Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trigger Update

Today, Trigger had his feet trimmed.  The final step in Project No More Excuses.  But first, since I beat the farrier to the barn by about 30 minutes, I did a quick picking of his feet and brushing of his coat before heading to the round pen.  A while back, someone on the PNER group on Facebook expressed interest in him, and asked about his resting heart rate.  I'd measured it as low as 28 in his stall, but was curious to make him work, and see how high it got and how fast it came down.

I warmed him up a bit:

Then made him canter (though he kept breaking into a fast trot) for a little over five minutes straight.  His heart rate after the few seconds it took me to get to him after he stopped and find his heart rate, was just 96 when I counted for 10 seconds, but it was slowing rapidly, so let's say it was over 100 for sure when he first stopped cantering.  In less than a minute, it was down to 60, a common requirement before the hold time starts at endurance rides.  After a few more minutes, it was 40 while he was grazing and he was paying some attention to Nathan and the dog playing fetch.  Later, after the farrier had done his thing, I measured it as low as 32 in the barn aisle, but he was moving around a bit, so I'm sure I could measure it as low as 28 again if I was patient and took it on his home turf instead of in the barn aisle where he kept being tempted by the nearby hay.  :-)

Before we left the round pen, I took a bit of video showing how he acts afraid of the whip with the ribbon attached (you should see him when I lead him with the whip in one hand and let it whap around wherever it wants to), but is actually fine with it being played with all over his face:

While I was waiting for the farrier, Trigger got the chance to grace in the little holding pen, and Nathan was playing in the grass with a dog, and I was relaxing in the shade with some country music playing.  It was quite pleasant, so I was inspired to take a snippet of video to memorialize it:

Here's a photo from while he was hand-grazing:

And finally, as we were driving home, I noticed the moon looked really cool.  However, my iPhone doesn't do it justice:

So I ran home and grabbed my real camera.  Here's the photo straight out of camera (it's got a prime [i.e. non-zoom] lens on it right now):

Still SOOC but cropped:

And with final editing (punching up the color a bit), better than the iPhone, no?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

More Fun with Craigslist

I was just going through all my posts, tagging them, and found this one that was still a draft.  I thought I'd posted it long ago. 

I was going to post actual examples of ads from Craigslist and then pick on them but (a) I'm a chicken that the posters of said ads will end up seeing my snark and being offended and (b) it all boils down to a few points anyway.

As you might have deduced, I've spent a TON of time browsing horse ads on Craigslist an other places.  I've come to conclude that people, especially on Craigslist, need a lesson on how to place an ad for a horse.

Include, at a MINIMUM, the following information on your ad with a horse for sale:
  1. Photo - preferably at least one photo from the side, no tack, horse on level ground, etc., and so on, to show conformation; photos showing front, back, and under saddle for bonus points; video under saddle for extra-super-bonus points
  2. Age of horse - some of us don't want to have to train a baby, others don't want to have a horse that will need to retire within six months
  3. Height of horse - some of us are quite tall and would drag our heels on the ground riding a short horse, others are of shorter stature and wouldn't be able to mount a 17 hand horse without a stepladder
  4. Sex of horse - some people don't care, but many, many people do.
  5. Training level, discipline(s), and vices - I lumped these all together, but basically just tell us what the horse has done, what it can do, and what it does but shouldn't do.  And don't use the word "prospect" without an actual discipline in front of it and the knowledge that the horse has both the conformation and temperament for that discipline.  There is no such thing as a "quarter horse prospect," a "filly prospect," or a "palomino prospect."  Those are dumb phrases.
  6. Price - I don't want to "make an offer" unless there's already a starting point.  You must have some idea of what you think your horse is worth, and what is the absolute lowest you would accept.  Plunk a number somewhere between those two (or at one end or the other) into your ad, and indicate whether it's negotiable or not. 
  7. Breed - I put this last, because some people put too much emphasis on breed stereotypes, in my opinion, but plenty of people DO care, so it should be included in the ad.  
Color isn't necessary for most of us, but should be obvious if you include photo/video (I say should, because some of those photos in dark barn aisles could be of anything from fleabitten grey to a dark bay, and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.  If you're not including a photo, you should probably describe the color so people who DO care don't bother if it's not the right color.

Also, palomino isn't a breed (though there is a registry) and not all pintos are Paints (as in the breed, though there is also a registry for pintos regardless whether they are also Paints).  Not all dark brown horses are black, and nor are they bay, not that it really matters when it comes right down to it.

Contact info would ideally include a couple methods, but mention which is preferred, and timeframe for phone calls.

What you should not include:
  1. The word "prospect" just because it's a discipline you wish you'd done, or barrels because the horse is a speed demon, or western pleasure because you can't make the horse go.  A horse isn't a "prospect" unless it truly has the ability; it's not just some word you can throw around to make it sound like your horse knows stuff it doesn't.
  2. That your 28-year-old horse has "a lot of years left."  No, it most likely doesn't.  You can't guarantee that, and if it did, you wouldn't be selling it.  Nothing ticks me off more than people selling their old horses.  You ride it till it can't anymore, then want someone else to pay the feed bills and be there for its last days?
  3. Breeding potential of random horses.  It's a mare, and you can't figure out how to train her to ride, so sell her as a broodmare.  Or it's still a stallion because you can't afford the vet bill to geld him, so sell breedings to him, or sell him as a breeding stallion.  Uh, no.
  4. Blurry, dark, or far-away photos.  Photos that only show the horse's body with a saddle on.  Photos only of the horse's face, however cute it may be.
  5. Tri-color paint.  No.  Unless it is extremely rare, your horse is a bay (or possibly buckskin) paint.  While they are different colors to your eye (brown on body, black on mane/tail), that color of horse is a bay.  Add splashes of white, and it's a bay paint.
  6. Terrible spelling.  Your castrated horse is neither a gilding or guilding, it doesn't neck reign, it doesn't have smooth gates (unless you've been sanding the gates to its paddock), you don't work it in the round pin.
  7. Crooked pictures - I'm sorry your camera doesn't have a tilt sensor, but they make software for that, I promise.  Meanwhile, my neck is getting sore and/or my arms are getting a workout from tilting my laptop.
  8. "No scammers or spammers."  Because if I'm out to scam people on Craigslist, and am trolling the horse ads to see who I can work over, and see this warning in someone's ad, I'm really going to tell myself, "Oh, they said no scammers.  Better be moving along, then."  No one wants scammers, save yourself the keystrokes and just use your brain when dealing with random strangers from the internet.
Unrelated to horses, but still in the Farm & Garden section, I've seen quite a few ads on Craigslist lately for people offering things for sale, when really, they're hoping someone will do yardwork for them.  Rocks, stumps, trees still in the ground (you dig), random wood piles advertised as aged barn wood...  Not just offered free if you'll just come get them, but often actually CHARGING people to come remove their unwanted yard debris.

Okay, I lied.  Here are some actual Craigslist ads, because I just can't stand it:

WTB: begginer horse - $500

hi im looking for a broke horse that wont buck or try to throw me off. spunk is ok but not to much im looking for a western pleasure horse or one that knows any of these things they don't have to but would like them to know like barrels, reigning, cutting, etc. must be under 500 or free and under the age of 20. and above 14.2 hh i dont care if they neck reign as long as they can wear a bridle (last person i wanted to buy from said she took the bit like a champ wrong she didnt know what it was let alone take it) i would preffer not high strung breeds like thoroughbreds or any gaited horse. I wouldnt mind a stocky Qh, Arab, Mustang, Appaloosa etc.Your Mare/Gelding will have the greatest home with food and a clean stall 24/7. if you would like to know more about me or they way i ride and take care of horses email me i also have references

1 year old Black Lab - $75

I have a full bread black lab that will be 1 year next month. He is a very friendly and good dog however I do not have the time and space to accommodate what he needs. This dog has tons of energy and needs to be with someone who can take him for walks, play, etc. Also someone with a large fenced yard. He is fully potty trained. He is very friendly to other animals and kids. But let me say it again, he has A LOT of energy so please only contact me if you are a absolute dog lover and willing to take that on. He has had all of his shots but is not yet neutered. I work mon-fri 8-5 so if you are going to contact me during those hours a text works best. Please only contact me if you are serious about taking him. It will also include a kennel and about a weeks worth of food.

7month kitty

I have an awesome 7month old kitty named Cozmo, He is the best cat ever. A real cuddle bug, he comes to his name. Indoor cat OnLy.
A new landlord took over and now we can't have cats anymore, I can't afford to move so I need to rehome him.
Cozmo is a very loveable kitty, great with kids, smart.

His favorite things to do - Cuddle, he LOVES the bath tub after its been used and does ok while taking baths, Lay in the sun next to the sliding glass door (I live on the 3rd floor of an apt so he does great on the deck as well) idk how he would do out side other then a deck he can't get down from.. No he's not fixed I just recently lost my job and get it done any time soon. He's free so the $25+ u would spend on any other re homing fee, You could go get him fixed at the humane society for $25.
He'll come with the rest of his food & litter
call or txt
I can send pics upon request.

Major needs a forever home

Major is a 23 year old gelding that needs a forever home. He has done a great job as a trail horse for us, but now he needs to retire. If you can help him out please call. Thank you.


I am selling my 2 bits cause I sold the horse and don't need them any longer,

***10 inch shank twisted mouth combination type bit [$20]

***8 inch shank bicycle chain nose-copper twisted mouth [$75]

SPECIAL DEAL!!! Both bits together for $65!

Both bits are in excellent shape! I used them on my barrel horse that had no breaks and they worked miracles! 

More Humane Society Photos

Nathan and I went to the Humane Society again today.  When we got there, there weren't any potential adopters, which is always nice--when there are adopters there, we try to hang back and let them have first dibs on the "Get Acquainted" rooms or petting whichever cats they're interested in, so it makes the process of taking photos of the specific list of cats harder.

We went into the cattery first, since when it is full of adopters, it's hard to get good photos.  I got lots of fun photos of kittens of various sizes (it's usually only smaller kittens in that room, but today there were a few larger ones, up to six months old).

We marked the cats whose photos we'd taken off the list on the white board in the volunteer area, and moved on to take photos of the cats in the wall of cages (I should take some photos of the HS itself one of these days).  We pulled Nikki out, but she wasn't in a very good mood, so we were letting her settle into the Get Acquainted room a bit, when I saw someone taking a kitten into one of the rooms that is permanently occupied--a no-no, since they keep cats who live separately separate all the time so they don't spread germs.  Only cats who already live together (like in the cattery) are allowed to be played with together.  I told the potential adopter about the rule and volunteered to let her use the Get Acquainted room I'd been in, and put Nikki away. 

While waiting for the only Get Acquainted room to free up (there are usually two, but they had a cat living in one of them), I noticed that a cat had thrown up in her cage.  Another volunteer told the medical staff while I moved the cat to an empty cage and cleaned out THREE cages--the one she'd made a horrendous mess of (looked like both vomit and diarrhea, and she hadn't eaten any of her food before destroying it, either), the empty one I'd put her in until the staff came to take her to the clinic, and the one below hers which had gotten some drippings.  Eeeew!  The place had reeked when I got there (and it usually doesn't), so hopefully that was the reason and it now smells better.  I wore gloves while cleaning, and both Nathan and I washed our hands after, but I didn't feel safe to handle other cats, since my clothes could have gotten germs from either the cat herself or the cage, and what she had looked NASTY.  Nathan and I washed our hands again and stripped our clothes as soon as we got home so our cats wouldn't get it, but unfortunately our day at the Humane Society was a little shorter than planned, and we didn't get as many photos as we would have liked.

Friday, September 28, 2012


I am SUCH an idiot sometimes.  I've been doing a lot of travel lately, and instead of bringing home souvenirs, apparently I'm LEAVING them.

The trip that started off my latest rash of travel was when I went to the Bay Area to interview for my current position.  I left my coat in my hotel room closet when I checked out, and it was actually my prospective boss who noticed I wasn't wearing it.  They wouldn't look in the room when I called, but later did find it an mail it to me.

In New York, I'm pretty sure I left a pair of jeans at one of the two hotels I stayed in, but by the time I realized I was pretty sure I came home with one pair instead of two, I wasn't sure which of the two hotels I'd left them in, forgot my room number at both hotels, and counted them as a loss.

On a brief trip to the Bay Area again, I left my toothbrush in my room.  If it was a standard toothbrush, no biggie, but it's my electric toothbrush that would cost a hundred dollars or so to replace, so I once again called and they sent it to me.

Now I can't find my sunglasses after returning from Chicago.  I had them when I was driving the rental car, but they're nowhere in any of my luggage, so apparently I left them in the car.  The rental car company uses an online system to track lost and found.  On the list of "found" items, they just show the type of item.  There are a bunch of sunglasses and a few pairs of eyeglasses on there.  I submitted a report of a lost item, which include the ID number of the car, and received an update today that they haven't located them.  They're prescription sunglasses, so they really won't do anyone else any good, unless they happen to have the same type of crappy eyes I do.  However, they're prescription sunglasses, which means I can't just go out and buy another pair.  I do have an eye appointment in a couple weeks, so if they haven't turned up by then, I'll get more, but that's expensive!  And in the meantime, I'm driving around giving myself a headache in the Central Oregon sun (well, smokey haze more often than not, but it's still glary!).

This was much longer ago, but I also lost my driver's license temporarily when I jammed it into my pocket after clearing security on my way to Vegas, and it slid out of my pocket sometime during the flight.  The airline called me, an I had to schlep back to the airport to get it (two cab rides!).  Ask me how much fun it is to pay for a hotel room without ID.  :-(

That incident with the driver's license is why I now fly with my passport as my ID, even on domestic flights.  It may not be the BEST idea, but I have my reasons:
  • While it would be expensive to replace my passport, that provides incentive to not lose it!
  • I don't travel internationally on the drop of the hat (like some brothers of mine I know!), so if I did lose it, I'd have to fork out the money, sure, but I'd have plenty of time to replace it.
  • Losing my driver's license would be more of a hassle in the short term, especially if I lost it on the flight TO a destination and then couldn't rent a car.
  • It's physically much larger, and also being more expensive to replace, I make a big point out of putting it away in a secure spot after security (and I have a designated spot in each bag I would potentially use), instead of just slipping it into a random pocket of my clothes or bag.
I've managed two 12-day trips to Asia without losing a single item, but can't seem to make it to the Bay Area without leaving something behind!  I might need to make myself a packing list, not so much for the benefit of packing (though I suck in that department too--left my daily pills behind a couple of trips ago), but so I can check items off as I pack to return HOME.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The State of the Trigger

The chiropractor came out last Tuesday.  She said he wasn't nearly as bad as he had been the first time she came out, but it was needed.  We chatted the whole time she was working on him, about various things horse-related, including what to do with him.  She was the third or so person to recommend also getting his teeth done, so I made an appointment with the vet.

For those that don't already know this (I think most of my five readers are already horse people), there are far more accurate and complete sources than my blog, but basically, horses wear their teeth down when they chew with the side-to-side grinding motion they do, and they often wear unevenly, creating points and even hooks that obviously make it uncomfortable for them to eat.  They can get ulcers on the insides of our cheeks just like we humans do, and it can also make having a bit in their mouths painful.  So every so often, the sharp parts of their teeth need to be ground down.  Some people use power tools and some people use hand tools; some horses need to be sedated, some can be done without, but the basic idea is the same.

Yesterday, the vet came out.  He asked whether I knew for sure that Trigger needed his teeth floated, or whether I'd called him out to check, and I said I didn't know for sure, so to please check.  He checked as well as he could with a conscious horse fully in control of his teeth, and said it wouldn't be a bad idea, since he was out here anyway.  So he gave Trigger a little tiny shot that made him quite a bit woozy.  I asked how long it would take to kick in, the vet said a few minutes, and literally by the time he got to his truck to get his tools out, Trigger's head and eyelids were drooping in unison.

Sleepy boy.  I did apply fly spray not too long after this, since he didn't have the presence of mind to twitch/blink/swish them off him himself.
We led him to the doorway of the stall, propped his head open with the speculum (yes, women reading--it's called that, and yes, it offers a very similar function, but it's for a very different orifice and looks very different), and trussed his head up and I held the rope that went over the doorway and held his head high up in the air so the vet could do his thing as comfortably as possible.  Trigger was so drunk he didn't mind any of this procedure.

You may see that his eyes are kind of alert and he has pissy ears--this was taken as he was starting to come to, shortly before he got another dose to make him sleepy again.
 Once the vet was able to stick his entire arm in Trigger's mouth without risk of being bitten (he had me do it to, but even knowing that in theory, he couldn't bite with the speculum in his mouth, I was nervous and yanked my hand back out when Trigger even so much as breathed), he said it was actually a good thing he was doing it--there were some even sharper edges and points in the far back that he hadn't felt originally.

He did his thing, grinding and grinding away at Trigger's teeth, and while his tongue wiggled all over the place (giving Nathan a run for his money for the "Wiggliest Tongue Award" he earns from every dentist or orthodontist who has the pleasure of looking in his mouth), he didn't seem to mind a bit.  The vet had me put my thumb directly on the grinding surface of the power tool to feel that it doesn't damage soft tissue at all, it has diamond chips/dust to grind down the teeth fairly efficiently.

Then the vet noticed a bit of a wolf tooth poking up from his gums.  These are teeth that are much more common for male horses to have than female horses, though it's not unheard of for mares to have them.  They sit right where the bit goes, so when a horse is completely knocked out to be gelded (or if it's unlucky enough to have some other procedure, I suppose), they will often extract the wolf teeth at the same time.  Anyway, the vet felt something, and went to go get the tools to pry it out, but Trigger seemed to be stirring a bit, and getting a sparkle in his eyes and a twitch in the rest of his body that indicated he wouldn't be too amenable to as much poking and prodding as he might have been a few minutes prior.  The vet made a go at it, but when I suggested he give Trigger another bit of sedative so he (the vet) didn't get hurt, he took me up on it.

With Trigger happily loopy again, he got a tiny sliver of tooth out, and poked and prodded and felt around for more, but only felt scar tissue.  He figured they must have missed the sliver when they removed them when he was gelded.

I paid the vet, and he instructed me not to let Trigger eat (or drive heavy machinery, I assume) for at least an hour, so I penned him up in an empty stall without any food to let him recover.  Since he'd only JUST received that second dose, he took longer to recover than is typical after dental work.  Poor guy was NOT stable.  Walking him from the stall where he'd had the work done (which had a full hay rack so he couldn't stay there) to the empty stall, he was literally weaving with every step.  When he finally stopped moving, apparently the rest of the world didn't, as he stood like this for about 10 minutes:

This is Trigger.  This is Trigger on drugs.

 The poor boy's bladder was full, but he didn't have the brain power to led down the equipment, spread his legs, or use force to expel the urine, so it just kind of splattered all over in the form of a weak showerhead spray.  He peed THREE more times (a total of four!) over the hour he was in the recovery room.  SweetPea says it's like when humans drink--you just pee and pee and pee.  :-)

At one point, Trigger got the idea to do a 180 and go check for food or something.  He staggered in the most awkward way imaginable.  His knees knocked into each other, his feet dragged on the ground, at one point his fetlock joint was bent the wrong way and he was on the tippy toe of that foot...totally uncoordinated.  I'm surprised (but relieved!) he didn't just flop down on the ground for a real nap, though he would have had to stay there until  he was coherent enough to organize all four limbs to stand.

He did, at one point, notice the few strands of hay that had migrated from neighboring stalls.  He lowered his head, wobbled a bit, then wiggled his lips in the general direction of the hay.  He was not successful in actually picking any up, though.

I left him alone to sleep it off.

Then turned Trigger and his buddy Jesse out to the pasture.  Though his eyelids happen to be mid-blink, you'll notice the alert ears, the perky tail, and the relatively controlled stance of his limbs and neck.  :-)

The farrier (excuse me, he prefers to be called a blacksmith) is coming this weekend, and after that, Trigger should have NO excuses to misbehave.  Now to find someone confident enough to ride him properly and not let him get away with stuff...


The spammers have found me, so I changed the comment settings to require word verification.  It was either that or requiring users to sign in, and I've had enough legitimate anonymous commenters (like my family members) that I didn't figure you'd want me to go that route.  Sorry for the extra step.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nibble 2 sister reminded me I didn't finish up my prior post with the second nibble.

A week or so ago, someone e-mailed me about Trigger, and I was completely honest with her, and she said his hopping wasn't a problem with her--she's used to working with "problem" horses and is finally getting her problem bucker under control.  I told her I'd take better conformation photos of him, and we chatted a bit more by e-mail, including me asking if I knew her, because her photos that she sent to show she was a real person looked familiar.  I think I'd looked at one or more Craigslist ads she's posted over the past few years, plus she apparently posts on some of the same forums I do.

Anyway, the next morning she e-mailed me that after some thinking and discussion with her husband, she realized that she had enough "problem" horses, and really needed a horse that would be safe for her husband to ride as well, and he recently broke a leg coming off her bucker, so she wanted something DEAD broke.  Bummer.  But we've chatted some more, she also suggested I have his teeth checked, and recommends the chiropractor I already have an appointment with, so that's reassuring, anyway.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Humane Society

Some time ago, the company I work for, which is very into charity, including allowing us to donate up to 16 hours of our time a year and be paid for it (it works like vacation time but doesn't come out of our bank of vacation time), organized an event at the local Humane Society.  We had to attend a bit of training first, then were turned loose to walk dogs and pet cats.  I learned that they allow children to volunteer as long as they're with a parent, and knew that it would be right up Nathan's alley (he's SUCH an animal lover), so I later attended the training along with him, and we've been volunteering there when we can ever since.

They've also asked if I can take photos of cats, focusing on the cats with crappy intake photos only, to be used on the website.  Now that we have a purpose for being there (petting cats DOES have a purpose, for sure, but it feels more like fun than work), we've actually been going just about every weekend.

Yes, there are the occasional cats that are tempting to bring home.  Sweet cuddly cats that love to be held and petted are especially attractive to both of us, but especially Nathan because he loves giving our cats attention, but they mostly rebuff him.  They are both older than he is, and apparently still think of him as an annoying toddler, even though he gives them wonderful care and is careful with petting them now.  But I always think of how difficult the relationship is between the two I have now, and how stressed they would both be if I brought a new cat home.  It wouldn't be fair to them.  So I've committed myself to not bring any more cats home until at least one of these two is gone, and even then, it will depend on which cat is remaining and how she's doing at that time.

Yesterday, though, was the first time a cat really seemed to choose ME.  I went into the area where they keep multiple kittens in a room that also has access to an enclosed outdoor area, as we do every visit.  I picked up a kitten, took a few photos, snuggled with him, took a few more photos, and started to move along to the other kittens in the room.  However, Harris kept coming back to me, meowing for me to pick him up.  Nathan picked him up, but he wiggled until he put him down.  I picked him up, and while he wiggled out of my hands, he found his way to my lap and settled in for a bit of a nap.  SUCH a sweetheart.  It was harder yesterday to stick to my committment to my two kitties, but I did.  I hope Harris finds a wonderful family to love him.

Here are some photos of Harris:

And some of the many other kitties (and bunnies) we've loved on in the past few weeks.  If you're looking for a pet, please consider your local shelter, whether it's run by the humane society or other organization.