Day 15 May 14 2018
Busy day with putting orders together! Grace let me clean her face up as the sarcoid’s outer shell cracks and sheds and gets goo all over her face. She is getting much better about being sprayed with fly spray and I put up new fly traps as she is being so harassed. Mostly she just stayed out in the field and filled her belly with some lovely grass! She is getting braver though and went far enough back in the field to look at the neighbor’s cows and their Belgian draft horse.
Day 16 May 15 2018
Today I lost my best friend. The day started out perfectly normal. Too early of a morning, grandkids, mayhem. As yesterday was the day for making product, putting in orders, packaging product, this morning was spent printing out shipping labels, packing slips and preparing to head to the post office. Our kitchen and dining area (currently used as our office area is all wood flooring. I fed our dogs, Torvey and Finneas and argued with the printer while chatting with my daughter Drea about the day. And then I heard a “THUNK” on the floor behind me. I turned around to find my Bull Mastiff Torvey on the ground having what was very obviously a seizure. As he has no history of seizures, I admit to being very stunned and not knowing how to immediately react. I comforted him and watched over him while my daughter Drea did some research. It got worse as his body lost all control. As he had just turned eight years old, he well knew that pottying inside the house was a big no no and you could tell he was embarrassed. As soon as he was able he drug himself up and stumbled to a door, where I let him outside. He not only repeatedly went potty but also threw up his breakfast. He then laid down and other than breathing heavy he didn’t move and barely acknowledged my presence. My daughter got a hold of our vet and we loaded him up and drove off. As Torvey had already been experiencing many symptoms of old age, I was not expecting a good outcome. They immediately put him on oxygen and sent us off so they could run tests. I had already told them that at this point I was not expecting a good outcome but that I wanted to know what was going on. A couple of anxious hours later and we were told his heart was enlarged and most likely fluid around it. The Grand Mal Seizure was just a symptom of what was going on in his old body. We were told his blood was black, which means it was not getting any oxygen even after being put in the oxygen kennel. We knew it was time to say goodbye. Torvey helped me through buckets of stress and loneliness in his short life. He was my companion, my best friend, my “counselor”. I have said goodbye to many furry friends but this time it was saying goodbye to one of my “kids”.
I have taken in and helped many “Graces” in my time with horses. My “dream horse” Glory came to me with EPSM but still her sudden death one morning in January (2017) was shocking and heartbreaking. I have put two horses down, along with several cats, and had a few cats suddenly lose their lives. In Grace’s condition when she came to me, I would not have been surprised to find her gone one morning. This is why every day with someone (whether two footed or furry) should be considered a blessing. Every day as I watched Torvey grow older and have more issues, I made a point of spending time with him, tucking him in his bed at night, sitting outside on quiet mornings and enjoying a moment with him. Those are memories I can remember every day.
After coming home and feeling my heart breaking to pieces, the animals all came to spend time with me…the puppy Finneas, the usually aloof cats, and even the ponies came and leaned against me. They all knew. Even Grace with all her lack of trust, put her nose in my chest for a moment and offered comfort. Through all of her fear and lack of human trust, there is a wonderfully sweet horse in there and today I got to see a piece of it…and it was a welcome moment.
Day 17 May 16 2018
The family was very kind and gave me time to sleep in this morning. When I got up and curled up on the couch Finneas (the puppy) came and curled up with me. My daughter chose him because he is a naturally bred service dog. When we got him, I knew he was going to be needed not only to help her with anxiety but because I knew at the time we got him that Torvey’s life was catching up to him. Finny has been a great friend to Torvey and was a wonderful comfort to me this morning. He doesn’t yet seem to know that Torvey is not coming home, but he sure gets that I need comfort from him.
The horses did not receive much attention today. Grace seemed a bit anxious tonight like she did when I first tried to turn her out. She isn’t being “manic” so I left her out with the minis in the field next to her but even when they come over to comfort her, she is still anxious.
Day 18 May 17 2018
More pacing from Grace this morning. The mini’s keep going over to comfort her but she is very upset about something. As she is not hot and sweaty Im leaving her to figure things out. She is tracking in a large area so unless she gets super manic we will just call this “free exercise”. As her muscles are extremely atrophied, the movement is very good for her.
I could tell Finneas was looking for Torvey today. Today he is wanting more comfort and assurance than he is giving. Originally Torvey was meant to be my husband’s dog, but when my husband spent his last year in the military in Afghanistan, Torvey became MY dog. I don’t think I could have survived that year with out him. Oddly enough my husband was adopted by two cats, both strays. His current “therapy” cat, Meridah, found us in our new home. We were in the process of moving in last June when she run up out of nowhere, bone thin, full of kittens. She lets me know when stuff is up with my husband, Dan, who is still recovering from PTSD. She follows him around and gives him “fur” therapy. The last two days she has been sharing the love with me as well.
With all Grace’s pacing, her face is a mess! Somehow, I have to find the drive to go out and clean up her and put some treatment on the sarcoid. Fortunately orders are low so far this week. I don’t think I have the frame of mind to process a bunch of orders. I would be making a lot of mistakes. Heart still in a million pieces. As fellow animal lovers, I know you all understand.
Day 19 May 18 2018
Well happily I managed to clean up Grace’s face last night. She still protests me cleaning her face, so we turn it into a “training session”. She isn’t pulling back as hard and does eventually allow me to clean it. We even managed to put some salve on the base of the sarcoid. Some customers came over to pick up product and I introduced them to her. She was out in the field and when I called her, at first I got zero response. My customer made a comment about her not paying attention but on my second call she came over. She put her head over the fence and rested her nose on my shoulder. She is very sensitive and sweet, and probably could tell I was feeling sad as I had been telling my customer about losing Torvey this week. After cleaning her face, she happily munched up her mash and went off back to grazing.
Day 20 May 19 2018
Today we are going to go check out a mare that is a 20-ish year old welsh pony. She is supposedly kid safe (saw some video that would attest to that) and will hopefully not only become a beginner riding horse for the grandkids but will be a companion to Grace as well. She was “rescued” by the current owner, who said she was very underweight when she got her. By the video I’m guessing she also has quite a bit of arthritis as well but the kids wont be riding her hard anyway. Another “free” horse that isn’t “free”.
(Later) Tuesday our new pony is arriving! She’s a bit skittish, needs some work, but she was so sweet around the grandsons that I really think we have something to work with! She also has a huge cresty neck and I was very surprised that she had no appearance of foundering. Her feet were very thrushy as well. As long as she doesn’t actually founder, these are all very fixable things, they will just take time. And even though she is pretty skittish around adults, she obviously very much likes kids…even the high energy ones like Gabe didn’t seem to phase her. I guess my next article needs to be “Free Horses are Never Free!”.
Day 21 May 20 2018
Went out to feed the ponies dinner and Grace was no where to be found! I had seen her earlier up on “weed hill” munching on some healthy weeds but here its dinner time and she is no where in site and not coming to my calls! As the back of our “shot gun” property slopes downwards, me and the pup Finneas made the trek to the back Four…Im just thankful its not the “back forty”! (as the saying goes) Well seems like Grace got brave enough to go visit the Belgian that the neighbors own and she didn’t want to leave. She came running up just close enough that she could see me AND the other horse and whinnied at me, but refused to come up for dinner. I left it hanging on the fence for her so she could snack on it later. At bedtime I heard the coyotes yapping and had to smile. Im betting that gave her ample incentive to come up to the barn and I was right! As I peek out the window, there she is, at the fence closest to the minis.
Day 22 May 21 2018
Tomorrow the newest member of our herd arrives (and the last!) Our little welsh pony mare will be arriving first thing in the morning and as soon as we have that cresty neck issue well in hand will be joining Grace in our big field. I’m sure Grace will be very grateful for the company. Training, or rather “retraining” will need to wait a bit as my arm has decided to give me some grief lately. Fortunately I have my Aah light handy and tackling the issue and am already seeing improvement! Definitely something a household should never be without!
This morning I found Grace waiting for me at the gate but when I went to bring the bucket with the “cleaning” goodies for her face, she turned around and walked off! I did manage to get a halter on her and move her to a turnout so I could clean her up, but she definitely wasn’t happy about it! However with all the flies surrounding her and harassing her, she did finally allow me to clean up the area and douse her with herbal fly spray. I wish there was a way to put a fly mask on her but the location of the sarcoid makes that impossible. She behaved but was obviously very offended at the treatment I had to give her. She did however allow me to completely salve the top two inches, which was a new thing. I think it both helps and hurts for me to treat it so she isn’t quite sure what to do.
LATER THAT DAY: Grace finally allowed me to poultice and wrap the sarcoid! She for sure wasn’t happy about it but I did manage to get it done. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Day 23 May 22 2018
Our new Welsh pony mare came today! Her and Grace made instant friends…after the prerequisite mare squeal fest. The pony had a past name of “Dory” but the current owner (who has only had her a few months) just called her “pony’ so we are on the hunt for a new name! She is both very sweet and very skittish…at least she was when we went to meet her. The skittish part Im not seeing right now, but the sweet part is still there. She certainly seems calm around the kids! Amber and Sandelee are the same way. Timid with adults but perfectly at home with screaming children running around them. Natural mommies!
The wrap I put on Grace’s sarcoid was completely gone this morning and the flies were having a hay day on her face! As it is a hot sunny day, I decided to stall her and “pony” for the day. Grace doesn’t seem to be sure if she wants to be happy she has a new friend, or upset she cant see “her” minis lol. Well a couple of days and she should be fast friends with the pony.
Very first meal with Pony and she got a huge dose of Sugar Down! No pony should have a 4” crest on their neck. A few months and I’ll have that crest down to normal!
Day 24 May 23 2018
Pony settling in nicely…still haven’t come up with a name though! She is very shy of people so we started bribing her with treats. This might sound like a bad tactic in the long term but in the short term…never be above bribery! We’ve tried several names on her but one has not yet stuck. Pepper, Lucy, Mercy, are among a few of those we have tried. I have never had such a hard time naming an animal before!
As for Grace, she is being antisocial today but came to the fence for some treats. I wasn’t able to treat her sarcoid today but occasionally she does that. She is trying to be so good, but that sucker hurts! She is very swollen at the poll, so you can tell this bugger is hurting a LOT. On the upside, she has put on quite a bit of weight but is still continuing to detox. I think the straight sunlight really bothers her a lot as she has lost so much hair she has no protection. Even with a fly sheet her head and neck would be exposed since I cant put a fly mask on her. Today is cloudy so she can stay out but with hot summer coming its going to be out at night and in during the day. At least she has Pony to keep her company! I hate putting her inside as she paces so much but hopefully with Pony’s company, that will end.
Day 25 May 24 2018
Grace was NOT at all happy about being treated today, but she came up for her bucket and I cleaned up her face. The skin on her neck is peeling so for sure I need to make sure she is inside during full sun. It also makes it easier to keep the flies off her. It took about 20 minutes to clean her up as she was protesting heavily and is obviously in a lot of pain. She enjoyed the treats however, and accepted being brushed. Her feet are showing some heat as well so I think cutting her grazing time is a good idea. The grass has already seeded so it will be burned off soon but having been stuck in a stall for a year and with the current health issues I am guessing she is not processing sugars well. I certainly don’t want to add “foundering” to her list of issues.
As for Pony, still no name. We did manage to get her to stand to be brushed. I cant imagine what happened to her to make her so distrustful but she really wants to be a love. She still steps away if we reach down her back legs but at least she hasn’t offered to kick at all, unlike Grace who has extreme back end sensitivity. I did however manage to brush down Grace’s legs today, though I didn’t push the issue.
My daughter pointed out yesterday, “Mom, all your horses are broken!” and yes that is true, they are all in need of much love and healing. It can be very heartbreaking to bring in broken animals as many of them cant be fixed, but it is well worth it. Even if they only spend a short time with us, at least we can make them as comfortable as possible as well as loved on while they are with us. Because of all these broken animals that have come through my life, I have a secret goal of one day being an animal rescue/sanctuary. Financially it’s a ways off, but if I can help more “Graces”, “Pony’s” and old ladies like the minis, then I will do so. That is part of what gives life meaning, isn’t it?
Day 26 May 25th 2018
Today Jodi Pierce came and massaged Grace and Pony. Jodi tacked Pony first. We have some hilarious video of Jodi trying to massage Pony and everywhere Jodi moved to, Pony kept redirecting her to her whither area! She apparently had a very itchy whither! Jodi found some very bound up muscles in that area as well as atrophied muscles. Both Pony and Grace are very protective of their back ends but Jodi was able to get a big of work done before each of them moved off.
Grace tends to be protective of her right side, so Jodi started out on her left side, but Grace would only allow her to work mainly in the whither area so after a bit of work there, she moved to Grace’s right and was able to work from mid neck to (cautiously) working on the rump as Grace is still protective and can be kicky back there. She did however, allow Jodi clear back to the tail, where Jodi found severly overused and under used muscles. Back to the left side and Jodi was able to approach and do a bit of work on the rump, but Grace slowly picked up her leg and threatened a kick so we called it good for a first massage. Though most people would consider it a “bad horse” to even pick up that leg, I considered it great restraint on Grace’s part to warn but no follow through. There is plenty of time to work on that back end trust and respect. It will not all be done in a day.
Day 27 May 26 2018
First of all let me say that Pony finally has a name! I was out trying different names on her to see how she would react. Our latest pick was “popcorn”. Now you may wonder where the idea of “popcorn” came from so I’ll tell you…I was on Facebook and a meme popped up “If you named your horse after the last thing you ate” and I happened to be eating popcorn! Pony did not like this name at all! So Im just sitting out there pondering names and the name “Mara” popped into my head. She seemed to pay a lot of attention to that so I went in to look it up. Im a big believer in carefully naming creatures (and children) because every time you use that name, you are speaking that name over them so names should be chosen carefully. Note: We would not have seriously named the Pony “Popcorn” but we were considering “Poppy”. So here is the meanings of Mara…
Mara is one of those names that crosses into many cultures. The Hebrew meaning of “Mara” is sorrow (or bitterness). Considering Pony’s current history and being starved and tossed around and how she doesn’t trust people (especially adults), Mara is quite fitting.
Samara is also Hebrew and means “protected of God”.
In Hindu and Japanese it means horrible things, so we wont go there LOL
Amara in sanscript means immortal and in mongolian it means Peaceful.
In one definition of Gaelic it translates to “one who is eternally beautiful”
So here we have a pony who has had sorrow and bitterness in her life, which we want to change to peaceful. As an equine friend to us, she is eternally beautiful! So to us, she will from here on out be “Mara”.
As for their day, both Grace and Mara spent most of the day relaxing in their stalls with bags full of hay and in the evening were put in their turnouts for the night. Though most people may not see it, I can see the relaxation and changes to their muscles after their massages. I would surmise from the condition that Grace’s muscles are in that she was ridden very head low and slowed down far too much. Underdeveloped neck, arthritis in her lower back and a severe hunters bump. These are all signs of low head western pleasure riding. For Mara, I would guess she has cart training and was used head locked in a high position. She also shows signs of really back saddle fit in the whither area. With Jodi’s help we’ll get these issues resolved. Hopefully both horses will be ridable in the future but for now, they just get to be loved on and spoiled.
Day 28 May 27 2018
Today Grace allowed me to rub her with an interesting rubber scrubby I found. It has soft rubber “teeth” on one side, and on the other it has magnetic metal massage balls. It doesn’t work well with a horse with a lot of hair, but as Grace has barely any hair, it turned into a lovely massage which increases circulation to the skin. This helps both release the bound up muscles as well as increasing circulation which helps with detoxing.
I brought both Mara and Grace into the barn this morning as we have clear skies and Grace seems to be sunburning. It also helps keep the flies off her sarcoid by keeping her inside during the day.
Last night when I went out to feed the minis (who have been staying out in their turnout as long as it is dry) I put their mash in their buckets and walked away. I turned around to find Amber following me. This little mare who was so shy when she moved in with me has turned into my little buddy. If I don’t spend enough time with her she will chase me down for what our family calls a “power pet”. We coined the term for our pets over the years that aren’t big attention seekers but once in a while they just want a really good mini love session. My hands came away covered in dirt, hair and who knows what else and Amber wandered back to her feed bucket a happy camper. She is really starting to shed out well, though in patches, since I put her on some “warming” herbs, Sugar Down and Too Much Mare. As these are my first “personal” minis I have dealt with, this lack of shedding really has me thinking! Low thyroid, out of balance hormone levels and insulin resistance could be playing a part in why minis have a hard time shedding out in the spring time. In order to counteract that, I used the Too Much Mare to balance hormone levels on full sized horses who had a hard time shedding out with good success. The Sugar Down will help with the sugar related issues (especially since they are out grazing and I don’t want to come up with foundering issues) and the warming herbs (ginger and paprika) to help warm the body up so it doesn’t want to hold the hair, have all been having some effect. Though the girls are both shedding they are shedding in very rough patches. This was totally expected with this, their first year with me, shed out as I have noticed it usually takes a good two years for me to truly bring a horse around. For some even longer. Amber is beating out Sandelee on the shedding “game”. Even though their weight has dropped (they were rather rotund) their bellies are still huge but as they are old ladies, its not a big concern. They can be round and happy for whatever days they have left with us.
Day 29 May 28th 2018
Memorial Day today. Grace and Mara spent the day inside as it was a bright sunny day out and Grace is definitely doing better inside out of the sun as she has so little hair that she has nothing to protect herself. The sun has been so strong that even the minis seek out the shady places, which fortunately their turnout has plenty of spots to hide in plus a covered area. It was a nice mellow day heat wise and we spent time on the porch chatting with my friend Lynn who came over to meet Mara for the first time. I got a bit of sun on my pasty white Oregon legs, pulled some very tenacious weeds, and played games with my husband and daughter on the Playstation. I was asked why I didn’t go to the beach or do a barbeque…well life has just been too busy the last couple of years and its just so nice to sit and relax for a day! As it is Memorial Day, a day to remember those who lost their lives in war, I spent the time being thankful that I HAVEN’T lost anyone to war. I also have family who have served as firemen, policemen and also who are currently serving in the military so part of Memorial Day for me is being thankful that those people were kept safe from harm. So for those who serve in ANY type of uniform…I think you.
On a side note, Grace was a grouchy but today! I really had to work to put on fly spray on her face (Equiderma and some Vinegar) and after only a few minutes of grooming she was DONE! So I gave her some love, a few treats and called it good. Today is our day off, there are plenty of “tomorrows” to fight battles.
Day 30 May 29th 2018
Its finally been a full month since Grace joined our family! So many changes in so small of a time. She still has a long way to go but making progress every day.
Things that are still a “work on progress” …
- Letting me around the sarcoid without her eyes becoming big as saucers and throwing herself 50 feet backwards.
- Letting me pick up her front feet without being ugly about it.
- Letting ANYONE go near her back feet without trying to kick their face off.
- Not manically pacing just because she is in a location by herself for more than three seconds.
- Making friends with Mara as I don’t feel they are safe to put together yet. I don’t need a vet bill right now! (but who ever does, right?)
- Gain more weight, though the progress is very good for just one month!
- Detoxing! Grace is still a toxic little ball of mess, though some shine is starting to come through and she doesn’t feel as greasy and grimy as before but we still have at least a couple of months of detoxing to go. The rain rot is still there (though improved) and of course until the sarcoid dies off it is still going to be polluting her body with toxins. For that there is two reasons: One is the virus that most likely caused the sarcoid in the first place, and the other is the pain that goes with the location of the sarcoid. Pain causes toxins in the body and they build up over time if the horse is not detoxed regularly.
Progress we have made…
- Put on at least 75lbs
- More trusting with people period, but especially allowing me on her “off” side (the non sarcoid side)
- Letting me rub down her front legs and even pick them up, though still irritated by it.
- Not shying away at least once while I am trying to put on her halter
- Eating all her mash with exuberance!
Okay so on that last one, we finally hit a milestone about two days ago! You see, I am very used to getting a really positive response when I bring out the feed buckets! Lots of nickering and licking and chewing because they are so looking forward to their goodies! Now the nickering generally comes first. After all, everyone wants their feed bucket right? But when the bucket is headed towards them, all my horses start licking and chewing in expectation of their goodies! Grace had yet to do this up till a couple of days ago (Mara still is not doing this) and I realized it had finally happened! Its that point of getting them on a good diet and herbs where their bodies are really looking forward to their meal! What she previously picked through and dropped a lot of on the ground she was finally eating all of! Her body is finally accepting all the changes to her diet and is now looking forward to it! To me that is one of the best milestones of all. It means I can put all the healthy goodies in her bucket and it will end up in her belly! I have had many customers with stubborn horses ask me “when is this going to happen” and for most horses it will happen in the first month. But occasionally a horse has such bad digestive issues that it takes longer because they need time to heal and get to the point where eating doesn’t hurt any more. My personal worst case was a pony that I named Percy. It took TWO AND A HALF MONTHS to get him to eat his mash! First all the piles had to be separated and fed dry, then I slowly had to blend the piles, then I started adding small amounts of warm water. Finally after two months he was healed enough that he started eating his mash with gusty! That…was a good win!
Side Note: Its been two weeks since we lost our dear Torvey. Its amazing the impact he made in our lives. All of us are still grieving and “seeing” him around every corner and realizing he is not there. The new horses have been a welcome distraction and my daughter’s puppy Finneas has been a sweet balm on our broken hearts. Grief is a funny thing. When handled badly it turns into a monster that eats at your life. When dealt with appropriately it causes one to be not only thankful for the past, but grateful for the future as well. I am thankful and think back on every wonderful moment I had with Torvey and am very grateful that he was in our lives. I am also thankful and grateful for those pets that still touch our lives and continue to be such a welcome part of our family. It will still be a while before thinking of him wont cause me to shed a tear, but that just goes to show what a blessing our animals are to us.
Grace's Journal Continues HERE