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Rosie & Blue on one of the warmer days without blankets
It’s February 1stand there’s not a whole lot happening at the farm with the horses.  They continue to have lots of warm mashes because of the cold weather we’ve been having and basically hanging around the hay baskets chowing down all day. We haven't been riding or working them at all, it's just too cold.  The indoor feels like walking into a meat locker!

"Ginger" in her favorite spot at the end of the day

Ginger had four seizures within 24 hours at the end of January.  She seems to have them every 28-30 days.  Her vet suggested I take her to a neurologist. Yes, there are actually doggie neurologists. I was surprised too. After her evaluation he prescribed an additional medication. So it will be wait and see how she does this month.  Fingers crossed she won’t have any more.
"Big Red" staring me down through the window

His friends watching the show. Don't let the blue sky fool you, it's -2.

I don’t know if you remember back to December but the cardinal that has been tapping my windows is still here.  He’s actually tapping the window now and it’s very annoying.  Seems every time I turn my chair back to the desk he flies into the window and gives it a tap with his beak.  There is plenty of food outside and he knows where it is.  I don’t know if he wants to come in or what his agenda is.  He’s even brought some friends with him on occasion. Or maybe they’re just watching the show he puts on or are waiting for someone to come with a net. Personally, I think he might be a little bit “special”.

Our weather has been beyond ridiculous.  Temperatures below freezing, an ice storm, swirling snow squalls with very windy conditions and a few inches of snow once in a while.  I feel sorry for the folks in the parts of the country that are experiencing dangerously cold temperatures.  We have family and friends in Chicago and they say it is brutal. 

Got this in an email today...A sign from God?

Stay safe and warm. 

Quote for Today
 "The problem with winter sports is that--follow me closely here--they generally take place in winter."
--Dave Barry
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/winter
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/winter

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/winter
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When the sun shines the trees look like they're covered in sparking crystals,very pretty ,if you like that sort of thing...
The last few days have really been cold and miserable.  We’ve had a little snow, which is fine because that’s just the way it goes in January.  The part I don’t like is the wind and the ice storm that we were graced with a few days ago and the below zero temperatures. 

Yesterday we thought it would be nice for the horses to go out a little later than usual because it was -5 and windy.  Did they appreciate the thought? Apparently not, getting to the barn at 8 instead of 6:30 they were slightly annoyed to say the least. Blue and Grady had grabbed everything on their doors, halters, lead ropes etc. and threw them in the aisle to show their displeasure.  The service from their humans left a much to be desired. They were fed and let out.  By the end of the day they had consumed three bales of hay and practically rushed the gate to be brought in.  Sometimes the humans do know best!

It seems to be warming up a little though.  This morning when I brought the dogs to the groomers it was way up to 9 degrees.  Honestly, I can’t wait for the rain and warmer temps tomorrow.

Quote for Today
You never get the pleasure of owning a horse; you only have the pleasure of being its slave.
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We’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!  I’m sure the coming New Year is full of promise, with us having goals to fulfill for our horses and ourselves. That’s all good but I think the most important thing to remember is to have fun along the way.  So many of us get caught up in just reaching goals that we forget to enjoy the journey.  I think if you can enjoy the ride you’ll have no regrets at the end of the year.  The old adage still rings true: it’s not the things you doin life that you regret—it’s the things you don’t do.  So don’t forget to laugh, smile and have a good time with your family, friends and critters!

Quote for Today
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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"MERRY CHRISTMAS"
From Our Barn To Yours

  
 Christmas Long Ago
 
A Christmas Poem by Jo Geis

 
Frosty days and ice-still nights,
Fir trees trimmed with tiny lights,
Sound of sleigh bells in the snow,
That was Christmas long ago.

Tykes on sleds and shouts of glee,
Icy-window filigree,
Sugarplums and candle glow,
Part of Christmas long ago.

Footsteps stealthy on the stair,
Sweet-voiced carols in the air,
Stocking hanging in a row,
Tell of Christmas long ago.

Starry nights so still and blue,
Good friends calling out to you,
Life, so fact, will always slow...
For dreams of Christmas long ago.

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 I’ll start with Rosie and what we’ve been doing.  Rosie hasn’t been ridden since the end of September. Through no fault of her own. I haven’t been able to ride because I’ve either got sciatica going on from my lower back down through my calf or another herniated disc.  There was no way I could swing my leg over to mount her or ride. It seems to be getting better now which I’m grateful for, I’m tired of the pain and limping around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. We’ve managed to longe a bit and I’ve incorporated cavalletti into her repertoire.  I have her doing trot circles over them, she’s smart and gets it.  Maybe a little too much because she figured out that jumping two poles was easier than trotting over them, so I’ve added a third pole and fixed that situation.  That said I’m hoping to be back in the saddle soon.


Rosie and Hanz have become grazing buddies and she seems to have gotten over her nastiness towards him.  She still looks to Blue as the leader but prefers to stay with Hanz most of the time. Blue just ignores everyone as usual and doesn’t care. Hanz is doing well and is a pleasure for my daughter to ride.  He’s a very sweet and talented boy.
 
Hanz getting an after ride treat and Rosie checking him out
"Rosie, that's rude!"



"Tee, heh, heh,  I sniffed his butt!"

Ginger had two more seizures the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and has been to the vet.  Her blood test showed her Phenobarbital levels were perfect and she’s not on a high enough dose to affect her liver. So for now we’re just going to stick with the program and not change anything unless she has more seizures. Fingers crossed she’ll be okay with this medication and won’t need anything else.
Ginger relaxing in the leaves


The strangest thing has been happening around the house.  There is a red cardinal who insists on tapping on my windows.  He/she does this all day long and follows me from room to room. I have a bird stalker! It flies up vertically like a helicopter then taps with its beak on the windows.  I’ve gone out and fed it but it still persists. If he/she keeps it up I’m going to get it a little leather helmet for Christmas!
Just staring in the window at me

Sitting on the landscapers truck

 
Getting ready for another tactical assault on the window


Taking a break from window tapping



And the last piece of news. The other day on her way to work my daughter noticed a whole section of fence was down that borders the waterway in the back of our property.  So she went back and investigated.  Seems a hunter knocked down the fence and post (probably dragging a deer out that he shot) and left it like that.  She found a shotgun shell. This isn’t the first time a hunter has come on the property unauthorized, because we don’t allow hunting here and there are signs posted all over warning them off.  Last time someone left the gate open the herd got loose onto a neighbors property. If they had gotten out this time they would have surely been hit by a car or truck as we are on a busy two lane highway on that side. They just disregard the notices and do whatever they want.  They’re from the “good ole boys redneck club” and don’t need to listen to no stinkin' signs. After all they grew up around here and we are newcomers! So she called the sheriff and has a report on it and she’s going to call them every time they do this.  I really hope we can catch one in the act.  I don’t like strange men roaming around the property with guns at all hours.  How obnoxious!

Quote for Today  
Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.
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"Nikita"


Today is Nikita’s 3rd birthday.  She has been with us for about eight months now and has found a place in our family and our hearts.  For the first fourteen months of her life she was with a “puppy raiser” for the Guide Dogs of America foundation. Nikita was socialized with lots of other dogs and people and taken to so many different places for her training.  The ‘puppy raiser’ was kind enough to send me pictures of her life before I got her.  Nikita has been to restaurants, parks, Boy Scout troop meetings, children’s hospital, painting classes, doctors and dentists offices, movies, on a ferry ride, Santa Anita racetrack, Christmas parades and many more places too numerous to mention.  At the end of her training she was assessed by the foundation and sadly turned down because she didn’t have the right temperament to continue.  I was told she gets too distracted to be a good guide dog.  I could definitely see how that would be true. 

Nikita was raised with two female Labradors, so transitioning to one sister, Ginger, my Australian Shepherd, wasn’t very hard for her since she was always trained with her sisters and many other dogs too.  At first they got along great and then not so much as they both vied to become the dominant one.  Nikita won for a while but somehow Ginger is now dominating and Nikita follows her around and takes her lead.  She won’t even go out by herself unless Ginger goes first. So they’ve worked it out between them. They play and run together and have a good time all in all.

The only thing that Nikita has still to master is her unauthorized horse herding.  She will sometimes run into the paddock and bark and chase the horses.  They mostly ignore her but Rosie did give her a warning kick out with her back legs once.  She’s getting much better at behaving and sitting and staying during turnout and bring in times. 


Here are some pictures of her life so far:


"How cute am I"


"Valentine Puppy"

"I'm a Halloween Butterfly"



"It's Election Day, I voted for the candidate with the most treats!"
"Here I am at Santa Anita, I bet on the winner"


"Saying Goodbye to my friends was hard"



"Nikita in her new home with us"
"I'm in my new home now with my new sister Ginger"
" I don't know what this white stuff is but I like it!"

" Um, I never saw one of these before"



"It's my stick...no it's MY stick"

For a California girl she loves the snow

My Co-Pilot

Can't get in the Kubota without an assistant to help me drag the arena

"Soaking up some sun on the patio"
"No I'm not coming in, one more step and I'm outta here"
" I know nothing about how these flowers got crushed, I think it was Ginger"


" I heard it's my birthday, where's the treats!"


Quote for Today
 My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am








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"Ireland"

Where to start?  The first two weeks in October my daughter took a trip to Ireland, which left me solely in charge of the farm.  When she left, Grady had a bruise on his left front hoof that he was favoring but with a few days of Bute he was walking better. 
 
"Ireland"
 
"I can look even sadder if you need me too"
Then Blue decided to come up lame on his right front hoof.  He struggled to walk for two days. Bute didn’t help, and on the third day he just refused to leave his stall. Which was fine as he was allowed to leave his stall and wander around the barn areas if he felt like it.  He didn’t. We treated it like an abscess but after a week, nothing happened. We got worried so I had the farrier check him out. Apparently, the whole hoof was sore. Then he took to lying down in his stall and not getting up. Next the vet was called to come and check him out. We got x-rays just to rule out founder or a fracture. Luckily it was nothing so drastic. The general consensus was that he was working on a really big abscess.

I’ve got to say Blue is a real trooper…not!  As he lay in his stall moaning and grumbling he was brought hay to munch on, he’d pick up his head and take a few bites then lay back down until he was brought water to quench his thirst.  I honestly think that if he could have put his hoof to his forelock he would have said, “ Woe is me!”  Typical male behavior, such a drama queen. We had to soak his foot in a plastic bag while he was lying down and then wrap it in an Animalintex. Thank heavens his abscess finally blew about two days ago.  It was pretty disgusting and he’s feeling better now but still not quite there, so he’s still wandering around the barn and small paddock in his Soft-Ride boots. He may be able to go out with the herd soon.  He’s been missing them since they have refused to come in for the last four nights and he’s been alone in the barn.
 
"Ginger"


Around two weeks ago my Australian Shepherd Ginger started having seizures, three in twenty-four hours. I took her to a vet and she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy.  The vet put her on phenobarbital and for the last two weeks she’s had no seizures but she is a little zoned out.  She’s only two and a half years old.  So I’m hoping that her dosage can be cut down or she can come off it entirely eventually.  I’m still not convinced it’s epilepsy and not something she ate outside.  She’s always grazing on weeds or mushrooms or horse poop or who knows what else.  So I’ll wait and see what the vet says when I take her back in a few weeks. 

It’s been a stressful few weeks but things are calming down now and getting back to normal.  Not to be a total bummer there is some good news.  The day after my daughter got back from her trip her new horse was delivered.  We had gone down to our friend’s to see him when she got him in and she rode him before she left. My daughter worked for our friend who is a horse dealer when she was in her teens and twenties. It’s the same woman I bought Rosie from.  So without further ado, here is the new addition to the farm.
 
" Handsome Hanz"


Hanz is a German Mecklenburg Warmblood, 16.2hh originally from Europe. He’s a very kind and smart horse.  She’s had a few rides on him since he arrived and Hanz seems unflappable.  He’s fitting in with the herd bit by bit. Sami is his best friend and for some reason Rosie has taken an immediate dislike to him and charges him occasionally.  She’s being kind of bitchy really.  Maybe once she gets over her heat and gets used to him and Blue is back in town she’ll change her attitude.  
"Hanz & Sami" (his new best friend)


Quote for Today
Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.
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Just need the bridle and we're "Ready to Go"  ( I know it's a bad picture but she moved!)  

 This past week Rosie got to take a short walk around parts of the farm under saddle.  I had a feeling she hadn’t been out in the world at large much before I got her so it was time to test out my theory.  My guess is that she was kept in a stall and only let out for short times in a paddock or to work.  She’s gotten the whole, “Oh, I stay out all day now,” thing down pretty well and she’s adapted to being the only girl in the herd.  She still hangs near Blue most of the time but occasionally she can be seen with Grady or Sami.  Blue can be a grumpy old man and although older men should be wiser and safer sometimes he’s just a pain. Sorry Blue, but you are.

After she was mounted in the outside arena and thought she was going to work in there, she got a surprise and was walked out and down the driveway to the gravel road by the pond.  She wasn't too crazy about the pond because there is a beehive beside it and there are huge carp in there that can be seen swimming near the surface at times.  Even Grady spooks when the carp swim by.  So, for her first time out she wasn’t forced to stay anywhere she wasn't comfortable because she was a little nervous.  Next, she went on with her excellent adventure to explore the path around the outside of the indoor arena.  This went a little more smoothly in the absence of strange wildlife. She then was taken into the catch pen and into the next paddock to walk around in the shade under the trees.  She’s not only used to being in there everyday, but there was a nice breeze in the morning so it wasn't too hot yet, and it seemed like a nice way to end the ride.

What I like about Rosie is even though she gets worried or nervous, she doesn't have a big spook in her.  She doesn’t bolt or spin. The most she does is break into her little western jog.  It must be what she feels safest with and so she reverts to her comfort zone.  Which is totally manageable.  After this successful outing, Rosie will have lots more time out of the ring and little by little she will go farther afield as she gets used to being out by herself. 

Now, it would help if Sami would stop calling to her the whole time she’s away from him!

Quote for Today
 
The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse.
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Only In New York City!


 
Unfortunately, this poor guy must have parked his carriage illegally.  In his defense he did try to get out of the ticket by appealing to the police officer, telling him his brother was "on the job" as a crowd control horse with the police force. Apparently, the officer wasn't buying it and ticketed him anyway. Personally, I think he should be allowed into the court room and be able to state his case to the judge in person. 

Quote for Today
Give me food and drink; and care for me. And when the day's work is done, shelter me. Give me a clean bed and leave me not too small a place in the stable. Talk to me, for your voice often takes the place of reins.  Be good to me and I shall serve you more gladly and love you.

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