You may have noticed the lack of entries.

Of course, if you live in the right part of the country, you probably also noticed the Snowpocalypse Now event. I was reasonably lucky–my power was only out overnight Tuesday-Wednesday. On Tuesday night my boss was chasing us out the door barely at five, and we already had drifts over the roads. And for once the college wasn’t fooling around–we were closed by 9pm for Wednesday. Which was just as well. I wouldn’t have gotten out of the driveway on Thursday if it weren’t for the kindness of a stranger with a plow on his pickup, let alone Wednesday morning. The barn apparently is fine, with a tractor to plow out the worst of it. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get down that way. Today I shoveled another inch that fell last night and am staying inside, making American chop suey in the crock-pot (for the uninitiated, it’s basically a tomato-sauce-like thing with beef that goes with elbow mac, known to some as goulash in the Midwest) and working on jewelry for my Etsy Store, Steampunk Sweethearts. My lovely coworker Tom helped break down a seven-day clockworks and I’ve now got plenty of lovely gears to play with.

To give everyone some idea of what we’re dealing with here in the lake-effect belt:

Climb ev'ry mountain....

I CAN SEE MY HOUSE FROM no, wait, it's the other way.


In which I put my hand farther up a horse’s mouth than would strictly be wise

Were he not lightly sedated and did he not have a speculum holding his mouth open, that is.

Lucky is probably a much happier horse tonight. The dental specialist came out, and his mouth was a complete mess. Not just his #11 molar was bad. His ridges felt like a “bumpy road” (one reason she wanted me to feel it) and the bad molar had actually caused a sore and damaged the opposite tooth. The baby teeth could come out and did (though I didn’t notice the smell she described them having. Then again. Puff had been throwing up last night and I think he has been surfing the litter box, so my tolerance for disgusting smells may have been higher than usual.) She also filed down his canines after fixing the back teeth.

He did get mildly sedated–xylazine and another sedative agent (I didn’t recognize the name, I’m only familiar with using xylazine with ketamine and we didn’t knock him out!) and he was pleasantly loopy. Even considering he was sedated, the dentist commented on how well-mannered he was. Apparently even when they’re out of it a lot of horses will try nibbling while she works on the front teeth. Lucky just accepted it. The dentist and her assistant were both happy with how he handled it. So was I, and I’m hoping that when I work him again, some of that inversion and resistance will go now that he isn’t biting himself in the mouth.

The dentist mentioned that her mentor, the owner of the school she trained at, had worked in Kentucky, and encountered a lot of resistance or just indifference from race owners and trainers to doing more than a filing. In her opinion, this results in horses who no longer want to lower their heads, lean into the bit and run. Given how Lucky uses his head, and how much he disliked a D ring snaffle (which could pinch and poke when he’s already pinching and poking himself with his own teeth) I could see that. It seems like it would be a cheap way of getting better performances out of them to just do their teeth better. I’ll find out how much he does improve tomorrow or Sunday–I have to work tomorrow, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to get out there and be able to get home in time for the Derby. No, I don’t have a favorite. Anyone I pick will just be jinxed! If I were betting, I would pick Lookin At Lucky, and I would probably also bet the filly, Devil May Care, just in case. Well, that, and we’re not supposed to have much better weather than they are in Louisville.

After the barn (Lucky got a bit of recovery time, then I put him back out and puttered cleaning up his stall and where he left a ‘deposit’ while she was working on him, until he looked like he was moving around a bit more and didn’t seem to be too groggy) I had to head over to Mishawaka for a dance lesson. It’s only my second with New Pro, but so far, so good. And it’s surprisingly easy to get there from the barn. And after that, shopping. I actually bought plants, as I’ve been meaning to do something with the yard. I need more border plants, so I got a boxwood and a Colorado blue spruce (yes, I know how big it’s going to get. That’s rather the point!) I also put in some ground cover flowers, Alyssum and Lobelia. I still need to find something for the front yard–vinca minor would work well, but the garden center didn’t have any. Hopefully it won’t all be drowned by rain. Even if I had a lawn mower, which I don’t, I still wouldn’t be able to mow the lawn. Maybe I should get a goat. I don’t have enough land for a horse per township regs, but they might not notice a goat. (Or, given all the animals the neighbors have, care.)

At least the weather’s improved!

It is back to being more like pre-summer than November. Although looking out the front window as I type this, the clouds are looking kind of gray in the distance.

Today was a busy day, at least for me. This was my Saturday to work, and it was also Tractor Supply’s one-day pet sale, so before work I ran down and picked up dog food, cat food, dog treats, and hey, there were 24-packs of AA batteries for $5 (and of course everything in the house takes AA, except for the occasional oddball remote that takes AAAs.) I really only went for the dog and cat food. Of course Tractor Supply is like Toys R Us for grownups as far as I’m concerned. Last week’s massive trip when my parents were visiting was a shopping spree including a huge discount tub of biotin, a new Troxel, and three pairs of my Best Jeans Ever. (When you find comfy jeans, stock up.)

AFTER work, which was uneventful except for the ghost haunting the office being especially noisy today, I went down to the barn. I fully expected this to be a short trip. I can hear you laughing. When I got there, it was still sunny and warm, but the wind was pretty fierce. As long as it’s not bringing in more rain . . . Lucky didn’t wander off to the very far end of the pasture, but he didn’t go out of his way to come any closer. Dino did not give us any problems about going out the gate, and we managed not to run over Pest, who was hanging out in the barn aisle.

Lucky is still fuzzy, though it’s starting to come out in large quantities, so I have hair all over everything. The recently-oiled girth is going to be fun to clean. Again. It was attracting hair before I put it on the horse. While I was grooming him, I found another of the spots the vet tentatively identified as a sarcoid. I don’t want to question the vet, but it really behaves and looks an awful lot more like a fungal condition. The old patches are responding to the iodine and bag balm, so I’ll keep treating that and talk to the vet. If I had a trailer I’d be tempted to haul him up to my parents’ and have Doc Pol take a look. I know he’s a good horse vet. Not that the vet here isn’t, but when there’s only one large-animal practice that people can use, you wonder how complacent they get.

We started in the round pen today. Lucky was having another ‘looky’ day and it took me forever to spot what it was. In the Big Scary Woods, the guy next door was cutting wood from downed trees (of which there are a lot–we had a huge storm this week and in some places whole buildings got taken out). And he was using a lawn tractor and trailer to haul it. I think I’m going to be really glad when the trees leaf out. As long as we were moving out it wasn’t really an issue, though, so I asked for a bit of a canter. As Natalie said over on her blog the opposite of “forward” is “up”, and we had a lot of Mach 3 trotting with the head well above the bit (hey, at least he goes on a loose rein), a wrong-lead canter, and a few strides of labored left-lead correct canter. The opposite direction we got almost all the way around on the correct lead. He is really the opposite of what I’d expect from an OTTB, much more flexible to the right than the left. While he’s not exactly bending, he does yield to my right leg more readily than my left (quite well today; “Yes, that is my foot, and that is the fence. You don’t have to go THAT far over!”)

I decided that since he was going so nicely, except for the ADD moments, we’d go into the big outdoor and do a few trot poles. I managed to open the sticky round pen gate from his back and we were good right until we were approaching the gate to the outdoor. This pointed us right at the scary man in the scary woods with the scary trailer of wood. Lucky decided to stop, and leg and stick had him thinking about going backwards. So I hopped off–I realize this can be construed as rewarding the behavior. As I’m out there alone (J., BO’s Husband, was in the house and knew I was riding but wasn’t anywhere he could do anything) I’d rather deal with issues on the ground if they seem inclined to head south. I flipped the reins and we walked into the ring, and walked down to the far corner closest to the scary man in the scary woods with the scary trailer. He got to have a nice long look, and it did seem to be less weird than before. I don’t know why things are just less scary when the monkey is standing next to him instead of on his back, but whatever works.

This also meant time for another solo attempt at using the mounting block. (Unless I grow two inches or he shrinks, the block is a necessity.) I have two choices in the outdoor, a big set of steps and a stump. Lucky has his own style of approaching the mounting block, mostly not doing it. He doesn’t make a fuss, he’s just very good at planting his weight. In the round pen we just use an upturned five-gallon bucket, and I can move that. I picked the stump, and it worked without too much fuss. He did step off again, but he stops right away if I ask.

We did some more trotting, and tried a line of poles, with a small stack of poles (a little pole pyramid, probably the height of two poles) at the end. Steering is still a big issue, but he is learning to pick up his feet. He even tried a teeny hop over the pile, once, before realizing that he didn’t have to make that big an effort. Lucky prefers the path of least resistance (or no resistance) as a general rule. We did the line maybe three times, and I figured we could finish off with a walk outside the ring.

We were okay approaching the gate, but it was like his feet hit the grass and that was just too much. I got him back once, and we were pointed at the paddock fence, and then he started a scramble again and it was half up, half backwards. I got a very short halt and hit and the ground, and decided we were going on a walk up the Scary Lane, which parallels the outdoor between it and the big pasture and ends at the gate to the trails through the Scary Woods. This is the direction he had decided to head very quickly away from, so we took a walk that way. He went from a bit of scooting to a fast walk to standing at the gate looking at the Scary Man in the Scary Woods to finally wondering why we were looking at the boring woods. I took him up the middle lane after that to the track gate and back, and since I hadn’t gotten off when I wanted, we went back to the round pen and I got on again (he was probably sick of it by this point) and we went around a few times. By then he was cooled out (I will be SO happy when he’s done shedding) so I took the saddle off and we went back to the barn. To his disappointment, I just curried (more hair, everywhere), did the iodine on the scaly bits, and put him back out. J. had put out their dinner and Lucky was hoping it was suppertime. I’m sure the treats tided him over.

On the list of “things you see when you don’t have a camera” I found the small flock of cowbirds following Trudy, Dom, and Takota around amusing. I know they’re nest-stealing pests, but at least they were doing what they’re supposed to do.

Weather permitting, I’m hoping to get back to the barn earlier tomorrow, since I don’t have to work. We’ll see how long I end up sleeping, though!

Nothing Much To See Here

Except insanely busy weeks at work, plus what I hope is just a cold (body aches, cough, and the sensation of having been run over by a truck.)

Tucker did get her stitches out Tuesday, though, and is doing fine–she is down 2.2 pounds from when I got her, so we are making slow progress. Lucky could probably use that weight moved over onto him! We’re thinking of slowly upping his grain while the weather is this cold. He gets all the hay he wants, but a few more calories can’t hurt in this weather.

And, apropos of nothing, I thought I would share a picture my mother sent me of Thursday, the amazing turkey-herding cat. Story behind the picture: the turkeys (there are about seventy) are Eastern wild turkeys that view my mom’s birdfeeders as their personal stash. Apparently Thursday (one of their five, possibly six, barn cats–Creamsicle hasn’t decided whether he’s staying) wanted a drink out of the sump pump runoff. The turkeys were between him and the water. Th e turkeys are apparently poor judges of relative size, and unable to count or comprehend that 1 cat < 70 turkeys.