Thursday, August 20, 2009


I had a terrible dream last night. I haven't even written it down yet because it was traumatic for me to recall, much less "experience."
It was a little jumbled, but I remember seeing Mac. He was bathed in sweat, and he looked weak. He went down in his stall and I sat next to him, sobbing. He was dying all over again. I couldn't do anything but watch and sob. It was the worst Mac nightmare I've had. I've had a few where I've known that he was dead, where the other horses were freaking out because they knew he was dead, but none that forced me to relive the worst day of my life.
To make matters worse, Sissy was also sick in the dream. I don't know if I wrote about her in a previous entry, but both Sissy and Tina are pregnant. Sissy got sick in the dream, but the sickness caused her to abort the foal. She got better, though.
It's going to take me a while to recover from this one. Stella will help.
"La Mer" is helping until I can get to the barn.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Straight From The Horse's Mouth

Stella had a visit from the dentist today. She had to have her teeth floated and a wolf tooth and a half removed. I kind of feel weird carrying around two extracted horse teeth, but at the same time I think they're really cool :)
Angie came over and felt around in Stella's mouth. She found a "small wolf tooth" on her left upper jaw, so we decided to go ahead and have it removed. It was very close to her molars and it wasn't interfering with the bit or her ability to eat, but we still wanted them gone. First Angie set out to remove the tooth, which was an interesting process to watch.
Stella was, of course, heavily sedated. I'm sure the tooth extraction was a painful process, so she got lots of happy stuff to help her get through it without a problem. Angie popped the little wolf tooth out and told us that it was probably a fragment left behind from a previous extraction.
After the half-a-wolf tooth was out, Angie floated the bottom molars. That wasn't a problem at...all except in my area. I had to support Stella's whole, drooping head while Angie filed away the sharp edges. She was a little heavier than I could easily support, but I just took a few pain pills and everything's fine. Then, Angie put the speculum into Stella's mouth to keep it open while she worked on the top molars. It was then that she realized that Stella had another, very large wolf tooth on the right side. The tooth was so close to Stella's molars that she'd thought it was part of them. After she finished floating Stella's teeth, Angie removed the speculum and started the process of removing the second tooth. Angie remarked that Stella is very clever; she was able to think of different ways to keep Angie from moving the rasp, so we had to stay on our toes. (Angie loves Stella and wants her, but I don't think she'll buy her because Angie knows that Stella means the world to me.)
Stella needed a bit more of the sedative before we could begin. She didn't try to get away from us or do anything bad, but she started to squiggle so much that Angie couldn't work. When the tooth was out, I watched Stella for a while to make sure she was okay after receiving the sedatives, and then I rinsed her off outside and put her back into her stall. She was bleeding a little bit in her mouth, but that didn't stop her from going straight back to munching her hay and, later on, chowing down on dinner.
Angie also performed some chiropractic work on Sydney. It was great to watch. She said that she attended a two-day course on equine chiropractic work, and she said that it was open to anyone. I'd love to learn how to do chiropractic work on horses. It's the only reason I can still ride, let alone walk comfortably; I'd love to make that sort of difference for a horse.
I had to go to a work party for the local horse show club. It was annoying. I was about 20 minutes late getting there because I'd been with Stella, but no one was there when I arrived. My poor Protege (a tiny little sedan) had a hard time going through the tall grass in the field at the showgrounds. In fact, some of the grass came up over the hood of the car because it was so tall. Everyone else except for one lady drove up in their huge trucks, so they didn't have a problem :) I seem to have a lot of problems bringing my car places. Remember the 4-H road cleanup? Ah, good times... A few people eventually came and we picked up some sticks. Wooohoo. Oh well.
And I can't even go to the show this Sunday. At least I'm heading back to school. I'm just going to miss my girl.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hold The (Stella) Phone...

It's almost time for me to head back to school... I'm very excited, but I'm going to miss Stella again. It's going to be sad, but we'll deal with it when it comes, as it comes.
I went to visit the horses tonight. Stella was doing well. Sydney also came back from trial at the therapeutic riding barn. I helped Larry do the stalls and feed the horses. Then, we went to the porch and sat down for a while. I got Abby to do some tricks, but I think she needs to learn some new, more challenging tricks. I'd like to teach her to pick up her toys or identify shapes, but I don't know how to do the former and I know it'll take me a lot of sessions to get her to identify shapes. I don't have time for lots of sessions right now--I'm going away :(
I gave Stella a great grooming tonight. She was dirty from being outside all day. She got a good currying, and then I brushed her off and went over her entire coat with a finishing brush. I put some spray-in conditioner on her mane and tail before combing them out. I picked her hooves and squirted some betadine on the hoof where she had her abscess. It's been so wet out that I didn't want it to get nasty again.
I did a little tiny bit of trotting her around the yard. We worked around the puddles, setting up, trotting circles, just walking and bending around. It was fun. Then she went back in her stall and I went home. It was nice. I'm going to miss her.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Horses, dogs, know, the usual.

I've been going to the pond a lot lately. Larry had to go to town to get some things one afternoon, so I took Abby and Jack down to Jack's Pond. They played in the water while I sat on the overturned boat and dangled my feet in the water. I was in the process of putting my boots back on when I looked up. There were three "creatures" swimming toward me. At first I only saw one, and I took it as Abby still swimming around. I noticed the other two and realized that Abby and Jack were over at Abby's Pond, splashing around and making the frogs jump from their hiding places in the grass. Then, I thought the animals were snapping turtles, but I decided that the heads were definitely mammalian--and that I'd see shells. I assumed they were beavers, but their heads were too narrow to be a beaver. I also didn't think they were muskrats for the same reason. I decided that the animals had to be otters. After that point, I felt like I was having one of those weird, almost transcendental moments where I wasn't sure that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. It felt like I was hallucinating or something. After a few moments of watching the animals swim toward me, they turned around and started swimming away from me. It was awesome.
The next day, I went out on the holey boat to see if there were any otters swimming in the pond again. I didn't see any, but I got soaking wet because I still haven't repaired the two huge leaks. I enjoyed the water and paddled around for a while.
On the day after that, I didn't plan to go to the barn. I've been having a really rough time with my hip, back, and knees, and I thought it would just be best to stay home and rest. Sure enough, Larry called me while I was eating dinner and asked me if I was coming. I told him that I didn't think I'd be able to and he understood, but he told me that Dylan and Shelby were there for a lesson and they were asking him why I wasn't there. I was upset that I wouldn't see them, so I took some more pain medicine and drove to the barn.
I was obviously limping, which concerned the kids' mother. I assured her that I'd be able to lead Shelby during her lesson, however, and that I was glad to do it. I'm really glad that I came. It hurt when I jogged beside Tina, but Shelby had a great time trotting and I didn't mind too much. Shelby showed Larry her skills at doing around-the-worlds, and even I was impressed. She's very good at them. Larry rode Tina after Shelby was finished riding, and I took the kids and the dogs down to the pond for a boat ride.
I told the kids about the otters. They thought that was very exciting, but we didn't see any otters. I took Shelby and Dylan out on the boat for a long ride. Once again, I got soaked. Most of the water pooled on my side of the boat because I weigh more than the kids. My seat got wet, which made my butt wet, which was rather unpleasant. The seat was wet because Abby insisted on jumping in the boat with us--once again, she needed me to haul her into the boat. I decided to stand in the boat and row back to our landing, hoping that the kids would sit still and Abby wouldn't decide to leap out of the boat, causing me to fall in the scummy water. Fortunately, I didn't get THAT wet.
Shelby also said that I'm a "good friend." We were gathering dirt to make a pretend fire, and I thought that was really sweet of her to say that. Little kids are so great.
After the kids left the barn, I turned on the floodlights and worked some showmanship with Stella. We only did a little bit of trotting, but we did lots of work on other things. I got Stella to do lots of bending. We also worked on setting up until she was doing it on her own whenever we halted. Sometimes, if we practice a whole lot, she'll start doing that. She's great :) We worked on pivoting, which eventually turned out to be pretty decent. I guess I ought to do whatever I can manage. Getting out and doing something positive, like playing with the kids and animals, is better than sitting at home and feeling like I'm too messed up to do anything.
I've been having some good rides on Stella since the arena dried out again. The first night back was okay. She was her quirky little "oh-I-forgot-how-to-do-that" self, as she usually is after a long stint of no work. She didn't do anything too bad, but she was a little spooky in one corner one time around, she insisted on trying to eat grass that was growing up from the pasture (which is right alongside the arena), and she decided that it was okay to ignore my canter cues for a couple of strides.
I also rode her the night before last. She was still a little "off," but she was improving. She wanted to rush a little and still wanted to take her sweet time to move into a canter. The one naughty thing she did was crow-hopping. Stella really felt like she wanted to have a nice hand-gallop. Since we were alone in the arena, I asked her to move into a canter and then got her to extend and quicken her pace. I stuck in a full seat until she really got going, and then I moved into a light half-seat. As soon as I rose from the saddle, she threw her head down and gave me two little crow-hops. They didn't jostle me, but I settled back into a full seat and gradually brought her back into a regular canter. I had a difficult time riding the right lead, so I thought working without stirrups might help. It didn't help, but it was still a good exercise. Our only problem was when Stella and I rode deep into a corner and Stella lost her footing. She stumbled a little and the sudden movement was really painful for me. It hurt all the way up my back and all through my pelvis. I only rode for a little while after that.
I spent a lot of time at the barn today. I cleaned stalls this morning and rinsed off all of the horses because they were sweating in the heat. They enjoyed their baths. I also took Abby to McDonalds. My sister fed her french fries and part of her chicken sandwich. The woman who was working at the drive-thru thought it was strange to see the little dog sitting in the passenger seat with my sister and eying the bags of food with the intent of snatching anything left unguarded. Abby was certainly ready to lap up Larry's strawberry milkshake--if only she'd been able to pop the top off! When we got back to the barn, I gave the dogs some of my Apple Dippers. They enjoyed the caramel. Jack enjoyed it so much that he put his tongue in my caramel sauce and got a mixture of drool and sticky sauce all over my breeches. I also gave one of the apple slices to Stella. By the time I was finished distributing the apples to hungry canine and equine mouths, I only got one or two slices. So it goes.
I took Abby out to Gregg's Place for a while, too. This time, I didn't let myself get disoriented :) She was very happy to go exploring with me. When we got back, Abby was covered in little green sticky-burrs, while I seem to have wandered into a nest of seed ticks. I took Abby and Jack down to the pond, where they splashed in the water and I tried to get the ticks off of me before I could get bitten. I laid down on the overturned boat and lowered my arms into the water, scrubbing violently. Suddenly, Jack and Abby leaped onto the boat and jumped into the water. I seriously thought that I was going to slip and fall into the water because of the way the boat shook. I carefully hooked my foot over the taut rope that was tied between a tree and the boat. That prevented any more near-mishaps, and the dogs continued to roughhouse in the shallow water. I got all of the ticks off, I think. Hopefully I got all the ticks off.
I rode Stella after the horses had their dinner and after it cooled down enough. Mindy came over to help Larry with Curly Sue. I had an excellent ride on Stella. My right lead canter was still a little funny, but I've also been in a lot of pain lately. I assume that it's difficult for me to ride the right lead because I'm out of alignment again. I'm going to the chiropractor tomorrow, however, so hopefully that will be fixed soon. Stella got another quick rinse before I gave her a cookie and turned her out in the pasture for the night.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Stella's Booty (No, this is not about her small behind.)

I haven't been able to ride in AGES because it keeps pouring down. I guess it's for the best, though, because I've been in excruciating pain for the past week or so, and Stella's front left hoof had an abscess. She never acted like she was in pain and I never noticed anything unusual on that hoof when I cleaned it, but the farrier came out and said that she had an abscess. Weird, huh? Stella's a tough cookie :) Now she's wearing a little hoof booty made out of betadine-soaked cotton, vetrap, and duct tape.
Jean helped me with the procedure yesterday, but I had to do it myself today.
It was an ordeal, to say the least. I cut off the old booty and tossed it out before Jack could get it and leave it in shreds around the yard. Then, I had to pick Stella's feet and get everything situated in my reach so that I wouldn't have to put her foot down again. Stella was okay with the part where I picked her hoof up to clean it, and she was willing to pick it up again so that I could do the initial cotton-in-bars, squirt-betadine-everywhere, and wrap-entire-hoof-in-vetrap business. My back needed a break and Stella was getting antsy from having to hold her foot up for a few minutes, so I figured she'd be okay with her foot down for a minute or two. The only problem was that she knew she was going to have to hold the foot up again and didn't want to. She was very difficult about picking her foot up again, but I made her hold it long enough for me to get the bottom of her hoof covered in a layer of duct tape. I guess the betadine started to sting a little (that, or she wanted to play with the booty) because Stella started to lift her hoof up and paw. I didn't let her do that, though. I wrapped the outside of the hoof in duct tape too, and then we were all set. My tough cookie got a cookie and then I put her back into her stall so she could finish her hay.
There hasn't been much going on at the barn lately. It's just been too wet for too much fun.
Oh, I forgot--but how could I? Yesterday, I came to the barn and heard Stella talking to another horse from inside her stall. I was confused because she normally doesn't talk to Tatiana like that when they're both in the stalls, and it didn't sound like she was trying to talk to the horses inside the barn. I came into the yard and saw that Chester was out and about in the yard, messing with Stella and Tatiana in their stalls. I went into the barn and discovered a disaster area. Someone had left his door unlocked. He dragged one of Larry's schooling bridles into his stall (It wasn't damaged, just covered in sawdust.), pulled all of the halters and leads off of the hooks beside each of the stalls, pulled both of the small brooms out of the corner and bent the metal one, knocked over two old box fans that we had sitting in a corner, tipped over the folding chair (He removed the padded seat and shredded it, leaving foam and vinyl-plastic shreds all over the aisle.), completely destroyed a hay bale, knocked over the industrial-sized fan that we keep in the aisle, pulled rags and saddle blankets off of the blanket bars on each stall, and threw the small orange traffic cones off of the fence post where we'd placed them out of Jack's reach. I guess they weren't out of the boy's reach. He didn't hurt himself and he didn't do any major damage; he just made a huge mess for me to clean up. Sounds just like a little stallion :)