Friday, October 31, 2008

Suckn' Up and Dressn' Up

Happy
Halloween!!
My shoulders are sore-I have painted almost all of the ceilings. I hate painting ceilings, so when I get rolling on them, I keep going until I am done...or run out of paint. Toward the end, I was praying to run out of paint-who the hell knew a single gallon of paint could go so far?? The inside joke will have to be that I no longer can look at the ceiling and think, "Beige, I think I will paint the ceiling beige." Because I just did-LMAO. Sorry honey-you know I am just kidding...Love u!!


Ahhhh, as the week comes to a close...the HR manager emailed Chris that she had located a Policy Manual, but was in the process of updating it. Chris emailed back, "Never mind...LaTonne has a new one done."...ouch!! The SM has been laying low...except for the phone call to Chris to let him know that the office personnel were working on that Policy Manual. To which Chris replied, "Never mind...LaTonne has a new one done."...double whammy!!


So ends the saga of "As The Office Turns"....theeheee! Some days it's good to be....ME(especially since I my wonderful man has my back!).


And tonight?...The old man and I are actually going to dress up and hit a couple of parties. Woohooo!!! A first for us. Heck it has only taken seven years...I am going to enjoy every little bit of it.
***Pictures will come in the morning!!;)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Being The Boss' Girlfriend

Few roles in the workplace will undermine a woman's credibility as much as "being the boss' girlfriend". Certainly from conception, I have had privy to knowledge and information about this company that only The Partners know. I have been Chris' sounding board for ideas and listened to the ongoing personnel problems as My Honey's company grew at an astronomical rate. But I have never been actively been involved in any aspect of the business(except maybe that profit sharing thing-LOL). When things took off, they just exploded and the proper policies and people were not in place to handle everything effectively.

The current Office Manager is the wife of the Sales Manager. She basically came in as a Casual Employee-just part-time to help keep the office paper work from piling up. She's a nice lady. She was an obvious choice to start out with because she does have experience. Her husband was supposed to be in the process of hiring someone, but of course, once he got his wife in, he just never got around to doing that. She has quickly worked herself into a full-time position and is desperately trying to make herself invaluable. Her biggest downfall is that she constantly wants those pats on the back for doing what she is paid to do, no matter how routine. She has an annoying tendency to want to chitchat for long periods of time, about nothing. Or, she will continually ask for clarification on the same thing over and over.

The Safety/HR Manager is a recent hire. She unfortunately came on board after the last Safety Manager managed to mess quite a few things up. In her defense, she did have some issues to deal with right off the bat, but I feel that she has surely had sufficient time to resolve those issues and should have been on top of producing this Policies and Procedures Manual. Other than that My Honey has been impressed with her work and likes her.


So with that perspective, I can't say that it was ever my intention to walk into the office and start cracking the whip. Initially, Chris had asked me to come down and simply watch the office and answer the phones so the Office Manager(OM) and her husband, the Sales Manager(SM) could take a few days off. It was short notice because last week, the SM told Chris they needed some time off. No problem right?

Since there have been a few issues with just how things were being run, we both thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to do what I do, really well...and that is snoop into things. I'm a good snoop when I want to be. Since Chris' spidy senses have been telling him that things are not what they seem, he just wanted a second opinion and some outside insight into how things are being handled.

Once the SM and his wife heard that Chris had everything covered, so they could take their days off....they reneged and said that actually it would be the following week that they needed days off. Huh? Nothing like sending up a huge, red flag!! We can't pinpoint what is going on, but something certainly is.

I really, really don't like it when people try to reinvent the wheel or make normal business processes difficult to understand. There is only two reasons why people do things like that...1)They are trying to hide information or 2)They are incompetent and feel that they are making themselves indispensable. Guess what? Either way, your days are numbered. The wife...she is going to be gone. She's a nice lady...she helped out, at first. Now she is a liability and causing more issues than she is resolving. The Sales Manager? Not sure how that is going to play out. Once the policies and procedures are in place, he will have to make the choice to step up to the plate and do what he is paid to do(and I might add...he is VERY well paid) or he will find himself looking for another job too.

The Safety/HR Manager? I think if she does not take my interference personally, she will be just fine.

There is one more player in this little saga that I haven't had the "pleasure" of dealing with yet. She is the Payroll/Billing Manager in South Dakota. She technically works for Chris' partners and has been involved from the beginning. She has been a huge thorn in My Honey's side and would have liked to see her GONE a long time ago. She is the person who is instigating all of these little power struggles. She has not wanted to share information or relinquish control of processes that she used to be in charge of. Ideally my goal is to get everything away from her and she can go back to doing whatever she does for the other partners. I guess I would settle for letting her continue to do payroll and billing, but she had better get a better attitude(not likely) or she will not like me showing up at her office-heehee.

I guess somewhere along the line, I realized that being the only person who can do the job does not make you invaluable. You become valuable by doing the best job you can. If you make mistakes, you cannot constantly deny or try to shift blame. I think this is most women's biggest downfall in the work environment. Women HATE....HATE to make mistakes that other people find out about. Self-confidence is such a huge issue for a lot of women too. Women often make the mistake of tying their confidence level with their performance. Have you ever noticed that a truly self-confident woman seldom blames others, even if others are the one's at fault? They take the attitude that they should have paid more attention and caught the mistake. They may tactfully point out errors that came after them, but they just don't get caught up in the "blame game".

Women who lack self-confidence are the first ones to point the finger at someone else, everything that doesn't go just right is always someone else's fault. They have screwy methods of doing things, with the twisted thought that if they keep things confusing enough, that they are creating job security because they are the only ones who can find or process a bit of information. This method only works if you have a boss who has no interest in finding anything themselves, ever! But if other people have to locate information, eventually they get tired of jumping through those hoops and your gone and someone is brought in who will use at least the basic office methods that most people understand.

As for me? I stayed home today...worked on painting the ceilings, cleaning the home office in preparation for painting that and still managed for whip out about 3/4th's of the Policies and Procedures Manual, all before noon. Super woman? No, it was just that darn easy to do and now they should all be a little worried that "the boss' girlfriend" can accomplish in a couple of days what they haven't been able to do in months!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where's Waldo?

Sorry about that post there Horse Crazed!! I put up a post that I was going to be "road trippin" again and then accidentally deleted it. Not having time to repost before I had to head out to jump on the plane, I suppose it created a header and then there was nothing there.

So anyway, Yes, I am back in Colorado. OMG-the fall colors are so beautiful here. I will have pictures to post tomorrow. On a bit of a short notice, Chris asked if I could come out and help in his business office for a week.

Let me just tell you guys-this is not a pretty thing going on. We have some women who are pitted in some sort of a childish power struggle about who is supposed to be doing what, who is responsible for reporting to who and being very, very stingy with the information they are supposed to be sharing.

I got a very warm welcome at the office on Monday, when I got off the plane and went straight there. I was regaled with tales of hard work, the stuggles of running an office when there just doesn't seem to be good lines of communication and "enlightened" on how difficult My Honey can be to communicate with. I listened, nodding wisely and agreed. My Honey has high expectations, he does not care for, nor have time for 30 minutes of idle chitchat before he may or may not get the information he has requested and he is at the end of his rope with these heifers. Enter...Me!

After spending the afternoon telling me just how difficult it is to run such a large and complex office, I was very sweetly told, that I should just enjoy my week with My Honey and I wouldn't have to come into the office...they could handle it. That would be the "office manager" who was so concerned about me getting to enjoy my time here. Uhhhhh-huh!!

So that evening Chris and I had a very long and what started out to be a stressful conversation. Finally we got past the stress of it and really started to discuss what we thought were the problems. And the next morning, I headed back to the office to work on getting information to help resolve this purported lack of communication. I was most certainly not received with the same warm welcome that I had enjoyed the day before. As a matter of fact, they were so surprised to see me, they could not wipe the looks off their faces nearly fast enough. I set about trying to clearly define procedures that seemed to be causing problems and quickly found out that the office apparently does not have a procedures and policies manual.

Today, I actually had to call Chris and have him communicate to the office staff that any information that I wanted...they are supposed to provide. Bet you can imagine how well that went over...LMAO...That's me, causing Hate and Discontent wherever I go!!

So now I am working on producing an Employee Handbook, Job Descriptions and Procedures and Policies booklet for the office. Not as difficult as it sounds, because the office did have a wonderful computer program that automatically generates the documents after you answer a couple of questions. Huh...do you suppose the Safety and HR Manager should have made this a priority? Today, she allows that she is supposed to be the one working on it, so I asked her to print off what she had done so far...and she didn't! Since the registration process hadn't even been done on the computer program yet, I kinda think she hasn't even started.

I'm surprised that I am not bleeding to death from the daggers that were stabbing me as I gathered up my computer and documents and left the office this afternoon. LOL!! "Have a nice day ladies...See you in the morning.", was all that I said when I left. I could barely contain the giggling fit I was about to have.

Stay tuned...I have a feeling that this is just starting to get good.;-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Spooks

Because I have had absolutely nothing to "talk" about the last couple days...This is the black horse...Spooks!
So named because of his eyes...
One is blue and the other is a partial blue(you can see it if you click on the picture). His mother was a true grulla, with one blue eye. When this guy was born, we thought he was grullo too. Nope, he turned black on us. He has always been a bit different than other horses. The moment he could stand, he took off at a shambling lope-heading for parts unknown. No-he wasn't frantic about it-he just stood up and left momma in the dust.

My brother says he is his best horse-Period...
Obviously, that would be based on his athletic ability...since he is a bit on the coarse-side as far as conformation goes. Egads-that neck is not pretty.

But the motor...
Let's just say, he has The HEMI!!

So far, Miss Megan has been the only one lucky enough to get to ride him, besides my brother. He is a fantastic horse-no issues-I just haven't been able to fit him into the remuda yet.

Honky Tonk is his full sister. She is one of my brother's broodmares...
Except she won't breed. She is a witch, until you get a lead-rope on her and then she becomes putty in your hands. I believe I am going to have to hand-breed her next year to get her to settle. She almost went to the cutting pen, but she is just too aggressive with cattle. She prefers to eat them rather than move them. She loves to practice her cutting ability on other horses though. I have seen her sort a horse from the herd and practice moving them back and forth as if she was cutting a calf in the pen. A friend rode her in the feed lot and told us that if he could figure out how to teach her to open and shut gates-he could just send her out to do the work without him. She is actually so over aggressive that she keeps throwing her back out. After about the 3rd time of having a chiro work on her back, my brother decided that she would probably just end up hurting herself permanently, so he "retired" her.

I think she has a hormonal imbalance. That would account for some of her aggressiveness, general crabbiness and her inability to settle. She will be a supplements project this winter. We'll see if that Horse Sense stuff I used on my gelding works on her. If so-she may have to come out of retirement to become Megan's High School Cutting horse. It's not like a person would have to raise a lot of foals out of her to get a good one-one might be all a person ever needs...or wants-LOL.

Spooks though...he got just the right amount of "want to" work ethic. He will move 'em, cut 'em, hold 'em or drag 'em. He don't care. He lacks the finesse of his sister, but makes up for it in speed and determination.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Weather Is Changing

Fall weather has certainly set in on us the last couple of days...


I got to see My Honey for a couple of days this last week. He stopped for a day on his way to Pheasant hunt in the eastern part of the state and then came back for another day and 1/2 on his way back to Colorado. He and Megan got to share an entire day of Father/Daughter hunting time. They have a blast together. There were only three Grouse to show for their efforts, but that is of no consequence, when really it is about getting out and getting to do something together.

Now that school has started and the horse shows and rodeos are done for the season, I get to deal with the "teenage girl" that my daughter is, rather than the super fun little girl I get to enjoy during the summer. There is of course, lots of eye rolling and disjointed mumbling(I'm pretty sure it refers to my utter lack of motherly understanding-LOL). She saves her enthusiasm and interest for Chris and Uncle Billy during all of the hunting seasons. Such is life...unfortunately, I can still clearly remember my high school years and back when I knew lots more than I do now...and I was convinced my mother was "the dumbest person on the planet". I wished I was as smart now as I was then-LMAO.

So, while the "hunters" were driving around looking for birds, I got to do one of my favorite tasks(no sarcasm intended), which is move hay bales with the tractor. I'm getting pretty good at it, but I wished my mom wouldn't walk in front of the tractor when I have a bale on the loader. I CAN'T SEE HER. So when I stop the tractor until I can see her, she moves and gives me ridiculous hand signals and very disgusted looks because I stopped when she was telling me where to put the bale. It's as bad as when someone tries to help you back a trailer into a tight spot and then they stand where you can't see them. Hello....If you can't see me? I can't see you! So no amount of arm waving and finger pointing is going to help-sheez.

Chris was kind enough to bring his car trailer with him, so I could haul some panels, bales, junk lumber and I will try to get a load of scrap iron out of here too. Unfortunately, scrap iron went from $120 a ton to $40 a ton. However, I don't really care. I wasn't going to mess with it in the warm weather, because of the rattlesnakes that just love to hang out under all of it. But it has to go, because I have a feeling that that is where the momma snakes are hanging out and giving birth. They are going to have to find a new place, hopefully much farther away from the house, next year.

I hauled some fresh bales of hay down to my ranch and this starving herd raced into the yard to inspect the delivery...


Looky here...Beauty is walking good enough to get let out of the barn for a bit...
There is still a hitch in her giddy-up, but much improved. I think another week of restricted movement and she will be able to go back to the pasture rather than come to town. We will make sure to put her in the pasture that has no hills and see how she does.

I barely got hay unloaded at the ranch and pictures taken and the rain started in, so it was time to get the heck out of there. Dirt roads and moisture in this part of the country equals making a mess of both the roads and your vehicles-LOL. There is a saying about South Dakota gumbo-If you stick around when it is dry, it will stick around when it is wet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Those Supplements

I got a few inquiries about the White Lightening and the other products offered by Frank Lampley, so I am just going to post about it.

I've used several supplements over the years and can honestly say that only a few ever provided noticeable results. Those that provided marked improvements were probiotics. One was Fast-Track and the other I can't remember the name of...sorry. For a multi-vitamin, I always used Source, and liked it okay-it is priced reasonable and I used to notice an improvement in my horse's feet and manes and tails, but the last couple buckets I bought and used, I didn't notice that it helped at all.

So when my mom started recommending these vitamin and mineral supplements she had started using, I sort of balked. They were expensive and I was a single mom of one and supporting 4-5 horses in Arizona. Uhhh...yea...luxury items like these weren't in my budget. But my mom, being my mom, sent me packages of two of the products from Frank Lampley. One was a package of the Vita-Mix and the other was a container of White Lightening. I never had cause to use the White Lightening, but successfully used the Vita-Mix to cure Valley Fever in my little black dog, Ute. Had I had the stuff earlier, I would not have had to spend $600 in a vet bill when my vaccinated dog contracted Parvo. The vet said the only reason he survived was because he was vaccinated. Yes, that dog would be in now infamous Red Dog(Who is doing fine and is anxious to get back to work).

All I can tell you about is the products that we have used and had success with;

White Lightening-to be used in cases of trauma, colic, extreme stress, poisoning or snake bites. We have now used it to successfully cure 3 rattlesnake bite victims-2 horses and 1 dog. We have also used it to stop colic episodes and on my old mare, who I thought we would certainly lose to a difficult birth. We carry it with us religiously to horse shows-especially for Megan's paint gelding, who gets stressed and starts stretching out and urinating frequently during the shows. Two doses, 5 minutes apart and he is over his stress and back to showing.

Vita-Mix-to be used as an antibiotic to boost the immune system. We use it whenever a horse has a laceration or seems to be getting ill. I use it myself-love it. This is what I used to cure both my dog's Valley Fever and my own. Talk about a boost of energy. If I am dragging in the morning or afternoon, I put a 1/4 teaspoon in a gulp of grape or orange juice and swig it down. Within 15 minutes I am ready to go again. Too much and you get a nice red flush to your face and burning ears. Always take it with a bit of food-even a slice of toast works. Severely ill animals need the required dosage up to 6x's a day until you notice they are coming out of it-then you can back off. I gave it to my dog 6x's a day, but by the 3rd day, he was bouncing off the walls, so I worked my way back to 4x's a day with him, that he could handle. My aunt and uncle gave it to a very sick kitty and within a couple of days he was bouncing off the walls too. When Frosty cut his foot this summer, I only put him on it 2x's a day-he had no infection and I just wanted to keep it that way. This product is not to be used in the case of poisoning or venemous bites.

External Rub-A liquid liniment that is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammitory. I use this on sore muscles, strains, cuts and scratches. I use this on both my back and Megan's. Within a few minutes of rubbing it on-you can feel the muscles relaxing. Warning-this stuff stains clothing and does dry out your skin. Your hands will feel dry after using it. Simply washing them takes care of it though.

Wound Powder-I first used this yellow powder this summer on Frosty's wire cut. I doctored his foot every day for the first few days and then went to every other day. All I did was wash the cut with the hose until it was clean, pour some external rub in the cut-let that sit for a few minutes and then packed wound powder in the cut and bandaged. Not a trace of proud flesh until I tried to stretch it to 4 days. I went back to every other day and the proud flesh went away and he healed perfectly. I noticed the other day, you can barely tell where he was cut. I have used this in cuts on my hands-you know how sore they can get-put a bandaid on and within a day or two the cut is healed. I like it especially well, since it does not burn.


A-Z Vitamin Mix-This is a general vitamin compound intended to strengthen bones and improve digestion. I only feed this product to my old mare and my barrel horse. Lampley makes an A-Z for horses on grass hay and one for horses on alfalfa hay. By itself, I have not noticed that it makes a noticeable improvement, but it is essential to start the system working properly and keep it working. Of course, you guys have seen pictures of Shooter and he is very large for his age, but growing normally. I suspect that the A-Z is helping with that. I only feed it once a day.

Basic Mineral-Lampley says this can cure EPM. I have never been around a horse with EPM, so I don't know. He also says it is a natural de-wormer. I still de-worm my horses-just not as much. I only feed it once a day. I know that when I took my horses off of it, within a week I noticed a difference in their haircoat. It seemed rougher and coarse, so I put them back on it and in another week their hair was soft and shiny again. Manes and tails seem to grow better when the horses are on this product and aren't as apt to be brittle and break off. Can be fed by itself.

Formula W-this is for broodmares. I have used it on my old mare for a year now. She milked harder than she ever did in her youth. Shooter reflects that in his size. I may use it on our bred mares this spring before they foal and while they are nursing. But they are young and don't need it the entire pregnancy like my 24y/o did. Can be fed by itself.

Formula 7-a B-vitamin complex that aids in digestion. We don't usually feed this year around. We start feeding it during the mosquito season, because it is supposed to help the immune system to ward off West Nile. It helps digestion too. ***Here you go Mrs Mom*** We have a couple of geldings that have a tendency to not gain muscle along their backbone, although they are fat everywhere else. Putting them on just the Formula 7 helped that. This stuff is super inexpensive to feed too. A skinny teaspoon a day is all they need. During the fall, when West Nile is most prevelant in this area, we feed a rounded teaspoon. Can be fed by itself.

Bone Repair-I tried this on a crippled mare of mine and did not notice any results. However, I did not feed the A-Z Vitamin mix along with it and Frank said that is essential. I do want to try it this winter on my old mare, after I wean Shooter. She got kicked in the knee last summer and her knee got big and hard. I have noticed that it has gone down some and I think as long as I am feeding her the A-Z Vitamins, I might as well add the Bone Repair. We will see how it works.

Horse Sense-I fed this to Moon when he was walking all his weight off this spring. He was on it about 2 months and I really feel that it helped to calm him down. I have a feeling that there is something to Frank's theory that thyroid problems cause a lot of nervous habits in horses. But after Moon stopped walking constantly, he really started packing on the weight. If I remember correctly, Frank also told mom that this helps with ulcers, but don't quote me on that.

And last but not least;

Formula 49-this is for founder. I have never used this product, but mom has used it on a couple of her mares that grass foundered. She said it helped them a lot.

Yep-we have pretty much used everything in Frank Lampley's arsonal. But not all at the same time and most are only needed occasionally. The A-Z Vitamins are probably the single most expensive item to feed on a continuous basis-but I only have 2 horses on that, so it goes pretty far, especially since I only fed it the recommended 2x's a day for the first month and then backed off to once a day. The basic mineral, I also feed only once a day and still notice a difference in the horse's coats.

The actual feeding program consists of mostly prairie grass or crested wheat grass hay with some alfalfa mixed in it. We only grain once a day-this time of year. The two hard keepers get 1/2 coffee can(the bigger ones, not the little bitty ones) of beet pulp, 1/2 coffee can of either rolled or steamed, crimped oats(these are easier for horses with poor teeth or poor grinding action to digest) and a 1/2 can of senior horse complete feed pellets. The two easy keepers get 1/2 can of beet pulp shreds and a 1/2 can of triple cleaned oats. Everybody gets 1 cup of extruded soybean meal and Moon also gets 1 cup of stabilized ground flax. I tried feeding the flax to my old mare too-but it made her front legs swell up-too much of something for her system to handle. We add enough room temperature water to their grain to make sure the beet pulp is completely wet, stir it up and fight our way to the feed tubs-these guys do love their "slop". I know some people let their beet pulp soak, but we don't and have never had any problems. It don't take long for it to fluff up and get soft and even horses with no teeth can eat it within a few minutes of adding the water.

I hope that helps anyone looking for tried and true supplements or other stuff. I will warn you guys though...Frank has some political ideas that are...well, more extreme than most of us. But then, how many supplement companies can you call and talk to someone about what is going on with your horse and they will help you pick out feeds and products that work to the best advantage of your horse? So without further ado, here is the link to his products...franklampley.com. I see his price list is not there anymore, nor his online order form, but there is contact info and a contact form if you want him to send you some literature.

Oh, and I completely agree with him on the artificial Vitamin D being a leading cause of bone issues. After researching ADD and ADHD, artificial Vitamin D is a big factor for kids with these problems. That is the main reason we got away from using commercial feeds. We could not find a senior feed that does not have any added vitamins, so try to feed it as sparingly as possible.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The End Of A Brutal Week

Red Dog is pretty much back to normal. Almost all of the swelling is down and he seems to be back to his normal, funny self...

Whew!! The darn rude-head wanted to get back to work this morning. But he is going to have to take it easy for a while. While the swelling may have come down-the venom is still working in his system and excitement needs to be avoided for at least a week, before I will breath easy. All I can say is Thank God for Frank Lamphley's White Lightening. That stuff has saved several animals for us-two mares that got rattlesnake bit, by the same snake, at the same time. We used it to save my old mare when she had a bloody bag delivery and could not quit straining after we got the foal pulled. Used it on a mare that would colic for no apparent reason and we use it on Megan's paint gelding when he gets stressed at shows and starts to stretch and urinate every two minutes.
***Leah-feel free to email me(email address on my profile) and I will give you the lo-down on this stuff.

The bay mare, Beauty is doing about the same. She is slowly putting more weight on that leg. We are going to pull the stud this coming week, so she will have to come to town for the rest of her recuperation.

Yesterday started out so perfect, but how could it not when this is your personal riding space?
My only disappointment was the fact that I could not get the camera out quick enough to get any pictures of the big bucks that we raised up out of the draws. Those wily big boys know where safety is and many have survived hunting season by taking refuge on our ranches. Only occasionally do we shoot a buck and he really needs to be impressive. I am all about the meat in the freezer, so taking some does works just fine for me.

Mrs Mom tagged me with this super fun pass-along-thingie. I love Halloween!! I never realized that there were people who do not celebrate it until after I had Megan. I guess I can understand their beliefs, but really, holidays are so commercialized these days, I bet few kids even know the roots of the tradition. So I am going to pass it along in fun...
Here are The Rules:


1) Have a Ghostly Image to pass along

2) Tag three people on your blog, with links to their blogs. Tell about what great folks they are, or offer to send them a Ghostly Treat.

3) Include a link to Ghosting It Forward in your blog.

And I tag:

1)Kdwhorses-this gal is just too much fun. I think if we ever got the chance to meet we would have so much fun doing "horsie" things and I can totally see our girls doing the same.

2)Nuzzling Muzzles-I love going to NM's blog and reading her thoughts and experiences as she learns, works toward goals and makes progress or not. She is brave and not afraid to post about what doesn't work too.

3)CdnCowgirl-You know...I don't know if Cdn and I got off on the right foot when we first started running across each other in the blog world, but once we got to "talking", we have tons and tons in common and I think the world of her.

So there you go girls-you have been adoringly "ghosted". Pay it forward to three deserving bloggers of your choosing!!

Speaking of CdnCowgirl...
I received my prize from her in the mail the other day and it is just too darn cute. It looks great hanging on my kitchen wall. Thank you very much Cdn!!

This is the sunset that graced us last night as we headed to town...
Even in the roughest of days, I wouldn't trade this for anything.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Three-zies

Have you ever heard the old wife's tale that bad things happen in threes?

I don't think it is a wive's tale-I think it is just a fact!!

Today was gorgeous! Megan and I headed to mom's to ride horses. I have been needing to just get out and ride. We rode-got some great pictures to show you guys and then fate reared it's ugly head and nailed me for the 3rd time this week...

First-one of the 4-H leaders stayed to visit last Sunday and a tree branch fell on her vehicle and dented the crap out of her hood.

Second-I went to the ranch and found my bay mare injured.

And today...well, look at what happened to our poor Red Dog...
Can't see much?

Is this better?
Look at his poor face!

Mom has been finding these little snakes all over around her house...
I saw one that she had killed the other day. We weren't quite sure what it was. Kinda marked like a bull snake, except for the tail. It is long and whip-like. So last night I looked it up on the internet and it is a newly hatched yellow-bellied racer. Perfectly harmless-except that my mother is terrified of snakes...all of them. So she does not discriminate. She dispatches any snake that she finds in the yard. Megan and I rather like non-poisonous snakes, so when I found this one right along the foundation this evening, I stepped on him and called Megan over to check him out. When she got there and went to reach down to pick him up, I turned and within a few inches of my foot, was this...
Yes, ladies and gentleman...that is about as newborn a baby RATTLESNAKE as you will ever see. Don't worry-his head is gone and buried!! I would NEVER handle a rattlesnake that still had his head attached. Go ahead and click on the pictures-you can see how tiny his rattles are. Actually, they aren't even capable of rattling yet. That is how new he is.

When you put them together, you can immediately see the difference...
I don't really like to kill non-poisonous snakes, especially babies, but mom insisted. We were all a little freaked out about the baby rattler too. And yes, the rattler tagged The Red Dog.

None of us saw it. The snake didn't exactly strike at RD and he wasn't exactly trying to mess with it either. He was stumbling around trying to see what we were doing with the other little snake and I think he ran his nose into the baby rattler's open mouth. When I turned and saw the rattler...you know...you can look at bull snakes and wonder sometimes(until you can clearly see the tail), but when you actually see a rattlesnake(don't matter how small) you JUST KNOW!, I hollered at RD and he jumped back. I sure didn't see him get struck and he didn't act like it either, so I didn't give it a second thought.

We dispatched of the bodies and Megan and I went to the barn to finish the "ever-lasting fencing job"(good lord-that is a story for another day). I noticed Red Dog went to the back of the barn and laid down. He was looking at me like he does when he is pouting. I asked him what his problem was and he came right to me, acting normal. As I was wiring up a wood panel, I noticed that RD's roman nose seemed...well...more romany than normal. So as I was walking past him, I looked at his face and OMG-it was swelling up fast. Immediately I got mom and we started dosing him with Frank Lamphley's White Lightening.

For the first hour, we dosed him every 5 minutes. Then as the swelling started to subside, we went to every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes and then 30 minutes. Currently, we are at one dose an hour. Looks like I will be up all night with my poor dog. He is breathing normal, drinking water and just licked up some soft dog food. You can tell he don't feel good, but actually at this point, he is doing okay.

Chris is bird hunting in the eastern part of SD this weekend. I called him to let him know what happened. A friend of his told him that his dog got bite one time too and was at the vet's for a week. All they did was hook fluids up to him and give him antibiotics. It cost a $1000.00.

At this point, I don't think I will need to take the dog to the vet, but we will have to see how things go. I know he didn't get a full dose of venom or he wouldn't be recovering as well as he has so far, but I give a lot of credit to the White Lightening. What a crappy end to a beautiful day!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Future

These two mares are near and dear to my heart. They are half sisters by the same sire. They share the same sire as my barrel horse, Moon.

Beauty(the recently injured mare)...

And Chunk(the poor mare is incapable of growing a tail)...
Phenotypically, none of the foals sired by their daddy look very much alike. They don't even share much similarity in the disposition department. Each and every one of them take after their mothers, which confirms my belief that if you are going to raise a baby, you better like the mare! That being said, their sire passed on to each of them a couple of qualities that I really, really like. They are all fast. And they all have a tremendous capacity to break in the loin and stick their hinney's in the dirt. Yep-that Lady Bug's Moon and Otoe blood shows up in them loud and clear. "Cow" isn't a problem either. They inherited that from both their sire and their respective dams. The one disposition characteristic that their sire did throw-they are all very confident horses. I like confident horses.

The resulting foals are going to get a good dose of speed and cow from our Oklahoma Star-bred stallion too...


This guy can fly!! I love watching him in the pasture because he can just be loping along, drop, push off and he is gone. I can just see him leaving a barrel and being at the next one in about three strides-Whew. However, I have absolutely no desire to haul a stallion. I don't care how wonderful they are...it is a PITA!! So his foals are going to have to do it for him. I think I can safely say that he is capable of passing on his speed from watching Shooter. Now, that is a fast colt.

I was a little hesitant about the Oklahoma Star bloodline at first. I know they have an incredible reputation in the roping department, but you don't hear much about them in the barrel racing circles. But I have been doing my research and found this article about NFR barrel racing's leading sires...NFR Stallions. Finding out that Oklahoma Star has produced three horses that not only made to the NFR as barrel horses, but served double duty as calf horses and steer wrestling horses while competing makes me happy. Add in that Lady Bug's Moon's son Shawnee Bug sent two horses and also Cruizer(Charmayne Jame's sorrel horse) was Lady Bugs Moon on his dam's side and Bugs Alive in 75 sent two(he is FL Lady Bugs on the dam's side. FL Lady Bugs is the dam of Lady Bugs Moon). Confused yet? Well, what it adds up to is...raising an NFR quality horse is luck of the draw and getting them into the right hands to get them there...but if you start with the right bloodlines, you sure have a better chance of being successful. And the most important part-all of these bloodlines are well rounded individuals, with good reputations in the rodeo world, their options won't be limited.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

She'll Survive...

Well, the bay mare, Beauty(hey, Megan was 7 when she named her-LOL) will survive the drama. She is lame...very lame!
But, it does not feel like anything is broken...
As you can see, she is still not standing square on it...
Although she is sore in her stifle(the point of the patella), the heat and real tenderness is in the joint between the patella and tibia...
There is little that can be done except keep her in a small area and give her time to heal. There is not a veterinarian within 180 miles that has an X-ray machine capable of x-raying this part of the leg. Other than an x-ray, there is no other need to take her to a closer vet-they will not be able to feel anything more than I can. They will tell me to do what I already am-restricting her movement and use liniment to help ease the soreness. I will not use Bute either. I don't care to use Bute on a horse that is injured because feeling the soreness will help her to minimize her movement and speed the healing process.

So pretty Beauty will hang out with "the mouse" and get to enjoy having her meals and water brought to her. "The mouse" you ask? I can't believe I have never posted pictures of the infamous Mighty Mouse...
I tried to talk him into looking up to say "Hi", but Mouse rarely gets the chance to graze, so he abstained...
Mighty Mouse is a large mini?/small shetland? that has graced us with his presence for the last 14 years. My brother brought him home one Easter for Megan. She was just over a year old. He was "supposed" to be about 4y/o, but I think he was more like 14y/o. For years, all I heard about was what great barrel racers Mouse and Megan would be when they "grew up". I think Megan was about 12 before I could finally convince her that Mouse was, indeed, all "grown up". Since he is a lovable little shit we decided to keep him even after Megan outgrew him. Not to mention the fact that he founders on air and water, which is why he lives in the corral. I really need to get a little harness and cart for him, so Megan can drive him. He was part of a team before we got him and also drove as a single. I bet it won't take much to get him refreshed on that. He needs a little job-I am sure he gets pretty bored doing nothing and some exercise would be good for his little feetsies.

So after doctoring Beauty and trimming Mouse's feet, I headed to the other pasture to see how the stud and mares looked. Normally by now, we would have pulled the stud, but the two sorrel mares are bred and the red dun mare won't have anything to do with letting the stud breed her, so we left him out a little longer this year. It was good for him, as he has really filled up...
My sorrel mare has gone beyond "filled up"...
I would say she is about two axe handles wide...
These two aught to produce a foal that should fly. He is Oklahoma Star. She is Lady Bugs Moon and Leo. My next barrel horse is "cooking" as we speak-LOL.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Of Course...

Ever have your "spidy-senses" tell ya you need to do something? Today after piddling around with a fencing project for mom, I decided I needed to head out to my ranch. Normally I would not head out there late in the afternoon-there just isn't enough daylight left to get much of anything done. But I store all of my holiday decorations in the basement of the ranch house and thought today might just be the day I needed to go get them.

As I was coming through the gate, this caught my eye...
I glanced at the other horses, but quickly turned my attention back to my bay mare. Something just didn't seem right about that stance. Now nothing will get your attention around horses as quick as one that just don't seem to be "right". So I watched for a minute. Kinda like when you see a horse sprawled out in the sun...you just hold your breath, waiting for movement.

So I started to walk toward her. The closer I got, the more my alarm bells were going off...

Yea, just as I suspected, that is NOT a good stance. She is not putting any weight on that left hind leg. As I eased closer, I could tell she was in distress. She was breathing heavy and tight as a drum. When I got just about too her, she moved off and I almost broke into tears. She was packing that hind leg. The most she would attempt to do was step on the toe. I watched her move. Broken leg? Fractured fetlock or hock? Or hip? I just couldn't tell. The very worst was running through my mind.

Finally she let me get up to her. No swelling, leg not hanging like it is broken, hips look level. No cuts, no blood. What the hell? And then she moved again and I saw it. Her stifle was sticking out at a funny angle. Oh crap!

There was nothing I could do there, so I headed to the ranch house to call mom and set gates to bring the herd in. I went back to start bringing the herd in and it took forever to get those idiots moving in the right direction and to get my poor mare to follow. At first, she didn't even try to put any weight on the leg, but as she got left behind, she started dropping the toe to the ground and hobbling after the rest of them. By the time we got 1/2 way back to the house, she was traveling better. At least she was putting some weight on that leg.

I quickly ran the herd into the corral, sorted off all but the bay mare and closed the gates. She was sweaty and in obvious pain, but thankfully not overly excited about being separated from her herd. I threw some hay in the stall for her and rubbed her sweaty neck with a rag. When she was breathing normal, I gave her a bucket of water. By the time it got dark, she had drank, was eating and at least she was standing flat on that foot again.

I don't know if she dislocated that stifle slipping in the mud or by stepping in a hole, but making her move must have popped it back in place. Now I suspect there will be a long period of recovery and restricted movement while everything heals.

Tomorrow I will head back to the ranch with a horse trailer and if she is capable of handling the haul, bring her to town to rest and recuperate. That is all a person can do at the moment.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A New Year and New Goals

Technically, it is just a new 4-H year. Today was the first meeting of the new 4-H year. New goals were selected, trips planned and officers selected. Whew, glad that is out of the way.

But, the fall seems to be an appropriate time to start planning my goals for the next few months too.

Towards late summer my horse goals start getting a little random and it never seems like I get much accomplished with any particular horse. In some ways the randomness helps me to figure out who might work well in a particular area and I can start gearing their training toward an event that they will excel at. Some horses get stalled out due to issues other than training, such as teeth, chiropractic work needed or in a few cases, they are just burned out and need a few weeks/months off hanging out in the pasture.

In most ways it is really nice to have so many horses to chose from. No one horse works so hard that they suffer from mental or physical strain and stress. I don't ever have to worry about getting bored with doing the same thing over and over with the same horse. The only downside is that sometimes I get to jumping around too much and don't particularly accomplish what I want to with any one horse.

With the showing end of things over for the winter and just a few barrel racings scheduled, I can focus on some of these that need to be added to the list as saddle horses. As far as competition horses, I am really only going to focus on Leo for barrel racing...

Sandy needs to get back on the barrel pattern and taken for some exhibition runs...
Moon needs a break. He is crabby and would love to go to the pasture for a bit. He has never been a horse that particularly cares to be kept up and pampered...

On the other hand, my buckskin, Frosty, loves to be fed and pampered. He needs to come back to town to get some miles and training on him.

As does the red-head...

The guy we had hopes for to put the first few rides on this horse decided he preferred not to ride an older horse. I'm over worrying about it. I have asked a friend to be my "snubber" and will get the job done myself.

Of course there is the two sisters that didn't get past the saddling stage a couple years ago...


I have no qualms about going on with these two girls. They will be easy-beans. By the way, Leo is their full brother. Hmmm-genetics sure can vary from year to year.

We cannot forget about my pet project, the now super-sweet Roan Dog...

I love this horse. His confidence is coming around, his nostril healed up better than I thought it would and we are just going to continue on with baby step confidence building tactics. I think the key with this guy is inspiring his curiosity. Once he is curious about something, he willingly comes to inspect it and then it is no big deal. Not sure how to translate that to riding, but we will figure it out.

Last, but certainly not least is the 3y/o bay gelding, VooDoo. He is the one in the middle on the header picture. For some reason I don't have any other pictures of him. His size is intimidating-he is surely 15.3H, and not done growing, but his disposition is sweet and curious. I do not think he will be a problem, except for his size.

So there the ones who will replace the "summer" bunch. The only goals are really to get them running or riding. Frosty will be the "slo-mo" horse. It's a handful for sure, but what the heck else do I have to do with my time-LOL.

Oh and remember those trees I was so POed the electric company was going to come cut down? They never did come back and cut those down or trim off the dead branches they said they would. After the 4-H meeting today, one of the leaders stayed to visit for a bit and a huge rotten branch broke off the big cottonwood tree and fell on her pick-up hood. Messed it up good. I was almost in tears I felt so bad...she laughed it off. My mom carries property liability, but we don't know if it will cover something like that. The owner of the pickup said not to worry, she has full coverage. I am sick. At the very least, I will have to give her something toward her deductible. Jesus, I moved my pickup, so people would have room to park in the yard and she parked where my pickup usually sits. Chris would have shit a brick it I had called him to tell him that a tree branch fell on the pickup. Without a doubt, I will have to bring the tractor to town and use the bucket to get up there to cut the rest of the dead crap off some of these trees.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Save The Mares!!

I promise you all, I will get back to the chiropractic stuff. I hate to leave you all hanging, but I haven't been able to get the pictures I need to show you exactly what I'm talking about.

So anyway, this is my PSA...

We need to save the mares!
Horses are being dumped at alarming rates. The market is not discriminatory. This is not a thinning out of undesirables...this is WHOLESALE DUMPING!! Mikey posted that a killer buyer she knows is getting out of the business...because he can't keep up. OMG-The killer buyers are overwhelmed? Andrea says the sales barn in her area has stopped having sales because they can't even make a commission on the horses going through? I have a step-uncle, who is running back and forth between Georgia and Canada, hauling load after load of horses. He says the stacks of registration papers he has is what makes him sick.

I can't even bring myself to go to an open sale around here. I just know that I couldn't NOT buy a fantastically bred mare or two or a trailerload, that was going for NOTHING, with papers. So my PSA is...If there was ever a bloodline that you loved or always wished you had, but couldn't afford before...go find yourself the nicest mare you can, with papers, probably for free, definitely cheap, hopefully not bred-but, well...some people are just really slow to realize what has happened.

Why? Because this dumping is not discriminatory. Sorry Mikey tell Wade-I'm not bashing the theory, I used to believe the same thing too. But it no longer matters how well bred a horse is or how much they have proved in their life-they are not immune. People are "saving" what tugs at their heart strings, but letting really, really nice horses go to kill. The future of your favorite breed depends on saving as many of the very best mares that we possibly can.

No, I am not advocating continuing to breed them, unless you have the room to hang onto the resulting foals for a few years and get them handled and trained. I'm just saying that we have to hang onto these girls. So that when the market turns around and people are screaming for mares and foals to start their breeding programs up again, we don't end up having a lot of junky, it-has-a-uterus-lets-breed-it mares going into production, like we did after the crash in the 80's. That is how we got to where we are now!!

Maybe if we can get enough people to realize that mares ARE the foundation of their breeding programs and all future generations for their breed, we can keep this from happening again in another 20 years!!

Let's have your thoughts on what is happening and/or what you think might happen in the future?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...

Bopping around to everyone's posts some things caught my eye and make me wonder.

The flooded horse market...

The crappy economy and high price of EVERYTHING is causing people to dump horses left and right. Problem is...We probably wouldn't notice this as much if the slaughter plants weren't closed in the US. Don't get me wrong, we have never raised a horse and thought "Well, if it don't work out, we can always send him to slaughter." My dad and my step-dad used to "ship" their old or crippled horses. WE DO NOT DO THAT ANYMORE. But I was raised to believe that the killer market provided the basis of value for a good saddle horse or prospect. Anything you wanted to ride or train had to be worth more than the killer buyer was paying.
But the thing that makes me go hmmmm, is the fact that the last time the slaughter plants in the US were closed was in the 80's, then the economy crashed. Wasn't that mostly due to the S&L's use of over valuing property, borrowing on it and then going bankrupt when the bubble burst? Horses weren't worth a plugged nickel then either.

And the other thing was...Why does it seem that the least educated morons out there can start breeding horses and get 100% of their mares to settle and raise crappy babies year after year, when people who spend time learning and learning and learning everything they can have about a 60% chance of getting a mare to produce a live foal?

It just makes ya think, WTF????

Edited, to add...
VaqueroGirl asked if I was old enough to remember the 80's. I started to answer her but realized my comment was longer than my post-Sheez, see what happens when the wind blows in SD? I have time to sit on the computer and contemplate things-hehe. So here is what I remember about the 80's...

I remember everyone always worrying about money, falling land prices, people couldn't get operating loans(most ranches have to have them) and poor starving horses standing in grazed to dirt pastures. My mom scrimped and saved to buy me an $800 barrel horse-he was top of the line! That was an astronomical amount at that time.
The rest I learned in college-so many classes that all preached that "it could never happen again" because they were so careful to put all of these checks and balances in-HA!! DOUBLE HA! I could see what they were doing when I worked at a bank in AZ. Make a rule, these people figure out how to get around it to make a buck. And the loans I processed? Holy Crap, a lot of these people had no business buying a house and refinancing it every time it took a jump in value? Idiots!!

It is now starting to hit home around here-cattle prices are dropping drastically. A lot of ranchers have lived pretty good for the last few years; Cattle prices were high, horse prices were high, land values were high, borrowing money was easy. A lot of them drive brand new pickups, have $100,000 tractors, bought more land, at $500-$600 an acre. I know that sounds so cheap to people who aren't from around here, but it is darn hard to get grassland to pay for itself at those prices. What farming that is done around here is dryland(no irrigation), so no corn or soybeans are grown to be sold at astronomical prices. There are very few jobs to be had. The biggest employer in our entire county is the school system. Our county is broke, due to the rising crime rate and the cost to house and prosecute the criminals, most of whom are Indians off the reservation. The tribe contributes nothing toward caring for their members, other than to scream rascism. The reservation keeps buying deeded land in the county and taking it off the tax rolls, so fewer and fewer taxes are collected. Every time the county tried to raise taxes, the people vote it down. It's a freaking mess!! Not everyone is going to survive this. I am already seeing pinched and worried faces and this area is just now starting to feel the impact of what a lot of the country has already been blasted with.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Well Adjusted Horse-The Basics

Okay, so you guys bore with me through how I got interested in equine chiropractic, so now lets get into how to recognize when a horse needs some adjusting done. Looking for the signs is really pretty easy, it just takes a little practice. Once you learn what to look for, it just becomes second nature.

There are some things that have changed in the last decade, but the basic principles are still the same and equine anatomy has not changed;

1) There is a big difference between an equine chiropractor and an equine massage therapist. Anyone can become a massage therapist. Only Veterinarians and Human Chiropractors can attend and become certified in equine chiropractic. There are some very good massage therapists out there and often they do learn how to do some adjustments. Do try to get someone that has been referred to you by someone you trust. I've had to wing it quite a few times and almost every time, I have been disappointed in the result.

2) It has been proven over the years that working on a horse's teeth can often alleviate the need for chiropractic work. Finding a good equine dentist may not be quite as hard as finding a good chiropractor these days, but not always easy, depending on your area. But honestly, if you don't already have a good equine dentist, I would start with your Veterinarian and a simple float. Personally, I still go with the chiropractor first IF I know of a specific trauma a horse has suffered that caused him to become "off". I have had to go back and get teeth worked on, but it is easier to recognize after you get things put back into place.

3) Horses are not like people. Most horses are out as a result of some sort of trauma or work related force. Once a horse that has suffered a trauma has been correctly adjusted-they almost never have to be adjusted again. Work related issues usually require a bit of maintenance-but don't get them overdone. They are starting to prove regular and repeated adjustments have a tendency to stretch out the ligaments that hold the bones in place and can create a situation where it becomes impossible for the horse to stay "in". For horses that are only showing mild symptoms of discomfort, a massage therapist is often best. They can work out the kinks and help you determine if a chiropractic adjustment is truly necessary.

4) Horses that are out do react in different ways. Most are like Scooter-completely wrecked, but still functioning as a saddle horse, albet with a few "issues". A few can be out in one place and completely unrideable. I had one of these too. One chiropractic treatment and she settled into her life as a saddle horse with ease.

I picked up a book quite a few years ago that has helped me tremendously. It is called...The Well Adjusted Horse by Dr. Daniel Kamen(click on title of book for link). I hear that he is pretty controversial, but his methods closely resemble the methods applied by the Veterinarian that I had so much success with. His descriptions of equine anatomy and musculature are really good. I pull this book out all the time and use it when I think I have issues.

The most basic place to start to understand a horse is through knowledge of the skeletal system...
It is not necessary to memorize every bone and joint in the skeletal system to understand how a horse is put together and functions.
Essentially a horse's skeletal system can be broken down into two types of bones, long bones and short bones. Correction: Actually there are 6 different types of bones. Irregular bones are what make up the spinal column.
A horse has 205 bones, give or take a few-depending on breed. Arabians have one less lumbar, 1 0r 2 fewer thoracics and few less tail bones. Donkeys, asses, mules and the Przewalski all have 5 lumbar instead of 6. And the number of fused sacral bones may also vary among breeds/species.

The majority of chiropractic work is done on or along the spinal column of an equine. The spinal column is broke down into five parts;
1) The neck...consists of 7 cervicals.
2) The mid-back bones...consists of 18 throacics/dorsals.
3) The lower back...consists of 6(or 5-depending on breed/species)lumbars.
4) The sacral...consisting of 5 fused sacral bones
5) The tail...consisting of 15-21 caudal or coccygeal bones.
(If you click on the picture, you can see the labels indicating where these regions are)

The bones themselves are actually secondary in chiropractic work. The chiropractor can do nothing with individual bones. Their focus is on the spots where bone meets bone, otherwise known as a joint. The goal is to make sure that each bone sits properly into the articulating end of the other bone. When it doesn't sit where it is supposed to, that joint is considered "out". It is the chiropractor's job to maneuver the bone that is not sitting correctly back into it's correct position. The longer a horse has been out and the severity of the displacement often determines the necessity of a chiropractor vs. a massage therapist.

The movement, direction and limitations of the joints are very, very important. Some joints are highly mobile, others have little or almost no mobility. And all joints are intended to move in specific directions. The most obviously mobile of spinal joints are the cervicals(the neck) and that is where we will start...tomorrow. I don't want anyone's eyes glazing over-LOL.

Here is a short, little article that describes the movements of the vertebral joints...Evaluation of Equine Back Pain. No really, this one is an easy read, not the heavy duty thesis like yesterday's link.

To finish off Scooter's story-I don't really remember when I found out what happened to him, but most of his damage had to have come when my brother left him with those kids to gentle. I heard their preferred method of "gentling" a horse was to rope it, choke it down, snub it up and then tie up a hind leg and let them fight and flop around while they sacked it out. That would pretty much account for every area he was hurting in.
You know, my grandfather and my father used similar methods, but they were never brutal about it. There are ways to do any one of these things without causing injury to a horse, but when you are stupid enough to combine a whole mess of rough techniques, you are going to damage horses.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Well Adjusted Horse-Part 2

The vet in North Platte was awful nice to squeeze our appointment in the day after I called him. He was pretty busy, but when I explained that we actually lived in North Dakota and I had a "problem" horse, he told us to come on down, he would get us in.

Bright and early the next morning we headed out. North Platte was still about 3 hours from where my brother lived. But we made good time and actually made it to the vet's office on time...such a rarity for anyone in my family-LOL.

We unloaded horses and introduced ourselves to the vet. First he watched my brother's horse walk back in forth and then trot back and forth. After a couple of trips, he took him in his barn and adjusted him. I didn't get to watch that one, I was keeping my hands on my little freak, so he didn't pull back or spazz out. He really had gotten that bad. The vet came back out and had me do the same routine with Scooter. And then it was our turn.

We went into the barn and the vet started pressing here and there on Scooter's neck, then his back and across his hips. Scooter was fainting away from any contact. He was literally quivering in fear. Finally, the vet came back to Scooter's head, took hold of his halter on either side of his face and lifted his head as high as he could. I wasn't getting much by reading the vet's body or face language and I was too nervous to ask any questions...like I knew what sort of questions I should be asking anyway.

Finally, he began to do some adjustments to Scooter's neck. He took hold of his halter, pulled his head around and pushed here and there on his neck. The only thing that was obvious is that he was "listening" for something. When he felt what he wanted to feel, he would release the pressure. His next move was to crouch under Scooter's neck and hug him. I was not too sure about that. A few maneuvers there and he went back to feeling him all over again. I did hear a few pops in Scooter's neck. I figured that was a good sign.

Next he got behind Scooter and began to manipulate his tail. Up, down and side to side. He just kept after it until Scooter unclamped his tail and he could move it around. Then the vet literally almost sat on the ground behind Scooter and pulled on his tail. Just a nice long steady pull. I really thought he was gonna get his fool head kicked off. He released pressure, manipulated the tail again and then sat down for another good long pull. He got a nice loud pop out of the point of Scooter's croup with that one.

Once he got that, he stood up and went back to feeling him all over again. Scooter was visibly relaxing by this time. Next, he moved a hay bale over beside the little horse and began to adjust his back. Now this I could finally understand. Obviously, if a horse is out in it's back, you are going to have to press on it's spine.

After he did all that he had me walk Scooter again. He brought him back in and worked on his back and hips a little more and then asked me to take him into a stall. We backed him into a corner, the vet stood by Scooter's shoulder, took a hold of his halter, turned his head, waited a second for whatever he was feeling for and with one hand on Scooter's neck, he did a sudden pulling motion on the halter. There was a horrible pop and Scooter fell backwards and over on his side. I stood there with my mouth hanging open, thinking...this sonavabuck just killed my horse!! In a flash Scooter was back on his feet and I visibly watched his eyes sink back into his head. I kid you not. Within 30-60 seconds, my bug-eyed freak had normal eyes.

He led him out of the stall, did a few leg stretches with him and when he was done, Scooter's head sunk to the floor and he started licking his lips. I swear he literally looked like he was going to sleep. The vet stood back and watched him for a minute or so and finally he said, "Well, I thought I was going to have to tell you your horse's pelvis was fractured and he should be put to sleep. But, I think he will be alright now." I really hadn't picked my jaw up off the floor from watching my horse flop over in the stall, so I couldn't even think clear enough to ask him, why he thought Scooter's pelvis might have been fractured. I mean, wouldn't you think a fractured pelvis would be obvious? Or at least wouldn't the horse be lame?

There were a lot of things I wanted to ask the vet, but he was swamped and I really couldn't even begin to comprehend all that he had just fixed. Scooter was out in his neck, back and hips in seven places. That did not include his locked up axis joint in his poll. The vet did say that this little horse was one of the worst he had ever worked on. I'm pretty sure that wasn't a compliment! He was amazed that the horse had never bucked. He said most horses that lived with that much pain would probably been bucking fools or been prone to flipping over. I didn't know whether this was going to fix all of Scooter's problems, but I knew I was taking home a much more relaxed and a quieter horse.

So how did it work out for little Scooter? Very well! By the time I got him back to North Dakota and got to ride him, it was like handling a different horse. Every single bad habit he had disappeared. He ended up being the best little gaming horse I have ever trained or ridden. He was very difficult to beat in the barrels(it took a big pattern to beat him). He was a fantastic little pole horse, flag races, any sort of gyhmkana class they could think up-he could win or place in. His forte' was the keyhole. And cowy? OMG-He was the best little break-a-way horse ever. He could lock onto a calf and would turn himself inside out to stick with one. He never did work for Megan though. She was just too little and he was just too fast. So when I had the opportunity to buy a house, I sold him and made enough for the down payment. Not too shabby for a horse that almost went to kill and no one ever thought would be sound or sane.

I was hooked on the benefits of chiropractic work and I didn't have to look any farther than my own herd to put it's benefits to the test. I spend quite a bit of time hauling horses to North Platte, Nebraska over the next year. Every horse I hauled, I learned more and more from this vet.

**I am sorry for the lack of pictures to go with these posts-when my husband and I divorced, he ended up with the box that contained every picture I had of Scooter, other horses we had at the time and all of our rodeo pictures. I never got them back. But my little guy was the classic Skipper W breeding color...light sorrel, almost palomino with a flaxen mane and tail with a cute little blaze. He never had much of a tail or a mane, but he had the cutest little baby doll head. I had to buy a pony headstall for him.

***Here is a little "light" reading in case you are interested...Equine Chiropractic Article(It's linked, just click on title). Actually, it is a bit on the heavy side, but has some good information, even if it is 8 years old.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Well Adjusted Horse

Alas, I should be in bed, but an afternoon nap today has left me bright eyed and bushy tailed. Gahhh!
This is a subject that I have been thinking about for some time. Since all I'm working on at the moment is mindless little fall projects at the moment, I thought this would be a good time to get into a discussion about this particular subject. Bear with the boring beginning, it's necessary to put it in here because the trials we go through to get to a certain point are really what make us slap ourselves in the forehead and go...Now it all makes sense!

For about a decade I have been a firm and avid believer in the benefits of equine chiropractic care. My first experience with it was as a last ditch effort to "fix" a crazy little 13.3H horse.

Scooter was a 7y/o gelding that I had raised, but traded to a friend of the family, when he was a 2y/o. I traded him because he was tiny. His mother wasn't very big, only about 14.2H, but it was obvious that Scooter wasn't even going to come close to that. So I traded him for a cute, red dun filly. He was supposed to be turned into a kids horse for this guy's grandson. Well, that fall, my brother was at a horse sale and ran into this guy. He was there dumping my little Scooter. Apparently another horse had run him through the wire and his left hind leg was cut to shit, infected and he was thin, lame and wild as a march hare. My brother bought him to keep him from going to kill. On his way home, my brother stopped at another friend's house. He unloaded the little horse and asked his guy's kids if they would doctor Scooter's hind leg until it was healed and spend some time getting him gentle again. They said sure and kept him for about 60 days. Around about the time, my brother brought him home to the ranch, my mom asked me to buy him back from my brother.

I was in the process of purchasing an older barrel horse that had a big knee. That horse was the only horse I have ever had a vet-check done on in my life. Although the vet thought I could keep the horse sound and I really liked him, the people who I was purchasing the barrel horse were good enough to let me back out of the sale on the condition they could have his ex-rays and permission to use the vet-check. I said of course and even took him to a couple barrel racings so they had video of him running. Needless to say, they got him sold pretty quick and I got my pony back. He was a coming 3 year old.

Well, the next couple years came and went pretty quick and I didn't do a whole lot with the little guy. He had some pretty bad habits; he would pull back violently for no apparent reason, he was bad, bad, bad about those hind feet and was so spooky about everything, any movement slow or sudden caused him to flinch or shy away. But, he got broke to ride, surprisingly without any fuss, he never bucked or got nasty. In those two years of just sorta messing with him now and then, a few rides here and a few there, it became pretty apparent that this little horse was fast. I mean super fast. He was also pretty cowy.

The idea that he might make a pretty good little barrel and pole horse for Megan started to form in my head. Megan was 3 and I figured that by the time he got really solid, she would be old enough to ride him. But another year into it, I really started to realize that this little guy was not little kid horse material. His spookiness never went away, we had to use a twine lip twitch to trim or shoe his hind feet and that pulling back thing was really pissing me off. Every time I turned around I was buying new lead ropes. He was riding pretty good though and patterning really well on the barrels. His biggest problem was handling him on the ground. If he had been a big horse, he would have been pretty dangerous, but since he was little it was more irritating than anything. But certainly nothing I trusted with my little girl.

There were some riding issues. Trying to lope to the right in anything smaller than 60-70' circle caused him to panic. The couple of times that I exhibitioned him on barrels, he would run to 1st, set up like he was going to take it and then...throw his head up(even with a tie-down), duck out and flat run off. No amount of slow patterning or practice runs fixed it. I was stumped. I had never had a horse act like this before. Scooter's nickname became "The Bug-Eyed Freak".

I finally sent him to my brother, who was working in Nebraska, to ride. I figured that those sandhills and some good old fashioned hard work would settle him down. I also told my brother that if he ran across a family with some older kids who could ride pretty good to sell him. My brother got no takers and after a couple of months asked me to come get him. So we loaded up and drove from North Dakota to Nebraska to spend a week with my brother. My husband took his head horse, so him and my brother could go to a team roping. While there, my brother had a family ask about Scooter, so we hauled him to their house so they could try him out. While there, my brother and this guy got to talking about the veterinarian in North Platte that did equine chiropractic work and how many team ropers were taking their horses to him to be worked on. My brother got the number because he had horse that would not pull anymore and this guy said the thought the chiro could help him. The bells were ringing in my head on the ride home!!!

I got to thinking about all of the trauma that Scooter had suffered in his short life and I wondered if this guy could help him. Hey, when you are desperate you are willing to try anything! So the next day, I called the vet and scheduled an appointment for my brother's horse and Scooter. I was hoping he could help, but I had no clue as to how much this guy was fixing to change Scooter's life...and mine!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sudden Road Trip

Well, we knew it was coming...but I wasn't really planning on going to Nebraska today to pick up the two geldings that a friend was riding for us. But that is what mom and I ended up doing. The guy called and said he had the horses in town, at the sale barn, because he was working there today and asked if we could come and pick them up. They've been gone for what? About 6 weeks? Anyway, he is done working on the ranch he was at for the winter and thought these two had had enough for awhile. We sure don't mind our horses having to go to work, but we aren't trying to use them up, so we were more than happy to bring them home. Here is a couple of before and after pictures, so you can see that they really did have to work for a living for at least a little while-LOL.
Blue-Before...

Blue-Today...
Damn, who knew the horse had a wither? And shoulders? or that that flabby flank really could pull up and give him a decent underline? Wow! Okay, I admit he actually looks nicer in the "before" picture...but OMG...that horse was so obese in that picture, we were afraid he was gonna grass founder. Maybe not so handsome looking in the after picture, but definitely in much better shape. His cresty neck is almost normal. This would be the first time that I have ever seen the horse when he wasn't obese. Now, we are gonna have to put a bit of bloom back on him, so he looks good, but I am bound and determined that he never goes back to being a huge hog.

So Andrea-your favorite Blue horse is home again!!

The other gelding was Sandy. Now, the main reason for sending Sandy, was to see just how fast this horse was. I started him on barrels last year and he was loping the pattern nicely. I ran barrels on his 1/2 sister(out of the same dam) and she could mortally fly. But she was much lighter made than Sandy and I wasn't just too sure that this big guy had quite enough speed to be really competitive. My fears were completely unfounded. The guy who rode him said he was never, not one single time, ever out-ran in the pasture. Now a yearling bovine can hit a pretty good lick when they have the space to line out, so I am pretty sure that Sandy is fast enough to run barrels.
Sandy-Before...

Sandy-Today...
Conformationally speaking, I could tear this horse to shreds. But it's one of those cases where people can rip him apart and I will just smile. He will take me to the pay window in the near future, I do believe. The guy who was riding him made a point to look my mother in the eye with a very stern face, and tell her "That is one nice gelding.". That compliment coming from a "shore 'nuf" cowboy means the world to mom and I. He liked Blue too, but Blue is a different kind of horse. He is great for trailing cattle. He is cowy enough that he won't let anything get by, but he has a sweet and gentle nature. He would much rather snuggle up to you for a treat than rough it as a ranch horse. That is fine by us too.

I had to post a couple of pictures of the tractors for ya...
The red one on the right is the one I usually work with. It is a nice sized tractor and handles nicely. The big boy on the left is most assuridly a "big boy" toy. But, it is good to know how to run both of them.

Roan Dog's nose is healing well...
It healed together better than I thought it would. But, I still see a bit of cosmetic surgury in his future. Poor guy! He misses me! He let me walk right up to him and pet him all over.
He really is a sweet horse. I need to get back to work on him. I don't want to lose all the ground I gained this year.

And then there is Boon...
She is gaining weight and starting to relax(a little). Finally, she is learning to fit in with her brethern. Mom has her on a supplement that helps heal ulcers-don't know if she actually had any, but it won't hurt her and it seems to be helping her relax. I was going to start saddling her and redoing her ground work. But when I went to trim her back feet, she had a fit. I went over her and she is most definitely out in at least two places in her neck and at the point of her croup. You can actually see where one hip point is higher than the other and she is very tender to any pressure applied in that region. No wonder she is fighting having her back feed picked up. It really makes you wonder what the hell those people did to her....uuuhhhhh...on the other hand I probably don't want to know, I would probably pop him in the nose for being so stupid!

Oh, here is the trio of sorrel sisters we brought in from the ranch at the same time we brought Roan Dog to town.

This is "no name"(8y/o)...she is the only horse we have that has no name. The poor thing got lost in the herd for a few years. I did some ground work on her a couple of years ago and she saddled without a hump. I am going to get her broke yet this fall(I hope the weather holds out). She is too sweet to just let stand around...
This is Electra. This mare is probably the fastest of the 6 full brother/sister brood we have. She was pretty waspy when she was younger, but has mellowed with age(7y/o). She is on the list to get broke too. I would like to run barrels on her...
And this is "G". She is actually a pretty solid heel and breakaway horse. Man, can she break out of the box!! I showed her a couple of years ago and she won the halter and showmanship classes. She is a natural little pleasure-type mover, so usually does pretty well in the slow classes too. Somewhere along the line, she lost part of the sight(only at the bottom) in her left eye. The only time it ever seems to affect her though is riding in rough country and the Trail class-sidepassing over a log to the left freaks her out...
All three of these mares mom has contemplated leasing out as broodmares. A person sure hates to sell a broodmare in this market. Too many people would get a couple of foals out of them and ship them down the pike. I think mom has pretty much figured out that that isn't going to happen and is resigned to keeping them. I think G could find a decent home, even with her eye because she is so solid, but I sure need to get her looking like she did when I was showing her. This is not a good picture of her, so here is what she looks like "all fit up"...

G and "no name" are pretty much identical twins, so Megan and I thought we should get both of them fit up for the show season next year and see how many people we could confuse-LOL.

So that was my day today. Not a lot accomplished...again! But tomorrow is another day and the ponies will still be here-LOL.

Oh, I almost forgot...Western classes are usually awarded buckles as Hi-Point Awards, but what do you give someone as a Hi-Point Award for English? Megan won the Hi-Point English Award this year in 4-H and we don't know what to award her-no one has ever won that award in our small, western-riding community.