Thursday, December 17, 2015


Not Really Excusable

OK, so the temperatures have been warm for December, and as riding weather goes, it's been perfect.

Have I ridden? No.

Why not? Somehow I have no motivation. I know for sure my inner thigh muscles are still not rehabbed for riding.  I have sat on my barrel a few times, but not with any kind of regular determination. That means that sitting in the saddle will still either hurt or be ineffective.

No reason I can't do the work necessary to get fit, but I just keep getting distracted.

Then, there's the horse. I definitely don't want to try to ride Tucker until I am fit again. He is neither and easy or reliable mount.

That leaves Chance or Toby. Toby is showing more and more age as time goes on. I am really having trouble getting weight on him. As a Cushings horse, he has muscle wastage as a symptom, something the Pergolide doesn't really help. I have upped his feed, added some Amplify and I bought some beet pulp to try. Still, he is sound and would probably be fine. I just feel kind of guilty considering riding him.

And Chance? My sweetie pie, reliable, love to go out on the trail horse? He'd be fine for walking and perhaps a little trot. The last time I was on him testing my own muscles, we trotted just a few strides and I could feel that unsoundness in his hind end. The OCD in his stifle is definitely a problem for him. Bless his heart, though, because he doesn't let it dampen his enthusiasm--he heads right for the gate to the woods as soon as I swing into the saddle and let him walk off.

Therein lies the rub. Unless I can effectively use my lower leg, which requires cooperation from my hips and thighs, all I can do is try to steer him back along the track of the arena with my hands--neither very effective or good for him.

I'm not quite ready to go out on a trail until I have some better body control, so I do need to ride in the arena first for a few times.

That would help me build myself up.

But there the circle is complete. I am simply not getting myself riding fit.

I do exercise in the pool, although I've taken the week off so I don't risk getting my head clogged with water. I am singing a difficult solo in church on Sunday and I've been battling either really annoying allergies or a wannabe cold. All I need to do is make it through the music, and I'll be fine.

So, the list of excuses goes on and on. All those years I dreamed of having my horse in the back yard, and now that I do, I'm not riding.

Hopefully, my desire to ride will rekindle. Otherwise I will just have some lovely pasture pets.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Caught the Cats

Time For Spay and Neuter

I had set the trap out for several days, with the trap trigger tied so it would not snap shut.

Mommycat, Dusky, and the kittens became pretty comfortable eating inside the trap.

I made an appointment to get Dusky spayed at People for Animals, a low cost spay/neuter clinic about a half hour away. They specialize in feral cats, so I knew they could handle my strays. They participate in the TNR, Trap Neuter Release, programs many of the cat rescues are involved in. The idea is to catch feral cats, neuter them and then release them back to the areas they were trapped to live in their colonies without producing more kittens.

The next trick was to capture her. I went to PetSmart and bought a new, fairly large dog cage/crate to hold her in overnight both before her spay date and for a day or so after for recovery.

I set the trap last night before dark. Within two minutes, I had captured both kittens. Since I was hoping to try to tame them a little, that was OK, so I brought them into the house and put them in the crate, locked in the sunroom. Then I set the trap again. It took less than ten more minutes for Dusky to get caught. I brought her in as well and the little family spent the night in the house.

I called the clinic to see if I could bring the kittens in as well. The woman said if they were at least 2 pounds in weight, that was OK to neuter but she didn't know if they would have time. (There are several clinics in the State of NJ and the one I was going to was closed on Monday, so I called one that was open.)  She did tell me it was worth a try.

So I pulled out three cat carriers and risked life and limb getting the two feisty kittens in. Hissing, spitting, biting little bundles of fur are not easy to stuff into a carrier, I can tell you that. I did have gloves and a jacket on so I manage to escape serious injury.  Then came Dusky. First, I tried to snag her, but she was even more dangerous. Finally, I stuck the open carrier in the cage and, lo and behold, she went right in on her own. I guess I looked like a safe hiding place.

Packed the car with cats and headed out to the clinic.

Bless their hearts, but they were perfectly willing to neuter all three of my little bundles of spitting joy.

The waiting room was filled with other people with cats. A good number of them were strays/ferals that had been either trapped or dumped. Two women had lovely black cats that had shown up at their homes as strays. Both of those cats were sweet and lovable. One rescue women brought in six she had trapped and another woman and one--she'd been trapping a family one at a time for several weeks. With about four more owners with pet cats there, the waiting room was alive with meows.

As it turned out, my little ones were old enough and big enough to neuter, so I left them for the day.

I picked them up at around 4 PM discovering, to my surprise, that the solid gray kitten is a female and the light gray tabby is a male.  I was totally convinced, just by observing them and never getting close enough to check, that it was exactly the opposite. Shadow works fine as a name for the little girl, but I'm not sure Slip is the ideal name for the boy.

I plan on keeping them in for a couple weeks to see if I can tame them and I'm hoping I'll come up with the perfect name for my little guy. According to the vet at the clinic, he was the toughest one to handle. He's gotten away from me twice now in the sunroom where there is no place to hide, so in one way, Slip is kind of an appropriate moniker. It does tend to slip out of my control pretty easily. Clever little dude.

I will take some pictures soon, but tonight I am just letting them settle down in the cat bed in the crate. I'll put some food in later.  Dusky needs to stay inside for a day or so.  So far the weather is staying on the warm side so I don't have to worry too much about putting her back outside to be my barn kitty.

I really can't adopt any more indoor cats as I already have seven.  Outdoors I have the barn, two garages, the hay storage area, and the igloo dog house I bought for them so they should be fine. I'm not keen about having outdoor cats, as I do worry about the busy road, but I will do my best to give them a safe haven, good food and, I hope, some solid human friendship.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Horses On the Lawn


This time it's not the escapees. It's my Christmas yard decor.

I bought the winged Pegasus last year and liked it so much I decided I wanted a partner. I searched the Internet all year to no avail. Apparently the Pegasus is no longer for sale.

So, I started looking for another kind of lighted outdoor Christmas horse. I wasn't until early November that one showed up on eBay. (There are more now, but none like mine.)  I took the plunge and bought him.

Now, at last he is standing on the left side of the front porch while Pegasus--who needed to be propped up on the flagpole holder because his supporting strut broke--adorns the right side.

I'm pretty happy with the effect, despite Pegasus's lameness. Fortunately all he needs to do is stand there, so the injury does not impair his performance.

Here's the new guy sporting the red bow I added.
Here we have the two fellows without the added drama. 
The added drama? The StarShower laser lights. I've always wanted something on that peak area of the porch, but I am not brave enough to climb a ladder that high. The laser lights do the job and are just right as far as I am concerned. 

The fence on either side of the house is also strung with garland, red bows, and lights.

I'm just about ready for Christmas!

Oh, by the way, the real Boys escaped last week by knocking down the fence rails by the barn. Found them grazing on the back lawn by moonlight. Fortunately, they decided not to go adventuring. More about that later.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

May the holiday find you good grazing wherever you may be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Sat in the Saddle

Good News.Bad News, Sort Of
Weather was warm today so, after about a 40 minute walk around the tree farm and cornfield--where I picked up left over corn for squirrels--I first lunged Chance to see how he looked.

Aside from the hind leg with the OCD stifle, he looked pretty sound. Now this is with just wedge pads and regular shoes in the front instead of the egg bar shoes.

So, I saddled him up and headed back out to the arena for a test ride.

Well, it was much better than the last time I tried. Pain still from stretching my inner thigh muscles, however. That limited how I could use my leg for any kinds of cues. Still, it wasn't agony, but I certainly would not have wanted to try a trail ride.

Now, I have been stretching my legs all summer, and within the last week stretching again in the pool. I also started using some of the machines at the gym, but only one day on my own. (The trainer set me up and had me work a little on Saturday.)  All is well and good with that...

BUT:  There is not a single exercise that I have done that really prepares the body for riding. Mind you, I am a bit limited with the exercises I can do with my replaced knees and still recovering hip but, it's simply not the same thing.

I am truly surprised at this. Having ridden for over 50 years of my life, I would think I would have a natural ability to sit in a saddle, but once again, that hip injury and the mode of recovery just wasn't "horse shape" friendly.  And not one of those darn machines in the gym requires me to use my "horse shape" muscles the right way.

So it's back to the barrel in the back yard.

So that's the half of it. The other half is Chance. He lunged pretty sound, but when I trotted just a little bit in the arena, He has a definite limp. Not being in shape enough myself to ride the trot long enough to sort it all out, I'm not quite sure if it's that hind leg alone, or some discomfort in the front. As I said, he lunged sound, so it's more likely my weight on his back and that hind leg problem.

Again, no point in making a huge deal of it at the moment. We only rode around the arena for five or ten minutes at the most, just testing things out. As usual, Chance headed straight for the gate out to the woods, telling me he was up for a trail ride.

So, plan B for tomorrow is:  Go for swim/exercise.  Sit on barrel and stretch. Then ride for a bit, perhaps going out for a very short jaunt in the woods in this lovely warm weather.

As Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Kitty update:  Kittens are coming out to eat. The darker gray one is still much bolder. I am now suspicious they are much younger than I suspected and that they were not actually weaned until very recently. I bought some dry kitten food for them as well as more canned food today.  I'll just keep working on the taming process.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Cat and Hip Progress

Four Reasons to Smile

The stray cat and her two kittens seem to be getting used to me. Dusky, the mom, now greets me in the morning, meows and will actually eat the food while I sit about four feet away talking to her. She is "thinking" about approaching me, but isn't quite secure enough yet.

This morning, for the first time, the two kittens came out into the open to eat with her while I was there. The charcoal gray one, Shadow, is braver then the little light gray striped kitten, Slip, but both ate with their mom while I was there. (Will try to get some pictures soon.)

Slow but sure progress on the way to making them sociable barn kitties. I am hoping I will not have to set traps to catch them for vet/neuter/shots, etc, but we will see.  We're supposed to have some warm weather this week so it's good for sitting out there for taming.

And smile #4?

My doctor cleared me for "unrestricted" activity with my hip.  This sent me right off to the NewYork Sports Club to start my membership with a swim.

Now, I know I can swim at the County College pool for free, but it is some 15-16 miles away. The Sports Club is only 8 miles from home and I can use a back road to get there. The college? Heavily traveled US 1 and the very busy town of Edison, Route 514.  Of course, if I have a substituting job, I'll already be at the College, so I will swim there. Meanwhile the Sports Club is the answer.

The pool there has four lanes, and the whole complex is very clean and well run. There is another Sports Club--LA Fitness--with a pool just across the highway, but that one costs a bit more and most reviews give the NY Club better marks for cleanliness.

At any rate, I've been swimming three times so far and love it.

Yesterday, I got my complimentary trainer consultation and Mike, the trainer with a Physical Therapy background, showed me how to used the exercise machines he recommended. He also made up a fitness regimen for me to follow. I'm not sure I will be dedicated enough to do it, but I will at least try.

I would like to work with him once a week too, but I can't afford it. Personal training sessions are nearly $100 for each. When you think about what a good riding lesson costs here in NJ, that's not unreasonable. My Physical Therapy sessions are at least that much too, but my medical insurance pays for them. It would not pay for that--at least not yet. There are, apparently, some insurance programs that do cover some of the gym costs for senior citizens, but my otherwise excellent coverage does not. I am going to look into the possibility of perhaps one session a month, but so far, using the website, I can't find out how much that program would cost.

So, in the meantime, I am going to work out on my own.

And I plan on trying some riding soon, maybe even this afternoon. Right now I want to get on a horse to see how it feels. That way, if something hurts, I will know what I need to stretch or strengthen in order to ride.

As I said, we are supposed to get some warm weather this week, so it would be a good time to get into the saddle. Physically, the warmth will help my muscles and Chance will also be feeling good about it.

No plans to ride Tucker until I am fit again, although I will start working him on the lunge/long lines. Our trail riding days are done, I fear, but I will take him out for hand walks in the woods for a change of scenery.

Gone are the days of mad, frolicking rides in the fields and trails as I did when I had my Russell R. Older, wiser, and not quite the girl I used to be, I am a cautious equestrian instead.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dumped Cat Update

The Number is Three

There are definitely three cats here. One larger light gray tabby and two kittens, one dark and one a light gray.

I have honestly not had a close-up look at the kittens. The larger cat is now responding to me when I put the food out in the morning. She--I suspect she may be the mother cat--talks to me and stays out in the open while I am there although she is still very cautious about approaching.

At this rate, in a couple weeks I will probably be able to touch her. I am hoping the lure of food and my quiet presence will reassure her.

The kittens may be another story, but if indeed the larger cat is their mother, then they too will eventually come around.

All three were out in the yard quite a ways away from the barn when I went out. All three took off and dashed under the floor of the feed room--their "cave."  But, as I said, the larger cat emerged as soon as I called and then, after a brief conversation with me, watched me put the food out and then waited until I went into the barn to feed the Boys before eating.

The kittens are much more elusive. They were nestled on the fuzzy blanket I put over the horse blankets at the end of the barn aisle last night, while the adult cat sat on the barn floor. Again, she did not run immediately, but the kittens slipped into the shadows behind the trunk.

Patience must reign. If I can catch the mother I will get her spayed ASAP.  I can set the trap for the kittens and might be able to get them too. I have a fair sized wire crate I can put in the sunroom for a while to socialize the little guys before I take them to get neutered as well.

As much as I would like to, I simply can't add any more cats to the indoor "herd" so these guys would need to become barn kitties. If so, I  will make some nice comfy, warm quarters for them.  There are two garages, a carport where I store my hay, and the barn itself where they can always find shelter, but I special shelter for them would be even better.

Meantime, as long as the weather holds, they will be just fine as they are. All they need now is to learn to trust me.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Well, It Happened Again

Cats Arrive Just In Time For Fall

The sweet little mommycat who I semi-rescued years ago disappeared the week before my surgery. She was one of the longest surviving outdoor kitties I ever had here. I am not sure how old she was, but she did have a litter of kittens in my carport soon after she arrived. Luckily, I was able to get a cat rescue group to take them and all of them were adopted to good homes. Mommy traveled back and forth from my house to my neighbors for a good long while. When my neighbor passed away earlier this year, she came back to stay with me. Ever since I took her to get spayed, she would not let me touch her, but she certainly "talked" to me and kept me company out in the barn.

With her gone, the world outside was a little more lonely.  But, I was pretty sure sooner or later another stray would show up.

Well, it happened in multiples. Once again, apparently some rude, irresponsible person decided my little horse farm was the perfect place to dump some unwanted pets.

My horse sitter, Debbie, reported seeing a cat a few days ago. She thought it was Mommycat, whom she had never seen. But this cat was light gray, perhaps with some tan. That night, when I went out to do late night feed, there was a sleek light gray tabby cat in the barn. It ran off as soon as it saw me, but I was pretty sure I was the cat Debbie had seen. I put cat food out in the cat feeding station and in another dish closer to the house. Somebody cleaned it all up, but it might as well have been the raccoon or opossum, but I am hoping it was the cat.

I saw the gray cat in the barn the next night, again skittering off when I came in. OK, one new cat. I can handle that.

Then, last night, at late feed, I turned on the barn light and saw a little dark kitten at the end of the aisle. It ducked under cover and disappeared. So, now there were two.

Tonight when I came home from an errand, I saw the little dark kitten near the food dish. It bolted for the barn when I drove up the driveway. Lo and behold, there was a little light gray shadow still at the food dish. As soon as it saw me, that kitten raced off to the cover of the barn as well. Now I am up to three.

Just before dark--I put more food out in the meantime--I saw kittens playing on the fence by the corner of the barn. They were a bit too small to make out clearly, and it was dusk by then, so I really couldn't see, but I am hoping it was still only two, but I can't quite be sure.  *sigh*

Now begins the hours of patience it will take to try to tame the little critters so I can get them neutered and decide what to do.

The selfish lowlife who tossed these little guys out probably figured, "Oh, there's a farm. They always need cats. And the cats will have plenty to eat with all the mice. I want to get rid of them, so here's the perfect spot."

Trouble, is, like most the horse owners I know around here, I am one of those responsible animal lovers who cares about animals of all shapes and sizes. That means I need to spend money, time and effort trying to see that these little ones are taken care of. That means food, shelter, and vet care.

Hey, you lousy excuse for a person who abandoned them here...may your car have two flat tires on a cold, rainy night and may you have to change them yourself and walk a dozen miles to a gas station for help because you have no cell service and only one spare. I hope you are wet, cold, hungry and miserable by the time you get the car fixed and my it cost you a ton extra because it's on a weekend.

Or, better yet, perhaps, somewhere in your life may you gain the wisdom and compassion you so sorely lack.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Boys Hang Out

Still Waiting on My Hip

Bless my wonderful horsesitter, Debbie. Twice a day, she comes to take care of the Boys for me. I am now able to do the late night snack feeding, but I still cannot lift hay bales or bags of grain. Pushing the wheelbarrow to clean stalls would be risky at this point also. I am just starting the 4th week of recovery from having the metal removed from my hip and thigh so I need to be very careful what I do.

In fact, I attended my cousin's son's wedding yesterday and just sat to watch the dancing. Bouncing around, twisting and turning on my leg would not have been a good idea. So I "party pooped," and had a good time eating instead. It would have been nice to visit and talk to some of my other relatives and friends who where there, but the music was so loud, that was impossible. What is it about parties that demand blasting music the whole night?  Some peace and quiet conversation would have been a nice contrast.

No complaints otherwise. The weather was perfect so the couple had the ceremony on the hotel's veranda overlooking the ocean and the food was delicious.  It was a lovely, tasteful affair, even if it was too loud.

So, all that being said, The Boys are doing just fine.

Well. sort of. That is if you count the knock on my front door a few days ago. It was the my new neighbor's sister telling me one of the horses was on their back lawn.  Which one? "The black one," she said.

Well, Tucker is a very dark bay, so I semi-limped (When I first start walking my hip is sore.) out to the barn got a halter and lead and headed next door.

Tucker had dismantled the top two rails of the slip board pasture fence. Fortunately the other two Boys did not see where he had made his escape. So I hurried over to make repair just as Chance was starting to make his one beeline to the gap. I got there just in time, put the rails back up and led Tucker home.

I had to circle the chainlink fence between our houses at the edge of the road, and then lead him up the driveway.  Nearly every step of the way, I jiggled the lead rope to remind him to pay attention and walk with "best manners."  The last think I wanted was for him to push into me to knock me down. Fortunately, even though the other Boys were frantically running the fence and making a fuss, he stayed settled and I got us both back safely.

Then I close off the pasture--it was getting towards dusk--so I could fix the fence rails the next day.

With my rechargeable drill in hand, nails, and a hammer I nailed the slip boards in place both in the pasture and in a few other places where the rails were suspect.

By the time I was done, including traversing the rather steep hill in the pasture, I was pretty well worn out.  Simple tasks, when you have been laid up for a couple weeks, can be surprisingly taxing.

Once again, I'm really glad I spent the summer swimming and building myself up before this surgery. I have a feeling if I hadn't even six weeks of recovery would not be enough.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Still Sore


It's only been two weeks since the surgery to remove the pins and rods from my thigh and hip, so I am still sore. But the pain is not much more than it was before the metal was removed, so it's no big deal.

I've been out and about on my crutches, trying hard NOT to put more than 50% weight on my surgery leg. Easier said than done. Since it doesn't really hurt, it's far too easy to forget not to use it. I am being as good as I can.

In the house, I am using my wheelchair which offers its own challenges. It is decidedly faster to get around than it would be on the walker, but my house is not easily navigable.  Fortunately, the chair fits, with some extra maneuvering, through all the doors and down the hall. The biggest obstacle is the bathroom which is too narrow for either the chair or the walker. So, I've stashed the walker in front of the sink and use it when I'm standing there for tooth brushing and such. Then, I have a shower seat that extends over the tub so I can sit and then swing in, and a raised toilet seat with arms. I kind of hold on to these to support me in and out of the tub and toilet area.

Sorry to go on with the detail, but as I noted the last time I was handicapped with such devices, I discovered a world not exactly user friendly to people with mobility issues.  So many places look, on the surface, to be "handicapped accessible," and yet, in reality, still pose quite a challenge. My favorite was the US Post office with all kinds of beautiful exterior ramps and parking for the handicapped, and then, a set of heavy doors with no automatic openers that were REALLY difficult to open when you were seated in a wheelchair.  Or, there was the restaurant "accessible" bathroom that had the access door partially blocked by a pile of children's seat risers that made it impossible to get out of the bathroom hallway on wheels.

Like  a lot of things, the ADA (American with Disabilities Act) has a set of regulations public access places are required to follow. But, following the letter of the law and the practical application of the law are two different things.

I've also entertained myself by food shopping with those electric carts the markets provide. Since I can't exactly shop on crutches, the carts are the answer. But so far, two different stores have two different kind of carts with totally different sets of controls. It's not quite rocket science learning to use them, but there is definitely a learning curve involved. Store #1 had carts plugged in near the door, easy to spot. I just had to unplug one from the wall and hop on. However, trying to find a place to stash my crutches while I rode was a bit of an issue. Fortunately the controls were easy to decipher. Store #2 had the carts in a little hall just past the door...a bit harder to find. I unplugged one, only to find it did not start. Looked it over and realized it needed a key. So I had to crutch over to the service desk to get one. Then, I had to figure out how to make the darn thing to. It had a push button panel, I managed to guess my way through. And then I had to pull the handle knobs towards me to make it go forward, only after I pushed the "forward" button. If I need to reverse, I had to push a blue button in the middle, then the "reverse" arrow button, and then again, pull the knobs towards me. In the other store, pushing the knobs forward made the cart go forward and pulling back made it go back. All in all, a bit confusing to someone who was not too "tech" savvy.  

Again, some kind of standardization would be a big help.

When I left Store #2, I only had two bags of groceries, so I held them in my hands and crutched my way out.  Once I was in the parking lot, the sweet guy who collects the stray shopping carts called over to me--we always say "hi"--and said, "You could have ridden the cart out here."  I thanked him and said it was fine. Besides, I hate to make extra work for him if I can avoid it, and I would have either had to leave the cart in the parking lot, or driven it back into the store and then crutched back out anyhow, so no big deal.

The cart in Store #1 was clearly labeled "For In Store Use Only."  Huh? So you shop, get a bunch of bags and then, how do you get them to the car?  The clerk inside told me to drive the cart on out and not worry about it. I did, then did the return drive to the store and the crutch back to the car. Took me twice as long.

All in all, a humbling experience. And definitely something to think about.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Surgery Report

On Me

I had the surgery to remove the pins and rods from my hip on Monday.

All went well but the doctor decided to keep me in the hospital overnight. That was a bit unexpected, but I was not totally unprepared. I did have to contact my horsesitter to feed the indoor kitties for me, but otherwise, it was OK.  The only annoyance was that my doctor had decided that before I got to the hospital so it would have been nice if he'd told me ahead of time.

Don't remember a thing after I got into the operating rooms. I must be a "cheap date." It was a spinal injection and I don't even recall getting it.

Woke up in recovery with a lovely, kind nurse, unable to move my legs.  That is a strange feeling for sure. Your brain sends to command to move, and nothing happens. The anesthesiologist had told me that might happen since she was giving me a little extra stuff since they didn't know how long the surgery would take--it's not a common procedure. I was told later it was an hour and a half.

Back in my room, I was soon able to order late lunch--3 PM or so--and then a dinner.

Now, people do complain about hospital food, but I may say, University of Princeton Medical Center at Plainsboro has some darn good chefs in the kitchen. Some of the dishes are downright delicious. My meatloaf could have used a bit more spice, but the roasted tomatoes and the sweet potatoes were wonderful. The next day I had some amazing chicken salad too. Wish I knew how they'd spiced that.

You can order food all day from 7AM to 7PM and there is an extensive menu if you are not on a restricted diet.

Nursing care there is wonderful as well.  The staff is very responsive and, since I make an effort to be friendly to them, they are really kind. As I did the last time I was hospitalized with the initial broken hip, I tried to get everyone to laugh before they left my room. It did make the frequent visits interesting.

I guess my only complaint is the typical hospital one. It seemed that every time I did manage to drift off to sleep, someone would come in to take my vitals signs or give me a pill of some sort.

The Physical Therapist insisted I get a walker, so now I have just about every assisting device I could need--shower seat, raised toilet seat, crutches (two kinds), walker, and a wheelchair I bought.  I am mostly using the wheelchair in the house as it's faster than trying to get around with the walker.

For now, I am not supposed to put more than 50% weight on my left leg. That is not easy. I fear I have cheated more than once. (The doctor's assistant kind of said it was OK...the doctor is rather more cautious.)  At any rate, I am being REALLY careful, honest.

The pain is minimal, actually. Certainly, the stapled area is sore, and when I flex the muscle, that hurts, but to be honest, considering how much the darn hardware hurt at times, this really isn't a whole lot worse.  Tylenol takes the edge off just fine, so no heavy duty painkiller needed.

All told, it will be a full six weeks before I am officially recovered, but it might be longer before I can ride again.

I start PT on Monday and this time, I am going to make sure we include exercises to stretch my legs so I will be able to sit astride a horse without pain. You bet.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

OK, So Here's the Deal

Planning Ahead

I am going to get same day surgery to remove the pins and possibly the rods from my left hip on September 14, if all goes as planned.

Apparently, I will be very limited as to what I can do for several weeks after, with a projected six week healing time.  The bones will need to fill in where the metalwork is removed.

For the recovery, I have purchased one of those rolling walker thing with a seat.  I am planning on using my crutches too, and there's always the wheelchair if I need it.  I am not 100% sure of what I will and will not be able to do during the early weeks.

I have put in a call to my horse sitter and hope she will be able to come over to take care of the Boys for me.

In the meantime, I am trying to set things up in the house--which includes a major cleaning, long overdue--and several shopping trips to stock up on supplies I may need.

The tricky part is anticipating things. Just how much cat food and litter do I need to stock up on? What about hay and grain?  Will I be able to go out shopping if I need some basics?

I figure a nice pot of beef barley soup make the day or so before surgery will keep me happy for a while. Should I get some TV dinners? Maybe a few easy cook meals? Some lunch meat and a nice loaf of pumpernickel?

Carrots for the Boys to hide Toby's pills in are on the list. And I will need to, at some point, get his prescription for Prascend filled.

I should be able to drive as it's my left leg, and I don't want to be on any narcotic painkiller if I can avoid it.

Plan ahead.  Words of the day.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

What's Happening

What's Not

Summer is upon us full force.  That means I am not even trying to ride. Instead, I am swimming every day and since the Lazy River at my pool now allows us to walk inside our tubes, I am walking. Today, I waterwalked for just a bit over and hour and then swam for another half hour.

I am also doing a lot of stretching exercises in the water simulating both riding and mounting and dismounting. I am waiting for a surgical date to have the pin removed from my hip--it is very painful--and this time, if there is any required rehab, I am going to make sure I keep my riding muscles properly stretched.

The Boys are doing fine. They just had farrier work on Saturday, and so far I have three sound horses. However, Toby was having a bit of a problem holding up his hind legs for Scott's trimming. It is very unusual for Toby to ever be a problem, so I am suspicious something might be bothering him physically. He did have some minor back end issues when I was schooling him for dressage so it's quite possible he might have tweaked something.  Guess I will have my chiro/acupuncture vet out to check him.

Each Boy has a fan in front of his stall door and they all do tend to spend a lot of time in the barn during the day. Can't blame them when the heat, the humidity and the bugs conspire to make outdoors uncomfortable.

So, short post for now. The lazy hazy days of summer are upon us.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hot! No, Wait, It's Not

Keeping My Promise Not to Complain

Yes, it's hot. Temperatures are nearly at 100F here in New Jersey. But I swore after the past winter I was not going to complain about the heats. So I'm not complaining. I am just noting that it's hot.

This morning, I woke up to the sounds of my computer printer making strange noises. Then I realized it was because the power was out. No electricity is not a good thing under any circumstances, but in extreme weather, it's even worse.

The house was relatively comfortable because the AC had been working all night. But here in the country, no electricity means no water. Again, not an issue short term as I have bottled water, but what about the horses?

It would have been OK if I had filled the water trough before going to bed last night, but I hadn't. So, here we were with a power outage, temperatures heading up and only about four inches of water in the trough.

Not to panic. I called the power company who had no idea we had no power--not a good sign and headed out to feed the Boys.

Now was the time to try out my new generator set up. I'd paid a handsome sum of money to get things installed so I could run a power cord from my new 8000w generator in the garage to the house powering everything in my electrical panel. Then, I'd finally managed to get a super good battery for the generator and also paid to finally get the darn thing up to spec as far as power output. Now was the time to put it all to the test.
Took a bit more work than I expected. Had to drag the generator to the front of the garage--the handlebar for the wheels don't lock in place--then I had to lie down in the grass to see how to plug in the power cord to the house. Then I had to fiddle with the circuit breaker on the panel to keep it from tripping--it was set up so the main had to be off before the generator could power up the panel. But with a little extra ingenuity, I worked it all out. My nifty generator started right up and KAZZAM!  I had power, and more than enough to run the pump in the barn so I could water the Boys.

Power was out for several hours, as it turned out a tree had fallen on the wires down the road.  In fact, I ended up going to the pool for a nice long swim before it came back on. (I shut off the generator when I left the property.)  BUT, in the meantime, I guess the tree had also knocked out all my Comcast connections.

Bummer. That meant no TV, no Internet, and no telephone. So again--cell phones be blessed--I called Comcast to report the outage. They set up a service appointment for tomorrow, but in the meantime were going to send repair crews out to see if the wires were damaged.

Home from swimming, powered up again, I discovered that at least my phone service and TV were restored as well, but my Internet was still not working.

I then spent at least 45 minutes on the phone with a Comcast tech trying to connect only to come to the conclusion that I needed a new modem. Guess the power outage had fried something. Headed off to the Comcast service center about 5 miles away and got a brandy new modem, no questions asked.

Took a while to get it working, as it had to set itself and then, when I finally did get Internet service I had to go online to set up the rest of the connection. It was actually surprisingly easy--so far, at least.

Just got an automated call from Comcast checking to see if I needed the technician to come out, but I canceled. For once, I was able to get things working all on own.

So, good things come from bad. I discovered that my generator is a gem, the system works just fine with the little glitch of the tripping switch, and I succeeded in my own technical troubleshoot.

Well, add in the swim, and my adventures took up the entire day.

Can't say I was bored today, that's for sure.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cat Distraction

Furry Friends

OK, so I am the Cat Lady of fictional fame. I have seven cats. I'm not sure how I managed to acquire so many except that at least two of them are strays who showed up in my back yard. One, Patchadoodle, was a long hair, not, to mind mind suited to a "life on the street," and the other, Cocopuff is the last of her family tossed out sometime around one of the hurricanes that hit here.
Patrick on top, Patches below on the big cat tree.
 Reggie and DJ are brothers I adopted together. Patrick O'Paddicats replaced Cocopuff's brother when he had to be euthanized due to serious medical issues. Scooter is a gray and white tuxedo cat, essential to my feline color scheme. And last but not least, Church, another rescue is my obligatory solid gray cat.

Today, I am sorry to say, Church had a vet visit to have part of his tail amputated. I'm not quite sure what happened, but several week ago, he sustained some kind of tail injury at the tip of his tail. I do have my suspicions. For some reason, Patrick likes to bully Church. Church never liked him from the beginning and once Patrick gained some size and muscle, he decided he would try his best to make Church's life miserable. Most of the time, there is an uneasy truce between them, but at least once a day, Patrick decides to chase Church.  I think now that on one of those days, Patrick managed to catch Church's tail and bite it.

At any rate, despite several vet visits, antibiotics, and one of those plastic collars, the wound just didn't seem to heal--at least not well enough to ever grow fur again.  So today, I took Church to the vet for surgery.  The injury was only about an inch of the tip of his tail, but apparently, in order to do the job properly with enough muscle and skin to close the wound after the amputation, the vet needed to take more than half my little boy's tail.  Surgery did go well, and now, with considerably less tail than when he left, Church is recovering in the sun room, wearing a new color and a much better outlook on life. I'm sure his injury hurt, and, although amputation is a traumatic solution, he is already a bit perkier.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the house, I seem to have discovered the perfect "object of distraction" for naughty and energetic orange Patrick. (Are orange tabbycats overly frisky?)  I've actually had this toy before and my other cats seemed to tire of it after a day or two. In its new incarnation--it used to be called "Undercover Mouse," This version is called "Cat's Meow" and the only reason I bought it was because it was on a closeout shelf for under $10.

Anyhow, it's already been several weeks since I bought it and Patrick is absolutely enamored of it. He insists I turn it on so the little ball on a sick goes erraticly round and round underneath the circle of fabric. Cocopuff and Patch play with it off and on too but not quite with Patrick's enthusiasm.

However, it's Reggie who seems to want to dominate the game. If he's around when I turn on the "mouse machine," (It's already on its second set of batteries) he puts his paw out to trap the mouse  and then, when all else fails, lies on the yellow cover.  The mouse has some kind of mechanism to reverse direction when it hits an obstacle, but I'm not quite sure a big black cat lying on it was exactly the kind of obstacle the manufacturer had in mind. At any rate, I took a picture of Reggie the Mousekiller doing his job.

You can see Patrick off to the side as well. By now, he'd given up on the game since Reggie'd taken over. 

Oh, and those two little brown and white striped blobs on the rug are Patrick's fetch mice. I throw, he fetches and then I throw again. They are the only toys he will chase and carry back. 

Cats. Who knows what's going on in their minds. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Favors and Promises

Sometimes I Wonder

If I tell someone I will do something, I rarely go back on my word. The only exceptions would be a dire emergency I had not anticipated.  I wish things worked both ways.

This is typical of what seems to keep happening to me when I get into the "Sure, I'll do you a favor" situations.

A good friend needed a special piece of farm equipment for an art project.  I had an antique harrow stashed away somewhere. When I mentioned it, my friend said it sounded great. So I hunted around for about a half hour looking for it, and finally discovered it tucked away behind the garage where my tree trimmer had put it.  I pulled it out. The wheels were rusted, so I got some grease, greased them and got it rolling. Then I took a series of pictures of it and sent them to my friend. She was delighted, it seemed. The harrow would be perfect.

Flower Wheelbarrow Clip ArtDays passed, weeks passed. Events in my friend's life took up her time, but she kept telling me she'd be out to use the harrow. It's been sitting in my hay barn for all that time, in the way, just waiting for her. Today, I mentioned it again, knowing that things had settled back down in her life.  She told me she was thinking of using my barn as the subject instead and "That old cart or wheelbarrow I saw there when I visited you."

All the "harrowquest" was for naught.

Case #2.  I got a panicked call from another friend. Did I have a cage to hold a cat for a few days? A stray at her barn had scratched her and she wanted to contact animal control to take care of it....this was on a weekend. Sure, I had a cage. She'd need to put it together as it was one of those collapsible ones.  No problem. She'd be by the next morning to get it.

I dug the cage out of the garage--I store lots of things there--and remembering the last time I'd assembled the thing, that is was a pain to do.  So I proceeded to spend the next hour and a half separating the metal looped hooks, sorting out the parts and putting the darn thing together.  Then I left the cage by my back door for my friend to pick up as requested.

[cat And Two Kittens] Clip ArtThe day passed, the night passed, another day passed and there the cage sat. Finally, I called my friend.  "Oh, I don't need it now," she said. "I took the cat to the shelter myself and she had a litter of kittens. No wonder she was upset with me."

One year, I was asked to do a special children's sermon for the Christmas season. I wrote a story poem, and my choir director added some musical interludes. We were all ready. Last minute, plans changed. Someone else did the sermon. Thanks but no thanks.

At the request of a local farm market owner who runs all kinds of special tours to schools, I designed an entire fun lesson packet. It contained all kinds of activities to teach kids about farming, planting, vegetables and animals on the farm. I spent hours on the worksheets, puzzles, and stories. When it was all done, I delivered it to her door and sent computer files of it. Weeks went by and I heard nothing. Not a word. I had no idea how my efforts were received. Finally, I contacted the farm owner. Only then did she tell me she really liked it, and then sent me the payment for my work.  The money was nice, but I certainly would have liked some feedback for all the effort I'd put in without soliciting it. I wasn't even sure she'd gotten the materials.

There's more I could add to my list but another such story comes from another friend. He had invited his family over for a picnic. Everyone accepted the invitation. He bought and prepared all kinds of food with chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs....the whole nine yards, enough for the entire clan.  About half the family showed up on time. The other family, with children was late. So late the food was getting cold, so the family there ate.  By the time the others happened to arrive, everyone else had eaten. Then, to his dismay, the latecomers informed him they'd decided to be vegetarians recently and proceeded to ask where the nearest grocery store was. They headed off to buy vegetables as the cooked meats just kind of sat there, uneaten.

Minor events in all our lives, but a pattern starts to emerge. There are those people who act when the time comes, in a timely manner.  Make a date with them to do something, and they'll show up on time, or call you to let you know there's a problem.  When we ran a community theatre years ago, my friend, I, and all the rest of the staff had an unwritten agreement:  If you promise to do something, do it. Don't make a promise you can't keep. Realize everyone else is relying on you to keep up your part of the job.  We stuck by the rules and ended up having a great working relationship.

But, not so in the rest of the world. How many times have you waited for someone who didn't show up? I worked with another friend on a project one time and he stood me up at least a half dozen times along the way. I even had a church organist show up two minutes before a wedding where I was singing the solos. Not only did we miss the warm up, but he'd managed to lose his copy of my music--the only copy with the accompaniment.  At the last minute, I did manage to find a replacement song to sing in that slot.  It wasn't the perfect solution, but because I'd managed to have at least one song in my "bag of tricks" to use, we saved the day.

Ask me for a favor, and if I agree, I'll go out of my way for you. I'll be there when you want me to be there. I'll uphold my part of the bargain.

Wish everyone thought that way.

OK, rant over. I tripped over the harrow when I was feeding the horses tonight. I guess it just got on my nerves.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Toby Report

Vet Visit

Dr. Parisio was out to see Toby, and he looked just fine.

While she found nothing wrong with him, he did have a bit of a pulse in one front foot.  She took X-rays to be sure there was no laminitic rotation--none, and did say he has thin soles. That is not a surprise either--he is a Thoroughbred.

At any rate, I will probably have him shod and I will be keeping him off the grass during the day when the sugar content is highest.

Since he has Cushings--being treated with pergolide--he is prone to laminitis. He's had it before, so this could just be some sensitivity.

I usually do not have a lot of grass. I do not feed my pasture and normally, it's just kind of "nibble" stuff.  This summer, however, we have had a lot of rain and the grass just keep growing everywhere. Even my sand riding arena--I've not been riding, so it's just kind of going to nature--looks like pasture so some degree.

So, if the Boys get turned out, they can graze.

Speaking of rain, despite the forecast, we had more rain tonight. My Township was supposed to have its fireworks. Not sure if we did or not. I fell asleep on the couch sometime before 8 PM and didn't wake up again until after 2 AM.  Now, it's 4 AM and I am wide awake. (The perils of retirement) Usually, I hear the booming when there are fireworks displays, so I am suspicious they may have been canceled.

I don't go to the fireworks any more. I really don't like the crowds. Instead, I drive up to the Turnpike bridge to watch from a distance. Sometimes I can see four or five displays all at once. This year, though, that may not be since towns seem to be having their shows on different days.  Apparently, if a town chooses to have fireworks on days other than the 4th of July itself, there is a substantial discount. Again, I suspect my town chose July 2, as it was the lowest priced option. Friday and Saturday would be more popular days and the fireworks companies would likely charge more.

At any rate, I may have missed some last night--or not.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For Romantic Horse Lovers

Here's Your Book!

The Loving Cup has been published and is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Other formats will be available soon at Smashwords.  And the paperback will follow.

Cristine Wilding’s finds her heart captured by the magnificent horses of Tarrywood and the two handsome Weston brothers who ride them--Steve, lighthearted and smiling, and Jim, brooding and haunted by the death of his wife.  But love doesn’t come easily to anyone in a world tangled in the mystery of Ellen Weston’s death.

Cristine’s determination to discover the truth takes her into the world of horse shows where magnificent jumpers clear huge fences in quest of glory.  But all is not as it seems when the quest for victory has a dangerous price. 

Ride along on the course to romance as Cristine solves the riddle of The Loving Cup. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

So What's Up, Toby?

Strange Behavior

Toby, my old guy, has been acting strangely the last few days.  When the weather has been nice, the Boys have all been grazing out in the pasture.

Now, I do not have lush grass by any means, but with the rain we've had these last few weeks, there is definitely grass growing out there. Still, it certainly isn't enough for a horse to survive on for too long.

At any rate, several times now, when I have gone out to feed, particularly in the morning, the two younger horses, Tucker and Chance, have come in when I've called, but Toby has not.  I have gone out to give him a special invitation and he has just kind of meandered in.

I say "meandered" for a couple reasons. In the first place, he's walked very slowing with a little bit of a "strange" gait. Not lame, but just not normal. This morning he kind of wandered into the weeds near the gate before finally making his way to the barn. Once he's in, he eats just fine.

Of course, since he is a Cushing's horse, I do worry about laminitis and it could be he is having a mild bout. The grass may be a trigger. I do feel a pulse in his front feet, but not a lot of heat and he isn't pointing his feet or acting as if he doesn't want to stand on them.

I called the vet today and she will be out on Wednesday. In the meantime, I am keeping him in his stall--well bedded--and I've given him a dose of bute. I will give him more tomorrow and see how he is.

Since his walking gait was a bit cautious, it could be that his front feet hurt, but he doesn't seem to have an issue with going out to pasture, just coming back in. It's almost as if he doesn't care.

Strange, and not like him because he is normally very herd bound and would not want to stay out when the other two horses come in.  Even now, when he is in his stall, if the other Boys wander too far from the barn, he nickers to them.

If any laminitis exam shows nothing, I will have Dr. Parisio draw blood for a Lyme test. Otherwise, I just don't know.

Might need a call to the animal communicator if it keeps up.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Good Karma

A Nice Payback

My local saddle shop, Rick's, holds an annual tent sale. There are all kinds of bargains for sale and one of the highlights is a drawing for some kind of big prize.

In the past, it has been a $1000 shopping spree. When you enter the store, you receive one ticket for the drawing. Then, for every $50 you spend, you earn another ticket for the drawing. You must be there for the drawing to win.  I have been going to these events every year since Rick started them and it's more than twenty years.

This year, the rules are a little different. There were three drawings. The first was for a complete show outfit:  Charles Owen helmet, Tredstep boots, Ariat breeches, an Essex shirt, gloves, and a show coat. That drawing was at noon today. A young girl won the prize--perfect.

I went to the store for the later, 3PM drawing for one of the two $500 Wintec/Weatherbeeta drawings.

I did my shopping, found some neat stuff for Christmas presents, fly spray on sale, and a pair of Ariat winter paddock boots at a substantial discount. Paid for my stuff, and started out to put in in the truck, when I suddenly realized the amount I had been charged and what I had estimated I was going to pay disagreed by quite a bit of money. I looked at my receipt and saw that the cashier had failed to ring up my boots. $90 was a lot of money. So, I went back to the register to let them know about the error.

Well, they were really surprised. "I guess you are one of the honest people we keep hearing about,' They said. I told them I certainly didn't think it was right not to fix the mistake, and then I joked that maybe I should get a few extra tickets for the drawing. The store manager told them to give me a bunch of tickets.

So, I got maybe ten extra tickets. "Karma," the manager said. "You know you are going to win the drawing because of what you did." I just laughed. I'd been trying to win for twenty years and certainly didn't expect anything today.

Well the 3 PM drawing started. They pulled one number and the person who had the ticket was not there. So they pulled a second number and the person was not there. Then they pulled a third number.

In the string of ten tickets I'd "earned" for paying for my paddock boots was the winning number!

I could hardly believe it.

I had my picture taken with the Weatherbeeta representative and one of those huge checks.

Now I have $500 dollars to spend on Weatherbeeta or Wintec prodects one a one day shopping spree at the store before July 20.  Turns out I can order stuff that may not be in stock.

I'm a bit torn about what to get. Obviously, my Boys, Tucker in particular, have really bad track records with sheets and blankets, so I'm pretty sure that's where the money will go. Can't quite decide on whether some nice turnout sheets would be good, or a winter blanket--maybe two--or another flysheet.

My good friend Stacie was there and had her eye on a fly sheet for her mare and I would be quite pleased to get it for her. I just ordered two fly sheets off the Internet, so my Boys may be good to go for the season. Still, it's always handy around here to have a surplus.  There is also a nice 1200D waterproof turnout sheet and durable winter blankets aren't a bad idea. Fly masks? Saddle pad?

It's kind of strange to have all this money to spend and no idea what to spend it  on.

Karma. Honesty is the best policy, and this time, I was rewarded.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Triple Crown at Last

When A Picture Says It All

Victor Espinoza visited American Pharoah after the Belmont Stakes. I think the picture speaks for itself.  This was posted on his Facebook page. 

I love this picture. 

I have been privileged to see four Triple Crown horses on TV:  Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and now American Pharoah.   Every one of them was amazing.

I am not a big racing fan, but these three races always capture me. I did not watch the Belmont live and tuned in just as the race was called at the end. The last 12 disappointments made me both superstitious and too emotional so I just don't watch any more. (Well, now that we have a Triple Crown Champion again, I may watch.)

My fear is always that a horse will be hurt and indeed, at Belmont earlier in the day a horse was put down due to a broken leg. Such tragedies are far too common in racing where the stresses on horses' legs is incredible. Until you have stood at the rail at a track and watched horses break from the gate, or run for the wire, you cannot even begin to appreciate how hard they run.

One of my friends noted that American Pharoah had no bandages. He does have a special shoe on his left front, but other than that no extra protective gear. If his legs are clean that is a sign to me he's a superior athlete, built for his job. Certainly watching his gallop in slow motion shoes tremendous talent.

He did not break Secretariat's records in any of the three races, but he certainly dominated the other horses of his generation. A look at his pedigree shows some famous sires in his bloodline, including Secretariat, Northern Dancer, and  Bold Ruler.  Pedigree American Pharoah

Both my Thoroughbreds have some of the same ancestors, Bold Ruler in particular. Neither of them ever raced, so no Triple Crowns.

I still give them kisses anyhow.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Shoes Make the Difference

And Chance Tells All

Scott came on Saturday to shoe Chance with a new angle and pads.

Dr. Parisio had sent him Chance's X-rays for reference and they had talked about shoeing options.

Well it took a long time for Scott to fashion the shoes and pads for the boy. He shortened Chance's toes and wedged him up.  The shoe is a full bar with a really rolled toe.

During the shoeing, Chance was patient and well behaved. He had a little trouble standing on his right hind for his back hoof trim, but he really tried to cooperate.

He was on bute, as I said in my last post, and that may have helped if that right front was indeed in pain. Still, I have to admire his attitude about it all. He is such a good, patient boy.

Well, after he was shod, he looked a whole lot sounder. Still, he was on bute, so we could not judge more than that.

Well, this morning I let him out of his stall to walk around the barn aisle and he looked absolutely fine.  He'd had no bute since Saturday morning.

I took him outside for just a minute or two to see how he was walking and to do just a few strides of trot.

It got a bit scary for a minute when he leaped up to buck. Normally, I wouldn't worry too much but it had rained in the night and the ground was slippery. Fortunately, he settled down and trotted a few strides as I asked--sound.

Amazing, considering how lame he had been last week.

Still, we don't want to take any risks. Dr. Parisio wants me to keep him on bute for ten days--5 days of 2 grams, then 5 days of one gram. This will help settle any inflammation he may have in his soft tissues. Then, another couple weeks of either stall rest or restricted turn out.

I will probably just close in the run-in shed for those two weeks. Toby and Tucker will not be too happy as they really do hang out there, but they will have to sacrifice.  Then we can try regular turn out to see how things go.

Without a very expensive MRI, which I really cannot afford, we can't be 100% sure of what's going on, but at this point, we can only try things out to see how it goes.

All I know right now it that Chance is feeling good on his feet. I know he's not happy being stall bound, but I will be able to take him out to graze every day and I am trying to give him hay to munch on.

I might try one of those slow feeder hay bags if I can find one locally. Other than that, it's just wait and see.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Chance Limps In

And the Vet Comes Again

Chance was a little lame early on in the week and it just got worse as the days went by.

Obviously, my first instinct was that he might have a hoof abscess. It was just because of the lameness's progression and the way he was limping.

Now, a bit of a digression here. When my vet was out to do spring shots last week, she noticed he was a "little" off. With Chance at this point, something like that was insignificant. If you have followed his story, you know: he had Lyme disease last year, he is being shod as a navicular horse due to X-rays from last summer that showed some very slight navicular changes in his left front, he had an injection of Osphos, which is the new navicular drug, he was sound in early spring on the front, but slightly off in the rear, the rear leg X-rays showed OCD in his stifle, and as a result of all this, he is now considered a trail horse only with minimal arena work on the horizon.

So this week, I watched him carefully and sure enough, he limped on his right front more and more as the week went on.

My first option was to call my farrier. Scott Previte is a master and he came out yesterday morning to pull Chance's shoe and pads. (Complicated wedge pads and eggbar shoe) He checked Chance over carefully with the hoof testers and found nothing. But the lameness was far more severe with the shoe off. So Scott taped the pads on and wrapped the hoof in Vetrap and duct tape--the horseman's indespensible tools-- and said I'd better get the vet out.

Dr. Parisio came today. She didn't even have Chance trot because the lameness was so obvious at the walk. She felt a very, very slight pulse, but again, hoof testers showed nothing.

So the next step was a nerve block of the foot. We had to put the chain on Chance's gums to settle him down, but he finally stood for the injections. Sure enough, once the block took hold  he was very much sounder. So that isolated the lameness to his foot.
Dr, Parisio preparing Chance for the X-ray, Tara holding him. 
X-rays were next on the agenda.  He was a pretty good boy for them.

But there was still nothing definitive. No sign of a shadow that might have been an abscess, and no real bony changes. There is a little roughening on the navicular and the slightest hint of a developing ringbone, but nothing radical enough to account for serious lameness.

I called Scott while Dr. Parisio was there and they had a long conversation discussing everything including some possible shoeing changes to make.
Picture of computer with digital X-ray of the hoof. 
So, tomorrow, Scott should be here and he will put the shoe back on. In the meantime, I am giving Chance bute to see if that has any effect. Again, if there is an occult abscess brewing, the bute will have no impact. If he is sounder on the bute, that means there may be some soft tissue pain...ligament or tendon....or something else. It's a matter of wait and see at this point.

(I was going to take more pictures, but the flash went off and startled Chance so I opted out.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Coming Soon: Romance!

The Loving Cup

Some time ago I wrote a romance novel. I sent it out a few times and it was picked up by an agent who was willing to represent me. All well and good. We did a bit of work together, but then the agent closed her business.

Since then, the novel has been sitting on the shelf, well actually, on a computer diskette. I found it a month or so ago, and in-between my fantasy writing, I have started to prepare the romance for publication.

The story is full of horses, handsome heroes, a beautiful heroine, and mystery.

So far, it is formatted and ready for my editing friend to read whenever he can wrap his head around struggling through a horse infused romantic tale. (I tell you, Dave is a trooper for putting up with this kind of stuff.) Meanwhile, however, he did manage to design a cover for me.

So in its public debut, the cover for The Loving Cup.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Visitor

Turkey Lurkey

I seem, as Grey Horse Matters has, to have been adopted by a wild turkey.

For several days now, a turkey has been lurking in my yard, most noticeably under the bird feeder.  He/she seems to have taken up residence somewhere nearby.  This morning when I went out he did not run away in panic when I greeted him. (Hard to tell if it's a Tom, but I thought I saw him displaying himself the other day and I don't think the females do that.)

Anyhow, for now, it is just "Turkturk" and as long as we both keep a respectful distance from each other, I'm fine with that.

I did snap a few pictures from afar.

Fence repair courtesy of baling twine, for now.

Tucker looks a bit skeptical.

This is the first time in a couple years that I've had visiting fowl. 

The last time it was a little flock of one Tom and several females. I don't know if wild turkerys are generally loners or if this is just a short stay.

Either way, I will keep my eye on him so he doesn't get too territorial and decide it's his yard and not mine. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Novel Published

White Wind Published

The fifth book in The Saga of Magiskeep , White Wind has been published.  It will be for sale at Amazon in Kindle and paperback shortly, and at Smashwords in ePub formats.

“The White Wind blows on the wings of the Dragon seeking its rider in tapestries of snow. “

Grandisite, hold of the Seers, mortal enemies to Magis, demands Jamus’ allegiance as he struggles to maintain his sanity in a world gone dark.

Haunted by the specter of a demanding White Woman, Jamus is thrown into the world of the White River, a world alien to Sorcery as he knows it. There he must learn to fly the White Dragon and face his own disbelief, conquering the secrets of a world ready to deny his Magick and blind him to the world he loves.

His destiny in Turan’s Way forces him to confront his dreams, solve the riddles of the tapestries and gain one more victory on his quest to become the true Rivermaster.

The Saga continues. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Straight from the Hip

Well, Here's the Story

As regular readers know, I took a fall from Tucker last year and ended up with a broken hip bone. Fortunately I healed well but the metal hardware installed to stabilize my bone is causing some chronic and often hard to bear pain.

My orthopedic doctor decided I needed to have the pin that anchored the rod in my broken bone removed as it was the source of the discomfort. He, however, has retired from doing surgery so he referred me to one of the younger doctors in the practice.

I met with Doctor #2 yesterday.  He thinks he should remove both the pin and the rod.

He had no surgical openings until into June. That posed a problem for me. I have already paid for my yearly membership at my local swimming complex and I really do want to spend most summer days getting some swimming exercise in both for my weight and for my knees. It's the best way for me to exercise.

So, we decided I would hold off on surgery until September. It really was up to me as to whether or not I wanted to wait.

The plus is that I will be in really good physical shape for surgery at that point with all the swimming. The downside is spending the summer coping with a very aggravating sore and sometimes painful thigh muscle.

I asked about any other temporary options and my doctor suggested an injection of cortisone. I agreed and he gave me one--right into the really sore spot of my muscle. It did hurt, but I survived. Now I have to wait a few days to see if it does anything. Apparently it takes a few days to take effect. But, there is no guarantee it will help. Sometimes it works really well, and sometimes not.

So, I wait.

As for the surgery, it is usually an outpatient procedure with no hospital stay unless there are unforeseen complications. One never knows with a surgery. Getting out of the hospital on the same day to go home would be great. It does solve a lot of pre-planning complications.

I will still hire my horsesitter if she is available. Taking care of the Boys for a few weeks will likely be a bit too much for me. Not only will the new surgery site have to heal, but the hip bone itself will be a bit weaker than it is now with the rod in place. That does concern me a little, but my September I will have done enough research and investigating into it to be confident as to exactly what the right thing to do will be.

Meantime, I am planning to try a little more trail riding--with a good stretch first--to see how the muscle feels in the saddle. Some days its fine and other days it goes into spasm.

Now Chance, with is OCD, and I, with my unhappy thigh, have even more in common. We are both slightly disabled and need to take it easy.

Just the kind of riding I like to do these days.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Some Things Just Strike Me As Funny

Those Internet Slide Shows

People on Facebook are always posting lists of things with accompanying web likes to slide shows.

I hate that. The slides take forever to go through and often there is just a bit of explanatory text under a picture and you have to click over and over to get the full. story. I don't know what the reasoning is behind that unless it's to maximize the number of pages the viewer has to click through to get the information so more advertisers can have their say.

Every now and then, however, when actually have the patience to check out all the photos of, say, the "20 Worst Car Parkers in the World," I do find some little gem that really makes me laugh.

My sense of humor varies. Sometimes things other people claim are truly *roflol* tend to leave me gaping in confusion, or simply stone-faced. I do love clever jokes, plays on words, and all those moments in life when something unexpected happens--only if absolutely no one gets hurt.

Then, there are moments like this one, usually involving animals that strike my funnybone.

So here goes. I think I found the original site and do give it credit.

Somehow that cat managed a perfect imprint of one foot. Is it real? Who knows, but it surely looks that way. I can't find too many details about it. There is one web site with dozens of nasty comments about how dirty and nasty cats are, so that does spoil it.

But,stop, and imagine yourself in your own kitchen making pies. Hopefully, you'd have a cat, otherwise, I'd be a bit worried. 

Would you laugh or cry?

I'd grab the camera, take a picture and finish the pie. Baking will kill almost anything, and besides, we animal people have a different perspective on germs than the rest of the world.

Don't we?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Plan B

I'm Hip On This

I went to my hip orthopedic doctor today to see what he said about my sore leg. After looking at my X-rays which are just fine, and then doing a little prodding on my leg, he told me the pin holding the rod in my formerly broken bone was the problem.

There were two solutions. Sometimes, he said, he has used injections to give temporary relief, but it was temporary. The second solution is to remove the pin.

That' means surgery. Recovery would be a lot less complex than getting over the broken bone, but it would be surgery, nonetheless. It's the option I am choosing.

The only little flaw in the plan is that my doctor is no longer doing surgeries. He has retired from the operating room. So, at the moment, I am waiting to hear from his office regarding another surgeon who can take care of me. It's a large orthopedic group, so I'm sure there will be a good doctor available. I hope I get a call soon. Swimming season fast approaches and I don't want to miss out.

Meanwhile, the afternoon was full of a vet visit for the Boys. Routine Spring vaccinations, sheath cleaning, and teeth floating were on the agenda for all three.

I am pleased to report that all three horses are in good shape and their teeth are now ready to happily chew all the food I give them. They were all good boys.

I was particularly glad of their good behavior because the vet who came today is pregnant--due in mid-June.  She's still at work, obviously, and hopes to stay on the job for quite a while yet. She's the office expert on equine dental work and really loves to float teeth. So, I know the Boys got the best of care on that front especially.

My vet office, as I've said before is really super about keeping appointments. Dr. McAndrews was supposed to be here at 1PM and sure enough, within a few minutes of target hour, she pulled into the back yard. The assistant, Mary, was with her today, so I didn't have much to do except to stand around to observe and make commentary and small talk.

Since all three of us have been riders for some time--the doctor was a pony clubber in her youth--we can always seem to swap stories about the"old days." Well, my "old days" are a lot older than theirs, but the world of horses used to be a different place than it is today.

"Back then" none of us worried whether or not our saddles fit our horses. If they fit us, that was just fine. "Back then," a full new set of horseshoes, "installed *G*" cost me $12.  "Back Then," grain came in 100 pound bags, far too heavy for most of us girls to lift. We had a good laugh about some of the challenges of dealing with that. "Back then," we didn't know much if anything about Cushings disease or nutritional options to keep our horses healthy and fit into their senior years. "Back then" we jumped and galloped cross country courses with abandon.

Times have changed. I'd never trade in a minute of my "Back then," but I happy my horses have "Now" with much better care and understanding.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Out Walking

A Little Sore in the Saddle

I am going to my orthopedic doctor on Wednesday to consult about my hip. I'm pretty sure the pin holding the rod through my bone--pretty grisly, sorry--is causing me pain in the thigh muscle. Sometimes it scales up to a full 10. And it does hurt when I ride. So, if there is no solution, I will just push on through, but if there is a remedy, I'll baby myself a bit longer.

I am still exercising, mostly walking. I'd swim, but the indoor pool is 14 miles away and I really have to motivate myself to make the drive. Maybe tomorrow when I will already be out and partway there on another little trip.

So today I hiked out to the back of the woods, took the hairpin turn under the power lines, crossed back along the farm we preserved and then headed home. These are great farm roads for walking and for trail rides. It's nice and open with good footing and plenty of options. My walk took about an hour. On horseback? Perhaps 45 minutes or so. It's easy to stretch the horseback ride to longer by taking some of the side options.

Here are some pictures of the trails.

This is back of the farm we preserved.

Looking at the preserved farmhouse area from the woods.

Turnpike and warehouses just across the farm field.

Trail along the edge of the woods with a nice little hill.

One of the trails going into or out of the woods.

Another neat little farm road heading to the tree farm.

Looking my pasture fenceline from the woods.

The Boys in the pasture with trees down from all the storms.

Chance by himself. Neighbor's house in background. 

Toby and Tucker amid the fallen trees. The tree trunks are replacing the fencing that got broken

My pasture is not lush, but none of my Boys need rich grass. Toby has Cushings , while Tucker and Chance stay fat on air. There's enough growth to keep them amused and not enough to make them sick.