left over to pay taxes. I can’t do anything about it now, I’ll just pray, and hope for the best. So life goes on.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sorry for the interruption…

I never got back to finish my story. Mother took a great deal of my time, and in the end she finally became too weak, and went on to a better place. A week later my father was in the hospital, and Bree (at least we think it was Bree) bit (nipped really) one of the paramedics. I’m sure she remembered that the last time the ambulance came they took my mother away, and she never came back. She wasn’t keen on letting that happen again, and when I looked at her she looked very grumpy. The girl was very understanding, but since whoever broke the skin she had to report it. The sheriff was very understanding as well, and did what he had to do, but told me not to worry. She’s in home quarantine for ten days, and so long as she doesn’t get sick we’re fine. I still feel terrible even though it was a very small bite, and whoever it was backed off immediately. I think they knew they were in deep dodo.
Prior to mother passing my father (a long time heart patient) was on a heart monitor to determine if he needed a pacemaker. He collapsed a week after mother died. He never lost consciousness, but simply went “boom.” His pulse was down to 47 when I contacted his cardiologist who told me to take him to emergency, and from there they shipped him off to Roswell for surgery. His blood was too thin to do surgery right away so they waited a day. It only took them a half hour to do the procedure. He came through with flying colors, and I brought him home today. Now maybe life can settle down some. At the very least I can devote more time to the horses again.
During all this time, we have had extreme drought, and then finally we got some much needed rain. Of course now that I have grass, and weeds everywhere my lawnmower decides it needs servicing, and refuses to move. Even if I can come up with the money to get it fixed, I have no idea how I’m going to get it over to Randy’s. I’m still working on that part. I’ve gotten pretty strong, but I don’t think I can get it into the truck even with ramps, and a come-a-long.
Back to the horses, Jeri, the day after we got back from the evacuation, tore up his fetlock, and it’s still healing. He scraped it on some jagged cement while pawing at Ibn who went visiting when he discovered that the gate to Stormy’s stall hadn’t been closed. I have Stormy between the two stallions just so things like that won’t happen. When they were bringing the horses back from the fairgrounds after the evacuation, I told them to put everyone in the arena, and I would sort them out later. It was easier than trying to explain where each horse belonged when they didn’t really know one horse from another. Stormy was in the arena with the rest of the horses so when I put the stallions away I didn’t notice the gate. I had to fix the panel that had been undone in Ibn’s stall so he wouldn’t go visiting the mares that were next to Ser-Haat’s stall. It was late, and I didn’t even think to check the gate between Stormy, and Ibn’s stall. I was exhausted, it was almost dark, and I was just happy that everyone was home, and no one was hurt, especially me. Are you confused yet? The next morning is when I discovered the two stallions were next to each other, and Jeri was banged up. I have been nursing him ever since. There was nothing to stitch so I’ve simply been encouraging new skin to grow while keeping proud flesh from taking hold. It’s almost healed. There’s only a small oval of raw flesh left. I’ll just be glad when I don’t have to change a bandage every night after I feed. The vet wrap is killing me especially since there’s none to be found now that football practice has started again. I’ve had to buy people vet wrap, which is twice as expensive, and doesn’t work nearly as well. I hope he appreciates all this!
I’ve had three horses colic recently, and have played hell trying to put weight on everyone. They all lost weight when they were at the fair grounds especially the stallions. Well come to find out Jeri no longer has any upper molars which is why he wouldn’t eat the stems on the alfalfa I kept giving him to put some weight on him. I have played around with diets, and have settled on soaked beet pulp, soaked alfalfa cubes, senior, and grass hay. The cost of hay has finally come down some although it’s still pretty steep. Ibn, and Jeri are starting to look pretty good. Lizzie, and Sadie have put on weight, but look worse than they are because of too many babies, and age. I’m trying to work them to get rid of their hay bellies, and strengthen their back muscles. When they’re working you can see that they really have put on weight. Ser-Haat is going through a major growing spurt, and LBM is too only not quite as much as Ser-Haat. I don’t know what’s up with the rest of them. Jazzy looks the worst. We have water issues again (it’s summer after all, and my neighbor is filling his dirt tank) so I don’t really have a place to separate her, and Star from the other pasture mares. Now that I’m not spending all my time with mother, and father is on the mend, I want to put the two of them in the shuffling barn attached to the arena. I can give them supplements that way, but first I have to fix the tank I fixed last year that leaked. All the coating I put on the bottom, of the tank has come off, and it’s leaking again. We’re supposed to have several days of sunshine so it can dry appropriately if I can get it painted before it rains again. This time I want to coat the inside, and the outside. It will probably only last a year, but I have a whole gallon of the stuff so that’s not a problem.
I need to teach LBM that he is not going to fall over if I pick up his feet to trim them, then try to get his feet where they belong. That should be fun. I need to start working Ser-Haat who is going to be an awesome boy. I can halter him now, and we even went to the round pen once. That was a trip, literally a trip on my part. He was doing so well even though he was very excited walking through the barn. Then when he was faced with all the mares, LBM, and Ibn calling out to him it got the better of him. He reared just slightly hitting me with his knee. Naturally I lost my balance, and fell. He was so good, he just stood there till I got myself up again, and we proceeded to the round pen. It was all very exciting. I have to say one thing he’s a quick study. Of course I’ve been using his stall as a round pen so it wasn’t much different, but still I was very proud. Once I can get myself a schedule he should move forward quite quickly. I need to get those shoulders built up. He looks like a baby albeit a tall baby. I swear he at least 15 hands already, and he still has a few year to grow yet.
I have to work with Stormy, and I’m going to try to get on Star’s back. April is moving to town, and won’t be helping me so it’s all on me to break these kids. I know I can do it, it’s just my own fear I have to overcome. I’ve never been on a horse that hasn’t been at least green broke. So what if I’m 61, they say you’re never too old to try something new. I wonder if the person who said that ever tried to break a horse. Hummm, what you want to bet? Oh well I guess I’ll find out.
I mentioned that I had three horses colic on me. The first was Santa Fe. The alfalfa Katy brought over for her horses was too green for her. Regalia’s tummy didn’t mind, but Santa Fe couldn’t take it. She had also brought some wheat hay so I gave that to Santa Fe, and the alfalfa to Regalia. A couple of mornings later I was tired, and I accidentally gave Regalia her hay, and then Espree’s wheat hay. Well the wheat went all over the place so without thinking I took the alfalfa, and threw it into Espree’s stall. So guess who colicked next, Espree of course. When I fed that night she had a big bump on her back cannon. I called Sherry who said to make sure she wasn’t colicky. She was (which is how she got the bump on her leg) so I fixed up a Banamine cocktail since I can’t give her a shot. She totally freaks when she knows she’s getting a shot (prior owners). She wouldn’t even eat that, and it had extra molasses so I took her out, and started walking her. I came back with only to discover that Bear (the Chesapeake) had eaten Espree’s cocktail. I call Sherry all in a panic. I have my mother who is sick, a horse who is sick, and now my stupid dog who knows he’s not supposed to eat the horse goodies, eats a horse dosage of Banamine.
Sherry tells me to give him hydrogen peroxide to try to get him to vomit. Bear eats everything, and didn’t bat an eye at the hydrogen peroxide. 40 CC’s I gave him. I looked it up on the internet, and they said if they don’t vomit within 10 to 20 minutes repeat the dosage once. Guess what of course it didn’t work, although I must say that after about 60 CC’s he had had enough. Now what? Sherry said the only thing she could think of was to give him all the bread he could eat. That turned out to be almost a whole loaf of bread. The next morning he was bloated (you try eating a whole loaf of bread!), and not feeling too chipper but he still ran down to the barn etc. His first BM’s were normal, but when he went again, it was black with a tinge of dark red. That told Sherry that he was bleeding both in the upper, and lower GI. I gave him some antacid for his tummy, and made chicken and rice, and liver and rice for his next two meals. He ate them but not with his usual gusto. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to bury him, and Sherry is trying to tell me not to give up yet. Well she was right because the next morning he was a much happier camper, and by that night he was wolfing down his food with his normal vigor. She told me if he lasted 5 – 7 days he would probably be all right. After the third day you’d never know he even had a tummy ache, and he’s still trying to steal horse goodies.
LBM was the last one to colic, and I have no clue what his problem was. It’s the first time he’s ever done it, and hopefully the last. I worked him in the round pen a bit, and he was just fine after that. Like Sherry says horses don’t need a reason to colic, sometimes they just do.
I hope that sort of fills in the blanks as to what has been going on down at the farm. I promise to be more diligent now that I can actually sort of plan my days again. Of course something will always come up to throw a wrench in the works, but as I told my uncle that’s my life. I seem to go from one crisis to another on a regular basis. I undoubtedly have left out a number of good stories, and if they come to mind I shall surely put them down. I've also get to start taking photo's again. It just doesn't look right w/o new pics. Right now I am going to retire to my boudoir for some much deserved beauty sleep. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Fairgrounds…

I really should have taken pictures of the fairgrounds, but I didn’t even though I had grabbed my camera. By the time I got there it was quite dark, the air was filled with smoke, and the sounds of animals unsure of their new surroundings. There were trucks, cars, and trailers everywhere. April had gotten some dinner for me, but I wasn’t that hungry. I had to distribute animals, and of course I forgot leads for the dogs. I put the small dogs, the cats, and the birds in the sleeper portion of the horse trailer. Bear I left in the truck with me, Taggot outside tied to the trailer with a lead rope, and Bree, and Pena I put in the horse portion of the trailer. I had no bales of hay for the horses (remember I’ve been buying rolls), and no water buckets. Evidently April got a lot of grief over that. They put all my horses, Doc Sei’s mare, and April’s four horses in the arena. I was the only one with that many horses.  The stallions were in a big red barn at the back of the fairgrounds missing their girls. The fairground was full with horses, cattle, goats, and one pig. I never saw him. One of the mares had a new foal at her side, and there were others that were due to foal. 

We were all exhausted, with bumps, and bruises from frantic horses. April, and Robert slept in his truck, and George, and Patti slept at the church across the street. I snuggled in with Bear. It took a while, but he finally settled down while I tried to sleep. Needless to say I didn’t get much of it. I had plenty of Advil (which I took about every hour), but that did nothing to keep me warm. Finally I remembered the sheet I brought to cover the birds with on the way over. After that I think I simply passed out.

At one point I went in to check on Sky who I found limp on the floor of the trailer. I had gotten a baby aspirin from George, and had given him some Benadryl, but I knew it was no use. The poison was traveling down his chest, and he could barely breath. I said my good-by’s, and told him I was sorry. After that he curled up in the back of the truck, and I knew he wouldn’t make it through the night. As fast as he went, even if I had been able to get him to a vet, it wouldn’t have done any good. I don’t know what bit him but the poison was too much for his little body. He’s in a better place now even though he was as happy as he could be while we had him. He never really got over whatever trauma landed him in the Humane Society. I was forever trying to put weight on him, which is why it wasn’t unusual for him to skip a meal. It never did any good he would run in circles for hours outside. He was a smart little cuss, and managed to find me down at the barn when he would escape from the back yard. I finally had to put chicken wire all along the fencing to keep him inside. He didn’t understand that he was hawk, or coyote bait outside the safety of the house, and yard. That doesn’t even count the snakes that would find him just slightly too large a morsel to eat, but too much of a threat to ignore. I miss him dearly, but that is the way of things, and the circle of life.

My circle of life became the truck, the red barn, the arena, and the little church across the street. After feeding the dogs, cats, birds, and making a few re-arrangements (Bear went in with Bree, and Pena) I made my way to the church for breakfast. I cannot say enough about them. They fed all of us morning, noon, and night, provided showers (including shampoos, towels etc.), and even a change of clothes for the likes of people like me. At breakfast I saw a few neighbors, met a few I didn’t know, and found out that Brian was going to open the Mercantile for about an hour for those needing feed. I went back to feed the horses to find that the barn manager had fed them. It’s in times like these that communities’ pull together to ensure everyone is taken care of.

It was at the church that we got most of our news of the fire. You couldn’t see the mountains from the fairgrounds because of a few little mountain peaks, but we couldn’t help but see the black plumes of smoke coming ever closer. Alto, Nogal, Bonita, and Angus were hit hard. There were people there that had lost everything. One woman couldn’t stop crying. A friend of mine was told her house burned to the ground only to be told later that they were trying to save her house. I believe her house was spared finally, but it was very hard for her for a while. They did let some people in our area go back to feed livestock, and one friend would go home at night despite the roadblock. Her animals were safely at friends, but she refused to leave her house as long as possible. Doc Sei refused to leave his house at all, and made the rounds to ensure that our homes were all safe. Mind you he sent Brenda off, and of course his mare came with us. His mini bull stayed with him only because there was no way to move him. April, George, and Patti all went to Roswell after finding a place to bury Sky for me. I tried to keep tabs on my parents, who eventually ended up at one of the retirement facilities in Roswell. Mother was released from the hospital only to be taken back the next day because they discovered she had a urinary tract infection. Why they couldn’t wait for the results of the tests to come back before they released her is beyond me.

On Sunday the National Hot Shot team came to town, and set up meetings both in Ruidoso, and Capitan to update people on the fire, their progress, and the next day’s efforts. The firefighters that came from all over the country eventually swelled to 1,200 firefighters, high altitude helio’s, two planes, and a DC10. Fighting fires in the NM Mountains is unlike fighting any other fire. It was after all our unpredictable canyon winds that that took a small well contained fire to a now 43,000-acre fire. There was a lot of anger at the meetings from those who lost so much because of one bad decision.  There was also jubilation when it was announced that they would not evacuate Capitan. The winds were changing yet again, and they had stopped the northward advance of the fire. That also meant that Ruidoso itself was now in danger.

For my part, life followed a pretty simple routine. Big Jim (I’ve never met the man) after feeding his horses one day rolled the better part of a roll of wheat hay in the arena for our horses. Someone was going to introduce me to him but it didn’t come to pass. He lost everything except his barns I found out later. I discovered a friend of his was in a trailer next to me. I went over to make sure that they gave Big Jim my thanks for feeding my horses. It was from them that I discovered that his barns had escaped the fire. It is hard to imagine such a kindness from someone who had lost so much, but that’s the kind of man he is I am told.

I still had to make sure everyone had water, and feed the stallions, dogs, and cats. I had to reassure everyone that they had not been deserted, but that I was still there. Ser-Haat attached himself to Sadie, and would not leave her side. Stormy would seek me out wanting hugs, and reassurance that all would be well. A lot of the girls were skittish, and there were plenty of pecking order squeals with everyone thrown together. I don’t think anyone escaped some sort of scrape, scratch or bite. Everyone also lost weight. They had more than enough feed it was just the stress of it all. The kids have never been away from home, and the rest haven’t gone anywhere for over six years. Needless to say we’re going to have to make some changes in that respect, just not today. There was a guy there when I was roaming around talking to everyone, who felt he had to warn me to beware. I informed him that these were my horses, and of course he had to say that in all his years of experience with horses, I had to be careful because basically it was a dangerous situation. I think Ser-Haat was kicking up his heals at the time. I let it go because there was no use disputing him. I also kept on talking to my kids much to his dismay.

Slowly people found places for their animals, and the fairgrounds started to empty out. I was very glad when the Appy in the stall directly behind the arena went. He was a young stallion, and Doc Sei’s mare had to be put in a stall across from him because she was in season, and he kept trying to get to her over the wall. I had no fear of him actually getting to her, but was afraid he would hurt himself. Once he’d gone, I put Doc Sei’s mare back with the others. She seemed to be happy to be back with the herd.

Thus it went for several days. Tuesday we were told that Laughing Horse was safe, and we could go home. I called George, and Brian said he would help bring the horses home, but that’s for another post.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This is how it began…

Well not exactly, the photo is actually from a few days after the fire started. They call it the Little Bear fire only it isn’t very little. It went from a fully contained 1/4 acre fire to a 38,000 acre fire last I heard, and it’s still not fully contained. The one fear Rudy has always had out here is of fire. So far over 240 homes have been lost. The fire started on a Monday, and the photo is from Friday. That night it seemed that the whole mountain was on fire, and it very nearly was. I tried to take photos, but my little camera, wasn’t up to the task. Saturday the air was full of smoke, and for the most part obliterated the mountains. I went about my usual routine, and then went to town for a few things. On my way back the road was blocked but we were in no danger. I went to April’s and they were already packing up. I wasn’t really worried for in spite of the smoke there were three ridges I could see between us, and Copper Canyon. It would take time for the fire to get across the canyon, and up the first of the ridges so no matter what we still had time.

My greatest concern was for my parents. After going home I went back to talk to the fire marshal to see about getting an ambulance to take them out. Mother was still recovering from the meds that didn’t work, and could not even get into a wheel chair. The fire marshal said the best thing would be for them to take her to the hospital so that’s what the plan was. When I started back to the house (sometime later) the ambulance showed up, and I told them to just to follow me. They were great getting my mother, and my father out, but they had to have a reason for her to be taken to the hospital. She had already begun wheezing from the smoke, and the bad reaction to the meds was good enough for us to get her in. The only bad part was they couldn’t go to Ruidoso, but had to take her to Roswell. Great, they were going back where they came from. Father gave me all the “papers he couldn’t live w/o” and off they went.

That was the easy part. I had four horses in pasture, and eleven more in stalls. Some are really good about loading, and some have never even seen a trailer. Ser-Haat I can’t even get a halter on. With three stallions I have to be careful about who I put with who. Our trailer, an old four-horse straight hasn’t been moved for three or four years, and a lot of things are rusted in place. I also have seven dogs, two cats, and two parrots that have to be moved. Yes, I’m slightly daft just in case you were wondering. April’s new boyfriend was there so at the very least I had an extra driver (I can’t trailer remember), and some brawn. We tried to use our trailer not too long ago, and I couldn’t get the ball out. After some more oil, and some heavy pounding it came out, and Robert was able to hook it up. Again that was the easy part. Katy’s stock trailer was also a four horse so maybe this would work. I am such an optimist, it borders on the insane. I have no idea who we loaded first except for Jeri. Our trailer has a stallion stall, and he’s an easy load. Actually no one was a completely easy load, and horses that I thought I would have no problem with suddenly acted like idiots. I know because of the smoke they were all panicky, but still, just because none of them had been in a trailer since we moved here, and they could smell the fire that doesn’t mean they can’t behave themselves. They of course had a different opinion.

After we got the two trailers loaded with some of the horses, I told April to get help from someone at the fairgrounds our final destination, otherwise we’d never leave. I still had young’uns I had no clue how I was going to get into a trailer. Robert came back with one of the trailers, and said help was coming. Thank you Lord, He does come through in a pinch. I’m trying to decide what my next move will be when Mike Hernandez, and Johnny (from Ski Apache) shows up. Rudy knows Mike, and I recognize Johnny. I pick, and choose who I will put with who. Everyone is panicky, and some won’t load except for me. Some need some extra encouragement from behind, but finally we have another trailer load. Johnny decides we need to set up a weanling chute for the ones that have never been trailered. Sounds good to me so we start with Ibn, but for the life of me I can’t remember who we put with him, Little Big Man or Ser-Haat. I think we put Ibn, and Little Big Man together. Ser-Haat went in the arena with the rest of the horses, and Ibn, and LBM went in the big red barn with Jeri. Stallions you know, no one wanted any issues or surprises. Anyway LBM, and Ser-Haat went through he chute we created as well as could be expected. Stormy was the problem child. They didn’t have the trailer close enough to the barn gate, and wouldn’t you know Stormy skinnied through scraping his hip all to you know what, and gone.

Off he goes, and off we go on foot trying to catch him. Johnny was ready to skin him alive after about an hour or so. I could have rounded him up with Marina, but she was in the front portion of the 4-horse stock trailer. We went everywhere around the front of the property. I closed off the gates to the house (and freedom), but scared as he was he wasn’t about to go too far. Finally we herded him into the pasture, and loaded the rest of the horses save two.

We took all the partitions out of my trailer, and made a very narrow chute for Stormy to go through, but now we had to get him out of the pasture, and herded into one of the stalls so we opened all the gates. Of course first we had to find him, ten acres is a lot of land full of trees. I took the gator and went all over only to discover (after I went everywhere) that they had him up in the front of the pasture. They got him out of the pasture and over towards the two mares that were left. Slowly, quietly we coaxed him towards (of all places) his stall. Yes we did it, he was in his stall now all we had to do was get a halter on him. By this time he is pretty well played out, and I’m able to herd him to the front of the stall in a corner. He’s tired, scared, and finally wanting some reassurances. Once I can get close, and start petting him he gives in, and hugs me so tight I thought he’d never let go. I ask for a halter, and lead, and Johnny very slowly approaches, and is able to hand me the halter w/o panicking Stormy. Stormy for his part is quite willing to accept the halter, and I easily lead him through the stalls into the barn.

Now I just have to get him in the trailer. How I did it I can’t remember but I get him in, and Johnny ties him in while I get the butt bar on. Poor thing he was trembling all over. This was just too much for him. The last two mares go into the stock trailer w/o too much trouble, and off they go. It’s almost dark, and I still have to get the rest of the animals loaded into my truck along with the computers, and paperwork I can’t live w/o. I get two small birdcages from the barn, and put the parrots in those. The cats go in cat carriers, and the small dogs in the large dog crate. It’s at this time I discover that the reason Sky didn’t eat his breakfast was that he had a large lump on his throat. I checked his teeth, and it wasn’t an abscess so the only thing I can think of is that something bit him. Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do at the time, but put him in the crate. I gather food for everyone, get a sheet to cover the birds, and cats with, throw in a few dog dishes along with the computers, and the two kitchen bags with paperwork. The cops had come sometime before telling me to leave, and I of course said we were working on it. I was holding LBM at the time who freaked at the lights from the police cars. They tried to tell me to leave the animals, but of course that was never an option. It was almost dark by now, and the fire had not gotten to the ridge so I figured I could probably have stayed, and almost did, but I had the truck loaded so I might as well leave. I couldn’t take the chickens (no more room, and no more crates, so I stuffed the four big dogs in the front seat, and off I went.

I was too tired to be scared, nor did I ever have a sense of danger. I told Rudy I had all the animals, the computers, paperwork, and my wedding ring, so we were good. Poor thing he was 1600 miles away with a broken down truck, and a load he wasn’t going to be able to deliver. At least he could stop worrying about me, and the animals, and like I said the rest didn’t matter.

To be continued…

Monday, June 4, 2012

Oh my…

Is it just me, or are there fewer hours in every day? Who said life in the country was boring? I don’t have time to get bored. By the end of the day I’m so exhausted I can’t wait to crawl into bed. Ergo I haven’t kept up to date on life on the ranch. I’m filthy dirty, how’s that for an update? Not quite what you expected? Ok here goes.

There really hasn’t been much to talk about, my father’s doing great, my mother not so much. The new medication the neurologist put mother on had side effects that were too severe, and after several phone calls (which were never returned), I just took her off them. I finally got her to Doc Si, and he too agreed that she has Parkinson’s. He put her back on one of the meds only on a much lower dose. Tomorrow I will start another med, which should take care of the uncontrollable tremors allowing me to get her in a wheel chair again. Unfortunately the med that was getting her to talk again, and helping to restore at the very least fragmented memories, was the one with the worst of the side effects. Poor thing was terrified that she was falling when she was in bed. Because the uncontrollable tremors are not localized to one side of her body, Doc Si believes the cause is in the spinal column. If this new med doesn’t do anything then he has to re-think his diagnosis. Her pain is actually subsiding some, and he’s not concerned with the amount of Tylenol I’m giving her, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

My father had the cataract removed from his other eye on Friday, and has to see a laser surgeon about removing some film remaining on his first eye. He had some chest pains evidently Saturday night most likely because he was off his blood thinners because of the surgery. His PT/INR is, as expected low, but we are to keep him on a 5/2 day regime, and we will check it again in a week. Other than that he’s doing great. The scary part is that once his vision is back to normal he has every intention of starting to drive again. His driving scared me as a kid, he’s now 87 (almost 88), he has some form of dementia, and he wants to drive? We may have to have some discussions on that. Hopefully one of his doctors will discourage him, as I probably won’t have anything to say about it. Thank God we live in a very small town. Maybe they won’t give him a NM driver’s license, hum, I wonder who I can bribe!

The only down side in this entire mother, father invasion stuff is that I’ve put on half of the weight I had lost. My answer to temptation is to remove it from the premises. If it’s not there you can’t eat it. Now there’s ice cream, brownies, cookies, and all sorts of things in the house. On top of which because I’m spending so much time taking care of them I don’t have time to spend outside doing that wonderful manual labor that has kept my weight in check. I was not pleased to see that scale go up, and up. The last two days, I have spent much time trying to convince a round of hay that it really does want to move. That helped a bit. Then yesterday I put up mothers bird feeder, and a week ago or so (no idea when) I did finish my chicken run. I also lost two babies, one of each. I thought they were big enough so they couldn’t skinny through the fencing, but I guess not. First I lost one, and then a couple of days later I came home to half a dozen chicks where they’re not supposed to be. As I scurried them through the gate, I saw one find a hole that was just big enough for her to squirm through. Luckily the dogs are so used to the chickens, that they totally ignored the fact that they were out of the hen house. The two I lost I am assuming wandered too far, and ended up as hawk bait. They have to eat too you know. One of my hens also died. The babies were just too much for her. The other one has gotten over her fear of the babies, and now has no problem pecking at them to get her way. That’s why I wanted the big run. I have some chicken wire left over from doing the dogs yard, and tomorrow or the next day (who knows when) I’ll put it up around the fencing. Maybe that will work a couple more pounds off. I’m desperate here.

The horses have been sorely neglected during all this. I have brushed them a bit, but they need it again. I also need to worm everyone. The ones that get goodies are easy, the rest of them are sure to be a pain. No matter what flavor you get they know it’s wormer, and they insist that it is horrible stuff that is sure to kill them. Almost everyone needs their feet done, manes combed, and just plain attention. I had to rearrange the barn again to allow for the round bales (photos coming soon), giving me room to store more hay if, and when the price goes down. We finally got some rain, and wouldn’t you know a big nasty storm hit after the first cutting, and before a lot of farmers could get it all baled. Needless to say hay is still at a premium. What a mess we’re in. One good thing it looks like I might actually start working soon. It means time away from mother, and the horses, but it also means I might be able to start paying some bills again. I don’t mind not having money to spend, I hate having bills I can’t pay. This is the first time in my life that I have been in this situation, and I don’t like it one bit. As St. Therese always said, “this too will pass”. I just wish it would hurry up so we can get on with our life.

That’s about it except for all the pretties, I have been buying, and planting for mother. I bought more chocolate mint too. I have three plants sitting on the porch to plant. I thought possibly our neighbors were back or someone was turning the pump on for them so their dirt tank could fill. Sadly when I put the dogs to bed tonight, I found the carpet wet all around the water softener that hasn’t been used in years. Tomorrow I guess I get to crawl under the house to try, and figure out where exactly the leak is, and how I can possibly fix it. Anyway there hasn’t been enough water to plant anything. I did plant the rhubarb plant I bought for father. He loves rhubarb pie, doesn’t everybody? See what I mean, how can I possibly keep my weight in check??? It will take two years for it to mature, but it is well worth the wait. I know it can take the cold, and where I planted it there is lots of runoff from the roof. The daylilies I have there are always big and green even when we haven’t had much rain. My house is ever so slowly getting rearranged to accommodate added furniture. Today I will called Dish to set up an appointment to get cable run to both mother, and father’s rooms. Father insisted that they didn’t need TV’s in their rooms (I knew better), and now he keeps asking when I’m going to call, and get their TV’s set up. He really is too cute. The older they get the more I love my parents. In so many ways I’m so very thankful that I will have them with me in their last days. Not everyone is so blessed, I am grateful that I am.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jeeze Louise…

Who said it was ok to turn the refer on again. Two days of misty rain, cold weather is more than enough, and we’re supposed to get two more days. I did get some house cleaning done today, it was just too ugly to be outside. If tomorrow isn’t too bad I’ll go out, and work on extending my hen house. I have twelve (yes twelve) baby chicks in my bathroom in a dog crate that is rapidly getting way too small for them. I can’t put them in the hen house as I have two older hens left (giving me one egg every other day), and the babies will get pecked to death unless I make the run bigger. That is I will, providing mother is feeling better. Doc Si (Dr. Seidel) is going to try to come over to see her. Her pain is still not under control. I’m giving her way to much Tylenol, and the Cymbalta just isn’t doing it for her. The new medication Dr Simmons gave did wonders for her until he increased the dosage. Now she seems to be going backwards, rarely talks, and half the time doesn’t understand what you are telling her. I have a call in to him too.

In betwixt and between all this I have to get down to the barn somehow, and spend some serious time grooming. All of a sudden feet are all chipped, and of course they need excess fur brushed out. I need to work the tush off of LBM. Rudy was home for a quickie, and went out to see everyone. Not only was LBM a pain, trying to bite, but he also started to rear. Boy did he get the finger (index finger), not only from me, but from Rudy. He has been such a good boy, and then this. He needs a serious attitude adjustment unless he wants to have his huevos cut off. Bad behavior will not be tolerated especially in a stallion. Can you believe he’s 14.2 already? He doesn’t look it, but Rudy say’s it’s because he doesn’t have any body mass yet. He still has a baby body, he’s only two after all, and shedding out quite beautifully. He has his father’s hazel eyes, and strange white stripes down his face extending from his star. It’s so faint I don’t know if I can get a picture of it, but I will try. I noticed it when I was giving him what for after he started to rear.

I’ve got Marina back on Pergaloid, and she looks fantastic. Rudy said Sadie had a big tush (ok so Rudy used another word), which I’m quite proud of considering she was skinny as a rail until I brought her back to the barn. Lizzie is finally putting on some weight. Now she needs to be worked to get it in the right places. Angel won’t be leaving for CA until probably October, and I’m working with a friend (who finally got her place in Il) to have at least two of the girls shipped up there. That will reduce my feed bill by two, get them broke, and possibly shown. If she takes three of them, I may get her yearling pony stud colt (who’s not all that little) down here to raise. She doesn’t get along that well with boys. She might try to talk me into taking her stallion too, but I’d have to loose one more horse to have enough stall space. I don’t know how Rudy will react to that. A baby colt is one thing, a new stallion is something else entirely. We’ll just have to see how it all falls out.

My house is still a mess with excess boxes, and furniture, my taxes still aren't started let alone done, my desk is piled high with unopened mail (why open bills you can’t pay), and I still haven’t taken any new pictures. I have on the other hand kept my barn clean, and bought flowers for my porch, and garden such as it is. Have you ever heard of Chocolate mint? It’s glorious. I have five plants in my flowerbed that is full of grass, and weeds, and I intend to get more. Wal-Mart also has tons of beautiful snapdragon plants which I found out the deer don’t like either, so I plan to get some of those if there’s any left when I go back to town next. I bought three daylily roots, which I know the deer won’t touch, that I still have to plant. How I’m gong to accomplish any of this I have no clue. It’s kind of like how we are going to survive until I get a job when even our Cobra has run out. I have lots of faith, and if you don’t believe in faith lets say I pretend a lot. For instance, a hundred years ago when mother, and I would go to Tucson, we would always look at the gas gage after the fact instead of before. If there wasn’t enough gas we’d pretend we had enough, and sure enough we’d get to Tucson just fine. Call it a positive outlook on life. I’m positive that somehow God will provide (remember that my Friend!), and since I refuse to believe anything else, He has no choice but to do so. It would be just too embarrassing after all. At least that’s what I tell myself. Things will all work out, it just may take a while. Meanwhile I will pretend a lot. Who knows it just may work!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

It’s been forever...

Yes, I know that it’s been forever since I last posted anything, but at least I have a good excuse. I had my parents move from Tucson, to Roswell to be closer to us back in September. At the time mother was walking (with help from a walker), and talking with some signs of dementia. Things were going ok, but then Mother started getting weaker. Father finally got her to a doctor, then suddenly every week I went to see her she was worse. Finally Father said he could no longer take care of her. I moved them here, and at first Mother started getting better. I ran out of one of her meds, and the doctor refused to give her that medication insisting that her condition was skeletal, and not neurological or Fibro. Mother got worse, and was in terrible pain. I begged him to give her something only he ordered a narcotic (which she cannot tolerate), and to boot, one she was allergenic to. I blew my stack, and begged my doctor to take her as a patient. All this started the end of February. She can’t walk or even talk some days, and her dementia is markedly worse. Now my mother has a lot of problems (give me a break, she’s 83). She has had three brain surgeries, and numerous concussions along with Fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, emphysema and epilepsy (from scar tissue). I have an appointment for her with a neurologist, but that’s not until June. At this point she can’t even help me lift her to stand or anything. Thank God April was a nurse’s aid for 11 years. Without her I would be a total mess. God willing my doctor can help us get her back to where she was when she came here.  I hate seeing her in so much pain, unable to communicate, and unable to really think. Something is very wrong for her to deteriorate so rapidly.

Meanwhile I still haven’t started on our taxes. I feed the horses, and that’s about all the attention I can give them. I’m in constant pain, and totally exhausted. I can’t sell a horse to save my life, and I’m still not working. I owe so many people money I simply don’t answer the phone if I don’t know who it is.  See I told you I had a good excuse. Except for constantly worrying about my mother, I love having them here. Dad’s driving me crazy, but that’s why I refused to marry a man just like him. I love him dearly, but…

The horses are great. Star is now 14.2 hands, and has been relegated to the pasture, because she causes way too much trouble. I went to feed one morning, and I had three horses loose in the barn. I had watered the previous night so I thought well maybe I left the stall doors open. As crazy as everything is, I wouldn’t put it past me. Once maybe, but not twice, as two days later Star, and Ser-Haat were loose in the barn again. It seemed she decided that she needed company, and let the rest out for good measure. I put her between Regala, and Espree on the other side of the barn, only she helped Regala throw the barn door off its rails like daily. Lizzie needed to come out of pasture (she’s way too thin) so Star traded places with her. She’s doing great out there. Of course she did tear up the box I had covering the water spicket, but other than that, she’s been a good girl. Lizzie still hasn’t put on weight, and Regala is constantly trying to open the barn door, so I guess there are going to be some more moves.

Life continues to be crazy. Bear killed our little bull snake that has been living in the barn. I suppose it was bound to happen one day, but it was unexpected, and upset me a great deal. She’s been in the barn since she was a baby, and even though I didn’t see her very often, I stopped having problems with unwanted critters trying to get into the feed. I think her mother is the one that lives in the stallion yard between the kick panels, and the stall wall. Maybe some day there will be another little bull snake to take her place. One can always hope.

Sandy wants to take Angel to Ca for a number of years to use as a cross for her stallions. Angel has an unusual bloodline. She has all of Sandy’s foundation horses in her bloodlines. The one Sandy wants to add back in her breeding program is Ibn Awad. It seems Angel is the only one left that traces to him.  I don’t really want to loose Angel, but as things stand we can’t breed anytime soon, and it’s a shame to leave her open in her prime. Of course the same can be said of all our mares, but I can’t seem to either sell or lease anyone.

At first Sandy wanted Angel as soon as we could get her out there, but she has changed her mind, and wants to breed her next year instead of this year, so now she wants us to ship Angel in August. I told her that was the worst time to ship a horse through the desert in the southwest so we will have her till October hopefully. If I can manage to get some money I have another dream stallion (Warmblood) that I want to breed her to. Then when the foal is born I could breed Angel to Ibn, and Sandy could have the foal, and Angel. Ok so I’m dreaming, but it’s the dreams that keep us going. We’ll see what happens. My feed bill is going to increase again so that may be only a pipe dream, or not. I can always breed one of our other mares to Sagar. Of course first I have to pay our vet bill, come up with the money for the stud fees, and the insemination fees. Hey if you’re going to dream, you might as well dream big. If only we had a fairy godmother to help us along we’d be just fine. Anyone know of one we could borrow?

The latest exciting news is there seems to be a big cat roaming our neighborhood. Doc Sei’s mare jumped the fence, and ended up on Brewer’s land she was so scared. April has had signs of something scaring her horses, and twice our kids in the pasture were too frightened to come up for din din. I had to go get them, and bring them in. The ground is too hard, and dry to see any tracks, April, and I could barely make out the horses tracks. I think maybe it’s coming up for water. Our tank is right there for the horses, and there are plenty of trees for it to hide in. If I can ever find some tracks to follow I can call fish and game, and they will bring out their dogs, and track it down. If they can find it they can re-locate it. Unfortunately the dogs do need a scent to follow, and the way it is out here now, it will be difficult.

That sort of catches you up to date. I haven’t been able to take any new pics I’ve been run so ragged. The horses all need to be groomed, and the stalls grow higher every day with manure. One good thing, mother loves flowers, so I have been buying little plants for the porch. Of course right now she can’t go out on the porch to enjoy them, but hopefully soon she will be able to. The best plant of all is the mint I bought. I wanted some mint for around the porch to choke out the weeds, and grass. It’s hardy, and grows well up here. Good old Wal-Mart had all different varieties of mint including chocolate mint. It’s heavenly, and really tastes, and smells like chocolate mint. Of course the rest of my house is still a mess. Combining two households in an already full house is not the easiest thing to do. Oh well I never was a very good housekeeper so extra furniture here, and there is not too surprising. One of these days it will look like a normal house instead of a hoarder’s house. Hey at least you can walk through it. My barn’s clean if that counts. One of these days maybe I will get my house back till then, oh well such is life. There are more important things than an immaculate house!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Never a dull moment…

If the past few days were beautiful yesterday was gorgeous.  I went down to feed as usual only there was nothing usual about it. As I went to feed the pasture horses, someone was outside the pasture. At first I thought it was Sere, and she jumped the fence only Sere was in the pasture, there was one horse too many. I looked again, then looked at Ser-Haat’s stall, and sure enough his gate was open. Great, catching him was going to be real fun. I tried coaxing him to walk without a halter, something I can do with most of our horses only he was too excited (wonder why), and wouldn’t walk with me more than a few steps. I fed the girls, and tried quietly chasing him to his stall. You can guess how that went over. He started to go over to his dad, and I thought great I can coax him into the round pen. Yeah right. Ok I gave up, and called April to come over to help. What to do, he kept going over to Ibn so I thought ok, I’ll put Ibn in his stall, move Santa Fe into the arena, and maybe just maybe I can get him to go into Ibn’s stall. It has a long wide gate, and he can see Ibn’s breakfast, and maybe he’ll go in there by himself.

First I moved Santa Fe (don’t want Ibn next to a mare) then moved Ibn into Ser-Haat’s stall. Naturally Ser-Haat came round to Ibn in his stall. He was not co-operating (did you really think he would?). I went to swoosh him, and he went to visit Santa Fe in the arena. I walked around, and by the time I got round to the other side he was in Ibn’s stall eating Ibn’s breakfast. Finally. Now Ibn’s run is over 150’ long, trying to corner Ser-Haat was going to be next to impossible. He doesn’t like to be caught in his much smaller paddock so this was definitely going to be interesting. About this time April shows up (thank you Lord). At least I’d have some help. I wanted April positioned behind me to keep him from going the length of the run. I could then work Ser-Haat, and try to get the lead rope around his neck. He won’t let me halter him, but I can make a halter with the lead rope, and he does just fine.  I asked April to take Ibn to the round pen so once I caught Ser-Haat I could lead him back to his own stall.

Getting the rope around Ser-Haat’s neck is a long process. First I have to get it on his back (several times), then lead him by his neck for a while, and finally make a loop to put on his nose to form a semi halter. I’ve done this with him numerous times. He doesn’t like the halter, but will work with a rope. It takes us a while mostly because he knows he can charge April, and get past her, which he does more than once. For some reason he won’t work with April. She says he just doesn’t like her. At any rate I finally get him working with the rope halter, and we walk him down to his stall. April opens both gates, but has to back off before he will go through them to his own stall. I really want him to work with someone other than myself, but it’s not going to be today. We get everyone back to where they belong, and I give Ibn more Alfalfa because someone ate all his. The good part of this is now Ser-Haat isn’t afraid to go through the gate.  He also knows that you can have fun if you leave your stall. I will use that to my advantage making it a reward for putting on his halter. 

April has to go home to help her mother get dressed. They need to take her to the doctor in Alamogordo, and from there most likely to the hospital. She’s been really sick, and has gotten very weak. She said she’d be back, but I don’t really think so, it’s going to be an all day affair. I get back to the house feed everyone else, and just as I’m getting ready to call Rudy he calls me. He was starting to get a bit worried because it was so late. I explain my morning, and his comment was as usual they’re just too smart for their own britches. Now I’m going to have to get another stud chain for Ser-Haat’s stall. I’ve run out of chains, as I have them on most of our gates. Those little noses are just too nimble.

We talk for a while, and then I begin the rest of my day. Since April won’t be over I decide to clean Santa Fe’s stall. My back feels prettygood (nice sunny weather does wonders for my back), and my arm isn’t hurting too much. Quarter horses are so different from Arabians. It’s almost a joy to be able to clean a stall without the antics of the rest of our kids. Even when she was sticking her nose in the back of the gator she’d move over for me to get through. After a while she simply went to her paddock, and took a nap in the warm sunshine. She actually took a nap, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I was just about done (only had about one, and a half loads to go), and I decided to take a break. The barn was calling me. Since Rudy used to do all this stuff he naturally had everything set up for him. Gradually I have been making changes. Some of the changes have been because I simply don’t have the strength that Rudy has (big surprise there). Some of the changes are due to the fact that even though I love my husband dearly, he doesn’t really have things organized. For him it’s fine, but you know how women are, they always have to be rearranging things. It’s in our genes.

I had talked to Rudy about moving some things, and as we talked I came up with the idea of moving stuff we never use into the back stall. It doesn’t have a paddock area, and it’s there in case we need to isolate a horse. Now it’s a storeroom. As I move things I sweep out about a ton of dust, and I can’t even get to some of it. Some of the stuff (like the door that Marina demolished, and Rudy still hasn’t fixed) is too heavy for me to move by myself, and will have to wait until April can help me. I make a good dent in it though then go back to finish cleaning Santa Fe’s stall. It’s about 3:00 so I quit for the day. April comes over to check up on me, and to let me know that they put her mom in the hospital. She has a bad case of influenza. They’ll keep her for a couple of days get fluids in her, and generally just build up her strength before they send her back home. She’s actually a year younger than I, but has more health issues. Thank God I have a strong constitution.

Yesterday was the last of our nice days for a while. We are actually going to have some winter weather for a few days. The wind wasn’t supposed to start until later today so I figured I could get some work done outside. Thankfully all the horses were where they were supposed to be when I fed, but man it was cold. You’d think it was winter or something. April comes over sporting a thermal T instead of the light short-sleeved T from yesterday, and her coat. I myself have a sweatshirt under my heavy coat. It’s breezy, but not really windy yet.  The weather is good enough to get some things done outside, but not good enough to get Stormy, and Angel under saddle. The wind always makes them more excitable, and that’s the last thing we need.  I want to get the barn finished so we tackle that instead of working horses. We move things around, and sweep up another ton of dust. It’s amazing how rearranging things opens up the barn making it look large again, instead of cluttered.

Since we couldn’t work the horses I asked April about doing Star’s feet. We’ll be out of the cold, and she really needed her feet done. Her left front was way too long, and the right front wasn’t much better. She couldn’t even stand properly but was toeing out something fierce. She asked if she had been trimmed before, and I had to say I didn’t know. Soon enough we found out that she hadn’t a clue what to do. You could pick up her front feet fine, but the back feet were a different story, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We took her out to the round pen to get he edge off (even though I let her out on Monday) only it wasn’t enough so I put her with Marina in the arena and chased them both. Marina is way too fat, and Star is actually a bit plump herself.

Now that the edge was off, we started with her front right. Well she wasn’t doing too well so I put her against the gate so she wouldn’t squirm, and she had the gate to help her keep her balance. That worked really well. I learned that from one of our farriers who did some of our youngsters. Now that she had some kind of idea as to what we were doing to her, Star did much better with her left front. That toe was not only long, but misshapen. We went back to her right front to do her heel, which was lopsided, and she just couldn’t figure that one out. Now April is only about 4’11”, I’m about 5’4” so I told her to let me try. My legs are much longer, and that made a big difference. I got the heel on the outside down some, but I just don’t have the shoulder strength I need so April took over. This time Star did much better, and April was able to get the heel rasped down. She rasped the front, and she picked up the back bringing the leg back then forward. Next time we will work on using the nippers on the front, and rasping the back. Star is still young, and there’s no sense in going fast, and making her think this is a bad thing. She got lots of praises, got brushed as a reward, and all in all felt good about herself. Next time she’ll understand a little better, and it will be easier.

Next we went to Sierra. When he was a baby I worked with his feet only he has totally forgotten all about that, and it’s too difficult for me to try picking up his feet by myself. I have done it, but not for very long. With the two of us we would make much better progress. Star was just about perfect compared to Sierra. He was a little pill even up against the fence. I finally came up with the idea of putting the lead rope in his mouth for him to chew on. That made a big difference. First of all he wasn’t trying to nip at me (boys), and it kept his mind off his feet, and what April was trying to do. He wasn’t too bad with his left back, but kept trying to cow kick when she worked on his right back. We did front, and back several times, and he was getting pretty good, when disaster struck. He wasn’t against the fence (big mistake), and when she picked up his front left one last time he lost his balance, leaned against April, knocked her down, then fell down himself. She fell against the fence while I pulled him up again. Thankfully she wasn’t hurt (though her knee will probably beg to differ), but it really startled Sierra. He didn’t understand how he fell down. We calmed him down, and April picked up his foot again. This time he stood stock-still. He wasn’t going to go through that again. He got lots of pets, and we called it a day.

By this time it was 3:30, and the wind was coming up stronger, and colder. Come Saturday the winds should be gone even though it will stay cold. Tomorrow is my day for going to town so I won’t be able to do much more. All in all it has been a good week, and I got a lot accomplished. Next week is supposed to be sunny, and maybe April will actually get on Angelo’s back, and we can get the saddle on Stormy all cinched up. Between the two of us we make one good person. If she can get the kids safe, I can get them green broke. God willing by summer’s end all the horses that can be will be under saddle. Ser-Haat I will send to a trainer. At least I will when I can scrape the money together, and I can get the groundwork done on him. April is going to lend me her rope halter to see if that will help him get over his halter fears. Once that is accomplished I can start working him in the round pen, and maybe get him trailer trained. That should be real fun. Right now I have to go to bed. I was a long (though very productive) day, and my body has had it. It wants to go to bed, and so I shall acquiesce to it’s demands, at least for tonight.