The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

George Softens Up

A couple of days ago, the sun was shining cheerfully. It was still cold, mind you, but armed with new (thank you, Santa) insulated gloves and various other items of warm clothing, I decided to spend some time out with the horses while they were eating hay.

They were intent on eating and did not interact with me, except for Bridget, who always can spare a few minutes to play. At the moment, her favorite thing is to have me hold one of her forelegs while she chews and tugs at various parts of my clothing in the vicinity of my head and neck. At this time of year, there are plenty of bits and ends to chew on - the drawstring of my anorak hood, my hat, my scarf, my collar.

Later on, I came out and found George unmistakeably asking to be taken out, something he hasn't done for weeks.

So on with the halter, and out we went. We wandered around, George finding enough green grass still available to make the excursion very worthwhile.

For some time now, he has had his prickly aura. You just know if you touch him, he's going to stiffen and look sour. But this day he was emanating a much warmer, more inviting vibe. I could put my arm around him and lean on him, and he placidly kept on grazing.

For the rest of the day he kept it up. Maire posted a blog entry the other day, where she talks about experiencing an urge to hug her elderly pony mare. It's hard to know sometimes where the feeling is coming from, as there are two psyches involved, and the present situation sometimes is at odds with the past.

Yesterday the day was much warmer - all the way up into the high 40's - and George was very mellow again. Every time I saw him, I felt the desire to make physical contact, and every time I would feel a twinge of reluctance just before touching him - a feeling conditioned by his recent aversion to being touched. But in this case, my attraction toward touching him was the "truth," while my anxiety was an out-of-date hangover from a past situation - because once contact was made, he remained soft and receptive.

However, if I went ahead and petted him on days when he was not in the mood, then my decision to touch him would be an untimely attempt to change the "truth" of his current distaste for contact.

Yesterday, I could have interpreted the slight anxiety before touching him as a signal from him, and I really had no way of ascertaining which it was until I made contact. Except that in the moments when I was most aware of the anxiety, I believe my attention was turning inward on myself and away from George.

He stayed and was cozy with me for a little while yesterday. It was nice.

George has been playing with the dogs. Here's a blurry picture of him fence-running with them.

My daughter's miniature schnauzer is staying with us for the holidays. He and George are making friends and sniff noses through the gap in the gate. I need to get a photo of that.

And speaking of photos, here is a marked-up photo of Rose's hoof, showing the slit where the abscess erupted. New wall will grow down above it, but the slit will remain, as the hoof wall grows, until it reaches ground level. Apparently this won't cause problems. She's still a little sensitive around the coronet band area, which will make it hard to hold her foot for trimming - something she really needs.

Pretty wide, huh?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas

On Christmas morning, it's a good idea to feed the horses wearing your anorak and wellies over your pyjamas and bathrobe.

There was a kindly son-in-law in residence, who volunteered to help carry water buckets and fetch hay from the barn, making the chores go quickly and companionably. Snow fell in the morning, and stayed long enough to give us a festive view from the window in honor of the day.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Oxen

 The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

                                                                              Thomas Hardy

Merry Christmas to all creatures,
and to all in the race of man,
who kneel even now in joyful expectation of the second Advent! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Yup, it was an abscess. I came out yesterday morning to find that it had finally erupted at Rose's coronet band, and she was walking a little more easily.

There it is, draining out down the front of her hoof.
Well, abscess is good news - much better news than an injury. Her walking continued to improve, and this evening, although still limping, she was trucking along at a pretty normal speed. The fetlock was still swollen this morning, and my trimmer friend said the cause may be lack of circulation in that foot due to the curtailment of movement and weight-bearing.

You can see how much more swollen the near fetlock and pastern
are. (It's more common for an abscess not to cause this swelling.) 

And this photo demonstrates something else. Namely, her coon-footedness. Yes, I have coincidentally just found out the name for these kinds of legs, where the pastern is flat and the fetlock dropped. There are all kinds of scary words associated with this condition - e.g. long-term damage to the suspensory ligament. However, we will just take a positive attitude and continue trimming in the confident expectation of gradual improvement.

Abscesses can be caused by stretching and detaching of the laminae, caused in turn by long toes leveraging the hoof wall away from the internal structures. Necrotic tissue forms, which the body then has to expel. Rose has a band (about 2") of new, healthier hoof wall growth at the top of her feet, but the hoof wall below that is stretched and flared. I assume the abscess has formed in that area. Unfortunately it seems to have had to work its way up through the healthier tissue to find an exit. My good trimmer friend re-affirms the need to keep her toes as short as possible to minimize leveraging and optimize the position of breakover.

My other trimming mentor is someone whom I've never met, who lives far away. When I emailed her to ask about the abscess, I mentioned the coon-footedness. She immediately replied that for such a young horse to be coon-footed already suggests that she has a "hunter bump" and a "sacral sprain." Well, I wasn't exactly sure what a hunter bump is, so I asked. It is a high spot right at the top of the croup, with a slight dip in front of it. So I sent her this photo of Rose and asked if this was what she's talking about:

She said oh yes indeed, and that slight lumbar bulge is called a "roach," and it's a sign of sacral sprain and often develops in response to pain in the front feet. Oh, I've got a lot to learn.

She also remarked that the boxy appearance of her feet indicate that the bars need to be lowered to the level of the sole. That's something I'd do anyway, in keeping with the trimming school I follow, but I have not worked with Rose's feet nearly as much as I should have (as she really doesn't like to stand on three legs), and I fear the bars are in fact overgrown. My local trimmer friend is hopefully coming over tomorrow, and we'll work on it together.

Did I mention that Rose won't eat her uveitis Chinese herb apple sauce any more? I pendulumed it, and got a straight back and forth swing, so I assume she knows what she's doing. The eye is back to the way it always was before the uveitis flare-up. I guess the cloudy spot that remains is just scar tissue.

She's a deep one, that Rose.

I was struck by the fact that the whole time when her foot was so painful, she remained rather upbeat. It hurt so much to put weight on that foot, she would grunt every time she had to take a step. But her appetite remained hearty, and she never seemed depressed.

What with one thing and another, Rose is teaching me a lot.

Friday, December 17, 2010


This morning, my daughter's school was on a two-hour delay. My husband (who is home for the weekend) and I took full advantage of a couple hours of extra sleep. My daughter actually stayed up and diligently used the time for some extra swotting.

The horses were the victims of this delay, and I found them hovering up by the house when I finally emerged.

As is usual in cold or wet weather, I drove my daughter down the drive to meet the bus. And, as is not customary, Bridget followed us down and stood by the fence next to the car.

After the bus had driven off with my daughter and I was heading back up the drive, I looked over at Bridget. She had picked up a stray piece of bark and was waving it at me over the fence.

Here are George and Rose, finally eating breakfast.

p.s. Rose's leg is worse again. I think she's working on an abscess.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


The wind is like a knife. I got deep-down chilled this evening when I was out with the horses, and only now am warm enough to sit by the computer downstairs, having had a hot bath.  It's 62F downstairs, which is as warm as I can make it, but not warm enough!

The ground in the barn pasture is frozen, and I walked over to see what the wind felt like in the lee of the barn and inside the shelter. It felt much better. So - as is my wont - I picked this evening, as night was falling, to decide to move the horses back over there.

They were all, like, "What! What's happening! Where are you taking me? Help! I'm being left behind!" Or, in Chloe's case: "I'm fine here out on the lawn, thanks. Please leave me alone."

However, I finally got everyone reunited inside their new accommodations. I put hay in the shelter and up against the barn. I said, "Come, horsies, see how cozy it is. You'll be all warm and snug here."

They said: "Pshaw. We're going out into the howling gale to see if there's anything tasty growing out there."

I lugged a couple of buckets of water in, but the little creek is running enough in places to be unfrozen. Rose ate her herbs. Bridget thought we maybe could play a little. But I said, "No! I am going inside and having a whisky. Goodnight."

As I sit, I can hear the wind howling on the other side of the wall. It's supposed to get down to 15F tonight (-10C), and what with the wind adding to the chill, I'm glad they have a shelter. Even if George stands in the entrance and won't let them in, at least they'll have the barn as a windbreak.

I am officially a wimp and am now going to bed with a hot water bottle.

p.s. Rose's leg's looking a lot better.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rose and George Take It to the Next Level

Today was a dank, damp, dreary day.  When I went outside this morning to feed, Rose turned up lame - her left hind leg looked stiff and sore, maybe something in the hock area. She's walking ok, but has to sort of gear herself up for it.

I put this condition down to a slip on the wet ground. That is, until I saw her interacting with George this evening.

She seems to be in heat, and George is acting all kinds of studdish. Looks like maybe her hock problem may be the result of a George Incident. I have never seen them contact each other before unless there was an intervening fence, or Rose was on the lead rope.

The wet weather has two upsides - one is that there is a nice little fresh creek running for the horses to drink out of. And the other is that it's not as cold out as it has been. So this evening, I spent time in the field hanging out, mostly with George and Bridget. George is very testy in the colder weather but was also in a mood for some company. Mostly he wanted me to stand by his tail, whether or not to scratch I couldn't figure out. He rubbed his head on me a lot, pulled my gloves off a couple of times, and once indicated that he wanted me to scratch his side, but when I did, he pulled an awful face and pinned his ears. Once he even put me into the happy spot by his shoulder, but that didn't last long. George has this really weird new habit of biting himself when he gets ... I don't know - frustrated? He'll do it sometimes when he's waiting for food. Today he did it when I was standing by him. He snatches with his mouth at his upper arm or chest. I wondered if he was itchy, but uh oh, when I scratched the place where he'd bitten, he got all bent out of shape. He's radiating the do-not-touch vibe these days, so I don't, unless he indicates to the contrary. Maybe one day he'll mellow out. My friend's Arab gelding used to be like this and now is all cuddly, so we'll see.

Bridget and I played. She followed me around and kept asking me to hold her legs or scratch her tail. She was following me to the gate as I was leaving when the above scene between George and Rose started to unfold. She immediately went over and stood nearby - feeling a little left out maybe?

Friday, December 10, 2010


The horses have grown better coats than I'd feared. Of course Chloe's coat is a marvel of fluffiness. Here they are in order of thickness. These are shots of their backs - the coat is thicker underneath bellies.


Yikes. Somebody needs hand lotion in a bad way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jessie and the Fridge

One summer, while a student, I worked as a cook and housekeeper for a middle-aged couple in Edinburgh. They lived in a substantial stone house which looked like this, in fact I think it was this house:

There were two huge kitchens - one for cooking, one for washing - and an enormous walk-in pantry where we kept the food stored under mesh covers to keep the flies away. No fridge. This was Scotland, after all, and the temperature in the summer rarely got out of the 70's.

My domain was the cooking kitchen, while the other kitchen harbored an aged retainer by the name of Jessie. It was hard to know how old Jessie was, hailing as she did from an altogether bygone era, but she might easily have been in her 80's. Having spent her entire life "in service," she had nowhere else to go, and the family kept her on out of kindness. She had her own bedroom, and her sole duty was to wash up the silverware after lunch, a job she took very seriously. Once a week, on her "day off," she would don her finery, apply some pretty scary makeup, and board the bus for Princes Street where she would have lunch at Littlewoods.

Now, the family did in fact own one refrigerator - a very small one, kept for the single purpose of making ice for cocktails. As I recall, it lived in the sitting room, and on the other side of the wall where it was sat was Jessie's bedroom.

Jessie did not like this. Apparently, the fridge radiated uncomfortable and unpleasant emanations, which she could feel through the wall. I think the fridge may have eventually been relocated out of deference to Jessie's concerns. Which of course were completely batty and unfounded. Crazy old Jessie, eh?

Fast forward twenty years. I'm married, with kids, living in my own big ol' house. One day I'm pottering about in the kitchen, and I can feel it. The radiation, the emanation - coming from the refrigerator. It's so long ago now that I can't recapture what it was like - but I believe it was a slight prickly sensation.  I remembered Jessie. She wasn't daft at all.

Jessie was probably born at the end of the 19th century and grew up with very little electricity, apart from  lighting. We attributed her unease at the refrigerator to a primitive fear of unknown gadgets, but really she must have just been more sensitive than the rest of us. For some reason, for a short time twenty years later, I became similarly sensitized myself. Who knows how. But I felt pretty stupid for having dismissed Jessie's experience so readily.

All this is a long and roundabout way of saying that Bridget does not like the new water trough situation. Yesterday, when I walked over to the trough carrying a bucket to pour in, Bridget came eagerly to the fence. I poured the water in, and she sniffed at the trough but didn't drink. She then pawed the ground next to the trough in a frustrated kind of a way. I took pity on her and fetched her a bucket to drink out of.

Later, after I'd set the evening hay out, I asked Bridget if she wanted to come over to the trough with me. We walked over and again she sniffed but didn't drink. I had the Tupperware bowl, from which I'd just given Rose her medicine, and I used it to ladle some water out to offer her. She drank it down, and kept nudging the bowl to ask for more, until she'd had her fill.

So - it's not the taste of the water which is the problem. I've dipped my hand in, and although the water is oddly warm (is this unhealthy, I ask myself), I wasn't zapped or anything. This makes me wonder if the electricity is giving off a weird vibe, which Bridget is picking up.

I'm not sure if the others are drinking from the trough. Last night, after ladling out water for Bridget, I brought two buckets over and left them in the field. Bridget had more, but the others weren't interested. This morning, both buckets were empty. When I put two more buckets out, George came over and had a little, but that was it.

When the days are above freezing, I'll keep the heater turned off. Also maybe Bridget will get used to the weirdness.

I wonder what all we're missing by being so thick-skinned and unaware. It can be a drawback to be overly sensitive, but sometimes I fear I'm doing the equivalent of banging my head on a wall and not noticing because my head is already numb.

P.S. When I was growing up, "Jessie" was a name associated par excellence with the kind of character described above. When we had kids, though, we decided to rescue the name from oblivion and give it to one of our daughters. A fine Scottish name.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Water and Food

Yesterday afternoon, with a high of 28F forecast for the next day, I decided it was now or never.  Time to put the new stock tank heater into action. In the gathering darkness, I dumped the ice and water out of the tank and moved it to a location closer to an electric source. The horses milled about, wondering what on earth I was up to.

Here is George inspecting the heater, which has been plugged into the tank's drain hole. We used to use a floating heater, but I'd put money on a certain Miss Bridget being unable to resist the temptation to play with such a thing. I walked back and forth with buckets of water until the heater was well submerged, as per the instructions.

Of course they also tell you on no account to use the heater with an extension cord. Ha! They're kidding, right? I hung the extension cord in the trees to keep it away from the dogs.

This morning I scurried over to the tank to see if the whole rig had functioned as hoped for. Hooray! Liquid H2O!

If I schlep two or three bucketfuls of water two or three times a day, it'll get gradually fuller. Our trusty standpipe never freezes, unless I'm foolish enough to leave a hose attached to it.

Of course what I really want is for Santa to bring me a heated hose. I'm not sure if 100 feet would do it, though, and then then there's the problem of Lucy, who likes to decimate hose pipe.

Lucy also thinks it's fun to chew ice,

while Malcolm enjoys leftover beet pulp.

Speaking of beet pulp, I bring the bucket in to the kitchen to soak, so that it's not all freezing for the horses to eat. The bucket is not food-grade plastic, but it has a handy snap-on lid. I'm afraid it's bad for you to eat out of the wrong kind of plastic. Need to go to the restaurant supply store and look for a healthy bucket-with-lid.

I don't know what it is, but the horses are giving off a well-fed vibe. Thanks to Sandra, I've switched to feeding beet pulp and chopped forage (as well as hay, of course). The horses seem to be thriving on it, and I like that I can give them large portions as compared to the more concentrated grain-based feeds. Even after a day and a half straight of 40 mph winds in freezing temperatures, the horses seemed quite at ease with life. Even George, although he does his rocking-horse dinner dance when I show up with the feed, waits quite politely while I mix up the buckets.

Breakfast time is happy time.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Rose's eye 11/16/10
You can see that the cloudy area has shrunk. In fact, it's almost back to the size it's been all along, since before she came to live with us. I wish I had a good photo from early in the summer. There's still tearing. I'm keeping up the treatment in the hopes that we can really make a difference in the eye.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hay, Eyes, and oh yes, here we go again, Dominance

We came close to running out of hay, but are now back in business - phew!

A very nice farmer and his wife, who live nearby, brought it over, stacked to a perilous height on the back of their pick up truck. Mr. Burkman must be seventy if he's a day, and he scampered over the roof of his pick up, scaling the tower of hay like a mountain goat, to undo the ropes and then throw the bales down. We'll run out again in another month or two, but he said he'd have hay for sale until spring. It's nice clean, dry brome hay. He lets it dry for three days before baling, and frowns on farmers who bale sooner than that.

The horses prefer our own hay and will eat it first if I put both out, probably just because they're used to it. The bought hay is better quality, I think. Ours got a little damp due to its forcible removal from the barn during the wedding. It was in wagons and covered in tarps, but there was some severe rain during that time. Only a few bales actually got mouldy, but the rest ended up a little dusty.

Next year I'm hoping our own hay will last through the winter, because:
1) with any luck a severe drought won't make me have to start feeding hay in August;
2)  a neighboring farmer spread manure on our hay field, and we had some new seed drilled in, so we should get a better crop; and
3)  I'm planning to take back three of the acres which we have been renting out during our absence in Mississippi. It currently has alfalfa growing, which I'm planning to overseed with a grass mixture - giving us some alfalfa/grass hay mix to ration out to the horses in the colder weather. (Of course, I belong to the Blanche Dubois School of Farming, depending on the kindness of strangers to effect these little miracles on my behalf.)

Rose's eye is looking a little better. I have been mixing the Chinese herbs with a little apple sauce and serving them up in bowls. If I then pour the goop onto my hand, that's even more acceptable.

She will eat up all of her uveitis remedy in this way, but refuses the immune booster.

This prompted me to bring out the pendulum again and re-test the herbs. The uveitis formula produced the same reaction as before - alternate vigorous swings clockwise and counter-clockwise. However, the immune booster formula caused a different reaction - a strong back-and-forth swing, followed by a vigorous counter-clockwise swing, following by a short, weak clockwise swing, and then a halt. Ok, I won't insist on the immune formula.

I believe Chinese herbs really ought to be prescribed by someone who can check the meridian pulses, or whatever the heck they're called. However, I take comfort in the fact that the eye is improving, that Rose seems to enjoy the uveitis formula, and that the pendulum says, um, I don't know, that it's in balance or something .... ?

My good friend, who has slightly divergent opinions from me, was over and we hung out in the field with the horses. Last time she came over our different approaches led to a confusing and slightly upsetting situation. However, this time, I found I was able to listen to her, even follow her suggestions, and because I have a better connection to the horses, it was possible to try a little bit of doing things her way without losing that connection in the process.

She was trying to get me to move Bridget's shoulder over.  She saw me moving her hindquarters over, and remarked that the real test is moving the shoulder. She poked her finger (gently but significantly) into a spot on Bridget's shoulder. Bridget just about jumped out of her skin. My friend is trying to achieve what she sees other, more dominant, horses do - namely obtain instant obedience by a look or gesture. She is actually extremely good at this, and her own horses are devoted to her, as well as being very friendly and confident. So I wouldn't want anyone to think that she's really on a very different tack from me.

I agreed to try what she was suggesting. But it was confusing to me and to Bridget. As I am not trying to obtain instant obedience, I don't feel an immediate need to overcome initial resistance from the horse. So when I sense Bridget's reluctance to cede her shoulder, my instinct is to stop and re-assess rather than press forward to compliance. I believe she needs to take her time and agree to what I ask because she trusts me rather than because I'm mimicking mean old George. My attempts to do what my friend was suggesting only ended up with Bridget resisting or becoming anxious.

The next day, when I was out in the field on my own, I reprised the shoulder yielding exercise. I gave it some more thought and remembered how I obtained a good result with George. It is easier to cede the shoulder from movement than from a standstill. So I asked Bridget to move forward a little and at the same time indicated that I'd like her shoulder to move away from me. She moved away beautifully, even crossing one front leg over the other. A second attempt was much more muddy, and I called it a day.

Here's what I've been thinking: there's a difference between insisting and making. My friend has noticed that when she, or one of her riding students, is able to control the horse's movements at will, the horse becomes more confident. I would not disagree, and that's what Carolyn Resnick talks about. However, it is possible to insist without becoming coercive. I think that's what brought about the recent change in George - that I finally figured out it was ok to insist, and that it's possible to insist without forcing. I mean, gosh, isn't that what I've been doing as a mother for the past 24 years?

The difference between me and my friend is that I draw the line between insisting and forcing in a slightly different place, although actually we're not far off each other.

I think when you sense resistance in a horse, you have to try to get inside what's going on and unravel it from within, rather than trying to overcome it by remote control.

And here's another thing. This cold weather business. It makes it much less appealing to go out and just spend time, share space. I need to invest in some serious cold weather clothing. This won't help George, though, who is a little uptight in the cold. My friend, who knows a lot, says that the cold weather makes the fascia get tight, and tight fascia don't like to be touched. George is a tight guy at the best of times, and the cold weather exacerbates it. Still, he might like the company. So, I need long johns, vests, scarfs, balaclavas, down jackets ... oh well, Christmas is coming.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I've decided to go with Chinese herbs for the treatment of Rose's eye. The vet doesn't think it's uveitis, but then again, he doesn't know what it is and was using a scattershot approach to treatment. The folks at For Love of the Horse believe it is uveitis and have recommended an herbal uveitis remedy, as well as an immune system support treatment. As uveitis is something which conventional medicine treats with only moderate success, if any, I'm placing my confidence in the herbs. Chinese medicine got my daughter over fibromyalgia and got me out of a borderline thyroid/fatigue slump, so here goes.

I know very little about Chinese medicine, but I gather it is all about balance - keeping the body's own systems functioning harmoniously - strengthening the parts which are weak, and toning down those which are overactive - helping the body cope on its own with the challenges thrown at it.

Every organism is in a constant state of adjustment. If we were in a permanent state of equilibrium, we would be deader than rocks, not to mention hermetically sealed off from our environment. Life is movement, rearrangement, change, and interaction.

In Paradise, I imagine every creature's ability to adjust to changing conditions was finely tuned, and each challenge met with the immediate, appropriate response. If you run fifteen minutes in the sun and then take a drink, you'll stay in balance. But try to run a whole marathon without hydrating, and you'll probably need days to recuperate. A little off-balance is what makes us alive. It's only when the response is too little or too late that pathology ensues.

I'm reminded what they say about the traditional Chinese doctor - that he is paid only when you're healthy, and you stop paying him when you're sick. The fabled Chinese doctor maintains your health by helping you constantly adjust and compensate in the face of all the challenges thrown at you - by the environment, by the available nutrition, and by the micro-organisms who share your world. Pathologies are to be prevented before they happen. The creatures of the world were designed to function together as a harmonious whole, interdependent, but not mutually exploitative.

My reservation about the remedy which I've bought for Rose is that it was prescribed for the disease and not for the individual. Strictly speaking, Chinese medicine should treat the individual, which means that two horses with the same symptoms might receive totally different treatments. However, we do what we can.

I checked the herbs with the pendulum and was very surprised to find a reaction I've never encountered before. The pendulum swings vigorously clockwise, then stops, then proceeds to swing vigorously counter-clockwise. I take this to mean - somehow - that the remedies work in a very different way from allopathic or homeopathic ones, which attack, or help the body attack, a specific disease.

Ok, decision made about treatment. Now to persuade the patient that this is the right thing to do. I went out today, all bundled up (remembered gloves this time), and determined that Rose was going to take her herbs without me bullying her, but also determined that she was going to take them. It took a full hour to accomplish this.

Rose politely but resolutely declined to have anything to do with the syringe containing the delectable and health-restoring concoction. Bridget was jumping up and down: "Me! Me! I love Chinese herbs! Give 'em to me!"

Bridget's opinion of Chinese herbs
Rose thinks Chinese herbs are dumb

After a while, Rose let me scratch her face with the syringe. She started giving Bridget the evil eye, which is a good sign, and it means: "I'm having a good time, buzz off and leave me alone with the human." However, she was not, not, not, not, not going to let me put that syringe into her mouth. At one point, I started to wrap the rope around her nose, and then realized that was not the way to go. I hoped she'd finally get so bored that she'd capitulate, but no such luck.

Eventually, I discovered that if I led her along, holding the tail of the leadrope in my left hand, and with my right hand holding both her halter and the syringe, I could touch the tip of the syringe to her muzzle every step or so, and she would only tug her head away a little bit, focussed as she was on forward movement.  Then I managed to infiltrate the tip of the syringe into her mouth every so often and squirt some in. In this way, I managed to empty both syringes, with Rose making a big show of smacking her lips and chewing and opening her mouth, but not actually pulling away.

I don't know if it's the taste she doesn't like. More likely she just has an aversion to being dosed, as the poor girl has had so much of that in the past. Next time I'm going straight for the walking application method, and I sincerely hope it doesn't take an hour.



Yesterday morning, I woke up to find the barn pasture had turned into a quagmire, there was a sizable pond where none had been the day before, and the trickle in the creek had become a mini-torrent.

I was very glad I'd moved the horses the day before. Someone I know recently lost a horse to a broken pelvis, caused by the mare slipping in the mud. Scary thought. I'd rather they're out in the dry field with no shelter than in the muddy one with a shelter. One day we'll have a shelter in the dry pasture.

When I went out, the wind was blowing the rain horizontally. The horses were hunkered down in the lee of a low fence, backs to the wind. I learned long ago from my Dad that a vertical barrier provides wind shelter to a distance of several times its height. They stayed put and didn't pay any attention to me when I came out - so I decided to feed them later when things had calmed down a bit.

One of the cats kept wanting to go out, but every time he poked his head out the door, a blast of pounding wind would make him retreat back into the house.

Today the ground is frozen, and the wind has dropped. I have to get Rose started on her Chinese meds, which she likes not at all, despite assurances that all horses find them delicious. I need calm weather and a calm mind to go out and deal with this.