Monday, December 31, 2007

Another X-ray

The close of 2007 brings an end to Maddy's stall rest....or so I thought:-) Today I had the vet out to take an x-ray and see where we are at. The picture is Maddy a little drowsy from the sedative, but still looking for food. I used a different vet, because Mark Revenaugh doesn't go mobile and I didn't want to bother my friends with trailers to help get her over there again. Barb Crabbe is the vet for the barn and had gone over Maddy's films last week. She did the x-ray and it looks great. There is a slight shade of black at the very edge, which she says could be fiberous tissue that will always look that way, or it is still the fracture healing. To be on the safe side, I am supposed to go two more months on stall rest, but I can start walking her in the arena and start getting her mind active again. I am thrilled. I know it isn't perfect, but I saw a HUGE change in the fracture and it looks great. I have things I have been neglecting to do with her while on she has been on rest, so now I will get back to work. I had focused a lot of energy on riding and working with Queenie, the draft-cross. I really need to find a balance between the two. In a perfect world, I wanted a complete heal and the green light to start up again, but this is the next best thing. It really is a great way to bring in the New Year. I am full of hope and am optimistic about where we will be in 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tough Christmas

My uncle passed away from Leukemia right before Christmas and one of my best friends lost her baby 4 weeks before her due date. It has been hard watching people you love suffer so much. I spent the last couple weeks with family in Minnesota celebrating the holidays and grieving at the same time. I find in sadness, the warmth of a horse brings solace and peace. I spent a lot of time out at the barn helping with chores, taking pictures, and getting to know the various personalities that inhabit the stalls. I love the little pony, "Rocket Man" pictured here on the verge of getting up from his winters nap. The clown is a small Quarter Horse named "Jessie" pictured above in his blue blanket. He contorts his neck and flutters his eyes when you scratch him in just the right spot. I had a hard time taking photos because he followed me everywhere and wanted more scratches. Sully and Baby Doll were two mares I really enjoyed. They are colorful girls ridden by my cousin in local 4-H shows. Baby Doll sheds out into a beautiful blue roan in the summer. Finally there is "Bugs" the big grey that my dad thinks I should bring to Oregon. He is 6 years old and still races down at Canterbury Park. His heart has never been in it, I think he would do better with dressage. If I could afford it, I would bring him out. He is a very sweet boy pictured here with Raffian, another race horse. This post is dedicated to little Alliah who passed away before we got a chance to hold her and my uncle Joe, a hard working farmer, who was happiest driving a tractor, holding his grandkids, and watching Nascar. Miss you.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vernonia Flood

Oregon is just starting to dry out. We had severe flooding and high winds over the past couple of days. I-5 shut down, the worlds largest Sitka Spruce toppled, and the town of Vernonia became an island. Working in news means any weather event equals all hands on deck. I worked lots of overtime, got really muddy, and saw how mother nature can wreak havoc on the lives of so many. The weather forecaster's predicted the storm, but no one was ready for the amount of rain and the flooding that followed. There was simply no time to evacuate. Many lost everything in their homes as well as some livestock, including horses. Fortunately for me, I didn't see any dead horses because I was based in downtown. It would have broke my heart, but another photographer shot this video of a couple horses standing knee deep in water, looking pretty exhausted. Which brings me to a topic I have wanted to talk about for awhile...sleep deprivation in horses. It is a myth that horses can get all the sleep they need standing up. Not true. Horses need 30 to 60 minutes of paradoxical sleep a day, which means muscles of the body are completely relaxed and they are lying down. They can go a few days without paradoxical sleep and then you will see "sleep attacks" where they just catch themselves awake or collapse. Be aware of sleep deprivation when you are at shows, or traveling or keeping your horse in a stall without turnout. Sometimes a horse may feel the stall is too small to lay down in and will end up sleep deprived. I leased a horse that was kept in a stall and she collasped three times within six months with me on her back. I thought she had narcolepsy, but came to realize she was sleep deprived. The Vernonia horses look so tired and I am hoping things dry out for them soon so they can get some well deserved shut eye.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Explaining a picture

I think this time of year, many of us reflect upon our lives, and I have been reflecting on Maddy. My ID photo that I use for blogging is not the most flattering photo of me and it certainly is not the best picture of Maddy. But it marks the exact moment in time that I realized, "this is my horse." I had driven about 6 hours down to Yreka, California to see her. The owner tacked her all up and said, "lets hit the trails." I had been horse shopping for a year and my routine had been showing up, having the owner do ground work, then ride, then if I thought the horse was a good prospect, I would ride. I would video tape the whole thing and then bring it back to my trainer and we would sit down and watch, waiting for the thumbs up or thumbs down. When I showed up in Yreka, the thought of just riding seemed so refreshing. I hopped on and we headed out for almost 3 hours. Beautiful scenery and Maddy was so happy to be out. As we went along, I could also feel my heart swell. This was a great horse, this was the one I had been looking for. The owner took this photo with Mt Shasta in the background. I was so happy. It has been a rough road since that day. Lots of struggles with training and learning to deal with her fears and lack of confidence. Then the fractured coffin bone. I have 14 days left of stall rest and we begin our work again. My goal in 2008 is to feel the way I felt in this picture. I was on top of the world and I am hoping I can find my way back up there again.