Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Reunion of my Gals

After 12 days..........

Love spreads like a virus in the barn

Pippi savoring the end of the day......

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hobalong Equestrienne! And I "fixed" Pippi myself!

Miranda saw the Othopedic Surgeon today, and they took a new Xray. So far SOOOO GOOD!! Looks like the fractures are healing(new bone growing), and she is now allowed to walk on her cast. (seems counter intuitive, but he swears it will heal faster this way, and he did have a white doctors smock on and a name tag, so we will go with it.)  So she is "hobalonging" around.

Next appointment in two weeks, when they anticipate swapping the cast for a below the knee version. Doc estimated the healing to take between two to six months, depending on her body chemistry. So we are hoping for the shortest time, but prepared for longer. Donny has agreed to compete with Pippi in our local shows to keep her mind and body in competition mode. I think it will be good for her to experience another rider, and to stay in working horse mode.

Speaking of Pippi.
After the accident she had a large bruise on her side, likely caused by the Stirrup and Miranda's ankle. She was stiff, and sore, but after a few days seemed just fine. On Wednesday this week, I decided to lunge her on the lunge line. She was super well behaved, and responded really well to my cues, swapping gaits on command. We started counter clockwise, and she was fine until I asked her to Canter. I had to ask twice, raising my voice, and although she did it, she was tossing her head quite a bit. I attributed this to the flies and bugs (can you believe they are so abundant so early?). She dropped to a trot and walk when asked, and halted really well. I was pleased, and was telling Donna about how when lunging one should stand quietly as possible to have the horse work and not the other way around. This was explained to me by a horse trainer I highly respect, and she stated that the horse needs to know that you are the dominant one working it, not the other way around.
I then switched direction (all full of myself and my fantastic lunging abilities), and all was fine until I asked for the canter. Once again I had to be firm, and ask twice before she would change gait. And then she started pulling, and I stupidly held on to the lunge line. What an IDIOT I am! Who does that? SO DUMB!!! I finally let go, but only after I had a nice burn cut into my hand across the palm. Oh yeah, I did not have gloves either. What a moron.
Pippi ran over to the gate, and stood there looking at me. She did not try to get away, just stood there and allowed me to come get her. I was annoyed with her, and by golly we were going to get this done. Kevin threw me some gloves, and I lunged her again. When we got to the canter, she pulled off again, and ran to the fence.
Well, this time the thick skulled human, got the message; something was wrong with her. I asked her when I approached her "are you hurt Pippi?" and she said "I swear you are one slow witted Human! Seriously! I give up! If you don't get any better, I am going to take you to the auction and get a better human. One I can train." I swear she said that. Not in so many words, but..............

I walked her out to look at her better. Her spine was swayed, and her rear had lost all its rounded glory. Instead there were two points, and her tail bone was elevated and the area around it seemed swollen. Donna agreed and stated that she had looked at her earlier and wondered if she was getting fat, because she looked different somehow. But no, not fat, just out of alignment. I left her alone, and decided to call the Chiropractor to get her adjusted.
Well, I decided to try to give her a massage myself first. I learned some techniques from a Buddhist Monk years ago (long story) and although that was for humans, I figured I would give it a try. I have after all watched our Chiro work on her, and read books on Equine massage, and watched videos, and massaged Pippi a lot, plus I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express once. I am practically an expert.
So last night after vigorously grooming her, and removing enormous amounts of hair, Donna and I took her into an enclosure and I got to work. I stretched her legs, and worked my way down her neck and spine. Pippi would tell me I had hit a sore spot by vibrating when I knocked on her muscles, and I would stop and rub her some. I bent her neck gently to both sides, and made her put her head between her front legs. She was very willing to be pampered, and was completely cooperative. I stretched out her hind legs, and felt a slight pop in the right one. When I released that leg she shook it a little, and then sighed. I then rubbed her buttocks, which she objected a little to, but seemed to appreciate after the initial pain. Her hips were also sore it seemed, as well as her loin and her flanks. It was clear that she was just sore all over the rear really. Her neck had some knots and tender areas, but after some massage she relaxed and started yawning and stretching with my movements of her.

Afterwards I trotted her out, and Donna was amazed at how much smoother she moved. It was not apparent until it was, if you know what I mean. I let her back out in the field, and she trotted a bit and then started grazing. Her rear was once again rounded, and her back was back to normal. She was also stepping wide with her front legs to graze, and once again it struck me too late that she had been grazing awkwardly before. Bending her knees a little rather than spreading the legs apart.
Oh how I wish she could speak. (Probably just about as much as she wishes I could hear.) But I am thrilled that I was able to help her. It felt great to be able to alleviate her pain and discomfort myself, and in my own emotionally dependent way I'd like to think it meant something to her that I was the one that fixed her. I sure meant a lot to me and Donna. We were proud of us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trail Ride DISASTER! (Part Three)

You can read Part One, and Part Two, by following those links.

After seeing the Orthopedic Doctor, and consulting with a Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr.T, we decided to go with the "Closed Reduction" that Dr.T stated he could do. It seemed the best option as it was non invasive and would not leave any hardware behind to taunt Miranda's Immune System.
No, let me make one thing clear, Miranda is not sick. She has not had any symptoms of HSP for over a year, and has not been treated for any symptoms for several years. We don't think she will have any more issues, but when making decisions regarding medical intervention we certainly have to take her medical history into account. Miranda is healthy, and we expect her to stay that way. :)
Here are some pics of her ankle that was taken in the ER:

Inside of right ankle taken from above

Right Ankle, foot is at bottom

Scratches on arm from Briers
Miranda was in A LOT of pain waiting for Wednesday when Dr.T would do the procedure to line up the fracture, the Closed Reduction, and put a cast on it. She took her meds, but was warned they would do little to really touch the pain, and she became sick to her stomach. She is one tough cookie, and held out really well. The pain was edged on her face, eyes huge from lack of sleep, and just a bone weary look about her.

Wednesday finally dawned, and we were at the clinic with time to spare. If only the other patients would have been as motivated....... But no! One guy was ONE HOUR late to his procedure, and so now we were all waiting. And waiting and waiting. They took Miranda back, and got her all set, and we waited some more. Two and a half hours late, and more than12 hours after Miranda had to stop taking pain med to prepare for Anesthesia, they were finally ready for her. Dr.T put a check mark on her toe, her splint, and signed her knee. As though the splint was not indication enough of which leg they were to work on.

They rolled her back, and I went to the waiting room. I had my Kindle, and spent the wait time reading "The $80 Champion." Dr.T came and spoke with me about 45 minutes later. He had done the procedure and stated it went "well, not perfect, but well." He asked about Miranda's skin grafts on her ankle, and I explained more about that. After another 20 minutes I was taken to see Miranda, who was already wide awake. She had been given some Morphine for the pain, and seemed to be ready to go home. Her cast is bright purple, and reaches above the knee.
Pic she took in the back of my car
So then we went home.

And now we wait. She has an appointment on March 27th, where they will take some Xrays and potentially change out the cast for a better fitting one since the swelling is going down. Hopefully a below the knee contraption.
Miranda is holding tough. She is understandably depressed, and a bit down in the dumps. She read online that breaks such as hers can take as much as 6 months to heal. That is most of this years competition season, not to mention most of the summer. We have not been told anything by the Docs regarding a timeline, something I remind her of often, but regardless we must make the best of it.

She keeps asking when she can go to the barn, and I have promised that after Tuesday's appointment, after we hear that all is well and she gets a new cast, we will go. I will wrap her leg in saran wrap, and off we will go.
Pippi is doing fine. With all the happenings, did I mention we are also dealing with a whole house electric rewiring right now?, she is being fed, groomed, has a clean stall, but that's about it. I need to buck up and get on the beast, but no time as yet. This weekend for sure. I am a bit nervous to do that without Miranda doing the obligatory warm up, get the kinks out, riding, but Pippi needs to be ridden. So I will cowgirl up, and get to it. I did cut her feed and hay back some, with the loss of exercise, she does not need as much, and I do not want her getting fat. She is shedding a lot due to the great weather, and Kevin was kind enough to groom her Sunday. He stated he removed at least one Mini horse worth of fur. Donna stripped the stall for me Sunday; did I ever mention how fantastic these friends of ours are?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Trail Ride DISASTER!! (Part Two)

Click here to read Part One.

 So, I left off with "we unloaded Pippi and headed to the ER." Miranda stayed in Kevin's truck as she was already settled there, and after checking with a dear friend, whose husband is a doctor, we picked an ER and I followed them there.
 Kevin ran in and came back with a wheelchair, and Miranda gingerly climbed down from the truck, and was rolled in. There were three people waiting who were filling out the necessary (?) forms for one of them, and I tried to rush Miranda's paperwork so that we would beat them in line. No such luck, because Miranda did not know her Social Security number, and so we had to look it up. Dang!!! Competitive to the end? or just trying to get much needed relief for daughter? You be the judge.

 At this point it was about 7:15pm. The kick occurred around 5:30. Miranda still had not had any drugs, or been seen by a doctor. We were wheeled back to check in with the intake nurse around 7:30, blood pressure, height and weight, sign forms with second nurse, and then FINALLY moved back to Bay 3. (At this point Kevin and Donna left and promised to check on Pippi, and feed her if she was cooled down.)

 The patient that beat us to the punch was next to us, and did not even really need immediate care. (She had an issue with a toenail due to mismanaged  diabetes, no actual pain she told me). The doctor saw that patient first, and I was quite close to re-enacting the Viking version of this scene:

"Give my Daughter some drugs!!"

Anyway the nurses allowed her to stay in the wheelchair after seeing the, at this point, badly swollen ankle. Finally the Doctor came over and stated almost immediately that the leg was broken, "you have all the clinical signs of a broken leg." Miranda was moved over onto the bed, received an IV and drugs,  and the XRay Tech came and took shots at several angles. The Xray Tech was quite nice, and it was a blessing not to have to be moved for the Xrays.

And then we waited, and waited. I was starving, my neck was starting to hurt and a headache was coming on. I needed to eat something or a migraine was sure to follow. My cell vibrated and my dear friend, said she was coming in with Sweet Ice Tea for us. It was a minor miracle.
Miranda was not allowed to drink anything in case she needed surgery, so she was now suffering from pain and thirst. Marla had also brought me a Cinnamon Roll; I LOVE HER!!! So now Miranda also got to see me eat pure yummyness. Nope, I did not leave to eat it, I ate it right in front of her. Cause that's how I roll!!

We waited some more, and then.....................we waited some more still. Marla stuck around and kept us company, and offered to give Miranda a ride home when the time came since she has a Van which would be easier to load into (I drive the Liberal Flagship, the Prius. :)

Both the Tibia and the Fibula was broken, right above the ankle joint.

Not Miranda's foot. LOL

When the ER doc. came and told Both the Tibia and the Fibula was broken, right above the ankle joint. I am sure she thought our reaction was somewhat underwhelming. For at that point we had collected ourselves and were gathering courage. They gave Miranda some more drugs and then started the excruciating process of applying a fiberglass splint. (We had tall girl crutches at home, from when Miranda was dealing with her Auto Immune decease.) And then we went home where Hubby and Son were waiting up for us. It was now 11:30. Hubby helped place Miranda on the couch, we elevated the leg, and iced, took the ER drugs and tried to get some rest. Not much rest was had.

On Monday I called, and after using some intimidation, were given an appointment with a local Orthopedic Doc at one o'clock. The same OD that Miranda has babysat for a few times, and his son is Son's friend.   The Nurse took us to an exam room, found Miranda's Electronic records and made sure the Xray's were on the monitor. When she saw them she uttered "yikes." That is never a good sign.
 The OD could not have been any kinder or showed more concern. Sure, that may be because he knew us, but his warmth and caring was very welcome. He looked at the Xrays and said that this break was more than he was comfortable dealing with. We needed a specialist. Oh Goody! The bones were broken, and were set off the ankle. The ankle joint was not where it should be, and Doc was surprised the bones had not come through the skin. Doc was pretty sure the ankle would require surgery, and talked of pins, plates and rods.
 He was annoyed that he was not called the night before, so that he could have consulted then. Knowing Miranda's medical history, he recalled her battle with Henoch Schonlein Purpura (HSP), he recommended we call "Nationwide Childrens Hospital" in Columbus to see if they would take her on. She is generally too old now, but they will always treat her regarding any new episodes with HSP. It was worth a shot, but they were unwilling to take her.
 Our next bet was a local Orthopedic Surgeon, and he was contacted. He looked at the Xrays, and stated that he would do a "closed reduction." That means setting the bones.
An appointment was made for Wednesday when they would put Miranda in a Twilight sleep, and yank her leg until the bones lined up again. Considering Miranda's Immune history the idea of doing a procedure without leaving metal behind, and without cutting, was the best option.
Home we went; new drugs as the old one contained Codeine, which we told the hospital makes Miranda sick. We figured it out when she vomited. Seems they thought, why do they do that?, that a synthetic Codeine would be okay. Insert loud cursing here!
Doc warned us that Miranda's pain would be bad, to keep leg elevated and iced, and to not be shocked if she became ill again. Seems the constant pain, and throbbing, and the break could make her physically ill. It did, and Tuesday was rough.

More to come...................

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trail ride DISASTER!!! (Part One)

What a draining week it has been.

 On Sunday afternoon Miranda and a Friend went on a trail ride on the trails near our neighborhood. It was my idea since,as you may have read in my previous blog, Pippi needs to pack on some muscle and get in shape for the riding season. No better way to do that than climbing some hills.

 On their way up the hill to the trails Miranda called me, so I knew approximately when they entered the trail head. I sat down to watch "Awake" on the DVR with my son, and about half hour later my cell phone rang. It was Miranda, and she said calmly "Mom?" When I, in an annoyed voice (as this was the second phone call to disrupt the show),answered "Yes," she succumbed to tears' "Mom, I'm hurt."

 Those words sure can get a moms heart to skip a beat. Trail ride on horse back and you are hurt? Ran out the door like a madwoman. I yelled at my husband on my way out, telling him she was hurt and that I would call him if I needed to. To be fair, I have run out the door like that before, horses do tend to cause some damage, with it in the end just being some bruises or a sprain. Poor guy, is used to the "Horse emergencies" like Pippi is bleeding, limping, Horse is lose, Miranda fell off, etc.

 I drove to where they entered the trail, thinking they could not have made it very far since I "just spoke to her." Parked, shoved keys and cellphone in pocket and started my career as a tracker. Miranda had little idea what trail they were on at that point, or how far in they were. These trails are between to major roads, so although there are a lot of trails to meander, one can only go so far without seeing civilization. So I ran, watching the prints of two horses in the dirt. At each fork I found the tracks and kept going. Then I jogged, seriously, I am not in great enough shape to run in the woods for very long. I called Miranda intermittently, and just kept going. She told me what had happened:

 Pippi had been up front, was frightened by something on the trail (an animal, a rock, a tree stump? who knows), and was hopping, backing up and turning at the same time, bumping into the other horse that was behind her. This horse took offense, spun around and kicked out at Pippi. I am sure her behavior was threatening to him, so he reacted. Basically it was two horses being horses, over reacting quickly and dangerously the way prey animals will do.
 Pippi reared at the kick, Miranda fell off and for good measure rolled through some briers on the hillside. Covered in scratches, she looked down at her aching ankle and realized as the pain set in that she was seriously hurt. Her ankle was bent at an alarming angle, and it HURT!!!!!!! The kick from her friends horse had hit her right in the ankle, and it was clear that this was a very bad situation. She could not move without blinding pain, blood was seeping through scratches criss crossing her arms, and Pippi was nowhere to be seen. Only one thing to do; CALL MOMMY!!!

 So there I was running through the woods, calling "Pippi" softly (to not send her running) and hoping that they were around the next bend, over the next rise, or around the next turn. Up and down hills I ran. Mud splattering my jeans, and filling my sneakers. I eventually met a couple who kindly went with me for a while. His health was not the best however, so eventually they turned around to take what he thought was a quicker route to the pond Miranda stated they had just ridden by. I chose to follow the two sets of horse tracks to be sure I was not wasting time. This turned out to be a good idea as the couple later found that he was wrong about where the pond was, and she sent him home and then followed me.

Finally after going down a very steep hill I saw the pond. Circled it, and down another hill. I knew I was close now, because Miranda stated they had just passed the pond. She called and said that Friend found Pippi, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I realize that sounds terrible. My second question after "are you okay?" was "where is Pippi?" Clearly Miranda was okay, she was calling, and she was talking, so although worried about her, I was freaking out about the runaway horse. I envisioned calling every horse person I knew to search for Pippi while I took Miranda to the ER. The roads that circle the trails are busy, and an Interstate is nearby. My imagination was showing me all kinds of frightening scenarios. But she was found, so I could now concentrate on my daughter.

Finally I see an animal with a large white butt on the next hillside, and I hear "Mommy?" I found them. I estimate I had hiked a good 2 1/2 -3 miles at that point.

Friend was holding the two horses, Miranda was down the hill in the briers still down. She looked a fright; huge eyes, pain edged on her face, but she was keeping her cool allowing only a few stray tears to escape. The right ankle was swollen grotesquely, and the angle was a sure sign that it was broken.

"How are we going to get me out of here Mom?"
"The same way you came in, on horse back."
She blanched, but it was "cowgirl up" or stay in the woods. No time to get a fourwheeler, as the sun was going down soon. I was also concerned that the horses would be frightened by a contraption like that.
 I checked on Pippi, who was soaked in sweat and foam, and still a bit worked up. Friend showed me that one of the reins had broken off the bit. Clearly Miranda would have to ride Friends horse. I helped her up, she hopped towards the horse, gritting her teeth, and I hoisted her into the saddle. Left leg was fine so she stepped into the stirrup, and swung the injured leg over. Ouch!
 We had called Kevin and Donna, and decided (after some confusion) they should meet us at another trail head with their truck and trailer. It was a mile and a half hike out. Miranda clearly suffered as Friend walked her out on horseback, but she managed to keep talking and even cracked some jokes. Pippi was keyed up, but acted fine. She seemed to know we were heading home, and kept smelling my shirt and looking at me. "Human, you will not believe what happened, the mean horse kicked me!! It was so scary..... I hate the woods!! Don't ever make me come here again!"
The kind lady I had met earlier found us, and kept us company, providing some distraction and chatter.

We finally made it to the trail head, and waited there for Kevin and Donna. When the sound of a Diesel engine could be heard coming up the hill, Pippi perked up and whinnied.
"We are over here!!" she seemed to say.
After Kevin parked, and came around the back of the trailer, she whinnied again.
"Thank God you are here. I want to GO HOME!!!!"

We loaded both horses, after getting Miranda into the back of the truck. They took off for Friends house to drop her off, and I ran back into the woods to get to the car on the other side of the trails. After another mile or so (and boy was I tired, as I had already walked 3 1/2 earlier in the day for exercise with a friend), I jumped in and met them at our barn. We unloaded Pippi, removing water and hay from her stall since she was still hot. Brought in all the minis, and fed them in a hurry, and headed to the ER.

More to come...............

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fatty deposit scan brings it home.

Recently an associate has had some unfortunate medical news, and the need for surgery has been proposed my doctors. Unfortunately this person is quite heavy, and with that comes several health factors. During a previous surgery complications arose, and so surgery at this point could be risky. Weight loss is imperative, might even effect the need for surgery in the first place, but will at minimum make surgery less dangerous.

This scan is of a 250lbs female on the left, and a 120lbs woman on the right.

Shocking right?

I think there is a tendency to imagine that weight, and fat, is carried on the outside of the body. Kind of like a fat suit. A thick covering of extra fat under the skin, but above the "meat."
 As you can see by this scan, the fatty deposits are also inside the cavity of the abdomen, covering intestines and organs. Surrounding organs, like the heart and liver. Just imagine how difficult it would be to do any type of abdominal surgery with all this extra tissue in the way. Not to mention the extra healing time that it takes for fat to heal from incisions. The pressure of that weight increasing tension on intestines and organs.

When I first came across this scan I was in awe. I kept staring at it, and noticing all the different places where fat had altered the form of the body. Look at the bones in the shoulders, the extra tissue of the neck, the strain on hips, knees and ankles. A lifelong weight issue sure would take a toll.

These days there seems to be a lot of overweight children. I see them in my clients homes a lot, and often wonder if the parents even notice and know what the weight is doing to their lifelong health.

There are a lot of fat pets don't you think? Cats and dogs that suffer under the weight with bad health and shortened lifespans. My cats eat only Science Diet cat food. The treats I give them are actually just the same food that I keep a bit of in the kitchen. The fact that I hand feed the treat is what makes it special.

I don't see as many examples of fat horses. (too expensive?) A friend once showed me how fat her horses became through the winter, and although they sure could use a work out, they were not obese by any means. Pippi needs to muscle up a bit this spring. She gained at least 150lbs after we moved her "home" and took over her care ourselves, but she needed it. Now she needs to trail ride, work on getting her muscles and tendons up to par.
One of my great pet peeves is when a human does not do the necessary training to get their horse in physical shape, before plucking them out of the field and making them compete. Training is way more than learning a skill, it is getting in shape to do that skill. And just because your horse was a state champion barrel racer at one point, does not mean that you should make it run barrels at a show, after standing in a stall eating hay all winter. I insist, loudly, that Miranda train Pippi physically as well as technically. (As a matter of fact they are out on a trail ride right now, and Miranda actually dislikes those a lot!!!) Walk hills, do trail riding, bending, and stretching out. Give that horse a thorough work out, follow it up with a slow cool down, and a relaxing massage (with muscle liniment). We go through bottles of liniment each year, and Pippi loves having the "rump muscles" pummeled and the knots worked out. I have lost track of the number of comments we have received in the vein of "wow, that horse is ripped." Pippi is ridden a lot, and we ask a lot from her as a jumper. In return I wish to make her physically able to handle the demand her body goes through. I want her to weigh enough, but not too much, and have the muscles and stamina to perform her tasks easily.

Imagine if we asked the woman on the left to carry 15% of her body weight on her back, and jump a 3ft oxer? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"I have never known a day without Beauty" (video)

Yesterday, Donna, Kevin and I headed to Amish Country for the semi-annual Mount Hope Carriage and Tack Sale. (this is not the infamous Horse Slaughter Auctions at Sugar Creek, although it is in the same county) It is all sold at auction, and the items auctioned off include tack, horses, carriages, farm implements and basically any horse related item. This is the place to pick up everything from a Horseshoe Wind chime, like Donna did, or a saddle, like I did. (I actually bought two, and will post pics as soon as I get them cleaned up). Any horse related item, no matter how slight, will be sold. If it has a picture of a horse on it, it is a horse related item.
Mount Hope is located in the heart of Amish country, and so the sight of buggies and horses is quite common here. I wandered over to the where the horses were tied up, and took some pictures.

This line of horses stood quite patiently waiting. I walked closer to take more pics, but did not go close enough to touch any of them. Not knowing how they would react I did not want to cause any stress. They are all tied up, with most still harnessed to a buggy.

Same line of horses closer up. None turned their heads to see me, guess those blinders work quite well.
This horse neighed when I came closer, and walked forward until the bar hit his chest. It was a rather cold and blustery day, so I was glad to see that he had a sheet on. They all looked like they had sweated from bringing the buggies in, so a sheet would be nice for proper cool down.

This Little fella looked so tired and exhausted. All bow legged and just adorable. He was by far the smallest horse attached to a buggy, and was soaked in sweat.
This two were quite animated, and were working hard at trying to reach each other. The black one was working on maneuvering the buggy sideways in order to reach and potentially sniff muzzles.

Most of the horses had sheets on, and looked quite well taken care of. Their feet looked good, and although I'm sure the life of a buggy horse is tough, none looked to be mistreated. I can't help but feel bad for them though.
The auctions are held in two side by side buildings and outdoors. It was cold (mid 40's), and windy. The wind was really chilly, and although dressed for it, I was a bit cold at times. Inside the large warehouse was three or four auctions at the same time. They have four enormous flat bed trailers filled to the brim with all kinds of items, and things are auctioned as they get to it. No rhyme or reason, just wait until you see something you want to bid on. You are of course welcome to walk and look at the items on the trailers. I picked up things I wanted and placed them closer to the auctioneer so that my wait would be shorter. That may or may not be frowned upon, but no one glared at me. Here is a video of the Saddle auction: (Turn the sound up loud to get the full effect. )
I am sure you may know how auctions work, but here is a rundown: Before the Auction starts you must go get a Bidder number, and once you win a bid they will write down the price and bidder number. At the end of the day, or when you are done, you go check out. They will ask you what your last bid was for, and make sure they have all your items listed for you to pay for.
After a while we decided to go inside the (somewhat) heated building to sit down for a while. Standing on concrete for a few hours, being jostled about by the crowd, can really tire you out. Here is a video from the Draft Harness Auction going on inside:

The crowd inside was mostly farmers, a lot of Amish and Mennonite men, and some Draft Horse pullers. It was nice to get warmed up, and get off our feet for a while. The Draft Harnesses were enormous, and the teen aged boys in the video are modeling one each. They were sold in sets of two, and the prices ranged from $125  to over $600.
Yesterday was the Carriage and Tack Sale. I took some photos of carriages that caught my eye.

Cinderellas pumpkin
Prairie wagon

Fancy old carriage

Funeral Carriage

On March 7th and 8th they are holding the Draft Horse sales. The Draft horses, and the other horses that will be auctioned off on March 10th are all housed in temporary stalls in attached buildings.
We walked around and looked at all of them, my heart breaking with each step. Most of the horses were in good shape, a few were skinny, but none emaciated. I chose not take pictures, mostly to not to haunt myself that way.

In one aisle I saw a little Mennonite boy(assumed so from his Attire),and we struck up a conversation. He was eight years old, and was removing the sheet from what looked to be a Paint/Saddlebred pony mare. She was pinning her ears, and I asked if she was agitated. The boy explained that she didn't really like to me "messed with," but assured me that she was a great horse. She could pull a buggy, and you could ride her too. Her name was Beauty, and she was going to be auctioned off he said, getting a bit emotional. His eyes were misty when I asked him if he would miss her, and he stated "I have never known a day without Beauty."

What can I say? My heart wept for him. Trying to be a BIG boy swallowing his tears the best he could. I agree with him. Since I found Pippi, I have never known a day without beauty either.
His father came over, and I told him what the boy had said; "I don't know about you, but I think this is how its supposed to be; he has never known a day without beauty." The man reached out to his son, and I walked away.

When I came down the next aisle a few minutes later, now on the other side of the stall, I noticed that the mare had her jacket back on. The boy was standing at her head, stroking her neck and talking to her. I like to think that he was able to keep her, but did not ask as I knew I would cry along with him is the answer was otherwise.

We went back to get ready for the saddle auction, that started at noon. I was hoping to pick up an English saddle, if the price was right. Here is the pile of saddles, all types thrown together.

I started digging through the pile, and had set my hopes on a few only to lose track of them as soon as the auction started. The auctioneer stood in front of saddles displayed for sale, as you can see in the first video, and I ended up blindly (stupidly?) bidding on two saddles sight unseen. I only paid $10 a piece, so no harm no foul I suppose.

I bought two saddles (really old and really used), two great brushes, a gold colored halter, and black polo wraps, for around $50. All in all I felt that I made some good deals. This was my second time at the auction. Miranda was unable to go due to college classes, but I really hope she can come next time. Although with her it is sure to be a more expensive venture.

Draft Horse harness

Large racks of harnesses

The Salesman

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sawdust woes (Equine Fresh RULES!!)

Donna and Kevin are fantastic people, and as such they bought a load of sawdust last September (and paid more than double the price for it,) to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. The sawdust never arrived, which prompted us to try out pelleted stall bedding and Equine Fresh.
We have now used Equine Fresh,  since last fall, and have been so very happy with it. With the winter weather the barn has been closed up a lot, and the smell has been pleasant. Equine Fresh really does what it claims to do, and eliminates the ammonia smell. Our manure pile is a lot smaller, and it is so much easier to clean the stall every day. Plus who wants to have to strip it every week, or even more often with a mare in heat. With Equine Fresh, we were able to wait two months between each time we completely started over, and that was in winter when Pippi is in more. The bedding does not freeze, and it is just better all the way around. Better for us, and better for the environment.

BUT................the sawdust arrived.................
And so now we are using that until it runs out. No reason to waste it, and since it was paid for, we are using it. The barn now smells like, well, a barn. We are already talking about picking up some Lime, to spread lightly under the sawdust. I knew that we liked Equine Fresh, but now that we are back to sawdust I realize even more just how superior Equine Fresh is. And I can't wait until we run out of sawdust!!!

Being such believers in the Equine Fresh Pelleted Bedding, it made sense for Pippi to be their spokeshorse. What do you think?

(Feel free to send us some good will, and good wishes, as we are waiting to hear if Peter Leone picked Miranda and Pippi for his clinic at Equine Affaire. Tvi Tvi)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stumpy - my Familiar.

As you know, every witch has her familiar, and I am no exception according to my husband. Where I go, so goes Stumpy (named so after losing his tail during his dramatic birth). He lives to be near me, and suffers greatly when it can't be so. Here is a video we took yesterday showing what happens if I go to the restroom alone. Please to enjoy my uber sexy jammies:

(I know the video is quite dark, we may try again on a sunnier day. ) You can hear me calling him from inside the bathroom. As my son set up the camera Stumpy was on my lap, being petted, so this is not video shot after hours apart. More like seconds.

Stumpy has jumped in the shower with me, bravely suffering through the splashing water and soap, just to be near me. My shower lasted too long, and walking on the tub edge was no longer close enough. He routinely pushes my cell phone out of my hands, or my Kindle off my lap, just to take its place. Standing on my chest, rubbing his cheek all over mine, talking the entire time makes for some difficult times watching Tv.
But I love him. Well, what's a witch to do...................