Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A FYI update:
Fourteen horses have now died from EEE in Maine. Half of those have been in Waldo county.
According to our survey results, half of you are boosting your vaccinations.
As far as I was able to research, ALL of the dead horses were completely unvaccinated.
I talked with Dr. Rachel Flaherty of Maine Equine Associates. She said many folks doing EEE boosters are doing it for the peace of mind, not so much the necessity as mosquito populations are diminishing with the cooler weather.
In the South, where EEE is more problematic, horse owners vaccinate three times a year for EEE, she said.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Fall air is a wonderful thing. But it's shocked a few of us -- or at least our body systems.
The other morning, it was 50 degrees and my hands were white with cold (no kidding).
This morning, one of my mares was shivering hard as I gave her grain (she got an extra handful!). When I visited another barn, one of those horses was shivering, too.
Not exactly winter weather. But I guess it takes the ol' engines a while to gear up for colder stuff.
This photo is of Shea. The nice, crisp air had her racing around the field!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
There was a mysterious water drinker in our midst. He must have been coming in the middle of the night. I would fill my big bucket and check it at Last Call. By morning it would be empty.
Was it a moose, sneaking into the paddock? Deer?
I imagined big, four-legged creatures descending on my paddock. The horses were taking these midnight visits in stride, except they wanted more water, please.
Alas, the answer was not mysterious or fun!
After two nights, dummie figured it out. Seems a split in the hose created a siphon. So when I left the hose in the bucket, the water slowly leaked back out through the split.
Oh, well, so much for the midnight water stalker.
Monday, September 14, 2009
For many of us, haying season came real late this year.
Sure, I was relieved to get two hundred bales tucked into my barn, but the timing was tough.
Just a week or so before, I said goodbye to two of my three teenagers - big, strong, young men.
The baby (my 14-year old) and husband were left to suffer through it. (I don't mind haying but apparently others do!)
Here is the photo and email message sent to the older boys:
"Miss your arms, not your lips or your stomachs!"
Thursday, September 10, 2009
This is my mom's dog, Tom.
He's a purebred Irish Pub dog.
There's no such thing, of course! I adopted Tom off the streets of Dublin, Ireland more than a decade ago. My best guess is that he's part Jack Russell, part border collie, and part street.
When I moved back to the States, he came, too.
Then, when my life got overwhelming several years later, my mother took him.
Since then he has excelled at agility, flyball, and especially therapy.
Tom and Mom go to Togus, the Veterans hospital in Augusta. They go to reading hours at the library and visit a school for autistic kids. Tom is a good listener.
All that's possible because when you compete in agility, flyball, and get certified as a therapy dog, they don't look at your pedigree.
Once, when some hyper-conscious breed observer asked Mom about Tom, she said, "why, he's an Irish Pub dog, of course."
Sure enough, that person was later heard whispering to a colleague -- "check out Sally's dog. It's an Irish Pub dog."
So, I ask all those pedigree only associations and competitions: What's the harm in letting us mutts compete? What is gained by excluding those without a pedigree?
In the ongoing saga of Maddy's Ponying Adventures...
today we were on our way at the brisk pace because of the tree folks cutting down and chipping trees at the end of our driveway. Gotta love it. I didn't need confirmation that horses are more afraid of things behind them than in front of them, but that was why we trotted away from the big, loud, scary chip mobile.
In the excitement Trixie (the cute little, pain-in-my-ass Shetland) switched sides and trotted ahead. Shea, who I was riding, got Trixie's leadline under her tail and when Trixie accelerated I'm sure it felt like a crupper might feel.
It was a new sensation and not a pleasurable one for poor Shea!
This time - after one buck and one failed attempt to reroute the leadline, I got off and untangled the snafu.
Never a dull moment, huh?
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Jane took a long time to get the perfect photos taken of her three horses. She then worked with Floyd at Pins and Needles in Portland, Maine to develop the artwork for this fabulous tattoo.
It's still healing, but what an impressive shoulder!
Thanks for sharing!
Sunday, September 06, 2009
During a week in which I already got tossed twice, I managed to flop off my dearest Shea. Yup, that lovely, gentle, half-Belgian who wouldn't harm a flea and who always moves -- shall we say, deliberately.
But the other night, I set myself up for laughs yet again (those laughs would be coming from whoever saw my circus, not me!).
As usual, I had gathered the four horses in rope halters at the field, got up on Shea and approached the electric fence gate.
Being ever-considerate, Shea tried (as she always does) to grab the electric fence. Silly Me. I had neglected to TURN OFF the fence. She grabbed the fence with her lips and immediately jumped straight up.
Yikes. She then threw in several bucks for good measure.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
From Maine's state vet:
One horse in Gorham and one horse in Unity confirmed positive for EEE.
Both horses were euthanized Friday, August 28. Additionally, a
Berwick horse that died on August 26 was confirmed positive by the NH Public
Health Lab yesterday.
This brings the total number of confirmed positive EEE
horses in Maine to six: one each in the towns of Troy, Thorndike, Stetson,
Berwick, Unity and Gorham.
Please encourage your friends who own horses to make
sure their horses are current on EEE vaccination.
Dr. Don Hoenig
Here is the link to their EEE info:
If you have any trouble finding this page, simply go to the Agriculture department page of maine.gov, then look on the left for the Division of Animal Health and Industry and click. Then look on the right for diseases and there you'll see EEE.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
My friend, KC, sent this photo from the New York Times of ranchers evacuating from the Station Fire outside Los Angeles.
Makes me consider how ready I would be if I had to get my horses out in a big hurry.
I think I'd be OK. I have a portable equine first aid kit. I have a 4-horse stock trailer for my 4 horses. The pony hasn't been loaded in a few decades but I think I could manage it -- if she weighed more than 300 pounds, that might present more of a challenge. But all the others will load easily.
I'm on a CART team (County Animal Response Team) and one of the first things we learn is that we cannot help others unless we're fully prepared ourselves.
To all you horse folks -- make sure you have a plan and as much equipment as possible in case of the worse case scenario!!