Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mystery Solved?

Thank you all for your comments and concern about Paj's ulcers.  I really appreciate it.  Paj is feeling much better already, now that he's on his $$$$$$$ ulcer medicine.  Flartus and Dreaming both asked what causes ulcers in horses, and now that we're out of crisis mode, I'm giving that a lot of thought.  The usual answer is stress.  Although Paj is a worrier, he has a pretty low-key life, so I'm not convinced that's it.  I started thinking about what's changed, and I think that Flartus got it right.  She asked if it could be his allergies, and I think that indirectly, yes.  I think the cause is his little blue allergy pills, dexamethasone.  I'm consulting with Dr. Gary on Monday, and it's bad to jump to conclusions, and my Dad used to tell me "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"  and blah blah blah, but when I searched on "dexamethasone ulcers" up popped a bunch of articles like this -

Why now?  Because I've had to use his little blue pills.  You might remember that we inadvertently got a load of brome hay under the cloak of darkness, instead of the timothy we ordered.  Paj is allergic to brome.  And even though we didn't feed Paj the brome, and even though we don't store hay in the barn, there were enough seed heads floating around to block his tear duct several times.  I had to flush his tear ducts, and I had to give him the dexamethasone to prevent it.  The brome is gone now.  Like I said, I need Dr. Gary's expert opinion, but my money's on the dexamethasone as the cause of the ulcers in my delicate tropical flower.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Paj has Ulcers

It's been a stressful week.  Paj, who normally is the first to finish his food, became the last.  And then he wasn't even finishing.  My poor long-suffering vet came out twice, once on his day off.  He recommended we put Paj in the clinic for a day or two for observation and tests.  Yesterday they "scoped" him.  With a fiberoptic endoscope, they were able to see ulcers where the esophagus meets the stomach.  Poor baby!  The good news is that it's easily treated with medication.  Paj is home and doing pretty well, although a bit tired and subdued.  I'm a bit tired and subdued too.  We love our horses and want them to thrive.  Or to quote Spock again, we want them to live long and prosper.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jan's Lesson

I'm a little behind;  this is from Friday.  Jan and I lunged each other on Lakota, no stirrups, no reins.  Then after we were exhausted from that, Jan had a lesson on Elvis.  We really like her instructor Shannon. 
Shannon's a very positive, upbeat person.  Her horse, Viva Las Vegas, has the same sire as Jan's horse Elvis. 

Here are couple of clips from Jan's lesson.  The first one is shoulder-in.  It's 22 seconds long for folks who just want a glimpse at horse and rider.

The second clip is longer for us hard-core horse folks.  It's leg yield, 10m circle, shoulder-in, haunches-in, half-pass.  Jan and Elvis make it look easy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Award (ss)

Hey, I got an award!!!  It's my first award, and I got it three times in one day!  Thank you, friend Becca at  Becca's blog is all about her pretty paint mare Lilly and her quarter horse gelding AJ.  Becca is the best owner in the world, unless you count me.  Then it's a tie.  Thank you, "A Horse and a Half" at  This blog chronicles another great owner, doing her best for her retired OTTB while pursuing other riding options.  The passion to ride is strong, even when circumstances are less than ideal.  And thank you Mare at  This is a really fun blog written by a teenage girl, in love with her pretty pinto mare Missy.  Mare works at a stable, just like I did for my first horse.  It will be fun following their adventures.

So the rules for this award are:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

I could list seven horsey things about myself, but I'll try to restrain myself!
1.  I lived on Kwajalein Marshall Islands for 5 years.
2.  I'm a really good swimmer (see 1.)
3.  I miss my mother every day.  She passed away in 2004 after a long illness, but I acutely miss her.
4.  I just can't eat a land animal, but I have no problem eating fish.  This makes no sense, even to me.
5.  A little bit of my career involved helicopter work.  I really liked buzzing around in a little bubble-front helicopter.
6.  I married my high school sweetheart (quite a while after high school!).  We started our life together with an old VW bug, a dog, a bike, a foot locker mostly full of books, a little bit of camping equipment, and nothing else.  I wouldn't change that time for anything.
7.  I've driven racing Standardbreds, both trotters and pacers.  Oops!  I'm back to horses again.

So now for 15 great blogs.  Well, they are all great blogs, or we wouldn't be reading them, would we???  I'm listing the blogs on my sidebar, minus the ones that have this award, and minus the ones that it would be a burden to.  I need to update my sidebar and add more favorites.  So in most-recently-posted order, we have -

Friday, January 14, 2011


There are lots of blogs with great photographs.  Mine isn't one of them.  Some of the blog photographers I admire are Jim at Ocean Breezes (fantastic photos of the ocean, plants, etc.), Ron at From Sophie's View (beautiful photos of the charming Labradoddle as she explores the ocean, etc.) and Kacey at All Horse Stuff.  Kacey's photographs invite you along on her ride with Washashe Mare.  Even if you aren't a horse person (gasp!) you will be drawn into her world as she explores the Oregon trails. 

I want to be a better photographer.  Today I tried to copy Kacey's masterful between-the-ears shot while Jan and I rode.  Just go to Kacey's blog and look at my inspiration. 
Alas, here's what I got -
What I like about it is the subject.
It's two old friends on two nice horses.
Jan and Elvis look lovely.
What I don't like is that you can barely see them,
and Lakota has his ears back.

The rider in me
catches my reflection as I take the picture, and I think
why am I sitting totally crooked on Lakota,
listing to the right?

What I like about this photo is
the smile on Jan's face
and Elvis' relaxation on a loose rein
after a job well done.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Drive Before the Storm

Yesterday was in the 50s, but a glance at the sky made it clear that change was on the way.
Bob and Boomer drove Jan and I down to neighbor Chuck's.  I wanted to check out the new pasture  Chuck's fencing in for his stud colt.  (You can still be a nosy neighbor even if your neighbors are a mile down the road!)  It's looking good.

Here's Boomer turning into our driveway on the way home.  That horse can turn on a dime.  Left to right, it's Jan, Bob and me in the two-person cart.  It's not crowded when you're having fun.

Ah, but that was yesterday.  Today it's 18F and snowing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Barn Roof is Done!

After 6 months and 2 days, the barn roof is finally done.  You may recall that we had a ferocious hailstorm on the 4th of July.
We had damage to all roofs, including the horse trailer.  The house roof was repaired in a day and a half.  The barn roof made me crazy.  There was a problem ordering materials and a problem scheduling.  Finally we got a date, and we moved the horses to neighbor Chuck's for what was supposed to be a day or two.  Thank goodness the horses were happy there, and Chuck was happy to have them, because we were there for 8 days.  And the roof wasn't done.  The bottom 3 panels had been bent on delivery.  Meanwhile, winter was upon us.  The replacement panels came in and we had a date for completion last week, but alas, it was a windy day.  Then today we got a break.  It's sunny, in the 50s, and there's no wind.
It took 2 1/2 hours to complete the job after waiting for months.  I am so glad that the roof is finally done, complete with replaced insulation.  What an ordeal.  If you ever need a roof, don't use AJ Roofing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's Up with that Mask?

Lots of people have asked why Paj wears a fly mask in winter.
Oddly enough, it's because he has allergies, lots and lots of allergies.
What does this have to do with a fly mask?  His allergies are airborne.  When he comes in contact with an allergen, his eyes swell shut and we have to flush his tear duct with a solution of Carbocaine and saline.  About half an inch of a catheter goes in a tiny hole in his nostril.  Keeping some pressure on the nostril, you depress the syringe, and the solution goes up his tear duct (the entire length of his nose) and out the corner of his eye.  If you don't keep pressure on the nostril, the solution just flows out his nostril and down your arm. 
Why do his tear ducts clog?  Because he over-produces gunk as a response to the allergen.  How does the fly mask help? It helps to keep wind-borne allergens out of his eyes.  And since his eyes itch and he wants to rub them into the ground when he rolls, it helps to keep dirt out of his eyes.  I hate allergies. 

We try to prevent reactions by keeping him on monthly allergy shots.
 When it's clear something is irritating him, he gets a dose of Dexamethasone.  When the wind comes whistling cross the plains, we put a prescription ointment in his eyes.  If it's really crazy, he stays in.  We also keep the barn really clean, only sweeping when he's turned out.  And of course we feed a hay that he's not allergic to.

When we were at a big boarding stable and couldn't control his environment at all, Dr. Gary was coming out about every 10 days to flush his eyes.  When we moved him to our own place, we went from August 2009 to December 2010 without a blocked tear duct.  Yay!  But then in December, we inadvertently got some brome hay, and he had several reactions before we got it sorted out.  Thus the post.  Poor baby!
This face is too pretty to cover up all the time!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Ghost of Resolutions Past

Happy New Year 2011 Pictures, Images and Photos

I have to make a dreaded New Year's resolution.  I haven't had to make this resolution in many years, but I hereby resolve to lose weight.  Apparently, if you take a few months off from doing physical labor and lay around eating bon-bons instead, you gain weight!  Who knew?  Oh, and evidently eating massive quantities of holiday goodies is bad too.

The end of 2010 was bitterly cold, but the horses handled it very well.  They were stall bound and bored, so we fed extra hay throughout the day.  Santa left quite a few treats that we doled out too.   It's -8F this morning with the wind chill at -15, but it's supposed to get up to 25, so there will be turnout this afternoon.  Hopefully nobody will be too silly, Paj.

I want to congratulate my friends Suzanne and Jan on their Rocky Mountain Dressage Society year-end awards.  Suzanne's horse I'm Phamous was the highest scoring Arabian in 2010.  This is a remarkable achievement.  Phamous is a very young 19 years old, and he was ridden by a 14 year old girl in her first year of showing.  What a good boy!
That's Phamous with his year-end ribbon.  He won a huge perpetual trophy too.  What a cutie!

Jan's horse Elvis won the year-end Futurity award.

Well done, Phamous and Elvis!  Here's to 2011!

And here's to a happy 2011 for all!