Monthly Archives: April 2017

When It’s More Than Just A Job

So how did last week go for you?

Most horses that board here usually stay until they cross the Rainbow Bridge.  But sometimes their owners have to move to a different part of Florida, or even a different state.  I have had several over the years, and it really wasn’t a big deal.  I pack them off with their health records, some grain for the transition, and a little blurb about the horses habits.  Give the horses their last carrots from me, a hug to the owners and they are gone.

The two that moved last week seem to be a whole different ball game.  I feel like a parent that is sending their kids off to college in another state.  It’s not just packing their lunch, giving them their book bag and putting them on the bus.  It’s organizing all the paperwork to get them out of the state plus.

The one horse came in with many health issues.  It’s like an onion.  We’re still pealing back the layers.  The young college student who owns them is a very hands on owner, but has so much going on in her life right now that I’m trying to cover her with the horses while she deals with a boyfriend who just had surgery the week before.  She is tying up loosed ends with the teaching job she is leaving here, graduating college, being very excited about her new career at a very prestigious college in Nashville, and the “big move” itself.

Her parents live in Alabama and are not here to help her.  Her father is going to come down and drive a rental truck with all her personal belongings.  She and a girlfriend are moving the horses.  The boyfriend will be coming up the following week after he has his last doctors visit.  He’s totally enjoying the loving care he is getting, which is usually reserved for the horses.  (I think he’s milking it)

So where did that leave me.  Well the normal paperwork for the Ag Station.  Health Certificates and current Coggins.  Which, even though we started in plenty of time, we were four days away from leaving, and still didn’t have the Health Certificate.  The secretary has been out sick for a week.  Oh My!  The owner was concerned about changing grain since the one horse is on a very strict special diet.  So I got an extra bag of grain to send with her.  I also checked and the grain company does sell in Nashville also.  I am sending hay because the hay I use is not local to that area.  I have included their shots, worming, and farrier schedule.  Feeding schedule with a list all their supplement’s and medication dosages.  Some hints on their handling instructions.  Boy, I wish people would give me a heads up about that when they move in.  It’s always a trial and error period until you work the bugs out of the system.  Check.

What could be packed a head of time is, and I’m going to have to make a list so I don’t forget to send what I’m still using.  Lists are a good thing when you are old and stupid.  I refuse to be old and senile, I like stupid better.  Check.

The owner has the names of the specialized vets that have been working on this case, so she can continue the process with her new vet.  Check.

My husband has gone over her trailer to make sure that it’s road worthy for the trip. Check.

Let me see, paperwork, feed, hay, blankets, trunk, misc. barn items, horses, give hugs, cry, wave goodbye, collapse, text to make sure they made it there safely, and start life again.

Just another day in Paradise.

The Ultimate, Unwanted Question

So last week was one of those weeks times two.

I put one of our horses down and then thirty-six hours later my old dog.  I hate those kind of weeks.  I’m still numb from losing both of them, but when you have other horses and dogs you must keep on going.  Cry now and then, and move on.  It still stinks.

So I was just going to call my friend of fifty-five years, to wish her a Happy Easter.  Since her husband died several years ago, she’s been a mess.  We met at the barn when we were teenagers, and have swapped horses stories and problems over the years.  She always broke her own babies and showed them very successfully.  She’s also broken her back several times.  She had this one baby who definitely was a psycho.  He would dump her and then attack her while she was on the ground.  She didn’t keep him.  It was actually odd how she got him.  He kept breaking out of his pen and would keep showing up at her house, so she bought him.

So I called her.  She immediately went into her story about how her one dog was having more seizures and the meds weren’t working, and they were killing the dogs liver.  Crying she said I don’t know what to do.  When she comes out of the seizures she plays with her toys like nothing ever happened.  (She was only five and was a rescue from another state.)  But she bounces off the walls at night and runs over the other dogs.  They tried her on different meds, but they are not working at all.

I explained my last week, having to put down the Clyde and my old dog, and how hard it was. She said it gets harder as you get older.  I told her, no it doesn’t, it was never easy.

Then comes the ultimate question – “what should I do?”  Oh No!!!  I just had a hard enough time answering that question with regards to my animals, don’t ask me to make that decision about yours!  Okay, calm down, I told myself.  I told her how I made my decision.  I asked the vet if there was any chance of healing?  If there was healing, what kind of quality of life will they have?  I looked at their suffering.  I love them so much, do I want to stand there and watch them suffer?  Do I love them enough to release them from their pain?

Now this same friend has an old horse and pony who should have been put down years ago, and hasn’t.  Another friend and I have spoken, very carefully about them with her, and truthfully, many other horses of hers in the past, with no success.  So am I expecting a miracle this time.  No.

What did I tell her?  Well I told her how I made my decision, and told her she knows what she has to do in her heart.  She told me she would think about it.  I told her to let me know what she decides.  Dollars to donuts she won’t do it.  Hum, don’t know where that quote came from, but it’s old.

I usually look in their eyes and they tell me.  You can tell they are tired and have given up.  They always say that the eyes are the window to the soul.  I believe they are.

Do someone a favor, never ask them if it’s time to put your animal down.  That’s a decision that only you can make and live with.  And no, it was hard in the past and it never gets any easier.


She spoke to her vet and made the decision to let her go across the Rainbow Bridge.

Is It The End Or Just The Beginning

On a chilly February morning in 2000, as the first pink rays of light were streaking across the sky I watched my new Clydesdale baby arrive.  She was laying in the mist that was covering the ground.  Her mother Maggie was standing next to her.

Bobby was getting up every few hours to check if she had been born yet.  Maggie was spritzing milk when we came home from hunting the night before, so we figured that the baby would be coming that night.  We put Maggie in the pasture right outside our back door so all we had to do was turn on the flood light to check.  Maggie had other babies before, so we weren’t worried about the delivery.  At 5:00 a.m. I heard my husband yell “What Maggie still no baby?”  So I turned over and went back to sleep.  At 6:45 I heard “We have a baby!!!”  Looking out the back door all you saw were beautiful white legs.  We rushed out into the ground fog and we were gazing at this big chestnut filly with the most beautiful legs you ever saw.  We decided to name her Magnolias Misty Dawn. Southmoors Ideal Magnolia was Maggie’s name.  Well when she stood we noticed there was a problem with those long white stockings.  Her back legs were wind-swept.  They went off to the side.  I was assured by my vet that they would straighten and they did. There’s not enough room in the womb for all those legs, he said.

She grew to be quite a character.  She never had a work ethic, she thought work was unethical.  She also thought that she was a lap dog, not a horse.  She loved shoes, other people’s.  When she was little she got an infection and, along with her legs, spent a lot of time on bed rest.  My Jack Russell and I would sit in the stall with her, with her head on my lap, and I would sing to her.  Through her many trials in life, singing always calmed her and encouraged her.  It brought us closer together.

So today as I waited for the vet to come and put her down I did the same thing.  I sat on the ground and stroked her head, singing the same song I sang to her as a baby.

She’d gotten a spider bite seems like 5 or 6 years ago, maybe it was more, who’s counting.  It left her back left leg in a bad way.  A couple of weeks ago she got an abscess in her one good back foot.  Now we’re talking a 1500 – 1600 lb Clydesdale.  But she had the will and the guts to fight this.  I didn’t realize she wasn’t walking to get water and she colicked (yes you add the k) a week and a half ago.  Got her through that.  But her legs took a toll that day.  She was tired.  Started sitting on the fence and then leaning on trees.  When she laid down the other night, and then tried to get up, she hurt her front left shoulder.  There was not one of those things that would kill her, but put them all together and you had a major problem.  My vet also thought that there was more going on, like maybe cancer, because of the gradual weight loss.

Watching her struggle was hurting me so bad, but if she wouldn’t give up, neither would I.  So every hour Bobby or I would walk up and give her water and food.  Her butt got raw from the bark on the tree so we wrapped the tree with a moving blanket.  Her spider bite leg swelled up to the size of the tree she was leaning on.  She finally laid down last night (Monday) at 5:00 p.m. and this morning (Tuesday) she didn’t get up.  She nickered to me this morning like “where is my water and breakfast?”  So as the good room service provider that I am, I brought the princess what she wanted, along with a bag of carrots. Breakfast was as usual, but in a reclining position.  She was alert and demanding.  Yup she’s herself.  Not ready to give up yet.  She laid there, flat-out, munching on her hay.

The sun was starting to rise, just like the morning she was born, but this time she wasn’t going to get up and great the new day.  I called my vet and told her I needed her.  She would come out and we would discuss the situation.  By the time she got there Dawn’s eyes were half closed and she didn’t want any more carrots.  She was telling me, she was done.  It’s funny, both people and animals rally just before they go.

Forty years ago my vet, at the time in another state, told me that a horse would tell me when it was time.  Dawnie did.  I told Dawn, as the vet was ready to give her the first needle, that she needed to go to her mom, go to your mama my girl.  She wouldn’t be in pain anymore, and she’d be able to run again with straight perfect legs clear across that Rainbow Bridge.  A very dear friend, who wanted to be with Dawn in her last hours, said “okay, the go to mama put me over the edge, as she started to cry.”

When I called my prayer partner from church who had been praying for her, to let her know that I had released Dawn from this life, she told me how sorry she was and how sad it was.  I told her that, yes even though I would miss her, God had told me that we humans had the wrong idea of death.  Death was just a transition from one life to the next.  It’s not really the end, but just the beginning;  there would be no more pain, and she would be with her mom and her friends who were killed two years ago by lightning.  I said it’s really a beautiful thing.  When I said this, my friend said she wanted to remember that when her sister, who is very ill, dies.  How sad for non believers.  We focus too much on the loss we are feeling, and not enough on the beautiful life they will be entering.

My wonderful Pastor who is a dear friend and golfing buddy of Bobs, and my church family have been praying for Dawn for over a week.  One man said he has never prayed for a horse before, but now he has prayed for her for the entire week.  I feel that they are apart of Gods Creation, and if God knows every sparrow that falls, He certainly knows of His other creatures great and small. My Pastor feels that all our animals are family members and should be cared about, and prayed for in the same manner.  The Bible speaks of horses often, with grandeur.

See our horses are teacher even until the very end.  Or is it the new beginning?

Rest in peace my sweet baby girl, but run with the wind and let those beautiful white legs flash with the heavenly light.

The Difference

You can make a difference in a life.

We go around doing things and probably don’t even realize that we are being watched. Whether it’s with the people we meet or the animals we work with, someone is taking notice.

This was brought to my attention on Friday night.  By now I’m sure you know that I am a Christian.  I don’t stand on a soap box at the corner telling people “Repent the day of the Lord is coming”, but I try to live as a Christian should.  The young lady told me she wants to find a Christian Barn.  I’ve never heard of a “Christian Barn” before.  I know horse people, being close to, and loving Gods creation, are more spiritual.  I also know that there is a lot of drama at some barns.  I have had mothers call me and tell me they want to get their daughters out of certain barns.  Now this young lady has gotten a very good job, at a very prestigious college in Nashville, and I’m thrilled for her.  I will miss her, but she has her whole life ahead of her and it’s going in a good direction.

I don’t do anything special here other than take care of the boarders horses like they were my own.  I try to help people when I can.  Take in lost causes.  I don’t make much money, but I can sleep at night knowing I’ve done my best.

I’ve loved my lesson kids as thought they were my own grandchildren.  Even though they have moved on with their lives, moving and growing up, I still hear from them regularly. Have lunch with them when they are in town and just keep in touch by text.  They don’t sit there and send me sappy cards, but they tell me in their actions and sometimes words that I have made a difference in their lives.

Yes I may help horses work through their issues, both physical and emotional, but I have also found that I’ve helped these young people find a better way and a better life.  This is done without a thought or sometimes, not even noticing it.

Whether we are instructing or just going about our everyday routine, we are making a difference in someone, or some animals life.

Know that to be true.  You may never know it, but it’s really happening.  Be the best person you can be, because someone is always watching.