Day 46 June 14th 2018
Long day for me putting orders together. Grace throwing tantrums at dinner time because she wants OUT!NOW!!! and doesn’t want her face cleaned and sprayed before she gets put out. Mara is more approachable lately and more trusting, which is good because the grandson Isaac (who just turned 9) is pestering to be able to ride her. I hated to tell him we need to wait just a bit longer so she has a bit more time to settle down. Reaaalllyy wanting to tie off that sarcoid and see if I can get it to dry up and fall off! Not sure I can without professional help. There up and downsides to manually removing it and just not sure which direction to head from here. Pondering…
Day 47 June 15th 2018
Light on orders today so spent the day “piddling”. Not sure where the term “piddling” originated but it sounds apropos. Busy week so running low on energy and not feeling very focused. Spent some time loving on Grace before I put her out and spent some time complaining about the chickens, who decided to eat my newly planted marigolds. However since they do give me some lovely eggs, I guess I wont complain too terribly much.
I so love that Grace wants affection. Senti was never an affectionate horse. Thinking back, Grace is even more affectionate and seeks more attention than Glory did. When Glory arrived, she wanted a lot of reassurance but she was a fairly self confident horse and even though she wanted contact with me, she didn’t need constant reassurance once she settled in. Grace needs regular assurance that I still care. Since losing Torvey she has became “the head I can lean on” like Torvey used to do with me when I was having a tough moment. This is why pets are so amazing and why they are such a blessing in our lives. Sometimes you need comfort from another human, someone to talk to, who can help you reason through hard times. But sometimes you just need…connection, silent sympathy, one heart to another…fur therapy. Glory suddenly passed away a year and a half ago (complications due to EPSM). I was heartbroken and never thought to replace her as she was my “dream horse”. Though not a horse (and I still can’t consider getting another riding horse yet) Torvey was there to comfort me. Now Grace is there to do the same for Torvey. Will she become my riding horse one day? Dunno, doesn’t matter. She is filling a void that is far more valuable than a saddle can fill. And in her small way, Amber is a part of that. That shy little mini came and just leaned on me the other day. It took a while for her to warm up to me, but now she is my little buddy. The other gals…well, we may not be that close, but they all have a special place in my herd.
Day 48 June 16th 2018
Grace was waiting at the gate early for me this morning. The sun is out strong and the flies (even with 6 fly traps out) are HIDEOUS! She is happily hiding out in the barn with Mara. Today we are celebrating my grandson Isaac’s birthday so spent the afternoon playing games at Wunderland (which is loaded with cheesy nickel games) and came home to eat pizza and hotdogs. I’m trying to decide if I want to hit the barn for more organizing and cleaning once they are gone or just be lazy. I also need to make more test kits as there are several on order but that is mostly slotted for tomorrow. I have yet to test my current herd with the test kit. Mostly due to testing out my mixes (which I do on occasion but partially for lack of time. Maybe that is what I will do in the morning, start testing the herd.
Day 49 June 17th 2018
Made the old ladies work out a bit last night before feeding time. Sandelee was the first to wear out…she is 30 after all! Amber was the next to “fall out” but Misty still had quite a bit of get up and go! That girl has a lovely fast paced trot! She also knows when to do the whole “show stance” don’t move thing, which made it really difficult as I was trying to teach her to disengage her haunches (for non horse people, that means “move your butt over when I point at it!) and side pass just to learn to move away from pressure. She very staunchly stood her ground! I wish I had a trailer so I could take these old ladies to a local show and have some fun with the grandkids. I was also happy to find out that I have both a western and an English saddle that fits Mara so the grandkids can start having rides. Need to fit her for a bit however…I don’t have anything that small in stock!
Tuesday I start back into giving lessons with a local 18 year old boy who wants to ride his horse but can barely put on a saddle. That should be very interesting! I haven’t met him yet, but 'Im betting my first words are going to be “you need a bigger horse!”
Time to get dressed and bring in Grace and Mara for the day. Its not even 9 AM but Ive been getting up with the chickens these days…some days before the chickens!
As it is Father’s Day today, I hope everyone called their dads if they could, and gave them some appreciation. I haven’t had a dad since I was six, and let me tell you, it sucks to live through life without one! I’m going to go hug some ponies…
Day 50 June 18th 2018
Found a bit of “treasure” buried in my tack room! A jar of thuja and zinc ointment! Its one of those “items” that got dumped on me over the years in barns. As I have been researching different ointments/poultices/sprays for sarcoids I had seen zinc and thuja, but not together and then VIOLA!! I already had the perfect ointment!
As I have been spending a ton of time fussing around Grace’s sarcoid, I actually managed to put the ointment on her without haltering her. I just let her stick her head in the feed bucket and dabbed it on. She pulled away the first couple times but then a disgruntled lick/chew and she allowed me to cover the top half of the sarcoid. As the ointment is very oily, it should protect her skin from the goo that comes out of the sarcoid. From feedback on both Thuja and Zinc ointment, it should cause the sarcoid to drop off in about 6 weeks. We’ll see what happens!
Day 51 June 19th 2018
Started lessons with Blake today on his horse Jasmine. Blake is 18, works at UPS so is in good shape (which helps with lessons) Picks up on things quickly, really wants to learn, and has at least one goal for taking lessons. His biggest desire at the moment is to ride his horse four miles to grandma’s house and surprising her! That’s a good kid right there. They managed to trip on a really good horse, but she only managed twenty minutes of a walk lesson and started tripping on everything. She has a big field to share with some goats, so while its great she is outside and has room to roam, she is still in very appalling shape. At least she isn’t stall bound! She knows the basics but has no fine tuning but that’s all Blake needs right now.
Day 52 June 20th 2018
Fairly quiet day today, but yesterday found a baby “something” that the cat was stalking. Robin, starling, sparrow. It was under the covered area of the horse turnout that had zero nests nearby so Im guessing the cat (Junior) moved it from its location. Fortunately, it was not hurt but I had no place to return it to. Called a wild life rescue but they neither answered the phone nor returned my call. We already had a heat lamp from the chickens when we bought them as chicks, a cage, and cat food so its feedings feedings feedings and lots of napkin changings. Baby looked to be about 4 days old (just the start of some fluff feathers) and eyes were still closed. We’ll see how it goes!
Day 53 June 21st 2018
Overcast day so left Grace and Mara in turnouts. We spent the day super busy (well at least I did). Put together all current orders and started calling around for hay. Found a place that does not spray or fertilize and has no tansy or blackberry in the fields and the price was very reasonable so off we went for hay! (so great having my own truck so I can do this!) Very nice couple with bales out in the field. Fortunately they were “girly” bales (40-45 lbs) so we were able to load the truck up while the grandkids had fun running around the field and rolling bales to us. By that time the sun had come out so it was hot work but great fun! I decided that “need” would get the hay stall finally completed so everyone pitched in and moved about 10 loads of dirt to level up the floor, tarp and pallet the floor. It was hot! It was sweaty! It was super tiring and the grandkids threw fits the whole time but still we had fun and ended up putting a water fight in there somewhere. I may regret tomorrow though.
Went and sat down for a bit, and sure enough the sore muscles were already setting in! Turned Grace and Mara out for a night of grazing and apologized for skipping their buckets for a night, but they didn’t seem to mind as they ran straight out and shoved their faces in the grass. Fed the baby bird, which is miraculously still alive, heated up some rice bags for my back, and whined about sore muscles. Not much of a horse day, but all in all a great day.
OH! Forgot to note, caught Misty and Amber doing the “mutual grooming” thing...so glad they have made friends!
Day 54 June 22nd 2018
Baby bird still alive! Eyes opened and eating good. Horses out grazing and enjoying the cooler cloudy days. Lost my favorite apple picker somewhere. Very sore but still going to go get more hay today. Must clean stalls…ugh.
Day 55 June 23rd 2018
Spent the day putzing around. Spent some time grooming horses, cleaning stalls, and fussing over baby bird. Worked a bit in the yard but was tired from the week so didn’t get much planted. Our blueberry bush is going crazy and our pup Finn loves to eat them! I’d try some on the horses but well, I want to keep them for myself LOL. I keep looking at my half filled hay stall and thinking I should horde up more hay. For t he first time since getting a horse I have enough space to horde up hay for the entire year. What I lack is funds and the energy to buck hay. Oh well, maybe next year.
Day 56 June 24th 2018
Lost the little bird today. It was doing so well but started not eating. As birds will often kick out a hatchling that has something wrong with it, I am guessing that is what happened since there are no nests down where the cats can get to them. Poor little thing. Grace always gives me loves when something makes me sad. However Im sure she regretted being so kind after I scrubbed her face and gooed it up with the zinc cream LOL
Day 57 June 25th 2018
Busy day filling orders and keeping half an eye on the cloud cover. Almost brought the girls in but the wind kept the flies at bay. I planted a few more flowers, pulled some more weeds, and wondered where I was going to get the time and energy to finish cleaning up the yard. Once we get it under control it will be beautiful but this year its still “battle of the weeds”. The chickens aren’t helping, they keep digging up my newly planted flowers! I keep reminding them they could go from being egg chickens to roasted…Just sayin’!
Day 58 June 26th 2018
Bright sunny day so the girls were in the barn again. I fed the minis outside and walked by Misty and touched her rump while I passed by. She quickly raised her head and looked totally panicked but since I just kept walking she didn’t know if she should run off or go back to eating. She picked eating. She it getting much better around me, lets me get a couple of feet from her before moving away but at least she is no longer running off! Baby steps.
Gave a lesson to Blake (who’s family used to own Misty). He has such a good horse on his hands but she is still a mare…and still a sorrel mare LOL. For anyone with a sorrel mare…YOU KNOW!! Today we worked on respect and lunging. She tried to pull some stuff with me but quickly gave in. She has some good training on her but is very rusty. Blake is really determined to learn horsemanship and is a fun student!
Ended the day by working Mara a bit in a bridle. She also has some good training but someone was so harsh with her, she still doesn’t know if she should panic or not but she is calming down as well. Next workout day will be bridle and saddle with her. Isaac keeps begging me to ride her but he is learning to put the horse first, and not his own desires. Healthy first step to horse ownership.
Day 59 June 27th 2018
Grrrr! Grace and Mara being little pills today! Decided to not “trick” them into coming inside for the day (as Grace is covered in flies due to the sarcoid) and they refuse to be caught! Well we’ll call that “free exercise” day! I would have chased them until they gave up but 1) I was getting a sunburn and 2) the field is tall and I had shorts on! After they became sweaty I stopped and grabbed their feed bucket o’goodies and coerced them into a paddock so I could catch them in a small space. They were all willing then! Little buggers! They can spend the day in the barn listening to the mariachi band music the workers are playing while picking the cherry trees next door. I don’t mind the mariachi music, though the particular station they were playing was very repetitive. It also would be nice if they would share some of the cherries…
Day 60 June 28th 2018
Not a very exciting day. Nothing to report. =)
Day 61 June 29th 2018
Finished up orders for the week and made it to the post office. Sat in traffic for a long time as there was a ballgame at the local ballpark and we managed to hit it at just the wrong time! The only traffic horses have to worry about is traffic at the feed bucket. Lucky them.
Not much change in Grace’s sarcoid and the flies are horrid! Fly predators and nematodes on their way to help out as well as a biting fly trap. Grace still having reaction issues with the Equiderma fly spray. This is not an issue with any of the other horses but just shows how overloaded her system still is. She is detoxing very nicely but as her issues are chronic and long term, it will still be a while before her system is considered “healthy”. Though she is a bit more of a “bugger” when turned out with Mara (mostly in not wanting to be caught) Grace is still one of the most lovely and sweet horses I have ever had.
Day 62 June 30th 2018
Had a huge list of plans on this lovely Saturday morning! Did exactly zero of what I had planned! Tiredness won out. Spent a relaxing day playing games with my hubby and letting the horses be horses. Made some mental plans for fixing fences (which Mara broke through to get to Grace, who was “in the big field”) adding more gravel to the turnouts and how to build a rack for hanging drying freshly scrubbed buckets. I had planned on actually building it today, but it didn’t make it past the planning stage.
Minis are getting a bit sassy at feeding time! Amber ran past me bucking and kicking. They may be small but those kicks can still hurt! Will have to consider what to do about that attitude.
Day 63 July 1 2018
Time to flip schedules! The fireworks are already starting in the area so its time to keep the horses in at night at put them out during the day (if there is some cloud cover) The girls are not happy with this idea, but as most horses freak out when fire works go off, its got to be done! Even though we live next to the gun club, and the horses are used to the loud sounds, the sights of the fireworks still spooks most horses which could lead to running into fencing during the night. Im not sure why our neighbors need multiple nights of fireworks but for the next week they will be in the barn during the night. They are so not amused! Spent the day playing Scrabble at my Aunt’s house and she gave me a beautiful horse picture she picked up at a garage sale! Over the dozen years of owning horses I have received an amazingly small amount of horse related gifts. In fact, just the opposite! People have been trying to talk me out of my horses ever since my first one! I was told they had no personalities. I was told they are “hay burners”. Many times I was put down because I started into horses late in life. And then I read about a woman who started riding and jumping horses at the age of NINETY ONE! I stopped feeling bad.
Day 64 July 2 2018
Decided to work on Mini manners today. Took my training stick out during feeding time. I feed the old ladies under the shelter so they have a bit of shade to dine in, and for their “training” they were required to stay out of the covered area while I put food in their dishes. I wasn’t concerned with Amber and Sandelee’s reactions as they are people friendly and pretty spoiled. I was however concerned with Misty’s reaction since she already has people fear issues. In the end she seemed to get the idea more quickly than the other two with Amber being the sassiest of the three. I also learned that my “flick” aim is very off! I used to be able to snap that baby just where I wanted it! Use it or lose it! A well aimed snap with a training stick is very important for disciplining a horse. I did manage a good snap on Amber’s backside and she finally got the hint to stay out of my “space”. They were given the command “wait” while I was putting food in their dishes, and “go ahead” after they spent a couple minutes outside the covered area. This will be their routine from now on. Amber spent most of the time being sassy…and drooling in such a way to make a Saint Bernard jealous! I’m flattered she likes her mash so much. =)
Day 65 July 3 Not much to report…moving to moments worth mentioning…
Featured Image is from July 4th..who needs fireworks??
Day 73 July 16, 2018
HOT! I hate the hot! Can’t get any yard work done, everything is turning brown and the horses are melting into Salvador Dali “soft watches” no matter what I do. Grace is definitely showing signs of the heat and the sun effecting her health but even with fans and shade trees the sun is so harsh this summer that keeping her in the barn during the day has turned into a no no. Grace’s hair along her back is getting rough textured again, even though she has continued on Cootie Kicker and Viral Down. She is very sluggish and back to being over reactive. Moved her and Mara to the front pasture where they will get more shade. The minis are cordoned off in the back of the barn turnout with access to one of the stalls until night time. They want to be out eating grass but its just too much sun for them. So it will be hay during the day and forced shade with time out in the field at night.
I was complaining to my husband Dan that it is “Mojave Desert” hot! He gave me a dirty look as he actually did military training during 130* weather in the Mojave. I hate the heat, always have. I told him if it was me they would have be med-evacing me out of there on day one! Thank God for our new place and central air!
Sarcoid removal day! Okay that’s not how the day started out…I woke up with a headache and noisy grandkids so the day started out much later than I had intended. I went out to feed “brunch mash” a bit before noon (everyone was out grazing so no one was starving) and I noticed Sandelee was not wanting to eat her mash. Normally she is shoving Amber aside to take hers, while Misty shoves Sande, while Amber runs around finding the open dish…I call it “free exercise” and eventually they settle down and all eat their food. However Sande was looking dejected and not wanting to eat. On closer inspection, her nose was seeping green goo and she had a hacking cough. In the horse world this is called “choke” (for my non horse readers). I have only dealt with minor choke episodes that resolved themselves but this bore closer inspection. I walked Sande inside (with Amber following since they are attached at the hip) and put her in a stall with only shavings and water. I cleaned off her nose and she coughed a ton of green goo on me…thanks Sande! It was hot in the barn so I turned on the fan and ran inside to do some quick googling.
Now horses, unlike people, have this nifty ability to be choking on something and yet be able to breath at the same time. Its why they can continuously graze while not dying of lack of oxygen. Wouldn’t that be handy? So sometimes horses don’t chew something well enough, or take too big of a bite and get a wad somewhere in their throat…normally right behind the jaw. I went back out to the barn and felt down Sande’s throat and found a large lump halfway down her neck. Massaging it gently, she coughed up a large amount of goo but no lump. I noticed then that her breath was rather raspy which means she sucked some of that goo down her lungs. On any horse that is bad, but on a 30 year old senior that is a recipe for pneumonia so time to call a vet out!
Our closest vet was booked up unless I was willing to haul in (not trailer and too much stress on an old horse) so I called until I found someone available. I managed to find a vet from a clinic I knew but who I had not yet met by the name of Ada Norris. She was not available for a few hours so she gave me a bit of advice to tide us over (most of which I had already done so it was good to have confirmation that I was doing right) and she showed up later that afternoon. I had decided that while I had the vet out anyway, to look at Grace’s sarcoid and possibly remove it and Dr Norris agreed.
We first addressed Sande’s issue, which meant heart check and some sedation. Apparently the sedation helps relax the muscles and most of the time the lump resolves itself. Sande, typical mini, had a hissy fit that is surprising due to her size and general mildness and a massive coughing fit ensued! After a couple of tries (and a couple of fresh needles) Dr Norris managed to sedate her and off we went to check out Grace.
Dr Norris seemed rather impressed with Grace’s sarcoid and I asked how often these happen as I had never seen one this big before. Apparently they are pretty rare. We talked options and agreed that tying it off at the base and removing it was the easiest option. Well two sedations and a local later (and much hissy fitting on Grace’s part) and the sarcoid fell off. I offered it to Dr Norris as a science experiment (which she did) and we talked follow up. She was surprised to find not only that the sarcoid was attached to a blood vessel (which is why I was having such a hard time getting it to drop off) but that it had nerve endings attached to it as well. It was a very well fed little lump! I was happy to see that the “root” had gone from 1 inch in diameter when I started to you could visibly see that the actual root was only ¼ inch in diameter! It would still have taken several months to fall off on its own (if it actually would have, considering all that was going on with it) As the flies are horrendous here, and trying to keep them off her face was an impossibility, I opted for the quicker route for her sake despite the hit to my pride. The worst part of it was the blood flow down her face that made her look like she was in a horror show. After the vet left, I mopped up her face (for which she was really appreciative) and left her to recover from sedation. Sande was given an antibiotic to fend off potential pneumonia, and I think I garnered a bit of respect from the vet for my care of both Grace and Sandelee. As an herbalist, I have often taken a lot of flack from veterinarians…which is why I have been through so many of them. If they can’t respect my profession, how can I respect theirs?
July 18, 2018
Happy to report this morning that Sandelee is back to her ornery, demanding little self…banging on the stall door for breakfast and wanting to eat! Though she is still coughing a bit (herbs added to help clear her lungs and heal any irritation in her throat) her nose is no longer dripping green goo and her eyes look bright and clear. Grace’s wound is oozing a bit and the flies were after her so she is stall bound for the day but doesn’t seem too concerned with life. In fact she seems “relieved”, which I can only imagine…after almost two years of that giant sarcoid hanging off her head, causing pain and no protection from flies and its no longer there? Yeah I would be feeling really appreciative too!
I forgot to mention yesterday, when the vet walked up to Grace, she put her head in Ada’s chest as if to say “please help me”. She is such a love and people oriented! I think she won the vet’s heart right there. She certainly won my heart and Im so glad I saved her from a bullet. A customer pointed out to me “I know someone who had a horse with sarcoids. They treated it and got rid of the sarcoids but the horse died of cancer”. Well okay, thanks for that but that isn’t a surprise. Sarcoids mean the immune system is in the toilet. My focus is on rebuilding the immune system…which most people don’t even think about. Will it work? I don’t know. Grace was already pretty messed up when I got her. Does it mean I should give up? No! I saved her not only from a bullet, but from misery of living in a dark, dank stall, loneliness, never being let out to graze or see the sun. I don’t know what her entire life was like, but I know what the last year of her life was like before I got her and it sounds like one of abject misery. If she dies tomorrow, I’ll know she spent the last couple of months being loved, cared for, out enjoying her days with her herd and having someone do everything they can for her. That is how her life will continue until the day she calls it quits or we absolutely have to make that choice for her as a last resort and I wont regret it for one…single…second.
Spent some time with Mara today. She is still very spooky and “don’t touch me” in attitude. Her and Grace have about a half acre to themselves and unless I catch Grace first and remove her, I can’t catch Mara. Weeeelll, I got a bit tired of that, so after putting mash in their buckets, I approached Mara. She ran off (as expected). I approached again, and again. Part of the problem was I had a halter and lead line in hand (on purpose) and she thought she was going to get worked. I don’t know what was done to this poor pony in the past, but they made being worked miserable…if her avoidance of the halter is any indication. It took about 15 minutes of just walking up and letting her run up on a hot sunny morning before she decide that halter wasn’t nearly as bad and breathing hard and starting to sweat so she finally let me walk up. I put the lead line around her neck, did some relaxing breathing (which helps calm the horse-part of herd instinct) petted her some, took some pictures, and let her go and just walked away. I heard this HUGE sigh behind me and a lick/chew (sign of processing information) and ever since she has been a lot more comfortable around me. I’ll do this every few days until she is easy to walk up to and a lot more trusting. When the weather cools down I want her comfortable enough with me to start giving the grandkids riding lessons again. They keep bugging me about rides but this is a good opportunity to learn that we have to consider the horse’s needs, just not their desire to ride. Watch out Misty! You’re next!
The pictures I was taking of Mara showed how bad her feet are…thin, dry and cracked as all the toxins are starting to come out in signs in the hoof wall. This is fully expected and will take up to a year to fully resolve. Also happy to note that Mara is FINALLY beginning to shed out! As I am pretty sure she has Cushings (Vet agreed but it was pointless to test at this point) she has been on my Sugar Down recipe as well as Tummy Ultra and Cootie Kicker plus Iron Horse, a mineral mix and other goodies to help balance out her body. Though she will still have a crappy coat this year, hopefully by next year she will at least have a half decent one but shedding out on her own some this year shows signs that her system is beginning to rebalance. Oddly enough I noted that she was shedding out FIRST with the heavy muscles…the opposite of detoxing!
Grace’s wound site is healing up very nicely! The sarcoid is obviously still “active” as it turned bright red and ulcerated (it peeled off the top layer) but is not oozing. I applied the first treatment of Imiquimod Cream, which is an anti viral medication that will help kill off the virus that caused the sarcoid in the first place. While I am all for natural treatments FIRST, there comes a time when modern medicine has its uses. As Grace was horribly tormented by flies and no amount of fly treatment kept them at bay for long, and this summer is hot and dry and horrible, I opted to speed things up. Part of that was removing the surface part of the sarcoid, and part of that is using a chemical treatment to speed up killing off the root. The sarcoid had come to a place where keeping it healing naturally had slowed to minimal effect, and the consequences of having it there (flies, head pain etc) made it necessary to take that step and remove it. If it is not aggressively treated at this point, it can suddenly regrow and we will be back to square one. So with the aid of a chemical anti viral, lots of herbs, and a healthy base diet, hopefully Grace’s body will overcome the virus and I will have a healthy and happy horse!
I was happy to note that the day after applying the Imiquimod that the surface of the sarcoid was dried up and less bothered by flies…not that the number of flies was anywhere near the number before the sarcoid was removed. We seem to be making very good progress!
I did notice that Grace’s pain levels are much diminished, she can shake her head freely, and twitch her ears! Those all seem like small things, but with the location of the sarcoid she was very limited in movement and the pain was very obvious on her face. She is much more vocal, outgoing and very excited about her buckets of mash!
All in all, I'm very happy with her progress. I noticed the hair is starting to grow back on her forehead as the infection from the sarcoid had burned it all off. My horse Chiropractor, Gene Crampton, always stresses how horses in pain have a hard time holding weight. Its always proven to be correct. I'll be updating full body shot of Grace soon as you can see the progress already made in such a short time. Gene will be meeting and working on Grace for the first time in just a couple days, then the bare foot trimmer will be here the following day...hopefully she'll be able to do Grace's back feet without having to resort to sedating her! (yes its getting to that point but we'll see what happens) and soon we'll be able to work on a lunge line and getting her into better shape with cooler weather coming. That should be fun!