Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Bye November

November was rough to me this year.

It started out simple enough, like every other month. I would work and then drive out to the barn to visit Nawlers. A few days into November I got bashed in the head by one of my students and got to spend a day at the hospital for a concussion. Fun.

My job is oh so fun, but that's a whole other blog....

Then the Holistc Vet came out the first weekend, and that started the whole downhill slide. The following weekend I recieved 8-9 kicks by Denali, and wound up in the ER for a whole day. That week was horrible, I honestly have never experienced pain like that. I am finally starting to feel a little bit better. The following weekend we determined that that Denali wasn't getting better and that we were going to put her down. The final weekend it snowed, and Denali was saved. Somewhere between getting kicked by Denali and now I lost my camera. :( It wasn't cheap, and I can't replace it. Boo, show up camera!! Please? I can't keep taking pictures of Denali on my phone.

So, November I don't hate you, you taught me a lot but if you could put in a good word for me with December that would be great!


Ophie's mom wrote this post. Since I'm still waiting to hear from the vet, and thought I'd save my crazy dream for a later time I figured now was good enough time as any to post it!


Last week I nearly lost my shit in the barn aisle at the place where I
board my mare, Ophie. Why? Because some one asked me a deceptively
simple question:

“Why is your horse so thin?”

First off, let’s be clear. She’s not a rack of bones: she’s got a
nice fat pad over her ass, her flank, her haunches, poochy little bits
on her chest. But, you can see her ribs.

There, alright, I said it. You can see my horse’s ribs. I could see
her ribs when I first got her two years ago, and yes, you can still
see them now. At no point – summer, winter, spring, in work or out -
have you ever been able to not see them. And it’s not something I’m
fully at ease with – which is why when some one asked me, “Why is your
horse so thin?” I heard:

“Why are you such a shitty horse owner?”

Why is she so thin? Because her metabolism is the love child of a
greyhound and Kate Moss. She eats (minimum): 5 flakes of hay, 4lbs of
beet pulp, 3lbs of low-carb, high-fat grain, 2 cups of oil, and a
vitamin/mineral supplement. I would feed her a partridge in a pear
tree too if I thought it would make a difference. Yes, I realize this
diet would make some horses feet fall off, but for her, this is just
for maintenance – god forbid if we actually wanted to build condition.

I know some of you out there are itching to share your weight and
condition building success stories. You’ve probably a favorite
supplement, but here is why I’m not going to add it to her diet:

Because I’m pretty sure she’s fine as is. And even though in a
perfect world I wouldn’t be able to see ribs, I’m prepared to live
with it. Because she’s shiny, happy, and energetic. Because she gets
her teeth done regularly, has no parasite load, and doesn’t have to
compete for food. Because she has beautiful, springy, well-digested
manure. Because her vet is happy with her condition. And okay,
yeah, our trainer critiques her musculature but she is a crazy
perfectionist and thinks Totilas “has room for improvement” too.

But, um, I didn’t say anything. And not just because I live in fear
of starting/being involved in barn drama. But because I also
volunteer at a horse rescue, and I’ve learned there that the horse
world is largely self-policing, and that there are a lot of people out
there who through ignorance let their horses get into all kinds of
shitty shape. Sometimes a horse is thin, or his feet are overgrown
not because of malice, but because his owner genuinely does not know
how to take care of him. Am I saying ignorance should excuse poor
treatment or abuse? Absolutely not. What I am saying is sometimes it
is a good idea to ask.

Hey, I notice your horse is losing weight pretty fast this winter –
are you worried?

Do you need a farrier recommendation?

Are you sure you want to put him up wet?

Could the girl at my barn have phrased it a little better – sure. But
ultimately, I’m glad I’m surrounded by people who are a little too
nosy rather that not nosy enough. Lord knows I made ridiculous, huge
mistakes when I first got my horse. And mostly, it’s been through the
guidance of my peers that I’ve become a better horse owner. So, I
guess I’m glad she asked me why my horse was so thin.

And come to think of it, if you have had really good luck with a
particular condition-building supplement, I guess I would like to hear
about that too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Now What?

So a few days before Denali was suppose to be put down I cancelled her Smartpak. I cancelled everything that involved her. EVERYTHING. I knew I wouldn't be able to deal with it, so I decided to be pro-active.


I'm glad, don't get me wrong. I'm really glad.

Here's my question: Do I keep her on supplements? I'm nervous about buying them in buckets, so I'd probably stick with the Smartpak since I can just donate those if something happens to her. I don't want to have 56 days of supplements on my hands.

Denali's SmartPak was as follows:

TractGard 1 scoop(s)
BioFlax 20 1 scoop(s)
SmartCalm Ultra Pellets 1 scoop(s)
Absorbine Flex + Max 1 scoop(s)
Vitamin E 1 scoop(s)

With her Nero Disease (or whatever it is) I still feel strongly about having her on a high source of Vitamin E, but Pia's Mom introduced me to a different source of Vitamin E that's liquid and I'm going to use that instead.

I don't know what to put her on. I want to help her joints and connective tissue.

Ideas?? Anyone??

As for Ms. Denali I won't see her or hear about her until at least Wednesday. That's the one thing I don't like. At her old barn I could text her or call the barn manager anytime day or night and she could walk out to Denali if I had a specific question.

I have the Vet's personal phone number, but I don't want to bother her right now. We'll be going back to Pennsylvania at the end of December and I'll save my anal texts until then. It's also twice as far to Denali's "new" barn. It's 44 miles one way. The amount of money that we're "saving" is worth it. The peace of mind that Denali is already at the Vet's barn is worth it. Downside there isn't anyone there all the time like at our "old" barn, so I do worry that she'll fall or get hurt and no one will find her until morning or the night time. I guess I need to stop worrying. Easier said than done, after coming SO CLOSE (4 inches of snow to be exact) to losing her, and then getting to keep her has still wracked my nerves. It is one of the greatest gifts I've received.

One more question. Have any of you ever heard of this?? It was suggested on an EPM list serve (I'm still going with the EPM diagnosis until we figure something else out.)

How Not to Pick A Barn, or, A Prologue to How I Met Denali's Mom

by Guest Blogger, Ophie's Mom:

When I decided to get back into riding as an adult, I asked some one I
worked with where she rode - and then promptly forgot the name of the
place she told me. Then I went on Craigslist and searched for
"horseback riding lessons". One of the places that popped up had a
familiar sounding name, so I ran with it. For simplicity's sake,
we'll call it Below Average Boarding Barn.

I went out there, had a lesson on one of their lesson horses, and
because I was Riding Horses Again, and simply didn't know any better,
I ignored all the (somewhat glaring) signs that something wasn't quite
right at BABB. I was soon happily working one day a week cleaning
stalls in exchange for lessons and a part-lease on a little arab named

I didnt know it at the time, but the barn manager/trainer (who leased
the property from absentee land lords) was sliding deeper and deeper
into debt. And things were getting worse. So, in case you ever find
yourself in a similar situation here's a handy list of things that
should be big, glaring neon signs of A Problem:

- The boarders never stay for very long. And they get weirder and
weirder as time goes on. We, for example, had a crazy woman who owned
a little peruvian mare. Every time she saw me she told me the story
of how she had a car accident and couldn't ride anymore until she
found the smooth-gaited peruvian. Every single time she saw me. And
we saw each other 2-3 times a week. We also had a divorcing couple
who between them had two stalls and one horse. They would move her
back and forth between the stalls in some sort of passive-aggressive
ownership assertion dance.

- Soon, when I went to clean stalls, there were never any new
shavings. The first time, I figured, whatever - she probably just ran
out and hasn't had time to pick some up yet. But then, there were
never any, ever.

- Horses start appearing and disappearing randomly, without
explanation, and sometimes in really crappy condition. Let me just
take a second to interject here - it's not like I was completely
oblivious, especially not to this last bit - but a horse would come in
looking like shit, and when I asked it was all "oh, he's a rescue" or
"she's being rehabbed" And, being new to horses as an adult I thought
okay, yeah well maybe, but -

- The vet never comes out. Ever. You'd think a place that had 20+
stalls and pasture-boarded horses on top of that would require at
least occasional vet visit. Yeah, no. And let me just say, if you
are "rescuing" horses, but cannot afford to have the vet come out even
once? You are not actually "rescuing" the horse.

- The only people who seem to ride regularly are a swarm of
increasingly feral middle- and high-school aged girls, who form
ever-changing alliances and vendettas with/against each other in a
perpetual battle to make each other miserable. At BABB, their
favorite tactics were stealing, or simply disposing of each other's
tack, helping themselves to the grain/supplements of boarders, and
finally helping themselves to the boarder's horses. Which may not
actually have been as bad as it sounds, because, remember none of the
other boarders were ever actually there, and for a few horses
(including Ophie - but that's another story) this would be the only
time they got out of their stall, ever.

I will not even go into the state of physical decay the property was
in, except to say the toilet was sinking into the floor. Seriously.

But for better or for worse, I was able to ignore most of that, most
of them time. Why? Well, partly because of Najah. When I was a kid,
my fantasy dream horse was a fire-red chestnut arab. He would have a
perfect crescent moon mark on his forehead, and no other white. He
would have a dished face, and huge intelligent eyes. He would have
nostrils that quivered with excitement as we got ready to race through
fields and forests. He wouldn't walk: he would prance, and probably
toss his head impetuously.

Oh whatever, you know you totally had an embarrasing dream horse too.

Anyway, here is what Najah actually was - a chesnut arab gelding, with
a white mark that might pass for a crescent moon if you squinted
really hard, or maybe if you were drunk. He was also in his mid
twenties, and his favorite activity was napping in the sun. The first
time we rode, I went to get him from the field and he, napping of
course, lifted his head up, looked at me, and heaved this huge sigh
like, Okay. Fine. If you insist. It was instant love on my part.

He was lazy, he balked, he was so round that my leg would constantly
slip forward off his barrel, throwing me into a chair seat. He bucked
if you hit him with a crop. He bucked if you asked him to canter.
Sometimes he just bucked for fun. But his favorite trick was to
simply abandon the activity at hand and go stand in the middle of the
arena and refuse to move, which he got away with because he had a
career mostly hauling little kids around. We soon reached an
agreement: I wouldn't haul on his face, bounce wildly on his back, and
would spend lots of time grooming him - in exchange he wouldn't balk
and limited his bucking to special occasions.

You know, looking back at BABB, it's amazing how much stuff I put up
with, or ignored. And I think it has to do with that rush you get
when you're first bonding with a horse. Especially if you've been out
of the game for awhile - it's like: Oh yes, I remember you, I remember
this. How could I have gotten by without this in my life?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'm sick. I called to complain to my mom and she said she was surprised I lasted this long due to stress. I don't do well with stress. I get sick to my stomach, I get headaches, I get quiet...this time I got a cold. Boo. I know I shouldn't bitch about a stupid cold, but I did.

My husband and I woke up and went to church this morning. The church didn't even burn down when I walked in the door, so I saw that as a good sign. I figured I needed to go pay a visit to the big guy to thank him personally. Be it God, or some other divine intervention, there is no reason that Denali should still be here, but she is. She was so week last Sunday it was depressing. Her legs wobbled, her ribs showed (more than normal) and less than a week later she was so much better.

I went to lunch with some friends who wanted to meet my mare. One of them is from Portland and sent me a really nice message about how sorry she was that Denali was put down. Yep, another interesting conversation. We went out to the vet's barn, and Denali was HILARIOUS. She came trotting up to the wall of the arena and then proceeded to nicker, nicker, nicker. She followed me all over. There is a port-o-potty opposite where my friend and I were standing, I walked over and Denali followed me the whole way. Once inside she couldn't figure out where I went, and started running around. No falling. None. She does snap, crackle, and pop much worse than I remember. I wonder if it has to do with the cold, and the fact that she hasn't been out of the stall/small paddock for 8 months. My friend even noticed. That made me nervous.

There is a little cute QH there who has a broken neck :( Denali could see her from the arena and she kept perking her ears at her and nickering this low, low, nicker as if to say, "Hey, you okay?" I feel so bad for this little mare, she looks miserable.

I tucked a thank you note into Denali's medical chart for the Vet. I am still just in awe of how generous she is of her time. We just started seeing her November 6th, and she is already doing so much for us.

On my way home from working at the Giant Warmblood Barn I stopped at Denali's barn (old barn??) to explain the great opportunity that we were given. I feel bad. I picked up the rest of her stuff because I don't expect our trainer to hold a stall for her. I don't know how long we'll be at the vet's barn, and I want to be fair to her. Horses + Change terrifies me. I don't know what I'm going to do once we leave the vet's barn (optimistic here!!) Denali isn't an easy horse to board. She high maintenance, I'm high maintenance. It's bad combination. I'm still going to cross my fingers that she is still able to be ridden. If she's not, boarding will be easier, but I'd rather have a horse I can ride. At least I have a horse, hu?

I know I'm jumping the gun here, and probably thinking too far down the road. At this point I'm going to STILL try still take it day by day, but that is just exhausting me.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for a guest blogger this week: Ophie's Mom. You may remember her from the super awesome 101 Things to Do With Your Stall Bound Horse.

Also!I thought that you'd like this. I suggested Denali's name when I didn't think I'd have her anymore. They picked it! Another Denali, and I hope this one finds an owner to love her as much as I love my Denali.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Love Denali's Vet

I just got off the phone with Denali's vet. Denali was a good girl today for turn out, was super easy to catch, and stood quietly for grooming. Good girl Nawlers. I feel bad that I didn't make it out there, but I'm still recovering from our roller coaster ride.

Then the vet made my year.

She offered to keep Denali at her barn, and do physical therapy with her for a beyond reasonable price. I started to cry. It is unbelievably generous of her, and I am eternally grateful for her offer. In exchange I am going to work with one of her rescue horses. Gulp. I'm a bit nervous, but I'm up for a challenge, especially if it mean that my husband and I can afford to treat Denali. I explained to her my work I do at the Giant Warmblood Barn, and said I would see about saving up hours to get some professional training put on this mare of hers.

We still do not understand why Denali did the sudden turn around, we may never understand horses are amazing creatures. We are just thankful for snow! There are too many coincidences to think that there isn't a higher power at work here, and this coming from a person who doesn't consider herself religious.

We have cancelled the truck and are going to go with it to see how she does. The vet is going to start to evaluate Denali this week to see how her neurological signs look. If all looks good then she is going to incorporate Denali into her herd so Denali can HOPEFULLY learn how to be a horse too. This is done in baby steps, but hell, I'll take baby steps!! We are taking this in a guarded sense of hope, we know we still might lose her, and it might be something totally out of the blue, but at this point I like hope.
Thanks Paigley!!

No news from the vet today. We are not going out to the barn, we're both exhausted after the past few weeks we've had. I got a beautiful bunch of flowers today from our neighbors that said "Condolences." I have some explaining to do.... Fingers still crossed, and we're not out of the woods yet.

What Now?

We are still at a loss as to what is going on. We've cancelled the truck for the time being (yay.)

Our options are as follows.

1- to say no more diagnostics, let’s just see how she does,
2- try Marquis (or one of the other treatment medications) for a few months and see how she does,
3- do a myelogram, EPM titers, ultrasound the left hind leg, specialist referral, etc, as needed to continue working up her case and try to find a diagnosis and pursue treatment once a diagnosis is found.

Options 2 and 3 are going to require $$$ and at this point we're over $7,000 in vet treatments alone. Hell, #3 alone is going to cost at least $5,000.

It's just a matter of balancing what we can afford, with what is best for Denali. After emptying your bank account twice, it gets frustrating, but a happy frustration. To think, I was going to cut her tail off on Thursday night because I wasn't sure that I would be able to do it on Friday. She'd be SO mad at me right now if I would have done that.

I still can't get over the fact that if it hadn't snowed, she'd be gone. Still taking it a day at a time. Maybe I should change the name of this blog to "As Denali's World Turns." She provides enough drama to have her own TV show.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Roller Coaster

There's Denali this morning, after the vet called us out. She's a sweaty, sweaty mess, and totally dirty because she kept running, then rolling, and then running. Fine by me.

To say that my husband and I have not been on a roller coaster ride of emotions would be a HUGE lie. We're still confused, very confused. We haven't talked to the vet since we saw her this morning so we don't know how Denali looked once she calmed down and stopped running around. The vet said we'll know more once Denali's adrenaline is out of her system, but today she looked good.

The past three weeks have been horrible. A horrible ride with both Denali and I coming so close to death. I'm still shocked that I didn't break anything when she trampled me. What would have happened if the truck wouldn't have cancelled??? We were not going to let her out to run around because we didn't want her to get hurt.

We still don't know what is going to happen, and I will feel better once we hear from the vet again. We have the truck "on hold" for now. I am getting sick just thinking of the vet bills. Unbelievable stress overall, and hopefully it will be worth it with some definitive answers.


Confused is the best way to put it.

I don't even know how to explain this.

The vet called us this morning at 8:30 and asked if we could come out and talk to her. When we got there Denali was in the arena running around doing flying lead changes.

She is sound.
She didn't fall.

We are all confused. Very confused. The vet doesn't have explaination, we were crying because if the truck hadn't cancelled we would have just put her down.

That's still not off the table, but I did call our old barn and asked her to hold Denali's stall JUST in case.

I feel so bad for dragging you through this. I feel horrible and sick. We are going to check her on Sunday to see how she is doing and re-evaluate. Today she is turned out, and it's probably the adrenaline, but Denali looked good.

I understand if you hate me. I do.

Maybe we got a miracle? Maybe we're getting a few more days? I don't know, but we are all confused, very confused.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cancelled Truck

Truck cancelled, so now we have to wait again. They have 4 inches of snow. Not sure how much longer I can handle this. I just want to bring her home and forget this whole thing even happened. I just want to wake up from this nightmare.

Happy Thanksgiving

(picture from last summer, if I remember correctly she was lame, and I was sad, so this picture works)

Waking up today was hard. It was hard to get out of bed. Getting out of bed meant that it was indeed a new day and one day closer.I had a horrible, horrible dream last night. I am sure that bad dreams are normal, it was so obviously not real, but I couldn't help myself. My brother (who keep in mind is a pharmacist) was putting her down, but only gave her ACE, Denali woke up and got scared and ran away and then we couldn't find her. Someone did find her and put her down before I got there. I hate bad dreams. It's hard to believe that it's tomorrow (well, if the weather holds out) and if it can't be tomorrow, I just don't know.
My heart hurts, it actually aches which I didn't realize was even possible. Even with the approaching loss of Denali I am still thankful. I have to be.
  • I am thankful for the 2 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 5 days I have had Denali in my life.
  • I am thankful for all that she has taught me and the love she showed me.
  • I am thankful that on that July day 2 years ago, I was at that auction, bought that pretty bay filly and gave her the life she might not have had.
  • I am thankful for my husband and the joy he brings to my life, even in my darkest days.
  • I am thankful for my family and their health and compassion.
  • I am thankful for the roof over my head, and that even in this economy I have a job (although there are the days I just want to walk away.)
  • I am thankful for my readers and the help you have given me through this journey.
Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The soul would

have no rainbow

if the eyes had no tears.

-Native American Proverb

Warm Mash on a Cold Day

My husband.

My poor husband. I know I'm driving him crazy. For a week I was unable to get out of bed and make it to the couch because I was physically unable to do to my bruised kidney/ribs/everywhere.

For the past week he has had to remind me to eat something, shower, etc. He's offered to go for walks, he's made all the preparations for Friday on his own. This morning I heard him outside on the phone with the vet, he wanted to make sure that everything was set for Friday and that we would be able to be out of there before the truck comes. He's called the truck and re-confirmed pick up time. He's done everything and for that I love him even more.

The roads are a little better in the Seattle area today. School was still cancelled, but my husband offered to drive me out to see Denali since we haven't been out since Sunday. He boiled water and put it in the thermos and we were off. We grabbed our mail. Denali's new dressage boots are here. Great....her smarktpak will be here next week. I cancelled it too late.

I explained to my husband that I wanted to give Denali a warm bran mash, but didn't want to stop at the barn before we went out to the Vet's barn. I didn't want to see anyone. He offered to stop at the tack store to pick up some bran mash, and even offered to go get it for me. (This from a man who is not a horse person, remember he's a huggle -like a muggle, non-horsey person.) I told him I'd be fine and I wanted to go into the store and pick it out for her.

I did fine.

And then I turned around and saw the Cherry Lik-its.

I lost it. I went from fine to bawling uncontrollably in .2 seconds. I just walked out in the middle of checking out. I left my credit card, my mash, and my husband. Luckily my hubby explained to the nice woman why I was acting like a crazy woman.

We continued the 30 minutes to the vets barn (it's a little over an hour from our house.) It was so quiet and so peaceful we were the only ones there. I started walking in the barn, and yelled out Denali's name before I could even see her. Right on que she started nickering like crazy.

I'm going to really miss that. She has the best nicker I've ever heard.

We fed her some treats, she still doesn't like sugar cubes! I went about making her a warm bran mash, which she was VERY excited about. She licked the entire container clean. Not a spot anywhere.

I went to give her a big hug, and it bothered her. Her neck must be sore because I wrapped my arms around her and she didn't seem to like it. She usually will let me bury my head into he neck and stand there for as long as I want. Her neck was sore when the vet checked it out a few weeks ago too, I don't know what EPM does to the neck, or why it would hurt. I didn't even think about giving her bute. How bad is that? I feel really guilty about not giving her bute. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll remember to bring out some bute.

My husband and I picked up most of her stuff because I know that Friday, Friday I won't be able to do anything.

We gave her some more love, lots of treats and left.

Her hind legs look wonky, swollen in weird spots and weak. I think that weak would be the best way to describe it. My husband and I talked about it and we might not let her run around. I don't think she'll make it 2 steps without falling. Who knows, I'm just going to listen to my heart the crack of dawn on Friday.

We stopped by my barn on the way home because while driving I developed this overwhelming desire to have my things at home. I honestly don't know where it's going to go. I don't think I can part with any of it. Not now. Not the things she used. My trainer was about to give a lesson to one of the little girls who leases. I couldn't form sentences to talk to anyone. I talked to the horses. I took my tack locker and Denali's buckets. I took her red treat ball that she loves more than anything. I loved watching her play with it.


I'm not even through with this process, but I already have advice if you ever need to lose your best friend. Don't wait a week between deciding and going through with it if you don't have to.

*edit* The weather might take a turn for the worst, again. That would mean that letting Denali go might need to be postponed. If that happens....I don't know if I can stay strong much longer.


After everything that Denali and I have been through, all the ups and downs (and even deeper downs) she taught me to respect horses. I learned that you can't just jump on any horse and make it go. You need to form a partnership, and have a mutual respect for one another. I always knew this, but with Denali it was just so important.
I have hoped on school masters and they did anything I asked. With Denali it was harder, more work, and more rewarding. I went from being utterly terrified of her and other horses to gaining confidence in myself and my ability to ride.
In two and a half years I wasn't able to ride her as much as I would have liked. Her issues, and my issues kept us in different schedules. I had her in training when I was hurt, and watched her develop into one of the prettiest horses I've seen under saddle. I would daydream about our first show together, and I don't doubt that we will do that, it just won't be on this Earth. Plus, I hope that by the time I get to heaven, I'm a better rider.
In my times of fear I had a lot of people riding her. I have to say that one of the proudest pictures I have is the one above. It was our last ride together, the last time she was ridden. I can proudly say that I was the last person to ride my baby.

Denali made me into a horse person and for that I will forever be grateful to her.
Two more days. I'm starting to feel ill.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dear Readers

Dear Readers,

You are my rainbow in this storm, my warm blanket on a cold night, you are what keeps me going when all I want to do is crawl up in a ball and die right alongside Denali. This has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but your kind, kind words of support. Your dedications to her on your blogs, the fact that I can feel your love and support from wherever you are is what is helping to keep me going.

I don't know what else to say, simply put: thank you. You are my hero's. You are my friends. Thank you for loving my horse right along with me. Thank you for your words of encouragement when things got tough, when I got scared. You helped me to get back in the saddle. Thank you for your words of encouragement when I went to my first horse show. And when I had to make the hardest decision I've ever had to make, thank you for showing me your kindness, love and support. You helped me to become the rider I am today, and now in the darkest days of my life, you are what helps me going.

For that I am eternally grateful. I wish there was something I could do to show you how much I appreciate all you've done for me, for what you've done for us.

Much Love,
Denali's Mom


So, I decided to do some more reading on EPM since I am just so confused about Denali's quick decline. I found this (someone posted the link, and I decided to read it.) It talks about vaccinating a horse with EPM and how you shouldn't do it because it can cause it can cause an increase of symptoms.

I didn't know she was sick.

She got her fall shots in October.

My life started to fall apart shortly after her shots.

The decline since her shots in October has been remarkable. Unbelievable. I wonder if I was a neglectful owner if she would still be okay. ROAR!! (Friends are visiting me, and I'm currently being a horrible host because I can't stop thinking about Denali, so in addition to ignoring them I'm blogging about ignoring them.)

Dreams and the Vet

I keep trying to dream about Denali. No dream, instead I woke up anxious and nervous and slightly sick to my stomach. I woke up today trying to figure out if this is the right thing to do. I decided that I needed to let Denali's regular vet know. I have been waiting to do it because I really like her and I know that calling her would just result in me bawling.

So I did it the chicken's way. I sent her a text message. About ten minutes later she called. I love Denali's vet, I do. She is so nice and understanding. Of course we both ended up bawling on the phone (she loves Denali too, who doesn't.) She had called the vet who is treating Denali and talked to her before she called me. She made me feel better about our decision. Not easy, but fair to her. We talked about the progression of her symptoms. I questioned if it could be something else other than EPM. Denali seemed fine in September, a few stumbles, up to November when she totally lost it and ended up in the dirt. Sweet girl tried so hard for me when trotting. I would yell at her to pick up her feet when she'd trip. I thought she was being a klutz. I didn't recognize that something was seriously wrong.

I love you mare!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Just A Horse

From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a horse," or, "that's a lot of money for just a horse".

They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a horse." Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a horse".

Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a horse," but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a horse", and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a horse" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you too, think its "just a horse", then you will probably understand phrases like "just a friend", "just a sunrise", or "just a promise".

"Just a horse" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a horse" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of "just a horse" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly into the future.

So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a horse" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a horse" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a horse" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a woman".


Denali's mom back in... sorry for all my random posts. I haven't told many of my friends that I'm putting Denali down. I need a place to ramble, and why not... I decided to keep it to myself for multiple reasons. I don't want people to give me their opinions. I don't want to be told I'm a horrible person, that I should try this or try that, or people to tell me that it's "just a horse." Denali is not just a horse. She is my life, my love. She keeps my sanity in check. When the whole world is against me, I have her. I will make an announcement after. There will never be another one like her.

She asked me to save her on that hot July day at the auction. I still wish there was a way for me to save her on this cold November evening. I THINK I'm at peace with this decision, but it's still so F@cking hard and feels so unfair. When I got Denali I was battling depression, it was a fierce battle, and at times I felt I was loosing. Denali changed that, without a doubt I can say that she saved me from myself. She gave me a reason to live (in addition to my husband.) When the world was against me, if I had the worst day, I could go to the barn and all the pain would fade away. If I tried calling my friends, and no one would answer, I knew that she'd be waiting for me at the gate.

I came across a website tonight. It has really good resources for someone going through the grieving process. I thought I'd post it here in case anyone who reads this needs support someday.

We dropped Denali off at the vet a little over a week ago. I noticed that I had marked on our calendar for November 27, "Denali comes Home :) :) :)" I crossed it off, and tried to not think of it, but I can't wait for November to be over so that I can tear the November page off the calendar and forget it ever happened. I never imagined that Denali wouldn't come home from the vet. It never crossed my mind.

Enough rambling. I know I have videos of Denali posted on this blog. Instead of rambling I'm going to attempt to go find them...

Final Plans

We made the final plans today. We are going to set Ms. Denali free this Friday. It's so weird to have a day, and to know after that day I won't have a horse. It is snowing like crazy in Seattle, so I didn't get out to the barn. The vet called and said Denali was happily eating all bundled up warm. I'm so glad. I am actually grateful for the extra days, it was suppose to be tomorrow. The snow is actually very peaceful. It happens so rarely in Seattle, and so it makes it special.

I have a really stupid question. Is it wrong for me to take all of her tail? Do I do it before or after? Suggestions from those of you who have gone through this.

I was at work today when I got a whiff of Denali. I had on my scarf that I wore yesterday, and it brought me a huge smile, and then lots of tears. I actually am pretty proud that I only cried a few times today.

I also wanted to say thank you, all of your kind words and suggestions. They really do help a lot. I just keep telling myself that we are doing this while it's hard on us, and not on her. I'm hoping that Friday we can let her run around for the first time in 8 months. I can't belive it's been 8 months since this downward journey started. I'm afraid she'll fall, but I just want her to be able to be a horse one more time. I don't know what to do.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Photos from the Perfect Day

Momma and baby walking around the property. The snow really did make today so special. It was just us and Denali. It was quiet, calm and beautiful.
I love this photo. She loves him so much, she always has loved him. You can see it in her eye.

Such a beautiful girl. Once she figured out that there was grass under the snow, that was a different story. I had to show her. ;0) I wish I had a good photo of the two of us together. She keeps pinning her ears, lol. Not at me, but just not very good photos. Ophie's Mom took some amazing photos of Denali and I this summer, and I will forever cherish those!

Perfect Day

It snowed today.

Just enough for the trees to be beautiful, but for people in Seattle to not lose their heads and still be able to drive.

It was beautiful.

My loving, amazing husband took the day off from doing school work to spend the day with me. He let me sleep in and we missed church. I was upset when I got up because I wanted to go talk to the big guy about taking care of one bay thoroughbred mare. The hubby reminded me that I can talk to him whenever I want. I have been talking to him a lot lately, lots of "why's" and "why are you punishing her for my misdeeds."

I'm sure there is a reason, there has to be a reason, that Denali is leaving this world. Yes, part of it is my decision, but this decision wouldn't need to be made if she were healthy, and able to be a horse. I'm hoping that someone in heaven wanted the most beautiful horse in the world, and we all know that in addition to beauty, she sure is funny. I just hope there is a reason.

Ms. Denali has taught me more in 2 years than I could have asked from any horse. She was the result of 22 years of hoping and praying for a horse. We won't be getting another horse. Not for a while. My husband and I have emptied our bank account twice to try and save Denali, so for once we are going to actually have some money. At least I hope so. I know that there is another horse out there for me. Someone once told me that when a horse leaves you, it's because there is another one who needs you more. Something like that.

I could keep rambling. I won't.

Went out to see Denali. She was so adorable, and of course, as soon as she heard my voice started nickering, and I started crying. I ACE'd her so she would be safe. We groomed her up, and took her out to see the snow. It was the perfect day. We took some nice pictures of her, I will post them when I can. She was a camera hog and kept stopping to pose for pictures.

So adorable.

We took her back into her stall. She got jealous of the horse next to her and tried to kick the wall. Denali! Seriously, you don't need to make things worse.

Trying to finalize things on the weekend is difficult. Thinking about what it will be like is harder. I did a lot better than yesterday. Much less crying!!

It's suppose to snow again tomorrow. I hope!

Thanks again for your comments and support. I really, really appreciate it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cute Factor

I thought I'd try to not make this blog totally depressing towards its end. I ordered this pre-Denali isn't going to make it. It came in the mail today along with the mini-Ophie and after bawling for 20 minutes, I have to say it's pretty much the cutest thing ever. They are being made for a Thoroughbred Rescue in the Seattle Area, and if you send in a photo they will make your horse for you. Seriously, some of the ones who have chrome and blazes are impressive.
The ponies were $12.00 and 1/2 of the proceeds go towards the rescue. If you're interested e-mail tinyplanetfarm@gmail.com tell her that Denali sent you ;0)

Hardest Part

This has to be the worst week in my entire life.


I thought I would enjoy the time spent with her, loving on her, grooming her. I do, don't get me wrong, but it also breaks my heart knowing what is coming. I can't stop crying, and I haven't told a lot of people. I can't listen to their opinions. Now that's a trot left this quote, and I need to keep reminding myself, "Better when it's hard for us than hard for them." That has helped me a lot (I already am crying all the time so I am saving the video for later.) It still breaks my heart that she is so happy right now. She can't move without almost falling over, but she's happy doing it.

My husband and I talked again about the "what if's" but it keeps coming back to the only way she would be safe is if she is in her stall all the time. I can't do that to her. I love her way to much to do that to her.

I went and bought her one of each type of apple to see if she has a preference. Nope, she loved them all (well at least the ones I fed her. I didn't want her to cholic and suffer.)

Tonight was a friend's surprise party, so a few weeks ago her husband asked me to keep her busy. So, being a good person, aside from the massive brusing, and internal heartbreak, I kept up with my promise. She is from up north, so I took her to the tack shop that is farther south.

Like an idiot, I picked up the expensive snacks I never bought for Denali (because I can make them myself for 1/4 the price) and while checking them out I burst into tears and stood there in my too tight yoga pants, and slightly shrunken hoodie bawling. I didn't even explain, I just walked out and waited for my friend. Poor girl. I hope she had a good party. I couldn't go and be a party pooper.

I love you Nawlers.

I asked my husband to finalize the plans. I can't do it and I know I will keep putting it off.

Broken Heart

It is with a heavy heart that I write this.

After much debate, and "what ifs," we have decided to let Denali go.

We sat down with the vet last night for and talked about options for a long time. It is the most heartbreaking thing I have have had to do. She isn't going to get better, and I finally understand that.

It is not fair to her to bubblewrap her, and put her in a stall for the rest of her life because her suspensory failed her, and the EPM took her ability to balance. The vet said there is a very slight chance that after treating her for EPM, and 6-12 months of stall rest that she could be turned out again, but that her hind legs fail her again. If it was just one thing wrong, and not 3, we would have had a better chance. This is the second vet to tell me this.

We don't have a date scheduled, but before December. This is when I wished that I owned property so she could have a proper burial, but no, I need to scheduled the truck to come pick her up, and I think that is what breaks my heart the most. She deserves better than a truck.

She is my baby, and I love her more than anything. I just can't keep her in a stall to keep her safe, when even that might not help her. That is no life for her, and it becomes about me, and not about her. She deserves better than that.

For now I am going to continue to spoil her, groom her, soak in her smell, and love on her. We're going to let her be a horse, with the understanding that it may need to happen sooner rather than later if she gets hurt and we are not there.

She deserves so much more than I was ever able to give her and that breaks my heart.

Hug your horse today.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

*Ah Choo*

I made an attempt to go to work yesterday.

I say attempt because I was useless. I called the classroom and reminded my assistants (who rock) that I was coming down, and that the kids CAN NOT TOUCH ME.

That was the extent of my day. I sat in a chair and talked to my kiddos, who I really did miss. One little boy just kept looking at me. Finally he ran up, apologized, and then hugged me. It really was cute, and didn't hurt to bad.

THEN my allergies struck. I honestly don't know what hurt more, Denali kicking me, or my ribs after sneezing. Ugh.

No more work for me. I am taking my Dr.'s advice and staying home, in bed.

No news on Denali. The x-rays haven't been read yet by the radiologist. The vet called me today and told me she'd give me an update tonight.... It looks like that might not happen until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Vet took the x-rays. Left me a message and said "nothing glaring!" That makes me feel better!!

Going to people vet today to figure out why I still feel like I'm dying.

Dumb Ass

We went to see Ms. D last night. She was a sweaty, sweaty mess. She has no temperature. She isn't excited (actually very quiet) and she just looked sad. The vet is going to try to give her bute to see if she is in pain, or if the sweating is related to the neurological issues going on. I agree with someone who posted, give her a few days to settle in. I just feel so bad for her. At our barn, my trainer is in the barn from 7am to 10 pm. She always had someone to stop and visit her, even if I couldn't come out. The vet's barn is VERY quiet. There are only 3 horses in stalls. We got there at 5 and no one else was there. My husband was going to take Denali out of her stall, but a horse kicked something and Denali freaked out. We didn't know where we could walk her, so we decided to keep her in her stall so she could be safe. We didn't want her falling on the cement. She hadn't eaten much of her dinner, but eagerly at her apples and treats.

I felt pretty good last night. My husband even took me out to eat. I look like a hot mess. I can't wear jeans since my hips are so black and blue, so I had on sweat pants, and a hoodie that didn't match what so ever.

I don't know what happened last night in my sleep. I woke up in as much pain as I was in Saturday night. Lots of pain killers, but nothing is really working. Fun times. I also learned that it is impossible to cry, yawn, laugh, sneeze (especially sneeze), or cough. Holy Fu@k. Talk about pain.

I have been kicked by horses before, but I think that 9 times is my bodies limit. I am still amazed by the areas that I got kicked and they don't hurt. It is going to be a while before I am able to ride again. My trainer offered me one of her horses to ride, which I thought was nice. I haven't thought about riding, since I have been so worried about everything else. I miss it.

My new saddle is in my house. It makes me so sad to look at it, but I still plan on keeping it regardless of what happens. I just wish that it would be Denali's new saddle. It isn't looking like that is going to be the case. The prognosis is still grim, with the best case being a pasture pet. That's fine. She would be a great pasture pet!

Thanks for your kind words everyone, they really do help. Denali is getting her x-rays today, so hopefully that will help answer some questions. With my luck, it will leave us with more questions than answers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

dear mare,

i love you more than you will ever know. you saved me. you are my best friend and i love you. i wish you were able to use words to tell me how you are feeling. my gut says you are sick. i don't know if i am making any decisions correct. am i making you suffer waiting for a miracle? am i being unfair to you? are you okay? you seemed so small tonight and weak.
your daddy and i love you and will keep fighting for you, but if you are done fighting please, give us a sign.

love always and forever,
mom and dad

Maybe it's the drugs?

I just got off the phone with the vet.

Denali is stable, but is not improving. We are going to do neck x-rays, blood work, and then we will make decisions.

Best case scenario, it is a bout of EPM. Worse case it's Wobblers. I explained to the vet that I am very concerned that it has been so acute. She was doing well in September with trotting with only a few trips and now it's continual falling.

It's not good.

We talked about options. Denali's injuries make it difficult. The vet talked about surgery for Denail, and we both agreed that with everything else going on with her, that would be unfair to her. With the injuries to the hind legs, and EPM she would have a difficult time healing properly.

So, what next.

We are going to do neck x-rays and hope that there is nothing there. With the acuteness of the disability we both wonder if she could have fallen and broken her neck.

We talked about options.

I don't want her to stand in a stall bubble wrapped for 6 months, in hopes that she won't hurt herself. That's not fair to her. I love her more than anything, I hope you understand that. I want Denali to be a horse, to be able to be out on a pasture and have a good life until it's her time to go.

I explained that I can't put her down when she's happy. The vet totally agreed with me. I am going to look for retirement board for her where she can be a horse until things go south. This is all of course if things look bad, but I can't keep pretending that it will all be okay.

I can still hope that they can figure it out.

I thought I'd be writing this bawling. I'm not. I still can't cry or have any emotional reaction. It hurts to bad to cry. Thanks for all your kind comments yesterday. Sorry it took me a while to moderate them. I have been sleeping, A LOT!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't Kick a Girl When She's Down.

Someone didn't inform Denali that you don't kick a girl when she's down.
I was trying to think of how to write this.... I guess I'll just write.

Saturday morning bright and early I met Pia's mom at our barn. Denali loaded like a dream for her trip to the Vet's barn. She did a few screams, but settled down nicely. My husband and I lead the way for the 13 mile trip. When we got to the barn, that's when I got stupid.

Denali was upset. Mistake # 1. I opened the trailer door and went to get her out without giving her a few minutes to calm down. Mistake #2, I ducked under the divider to get her out. She knew I was there, but when I ducked under (and I've done this before with her.) I put her over the edge. She freaked and knocked me down and started to scramble and kick....with me under her... She kicked me at least 9 times (that's the number of marks I can count today), before my husband pulled me out of the trailer. I laid there for a few minutes while Pia's mom and the vet got my freaking out horse out of the trailer. I was convinced that I was fine and went about unloading her things, filling out her intake forms, and talking to the vet. Boy, am I stupid. She only kicks when she's upset, and she was terrified. I put her over the edge.

My husband made me go to the hospital, and it frustrated me because I honestly felt fine. I didn't cry, and I didn't feel too horrible. Then the adrenaline started to wear off....

Ophie's mom and her boyfriend came to the hospital with me. They brought me some treats and Diet Coke, along with a magazine. It was really nice of them. I sent my husband home because I honestly thought I would have a few x-rays and then get to go home. How wrong I was.

Want to get into the ER quickly? Come in with a horse trauma.

We went to my room and it was all fun and games, and then the adrenaline started to wear off. They came in to put an IV in and I proceeded to pass out. That's when the pain hit, and the fun ended. My husband soon was at the hospital.

The Dr. guessed that I broke between 3-4 ribs. I told him I'm a tough cookie and I didn't think I broke anything. Turns out I was partially right. He gave me some strong pain killers after he touched my back and I proceeded to scream and swear at him. I have a bruised kidney, bruised ribs, and my legs are covered in bruises, and my foot is swollen. Still nothing broken! I got to go home on Saturday night, but had to go back this morning. The pain killers made me sick, so I didn't take them last night before bed. BAD BAD mistake!! I'm not allowed to go to work this week until I start to heal. My poor students, one asked if I was out trick or treating.

As for Ms. Denali, the vet left a message saying that she calmed down nicely, but that just from handwalking her around she suspects that she is neurological. I gave the okay for blood work and for neck x-rays.

Damn it Denali.

I don't know if this even makes sense. It's the first time I've sat up for more than a few minutes all weekend and I'm still all drugged up. Sorry!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Future

From the moment that I owned Denali I pictured her living out her days in field behind our future house. I imagined finding her under a tree on a warm spring morning, having slipped away in the night. I pictured myself nearing 50 and that she would have had a long, long life and that I would accept it.

Now I'm terrified that she won't make it until Christmas.

I thought long and hard about writing about how I feel. I can't put into works verbally, I keep breaking down in hysterics.

Denali got her feet done today by the new trimmer. Denali was adorable and was trying to groom her, and was stretching herself out. After the trim I put some standing wraps on her hind legs because she had stocked up overnight, and went to run some errands.

I came back and decided to work her a little to try and work out some of the swelling.

Denali fell, several, several times. It was the most heartbreaking thing ever. My trainer thought it was because her feet were sore, and she was stepping on rocks and couldn't compensate due to lack of muscles.

I don't think so. In my gut I know something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong. I tried to call out both of our vets, but I couldn't get a hold of either of them. It's not an emergency, emergency so I didn't want someone else to come out.

My husband and I had the hard conversation tonight, I also had it with my trainer. For now I can hope that I can just retire her and that she will be safe and happy. If I can never ride her again, it would break my heart, but I would still have her big old neck to wrap my arms around. Not having it will kill me.

Prayers welcome.

(At first I turned off comments, then I realized that 99.9% of you are normal, sane human beings who will not kick a girl when she is down....they are being moderated for the .1% of you who are not nice. I can't deal with mean people right now. )

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vacation here we come!

Well, Denali is going on vacation. I guess I am too, I get a vacation from worrying. Denali goes to the rehab barn on Saturday. A million MILLION thank you's go out to Pia's mom, who offered to wake up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to haul Princess to the barn. THANK YOU!!! That is one huge stressor off my chest.

She also reminded me of the Vit. E supplement that she gives Pia and I'm going to try that one instead. Seriously, our poor trainer is going to feel like she needs a Equine Science degree just to feed Denali. This one is a liquid, so it's just one more thing to add to her bucket of food. This Vitamin E has really good research behind it and I'm excited to see if there is a difference. It is also less money each month! Something finally that costs less money!!

Went out to see Denali. I really wish there was a way for me to show the way she looks at me. It's a look of pure love and trust, and it makes my day. She was happily munching away on her pile of hay and wasn't very excited to stop eating. I convinced her to take a break to get groomed. I put her in the cross ties to groom her and pulled on her tail as hard as I could, and nothing. She didn't budge. That's a good sign right? She'll still get x-rays next week to rule out being a wobbler. (Fingers Crossed.)

Talked to the vet that will be taking care of Denali. I have a bazillion questions, but I guess I'll have them answered on Saturday.

I also hired a new farrier. It's another barefoot trimmer, but I just want to try someone new. I really like my old farrier, but the last time Denali was really lame, and I just am not sure if her feet look the way they should. I guess think of this as a second opinion. I'm still super nervous. Super, super nervous!

Monday, November 8, 2010


I think I can write this without crying.

I think I can.

As you may have read, I had the holistic vet out on Saturday. She did body work on Denali, and Denali was a hot mess. Denali fell (again) during her exam. I thought about a million things that could cause it. It's the 8th or 9th time shes' fallen in 2 months.

The holistic vet asked me if we x-rayed her neck when we did her initial neurological diagnosis.

Yes, yes of course!!

I called our other vet (btw, I'm super thankful for having 2 amazing vets in our lives) just to confirm that we DID x-ray her neck (to check for wobblers.) Nope. We didn't. I went on to explain that Denali had fallen again during her initial with the other vet.


She then went on to say that she thinks that she needs to come back out to see Denali and that all this falling is concerning. I tried to give all of my hypothesis as to why... none of them seem to make the vet feel better. We didn't look at her neck because she improved with treatment for EPM. I guess that horses can be lucky and have both. Lucky, lucky us.

I'm sure I'm freaking out for nothing. (Fingers crossed)

Regardless, Denali is going on a little vacation. She is going to be staying at the NWESC . In reality, it is going to be cheaper for me to send her there and have her treated at the Vet's facility, than to keep her at home and treat her. The vet told me about this on Saturday, but I blew it off, but with the possible re-torn suspensory (did I mention this?) and all her body issues, and now more Nero tests.... this is what I can do for her now and keep myself from going totally crazy.

Still need to finalize everything with the vet. I appreciate the supportive texts, messages, and phone calls. Thanks to Pia's mom who offered to haul the princess for me. Pia has wobblers, so she is a wealth of information and super helpful with my crazy questions. I'm hoping that I look crazy here in a week or so and that everything is fine.

Someone last year left a comment asking "when is enough, enough?" Please don't ask that.
I'll explain later once everything is finalized, but think good thoughts for Denali. She needs them right now (or maybe I do since I'm the one freaking out.) I'm trying VERY hard to not freak out, VERY, VERY, VERY hard, but sometimes it is just hard. If I write it down I'm afraid that it will come true, so for now...think good thoughts!!!! I'm hoping to be a hypochondriac and just crazy girl, but so far just one of those has worked out for me.

Just another manic Monday

By now you know that Denali has a knack for injuring herself. Sometimes it's big, sometimes it's little.

Yesterday I ran out to the barn to feed the Warmbloods. You try explaining to them that the time changed, eek. I'm glad I thought about that and went out about 45 minutes early. They had only JUST started to have mini-melt downs. One of my favorites might be leaving soon, so I went to give him a big hug. He's a huge warmblood and amazing undersaddle. I'm sure his new owner will take him far!

After leaving the warmblood barn, I drove the 5 minutes to my barn to visit Ms. Slew. Apparently she didn't finish her breakfast, so I took it out to her in paddock. I repeated the same Matra that Ophelia's mom use to say to her, "Get Fat." Denali doesn't seem to like beet pulp very much. I put some cocosoya oil in with her left overs and mixed it up. That made her happier and she quickly scarffed it up. While she was eatting I scratched her head, it's her favorite spot. I felt a lump under her forlock and noticed that something was sticking out.

I put her halter on her and wrestled her head into my arms. Sure enough there was a lump and something sticking out. No one was at the barn so I got to try to keep her head still and also get out what I thought was a sliver. Nope, not a sliver. She some how figured out how to get a thorn stuck in there. How do they do it??

I have a meeting tonight but am hoping to make it out to see the girl and see how she is moving.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vet 2

Denali made a very nice sign this morning for Zenyatta while we were waiting for the Holistic Vet. I am pretty impressed with her dexterity.

Our appointment lasted for 2 hours! How would I best describe the appointment? It was enlightening. The vet is amazing. I know of her work through the horse rescue that I go out and help at a few times a year. She knows her stuff (as does our normal vet) and I am really, REALLY glad that I had her come.

She took the time to get Denali comfortable, and Denali was a super good girl the entire time. Overall, Denali is a hot mess. She was out in so many places and if she wasn't out she was tight. Before the appointment vet lunged Denali and thinks that she still has something going on in her suspensory. She suggested stall rest and wrapping. There is no heat, no swelling, and she is only off at the trot. I explained to her our last few weeks and Denali's running around like crazy. If she's not better in two weeks she said I should call our other vet and have her suspensory re-sonogram. (YAY!!!....no, not yay)

Denali LOVED when she worked on her TMJ, she actually closed her eyes and her lip started to quiver. It was sweet. When the vet went to put a rib back in place Denali looked like she was going to tear someone's head off, then she looked so much happier after. She was out in the neck, the back, the pelvis (that was REALLY BAD, duh!)

After the chiropractic work the vet did some acupuncture. Denail didn't mind the needles in her rump, but was not pleased with them on her shoulders and back. The vet took those out and did acupressure instead. As soon as she was done, Denali reached back and started scratching her legs with her teeth. She probably couldn't do that for a while. She itched everything she could itch.

She gave Denali a 4 on the body score scale. :( I assured her (because I felt that I needed to) that Denali ALWAYS drops weight when the weather changes. New plan of action though to get her fat.

1. Rice bran pellets and Beet Pulp.

2. 8 flakes of hay split into 3 servings.

3. If she eats everything give her more.

Denali thinks that this is a brilliant plan!! My trainer, who got super worried that I would be upset that the vet gave her a 4, happily discussed what her diet would look like now. Her nibble net will now be joining her during the day. I swear my trainer spends her time figuring out how to make me happy. (Which is fine with me)

Believe it or not I'm not freaking out about anything. SHOCKING I KNOW!!

Well...I am a tad worried that she will get hot and crazy, because she hasn't been. We'll see.

Denali is not suppose to do anything for 2 days. Monday I can start to hand walk her, but no trotting and not under saddle. HONESTLY, I think she's okay, but want to do what the vet says JUST to be sure. I don't have it in my heart to put her in her stall for the two weeks. She doesn't run around in her paddock, especially because it's fall and she doesn't like to run around in the slightly muddy paddock.

Speaking of fall, Denali tripped and fell AGAIN today. That is starting to freak me out. Pick up your feet mare.

I'm hoping that all this body work she's getting will pay off. The vet invited me to send Denali to her rehab farm. It is less that 1/2 of Pegasus, but unless something glaring shows up I'm not planning on it. I, of course, still asked for literature. I went there, it's really nice and if Denali needs something done extensively I would defiantly send her there.

We'll see this vet again on the 19th for her next appointment. I hope that some of this sticks and that she looks better on Monday. She seemed a lot happier today after her appointment.

Good thoughts for the million dollar mare!! (That's just an estimate of what I put into her, but MAN do I LOVE her!!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Safe Mode

So much of my evening has been done in "Safe Mode." I got home from the barn (more about that soon) and turned on my computer and kept getting the blue screen of death. I finally got my computer to start in "Safe Mode" so I could write this.

Tonight was one of the most amazing nights I've had with Denali.

I left work with a headache and couldn't decide if I was feeling up to dealing with Slewy, but had to run to the tack store to get some MTG and figured might as well continue up the interstate and go say hi to the mare.

The plan was to say hi to her, feed her some carrots and leave it at that. I wasn't sure if I was up to dealing with any mare-fits but still haven't seen her since Monday.

When I got to the barn 3 of the teens were just finishing up their lesson. I remembered my rule of not getting the mare out when there were small children around (less learning about swear words that way) and went to say hi to her instead. She's always adorable when she sees me after a few day break, nickering and following me everywhere.

After the teens put their horses away I realized they were not leaving anytime soon and decided to get the mare. I gave all the girls another "don't touch my horse or go behind her or I'll kill you" speech. I took Denali's blanket off and started brushing her. Next thing I know all three teens are gathered around Denali telling her how pretty she is. WHICH WOULD BE FINE IF SHE COULD SEE YOU!! You see those cross ties?? They keep her head in place so that she can't turn the whole way around. When you stand by her shoulders she can't see you. What did Denali do?? She stood there and kept her eagle eyes on me, "Mom is this okay? Am I okay?" I reminded the girls to go in front of Denali so they aren't behind the cross ties in case she spooked.

They stood there discussing how beautiful she is (and really, who wouldn't?) A few minutes later one of the girls mom came up behind Denali and put her hand on Denali's butt. I flipped out (Denali couldn't have cared less) and literally pulled her away from my horse. I explained very nicely that you do not EVER walk up behind a horse you don't know and touch them on their butt. I'm a bit gun shy in case you can't tell (and in constant Safe Mode.)

As we were standing there reviewing the kick zone, the barn dogs started to bark behind Denali. I could watch her get nervous and was worried that she was going to pull back in the cross ties. She didn't, and calmed right down. Good Mare.

Denali was worked yesterday by our trainer. She had left Denali's boots in the aisle way to dry out and they caught my eye. I grabbed them and was walking to put them away when I noticed Denali's expression. She had her ears pricked forward and dare I say, looked excited. I asked her if she wanted to work and I kid you not, she shook her head yes. I reminded her that I had a headache and couldn't deal with funny games.

We went into the arena and...when I say that Denali was amazing, that is an understatement. She was AWESOME!!! She did everything I asked and tried so hard for me. I started to cry. I was so happy and proud of her. She's doing so well!!

Yay Denali!!

Tomorrow the holistic vet comes out, hopefully there is no blood this time!!

Some things I learned my first year of owning a horse farm (Author Unknown)

Someday we'll have the land and I want to have my own farm... I found this today on Tacky Tack of the Day (where I bought new boots for Denali) and thought it was worth sharing.

A horse will respect two thin wires of electric fence. If and when he wants to.

"Break away" barriers are good things. Gates, fences, halters and even support beams should all be engineered to "give" when under pressure from a 1,300 lb horse with a big spook.

Kindness is still the most powerful force. Win his heart and the mind follows. And all four hooves, too.

You can't fight the weather. Live with it. Prepare for it. Don't ignore it and don't forget it.

Sometimes the weather screams at you to hunker down and stay inside. Do it.

Life is hard. Don't underestimate the physical challenge of life. Get in shape.

Play. Life is hard (see #s 4 and 5 above). When it lets up, find time to play. Life is also short and the time for enjoyment fleeting. Ride horses. Ride bikes. Read books. Go fishing. Play a game.

Have fun!

Be flexible. The old adage, "fix it once," is wrong. You may have to fix it 100 different ways, 100 different times.

Water freezes at 32-degrees Fahrenheit. Every Time.

Sometimes all you have to do is HOLD A CROP. It's amazing how things seem to go your way when you just have it in your hand.

Don't wear regular clothes to the barn.

A swimming pool is a good thing. A lot of work, but a good thing.

Horses prefer dried brown grass to fresh green hay.

By and large, horses are NOT intent on killing themselves. Six days out of seven they prefer to
graze peacefully, groom each other, and socialize with the neighbors over the fence. It's the
seventh day that gets you, though!

You cannot mow a field with a lawn mower.

The cat is a good mouser.

The dog serves no purpose whatsoever. Other than to keep you busy, tear up your stuff, and make you get out of bed in the morning.

Fence wire goes on the INSIDE of the fence.

You can install electric fencing with just one ground rod. And that voltage meter does not work as good as your hand -- but it hurts less.

15 minutes of barn work does not equal a Big Mac & fries! That would be 120 minutes.

Horses can stay outside overnight.

Hard surfaces make good floors in a farm house.

Always schedule the next hoof trimming when the farrier is HERE.

A phone in the barn is a good thing.

Don't dump the muck cart into the wind.

There is no such thing as "reliable high speed internet" on the prairie.

You can get tennis elbow from mucking stalls.

Manure adds up. Fast.

Winter lasts a long time. It's cold. It's hard. And it is very very boring. Get an indoor hobby.

Horses are a lot of work. Unless you love them, then there is no "work." Just life.

Heat the feed room.

Don't break ice with the bucket heater.

Wear gloves when refilling frozen water buckets.

There is a contraption called a T-post puller. You need one.

No. It is NOT a good idea to burn off your fields. PERIOD. No matter how many people say it is.
Pay someone to run over them with a bush hog. Trust me.

Put your foot on the brake to start the tractor.

Wake up with the sun. Forget the alarm.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Me vs. 5 year old.... Me - 0, 5 year old - 1

Well. I'm back to officially being a horrible horse mom.

Monday I dreamed that I couldn't breath and woke up on Tuesday wheezing so hard I thought I was going to die (thanks Asthma...no, I haven't missed you for the past 10 years, but thanks for asking!)

Yesterday I got bashed in the head, either by a kids fist or he pulled the door closed on my head. I don't remember, but I do remember it really !@#$ing hurt. I think it was his fist.

Keep in mind he is 5...

I stayed at work and felt okay, just my head hurt pretty bad.

Today I woke up so nauseated and ill. I went to work, walked into my classroom and laid down. I guess I looked whiter than normal so my principal made me go to the hospital. (Because I LOVE the hospital, no, not really.) Nothing is broken in my head, but I have a concussion and bruising around my temple. (I knew this, but didn't have a choice in going.)

The nurse asked me if I was in an abusive relationship, stopped and snickered, and then said "at home." HA, yes between work and the barn I'm always being abused.

Saturday the Holistic Vet comes out... Here's hoping that Denali doesn't give her a head injury.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mud Monster

Well, the Pineapple Express has arrived, I just need some rum to go with it and a swizzle stick and I'll be good to go!

Went to see mare face after an extra long day at work. I didn't go out to the barn yesterday, I slept in until 10:30 and laid around for hours because I was convinced that it was raining outside (and I was to lazy to actually open the curtains. I was wrong, but it still didn't inspire me to leave the house until 5 pm. We went to our neighbors house to hand out candy and that was the extent of my day! Ophie's mom and boyfriend came over and she brought me the card of a massage therapist who, get this, has liability insurance AND health insurance!! Still not ready to call someone yet...but have her card for when I'm ready.

It had rained buckets today. When I moved mare face into the stallion paddock, I knew that it didn't have the best drainage, and often puddled up in areas. Apparently mare face guilted the barn owner (not trainer) into buying some hogs fuel for her paddock. She was playing in the water, with that look she gets on her face and I guess he thought it was her depressed, I hate water look. Little does he know that she obsessively LOVES water and would play in it all day if she could. It should be drier by Wednesday.

She was CAKED in mud when I went to get her, and could break her away from her puddle play. We went into the barn to get ready. She was super antsy.

Mare + Water = Stagnant Mare

Stagnant Mare + Dry Arena = Nutcase of a Mare

Denali wasn't HORRIBLE. She had at least one foot on the ground at a time. That's good right? She looked really good from behind (long lining) when she was not being an idiot. She still tries to stop and roll mid-work. Bad trick! One good thing is that we have Long and Low totally nailed now!!

When we finished she was sweaty (from trying to take off cantering) and I tried to let her roll. No go, she knew that meant snacks, and she really wanted her snacks.

I took her stall and THOUGHT I closed the door while I went to get her carrots. I came back to her with her feet as close to the aisle way, and still be in her stall. She had this look on her face of "Um...Iz don'tz know where you went, but Iz stay here."

Good Mare!