Friday, November 15, 2013

Rest in Peace, Sweet Tahoe

Tahoe has always been the love of my life.  A plain brown horse born in the wild, destined to run free without ever knowing the love of a human. 

Then, along comes the Bureau of Land Management and changed his contract with the Universe.  Tahoe and his brother Reno, along with many others, were captured.  On that day, all of their lives changed forever. 

A few months later, at an adoption auction in Ocala, Florida, my life changed forever.  I adopted two scraggly, unkempt, wild horses - just barely weanlings.  They were pretty sad looking.  My husband, Joe, said when we got home, "Seriously, this is what all the fuss was about!" 

Tahoe quickly took over my heart and soul.  There was always something special about him that touched my heart and took root in my soul.  And yet, he wasn't an easy horse.  At age two, I attempted to sit on him for the first time - he tossed me to the moon!
That began a long string of falls, bumps and bruises.  There are a few who will remember the day he decided to lose his mind and run madly through the woods - he shredded my arms, burned my hands and ultimately dumped me on the ground - only to stand there looking at me as if I was the crazy one!

At age 7, for reasons that will never be entirely known, Tahoe developed a seizure disorder.  An episode would start with skin twitching, then his lips would grimace and then he would start to spin, uncontrollably.  Whatever was in his way got demolished.  I feared he would end up with a permanent disability - he smashed his head so many times, it was amazing his brains were not scrambled. 

Veterinary advice said to euthanize him - put him out of his misery.  And yet, I didn't see misery.  I saw my heart and felt like I wouldn't be able to breathe without him.  So, I experimented with various vets, treatments and drug cocktails until we reached a happy medium.  He still had seizures, just not as often. 

Twice he had a seizure while I was riding him - jumped off both times.  Once he had a seizure in a trailer - not a pretty sight.  So, Tahoe was rarely trailered rarely ridden - although I still rode him about twice a year. 

One thing I did notice was his seizures tended to happen most often when there was a change in the weather - usually when a cold front came through.  One of my clients who has a child with seizures confirmed for me (and there is research that shows the same) that the incidence of seizures increases when there are changes in barometric pressure.

I don't know if that's what happened on November 13, but we did have a cold front and there was a lot of wind.  My sweet, Joe, found Tahoe in the pasture when he didn't come up for dinner.  I suspect my boy had some form of fatal seizure.  I will miss him forever.  He was such a part of my existence - a different relationship than I've ever had with any animal, at any time. 

Run free Tahoe - I love you!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Breakfast in a Box

Well just when I thought my mom was done making me eat my breakfast in the trailer, I was wrong!  This week she's made me go in there every single solitary morning.  Yesterday, I just said, "No."  Well that didn't work out very well because she got out the long lead line with the chain and put it under my chin.  That was all it took to convince me I better just eat my breakfast in there.

Today, I went right in but decided to be a little naughty after I got out.  Instead of walking back to the trailer and putting my two front feet back in, like I have been doing, I decided to show her I can rear up on my hind legs.  Well, she didn't like that idea either so we had to have a little talk about it. 

I'm hoping eating in the "box" is done.  We'll see.  I have a feeling I might see more of this before it's done.  Looking forward to riding this weekend!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Trailers - Ain't no big thing, the sequel

Okay, I know, I recently reported how scary trailers were.  That was before Peggy's friend Liz Kanan came over and helped me get over my fear.  She just had a different way of asking me, and then I just did it.  I don't know why, but I did. 

Then when Miss Liz was showing Peggy how well I load, I decided to put on a little show.  I reared up really high and said, "No, I'm not going in that trailer!"  But Liz said, "Yes, Miss Heaven, you will go in that trailer." And, much to my surprise, I did just that.  No fussing, no fighting, no rearing.  The show was over.  

So then, Peggy gets all excited and she wants to be the one to put me in the trailer.  So just for fun, I walked right in.  Didn't even hesitate or anything.  She was really surprised, but very very happy.  Why is it that humans get happy and weird about the strangest things, like going in a stupid trailer?

Well, I probably never should have showed Peggy that I could go in and out of that darned trailer.  Now, she makes me eat breakfast in there, every single solitary day.  Same thing, every day.  She comes out to the barn about 6 a.m., just when the sun is coming up.  She feeds Reno and Tahoe and just when I think she's going to dump my food, she gets a halter and my bucket. 
Then she makes me leave my nice comfy stall, walk over to the trailer (which she has left in the yard for weeks now) and leads me in.  Not once have I resisted - even a little.  Okay, maybe a second or two hesitation, but only to prove that this is really my idea, not hers.

She hangs my bucket on the wall and then stands with me, patting me and rubbing me, while I eat a little.  She even bangs that darned trailer divider like I'm going to be afraid of that, or something.  Then, real gently, she slips out and closes that darned divider.  But she sometimes still stands there and pets me to make sure I'm not scared.  I'm not really, but I don't like being in there all alone.

Sometimes she leaves to go do some other things and then if I can't see her, I start moving around a lot to see if I can make her come back.  Sometimes she does - sometimes, like today, she didn't come back right away.  I think she was cleaning my stall and playing with Reno and Tahoe.  Hey, what about me?

But she wasn't gone too long.  Then she opens the divider and I always think, "Yeah!  I'm getting out of here."  But for some reason, she still makes me stand there and just breathe and relax and enjoy my food. Eventually she'll ask me to back out of the trailer.  Now, this I don't understand.  Why do I have to back out when I don't have eyes in the back of my head?  If she would just let me turn around and jump out face forward it would be a whole lot easier.  Still, she wants me to back out, one small step at a time.  Sometimes I surprise her and go really, really fast.  Sometimes I go slow - it all depends.  Can't tell you why sometimes I do one and sometimes, the other.  I just do.  And, one time, she wasn't quick enough and I managed to turn all the way around and go out face first, just like I want to.  But then every other time after that, she's been really careful not to let me turn around. 

Today, I backed out pretty good but hurried quite a bit at the end.  I just wanted out.  Can you believe it, she made me put my two front feet back in and then back down again?  What will she think of next? 

Anyway, just wanted to give you the update - no big thang those trailers.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Trailers are scary

Heaven here.  I have only one question, "Why in the world would a person ask a horse to get into a little box on wheels?"  I can't imagine. It's just not natural. 

Recently, when Peggy and her friends came to pick me up at the Horse Protection Association of Florida, I agreed to get on such a contraption - mostly because it was raining and secondly because I was confused.  I didn't know what was happening or where I might be going. 

Anyway, for the next two and one half hours, that stupid little box rolled down the highway.  It was raining cats and dogs!  There were lots of cars, big trucks, loud sounds and lots and lots of motion.  I was alone and I was afraid. 

When we got to Peggy's I made up my mind, I am not, no way and no how, ever getting back on one of those things!  Yet, sure enough, a few days later, Peggy expects me to get on another one.  This isn't even the one she brought me home in - it belongs to her friend Caren.  Now, I saw that there was a horse on that trailer and I don't know if he knows something I don't, but I am NOT getting on that trailer.  And just to prove the point, I didn't!

Peggy and Caren both asked me and asked me.  I said no, no and hell no!  Then they finally gave up and we just went on a trail ride!  Crisis averted.  I was so glad.  Happy to go for a ride but not on one of those scary looking box things. 

About a week or so later, Peggy asked me again to get into a box.  I said no, again.  In fact, I said no for more than five hours.  I can't even believe she spent that much time asking me.  I am happy to report, however, that I never got in trouble, but she kept tapping me on the butt, on the leg, on my side - tap, tap, tap.  How irritating.  But, I have a very strong will and I am NOT getting into that box. 

Just recently, Peggy sent her friend Liz Kanan over to play this game all over again.  Only this time, even I was amazed, I got on the trailer!
Liz gave me some food, yum.  And, I was especially glad that it was just for practice and we didn't actually go anywhere. 

On Saturday, Liz came over to Peggy's again.  We went on a nice ride down at the Lee Ranch. Yeah - I didn't have to get on the box!  When we got back, Liz showed Peggy how well I'm doing and I gave her a little bit of a fight - just for show.  I even reared up real high on my back legs.  But then, I walked right into the box!  Yuk! 

Next day, Liz showed up again.  I hope this isn't going to become a habit.  Anyway, we went on another really nice ride - all the way out to the river.  We had a couple of scares - some deer jumping out of the woods, lots of cows, but nothing really too scary - not like that damn box. 

Then, Liz let Peggy walk me into that confounded box.  But, just to surprise everyone, I walked right in!  Haha.  Only this time, they closed this divider thing - then it was really, really small.  I still had my food so I wasn't too unhappy.  Then Liz got in the trailer - that's odd. The truck started up and then started to move - oh no!  What is happening?  Well it was just for a minute or so, so it really wasn't too bad.  Then, they opened the divider and told me I could come out.  I wanted to turn around and walk out but Liz made me walk backwards - I couldn't even see where I was going but I managed to get out of that box without a problem.  Hopefully, I won't be seeing Liz for a awhile.

Monday morning, Peggy comes out to the barn early, feeds everyone and leaves.  Only today, she feeds Reno and Tahoe and then takes my food bucket out to that darn old box.  What?  What is she doing?  She hung my bucket on the box - do I have to eat in there?  Well, just to find out, I walked right in - surprised Peggy big time.  She closed that silly divider and then left me alone.  She did come back and check on me a few minutes later.  I was still eating. 

I started to make a little bit of noise - just to see what would happen.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, here comes Peggy.  She thought I was done eating, so she opened the divider and boy did I hurry out of there.  I went so fast I bumped my head on the way out.  Reminder to self - don't do that again. 

Then I got to go back in my stall, finish my breakfast and have some hay.  I'll keep you posted on how all of this is going.  I may have a few more tricks up my sleeve! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I'm Heaven, and I'm home!

You may have already heard a few things about me, but I wanted to say hi and tell you I'm home!  I love my new home.  I have a big comfy stall, I have two new brothers - Reno and Tahoe and I have a family that loves me! 

If you could see my face right now, you'd see that I'm smiling.  I arrived on Saturday June 29th.  Peggy mom and her friends Caren Stauffer and Lisa Dietrich drove all the way from Chuluota to Micanopy to pick me up - in the pouring rain!  It was still raining when they arrived.  I had been standing around just waiting for them.  I was all clean and shiny, waiting for my big adventure. 

I even heard there was a big rainbow and everybody said that must be a really good sign. 

I got to my new house about 12:30 - just in time for lunch!  Peggy kept me separated from Reno and Tahoe because boy oh boy, they really seemed to like me.  They were trying to kiss me right over the fence!  Men!

I enjoyed a nice leisurely afternoon - had a great dinner and slept all night. 

Next morning, Peggy was up early, at the barn with lots of good food.  Then she got me all dressed up in her new saddle and friends started showing up.  They brought their horses too!  We went on a really nice trail ride to the Chuluota Wilderness and Charles Bronson State Park.

Here I am with Peggy eating a big bunch of grass!  I am so happy!
I really liked my new friends, Slim, Coup, and Charm.  They were really nice to me, I guess because I was the only girl and I was new!  Anyway, we had fun.  They even let me trot out front - I really liked it and I wasn't afraid at all!  I can't wait to tell you more about all the fun I'm having.  Stay tuned!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting for Heaven

I'm looking forward to introducing everyone to Heaven - an 8 year old Anglo Arab adopted from the Horse Protection Association of Florida, located in Micanopy, Florida.  They currently have more than 70 horses looking for forever homes.  Lots of Thoroughbreds and lots of smaller sized horses.  I was like a kid in a candy store.

Very impressed with everyone's ground manners.  Director, Morgan Silver and her team incorporate Parelli training into every activity related to the horse.  As a result, they get lots of exposure to good horsemanship principles and are required to have good manners.

I am planning on picking Heaven up this weekend with the help of a few of my riding buds.  This is exciting - a new chapter in my horse life.

Welcome home Heaven!

You can read more about Heaven on her personal page!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I changed my hair style

What do you think of my latest hair do?  Thought I'd do the mane comb-over and get a new look!  I like it, one toss of the head and I can change it. 
Sierra with Skunk Do