Sunday, January 24, 2010

Snowy Sunday

With delightful soft white flakes gently falling, I had to make some plans for my poor bald Whiskey.  Worried about the cold and frost bite I put her in the stall *erhm, shed* yesterday.  While not heated it would protect her from the wind and wet snow.  Sam had said I could begin blanketing her as long as I alternated blankets everyday.  Lovely plan, one problem.  My winter blankets that fit Whiskey were sent into a local shop to be cleaned and repaired.  They are finished, however every time I drive into town the shop is closed.  

Doing some creative problem solving I figured out if I put my fitted wool cooler on first - it's a bit small leaving her bum hanging out - layering a cotton sheet next, putting the winter hood on and attaching it to the sheet, finishing with her summer rain sheet for all weather protection on top, she would have some warmth and snow protection.  Meaning I could release her from jail during the day and bring her back in at night.  So this morning I began my trial run.  

And rather quickly realized my extra large hood was too small!  I could not attach any of the head attachments.  Thank goodness my mom is a superstar seamstress.  Explaining my problem she has lengthened the straps so I can make it fit.  I'll already have to purchase another hood (this one will be headless) and really didn't want to buy two as it's not an item I use often.  

While Whiskey hangs out in her rustic house she's found a new friend.  When I went out this afternoon I was startled to find Moxie (the cat) sitting on her back, both of them happy as could be!  I ran back into the house to grab my camera.  When I snapped the shot Whiskey moved forward, the cat walked up her neck and leaped off the poll of her head to land on the wood support of her "stall".  I knew Whiskey was quiet but I really didn't think she was this quiet!

I've attached some pictures.  The first one is a look at one of her nasty bald patches.  The next two are of Whiskey and Moxie.  I tried to get a picture of the cat walking up the neck but my camera was too slow!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Results Are In

Sam called this morning with Whiskey's biopsy results.  At this point in time I'm not entirely sure if I'm relieved or anxious.  While some things were not particularly definitive, there is enough to confidently say she has some kind of low grade allergy.  Sam explained that in dogs it's very common to see recurrent skin infections, so it stands to reason horses wouldn't be that different.  The other thing is there were trace amounts of fungus but because she had been so inflamed the tests didn't work particularly well.  The revised treatment plan is to treat her with Imaverol (not sure on the spelling there) which is often used to treat things like ringworm.  In addition, Sam will do some research into a long term treatment plans.  It may mean some messing around with drugs and steroids.  

Because Whiskey has been such a stellar horse and I had been trying to breed her I asked if this could be genetic or hereditary.  Sam said there hasn't been much in the way of research done on the topic it is likely something that can be transferred.  Being the type of person I am if there is any question of potential complications I won't breed her.  Even though she meets all the other criteria:  great disposition, athletic, trainable. 

On that note, I had stumbled across a broodmare for sale on Kijiji.  While the mare is not broke she has pretty good bloodlines.  So now I'm on the fence trying to decide if this mare would be a good purchase.  I'm not sure if I can give up my dream of breeding my own performance horse, even though I know there are tons of babies for sale and people need to have very good reasons for breeding to help reduce the glut of unwanted horses.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Vet Rocks!

My vet rocks!  While I fully and completely don't appreciate having more vet bills I do appreciate the fact that I can call up the clinic, speak directly with my vet and have space made for my animal to be seen.  

On Sunday, I went out complete with latex gloves to check Whiskey's gross pustules.  And let me tell you they rank up there on the gross scale.  (I'll try to get home in daylight to catch some pics.)  When I went to pull on them huge, oozy chunks of hair came out.  Leaving behind angry looking bald patches.  Let's just say this is not normal!  Deciding not to treat her as my normally calm quiet horse was giving me the white of her eyes when I touched these things, I made an internal note to call the clinic on Monday.  

Sam, my superstar vet doesn't work Mondays but I left a message (with the receptionist) and when I didn't hear back I called the vet tech today and within 15 minutes the vet was on the phone with me.  Within 2 minutes of talking she decisively told me to bring her in when I can and they would make time for me.  So as soon as I was done work, Whiskey, Tessa and I hauled butt into the clinic.  

One glance at the nasties and Sam was grabbing a biopsy kit to get samples to send out to the lab.  There are a few concerns.  One being that Whiskey has some wacky autoimmune disorder which can manifest in skin lesions.  Another that she has a rare version of ringworm (before the cream it didn't resemble ringworm in any shape or manner).  And the final that she has an allergy to the medicated cream.  Whoooo Hoooo!  Call me lucky!  When your vet agrees that they're gross you know they're truly nasty!

We should hear back by Friday from the lab and hopefully we'll learn something definitive from them.  Sam agreed we shouldn't touch them until we know what's going on.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Odds and Ends

This weekend was all about finishing some started projects.  I short listed six names for Izzy (I know, I know - it's January!). The names are as follows: Hot Hollywood Hooker (Thanks Chelsi!!), Iza Cuttin Jac, Smokin Hot Hollywood, Sweet Hollywood Girl, Ima Hollywood Hand, Ima Bella Jac.  Which one is your favorite?

I've also decided on a name for my doggy and farm stuff.  The dog side of things I'd like to go with Progression Training and my farm stuff (a nod to my grandfather) Bar EM Legacy Farm.  All very exciting for me.  I should have the website up and running by the end of January.  

Another thing I've accomplished is Izzy and I are registered in a Steve Rother clinic this spring (ground work only) which should be pretty exciting.  I've never gone to a natural horsemanship clinic so this is definitely outside of the box for me!  He comes highly recommended and I'm looking forward to learning some new skills.  

Finally, I've been treating Whiskey's skin nasties, but some of them have become swollen and hard with the cream, so today I'm out to see why.  I may give them a day or two off without treatment to see what happens and if nothing changes a phone call into the vet clinic will be occurring.  

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making a Friend??

Mouth flapping in the wind I stood in shock and awe.  I wanted to run and grab my camera but didn't want to upset the delicate balancing act going on in my back yard.  I think Tessa was making a friend?!? 

Tessa has a long and venerable history of being a grouchy bag.  She was well socialized as a puppy but as she aged she wanted less and less to do with other dogs and more attached to her human pack.  Lately she has been mostly house bound as she recovered from her broken leg.  This afternoon when I went to put Reba and Joey back in jail I brought her out to enjoy the outstanding weather.  

The dogs all came bounding towards me, which is often not a good thing when Tessa's in the 'hood, but tonight she went bouncing off with them.  Curious to see what would happen *read doggy war* I stood back and watched.  And was stunned with what I witnessed.  Reba was wrestling with Bella, which means Joey becomes odd man out - usually choosing to hang around my legs making his attempts to play with me.  

Today with Reba and Bella occupied, Tessa went racing off with Joey in close pursuit.  Thinking he was living on the edge I prepared to intervene.  Only I didn't have to!! Tessa would move like a cutting horse and Joey would bounce around her.  I couldn't quite tell if he was having fun annoying her or if there was mutual pleasure involved.  When they'd go racing I could hear her teeth snapping but she never made contact or dived towards him.  Then the most amazing thing happened.  They stopped running and bouncing and sat looking at each other.  Tessa began licking Joey's face, periodically putting her paw on his shoulder.  And then Joey reciprocated!!  Including putting his paw on her.  I thought for sure he was done for - that she'd beat the tar out of him for daring to touch her.  But Queen Tessa tolerated it.  

It was fascinating to watch the doggy dynamics.  When Bella became curious and came over Tessa was on her feet staring at Joey, who was lying down wagging his tail.  Bella, then also went down and began to wag.  It seriously looked like Bella and Joey were saying "Come on Tessa, this is how you play.  We like you and want you to play with us."  Tessa broke off her stare and began running around with the other dogs!

I have a rudimentary understanding of dog language and behavior but now want to learn the fine points so I went on the Chapters site and looked up some dog behavior books.  There are a couple that I'm interested in ordering.  I will admit to being picky.  Let's face it the animal world is full of self-professed experts on behavior but I want the science behind it and am more interested in the text book side of things.  

I have to wonder is Tessa starting to act like a dog?  Is she really willing and interested in playing?  The drama unfolds...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Riding Roxy!!

On December 31st I delivered Roxy to Jason Hanson's to begin his futurity program.  He sent me this YouTube link today of him riding Roxy.  Having rode my fair share of babies I know that to see what I'm seeing in this short of a time period is truly impressive.  Especially, because I know I darn sure didn't do any prep work with her before she left.  

Watch Roxy here. 

Fingers crossed the little fart cuts!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Making Me Crazy!

Whiskey's bloody skin is making me crazy!  She seems bound and determined to develop "ickies" each and every winter.  This time around the SulphaTrim did not have much of an impact.  Meaning I have the pleasure of wearing latex gloves *oh so warm in the frigid temperatures* and smearing goop *also known as vet mixed scratches cream* on all the lumps and pustules I can find.  Fabulous!  

Rrowrr!  (Picture me gesturing with my fist at the sky making ineffectual growling yelling sounds.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Whose House?

There is a new dynamic in my house.  Tessa who has always been a house dog is having to adapt to Reba's part time move in.  Reba, in turn, is also having to adapt to not being the "Queen of the  Castle" herself.  When it's rather cold out (sub -20 weather) or if there is severe wind chills, I move Reba into the house.  

Initially, she hung out by the back door and in her crate.  But familiarity breeds bravery and she's starting to expand her horizons!  This of course makes Tessa crazy.  It is in her eyes, her house.  This darned interloper had better stay in their place!  Tessa has taken to perching on the landing, keeping a close eye down the stairs to ensure Reba doesn't encroach the upstairs territory.  Or lying across the doorway to make sure that darned dog doesn't enter the room where I am.  While kind of funny, this is actually bad behavior.  You see, I'm the alpha dog and I say who goes where - not Tessa and not Reba.  For the most part I prefer Reba to stay in her area of the back door and the neighboring room where her crate stays, but it's not Tessa's job to monitor this.  (Reba's not housebroke - knock on wood - so far no accidents!)

Reba is actually worse than Tessa because she's extremely territorial and protective of me.  She has the audacity to growl at Tessa when she comes to the door area.  Whereas Tessa knows this is bad behavior and responds to a verbal command, Reba needs a strong negative reinforcement to stop the behavior.  (I love Caesar and the Dog Whisperer!) I'm curious to see if they will ever be able to deal with both being in the same room as I am.  

However, it's good training and socialization for them to work through this transition stage.  

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Today I was a shameless eavesdropper.  It was long run Sunday and with a biting wind I wimped out and went into town to run on the track at the local gym.  I am not into the gym lifestyle at all!  Really avoid the places like the plague.  However, wind chill vs gym - the gym won as the lesser of two evils.  

I ran from 12:40 to 2:15 and then completed 10 minutes of stretching.  This gave me plenty of time to listen to snatches of conversations and to marvel at the sheer variety of people and running styles.  Quite frankly anyone who is willing to brave the gym on a regular basis gets kudos from me.  That said, I learned some very interesting things today.  For the final hour of my run there were two ladies walking.  Such drama and venting occurring with each step.  I wondered how anyone can steadily remain that negative over such an extended period of time.  The one lady would even wave her arms about when making her point about how no one (except for her) is right/could understand, her irritation with the world very clear.  She actually made me nervous when I would go to pass her.  I do understand that exercise is a great way to vent frustration but after about 10-20 minutes of venting I would be vented out!  (Trust me - there is a particular person I'd like to drop kick right now and even that wouldn't get me an hour of venting!)  But on the other hand, I make a conscious effort to live a positive life and to not take my frustrations out on other people.  

I watched as two high school students bonded over stretching.  I was bug eyed over the thunder footed runner who was like the energiser bunny and just kept going.  I think my body would have been crying for mercy if I ran the way he did!  I shared knowing smiles with another girl who clearly was training for something just as I am.  I grinned with joy as she grimaced down an energy gel.  (Heh - they're disgusting, and if I'm not the one taking it - that's a simple pleasure.)  I gaped in astonishment as I passed an overweight man (kudos for the gym) walking and carrying a coke!!  My inner voice wanted to shriek at him - put the coke down and get a bloody water!!  Ye gads - is a wonder?  I snickered as the mom and grandmother who debated insistently how to work their running watch.  (Technology ain't it a wonder!) I personally don't wear a watch.   I will admit to using one of my running partners Garmin info to plan how long I needed to run today but that's the extent of it.  

All in all, it was kinda fun, if not completely different than running in the country with my dogs.  For those of you wondering my long run today was 16k or 10 miles.  Just call me a sucker for punishment!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Crazy Rules

There is a local stable who is looking for someone to teach introductory riding lessons.  It was a position I was intensely interested in and that I would be good at.  I would love teaching children and adults entering into the sport.  There is one small, itty-bitty problem.  

If I were to teach learn to ride lessons at a stable that is non-competitive and predominantly English riders, I would loose my Amateur status.  This is not a big deal for me.  However, not only would I loose my Amateur status, I would also loose my NonPro status.  You see, the NCHA (National Cutting Horse Association) is rather strict.  I have actually just regained my Amateur status as I have not competed, or taken any form of re-numeration for horse related activities for 5 years!  That's right - 5!!  It does not matter if the horse events had nothing to do with cutting.  Heck, I didn't even have to ride a horse.  It would still get me bumped into the Open or Professional category.  It doesn't matter that I've never actually competed or earned money cutting.  Wow!  Those are some eye opening rules!

I get it - that it's purpose is to protect the people who don't train.

So after a conversation with my cutting trainer, my lesson giving never got off the ground.  Too bad.  I have a lot I could share with newcomers.