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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Winter wound care sucks

**warning some may consider the pictures below to be of a graphic nature**
edit to add - sorry for the poor quality of the pics, they were taken with my cell phone

In an ideal world our precious equine friends would never have bumps, scrapes or boo-boos. And wound care any time of year sucks... each season has certain advantages or drawbacks. But up here in the frozen north, dealing with wounds that need water in the winter is a big minus.

Last winter Kimfer and I were both at the barn and when I brought Cessa in we were greeted with a massively bloody leg.

The thing is, how much was frozen blood and how much was actual injury??

She was walking sound, but there was soooo much blood. Only one way to know, clean it up.

But how do you do that in below freezing temps? Get some warm clean water, rubber gloves, towels, a pan and the blow dryer:

Thank goodness Cessa has had plenty of time with the blow dryer (winter tail washing) and doesn't give a darn about it.

Slowly the frozen blood warms up enough to peel off.


Frozen blood makes it look so much worse than it was.









Trusty pump sprayer... no hoses could be used due to the cold. Fill the bottle with warm water and spray away. Actually has decent pressure for cleaning wounds.
Hard to see in this pic but we placed Cessa's hoof in a rubber feed pan so the barn floor wouldn't get water on it and turn into a big icy mess.





This cut, while not so nice, is the cause of that huge bloody mess.






No idea what she cut herself on. I looked all over the feed pens and winter turnout and couldn't find a thing, not even a blood trail.
It obviously bled pretty good, but it was so cold out the blood was freezing as it came out. That's why it was so bloody and gory looking.
We cleaned it up as best we could and put some wound cream on it and bandaged it.
I talked to my vet and she said we could leave the bandage on for a few days at a time.
After awhile the healing seemed to stall so Dr.P came out and cut off that flap. She said leaving the flap on and pushing it down with the bandage was the right thing to do, it kinda acted as a natural bandage.
The tissue from the flap had died though and needed to be cut off.





It healed very nicely... hair is still as black as the rest of her leg and there is just a tiny bit of thickening from scar tissue.
It would have been MUCH easier to take care of in the spring or summer though!
(but then you have to deal with flies...)









Monday, November 24, 2008

For Lisa (aka Twinville)

Here's to a speedy recovery. Hope you are feelin' better soon! Lisa over at Laughing Orca Ranch is going through a bad spell. So much so that she took an ambulance ride to the hospital!
Lydia created this cute card on her blog and encouraged those of us how follow Lisa's adventures to post the card on our blogs. Here are the instructions as posted by Lydia -
Instructions:This card is extremely important. It is to be passed around the blogger world and not to be tampered with. Lisa's recovery is so important to me, and so many other people, and even though she is already doing much, much better, I'm sure we ALL want to keep her recovery going smoothly.
So, please TAKE THE CARD! :P
Post it on your blog and post these instructions. (That it is to be passed around everywhere)
Yes, I love the picture too! I think it's very cute! Also kind of scary...
So, please, participate and take the card, pass it on, ect.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter hair care

Around here it is way too cold to bath your horse in the winter.
But sometimes you just have to spend some "beauty parlour" time on the ponies.
Today was pretty mild so Kimfer and I took advantage of it and washed tails. Kimfer washed, conditioned and bagged Baron's & Isis's tails. I washed and conditioned Applejack's and Princess's.
OOPS. No tail bags for me. I forgot to bring them to the barn.
Washing tails in winter takes some practice. You don't want to slop too much water on the barn floor - ice patches, or on the horse - frozen ponies.
Or on yourself. Somehow the colder it is the more likely I am to soak myself. lol
We use pails of warm water. Dunk the tail, shampoo, dunk again a few times to rinse. Condition tails. Dunk in some clean water to rinse.
Then we towel dry as much as possible. Comb through and whip out the old blow dryer.
When tail is dry, braid into the nice polar-fleece tail bags.
IF you remember to have a clean one handy. :p

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good news all around

Mr Horse Dentist is in our area and came to do our horses yesterday.
He was a little bit late for our 3:30 appointment (arrived at 7:15) He apologized a LOT but I told him that when I knew where he was going before us that he'd be late. (I was right, his 4 or 5 horses to do turned out to be almost 15 head).
Kimfer had to work so I took care of her 2 and our 2.
Mr HD said Cessa should be okay, not too much left to work with there. And super good news, Applejack's teeth are dang near perfect! (If nothing goes wrong he should live a good long life with teeth like those **knocking wood**)
Baron didn't need done but Isis did. She's young and a tad parrot mouthed so Kimfer's keeping a close eye on her chompers.
Oh, and Mr HD watched Cessa as I turned her out... he said, "She sure is a nice mover. Even at her age!".

Then Kimfer called me with good news today, as of Dec. 1 she will be starting a new job! :)
She really needed to get out of her job. Her co-workers are a bunch of... well, can't think of a "nice" way to describe them. Plus its physically taking a toll on her. (She works in manufacturing, 'big' equipment such as wind towers for oil fields)

And best of all, for me at least, is that my darn cold is basically gone! (except for my cough which always lingers)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Last jackpot...

... at least for a little while. Our district doesn't have any more booked after today's. Kimfer mentioned that Charlie had e-mailed her about hosting some in the new year. (one of the benefits of Kimfer & Julie being our provincial directors is that they have to approve our district jackpots so I get a bit of a head's up)
So even though I would really have stayed in bed today I got my butt up and went barrel racing. My cold is pretty much over (I think) but I have that horrible nagging cough that always lingers for me.
It was actually pretty nice out today, but we still ran indoors. Crazy to think that 2 weeks ago we had an outdoor jackpot. Even crazier to hope that we would have been able to today.
Raincloud ("Applejack") warmed up nice, a little lazy but pretty good. I remembered to try to implement some of the changes the Berteig sisters mentioned regarding leg position while we warmed up. That is going to take some work and actual concentration to break my bad habits!
We didn't place in the money today, but I didn't even care. For the first time in ages I got two really decent runs with the little guy. I was especially happy that he didn't bow out super wide coming out of 2nd on either run! :) In fact he came out of 2nd pretty much perfect and ran straight and hard to 3rd. I also remembered to push him one extra stride past 1st and I think that made our turns there much smoother. I need to remember that he always wants to turn just a tad too early on 1st.
I think where we lost time was coming in. He really doesn't like running into Walker's indoor from outside. Next spring I should ask Tom if I could come over and just work on getting him more willing to go in and then work on getting him to run in. It seems to be something to do with the change of light outside to darker inside.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Never Forget


In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
Though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



Major John McCrae wrote that poem after a close friend (Lieutenant Alexis Helmer) was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres.
It is now very well known across Canada. This poem, along with poppy pins such as this:

are two of the most well known symbols of today's National Holiday, Remembrance Day.

Today is the day our government has designated as a time to remember and honour those who have served our country to protect our rights and freedoms, especially those who gave their lives to do so.
Many people think it is to remember those who died during the First and Second World Wars. I personally think we should remember all the soldiers who have put their lives on the line to serve our country. Both in times of peace and in times of war.

That is why I proudly have this sticker on my vehicle:



Whether or not you agree with war (a particular one or the idea in general) it is my personal opinion that you should show respect to those who serve.

We should all appreciate our rights and freedoms and never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for those same rights and freedoms.

Today is Remembrance Day. Wear your poppy with pride.

"Lest we forget"

*images found online*

Monday, November 10, 2008

Clinic

Kimfer & I had entered a clinic being held in Aberdeen and taught by the Berteig sisters. (Shaleh and Shantel). It was our impression that it was to be an "all around" kind of clinic but I knew the sisters have a strong reining background so I thought there was a good chance it would have an emphasis on reining.
Saturday when I got home from work I tried to chill out and get into a "bedtime" frame of mind ASAP. I think I got to sleep around 2 am. Wake up time, 5, came waaay too soon. It was a bit of a shock to wake up and find it still dark outside! lol
I had most of my stuff together the night before so I just had to wake up enough to put my contacts in (I hate wearing my glasses when I ride) and finish throwing together lunch, then I was on my way.
I drove to the barn and Kimfer had the horses caught and tied to the corral fence (barn still skunky). We hitched the trailer, threw the gear in, put blankets on the ponies and were on the road. Yeah, we managed to leave the yard a bit early!
We drove down the highway, through a dark Saskatoon and pulled into Aberdeen at 7:20. Parked in front of the equestrian centre (an old hockey arena the town had converted into an indoor riding facility) we realized we were the only ones there...
The clinic was to start at 8 am. Where was everyone?? Shouldn't they be here to get their horses tacked up and warmed up?
Kimfer & I decided to stay in the truck for a bit, it was chilly out and the wind was C-O-L-D. Around 20 to 8 another rig pulled in. Just before 8 everyone was there (except our barrel friends Holly & Brenda who had also signed up).
With our horses ready we went inside to find out where the horse entrance was. We found someone to tell us where the entrance was and brought our horses in to warm up.
The start of the clinic everyone was to ride together, then we would be split into 2 groups. We started with everyone introducing themselves and explaining what they hoped to learn/accomplish. My goals were general improvements to horsemanship as well as to build my confidence and work on my position. I explained that due to various injuries I was sure that needed to be worked on.
Turns out that Kimfer & I were the only ones who hadn't taken a clinic with S&S before (other than Holly & Brenda who were still MIA). Shaleh pulled us aside and explained a few things that they do along with how and why. While she worked with getting us up to speed with the others Shantel worked with them along the rail on collection.
Holly & Brenda showed up and were brought up to speed as well. After the starting ride group 1 rode (my group, which also included Holly, Brenda, Kimfer, and 2 others "R" and "M"). While group 2 was riding we put the horses up and warmed up in the lounge. Then it was lunch time and after lunch group 1 rode and then group 2.
I think I learned enough to make it worthwhile. I really enjoyed the sisters teaching style. I found them very encouraging and helpful. They weren't afraid to get after you but they made sure to find positives as well.
I got tips on more effective collection (something I will admit I need to work on more) and better leg position. I was also very pleasantly surprised to be told that I have fair hands and am pretty soft with them. :)
My one complaint is that "R" tended to monopolize the sisters time. If he couldn't get the undivided attention of one of them he would ride over to the other and get hers. That was fairly annoying. At first Kimfer & I thought it was because he was a reiner and that they were the ones focusing on him, but during the second group ride it became quite apparent that he was the one seeking the focus.
Then again, it seems there is always a person like that. I will also say that both sisters are quite good at working one on one and still keeping an eye on the group at large.
The wind had gotten bitterly cold by the time group 2 was starting so Kimfer and I decided to hit the road. Boy was I glad we did... it was starting to snow and the roads were getting slick. The snow being blown across the roads made driving home NOT fun at all. We had 2 not so great moments. One on the freeway when the truck and trailer started to slide around and another when the brakes locked up as we approached a red light (thank goodness the next lane was empty and I just moved over and stopped in time). Needless to say I was very relieved to get the horses home and drop the trailer!
Driving from the acreage to my house wasn't as bad... funny how not having the horses along makes me less worried about a wreck! lol I still drove cautiously but the roads were quite a bit better, until I got to my neighbourhood. My streets were ICY.
But still I got home safe, and while I was unloading the truck I snapped this pic of our first snow of the year:

My side yard from the street. I see there's a section of Christmas lights burned out on the garage. My poor garden looks so scraggly and pathetic this time of year. :(

And here is a picture of baby Zoe, my brother's little girl. She was born Monday (Nov 3rd) In this pic she is 2 days old:
Sleeping in her grandma's arms at the hospital.
I don't think I've posted a pic of baby Lucas yet. This is my sister's boy. He was born June 10th (I know! Bad auntie for not posting a pic sooner!!)


In this pic he is 13 days old. My sister lives in Edmonton and it was the first time I got to see him. I did spend 2 weeks with him later though, 24/7. My sister and I travelled together when I went east for my dad's operation in August. They're actually in town now as well. My sister flew in this afternoon and I'm meeting them for supper this evening!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Little Things

There hasn't been too much going on the last week or so. But I'll fill you in on what there is, maybe there will be enough to make a post!

Skunks
Kimfer's dad (Mr.H) did manage to trap another skunk in the feed room. The traps they use are "humane traps" (so the barn cats that have been dumb enough to get trapped are fine once they are let out - lol).
He shot the skunk, in the trap, in the barn. Which is why the feed room door is still closed.
He needs a respirator to go in there and get that thing out.
This weekend Kimfer and Mr.H are going to work on skunk proofing the barn. The dog door is going to be boarded over (not a bad idea, the dog doesn't need access into the barn as she's got the garage) and the are going to dig down and put in chicken wire to discourage the skunks digging their way in.

Riding
Haven't been doing much riding. And I'm feeling really guilty. There is that clinic this weekend and my poor little pony is not in the best of shape.
There are a few reasons... one being that I do tend to wimp out and think "its too cold". I usually make myself get out anyhow but not this week. This week I am limping around with a bum knee that I hope will manage to get through the clinic.
My chiro worked on it on Tuesday and it seems somewhat better at times and then at others it seems much worse. :( I don't know exactly what is wrong with it but there is something going on with my quad muscles being waaay to tight and causing my knee to hurt but only when bent. (so stairs are SUCH a joy!)

Barrel racing
Last Sunday was a double header. First jackpot I hit a barrel. And saying *I* is pretty accurate. The barrel hit MY leg not my horse (and just above my boot dangit!) and it was MY "driving" that resulted in the barrel being hit. I should have pushed him past one more stride before I let him turn first.
The second run we had an awesome first! But then I didn't get enough leg on him, and I should have put my leg on sooner, and we went waaaaay wide out of second. Clean run but too slow to be in the money.
On the other hand my day wasn't as bad as Kimfer's (she got kicked by her filly... see pic previous post) or Julie's. Julie's filly spooked at something as she went in for her first run. There was a rear and a buck and then Julie was on the ground. No major injury, just really sore. She cowgirl'd up and made both her runs. But she was pretty sore at the end of the day.
Another good thing... it was November frickin 2nd and we were running outside!!! No s*** (I am NOT saying or writing that word!) and the ground was good, not frozen at all at Holly's.
Wow.

Zoe
Saved the best for last... I am an auntie! (again) My brother and his wife had their first baby Monday morning :)
Zoe weighed 8 lbs 12 oz at birth. 7:17am Mon. Nov. 3/08. B & J are very very VERY pleased to welcome their daughter to the world.

Don't worry... I'll make sure she's exposed to the horse virus. Maybe she'll get bit too! lol

ps - just a reminder, if you would like some Christmas cheer in the mail e-mail me your address. My e-mail is on the top right hand side of the blog :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Q & A

After a busy weekend I finally have time to blog! And good thing too, I have a few questions that you may be able to help me out with. Some fun or silly but at least one that I hope someone can help with.
I'll start with that one...

One of these -

found its way into the barn. :(
In the 15+ years that Kimfer's parents have owned their acreage we haven't had any trouble with skunks, until this year.
Bear, the 'outside' dog, has been sprayed a few times. And there has been that skunky odour in the barn occasionally. Usually in the feed room. A skunk trap was placed in there but the only thing to get caught were the barn cats.
Sunday Kimfer and I were in the barn gathering our gear for the jackpot and we noticed that funky skunky smell. When I went into the feed room to get Applejack's grain I noticed a chunk of what could only be skunk fur on the floor.
That's when I placed the other, very faint, odour. Shotgun. (I'm not very familiar with firearms or I may have placed it sooner).
We left all 3 barn doors open to help air out the barn while we were gone.
When we came home we noticed that Kimfer's dad had blocked the "kitty door" to the feed room. The skunk smell was out of the barn :)



But when we went to put our tack away, we noticed the tack room was very skunky :( We have nowhere else to store the tack so we did put it away.
Turns outs that Mr.H had trapped another skunk in the feed room (he thinks). He was hoping it would go into the trap. Well the feed room shares a wall with the tack room, we think that's why the tack room was getting smelly.
Here's the million dollar question... does anyone know how to get skunk smell out of tack without harming it? ALL kinds of tack, saddles, pads, saddle covers, brushes, headstalls, reins, bits, horse boots.... EVERYTHING.

Now here is a "fun" question:
Does anyone know what this is-


And one last question... I'd like to send out some Christmas cards but I know that not everyone a)wants to give out their address or b) celebrates Christmas. If you are one of the people who would like a card e-mail me your address and I'll start sending. (I've already found some cards and started choosing who would get which)

*skunk photo found via Google Images*