More Horse Stuff

There’s always a surprise around here. Today’s surprise was a horse I didn’t know in my pens this morning.

Hello, I’m a large, black mare.

I knew that someone had come back last night after I went to bed, because the dog alarm went off. But I didn’t know who. It turned out to be the nephew and the stock trailer. I recognized Dusty, Remington’s buckskin buddy, but who was the black beauty?

I’m built like a brick house.

I finally figured out it’s Kathleen’s horse from the farm, T, who I’d only seen once before and who did not look quite so fine at that time. It turns out she’s here to get all checked out and such. How about that?

Look, I’m friendlier that Apache and Fiona!

Do you see how shiny she is? Her secret is living for 3 years in a herd of cows and eating grass (and cattle cubes). It works!

She seems happy to be around other horses, and they all seem to be getting along. And she is friendly under all that muscle.

Meanwhile

I didn’t go into detail about my lesson with Drew yesterday, but it was very enlightening to see how hard he is working to learn new habits and build good muscles.

Developing his back legs

He is now going over his little hill under saddle, backwards and forwards, and he is working on using a bit. He doesn’t like them, probably because he had a pretty uncomfortable one before I got him.

And he is developing patience.

We talked about the plan for him, and currently the thinking is to bring him back home at the new year to do ground work and grow to a more adult size. Then in some number of months he can get back for finishing. I’d still be bringing him in for lessons.

Canter practice

I got a lot out of watching Sara’s lesson on Aragorn, who had been feeling agitated for a few days after being spooked by a horse wearing a blanket. He was trying his best to annoy Sara, but she didn’t let him. We were impressed at how she kept her cool and fixated on getting the job at hand done.

Here I was trying to capture his red mane tips, but it didn’t come through.

We had a darned pleasant afternoon with our horses and our trainer.

Today was also pleasant. I walked Apache all over to build back our relationship. Yesterday he turned and walked away from me, but today he came up, eventually and we had a good walk. Fiona, of course, is the best. What a donkey.

We’re all good.

My bruises on my lower abdomen are swollen and painful. I hope it’s just healing. If it gets worse, I will have it looked at.

A Visit with Drew and Friends

I’ll tell you more about this tomorrow, but what’s important is that I got to visit Drew and see how he’s progressing today.

Where have you been, Suna?

He’s getting really muscular and filled out.

No ribs showing!

I went with Sara, so we got to watch each other’s lessons. I was not alone when I was watching.

I watch lessons all day.

The resident bull sat with me, sighing periodically like he thought these horses should be doing better. I also had another friend to entertain me.

Who’s a good dog? Me!

This guy was with us the whole time. Every time we go to training, one of the dogs joins us. This one sure reminds me of Harvey.

We also enjoyed getting to know some very curious new horses at the training center. When we drove in, they ran up like cars were very exciting.

We like people.

I went in to look at them to learn about confirmation. The big buckskin and the two fillies were fascinated by my water bottle. I wish you could see their three noses all sniffing at it. Such curiosity!

I’ll share more tomorrow. I spent so much time with horses today that I’m zonked.

Come back soon, Suna!

Plus I’m full from a nice dinner my friend Martha made for us. Sunday family dinners are back!

I Got Bucked off My Horse, but It’s Okay

Last night I posted on Facebook that I hurt all over. I was busy doing other things, so I didn’t have a chance to go into detail, so here’s the story. First, I am absolutely fine, going to live, and not mad at my horse. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

I’m writing from my quiet, but breezy, outdoor office. Thanks to our friend Carol for painting my dining set red!

When I was finished working yesterday, Kathleen suggested that we go ride the horses, because the weather was just perfect and there was still some light left in the day. My alternative was emptying the dishwasher, so you can figure out that I agreed to the horse stuff.

I got Apache all groomed. His feet sure look good! The round pen work went well, and he even got going at a canter briefly. I did notice that he coughed a couple of times. I never heard that before. But I didn’t worry too much about it. We all cough occasionally.

I was trying to tell you something. Like, in this photo, I’m telling you the Vrazels are moving cattle, which concerns me.

We got saddled up and did our schooling exercises. He was a little reluctant, but not in an annoying way. He coughed a couple more times.

Kathleen and Mabel were having their own issues since Mabel was not interested in standing still to be mounted. That’s no fun if you are as short as Kathleen and your horse is as tall as Mabel. Eventually we were all ready to go for a ride in the pasture, or so we thought.

Neither horse seemed at all interested in what we had planned. Mabel kept stopping, and Apache was okay until we got past the gate out of his paddock, at which point he began acting like his old jumpy self. I couldn’t figure out what the issue was. I’d stop him, back him up, and try to go forward, but he was not happy. This is where I made my mistake. I kept asking too many times.

Finally, he took off at a canter, headed back to the pens. I tried to calmly stop him and slow him down. Nope. So, I did the kind of one-rein stop that the trainer showed me, and that did stop him, but at that point he commenced to bucking. After buck number 3 I lost my seat and fell off the saddle. It was a fairly graceful fall, and I landed properly, so that nothing broke.

I did bonk my head, but my brave little helmet did its job, and my head is fine. I’ll be ordering a new helmet shortly.

The brave little helmet, whose nails came undone at the back.

But what got into Apache? Kathleen and I noticed he wasn’t acting too perky after the fall (and after I did, indeed, get back on and do some circles and managing obstacles). He had a runny nose and coughed another couple of times. So, we petted him and told him we loved him. That made him happy, very happy.

Stop here if you do not want to read about a horse’s male parts.

When Apache let down his member, we saw that it was quite crusty. His metabolic issues lead to crustiness, and I usually remove stuff every week or so. Of course, I’d been gone three weeks and hadn’t seen his member since I got back. I took care of that issue, though he sure looked all red.

We got to worrying, because his urethra looked more red than usual, too, and he was dripping drops of pee (I’ll spare you the photos, though I do have photos). After consulting with Sara, we decided he might have a UTI and a respiratory issue, so we ran over to her house to borrow a horse thermometer. I need to get one of those, too.

Ready to do the job.

His temperature was normal for a horse, 100.4. That’s good. And I now can take a horse’s temperature. Thanks, Apache, for the farts during that process. We decided to contact a vet in the morning.

One of the things I’ve learned is that horses rarely are just “bad” or “stubborn” or “spoiled.” If they misbehave, there is usually a reason. After you check to see if you’ve confused them or something, the next thought should be that they are in pain of some sort. That’s why I am not angry at Apache. Sara says that before she realized it was an issue, he had bucked when his penile crust hurt him at a trot. Plus, if I was signaling away with my legs right on his kidney or bladder area, that may also have hurt.

I took some ibuprofen and arnica (I have to say that, or everyone I was ever in La Leche League with would start shouting “arnica” at me), so I was able to make it through a celebratory evening last night. Today I awoke to only find two bruises, including this one on my arm.

The blue part of the bruise is really pretty in person.

The other one is much deeper and more colorful and is where my lower abdomen hit the saddle pommel awfully hard on my way down. It is right next to my cesarean scar, which didn’t help. I’d say that hurts more than my back or neck today. But I’ll live, and I learned, so all is well.

And sigh. No vet is available to make a house call today, and I would not want to take a potentially contagious horse anywhere with other horses. So, I will see how he is on Friday (tomorrow is a US holiday). Besides, we do not have the trailer here. It should be back this weekend, though.

Another thing I need is a horse trailer that our vehicle can pull! If only I had a lot of money all of a sudden…oh wait, that’s the next post.

Ranchin’ Time

I had fun today getting reacquainted with the ranch and its inhabitants. I sure was glad to see that Peeper, the only chick we ever got past babyhood, is still peeping and growing. She has her comb coming in, and she looks like a darker version of her mom.

The dogs were glad to see me, ranging from black and white to copper and gold!

And of course, I was so glad to see the horses and Fiona. Apache is as furry as a teddy bear, but sound and happy.

I’m not out of condition; I’m fuzzy.

We went for a ride with Kathleen and Mabel. We had a good time until suddenly Kathleen disappeared.

Where did they go?

I looked and saw them zipping away. Mabel was dancing around. Finally Kathleen got off, and we went to check things out. She was waving and Mabel was kicking at her belly.

Kathleen yelled, “bees!” and I saw a bee around Mabel’s legs. It appeared to be a ground bee. They hadn’t bothered Apache, but Mabel must have stepped on their nest! Finally, the bee that chased them stopped on Mabel’s belly and Kathleen killed it with her shoe. Poor horsie!

After that we tried to ride again, but neither horse was remotely interested. They wanted their saddles off and some petting. As did Fiona and Remington, who were out with us.

Enough drama for one day.

Everyone was apparently starving by dinner time, because Fiona kept grunting at the dogs, and when she was done, she tried to drag poor Remington’s food away from him.

Remington is not pleased. Note strongly braced donkey legs

We guess she was tired from her own antics, which included getting into the swimming pool when I was riding. Sigh. And we were worried about the dogs! luckily, the new fencing that should keep donkeys out of the area around the house is being worked on now.

More to come tomorrow! But now it’s time to get some rest, because tomorrow starts another work week. Once again, Anita and I will share an office, except when I have to talk. I’ll show you why she can’t work in her own house in the next post.

Sunset, dog, and ranch stuff.

Hitting the Deck at Breck

It was more like hitting the sidewalks, but I wanted the post title to rhyme. Anyway, yes, on my fourth day here in Breckenridge, Colorado, I finally made it to the scenic downtown.

Look at the stained-glass window in this lilac house.

It’s an interesting contrast to Vail, where we were last Saturday. Vail was sort of like Disney World for physically fit adults. Nothing is natural or what it appears to be and nothing is old. If there were little snowmen and moose characters wandering around, I wouldn’t be surprised. Of course, they’d have to be luxe snowmen and moose.

But here, they have statues of donkeys! This is called “Fast Friends.”

Breck has a lot more history, having once been a mining town. There are museums and old buildings, plus some cool Victorian houses that have been fixed up and made into businesses with lodging on top. I really enjoyed looking at them, even though it was snowing hard enough to mess my glasses up.

Early Breck.

It wasn’t cold, so the snow was melting quickly, which made it an enjoyable day to go for a walk. I got myself a t-shirt, a coffee mug, and some warm pants like everyone around here wears. They are so comfy I may wear them all winter at home. Plus, I think I can ride in them.

I love that they are preserving history, even with all the trendy shops everywhere.

After I finished work, I headed over to the new hot tubs they just installed here at the lodge. They are placed in the front of the building, with a pleasing view of the trees and hills. It was great to sit there watching the trees drip and the steam rise. Since it was around 4:00, there was only one other person there, and she was in another tub. The only downer is that the ceiling is very low on the tub platform. Even I hit my head. But I forgot that in the steam. Ahh.

My happy place.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it’s rainy, but some work got done on the pool. It is looking rather good, I think.

There’s also good horse news! Not only is Apache still cute (thanks to Kathleen for the photo)…

He looks so clean. And there is a piece of Fiona in the picture.

…but Drew is getting ridden at last. He’s getting better at cantering in the round pen, but he still has issues with his back, thanks to being ridden way too young by people who were too heavy. I’m glad he is well cared for with the trainer and she isn’t rushing him. It will take as long as it takes to get him in shape to be a partner to me for as long as possible.

Look, he’s being ridden!

I’m looking forward to a couple of reasonable and not-too-cold days coming up. I’ll have to do a lot more walking during my lunch hours and before it gets dark. Things are looking up in the visitor department, too, so I’ll have some friends to hang around with.

Right on Main Street

This is a delightful place, other than kids moving in an hour or two ago, right across the hall, who run back and forth and screech constantly. I like being surrounded by quiet, ancient people. OMG I AM OLD.

Bye-Bye Bobcat

Dateline: Austin. Today was sorta hard in a few ways. For one, I worked on so many things that my head was spinning, plus I was trying to get packed for my next condo stay. Because of that, today’s brief visit with Anita was my last time in Bobcat when I own it.

We’re looking out at the sunset, as the sun goes down on our time in Austin.

And, whoa, it was windy even for out at the ranch! Gusts were well over 40 miles per hour. It was actually hard to walk, which helped me reach my exercise goal. That’s rare. Things were banging around the chickens and the horses, so I worked on shutting them up.

I need my beauty sleep!

I got everything done in time, including horse and donkey hugs. Apache got his feet trimmed, so there was bonding time for all.

I took a picture to gaze at.

Eventually, the relatives returned from their duties at the Hermits Rest Home, as I secretly dubbed the farm in Yorktown. After watching the dogs frolic in the wind and staring at the pool, Lee and I headed to Austin with my luggage. As Lee shared how thrilled he was to never go over the speed bumps again, I got all sad about selling my house.

Maybe it’s homely outside, but it was a refuge.

Lee reminded me that we plan to come back each month for book club, so it’s not like I’ve left forever. But, I’ll really miss this haven of peace and quiet.

Anita painted the deck!!! What a gal.

I was so sad that I really couldn’t hang around long. I’ll just call Anita Saturday and really talk about her house, her job, and plans. Good thing she’s such a good friend.

My buddy

So, we headed over to the always unique Austin Airport Hilton, the one that used to be an Air Force command center.

View from our room.

They recently redecorated, and it’s really nice now. It was nice of Lee to join me. We’re enjoying some local-ish bourbon and watching some football. I’m glad we get to spend the evening together peacefully.

Quite nice.

I’m looking forward to my trip to Colorado tomorrow. I’ll get to hang out with some old friends, see some snow, and do my annual solo retreat. Of course, I’ll be working, since contractors get no vacation! But I’ll have plenty of afternoon and evening time, thanks to 6 am meetings starting my day off long before sunrise!

It will be fine. I love working in new places. I’m not so worried about getting sick, with all my vaccinations, too. It’s getting better, a bit. Maybe. Knock on wood.

So Good to Have Tan Friends

I didn’t plan this, but I’ve spent my last evening at the ranch for a while with my animal friends, particularly the ones the color of deerskin. It rained a lot last night, and a cool front came in, so it was a beautiful end to the day.

Thanks for the nice day, Suna.

I went out to see the horses, with some grooming implements in my hands, and told myself I’d spend time with whatever horse wanted to hang out with me. The winner was Remington, who is definitely like Drew in his love for people (at least when Dusty isn’t here). I completely groomed him, massaged him, petted him, and made him happy.

This is me, all relaxed after grooming. ZZZ.

After at least a half hour of hanging out together, I took him for a nice walk around the yard. He’s such a good guy. We just walked and looked, and he had a couple of nice snacks of grass. I really think it’s good to spend time with all of them, if they want to.

I’ll just nap here for a moment.

Apache, Fiona, and Mabel were just not interested in grooming or getting petted, even though I did give them a chance. My guys will get plenty of attention as it is, and Mabel just really isn’t people-fixated. She likes Apache. And by the way, they all acted extra friendly when it came time to eat dinner.

After I had a nice porch visit with Mandi and Vlassic (she talked more than he did, but it was nice to hang out with them both), I spent time enjoying the other tan friend, Goldie. Lee and I couldn’t help but laugh as she enjoyed the wet sand that’s just hanging around waiting for the pool guys to get their supplies and get back to work. All the dogs had fun, but Goldie was the best. She blended right in, and stretched her golden self out as if we made that smooth space just for her.

You can’t see me. I blend in.

We really enjoyed watching her, with the setting sun highlighting her golden eyes that match her coat.

Those pool guys will just have to start over smoothing this out.

Of course, Goldie isn’t the only cute dog. Gracie was pretty cute as she walked all over the edges of the pool, trying to decide if she could get in or not. There was plenty of water in there today, enough that I even saw a little frog swimming around happily.

Should I jump? Yes? No?

Don’t worry, when the dudes come back, they will be able to drain it to keep working. They have a pump. I’m looking forward to reports on the progress.

More Spontaneous Saturday Stuff

I just kept rolling along today, enjoying whatever came up. I was knitting away, when Sara invited me to hang out with her while she rode Aragorn. I walked over there, and discovered a bit too late that Vlassic came along. I was worried he’d have a problem with Sara’s newest cattle dog.

I really missed this water bucket.

At first the puppy was not pleased, and her hackles were raised big time. Aragorn ignored it all. What a good boy.

Dogs don’t bother me. And how do you like my new muscles?

We needn’t have worried. Moments later I looked over to see play bows all around.

You’re okay.

Those two dogs didn’t stop running and playing the whole time I was there. I think they were thrilled to find each other.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed seeing Aragorn’s significant progress in this lessons. The most fun was watching him try to back up a hill like Drew did earlier. He was a bit tired from his lesson yesterday, but he did it!

Back he goes.

I headed home and suddenly got a text asking me to get home so we could go. Huh? Turns out the nephew and I were going to Steak Stein and Wine festival after all. Yep, I went home, put on a necklace and lipstick and acted spontaneous.

People seemed to have fun.

We were a bit confused, but ended up seeing lots of people we hadn’t seen in a long time, had good chats, and enjoyed our fine booth for our company.

Lovely staff/friends at our booth.

It turns out we were sponsors and had a cool sign in the bandstand. Ooh la la.

I see our logo!

I sampled some liquor but not too much, then we had the steak part of the deal. It was good. The twice-baked potatoes were GREAT.

Mmm

I’m glad our little town is coming back to life now that our COVID numbers are way down. It’s not the way it was, but it’s better.

So, let’s see what happens spontaneously tomorrow!

Arrivals and Departures

The population of the Hermits’ Rest is always changing. Today there’s someone new who arrived and someone old who departed. No one died, to put a spoiler in there.

Pet me once more

Dear old Granny, the skinny old mare with the inability to properly eat grass, has been sent off to hang out with Dusty and Kathleen’s other horse at the farm in Yorktown. She can wander around and squirt and quid all she wants, hang out with cows.

Enjoy your new friends!

I must admit I’ll miss her bony old self. She is awful with other horses, but she’s a real sweetie with people. I enjoyed hanging around with her, and gave her lots of love every day.

New resident

This little guy just moved into Lee’s pond. It’s one of our many baby bullfrogs from the spring mating fest.

I like my rocks.

He’s not as friendly as Granny, but he isn’t too afraid of people. Somewhere around here is a little toad, too. Lee found it in the house and put it back out.

I’m a toad.

Another new arrival is this skink. I think they are really cool. I’m not sure if we have one or multiple. I’ve spotted skinks a few times in the last couple of days.

One other visitor I have no photos of, but my guess is it’s a pocket gopher. I hadn’t seen any here, but Sara had some. I guess they hiked over here to enjoy chicken food. I blocked the holes last night, and lo and behold, there was a lot more food left this morning. I may end up just sharing my fancy chicken food with them.

Stay out of our food!

And in other chicken news, I tried letting Babette back in with the other chickens. An hour later, she was all bloody-headed again. Darn. So, she’s back in her isolation ward.

I’m a delicate flower. But at least I’m finally laying eggs regularly.

Apache has normal eyes again, and the dogs are fine. That’s it for our comings and goings.

Poor Patchy Horse

I tell you what, Apache is one good horse. Yesterday he was scheduled to have a lesson, but when I looked at him after work, he seemed down. I went to say hi and saw he was crying and blinking like crazy. His right eye was a mess (sparing you photos).

Look. I’m in a building.

I cleaned him up, though he did not like the eye wash (who would?). He seemed okay, but he stepped on my foot, like he was unaware of his location. Or he was nerved out because the tire on the trailer was getting changed while I groomed him. Here’s why:

All the tread fell off on the way up here. Oops. It was ok. Lots of wheels.

He round penned very well and seemed happy, so off we went. When we got to the training place, the trainer took one look at him and said he might be contagious. He looked awful.

I did get to see Drew and check on his progress. He’s doing so well.

We decided to take him straight to her vet, which is only a half hour from her place. He was already in the trailer, and it would be better to get him looked at fast, before he hurt himself rubbing on the eye. She was nice enough to call and get us in, just before they closed.

Pretty Drew.

We got to the place, and it was SO nice. I filled out the forms, then Apache politely got out and walked to the waiting area. The vet tech commented on how calm he was. He even went in the building like he did that every day. He never had! And the door closed so loud.

The tiny vet did a great job. She flushed out his eye and stained it. He didn’t like the shots much, but between than and getting twitched, he was great.

A twitch is a thing they use to settle horses for being worked on. It doesn’t hurt; in fact it relaxes them. Who knew?

She said he was not injured, and probably just has a blocked tear duct. When she checked his nose, it had very thick mucus. So she decided to clean him out. That was something else to watch!

Look closely at his eye.

The vet used a syringe of saline and slowly squirted it up his nose. It came out of his eye! Horse anatomy is weird. But he should feel better. She sent home some ointment with antibiotics and steroids. He also got an antibiotic shot.

Getting him back to the trailer was funny. He was a very relaxed horse. Apache walked out with his wee wee hanging out (why his name used to be Dingle). I had to get a nice man to pat his butt to get him to go in the trailer. But wow. Drugged Apache is easy to tie up.

I was so pleased with how well he behaved. And I sure hope he feels better today!

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