Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fun with the Ponies

We spent some time at my parents' house yesterday messing around with the ponies. The weather has been unusually cool lately, so I had the energy to get Filly out and work with her. We began by having a long brushing session, then I tacked her up and walked her around the yard. She is a bit spooky, so desensitizing is something she desperately needs. She was able to sniff the big blue tarp covering the lawn mower, then she spent some time checking out the big silver gas tank in the side yard. Filly relaxed and seemed to enjoy the attention once she realized the odd objects weren't going to eat her. Once she settled, I longed her for about 30 minutes. We worked on walk, trot, halt transitions; no side reins and no cantering this time.

She was very well behaved and quiet, so I put my oldest child on her, still on the lunge line. I had him work on walk/halt transitions and change of direction. They both did great and there was no silly stuff from Filly. After about 15 minutes, we called it a day.

Next, it was spa time. D and I gave Filly a good bath and painted her face and ears with Swat. Her sweet itch is at a minimum, and she didn't seem too miserable and itchy this time. I read an on-line article recently about putting a mixture of baby oil and scarlet oil on the mane and tail of horses suffering from sweet itch to prevent the midges from biting them. It sure seems to work! Below is a photo of her tail which has been treated with the mixture. She has not been rubbing in the last week, so her tail is growing back nicely.

Filly has rubbed her mane only a little bit - you can see how it is thin near her shoulders:



She has no sores or bare patches on her ears, shoulders and croup as she did before:



The dogs were in the woods, so Filly is in her alert stance:


A little more relaxed:



Close-up of her sweet face:




Once I turned Filly back out with Tonto, it started to rain.
Tonto playing in the rain:


He and Filly started running around like crazies as the rain came down harder.
They were too funny playing.



Had to take a break to graze:



Tonto checking D and me out to see what we were up to:



I didn't snap any photos of Maggie this time. Once it started to rain she was off to the barn.
All three are doing well, fat and happy.



Wasps!

We were out in the pole barn the other day and realized there were several BIG wasp nests. With lots of kids and animals around our place, someone was bound to get stung.

My dear husband took on the task of eliminating the buggers. He dawned full gear to prevent getting stung:

You should have seen our dogs disappear when he walked out of the house. Sam couldn't get out of there fast enough! I guess we can't count on them as being good watchdogs. It's a wonder he didn't just scare the wasps to death as well...
Anyway, B successfully took out all of the wasps - I believe there were around seven nests total - and didn't get stung one time, which I don't think would have been possible anyway with all of the wasp gear he had on....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tears and Times to Remember

Well, the last couple of weeks have been hard ones. We lost two beloved pets in one week.

Our old dog Snowflake was 17 years old and going deaf and blind. My husband adopted him form a friend when Snowflake was about a year old. He was a great dog for sixteen years - having fun running, playing and being loved.

Recently, poor Snowflake was incontinent, vomiting a lot, and sleeping more than normal. There were so many times we would be in the yard and he would just walk aimlessly around, like he was lost. Probably mostly in part to being deaf and blind...He had done so well up until last year. It seems as if Snowflake aged overnight. My husband and I had started asking ourselves if it was "time," and we both agreed it was.
Snowflake
I dropped my oldest off at the bus stop Friday morning 2 weeks ago and pulled into the driveway. I was looking to my right at Sam coming out of the shed and didn't even see Snowflake. I just heard him yelp and felt the bump. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach was unbearable. Shaking and feeling nauseous, I climbed out of the van terrified of what I was going to find. To my relief, he wasn't dead, nor was there blood. He just couldn't stand up. It looked like I had hit his back leg. Sobbing, I ran into the house and grabbed some towels. My other 2 children were thankfully still asleep, so they had no idea. I ran back outside and wrapped Snowflake in the towels to keep him still. It took me several tries to dial my husband's cell phone number - I was crying and shaking so hard I couldn't get the phone to work. It was horrible. My husband rushed home and took Snowflake to the vet. There were no choices this time; he had to be put to sleep. We knew it was time, but I sure didn't want him to go like that. The images of him struggling to get up are etched in my mind and the guilt of hitting him just won't go away. I am so thankful none of our kids were with me though. They took the news better than I expected. All three talked about how much they would miss him, but they knew he was really, really old. My husband buried Snowflake by the barn in a nice quiet, shady spot. His feisty, yet fun-loving personality will be greatly missed.
My parents still have the 3 puppies we rescued last October in South Carolina. These little guys also had a rough start to life. They went from this:
to this:
in no time at all. Boots, Max and Sally have grown and matured into fun, playful, loving dogs; although quite destructive...They have completely stolen all of our hearts.
My husband and I kind of kicked around the idea of adopting Max, the only boy of the 3. He loved to play fetch and got along really well with our kids. We still needed some time to think about it though, as Snowflake's loss was still so fresh in our minds.
Then six days after I hit Snowflake, my Dad called to break the news about Max. He had been struck and killed on the dirt road in front of their house. As expected, that news hit like a ton of bricks. Max was only a year old. He was the one who loved to play ball and always carried a toy around in his mouth.
Max
He was such a sweet, sweet pup.
Two losses in a week is really hard to stomach. I find myself spending more time loving on our dogs Daisy and Sam and our kitties K.C. and Stripes. Go hug you pets and your kids...becuase you just never know....


Monday, August 24, 2009

More Progress!

This past weekend was an amazing gift - the weather cooled off to the low 80's with low humidity, which is absolutely unheard of in these parts in late August. Normally, this time of year it is in the high 90's with very high humidity. It is so hot and humid, it can be hard to breathe and you have the potential to sweat to death. But not this weekend. This weekend was awesome and we had family in town willing to help put up fencing. Since I was helping drive a few metal posts in the ground, I didn't take any photos of the work party, but you can see from the photos that my husband worked incredibly hard on the wooden fence:

B put up 17 sections between Saturday and Sunday. Sunday he had no help - our extended family had gone back home while the kids and I went to my parents' house to bathe the horses and treat Filly's sweet itch.

The progress was great - with the help of my parents and B's Dad and brother on Saturday, we were able to put up all of the metal posts along the trees and ditch. To complete the fence, we lack 13 sections of the wooden fence and approximately 8 metal fence posts.

Hopefully the next projects will be bringing in some more dirt and sod to try to repair the damage done to the hill last year after the bad rains and finishing the pole barn...I'm so ready! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Progress

My husband is so tired of my nagging, he decided he would start the fence rather than shooting me. :) We still have a long way to go, but there is progress!
It is beautiful and will go well with our property.
Since it is a two-rail, we'll be stringing hot wire between the rails to keep little Tonto in. He currently lives behind a two-strand electric fence, so it won't be new to him.

Anyway, just wanted to give a quick update on the wonderfully sweet progress! My hubby is digging the post holes by hand, so he really deserves a big hug.

The kids have been helping, too - so this is turning into a great family project!
I'll keep you posted as I am able to.
Thanks for visiting!