Thursday, December 29, 2011

Go See War Horse

This is a good movie.

I was apprehensive about seeing it.  I'm glad I did.

It is full of life, death, joy, and sadness.  There is grief, loss, hope, cowardice, bravery, cruelty, kindness, fear, and friendship.  A little of everything.

And of course, there are horses.

There is a lot of action, a lot of war.  You know that from the title.  Some scenes may be tough to watch if you are like me, an amiable person who does not like conflict.   Just say to yourself over and over: it is just a movie.

It is sprinkled with humor, which I appreciated very much.

I liked it.

Go see War Horse.

I heard the movie provokes some discussion about war.  That's true.

The story is set during World War I.  Seated next to me in the theater was a World War II veteran.  After the movie, while the credits were rolling, his granddaughter asked him, "Grandpa, was that how it was for you in World War II?"  He replied, "No, we didn't fight in the trenches."  She asked, "Did you use horses?"  He said, "No, we used artillery."

My husband and I had an interesting discussion on the drive home about the raw brutality of trench warfare, and about the emergence of  tanks and big guns; the absence of air combat. 

Take some tissue with you.  Steven Spielberg is a master at tugging on heart strings.

Go see War Horse.

To coin a phrase, I give it two thumbs up.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Work has kept me very busy and away from the Blogosphere.  I hope you all are doing well and I'm sorry I'm behind on reading your blogs.  I'm looking forward to taking next week off and catching up on your blogs and enjoying the holiday season at home.

Speaking of work...this is the electronic whiteboard my work group uses so our boss can keep track of us.   We had a snowstorm last night and into this afternoon and everyone who is not on vacation  chose to work from home today. 

I bet you can tell which icon represents me on the whiteboard.

Funny story about the bank robber icon.  It belongs to our boss.

One Monday morning Wiley Coyote came into the office and found a surprising voice message awaiting him.  We all gathered around his phone to listen and were quite shocked.   It was a conversation amongst  three bank robbers who didn't realize they were being recorded.  There was a lot of static and garbled words, but we heard them talking excitedly about a large amount of cash.  The male robber said, "Here, count the money" and we heard another start counting "One hundred, two hundred, three hundred.....this is a lot of money!"   We heard the male in charge clearly exclaim, "We're bank robbers!".   Then a female said, "I've got the cash between my legs."

Wiley Coyote called the police.

A uniformed officer came to our office and went to Wiley Coyote's desk (he sits right next to me) and listened to the recording and said, "Don't erase that.  I'm going to call a couple of  Dicks to come listen to this."  No kidding, that's really what he said. 

Within the hour two plain clothes detectives showed up at Wiley Coyote's desk.  They listened to the voice message several times, recorded it on a device of their own, and asked Wiley Coyote lots of questions like:
  • Do you recognize the phone number?  (The voicemail system had recorded the incoming cell phone number)
  • Do you recognized any of the voices?
  • Do you know anyone who might commit a crime like this?
  • Where do you live?
  • How long have you worked here?
  • Who has your work number? 
  • Who calls you at this number?
There had been a string of bank robberies in our city and the latest one had occurred that very weekend.  This was quickly becoming a hot lead.

The detectives left but soon returned, escorted by the facility manager to our boss' office this time.  They had discovered the caller's cell phone belonged to our boss!   It was getting late and one by one we each left to go home, wondering what was going on behind our boss' closed door.  Could our boss be a bank robber?    He doesn't seem like the type.  But how well do any of us really know the people we work with day-in and day-out? Or maybe his cell phone had been stolen during the weekend and used by the bank robbers.

The next day we were relieved to see our boss arrive at the office. 

He told us the detectives asked him lots of questions and then asked him to listen to the recording.   They asked him if he recognized the voices.  He didn't recognize any of the voices.  Then they asked him if he had lost his cell phone.  He said no, he had it with him.  They asked if they could have his cell phone and look at his call history.  He handed it over to them, unsure of why he was being questioned.  They showed him the call history that listed a call to Wiley Coyote's office number on Saturday.  Our boss was dumbfounded.  They asked him if he had loaned his cell phone to anyone.  No, he had it with him all weekend.  Then the detectives asked our boss to tell them exactly what he did on Saturday.  He said, " wife and my son and I went to the Mazda dealer to look at cars.  Then we went to the bank and withdrew some cash to purchase a car, and then we went back to the dealership...."  Then the light bulb went on. 

Our boss had his cell phone in his pocket and it accidentally "butt-dialed" Wiley Coyote's desk phone number in the contacts list as he and his family were walking to their car in the bank parking lot.  The voice messaging system picked up and recorded the conversation between our boss, his wife, and their young son a they got into their car and began driving back to the car dealership.   They handed the cash to their son in the back seat  so he could practice counting in hundreds.  What wasn't recorded clearly was their young son asking, "Can anyone walk into a bank and ask for all this money?"   His dad jokingly replied, "No, we're bank robbers!"   Our boss said it's a good thing the voice message ended before we all heard his reply when his wife said she had the cash between her legs.

This happened during a very busy, stressful time at our office and we all appreciated the good laugh.  One of my co-workers replaced our boss' white board image of Mr. Slate (Fred Flintstone's boss) with the bank robber image and it has stuck.

The string of local bank robberies came to an end and I don't recall if they ever caught the real bandits.

Wiley Coyote is still employed, although we teased him that he shouldn't expect a raise this year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

These Birds Aren't Angry

Not to be confused with Angry Birds, these birds are their lesser known cousins, the Chilly Birds.  Maybe if they had their own video game to star in, they'd have a reason to move around and warm up.  Poor things.  They didn't look very happy this morning when I snapped this picture from my kitchen window.

Birds Chillin' in the Pasture.
Today was cold and windy, but yesterday was sunny with temps in the mid-50sF and no wind.  A perfect day for a ride.  I couldn't pass it up, especially with today's snow storm in the forecast.  So I took a long lunch and ran home and rode Misty in circles around the house for 30 minutes.  I'm so glad I did that.  Chances to ride are rare this time of year. 

Colder temperatures are on the way.  I was planning to take Misty to a clinic this coming Saturday, but the clinician has rescheduled.  Our high on Saturday may not even make it to 20F.  Even an indoor arena won't compensate for temps that low and students don't learn well when they are shivering.  It's too bad we have to reschedule, but I'm relieved.  I really don't like being that cold.

I'm trying to seize any chance to ride in an indoor arena this winter.  A few weeks ago I summoned my inner cowgirl and took Misty to cattle sorting practice, just so I could pay to ride in the indoor arena where the event was held.  It was great to simply ride around in the arena with other horses and riders, but we actually did get to take a couple shots at sorting.  This was only our 2nd time in the presence of cattle.  My first sorting  attempt, I couldn't get the assigned cow separated at all. After 60 seconds, I deferred to my partner who didn't have any luck either.  It was like the heifer was attached to her herd mates with Velcro.  The 2nd time my partner and I each sorted 3 of the 7 and got those 6 in the other pen within the 2 minute time period.  I'm not interested in speed or whether we are successful at sorting.  Misty's not built like a quick-on-her-feet cow pony.  I just wanted to spend time with my mare and get some exposure and experience with cattle.

I was very pleased with Misty. During one of the cattle changes, I was expecting the cows to come down the center of the arena and out the door to their holding pens.  I placed Misty in one of the corners of the arena near the exit, facing the center of the arena so we could see the cows coming.  They decided to drive them down the side of the arena this time and it startled me when suddenly 7 cows went running right around Misty's butt.  But Misty didn't even flinch.  She continues to amaze me at how she has matured and gained confidence this year.  I love my mare.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What's Cookin' and Happy Thanksgiving

 Plan B: Cranberries, mashed potatoes,

November 23, 2011
I am grateful for two gray girls in our backyard, and pleased that they get along so well.  I feel honored to care for two of God's most magnificent creatures.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trust But Verify

If you are thinking of getting a tattoo of your favorite equine figure, verify the talent of your artist first.

 Photo Source Unknown

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shades of the Morning

When I stepped outside to feed the horses Friday morning, I was stopped in my tracks by the beautiful color of the sky.  I grabbed my camera so I could capture the sight before it disappeared; the light and colors change so quickly as the sun rises.

The first shades of morning.
Shades of pink emerge.
Misty: "Quit lookin' at the sky.  Can't you see I'm starvin' here?!"
My favorite shades of gray.
 (And you can see that Misty is far from starvin'.)
SaraJane LOVES her Progressive Diet Balancer pellets. After scarfing down her pellets in her stall next door, she visits Misty's stall to Hoover-up the few pellets Misty always leaves behind in her grain bin.

SaraJane: "As long as I'm here, I might as well help myself to Misty's hay too."
The girls get some loose hay in their troughs and a larger portion in their individual Porta-Grazers, to slow them down a bit. They go back and forth between the stalls, nibbling from both slow feeders and troughs.

Barn chores done; horses fed; manure scooped.

Shades of gold are joining the pinks.
Shades of gold chasing shades of pink.
The gold has consumed the pink.
It's time for me to go inside and get ready for work.

What a great way to start the day.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Attack of the Killer Kidney Beans

Ok, I've watched too many low-budget horror movies lately.

If the Halloween zombie horses didn't get you, please tune in for the following announcement.

Beware the Red Kidney Beans

Tis the season for warm soup, stew, and chili.  Prepare these comfort foods with caution if they call for red kidney beans.  Canned, processed kidney beans are relatively gentle, peace loving legumes.  But dried red kidney beans are armed and dangerous.  They must be frisked at the kitchen door and rendered harmless before you invite them to dinner.

I attended a Halloween party last weekend that included a popular Fall culinary event:  The Chili Cookoff.

The buffet table was lined with 20 or more crock-pots containing a variety of chili concoctions.  I sampled three of the chili dishes.  A few hours later I became ill - violently ill - like I've never experienced before.

I suspect I fell victim to kidney bean poisoning.

Dried red kidney beans contain a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin.  This toxin is present in many types of beans, but the red kidney bean wins the prize for packing the highest concentration. It only takes a few unfit beans to make a person very sick.

One of the most sinister methods of cooking dried red kidney beans is to slow-cook them in a crock-pot (or slow-simmer on the stove).  The temperature may not get high enough to kill the toxic agent.  In fact, slow cooking may increase the potency of the toxin.

The raw beans must be boiled for at least 10 minutes

If you ingest toxic kidney beans, your tummy will expel the ghastly substance as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

The process is absolutely miserable!

But good for a rapid 2 pound weight loss.

Suggested steps to prepare raw beans before using them in a recipe or crock-pot:
  1. Soak raw beans for at least 5 hours.
  2. Discard the soaking water.
  3. Place beans in clean water; bring to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I'm not a scientist, doctor, toxicologist; nor am I a professional chef.  So don't take my word for it.  Research multiple online sources (not all Internet cooking advice is valid) and be careful when cooking with raw beans.

Interesting resources:

Bad Bug Book: Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin)  from U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Beans! Beans! The Poisonous Fruit!  from

Red Kidney Bean Poisoning  from

P.S.  Horse Owners:  Beware the White Kidney Beans too.

Abstract from

Thirty-four mixed breed horses from two separate farms showed signs of abdominal discomfort, pyrexia and dehydration after being exposed to a new batch of 14% complete horse feed. A new batch of cattle feed from the same manufacturer resulted in dairy cows showing depression, a drop in milk production and diarrhoea. Examination of both diets revealed the presence of white kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Inclusion of raw beans of this genus in animal feeds is to be avoided.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beware the Zombie Horses

I have several Breyer horse models atop an armoire in by bedroom.  I may be sleeping with one eye open tonight.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Misty's Monday Muse - Slicker Training

My Lady and I plan on enjoying lots of trail rides together.  The weather can change quickly in Colorado, so its a good idea for riders and horses to be prepared for rain.

While I was at school this summer my trainer, Andie Lee, taught me that rain slickers do not eat horses.  They flap around and make rustling noises, but they don't bite.  I kept my ear on that slicker, but I was very brave and did not get silly or overreact.

Don't I look good in yellow?

Ready to hit the trail,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Misty's Monday Muse - Cool Cows

Hello there!  It's been awhile.  I've been a busy mare; going to school and on trail rides and playing with cows.

You read that right.

I, Misty the Percheron, am now a cow horse.  Well, sort of.  I can confidently say that I'm not afraid of cows and I like moving them about and manipulating them.

My Lady and I were scheduled to attend a 2-day clinic this past weekend.  Saturday was "Ranch Riding and Patterns".  But we missed it.  Know why?  Because it snowed!

It snowed so much that the roads got dangerous and My Lady loves me too much to risk my life. So we stayed home.  That was fine with me, but My Lady was bummed. She stayed in bed and watched three movies and ate Fritos corn chips all day.

The snow finally stopped and the roads cleared, so we made it to the 2nd day of the clinic: "Introduction to Cattle".  But it was very cold.

It was 26F/-3C when we rolled out of our driveway.  36F/2C when we arrived at the clinic.

Do you know what a cold metal bit feels like in your mouth at 36F?

Me neither.

My Lady wouldn't do that to me.  There was a microwave in the rider's lounge, so she used this cute bit warmer that was hand made for us by Dreaming over at Living A Dream.

Thanks Dreaming.  It worked great!

My Lady says it's also a handy neck warmer for the kink in her neck that she got from scraping ice off the windshield of the truck.

We warmed up in the indoor arena and then all of us horses and our riders gathered at one end of the arena while they brought 8 cows through the gate at the far end.  My Lady wasn't sure how I would react, so she was going to dismount and stand on the ground with me.  But she found her cowgirl spirit and stayed in the saddle.  (She's learning that I've matured into a trustworthy mount.)  I was very curious and had my head and ears on high alert, staring intently at those creatures as they came into the arena.  But I wasn't scared at all.  The cows walked in slowly and huddled in a little-cow-clump-in-the-corner.

Then the whole group of us, 10 horses & riders, walked up to those cows and slowly drove them around the arena, each of us taking turns at the front so we could be close to the cows.  I like how they move away from me; it makes me feel empowered.  
Then we paired off with another horse & rider and picked 2 cows to separate from the little-cow-clump-in-the-corner and we drove them down the arena wall.

After lunch we broke into two teams and tried to play cow hockey.  The offensive team of horses & riders would try to drive the cows across the goal line, while the defensive team tried to block the cows and prevent the other team from scoring.  But that got a little crazy when the cows un-clumped and started running this way and that, and some of the riders with more cow experience got competitive and wanted to chase them, and some of the younger horses got a little too excited.  So our trainers switched us to a slower game. The cows re-clumped  into the corner and each team took turns separating 4 cows from the little-cow-clump-in-the-corner and driving them down the arena and into an imaginary pen that was marked by orange cones.  I did a good job of this because I can walk right up to those clumped cows, pick some out, and drive them calmly down the arena and not scare them into a trot.  Slow and steady is the polite way to move cows around.

Cows are Cool,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Equine Identification and Microchipping

I've been thinking a lot about equine ID lately, especially as I get ready to do more trail riding.

I watched an ACTHA video recently that suggested attaching an ID tag to your horse's mane whenever you go trail riding.  So today I'm dropping by PetSmart to pick up an ID tag to braid into Misty's mane when I go trail riding.  Engraved upon it will be Misty's name, my name, and my phone numbers.  I think I'll doubly attach it to her mane with a leather string and an alligator clip.

Attaching ID to the horse's mane is suggested because tack can break and it is possible for a loose horse to rid itself of bridle and saddle.  Having ID on both horse and tack increases your chances of getting everything back should you become separated from your horse while trail riding.  Heaven forbid this ever happen, but it is good to be prepared.

SaraJane came home last weekend and while she was out for training, her rescue had her microchipped.  She came home with a brand new,  pretty pink halter with her name written on one side and "Microchipped Horse" written on the other side.

This morning I saw the news report below about Willow, the microchipped cat found after 5 years!  This amazing story really presents a good case for microchipping.

Do you microchip your pets or your horses? Do you have identification on your horse when you trail ride?

Colo. cat, missing 5 years, is found on NYC street
By JIM FITZGERALD Associated Press The Associated Press

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 9:21 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — A calico cat named Willow, who disappeared from a home near the Rocky Mountains five years ago, was found Wednesday on a Manhattan street and will soon be returned to a family in which two of the three kids and one of the two dogs may remember her.

How she got to New York, more than 1,600 miles away, and the kind of life she lived in the city are mysteries.

But thanks to a microchip implanted when she was a kitten, Willow will be reunited in Colorado with her owners, who had long ago given up hope.

"To be honest, there are tons of coyotes around here, and owls," said Jamie Squires, of Boulder. "She was just a little thing, five and a half pounds. We put out the `Lost Cat' posters and the Craigslist thing, but we actually thought she'd been eaten by coyotes."

Squires and her husband, Chris, were "shocked and astounded" when they got a call Wednesday from Animal Care & Control, which runs New York City's animal rescue and shelter system.

Willow had been found on East 20th Street by a man who took her to a shelter.

"My husband said, `Don't say anything to the kids yet. We have to make sure,'" Squires said. "But then we saw the picture, and it was Willow. It's been so long."

ACC Executive Director Julie Bank said a scanner found the microchip that led to the Squires family.

"All our pets are microchipped," Squires said. "If I could microchip my kids, I would."

The children are 17, 10 and 3 years old, so the older two remember Willow, Squires said. As for the 3-year-old, "She saw the photo and said, `She's a pretty cat.'"

The Squireses also have a yellow Labrador named Roscoe, who knew Willow, and an English mastiff named Zoe.

"We had another dog back then, too, and I remember that Willow would lie with them as they all waited to be fed," Squires said. "She thought she was a dog."

Squires said Willow escaped in late 2006 or early 2007 when contractors left a door open during a home renovation.

Since then, the family had moved about 10 miles from Broomfield to Boulder, but it kept its address current with the microchip company.

Bank recommended that all pet owners use microchips.

She said Willow, who now weighs 7 pounds, is healthy and well-mannered and probably has not spent her life on the mean streets of Manhattan. But there are no clues about her trip east or anything else in the five years she's been missing.

Squires seemed a bit worried about a possible New York state of mind.

"I don't know what kind of life she's had, so I don't know what her personality will be like," she said. When Willow disappeared, she said, "She was a really cool cat, really sweet."

The ACC and the Squireses were trying to arrange for transportation back to Colorado and health certificates and said it might be two weeks before the reunion. Willow may spend some time with a foster family in New York.

"The kids can't wait to see her," Squires said. "And we still have her little Christmas stocking."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tough Times in a Desperate Horse Market

I dipped my toes into the horse market recently and found the waters to be cold and uninviting.

Many of the online advertisements make me feel wary and I'm reminded of this icon from my childhood:

A couple weeks ago I came upon an ad that didn't conjure up images of the Lost in Space robot.  My trainer and I went to see the horse and ride him.  We both liked him and the seller suggested I take him on trial.   The ideal situation was to take him to the training stable where my trainer could evaluate him and give me lessons on him. But the training stable required a rabies vaccination, which this horse did not have.  I offered to pay for the vaccination and the seller agreed to get the vaccination and draw up a pre-purchase trial contract.  A couple of days went by.  I left a voice message for the seller.  Then at 8:30 that night the seller called in a panic, in need of money because of an ugly divorce situation, and said I had to buy the horse tomorrow or the horse would be sold to a cattle rancher with cash in hand.  Wow!  I was stunned.  I was disappointed.  But I will not be pressured into a rapid purchase like that.

I summoned up some courage and looked at more ads today and it was sickening.  I saw ads placed by desperate people trying to unload their horses "ASAP".  I feel sorry for the horses because the most likely person to respond to these ads is the kill-buyer.

Let me tell you about a couple I just read.  I don't want to copy and paste them here, so I'll just give you the gist of them.

Ad #1 offered a "FREE" 2 year old "Polomino" quarter horse stallion. The seller pleaded, "Please rehome him ASAP...he is FREE."   While the horse is free, his tack costs $300.00 and has to go with him.  The free "Polomino" horse and tack is $300.00 today only.  If you wait until tomorrow "the re-homing fee becomes $500.00" for horse and tack.

What the heck is a "re-homing fee" on a FREE horse?  Now, doesn't that make you want to rush out to the nearest ATM? 

Ad #2 offered another free horse.  A 16 year old, "broke to ride" quarter horse that is "not a push button horse, but is a good horse."  The horse "hasn't been ridden in awhile", but the seller put her kids on it and they survived "are fine".  Seller needs to re-home the horse "ASAP" because the power has been shut off at their vacated farm.  Her rotten husband is in jail and she moved out and is raising their 6 children and didn't have the money to pay the utility bill at the farm.  You can have this horse for free under one condition...when you pick up your free horse, you need to pick up its pasture mate and return that horse to its owner in another town.  The seller can't return the pasture mate to its owner because her husband did not renew the registration on their truck & trailer before he became incarcerated.  Lace up your track shoes, you lucky horse shoppers, because the race is on.  The seller says "preference goes to whoever can get to my place first."

Too bad my horse trailer is in the shop for repairs right now.  I lose again.

Times are tough and I feel badly for people who are in difficult & desperate situations.

I feel most sorry for the horses who are the innocent victims.  Those two "free" horses probably ended up on a truck bound for a slaughter plant south of the boarder.

I don't think I'll look at any more ads today.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Horseless at Home

There are no horses in the Land of Once Upon.

Misty and SaraJane have both gone away to sleep-away school.

Misty left a couple of weeks ago and our foster filly, SaraJane, left Friday afternoon.

The horse rescue that owns SaraJane received a training grant and with Misty away at school, this was a perfect time for SaraJane to get some training and become more adoptable.  I had hoped to be home from work in time to say good-bye to SaraJane before the rescue picked her up, but I was too late.

When I arrived home, no horse greeted me.

The barn felt empty and lonely.

I got teary-eyed.  

I miss them.

Fortunately it is just temporary.  And as much as I enjoy my daily barn chores, I'm not shedding too many tears over a brief furlough from manure scooping.  

It's all good.

Misty is doing well with her training.  She's a novelty at the stable where most of the horses are long-legged, fancy, shmancy hunter/jumpers.  So she gets a lot of attention.

The rescue owners notified me that SaraJane loaded easily into their trailer and has settled in well at her boarding school.  She's such a sweet-natured filly.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy (Horse Trailer) Campers

I had hoped to do some horse camping this summer, but Misty's tooth issues derailed those plans.

At the beginning of Spring, my riding club held an overnight horse camping practice.  I went sans horse, but it gave me a chance to see how I would fare sleeping in the bunk of my gooseneck horse trailer.

I don't have living quarters, so I was without the usual creature comforts in my bare, steel trailer.  Springtime in Colorado can be very chilly.  This particular weekend brought one of the last cold snaps of the season.  It got down to 35F/1.6C during the night, with a light rain, at our mock campsite.

Brrrr.  I had no heat, but my trailer nest turned out to be "beary" cozy.

For my bed, I use a king size foam mattress topper;  folded in half, it is the perfect size for a bed in the bunk.

For bedding I use flannel sheets, an open sleeping bag, and a heavy duty down comforter topped with my decorative fleece horse blanket.  Inexpensive kitchen valances serve as window coverings.  A battery operated camping lantern and magnetic tent light provide some illumination.  And a 3-drawer plastic storage chest fills in as a nightstand.

Even at 35F,  I was fairly comfortable with the addition of socks, gloves, fleece cap, and a cowl neck warmer.  It got pretty toasty in my little nest.   In fact, I awoke at 2:00 am and couldn't peel off the socks, gloves, hat and neck warmer fast enough.

I followed advice to crack one of the windows open, but still developed some condensation in the trailer.  I do have a ceramic heater, but there was nowhere to plug it in.  I'm considering purchasing a Little Buddy Portable Heater to take the chill off next time.

Have you used a portable camping heater? I'm curious what others have experienced.

There is one more item that comes in handy in a non-LQ horse trailer, whether you are camping or parked at a trail head.

I never leave home without my Luggable Loo.

Have you camped in your horse trailer?  What creature comforts do you take along?  I'm not a seasoned camper, so would love to know what works for you.

Do you have pictures to share in a blog post?  If so, let us know in the comments where your post is, and please link back to this post.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

And the award goes to...


For best dental check-up!

We went back to our local horse doc today for our last, final, concluding, determinate vet  visit since this whole tooth ordeal began four and a half months ago.  

The vet and the tech discussed checking Misty without sedation.  They decided, "Yes, let's try it because she's been such a good girl."  So they inserted the dental speculum and flushed Misty's mouth.  Misty stood patiently while the vet reached in and examined the empty socket...and declared it good!

The socket is granulated up to the gum line. 
There is no putrid odor. 
External facial swelling has decreased to almost normal. 
Misty can go back to work.

I'm not wasting any time.  I'm taking my girl to a clinic on Saturday and then taking her back to her trainer on Sunday.  I'll probably just do ground work at the clinic and will play it by ear on some very light riding.  And Misty's trainer will begin easing her back to work and put some finishing on her.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll get to go on a few trail rides before it starts snowing.

Here are the final pictures of the tooth as it was removed in stages.

Left to right:  The slab fracture removed in March, the pieces that broke apart when my local vet tried to extract the remainder of the tooth in May, and finally the rotten root portion that was removed via Steinmann Pin Repulsion in June.
The dentist who performed the repulsion said this hole was not made by the Steinmann Pin.  It might have been caused by decay and abscess.  Interesting. 

(I hope, I pray)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Double Dip

Last evening's rain shower treated us to prairie a la mode.

 A double dip of rainbow sherbet.

Delicious to the soul.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seek a Shady Spot

I've lived in Kansas and Missouri, so I know what heat and humidity feel like.

I was in Phoenix, Arizona when the temperature hit 122F/50C.   That's just too blasted hot, even if it is a dry heat.

It's been warm in Colorado; in the 90s with a bit of humidity.  At this altitude the sun is strong and can cause a sunburn in a matter of minutes.

Sometimes we have to seek a shady spot wherever we can find it.

 Donkeys chillin' in Alamosa, Colorado

Monday, July 18, 2011

Misty's Monday Muse - Two More Weeks

Two more weeks.  I have two more weeks of vacation healing time before I have to go back to training school.

I went to the horse doc today to get my stitches out and my teeth floated and the hard-as-rock packing removed from my recently vacated socket.  The horse doc said I have some beautiful granulated tissue in my socket, but it needs more time to fill all the way in.  The horse doc doesn't want me going back to training until I'm completely healed.  Good call Doc.  I have plans to fill the next two weeks with lots of eating, pooping, and napping.    My three favorite activities, in that order.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

If you like horses, you probably like dogs, then this book is a must-read.  I enjoy most books I read, some very much.  Occasionally one will strike me as exceptional and this was one of them.  You'll want to hug your dogs after reading this; maybe ask them for some advice too.

The Art of Racing in the RainThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an imaginative and endearing story; cleverly narrated by a dog named Enzo, a terrier/lab mix. Enzo shares intelligent and humorous anthropomorphic observations on life; meeting adversity with hope and courage. I got a kick out of his optimism and desire for opposable thumbs and human speech. For me, it wasn't a gripping page-turner, but a very charming, sweet-read that I wanted to savor. I downloaded the eBook from the library. One third of the way through I decided to purchase a copy because it is a keeper.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Home Sweet Cubicle

It's been two weeks since Misty's dental surgery and she is doing well.  Her stitches should come out today, but par for the course, we have to wait until Monday; my vet is on vacation.  Oh well, veterinarians need vacations too.

I took several days off work and then telecommuted for a week so I could take care of Misty at home.   Alas, I couldn't stay away from the office forever, so I returned this week.

I've mentioned before that finding Work-Life-Horse Balance is challenging.  My job can be very stressful and demanding.   So last month I decided to personalize my office cubicle with happy things that motivate me to keep my butt in the chair and my nose to the grindstone.

I decorated my cubicle corner - the one I spend hours and hours facing - with happy horsey wall art, turning it from a drab space into a charming nook in which to rest my eyes and unwind when I need a brain break.

The small stuffed horse underneath my monitor is actually a screen cleaner.  It's tummy is made of soft microfiber cloth.

I love the picture in the center because it reminds me of Misty, with her big head and drafty hooves.

The artist titled it: "Reclining Nude"

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's off to work I go.  

(It's Wednesday!  Just two more days until the weekend.)

Quote:  "Corporations no longer try to fit square pegs into round holes; they just fit them into square cubicles."   Robert Brault

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Success At Last

Misty's dental procedure went very well and that tooth is outta there!  Finally!

They let me take a couple of pictures during the procedure, but asked that I not post them online.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe because someone might think it looks like abuse rather than a veterinary procedure.  It did look rather Frankenstein-ish, but was fascinating to watch.  I think it is safe to share one of Misty's xrays. After all, I paid for them and they are not as disturbing as seeing a metal pin sticking into her sweet face.

First the dentist inserted a needle into Misty's jaw, above her bad tooth (#207), and took an x-ray to check the alignment.  Next she inserted a Steinmann pin, following the same path as the needle.  Another x-ray was taken and the pin realigned slightly, and another x-ray to confirm the desired positioning. I don't have a copy of the final confirmation x-ray.  After this shot the dentist chose to reposition the pin forward by about 2mm.  Since the tooth was rotten, the dentist was being very careful to aim the pin at the strongest part of the root to lessen the chance of the pin passing through the diseased tooth.

Then the dentist began tapping the pin with a metal surgical mallet, while her tech kept a hand in Misty's mouth, feeling for the vibration on the bad tooth.  It looked like the pin kept sinking deeper and deeper into Misty's jaw, when the tech finally said she was feeling the tooth move slightly.  The dentist switched places and felt the tooth.  The tech continued the tap...tap...tapping...and finally the tooth, root and all, dropped right into the dentist's fingers and everyone rejoiced.  Vets and their techs get really happy when procedures like this go as planned.  My local vet and her tech were there too.  Everyone got a learning experience feeling inside Misty's mouth, including me.  I've never had my hand inside Misty's mouth before.  It was amazing to feel her big teeth and the sharp point of the Steinmann pin still inserted through Misty's jaw and protruding into the huge gap where the rotten tooth had been.

The procedure took about 3 hours.  Misty was discharged a couple of hours later and spent the night at home in her pressure bandage.  I fed her soaked Timothy grass pellets when we got home.  She was very hungry and that bandage didn't slow her down one bit.

The next morning I removed her bandage.   She'll get her little pink stitches out around July 13th.  Until then I will be giving her oral antibiotics through a syringe and flushing her mouth twice a day with diluted Nolvasan.  Surprisingly, she likes the Nolvasan flush.  I don't even have to halter her for it.  She readily opens her mouth and lets me flush it 4 or 5 times with a syringe.  When she realizes I'm done, she tries to grab my container while I'm putting the cap back on.  Silly mare.

Misty is doing well and happy to return to napping with her good buddy SaraJane.  Goodness gracious those two princesses like to nap.  Must be nice.  I think we humans should follow their lead and take more naps.

Here is the official treatment report:

Misty was sedated with Dormosedan and Torbugesic, given anit-inflammatory (Banamine), and a maxillary nerve block was performed. Oral extraction not possible with missing crown. A Steinmann pin repulsion was performed successfully with radiographic guidance. The Steinmann pin tract was flushed with saline/dilute Betadine solution. The socket was packed with Metronidazole and Technovite packing. might be curious what something like this costs.  Me too!  I haven't received the final invoice yet, but the office told me it looked like it would be about $800.00.

Click HERE to see another Steinmann pin repulsion that is documented online by
The Academy of Equine Dentistry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Hello Everyone.  I'm sitting in the waiting room at the equine clinic where Misty will have her tooth repulsion done soon.  Just waiting for my local vet to arrive and for the dentist to finish up an extraction.

It's nice that they have an Internet station in the waiting room.

We were warmly greeted and Misty was shown to a holding pen and promptly served some grass hay to munch on.  She's a happy girl.  Ignorance is bliss.

There is a 1 in 5 chance Misty may have to stay the night, but most horses go home the same day.  I'll post the results of her procedure when I can.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Still Alive and Holding

Despite how this picture may look, Misty is still very much alive and doing (relatively) well.

She's just a very sound sleeper.

We are still in a holding pattern, waiting to resolve this dental issue once and for all.   Misty's tooth repulsion surgery is scheduled for next week.  This whole ordeal has been an exercise in patience

" God grant me patience...NOW! "

Misty has displayed more aplomb than me through this prolonged trial.  She takes it all in stride, enjoying long naps in the poo ditch where the ground is soft and warm.

Trusty sidekick, SaraJane, is quick to follow Misty's lead.

Misty is a very stoic mare, but this week I will begin adding a digestive supplement to her feed.  She has never shown any signs of ulcers, but since this could be a stressful procedure and recovery period, I've decided to add Progressive Nutrition's Soothing Pink to her feed for 30 days.  And I'll be stocking up on equine senior and timothy pellets to soak for the soft diet she will have to be on for a time.  Hopefully by the end of next week, we'll be past the waiting stage and into recovery.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Next Step - Drill and Punch

My vet was unable to extract the rest of Misty's tooth on Wednesday, even with a variety of interesting dental tools graciously loaned from an equine dentist with whom she has been consulting.  The root is holding strong, but the tooth is riddled with micro-fractures and my vet cannot get a grip without causing the tooth to break into tiny pieces. 

The next step is to take Misty to the equine hospital near Denver and the dentist there will drill into Misty's jaw and punch the tooth out.  I'm just sick about it, but it appears to be the only option now. The tooth has to come out or it will be a chronic problem.

I'm worried and dread the idea of a hole drilled into Misty's jaw.  I don't know what to expect yet with aftercare and healing.  This will be another learning experience.  I just want to get it over with so Misty can heal and get back to normal.   My vet is arranging the appointment so she can be there too.  I hope we can get it done next week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hump Day Humor - CNN Reports on Horse Herpes

While horse owners and event sponsors are taking the recent EHV-1 outbreak very seriously, you just know that when the non-horse public hears the words "Horse Herpes", there is bound to be some giggling.

Click on the picture to watch CNN's Jeanne Moos share her report in a way that only Jeanne Moos can.

*Hump Day: Wednesday; the middle of the work week; we've climbed the proverbial mountain and now it is downhill to the weekend.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be...

...another day, another vet visit.

Four of my six critters are having health problems.   I've lost track of how many times I've been to a vet clinic in the last several months.  I am hemorrhaging money at frequenting three separate clinics these for the birds, one for the dogs, and one for Misty.

These little gals have been with me for 17 years.  Tessa is an 18 year old African Grey parrot and Newport is a 17 year old Maximilian Pionus parrot.  I take my parrots to the vet for regular check-ups, with blood work, because it is very difficult to detect illness in a bird and I like to catch any health issues early.  We usually receive a good report or have something minor to fix.   Newport had high cholesterol a couple years ago. This was unusual and we attributed it to too many peanuts.  So we cut peanuts out of Newport's diet completely, much to her dismay.  (Newport is a glutton.)  But this year's check-up showed her cholesterol is still very high and her blood is thick and milky.  Tessa, who was "healthy as a horse" (the vet's words) last year,  has developed a problem too. They both have poor liver function and Newport's pancreas is hardly working at all.   After three  visits with an avian vet, we know that Tessa is responding to medication but Newport is not.  There is not much else to do but keep giving Newport her medication and wait.  On the outside she appears to be happy and healthy, but I am braced to find her dead on the bottom of her cage one of these days.  But maybe she'll surprise us and live on for several more years.  It's hard to tell with birds. 

Sadie is a Dalmatian/Australian Shepherd mix, about 13 years old. She has been my constant canine companion for 12 years now.  Her last check-up revealed poor liver function also.  (Maybe I should have our water tested. It seems odd to have 3 critters with liver problems.)  She has been on medication with milk thistle for about a month.

Just a little warning...the picture coming up is not pretty.

We took both of our dogs to the groomer about 11 days ago.  They came home with that freshly shampooed smell; they looked pretty and felt soft & clean.  All was well.

Last Sunday evening I was petting Sadie when I felt some scabby, crusty bumps on her back.  As I checked more closely, her hair started coming off in patches.  "Oh no. What now?" I thought.  Monday was a holiday.  So today, Tuesday, I got her into the vet as soon as they could fit us in.  The poor girl has a raging Staph infection.

2nd warning: here comes the picture...

Fortunately Sadie doesn't appear to be in any discomfort.  She's not scratching or licking the infected area.  I never would have suspected a problem if I hadn't felt it when I was petting her.   She received a steroid injection and is on oral antibiotics for 10 days.  Twice a day I am to wipe her skin with a warm, moist washcloth and apply antibiotic ointment.  We expect her to heal quickly.  She's being a good sport about it.

And then there is Misty and the ongoing saga of the bad tooth.  I will drop her off at the Equine clinic again tomorrow morning and hopefully they can get that ornery tooth out once and for all.   I'm hoping for a positive outcome  (as in...that tooth positively must come out).

In the meantime, while I wait for Misty to heal from these extractions (3 of them to get the whole tooth out), I've scheduled some riding lessons on a school horse with Misty's new trainer.  That way she can get to know me and what I need to work on.  Then when Misty goes back into training, she will know how to work with both of us together.

I hope you and your critters are all in good health.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Even EHV-1 Has a Facebook Page

I recently stumbled upon a Facebook page for EHV-1 at this link.

I asked myself, "Am I the only person in the world who has not joined Facebook? For heaven's sake, even a virus has its own Facebook page. Am I not better than a virus? Shouldn't I have a Facebook page?"

I know I'm not the only living Facebook holdout but our numbers are declining.

I have nothing against Facebook, but I hesitate to join for these reasons:
  1. My free time is severely limited. Will I have time for Facebook?
  2. It really annoys me when I'm buried in work at the office and I see co-workers around me killing time on Facebook.
  3. It bugs me that Facebook insists that members sign up with their real name, threatening expulsion from the community if they choose a pseudonym. (I started to join, but changed my mind when I read this rule.)
Perhaps I should give Facebook a try.  I don't know. I keep getting invitations to join and I feel bad that I'm ignoring them. I'm receiving more and more invitations from equestrian friends and horse professionals. Will I miss out on some good information if I don't join? It's not that I don't want to be "friendly", I'm just not sure I want to give up my privacy and give into the Facebook frenzy.

I wonder how long I can hold out. If I join, will I forever be stuck in Facebook's database, even if I delete my profile? Will it consume my life? How long can I remain "friendless"? I just read this article:

You Have No Friends - Everyone else is on Facebook. Why aren't you?

A few months ago, I said I would never want an eReader such as a Nook or a Kindle. I would miss the feel of holding a real book in my hands and turning the pages with my fingers. Reading a book electronically just didn't seem right. But I decided to consider it.  Now I own a Nook Color and I'm hooked on eReading.  I like to read and now easily carry umpteen books with me in my purse and read just about anywhere, even in the dark.

I can be assimilated.
I hear of horses who have their own Horsebook on Facebook. But I can't see any of them because I'm not a member. 
Does your horse have a Horsebook page on Facebook?
Do you find Facebook to be a benefit or a burden?
Hmmm? I'll have to think about it some more.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

As Lady Macbeth Might Say

Out, damned tooth! out, I say!

Misty spent three days and two nights at the vet clinic last week while they worked on extracting her bad tooth.  

Day 1:  They patiently wiggled the tooth to loosen it.  We're dealing with tooth number 207 on the chart below. (the 2nd upper left premolar)

Day 2:  They spent almost five hours extracting the tooth but could not get all of it out.  It fractured more and they had to remove it in pieces.  Fracturing has been our problem since this ordeal began. The vet has several molar extractors that have worked well for 10 years on all dental cases.  But now they cannot get a good grip on the remaining tooth with their extractors.  They need to acquire some more specialized dental tools; extractors with multiple prongs on the end, I think.

Day 3:  They observed Misty to make sure she was comfortable and eating normally.  The decision was made to send her home for a break.  Misty will return later this week.  About 1/3rd of the tooth remains; hopefully they'll get the rest out without another overnight stay.  Worse case is they'll have to drill into her jaw and punch the tooth out.  I hope it doesn't come to that.

While Misty is home, I am flushing the left side of her mouth twice a day with Chlorhexidine solution mixed in water.  Coincidentally, my own dental hygienist has me using a Chlorhexidine rinse to treat periodontal disease.  So I'm very sincere when I commiserate with Misty on the bad taste.

The good news is we're seeing progress.  Misty is eating well and appears to be in no discomfort.  There is slight inflammation on her cheek from the diseased socket, but she is no longer pocketing a wad of hay the size of my fist in there.

The vet commented on how good-natured and easy Misty has been to work with.  Good behavior deserves a discounted vet bill, don't you think?  A horse owner can hope. 

Modified Triadan from Wikipedia

Misty is an 8 year old Percheron. Her xray is in this post.