Monthly Archives: May 2017

Kids Say The Darndest Things

When I was young, Art Linkletter had a show on in the afternoons.  It was kind of a combination of variety and talk show I guess.  Can’t quite remember at this point, but he had a segment with young children called “Kids Say The darndest Things”.  He would ask them simple questions and they would come up with the most hilarious answers.  You’d wonder where they got that stuff from.  It was so popular that he wrote two books with their answers.

I’ve watched late night TV in the past couple of years, and I know some of the talk shows have sent people out on the streets and asked a passersby simple questions like who is the President of the United States and these college students would reply something like Abraham Lincoln or something so out of touch you wonder what rock they crawled out from underneath.

Now with horses, it’s not a matter of what they say, but what they do.  You walk out into a pasture and their eye lid is hanging off, or they’re waving their leg in the air, like “look mom what I did.”  Usually If you ask them, as I know we all have with the high-pitched question of “What Did You Do?”  They usually won’t discuss it.  It’s, “does it really matter? Just fix it.”  They almost look proud of their accomplishment or they have no idea what you are talking about.

You rack your brain as to what they got into.  They are in a horse safe pasture.  You’ll walk around and look for bits of hair or skin attached to something, but there is nothing to be found, and they are definitely not talking.  They go on as if nothing happened and you lose sleep wondering what went wrong.  Funny how that works.

The most trying thing is the length of time it takes them to heal.  Some horses heal very fast, while others are out of commission, what seems like forever.  I have one right now who, no matter what it is, takes forever to heal.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an eye infection, a bowed tendon, or a cut, she will take her good old-time getting back to normal.  She’s fine with it, I’m tired of it.  I feel like I’ve been wrapping her leg since the disco era.  I know it’s only been a couple of months, but it’s aging me.  A couple of months at this point in my life is like watching the “sands through the hour-glass” running out.  I feel like yelling at her “I don’t have that much time left on this side of the grass, you need to get better now!”  But she will just go about being herself.

Sometimes I swear they do it on purpose.  The day before a big competition, or whatever you had in mind to do, they will turn up lame or hurt.  We were up to five hunt horses so that we would always have a spare, and guess what?  All five would be broken, and I’d be borrowing a horse.  What is wrong with this picture.  I know it’s not just me.  About thirty years ago, in the Western Horseman magazine, there was a cartoon, and I’ve never forgotten it.  It was a picture of a cowboy standing there with his tack in his hands looking down at his horse.  The horse was laying on his back, with his legs in the air.  The caption was “Cut the dramatics Walter, you knew today was the trail drive.”  I laughed then, and I still laugh when I think about it.  It is so true.  Their timing is perfect.

So as we all know, there is never a good time for them to be hurt or sick, but they do seem to do it at “the darndest time.”

How Do You Nicely Tell Someone They Were Taken?

I don’t know all the information, and truthfully, I don’t want to.

A friends granddaughter came to visit her for a few weeks on spring break.  My friends are here for the winter months.  Somewhere along the line her granddaughter bought a couple of English saddles with fittings, breast collar, saddle pad, and a bareback pad.  All this for the amazing price of $50.00.  Oh my!  The question – could I look at them and tell her what I thought?

Here we go a “Tip Toe Through The Tulips.”  Well the first saddle I wasn’t even sure what it was.  Could be Australian or maybe not.  Odd shape, “D” rings all over the place.  I’m sure it was used for training the horse how to get into a frame, or maybe not.  The second saddle was English, but the leather was just short of cardboard.  It never saw oil in its life.  It didn’t even have a name on it.  The irons, pad, and girth were good.  Now the saddle had been lunch for a rodent.  Chewed through the padding under the gullet.  The breast collar also had never seen oil.  It was a cheap grade of leather and when you bent it, it cracked.  I told her it wouldn’t hold up, but it wouldn’t be dangerous if it broke.  Oil the saddle and see if it will uncurl.  Look on the Internet and see if you could trace the other saddles origins and purpose.  Now the bareback pad was a keeper.

The inevitable question.  Well what do you think?  Well…… if she went to sell everything individually she would probably get her $50.00 back.  Most likely on the bareback pad, the irons, pad, and the girth.

What I wanted to say was unload it as quickly as possible.  Don’t make it travel all the way to Michigan.

Now the next question I have is does her granddaughter know how to fit a saddle and who is she going to use it on?  Is this saddle going to fit her granddaughter?  I never got that far because we were standing in a restaurant parking lot and Bobby was getting ready to leave without me.  I’ll catch up with her before she leaves to go back north and see if I can make any sense out of all this.

I love a great deal just like the next person, but if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t worth buying.

I think “Let the buyer beware” was coined at a horse auction.  I know “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” was.  You may find out his teeth are older than time itself.

How do you tell them?  Just speak the truth, gently, with love.

That’s Odd

We all know our horses well.  We know what is normal activity, body language and what is not.

My husband went to his GP yesterday for a normal check up.  He’s had a cold, which has been going around, aggravated by allergies.  He asked the doctor what he had.  The answer was “The Crud,” just like everyone else has.  It just keeps going away and coming back.

In the last couple of weeks the word “Neurological” has come up with not only horses, but people I know.  What, is this the new trend in diseases?

A friend totally passed out three weeks in a row, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  After many tests, nothing was found.  He has heart problems, but they couldn’t confirm anything there.  The symptoms indicated possible mini strokes.  Do you know what the doctor told him????  Drink more water.  Really?!!!!!!!  The man stopped breathing in church.  There were two nurses in attendance and they said so.  After the next week when he did it again at a restaurant, still no answers.  So they told him to go to a neurologist.  Well that would have been my guess after the first and second time when nothing was found.  We still don’t have answers on that one.  He says after it’s over he feels fine.  Well he doesn’t look fine, speak fine, or process information fine.  But he thinks, since the doctors haven’t found anything, and in his head he’s fine, he’s starting to drive again.  Oh my!

I’ve known several horses lately who have been diagnosed with neurological problems.  Now one I disagreed with, but the other I believe.  Horse couldn’t walk a straight line one day and the next it was fine.  Too much tequila last night I guess.  Since it was a temporary problem it didn’t look like the classical EPM or anything we usually vaccinate for.  With drought conditions we have no grass and horses are starting to eat anything that looks on the green side.  They are starting to eat weeds that they normally wouldn’t.  Some of them are toxic and will cause neurological symptoms.  A large amount of toxic plants will kill a horse.

If you find your horse doing something weird, don’t wait, check it out with a vet.  You may be able to reverse it, it may wear off itself, or it may be fatal.  If it’s a toxic plant you need to get it out of your pasture and stay on top of the possibilities.

This is not Weird Science, this is serious stuff.

Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30

Some of you reading this may be under 30, so bear with me, and many of you that I know, are not.

I remember that saying so well from when I was young.  When we were young we thought that we had it all figured out.  Our parents, of course, were just so behind the times.  What could they possibly know about life today.  They were “Old”.  From a land and time so in the past.  Boy do I wish it was the past again.  Boy do I wish I was young and naive again.  Ignorance really is bliss.

I watched a girl in her mid twenties today speak with such confidence on a problem with one of the horses at her barn.  Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.  The vet was not sure what was causing the symptoms, but this girl was undoubtably sure.  The vet was only out of vet school for about a year, and I don’t know how long she has been dealing with the strange things that Florida offers.  I had to admit, I pretty much agreed with the young ladies way of thinking.  She was on the right track.

She was hooking up a trailer for someone, and I told her good job, when she crossed the chains to the hitch.  I said I can see this isn’t your first Rodeo.  She looked at me with those eyes of patience you give to an old person, and I smiled.  I was her at one time.

I was the one who spoke with confidence about anything horse related.  I was well into my twenties also.  Training, jumping, I was on top of my game.  You couldn’t rattle me. I’ve seen this a lot in the younger horse generation.  That is until you meet a horse who doesn’t necessarily play by the rules.  And trust me, there will always be that one horse. Or your favorite horse which comes down with something that you’ve never heard of before.  Or the vet that stands there and tells you they have no idea what your horse got into, but he may not make it.  Then it feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you, or you took a direct punch to the stomach and all the breath has been knocked out of you.

I would like to be twenty and feel that confident.  I would like to be twenty again and not have seen so many of my favorite horses and dogs die.  I would like to be twenty again and know what I know now.  BUT – I would never want to be twenty again in reality. There is so much that I wouldn’t want to relive.  I’m glad I had the experiences, and the lessons learned.  Even though some of them were very painful.

Actually I would like to be fifty again.  I didn’t ache so much, I had a fine strong hunt horse, and probably had some of the best times in my life.  The nonsense of childhood was in the past and I was coming to an age where I could say anything and not care what people thought.  After all, I was old and you didn’t have to pay me no mind.

Enjoy every day of your life.  It’s a gift from God.  Even the bad stuff will teach you something.  Then you can look at a confident twenty year old and smile too.

The Ever Floating Mason Dixon Line

There are some southern states that are still fighting the war (Civil that is).  Now Florida is much more tolerant than let’s say Virginia south to the Florida border.  The reason Florida is more laid back is because most of the people who live in Florida are really from somewhere else.  You do meet some natives, but even they seem less intense.  Florida was never caught up in the need for slaves as the other states were.  There was not really much agriculture, in the way of growing things here, other than mosquitoes and gators that is.  There were the cracker cowboys who raised the cracker horses and cracker cows.  The term cracker came from the cowboys cracking the bull whips, emitting a large cracking noise.  The cracker cows could survive in the swamps and live off the local forage.  The cracker horses were the same.  They are a smaller breed, but boy can they run.  A friend had one that could out run a Quarter Horse race horse.  Their feet can withstand the moist ground conditions usually found this state.

Now horses like Clydesdales do not do well here.  Their feathers hold the moisture and all kinds of fungus and bacteria find a comfy place to live.  They have allergies which drive them absolutely crazy, not to mention what is does to the owners.

When it comes to horse keeping the Mason Dixon Line does float.  Winter blankets up north are truly like the down jackets we used to go snow skiing in.  A winter blanket down here is usually a medium weight.  It will go to 28 degrees here in west-central Florida but only for a few hours at a time.  We will get a thin layer of ice on the water troughs, but come 9:00 a.m., when the sun comes up high enough, it’s gone.  Now the states north of Florida will get snow, but that also doesn’t hang around long.  The farther north you go, the longer it lasts.  They tell me they have had snow flurries here, but I haven’t seen any.  If I did I might go screaming into the night.  I’m so done with snow.  I love to watch it on TV and then thank God that I don’t have to deal with that anymore.  It’s amazing what you can get used to and learn to live with.

This post is really about horse trailers.  There is a difference.  Down here they are very open and airy, just like the stables.  The northern made trailers are able to be totally closed up.  One of my boarders is moving to Nashville, as I have mentioned in a previous post.  Her trailer was from Alabama and is an older steel trailer.  Ventilation is limited.  No front window that opens, small round vents by their heads, a high tailgate, but does have sliding side windows.  Since her horse has Cushings Disease she still has a good hair coat.  The first winter I was here my horses had way too much hair.  We moved down November 1st.  After that they got less hair in the winters.  My vet checked out the trailer being used for the move and told her she had to get out of the state before the sun came up.  This morning was cool (59 degrees) with a ground fog making it a little chilly for us.  Florida is like having three New Jerseys stacked on top of each other.  The northern part of the state is much cooler than where I live, and the southern part of the state, much warmer.  I told her that if it got to warm in that trailer to take a hammer and pop out the rivets in the front windows to allow more air flow.  She could always have them pop riveted back when she got there.

The owner was told to syringe water with table salt in it to the horses to make the horses drink.  I found that horses don’t like the taste of water from different areas and states.  My vet up north suggested peppermints in the water a week before I would leave so that every states water smelled like peppermints.  Didn’t work for me, my horses didn’t like peppermints.  Carrots in the water just don’t work the same.  Now her horses on the other hand, love peppermints so she’s going to try that.  Her trip is a ten-hour trip, but with the stops for gas, food, and restroom checks, it will take longer.  Our trip was twenty-two hours.  You were only allowed restroom stops and food when we got fuel according to Bob.  Although I will say that he would stop at rest areas and take the horses out for a walk in the dog walking area.  One security officer commented on what big dogs we had, and then smiled.

It was very interesting watching the owner and her girlfriend getting loaded this morning.  They were all happy and enthusiastic about their road trip.  A new beginning for the one girl and her friend was just the pillar of confidence.  As I hugged my boarder and waved goodbye to her best friend I could only remember how exciting it was when I was younger and ready to take on the world.  As for me, I don’t do three a.m. well, so it was off to bed to catch up on the sleep I had just missed.  I bid them a safe journey and told them to text me when they got there.

I don’t think I have the energy to be young again, but it does make me smile.