Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My thoughts are with those broken hearts.....

As much as I try to ignore it, today November 29th, is the anniversary of the car accident that eventually claimed my mothers life, many many years ago now.

Two people I know were admitted into the hospital today, one barely clinging to life, the other one with maybe weeks left. I feel such pain for their loved ones, and hope that they can get through this tough times and hold on to the good memories as best they can.

I know I have............

My Daily commute with Harry Connick Jr.

As anyone who knows me will attest; I have a great love for the Holidays. A GREAT LOVE!! Right after Miranda's Birthday in mid October, I change my CD collection (really need to copy over to the Ipod) for my car over to the Holiday CD's. And just about everyday, I drive home singing along to my Holiday songs, both Norwegian and American (and a few Swedish songs.)

Many days Harry Connick Jr. rides along, and we sing from his CD "When my Heart Finds Christmas," which is really good if you have not had the pleasure. In my day dreams we are putting on quite a show, a la scenes from "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.

No one can belt out "Let it Snow" in harmony quite like Harry and I..................in my Prius. We dance and glide across the stage and sing our hearts out............. in my Prius that is.

Please to enjoy:

"Let it Snow"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turning my day around......

I overslept this morning, not by a lot but enough to sort of get me off kilter. I then took a shower, tried to hurry, but the hot water was just so wonderful that I lingered a bit. But that was okay; all I had to do was get ready and head to work. Things seemed on track again..............aaaaaahhhh......

Oh Crap!! It was my turn to feed Pippi, and I was already a few minutes off to leave to go straight to work. Changed into muck boots, grabbed other shoes and headed to the barn. Okay - let's hurry!!

Have you ever noticed how horses force you to slow down? Their easy going nature, just standing around waiting for hay and breathing, tends to slow us down. Gets our priorities in order, let's us enjoy a few quiet moments. I was hoping Pippi would do that for me this morning.

She didn't!
 She had thrown her feed bucket to the ground, and then  filled it with stall bedding, so I had to rinse it out and dry it off before I could feed her.

Breathe!!! In & Out!!

"Okay, here you go Pippi. That's my girl!" Feed delivered.

Water bucket needs refilled.

"Oh - you have got to be freakin' kidding me!!!!! (insert Norwegian curse words at will here)!!!!!!!"

Pink bucket, on the ground, filled with crud, blue bucket still hanging but also nasty.
Normally we have a refill bucket in the barn, so all I have to do is refill two buckets from the big one. That saves time - normally!!! But not today since I was already late.
Grab both buckets, head outside to spicket to rinse out and refill. Rushing back in, and tripped over one of the cats, I think it was "Boots" (so named for his habit to be underfoot and thereby accidentally kicked by boots).
So I spilled ice cold water down my leg!!
Thanks a heck of a lot - "BOOTS!!"

At this point I just stopped for a second. Closed my eyes and reminded myself that I am charge of my own body, my own mind and my own reactions.

It is time to realize that I am late. So what? Who cares? I will be efficient, get things done and get to work as soon as I can, but I will no long scramble, or run around like an idiot.

Hung buckets back in stall, fed hay and opened upper part of door to Pippi can see out.

Chance standing on the ledge (pic from last week)

Grabbed some hay for Chance who will be fed later by Donna when she feeds all the mini's. He was already standing on the ledge with his head sticking over the door waiting for some morsels to tide him over.

Okay - back in the car and off to work.

How nice it was for me to do the feeding so Daughter could sleep in after finishing up her Fall Quarter at college yesterday.
You are welcome Honey!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To Fly Bonnet or not, that is the question.

We have a Paint, a loud shining colorful Paint Mare. She is only 15 hands tall, but she stands out in a sea of 16 + hands of Bay Tb's and WB's. Just ask any TB gelding at any Hunter show; that wide white bootie of Pippi's is a magnet.

So I ask you; should we bonnet or not? The wind has never been an issue with Pippi. Any draft through her noggin has never affected her performance, so it would only be a fashion statement. But would a fashion statement such as a fancy Fly Bonnet look silly, or even ridiculous on a Paint?

Would it look as though we are trying waaaaaayyyy too hard to make our Paint look the Tb part? Keep in mind we are Hunter Jumpers, not eventers.

I like the look of the Fly Bonnet. It makes the horse look dressed for Show!!
" I am doing something extraordinary, and I dressed accordingly. Thank you very much."

I image googled "Paint Horse with Fly Bonnet" and found a lot of pictures of paint horses wearing fly masks, and then this horse ---------------------------------->

Now, no disrespect to this horse, but that looks ridiculous. Probably because I hate that kind of bonnet, but still..... What a silly looking bonnet, all frilly and grandma like. How old is this horse? Does it spend its days knitting in a rocker on the front porch?

I want any bonnet for Pippi to make her look distinguished, and special, and classy.

If you want to try out a Bonnet, I do, then you can enter to win a Sanswill Fly Bonnet  here. They are spectacular, and beautifully made. I want one now!!!

Thanks to A Work In Progress for turning me on to these great Bonnets, and the Give away.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Product Review - Equine Pine.

After having some issues with late arrival of sawdust, and using stall shavings, we decided this would be a great time to try out some new stall bedding. After seeing bags of Equine Pine at our local Tractor Supply store, and doing some research online, we decided to give it a whirl.

You can read about the product and company here. 
"Equine Pine is made of 100% pure Pine pellets that absorb moisture and destroy odors naturally. The unique make-up of Pine bonds with the ammonia and neutralizes it fast. Also, because the Pine absorbs moisture quickly, it makes mucking the stalls much easier and less time consuming, all while reducing the pesky fly population."

Since it is November, I can not tell you whether the claim about flies has any merit, but as for the other stuff: right on!

Equine Pine
After over a week of use, and daily muckings of the stall; I am super happy with Equine Pine. It is not dusty, does not settle on/in Pippi's heavy winter fur, and is really easy to muck out. The amount of manure and waste taken from her stall went from one wheel barrow per day, to 1/4 of a wheel barrow of only manure. I sift through the entire stall every day because Pippi is a stall walker and tends to move her waste all over he stall. In the wet area, in Pippi's case that is right in the middle, I take out the super wet, and then put some dry bedding over it from the sides.

Opening the bags

We bought seven bags, not being really sure how much we would use, and ended up using five. We saved the others for the fill in, as stated on the website. After spreading it on inch thick all around on the cleaned stall mats, I was quite frankly a bit worried. It did not look like it would be enough even if it swelled a lot from being "misted."

Spreading pellets one inch thick.

According to the manufacturer we were to "spray water lightly." Now, what the hmmm does that mean exactly? Spray Lightly? So I hooked up the hose, pulled it inside, and misted away. Of course the hose, immediately developed a huge gash and water sprayed all over the place. I tried to cover the freezing hole with my hands, but it was gushing pretty badly. Misting done!! Just to let you know, water the pellets until the top layer looks darker. I was for sure that I had over watered with the gushing, but it was fine.

After watering.

After watering we all stood around staring at the bedding as though something quite dramatic was about to occur. We were of course convinced that I had soaked it, and you will have the advantage of knowing that you may water, and not just "spray water lightly." Soon the pellets looked softer, and by the time Pippi tried it out, she was standing on a nice fluffy bedding.

My fear was that the bedding would move with her, making lines and divets until you could see the mats. That is not the case. I also worried about sifting the stuff, but it falls right through the fork, leaving only the manure. Somehow the bedding in the stall has continued to grow all week, so that every day we have more. We have yet to open the other two bags, to replace any of the removed bedding.

Sometimes while mucking the stall I still think that the wet areas can not possible be absorbed.  However when I move over dry bedding (which still will be somewhat pelleted due to being by the walls) onto the wet spot and spread it around it magically disappears. (I do take out some really soaked stuff though.) I fluff the stall a bit, and it looks like new bedding again. Pippi does tend to track all her manure all around, so that helps me sift through a lot of it daily. Some of the wet tends to clump, almost like clumping litter.

This product is cheaper than shavings, more absorbent than saw dust, and it is a green product! The manure pile is smaller, and with less overall waste, the manure pile is better for composting. It has only been a week or so, and I will let you know how I feel in a few more weeks. There is no need at this point to strip the stall, as we used to do at least once a week with sawdust and once per day with shavings. That in itself is fantastic, and considering the cost savings, I am sold so far.

Did I mention that is comes sealed in bags, so no more dealing with how to keep sawdust dry in bad winter weather. Don't you just hate it when the sawdust freezes in the pile, and you have to hack lose a wheelbarrow full at a time?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ding Dong, the B!$%# is GONE!!!

As I previously stated Pippi has recently become quite grumpy, and even tried to kick me when I entered her stall to refill water buckets while she ate her feed. We wondered if the culprit was the Energy supplement we had started her on. Our new barn has a small field for her to run around in, she is by herself a lot and I think the energy was just making her have "equine cabin fever."

After skipping the energy supplement for two days, the Pippi of old is just about back. Today she was friendly, wanted to be petted, stood in the cross ties and was just amenable to everything. With the constant rain, we did not ride, but I sure wish we could have. She was a bit distracted, but in a few more days we should see even more mood improvement.

I called SmartPak and asked to switch the energy supplement, but they had already sent this months shipment. They stated that they had not had complaints about mood changes with the energy supplement, but I still think that is the culprit in our case. Just goes to show that as with all creatures we have to decide for ourselves, and realize that we all react differently to different stimuli.

I spent today at home, after waking up at 3am with a migraine and severe pain in my neck and shoulders. This afternoon I had a deep tissue massage, and although quite painful, it helped tremendously. Before the massage I could barely lift my elbows, but I am now typing on my blog.  Still went to the barn with Daughter this evening too.

Haven and Stumpy
Mostly I spent the day chillin with the cats.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shouldn't take it personally, but Oh - I do!!

Went to the barn this morning, and there was an incident that left me angry, a little scared and unsettled.

Lately Pippi has been, there is no other word more appropriate sorry, BITCHY!! She has been difficult to work with, pinning her ears and just being a giant grump. She has been on a SmartPak Energy supplement, and I can't help but think that this along with the move is the reason. Her field is small, and so giving her more energy, a small field, and basically no company (since the mini's are in most of the time) I think is making her nutty.

This morning after I gave her the grain, and came back in to water, she actually squeeled and then lifted her hind leg as though to kick at me. I went and got a crop, and came back in. This time I moved her to the side with the pressure of the crop, and she moved with no incident. Kind of wish she would have lifted that leg again, so I could have swatted her butt!

But I was still angry, a little bit scared (they are big animals after all) and quite irritated.

I called Daughter after I got to work, and we have decided to take Pippi off the energy supplement, and see if that helps her overall mood. If it does not, we will add MareMagic or some other supplement to stabilize her bitchy side.

I miss my sweet, gentle, kind Pippi........

Friday, November 11, 2011

Do you see what I see?

How many Horses ?

Love this one

How many Horses are in the painting above?

can you see a horse?
What is this?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I love that Feeling!

I was able to get to the barn yesterday, and I really needed a trip to the barn. For the last few days Daughter has been the caregiver, since I had to travel and was unable to make it, she was on her own.

Up until recently we have boarded Pippi at facilities, and so a lot of her care has been done by others. On October 23rd we moved Pippi to Donna and Kevin's house, in our neighborhood, and we are now taking care of her exclusively ourselves. For some reason I thought it would be a lot of work, but with only one horse it is not that bad. We also care for Pippi's stall mate, Chance (mini Pip), whose stall is the only other one in that building. But even so, we are LOVING it. Two stalls to clean, three water buckets, and two feeders, two meals per day, hay and sweeping the aisle; no big whoop! I think after sitting all day in an office, the motion of moving and working just feels like a break. Of course that is easy to say now, it is not winter yet.

Pippi was happy to see me, I was happy to see her. She had chosen to be outside even in the rain, so I dried her off and spent some time just grooming and rubbing on her. I love the deep exhales she does, and the way her body seems to settle as I touch her. I rubbed a towel all over he body, and gently stroked her face with it. She loves that, and will freeze in place for as long as I am willing to do it. I found the spot behind her ear that makes her eyes close, and she got that dreamy expression. She now picks up her feet with just the slightest touch, and was very patient with the long time it took me to clean out all the packed in mud.

We just fiddled around with this and that for a while. Did some clicker stuff as we waited for Daughter to finish her stall, and just enjoyed ourselves. Pawing the ground, touch the item, etc. Pippi will only do clicker training for a few minutes before she decides she has had enough treats and will no longer be manipulated. She then just stands and looks at me. She will comply with things that makes sense to her, but touch the item goes out the window. "Bored!!" she says, and there is a limit to what we can do in a small aisle.

I am so happy to have Pippi to ourselves like this. If you are wondering about taking your horse "home" - DO IT!! It is less work than you think, and it does strengthen your bond with the horse for sure. Pippi now knows for sure who her humans are, and relies on us for everything. Daughter says it has made training easier as well, even without the fancy outdoor arena and an indoor arena. (of course, it is not really winter yet!)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What I learn..(not really a horse post)

Blogging, both reading others and writing my own, has taught me so much. Much about horses, but also much about myself. My experiences with humans in the horse world,  and my job has given me a hard edge that I am not sure I like. But how does one turn back?

Recently I commented on a blog post written by Kelly at Princess Diva Diaries, and after reading my own comment I was shocked to realize that I can be a bit callous. Kelly was writing about the uncomfortable switch from one trainer to another, and about whether she should respond to the previous trainers seemingly terse response to being dropped. I wrote that Kelly should make sure she stated what she wanted in her email, and that unless she regretted writing something or felt that she left something out, should leave well enough alone. Although I agree with myself, I started thinking about how I have changed.
Years ago, before current job in Social Services, and Before Pippi, my response would have been different. I now seem to have the attitude "oh, well, if they have a problem they should bring it up" whereas I used to think "I should talk to them about it."

What changed? My feelings about people!

Yesterday I spent the day in a small rural court house, waiting to be called as a witness to a Child Abuse and Neglect case. I was subpoenaed by the Prosecuting Attorney due to this Defendant being a former client of mine. All day case after case was brought up; a never ending parade of defendants walked to the gallows and had their cases either heard (1) or moved to December 5th at 9am. (Yes -all those cases at the same time! No wonder I was there all day!)

There is a lot of client drama in my job (14 years in social services), and having Pippi and Boarding her has at times been quite dramatic as well. The fancy facility that we were at this spring was a nightmare; the manager was the sweetest little liar anyone could ever have the pleasure to meet, another boarder was a little shit stirrer, and meanwhile horses were underfed, feed was stolen, water buckets hardly ever filled, stalls left filthy, and horses left out unfed for hours (once in a huge storm). We moved! In the riding club there is never ending drama, and so I pulled out of that.

All of his has changed me, and I no longer feel as good about people as I used to. But I miss my old sweet attitude. I miss thinking well of people, and believing that people are essentially good. I don't think that now. Reading blogs are restoring some of my faith. People trying to do the right thing for their animals; Kelly worrying about her situation with former Trainer, reading about the meticulous care Chrome gets and his clicker training, and Amy falling off yet getting back to riding, warms my heart. And all the other blogs I read as well.
 So thank you so much for that. And if I sometimes sound hard or calloused in my posts, or in my comments, please call me on it. This is something I want to work on. I don't want to lose faith due to seeing a lot of crap, or hearing more likely, and I hope to find ways to turn back to a more positive frame of mind.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"The Gate, Stupid!"

When I arrived to clean the stall and feed Pippi last night, she was standing by the fence in the "run." I opened the car door, and she whinnied and gave me a look that clearly showed her frustration. She was not amused, and I had no idea why.

Walking towards her I said "what is it Pip? why are you standing here?" The run is just dirt for it is there that the weanling mini horses are turned out. The Mini horses tend to be turned out on dirt so that they do not overeat on grass and founder. Pippi goes from her stall into the run, and through an open gate into her little field of grass. Well, she normally does........

Pippi looked at me, let me pet her face for a minute, a scratch by the ear, and then she spoke again seemingly rolling her eyes." Oh stupid humans, they are fairly impossible to train, and they don't understand the simplest commands."

What is it, Pippi?  I tend to think things, imagining that she can sense my intent more that understand my "crude" human language. Like when I ride, I post a picture of what I want us to do in my mind so that my body will do it naturally, rather than tell myself what I should do. Does that make sense? Might be a bit of mumbo jumbo, but it works for me..........

Pippi at this point turned and walked to get the gate, bumping it to show me that it was closed. Not just closed, latched!! She slowly turned her head, and gave a me a "DUH!!!!"

Daughter had forgotten to unlatch and secure the gate after Chance was out yesterday. Pippi spent all day standing beside a lush green buffet, with no access.

No wonder I got a good cursing!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Kick heard around the farm

As you may know we moved Pippi to a new farm, where they keep Mini Horses. Among them is a mini we refer to as Mini Pip, as his coloring so resembles Pippis'.
Pippi, Daughter,( Mini Pip) Chance and Turnip

After being across from each other in the barn for over a week, and seeing each other outside for a few days, we decided to put Pippi and Chance together in one field. Pippi has been alone in that field since we moved. Chance was excited to be on grass, and ran right out and started eating. At first Pippi just looked at him, and kept munching away. She then moved closer and ate next to him. He never batted an eye.

Speaking of batting, I sent Daughter out there with a lunge whip just in case. Turned out to be a good idea.
Pippi soon circled Chance, ears pinned, and then ate some more. All of a sudden she turned her butt to him, signaled with ears pinned and waited for a second or two for him to move away, and then kicked. She caught him on the side. It was not a real hard kick, but he is a MINI!!!

I already had enough and yelled for Daughter to remove him IMMEDIATELY!!! Donna and Kevin were quite calm, and stated "oh well, we will try it again in a few days." Oh hell no, I can not have it on my conscience that Chance was mortally injured by my, until yesterday, sweet little mare.

I do think Pippi expected him to give ground, and signal to her that yes indeedy she was the Alpha Mare and that he would move when told. But Chance was so excited to eat, and being a mini, he just did not know the protocol and the rules for polite behavior when encountering a Beeyatch Mare.

Donna thinks we should leave the two alone in side by side fields for a few days, and see what develops. Anybody ever put a mini Gelding and a mean Mare together? Any advice?

(btw, Chance is fine. We gave him lots of carrots, and I checked him over this morning; not even a bruise it seems)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Persian Malaise UPDATE!!

I heard from the Vet, and I should add, I love our small animal vet. (I love our large animal vet too). JingleBelle has an upper respiratory infection. They put her on the nebulizer and it brought on a sneeze attack, and seemed to help. She was given a shot of antibiotics, and they recommend I come get her late this afternoon, as they would like to do another nebulizer treatment.

Since she is more likely to eat, and keep her spirits up, and be more comfortable, they are sending her home. She does not have a fever, but her lymph nodes are swollen.

So glad to hear that my little SmellyBelly is coming home. Isn't amazing how much love such a little creature can foster?

Persian Malaise

JingleBelle is under the weather.
When I came home from work yesterday, I was busy putting away groceries and was unaware that she was not feeling good. Well, that's not entirely right as I have been aware of a runny nose for a few days. She normally gets a bit stuffy when the weather turns cold, but this year we seem to be dealing with a little more than a few days of the sniffles.
She was cuddled up on a chair, with a blanket over her body (love my son's kind nature), and was just not being herself. She was listless, somewhat unresponsive, and disinterested. Her head was barely up, and she felt cold. I grabbed the phone and called the vet, and dropped her off this morning.
She did perk up a bit later on, and I handfed and she drank some water. She spent the night alone in the bathroom; I wanted to see how much she ate and drank, and wanted to monitor her little box. (She ate a bit, drank a bit, and her movement was a bit loose.)

JingleBelle is a true Persian cat, she is seven years old, and is on a strict diet of only Science Diet Hairball formula (due to the shape of the feed since it is the only on her flat face can pick up.) I even feed her the same thing as "treats."
She is spoiled and the Ruler of our household. If she wants a chair, she gets it! If she wants to snuggle at 3am, she gets to! When she tells me that the disgusting Pets (the other two cats), left hair in her water bowl, or used her little box, it gets cleaned out! She will meow and look at me with disdain at those times since it is my fault that we have "animals" in the house. "Animals" are gross in her opinion, and belong outside, and should be kept away from decent creatures like herself. Whenever they get too close, the get the claws, or a quick bite to show them who is boss.

I hope to hear from the vet asap, and will leave work to go take her home as soon as she is ready.