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Things I Listen to at Work

So, most of the time my job involves staring at a computer and clicking buttons. The nice thing about this is that while I'm engaged in Very Important Button Clicking, I am free to listen (on headphones) to whatever I want.

Yesterday I listened to this:

Radiolab's latest short: The Poop Train in which it is revealed that using human waste after treatment is not restricted to wacky hippies into humanure gardening.

I also found this article on rooftop gardening. Yay humanity for doing something vaguely useful and inspiring!

Also, this youtube video on Curly horses--I don't know this woman but she has the BEST accent!

Mule post

Sage is being a biatch who lunges at Josie over the fence every chance he gets. Gah.

Mom took Josie-kins and I took Miss Thea wide-ass out for a walk and we left Sage in the pasture to whinny his heart out since his manners were not in place.

Josie was so sweet getting the hang of stopping *with* Mom (turns out there are some brakes in there) and turning her head towards Mom every time they stopped, as if looking for reassurance.

Then, she let me pet her while she was eating her hay. The shoulder was ok the first few times, but the wither definitely crossed the line a little. Josie knows her boundaries. I backed off right away but was so excited about petting her neck!

It's really important to Mom that I work with her every time I'm out there. I'm fine with that, she doesn't take much time in her current stage of training, and I can see it makes a difference. We're both really excited about Josie-days-to-come. Riding vacations in NY with a mule!!

Anyhow, the important thing is, there's pictures, under here.Collapse )

Curly Love

Taken by Ellen Powell, who was kind enough to go on a little country trip with me and meet Sage, and brought her camera and awesome photo skills to boot.

Intriguing horse

My mom is very involved in trying to save the Mustangs...not only did she adopt one, but she's created a whole new chapter of the Mustang & Wild Burro association (that might not be the exact name...) and she's volunteered at more events than you can shake a stick at, often setting up a horse that she picks out to be adopted at these events. It's her mission.

She always keeps an eye out on the Internet Adoption that the Bureau of Land Management does every few months. And she usually picks out a horse or two that she'll 'maybe adopt if no one else wants them.' But those horses are usually bid on, sometimes she ends up bringing them to an event and finding adopters.

Now I've started going through them too. It's sad to look at all the horses, and see ones not being adopted that might end up slaughtered or stuck in pens for years. It's also interesting to watch human behavior; all the pretty colored horses get bids. The roans, the pintos, the buckskins, bid on quickly. Bays, chestnuts, grays sit there unclaimed unless they're especially tall or well built.

But sadly, this guy despite his unique markings, has no takers. Dare I say it's because he's at the bottom of the page? in his first photo which shows in the gallery, you can't really tell what a unique looking horse he is. Sad that someone choosing the wrong photo for his up-front-and-center shot may well cost him a home. I hope someone bids on him soon...


He has a bid! Yay!

Thea, Part 2

So a few days ago we did another session where I coached Mom through doing some groundwork with Thea.

I used to work with Thea more often, and she tends to invade your space a lot, and want to be right on top of you. Because we knew she was training to be the Head Mare in her mustang herd, I have always interpreted this behavior as fairly dominant, and been quite firm about keeping her out of my space when she invades that way.

And that was absolutely the right thing to do in many ways. But. I wasn't taking into account some subtle things; and I hadn't realized at all how very unconfident Thea can be. It's been a big shift in thinking *for me* to realize just how complicated this horse is. When she's confident, she's simple. It's all straightforward and all systems are 'Go'. But when she's unconfident she both tries to take over, and seeks comfort from the human as well, and you have to deal with her on both fronts simultaneously or it all falls apart.

A zen-like session with TheaCollapse )

Thea came out of that session a different horse. It's not that she's been calmer consistently since then; she hasn't been. But in moments of quiet, when nothing has been going on, she's looked...dare I say it? relaxed. Like for a moment she trusts her environment and Sage and the barn and us humans in her surroundings. And I see her being just a little more willing to think about things, to mull it over, rather than just blindly react...

I left the barn that night feeling as peaceful, cheerful, and energetic as if I had ridden my own horse...really quite amazing considering how like utter crap my stomach felt when I showed up. I still miss time with my boy, but am enjoying the journey with Thea too. Certainly she has a lot to teach us.

Stacy Westfall on Ellen

Old video clips, probably posted on equestrian at some point. But I've never seen them before and really enjoyed watching them, so I thought I'd share:

Vet Visit

After months of feeling slightly in-the-dark about what is going on with Sage, and floundering around doing my own research and reading, it was really nice yesterday to finally have the vet out.Collapse )

The short version:

  • Sage has metabolic syndrome, not laminitis. Yay!

  • Sage is okay'd to exercise and the acupuncture got rid of the pain in his shoulder entirely. (He didn't flinch or move away at all after the acupuncture and should now be okay around the mounting block.)

  • He's now on magnesium to help his metabolism. And also rehmania, a chinese herb.

  • His sacro iliac injury did not trigger any pain response, and Don feels it's fully healed.

  • The vet giggled again and wiggled Sage's ribfat. He needs to lose close to 100 lbs. I taped him later at 1085 I think? Crap, now I have to tape him again to make sure. Mom thinks at his build he should be at ~900-950lbs. Let's hope the rehmania and magnesium help him lose weight because he's really not getting that much hay.

Sage also had his coggins pulled and half his spring shots done. Don's coming back in 2 weeks to do other half. And sheath cleaning! After having Sage kick at me half-heartedly and glare at me for months whenever I tried to just *touch* that area, it was interesting to see him be a perfect gentleman while Don applied the excalibur and got the job done. I think it was the acupuncture.

So, I cancelled Sage's appointment with the lameness expert on Monday. Mostly because, even though I would like to have Sage get some chiro if needed, and get another vet's perspective in english! thank you, without some vague terminology like yong deficiency...I also want to just wait and see how he does for the next couple weeks. If the herbs and magnesium really do work, and we keep him off of pasture and he really does stay sound, then there's no need to do anything else except keeping doing what we're doing. Besides, the lameness exams are really *expensive.* Totally worth doing if necessary, and doing in the not-too-distant-future if Sage continues to be lame *at all.* But, I don't mind holding off for now and waiting a couple weeks to see how he does.

What all this means is...I need that new endurance girth like yesterday. Gotta ride Sage and keep him in shape as best I can starting NOW. But I can think of much worse things than your horse needing to be ridden regularly for medical reasons...



(Equine metabolic syndrome is the 2nd half of this pdf.)

This makes me confused again. Clearly exercise IS crucial according to this and some other articles I found on the web. AND it can be related to laminitis. ARGGH!

Horse Hat*

Fifteen minutes of riding yesterday. Bareback, seatbones digging into Sage's back, legs wrapped around his barrel in that special well-balanced way that only happens when I am riding well and he's not extra pudgy.

Sage was very lovey on the ground and present under saddle. I swear he puts himself into a better frame all on his own when I ride him right. Tucks his head right under and lengthens his topline. I love those days when I feel both tall and rooted in the saddle; when my horse feels both happy and eager to work.

Nice to be back in the 'saddle' so soon. With his issues last week I feared it would be a lot longer before we got back there. Bonus points for his mellow cheerfulness given it was windy enough for Dorothy to not be in Kansas any more while I was riding...

*to be made this summer out of yarn made from all the Sage hair I'm collecting now

Snow Day Tempo

The last few snow storms we've had have been No Big Deal. The weathermen have managed to scare me into not driving to work twice recently with dire "winter storm warnings" and then...a few hours later we've had two whopping inches of snow.

So today I decided to Hell with the weathermen. I got into my car and headed towards the barn with a light heart and a touch of lead foot.

...And drove straight into the greasy icy mess that is a Major Storm. I am an idiot for not looking at the weather forecast before I left. I passed 4 accidents on my way to the barn (and nearly caused a fifth at one point because even with awesome snow tires, there's only so much one can do when unexpectedly confronted with glare ice).

It was beautiful driving though. I know plenty of people hate driving in winter storms, but there's something comforting to me about the immediacy of your surroundings. Instead of traffic flying along at 80 miles an hour while people pass each other helter skelter as they talk on cell phones or check their make-up...everyone SLOWS DOWN. Its one of those situations that appeals to me because it puts you squarely in the moment, and you are in a reality that is not only connected to, but somewhat dictated by Nature.

Driving through a winter storm...snow floats down from the sky, blanketing everything more than 20 feet away and obscuring details of the landscape. Houses, buildings, fields all disappear, hidden from view by a soft pervasive grey. Snow blooms upward, forming dancing spirals that spin their way across the road, evaporating as suddenly as they form. And it blows like sand straight across the road...scudding into hypnotic patterns of white that constantly rearrange themselves against the stark black of the road as the wind continues to blast its way over the landscape.

Everything white. Soft. Its a relief to the senses after bright colors and the overwhelming glare of sunny winter days. My body relaxes head to toe.

(Of course, not so much when you fly around a corner and see flares and an ambulance, and then hear the grating screeching sound of your ABS not working on the ice...)

But for the most part I love driving in winter, even through storms.


Driving up the hill, watching the pasture come into view, I spotted the horses huddled together under a stand of trees, snow coating their backs, sticking to their forelocks and lashes. Despite forgetting my camera, I realized I simply had to

do an impromptu photo-shoot of Sage...Collapse )