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Monday, September 29, 2008

Foxsun is ill.

I pretty sure our 22 year old Morgan, the magnificent Apple Pi Foxsun Bay, has got the dreaded lurgy, Pigeon Fever. He has lost a lot of weight lately and looks awful. At first I thought it was maybe his teeth, but he seems to be eating OK. Brad thought is was poor quality pasture, which puzzled me because his old cow wife is very fat. Anyway I got him in to fatten him up with extra feed. I started giving him the John Lyons's Senior Horse feed, that I normally only give him in the colder months.

I gave him a nice 'all over' massage because he looked like he needed one. I was rubbing his chest, where his itchy spot is, and I felt a sore and some swelling about 3 inches wide and about 5 inches long. I just thought the flies were really bothering it, so I put fly spray on it.

The next day I noticed he was walking a little stiff in the front, not too bad, but it got my attention. When he turned I saw the swelling on his chest was much bigger and I thought 'Pigeon Fever'!


I decided the first thing I should do was to get him away from the Mustangs. I grabbed Echo's old halter and asked Brad to walk him to the horse barn. I rode my bike over there to try sort thing's out before they got there. Foxsun hasn't used the area for ages and it's become run down. I plan to fixed it up for the Mustangs because it's a great place for horses. There's a nice old horse house and trees. Here's Foxsun tied up for the first time in years. You can see he's very thin.



You can see the swelling behind his elbow (girth area) in the bottom picture. It's not so bad on the other side.

He didn't want to be left over there and stuck to me like glue. He called for his old cow wife and got a far off reply from Wildairo in the cattle corrals. (Little Echo has a very deep voice). Poor Foxsun. I left him with some good grub.

I went home to read up on Pigeon fever.

Today the swelling looks about the same. There doesn't seem much I can do except wait for the abscess to get big enough to drain and flush out. Horses do recover once the abscess's are drained. But if there's an internal abscess it's harder to treat and there's about a 40% chance the horse will die. The flies spread it. I'm not sure if isolating Foxsun will help much. I dread to think how I could treat those naughty Mustangs if they got it. We'd have to run them in the cattle chute. Wildairo has been mad at me for days just for spraying him with fly spray.

Foxsun is as gentle as a kitten and trust us as much as we trust him. I hope one day the mustangs will be like that.

Here are some pictures of poor old Foxsun today alone in the horse house and corrals.




He's getting good hay, senior horse feed, carrots, apples and a lot of love. Tomorrow I shall try to talk to people who have had horses with this ailment and our vet.

On a good note; Echo is not freaking out so much anymore when I touch him with the bamboo pole. I rubbed his hocks and he only lifted his hoof a couple of times at first. I found a itchy spot on his shoulder and he enjoyed me touching him there with the pole. I haven't ventured under his barrel because he was really bothered before when I did. I'll get him more relaxed with the pole before I try there again.


I'm so glad I have the Mustangs to distract me from worrying so much about Foxsun. Fox has been with us so long now he's part of our family and I dread loosing him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Echo relaxes and Wildairo learns a lesson.

When I hold a carrot tight Echo has to eat it like this. Sometimes I hold the carrot right up to my face and blow in his nose as he eats it. He's fine as long as I don't try to touch him.


Today I just sat and talked to Echo feeding him some grain and carrots. He was very relaxed and happy.


I finally trained Wildairo not to kick and bite the gate. Every time he did it I threw a small rock at his legs, hopefully hitting the gate and making a noise as I yelled, "NO"! After awhile all I had to do was say no and he'd stop. I noticed later on he almost bit the fence and remembered just in time and he'd give me a quick look to see if I noticed what he almost did. He's very likable.

Wildairo and Foxsun must have had a fight the other night. I noticed they were getting along really well the day before, they'd eat out the same bucket even. Then in the morning Brad noticed Foxsun was eating out of the bucket and Wildairo was too scared to go near it. Later that day I saw Fox chasing Wildairo, so I turned Foxsun back out with the cattle. I noticed some scrapes on Wildairo hind end and face. Nothing at all serious. It seems old Foxsun had to take the young lad to the wood shed. I wonder what Wildairo did to deserve that?

Monday, September 22, 2008

The taming of Echo.

Last night I moved Echo to the smaller pen. He followed me very willingly. We had removed the Mustang proof panels to uncover the wing gate used to sort cattle before putting them in the chute.


The wing gate swings out to place a cow in a narrow area to hold while other cattle are being worked in chute or the head gate. Because Echo will not let me near him, unless it's to take a treat out of hand, I thought I could hold him there to submit to a good gentling back rub. I held him almost there for awhile and it was obvious he was terrified and could hardly contain himself and I hadn't even opened the gate all the way. I tried talking to him but he was oblivious to any kind of comforting. Suddenly his fear got the better of him and he burst forth. I'm not sure what he did because I had my eyes closed but I did manage to pull back the wing gate to protect myself. I opened my eyes to see a cloud of dust and Brad asking 'He's OK, are you OK?' Brad pointed out that Echo didn't try to challenge the gate to try to escape so he was pleased about that.

We moved to plan B. After tying the wing gate closed with a bit of twine I got a long PVC pipe. I put it on his back and all hell broke loose. He bucked once but spent most of his time trying to find away out of the pen. He was trying to go under the fence not over it for some reason. Anyway, I was scared out of my wits but kept that pipe on his back the best I could till he calmed down and excepted having a PVC pipe as his first rider. All the cows came running to the pen to see what the ruckus was about. I heard Brad say that even the bull had shown enough concern to show up. Echo did get a little gash on his face from the fence.

The pipe was awkward to manage but I rubbed it over his back and crest. He kicked when I went too far back with it. He kicked about 30 times and every time Brad managed to come with a new joke like, "He must be a very friendly horse because he wants to shake hands". I had to change to my shorter bamboo pole because he kicked the pipe up against the fence and shattered it. I got him to let me rub the pole down his legs by going down a little bit at a time. Soon as he looked uncomfortable, I'd move the pole back up to his back. After many of these little retreats back up his leg, he let me touch his hock (with the pole) without kicking. He will not be touched under his barrel and has come close to breaking the bamboo pole by kicking at it. I called it a night when he was OK with the pole on his hocks.

Today I'm a little bit disappointed because although he let me put the pole on his back he was very upset still. He even almost lost his composure again. I decided to not try anymore till I have have someone there with me. Here are some photos I took today. You can see he is still very nervous about the pole.



He's still scared of the pole even after all the progress I made last night. I can't help but keep thinking how easier Wildairo was.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spring in September.

My long awaited Rhode Island Red pullet (girl) chicks arrived Friday from Murray McMurry hatchery in Iowa. I enjoy have my own laying hens roaming the place because not only do they provided good eggs but keep the snakes away for some reason.

Bobby inspected her new charges carefully. Her job is to scare away hawks, eagles and low flying planes because you never know when a hen can look like a tasty treat to some big bird or the local crop duster.


Bobby approves. Mmmm, new chick smell.


Bobby is wet because she's just been given a bath by William using my 'good' shampoo.

The hatchery includes a free rare exotic chick with the order. I was trying to figure out what kind of a bird it is and William said he thought it was an owl! I laughed at first but then I got to thinking, it would really bring them a lot of return business if they sent an owl out with the chicks. Ha ha. I'm going to miss William when he returns to CWU tomorrow.

Here is the mystery chick. We call her 'Jet Lag' because it took her while to recover from her flight from Iowa.


I had to get 25 chicks because that was the minimum order. I only want ten so Brad is going to give some away on Monday.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Echo's halterless days are numbered.

I've had enough of Echo just letting me touch his face.


I'm about to put my foot down with him and put a halter back on him. I really want to cuddle him and brush him. We have come a long way though considering. He comes when I call him, follows me and is really good at lunging, albeit in one direction. I think he's an incredible horse and I cannot wait to see what else he can do.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This woman disgusts me.


I hate Sarah Palin on so many levels.

Have you watched the ad being run by the Defenders of Wildlife that shows her plan in action as they shoot Alaskan wolves from helicopters? I cannot because I'm too sensitive to witness such evil, yet Sarah Palin championed the cruel death of those beautiful wild creatures.

Already the Republicans who are on the cattleman's side are wanting to treat our Mustangs as vermin. Republican Jack Kempthorne is the Secretary of interior and has a long track record of putting mining, lumber, cattle etc, before the environment, (they turned that into a cuss word), the wild horses among other things. I'm afraid the Todd and Sarah Palin administration would make the biggest anti-wildlife and wild horse hater Cathy McMorris Rodgers Secretary of the Interior.

Don't believe the nonsense about it would be kinder to kill our Mustangs then managing them properly. People who say that make me want to vomit.

What chance will America's wild horses have when she becomes president? Keep in mind, McCain is an 72 and has been diagnosed with cancer four times!

Besides being completely evil to wild animals she's ignorant and vindictive and an irresponsible mother. As a woman who's not only intelligent and kind heart but a excellent mother I'm insulted this awful human being as been selected by McCain to lure women into voting for him. I'm ashamed to be the same species as her let alone the same gender! How stupid does he think we are? I'm truly insulted!

She's stabbed everyone who has ever helped her get employment and into public office in the back. The intellectuals in the Republican part are getting very concerned.

Her husband, Todd Palin is on record saying Alaskan families are not American families! They were members of Alaskan Independence Party. They wanted Alaska to be independent from the United States! I'm not sure but that could be treason or something.

If you love your country and want peace and prosperity, don't vote for this ticket. I'm afraid of the worldwide bloodbath if McCain wins.

Local Alaskan dog's reaction when hearing about what Sarah Palin is doing to his wild brothers.

I write this on behalf of my two mustang boys and all the animals who have brought such joy and comfort into my life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Echo likes me again.

Phew! It was touch and go there for awhile but Echo is friends again with me.
Here he is going over his first jump.


I made little jumps of various thing's like pipe and rope and the little darling went over them all. Although he had no refusals, after a few clear rounds he started racking up the faults by not clearing the fences. It was fun. I cheered him when he got a clear round and booed when he kicked over the jump or stepped on it. About 35 years ago I was at the Royal International Horse Show in London when I watched a horse and rider clear a 7' wall but training this wild little Mustang to jump is way more fun.

Echo has finally forgiven me for going to Oklahoma for a week. I really felt bad because I thought the bond we had been forming was lost forever. I'd sit in my lawn chair and he'd hang out with the boys the other side of the corral and ignore me. Last night when the moon was full I rode my bike to the corrals and spent sometime with him. He enjoyed the company because today he was pleased to see me and so tonight I went to see him again when the moon got high. This is what he looks like at night.


He does something very strange. After he's eaten some carrots he does this sucking. He holds his lips tightly closed and sucks his cheeks in and makes loud slurping and sucking sounds. He half closes his eyes and almost seems to be relishing the carroty goodness. I hold my hand on his lips and I'm sure he's not sucking in any air like he's cribbing. I hope he doesn't have a dental problems. He only does it when he eats carrots. I'm trying to get him to eat apples but he acts like I'm trying to poison him. He has started eating grain and he loves it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Echo gets wet.

Echo seems happy to finally understand something I'm asking of him. We have going in one direction circles down pat. I made it more interesting by putting down my bamboo pole about 6" off the ground for him to step over. I also sprayed water in one area for him to trot through. He went squinty eyed but went through the water so many times he was soaked on one side..


He's still convinced if I get my hands on him I'm going to eat him. I told him I've been a strict vegetarian for 34 years but he just blinks at me. I know I'll have to lure him back to the small pen to force the issue and I know it'll scare the little fellow. I'm going to use ropes and poles. I just don't want him to run into the fence again and bash his head like he did before.

I'm trying to get him as used to me as he can before putting him back in the little pen. I hope he'll get to realize with the water spray and such that new thing's don't hurt him.

Before I rope him into submission I plan to get him going calmly in the other direction. When I tell him 'whoa' he turns and steps towards me now. He's a pleasure to work with.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wildairo has a guest.

The cows are eating something horses shouldn't, so we put Foxsun in the corral with Wildairo. Foxsun dived right in to Wildairo's dinner and all was well. It's the first time Foxsun has eaten with another horse for 20 years!



Fox lived for his first two years with his large herd of Morgan Horses on thousands of acres in Wyoming and he's very herd savvy. They get along really well. I had Foxsun gelded when he was 27 months old so he was a stallion longer than Wildairo was.

Foxsun's old cow wife is doing OK without him. They have been separated before. She did come to me for a cuddle though.

Echo hasn't forgiven me for leaving him for a week.
Here he is coming over to eat this carrot before I finished it.


I played some mustang fishing with him using a baby carrot as bait.


Something triggered fear in Echo's brain and I have no idea what it was. He must have a flash back to his year in the BLM corrals because he suddenly feared me and started to panic. No longer would he let me touch his face, in fact he turned his back to me and wanted to get through the fence. I had to rethink everything. I decided to make him move. The corral is a big rectangle and my pole too short but I managed to get him lunging in a circle. At first he kept getting stuck in the corners. He is prone to taking flight so I was so please that I could do it without making him panic and running into a fence.


He is a beautiful black bay. Sometimes, in a certain light, he looks a plum color. He can walk, jog and trot in a circle now. He watches for my cues very carefully. I was kind of excited because when he's doing his fast trot if I say 'whoa' and lower my pole he comes to a fast almost skidding stop and turns to face me, head up with nostrils flaring and snorting loudly. He kind of looks and acts like a hot blood.

OK. Enough bragging. The truth is he will not go in the other direction. William says he's like Zoolander. He freaks out when I try to turn him. When I do get him turned he takes off like a bat out of hell till he gets to the next corner and he spins to face me snorting with his eyes bugging out.

I break up the training with lots of time outs. I bend my head down and let him rub his nose in my hair and he'll let me touch his face a bit. Oh I wish he was wearing a halter still. I has worried when he was wearing one with all the thing's around here it could get caught on, so I was relieved when he pulled it off. But I could make him come right up to me when I gently pulled the lead rope.

Echo is a kind gentle soul and a pleasure to be around.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I had a very nice visit to Oklahoma. My son Keegan and his wife Nicky took me to some wonderful places. My granddaughter, Amelia, is so sweet and has a super sense of humor. I wish they lived closer. Keegan is a Tech.Sgt in the US Air force.

Here are some photos of my trip.

Some longhorn cattle.


Bison, at home on the range.


We stopped by a large army base called Fort Sill where they still use horses.

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When I saw this sign I had to laugh because my horses are pets and I've always hand fed treats with no problems. After meeting these stuck up army horses I'm even a bigger believer in hand feeding.



They leave all the horses halters and lead ropes on the fence where the horses can get tangled in them. ????

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The horses were all business like, sporting buzz cuts (even their forelocks whacked off) and their name, rank and serial number (well just their number really) branded on their necks. Same side as our Mustangs.


When I saw my horses again, I told them they never had to worry about being drafted into the army because they were just a bunch of useless, fun loving, carrot addicts and the army wouldn't want them.

The buildings on the Fort were made from stone and were beautiful.


Most of the trees on the Fort were very lovely Post Oaks.

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We visited the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. OKC also happens to be the new home of the Seattle Supersonics..Grrr.



It's a very interesting place. I enjoyed looking at all the old saddles and bridles that were on display.

I got home at 1am and the first thing I did was to say hello to my three horses, who all pretended to be very hungry.