Monday, March 26, 2012

And One More Thing

I've been really moved by the comments that you are leaving me about the horse racing article I mentioned. What they wrote has really haunted me all day, and I just wanted to say one more thing regarding the use of horses by people in any kind of sport.

As Silk grows older, I see the ravages of her training in the Western Pleasure Show circuit. My farrier says that she has legs like a 40 year old horse from all her old injuries. I have know ex-racehorses who face similar problems with their legs and other physical ailments due to being started too early and worked too hard. Every time I feel like I didn't really give Siete a chance to prove what she could do in the show ring - She has the lineage to be a superstar - I remind myself that this is a human being's choice not a horse's for what to do with the lives of these beautiful, talented creatures. At least Siete has been happy and well-cared for, even though she's got no AQHA points like her mother has.

And Silk has had fourteen years of no stress, kindness and easy living, after the ten years that almost killed her and made her afraid of people. There are many people who have told me that I have spoiled her. I don't care because I know that they just don't get it and never will. Tonight, when I put her in her stall, I had to put her blanket on because it will be 25 degrees at 3 a.m. after being in the 70's last week, and I know that it will be a hard change for her and Siete. I expected that she would be annoyed that I was dragging out the dirty blanket again and strapping it on her. Instead, she was so affectionate, and I remembered how I used to be afraid to go in with her some days when I first got her because she would try to kick out at anyone who entered her stall.Not now. She knows who loves her.

We must be advocates for horses. They give us so much and it's the least we can do for them.

Did You See This?

I have to post a link to this incredible article in the New York Times about the shocking number of deaths of horses in the sport of horse-racing. Having just reminisced about my memories of going to the races with my dad when I was young, this article is particularly painful for me to read. It all comes down to greed and money, where the horses are simple objects that can be disposed of without any consideration for their well-being. It's really tragic and I hope that this, along with the recent deaths of the horses on the set of the HBO show, "Luck", will cause enough of an uproar to do stop this type of abuse.

For some reason, Blogger won't let this link appear - so please take a minute and paste it into your browser. The article is called "Death and Diarray at America's Racetracks" by WALT BOGDANICH, JOE DRAPE, DARA L. MILES and GRIFFIN PALMER, published on 3/25/12. It is well worth reading, and I"m sorry that I can't link you to it directly.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Worry

So, my mantra right now is “don’t worry”. Yes, the weather is incredibly warm and beautiful, but it’s really early for it to be in the 70’s in New England in mid-March. The horses are shedding like crazy. Siete looks normal, but Silk has an unusually heavy coat. Yesterday, when it was downright hot out, she was sweating and her hair on her neck was wavy and curling. It looks different than it ever has before. Leaping to the worst case scenario, I thought, omg, she’s got Cushings!

Now, there are no other symptoms like excessive water drinking or laminitis or eating too much. She’s actually more fit than she was last year. I’ve changed her diet to Uckele’s senior feed and a little D-Carb Balance, and she’s a perfect weight, with much better energy. At the end of April, Silk will be 24 years old, and we did notice that she seems to be getting hairier each year. The vet did bring up the C-word last time she saw Silk and said I should keep an eye on her because at this age….

So, as I groomed her last night, I calmed myself and came up with a plan. I’m calling the vet today to schedule their Spring shots, and I’ll have Silkie tested for Cushings. If that is what it is, the disease is obviously in a very early stage, and I know that I will be able to manage her care to deal with it. Horses who are treated with pergolide and fed properly can live five to seven years, I read in one of the hundreds of articles that I poured over last night.

This morning, I forced myself to think only positive thoughts about how good she looked and how bright and happy my darling old lady is. The birds are singing, the flowers are popping up, the flies are not out yet. Everything will be good. Silk is fine. And I’ll just keep telling myself that over and over.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Congrats Mikey and Wade!

Our funny, fearless cowgirl friend blogger, Mikey, from Postcards From Arizona, is getting hitched to her handsome cowboy, Wade, this coming weekend with their daughter and sidekick, Mercy, riding down that happy trail with them.
Silk and I raise a glass to toast them –

May you ride tall in the saddle
May you help each other through the muck of life
May you always feel the love of your many friends – two-legged and four
May you take the right forks in the path and find harmony together forever

Best wishes and blessings to you guys!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Almost Here

Yesterday was a tantalizing taste of what is to come. As I opened the stall doors to let the horses out this morning, it was at least 20 degrees colder than when I closed them last night. The wind is blowing, which makes it seem like March again. As I brushed the great globs of horsehair off of Silk and Siete yesterday, the sun was beating down on us warming our bones. A sweet bird was singing its heart out, and I gathered all that soft fluff and dropped it at the base of the tree so our little feathered friend would have some good material for her nest.

The daffodils are peeking up, and I’ve become very protective of them this year. Stella is used to racing across our barren flowerbeds in wild pursuit of tennis balls. Suddenly, I won’t let her since I’ve realized that all my flowers are going to be trampled and crushed by those big puppy paws. This is the seventh year that I’ve watched our front lawn joyously explode with white daffodils – a hybrid developed by the grandfather of the lady who used to live here. They come up a bit later than the traditional yellow harbingers of Spring, but are so delicate and bloom longer. It’s as exciting to see them as it is to pick our wild raspberries in July. So, I feel a sense of celebration that we’ve made it through another winter, and all the pleasures that warm weather brings are ahead of us.

By Sunday, the temps will be back up in the 60’s, and I can put my chair back into the pasture to sit with Silk and Siete and begin practicing “the Waterhole Rituals” again. This summer, I am determined to start dancing with my horses. For the first time in my life, I have a strong sense of enjoyment of the cycles of the seasons in this beautiful place we call home. We’ve been here long enough to sink some roots, and I don’t see us going anywhere for a while. With each season, there are certain rituals and gifts that are now familiar, giving me a good sense of happy anticipation when I wake up each morning and come out to feed the horses.

Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

~ Mary Oliver ~