Sunday, June 28, 2009

John's First Communion Dress

Well it looked something like that when I first put it on him. It was a shiny very pale blue, and had a rather skirt-like rear end so as to cover his haunches well.

When I saw him Friday, he had managed to get some mossy vegetation stuck into his eye under the fly mask. The mask had prevented him from rubbing it out, so there it sat and there were little tracks of tears down his cheek under that eye.

So goodbye mask, at least for the time being. Plan B is the fly sheet, viewed above in its pristine state. I'll post the "after" photo later, when it is stained, torn, rubbed into snags, and otherwise broken in.

More proof that horse ownership is a bottomless pit of expenditure, at least if you are a worrywart like me...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What goes on in the minds of dogs?

Dogs amaze me with their constant happiness; life is one big festival for a dog. They eat pretty much the same thing every day, but every meal is a party! "Kibble again!!" Their daily walk is a source of so much jubilation they can barely contain themselves. My younger dog Rufus actually squeaks with excitement for the first few blocks; his joy cannot be contained.

When I leave the house to water the flowers or something, here is what I see upon my return:

Two earnest little faces awaiting me, and then the dancing doth commence! She's back! it doesn't matter how many times a day this happens; it's always cause for celebration.

Why can't we humans be more like dogs??! If we would jump up and greet our loved ones with ecstatic dancing every time they came in the house, or if we would celebrate each meal with outbursts of uncontrollable happiness, or take our walks in a cloud of happy squeaking, we'd be better off I think.

Where is the bottomless well from which dogs draw their love and joy? We need some of that miracle.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"No Flies On Me!" - Summer = Horseflies

Fly season is here, and John's new fly mask is the stylin' kind with eyeballs and spectacles painted on. I think it captures his personality pretty well, with that amused expression and raised eyebrow implying, "Oh, reaaalllly?"

Everyone handles horse fly season differently and according to their principles: some people buy the strongest chemical concoction available, and drench their equines all summer long. This requires careful thinking about risk. If a fly spray comes with instructions "Do Not Allow Contact With Skin", there's a fair likelihood it poses some danger to the horse as well.

Some people purchase fly sheets, which are great at preventing bites but do add a heat factor for the horse.

Still others make their own "natural" fly sprays, and that's the route I'm taking this summer. Here's the recipe I was given by the barn owner:

3 cups apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil

1/3 cup Dawn dish soap

The Avon product has a fragrance that really bothers me though; I know some people love it but to me it is rank. The Dawn ('original fragrance') also is quite strong, and adding vinegar to these gives you quite the head-rush. It also produces a sticky horse, so that dust adheres to the coat. It's not a perfect solution, but it does seem to keep flies at bay pretty well. And not too expensive!

Happy Father's Day to everyone! Take a minute to thank a dad, your own or someone else's, for taking on a tough job with a very confusing and contradictory job description!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"These are the Voyages...": MRI Fun

I had my very first MRI today, on the hapless knee that is giving me so much grief. It was so Star Trek! Here's exactly what the machine looked like though this is not a picture I took myself.

If you have had MRI's you know what I mean but the sounds that machine made!! It was almost comical. If Buck Rogers needed a machine to sound 'outer space like' this one would fill the bill.

I parked far away from the facility because I located a free spot, and then hobbled all the way to the door whereupon I spied about 56 empty parking spots labeled "MRI PATIENTS". Well I needed the fresh air oh dee doh doh.

As soon as I was parked in the space capsule and the young lady told me not to move, I had a huge desire to twitch my toes, sneeze, yawn, shift around, stretch, wave my feet in the air, and otherwise perversely agitate my limbs. I had to meditate on a little spot I saw above my face, which when my eyes focused properly was a tiny sign reading:


It took 25 minutes for this high-tech process to run its beeping blanging buzzing course. The patient after me was a disoriented man in a wheelchair who thought the nurses had stolen his clothes; they were all quietly upset and at great pains to explain to him that no, his clothes were safe; 'Well then where are they?', he demanded. "They're in the locker". "Show me my pants!!" he demanded. I felt bad for all of them but I beat a hasty retreat.

My MRI novice run was preceded by a delightful lunch with a work colleague, at which so much skinny was dished that I can hardly remember it all...but it revolved around my college, the dean whereunto pertaining has resigned after creating some chaos, and which dean's secretary has posted this sign on the dean's door:

The flashed out part says "transition", and as a whole the sign pretty much says it all.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Golden Days of June on the Trail...OUCH!!!!

Yesterday was such a day: golden sunshine, 70's and a light breeze, there is nothing to do on a day like this but Ride Your Horse. I barreled through the morning chores and online course work, threw two giant carrots in my bag and hurried out to find John sound asleep on his side in the green pasture, watched over by his friend Firzy, who did not budge from his protective position nor cease giving me the hairy eyeball until John got up and moseyed over to me. Firzy is a great nap guardian. I hope John returns the favor although I haven't seen it yet.

The barn owner was having a yard sale and I even managed not to stop and buy the beautiful red and black wool saddle blanket that snagged my eye...the way our weather has been this summer, you just have to get out there as fast as possible, before the temperature drops 30 degrees, the wind becomes a gale, hail starts to form and 7 devils from Hell begin to chase you.

So I mounted up and...pop went my left knee. AAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

The pain was incredible. I couldn't move my foot - no stirrup on that side; I couldn't do anything but sit there with my eyes bugging out and try not to curse, though there was no one around to hear but John and I think he enjoys that sort of language...Anyway,

When John's rider goes AWOL he just goes on autopilot so we walked in drunken sailor circles for awhile until the feeling returned to my lower leg. I have no idea what happened in that knee but it was something bad. It had been wonky since I hurt it jumping out of the truck bed a month ago, but I thought it was getting right again on its own. Hmm.

The ride went on as planned and it wasn't too bad; every now & then I took my foot out of the stirrup and stretched the leg out; it was mobile up to a certain point and then just LOCK. But we rode for about 2 hours and I let John stop at his snack bar for a few mouthfuls of yummy clover stalks:

Then it was time to dismount. I gave this some thought, and we stopped in a spot where he would be lower than the ground where I'd be stepping. However, I can tell you that there are No Words for the pain that dismount caused. I just stood there gasping. Fortunately John also just stood there, puzzled but interested. "NOW what is the matter with her??"

We made our hobbly way to the cross ties, and then out to the pasture, and I felt about 240 years old. If I have permanently buggered up my knee I will be so sad. I did make an appointment at the clinic for Monday afternoon so am just literally taking baby steps this weekend. If I sit in one place for any length of time, hoochy mama! Ibuprofen doesn't seem to make a dent but I'm taking it anyway for the anti-inflammatory.

I went online to study the anatomy of the knee: complicated little machines, these joints!!

In this knee image from, functions for the different ligaments are described and I'm thinking posterior cruciate ligament might be the culprit, because my leg wants to bend backwards too far and feels a little like a marionette with one string cut.

So everyone take care of your knees!! :(

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Competitive Dog-Sleeping: New Sport around the House

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but Gabey and Rufus are slammed up against my thigh each one trying to be the closer dog.

The pink floral thing is my bathrobe; my laptop is in danger of having dog ears on the keyboard.

I'd be flattered except that I think this is not about me, but about them: a little game of one-upmanship that they play in their gentle way (these are lovers not fighters). If Rufus (the blacker dog) shifts an inch, Gabey steals that inch and shoves himself into it.

In these photos Gabe is actually on top of Rufus's body, but Rufe has refused to shift out of the way. It's a standoff this morning, but they live to compete another day...

And in another way...