Thursday, January 15, 2009

A horse Owner's Worst Fear

I will be posting a bit later about my ride last night with the local Sheriff's Posse but today I checked my email (one that I don't use often) and found an email from one of my best friend's Delacy dated 2 days ago. It made me cry. As a horse owner I felt I needed to share. Just as a little background on Delacy, she works for the Oregon Department of Transportation and is currently on the night shift. We've been friends for nearly 10 years and have been through a lot together. I wrote a post a while ago about her mare Lulu. All of the text below this was written by her. My heart goes out to everyone involved with this terrible accident.

"Last night was the worst night at work I've had yet. We got a call at 4:30am about a 12-16(accident) on Hwy 58 mile post 2.5, I took the call and dispatch said it was Semi verse horses and that the horse was dead. My heart sank and I jumped in the truck lights going. When I got there I saw the horse in the middle of the road and checked to make sure she had passed. When I walked up there the sheriff pointed his flash light in the ditch to see another one standing in the ditch. I walked down to her and I recognized her. Her and her buddy are the two black horses that are on the north side of the hwy, I always see them when I go to my barn.
The Sheriff said he was trying to find the owners and I pointed to the pasture where they came from so he headed to find them. Meanwhile I call Jeff Pelton(seeing as he lives right across the street from the accident). I walked down to the mare and noticed her back leg was bleeding, As i got closer I saw what every horse lover fears, Her hoof was gone and her front fetlock flexor tendon was cut. I knew she had to be put down.
I stood there with her from that point on.
Jeff got there and he looked at her and looked at me and you know that was when you know you have the best vet in the world cause you could see the sadness in his eyes. Here we are standing here with a mare we'd never meet and our hearts were breaking. Jeff gave her a tranq and just then the sheriff showed up with the owner. He ran up and had his halter, thinking he was going to just grab her and go home. He said thank you and went to halter her. Jeff and I looked at each other and I said, "Sir, she's going to have to be put down and I pointed to her foot." He looked at us and said," If you have to'" with a question in his voice. Jeff said' " there's really no way to fix this, not to mention what other damages there were that we hadn't seen yet."
The Owner said, " ok, it has to be done." He stepped back and I held the mare's head while Jeff gave her the drugs. She went down really fast and as she took her last few breaths I held my hand over her eye and the owner, Jeff, the fire marshal, and I all cried.
In all my years of horses I've never had to see one put down. It was the saddest thing I've had to do. You know I think I could handle a fatal person crash better than that mare.
My heart goes out to him and his family. And a note to all horse owners, please make sure your fences are secure and your gates have locks that the horses can't get open!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I haven't posted any pics of Summer lately so tonight when Mo and I went out to the barn to do chores I snapped some shots of the Princess in the round pen. She was pretty boring and pretty much just wanted to walk around and smell the ground where the other horses had pooped and peed. Occasionally something would smell really good and she would lift her head and and curl her top lip back, I think this is called a flehmen reaction or something. All of these pics were taken just before sunset and I was playing with the flash a bit, so sorry for the graininess and background in some of them.
Today was her day with Susan. I watched Susan lunging her today and noticed that Susan had much better body language than she has recently and that Summer was being respectful and attentive. Not once did I feel the need to step in and help. Summer kept flicking her ears back and forth at Susan listening for her next command and for the most part was keeping her attention focused on her. Previous lunging sessions consisted of Summer doing her best impression of a tree for Susan and poor Susan looking extremely flustered. At one point I even walked through the arena to find Summer standing in the middle ground tied while Susan moved some poles out of their way. She was completely still and didn't even look like she was thinking about moving. I was very proud of both of them and it was nice to see they are beginning to come to an agreement.
Sundays are my day to feed at the barn and clean stalls for my wonderful barn lady. There is absolutely no sarcasm in that, I have the greatest barn owner ever. My horse is always cared for as if she were there own and never goes without anything. They even take the time to give each horse at the barn some hands on attention and love which is something most places don't ever think about being necessary. I don't think I will ever move her unless my husband and I buy our own property and she'll be in my own backyard. Anyone in the Eugene/Springfield/Pleasant Hill area looking for a barn should check out Way To Go Ranch, they don't have openings often but they are well worth the wait. Anyways, Mo comes out on Sundays to help me clean stalls since I really shouldn't be lifting anything over 25 lbs. I fill the wheel barrows and he pushes them up the mountain of poop and dumps them for me. Its definitely nice to have the help. I love that he doesn't mind coming out to help and he's really getting some good hands on experience with the horses. He also fills water buckets and helps distribute hay and grain when needed. Good stuff to know for when we have our own property and more than one horse.
Once we get our work done we come home and make dinner, sometimes together, and then spend some time relaxing and watching our favorite tv programs. Sounds boring but I love Sundays. This Sunday though I even made it out to help my little sister look at a car she might buy, teach her to drive a manual, and walk the dogs when I got home. Oh, and I even cleaned up the house a little bit. I love days where I've actually accomplished something.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Babies and Horses

Yea I know, not a good mix. I haven't posted in a long time though and I figured for those that read this it might be about time for an update. Straight to the point....Mo and I are expecting our first baby in July! Our own cute little bundle of joy! I'm almost 12 weeks along and have known since before Thanksgiving but I am still just floored at the thought of it. I've always wanted to be a mom, but I really am not prepared for this. I think the hardest part is realizing that my lifelong dream of being a horse owner is going to be majorly affected by this. We plan on doing as much as we can to keep Summer, but I am so afraid I may have to sell her. I'm still riding, but being much more careful than before. What am I saying, I was ridiculously careful before, but now its not just my life a fall from horseback could affect. I've spoken to my doctor and since I was riding 5 to 6 days a week before she said I need to be careful and not doing anything too over the top but that I could continue to ride. Since I've been extremely tired the last few months I haven't been out there as much as I'd like. So I decided to find someone to half lease Summer. Her name is Susan and she is a middle aged re-rider. I don't believe she ever owned horses before, but much like myself she had spent as much time as possible around them in her younger days. To get her started I gave her a few "beginner" lessons with Summer and got her comfortable before turning them loose together. Susan is a super nice lady and she is being careful to continue doing everything with Summer just as I would, which I love. She also is taking lessons every Tuesday from my trainer, so I know she'll be riding Summer the way she was trained. Its still hard though, I consider Summer another one of my "fur babies" so the first day when Susan signed the lease agreement and she had her first day alone I spent forever hanging around talking because I was so nervous leaving them. I finally did and I'm sure she was glad to have me out of there. One of my biggest fears is that Summer will like Susan better than me, as silly as that seems. My other worry is that Summer will take full advantage of Susan and her inexperience, much like she did me in the beginning. I keep reminding myself that she's getting some good direction from my trainer and the other wonderful boarders but it doesn't always make things easier.
For now my plan is to continue to ride until I can no longer get in the saddle or fit in it, whichever one happens first. Hopfully I can continue to ride for several more months. If not though at least I have a back up plan and I know Summer isn't wasting away. And the nice thing is that being on a half lease helps pay part of her board, Susan is paying $100 a month to ride 3 days a week. I take care of everything else but Summer is a pretty easy keeper. The lease is up for renewal in June, at which time I'll give Susan the option of a full lease and we'll take care of vet bills for 3 to 4 months. It all depends on whether or not Susan can afford to pay for her feed and board plus worming and farrier bills.

Okay onto more baby things......I haven't had any morning sickness but like I said I've been pretty tired. Although the last week or two I've noticed it seems to be wearin off a bit and I'm getting more bursts of energy that are lasting longer. Hopefully everything goes as easily the entire pregnancy as it has this first few months. Only time will tell. I do have a condition concerning my uterus that puts me at a higher risk for preterm labor but my doctor said we'll be monitoring the baby's growth carefully and doing lots of ultrasounds as we go. My uterus is heartshaped and has a muscle that cuts off one side, although it could just be partial instead of complete. It may mean the baby might have just enough room to develop but won't be able to turn for labor and will be a breach. It could also mean that the baby will run out of room early in the pregnancy forcing my body to try and go into labor. My doctor didn't seem too worried so we're just playing the wait and see game.
We are really hoping for a boy. I think we'll be happy either way but boys just seem easier and I'm not much of a girly girl. My family and Mo's family are really excited which is helping to get me more excited as we go. This baby will be the first great-grand child on Mo's dad's side of the family which is pretty exciting. We'll be having 2 baby showers, one here in our area and one up in Washington for Mo's family. How spoiled is this kid gonna be? Ooooh and I LOVE baby shower cakes. Yum. Costco cakes with buttercream frosting....sorry I'm pregnant, I love sweets! I also can't wait to decorate the baby's room, I want to have the theme be Eeyore. Unusual I know, but Eeyore never gets enough recognition and I think he's adorable. Keep your eyes peeled for great Eeyore stuff, I want it all! I also want lots of camo stuff too, I think babies are cute in camo. And cute little baby cowboy boots and Carhartts. This kid is going to be an adorable, chubby little cowboy. Night everyone, I'll try and keep you up to date more often.