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Friday, August 28, 2009


Foxsun wasn't feeling well today. He ate some carrots first thing then he didn't want to eat anything else. Mid afternoon I gave him about 12 crushed up Tums (antacids) made into a paste and a little while later he started grazing. I'm going to talk to the vet about this. He has become quiet the pet following us around. Brad doesn't have to use a rope to bring him to the house for his shot, Fox just walks besides him. He was following me around so close last night he followed me home and so I let him sleep on the lawn.

For the first time in a week I spent time with the mustangs. Wildairo just wanted to go out and explore returning to me for carrots. I gave Echo a whole bunch and petting and kisses. He's still not too keen on me approaching him in the big corral until I have soften him up in the little pen first. Next I plan on putting his halter back on and giving him some leading lessons. I have taught him to come to me when I call him to, so I'm hoping he'll catch on quick to halter training.

It's nice to pet a horse who is nice and fat.

Here are my little office friends.
Tommy Two Tone..


Poor little Muffin gets chased by Tommy. Everyone gets chased by Tommy. Max hisses at him though. Tommy grabs the dogs back legs as they are walking or leaps up and grabs them around their necks like he's a lion bringing down big game. The dogs love it and play very rough with him, which he really enjoys.

We don't let Tommy go outside alone because he's so fearless he'd try to tackle a coyote if he saw one!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Foxsun hangs in there.

Thanks everybody for your kind words concerning Foxsun's health. It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. Days have kind of blended together.
Foxsun continued to feebly graze on the dried weedy stuff and refused to touch more nourishing feed. Sunday I picked handfuls of his favorite grass and he obliged me by eating it. We made another mad dash to Ephrata to buy more of the antibiotic, salt and Electro-Plex. I was very anxious to get home to Foxsun and also afraid of what I might find.

We left Fox standing in the shade on the lawn and when we got home he was in the tall weeds eating the tops of the grasses. I called him and he walked to me like a horse with a purpose. His whole demeanor was different. I put a rope around his neck so he could get his supplement paste and he walked so fast and with so much vigor I got pulled a bit! Wow, he got his horse spirit back!!

He munched on the carrots I gave him and then he walked back to the corrals and started eating the alfalfa hay right out of the bales. I felt like I won the lottery I was so happy. That night, about midnight, William wanted to go and check on him and it was a good thing he did. Foxsun was still at large and was by the stack yard. William found him groaning and refusing to move. We got him into the light and I saw his back legs were shaking and so were his shoulders. I was afraid the pain might be coming from his gut... then I noticed he had the horrible swelling was back around his belly button area so I gave him a full dose of bute. It was the first time he had bute for four days which is incredible because he wouldn't eat without it before starting on the antibiotic. We put him in the corral next to Echo and went to give the mustangs a little hay and to my amazement Foxsun nickered for his and when I tossed it over the fence he dived right into that really good alfalfa hay. I was astonished because he was in obvious pain yet he wanted to eat. I thought he was going to quit eating and drinking again.

He still is continuing to eat and drink. He still won't finish his oats though. Tonight, Tuesday night, he was a little pain and I just gave him some bute. He wasn't shaking like he was Sunday night but he was groaning and moaning a bit when I led him back to the corrals.

Foxsun eating in the tall weeds. This is where he poops to avoid going on the lawn.


When I looked out my back door this morning this fellow was under the apple tree in Foxsun's spot.

I was like the paparazzi, "Over here. Over here!" Snap.. got him!

He was back tonight and when I shone my light over to the apple tree I thought the glowing eyes were Foxsun's and I took my lead rope to get him. The eyes bolted off and I thought 'Wow, Foxsun's really doing good to run like that'... William told me then it was a deer .... or maybe a cougar he added lol.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do not go gentle into that good night.....

Rage, rage against the dying of the night.

I haven't had the heart to write for awhile because of Foxsun's deteriorating health.

About six days ago Foxsun completely stopped eating and drinking. He has been a brave horse and has been ill for a long while. I told him it was OK and we'd some how manage without him. I knew it would be hard when Foxsun reached this stage but I had no idea how hard it would be.

While Foxsun was on his 'death bed' I had one of my brilliant ideas and asked William to go and fetch Fox's old cow wife.

I zoomed in to see how he was doing.

The bull didn't want her to go.

Soon as she hit the uneaten meadow she decided she'd gone far enough and William had to pull her.

The herd started honking very loudly because they wanted to follow Dandylyons.

Dandylyons eating dandelions.

Foxsun was pleased to see her but didn't try to go to her.

She grazed on the lawn for awhile then decided to go into the meadow to eat the tall alfalfa. Fearing she'd bloat we took her back.

Foxsun went under the birch and gave up standing. This is where I lost it.

I went to bed that night thinking I was telling him goodnight for the last time. But as it got light enough to see I looked out to see him grazing. The heart of a horse.

He ate a little that day. I gave him a smorgasbord of thing's to choose from; a bowl of oats, a bowl of soaked beet pulp (he wont try it) another bowl of hen scratch, carrots and chopped apples. The chickens found it and thought they had gone to 'all you can eat' heaven. But Fox ignored the food and just nibbled dried weeds. The next day as we were working in the corrals he wanted to come in there with us, so we opened the gate and he joined us. He just lay down in the dusty ground next to us. Brad forced him up and we took him home.

It was the next day that his body started to shut down. He hadn't drank or eaten enough for too long and he was quickly reaching the point of no return. I had the choice to let him go naturally or call the vet. He was showing no pain or discomfort and wanted to be with us so I decided to ride it out. The vet had told us you can't make a horse eat or drink. "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink....".

I think Brad and I saw the look in Foxsun's eyes at the same time. His eyes where sinking in as dehydration set in. The thought of the light going out in his big beautiful Morgan eyes was too heartbreaking for words and Brad and I decided to do what ever it took to keep our boy with us.

As virtuous men (horses) pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."

I scooped up handfuls of water and try to force water into his mouth. We briefly considered starting an IV because we have IV fluid on hand. I thought the bute might have given him an ulcer because he's been on it for so long. So I crushed up a handful of Tums (antacids) made them into a paste and Brad squirted it into his mouth. I then grabbed a powdered sport drink containing electrolytes, mixed it up with some water and Brad put that his mouth... listening for him to swallow.

We then dashed 50 miles to a feed store and bought electrolyte paste and a bottle of penicillin G. When we got home we were happy to see him still standing. Something either the paste or the antibiotic made him feel better because by nightfall he'd sipped a little water.

The next day Foxsun drank gallons of water. He buried his face in the water up to his eyeballs and pawed it with his feet. For two days now he's been eating the weedy dried material along the roads. He avoids the lush grass and alfalfa in the meadow. He nibbles a little grain now and again. The wonderful news is he hasn't had any bute for over 48 hours. We were giving him bute because without it he'd get lethargic and would not eat. We made several failed attempts to cut it back. It was a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't.

These pictures were taken this morning. This is where Fox likes to graze.

This next picture clearly shows Fox's horrific condition as Brad gives him his daily shot.

Foxsun follows us.

To make it nice for Foxsun I haven't mowed the lawn for three weeks and haven't sprayed weeds all year.

Foxsun came down with pigeon fever about a year ago and it seems like it went internal. His body has deep lumps. I can feel them in his throat are area and neck. It seems to go into remission now and again and he starts to regain weight. He was on the antibiotic Tucoprim but I don't think he was on it long enough. Right now he's asleep in the shade on the lawn. I have my fingers crossed that when he wakes up he starts to graze again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Corral repairs.

William and his dad are redoing the corrals. They are knocking out the boards and pulling up the old rotten posts. The corrals were built in 1971 by Brad and his dad and were long over due to be repaired.

One problem; what to do with the mustangs....

Wildairo's gate was opened and he ran out like a bat out of hell. Echo was put in the alley and small pen.

Echo stood so calm as the big tractor scooped out piles of ancient poop right next to him. I went and stood by the fence and he came and stood with me. Humans are not his enemy anymore.

Foxsun was in the garden most of the day, under the oak tree, but when he strolled back to the corrals to see what the ruckus was about it presented a problem; what to do with Foxsun.

We put him in this weedy pasture out of harms (tractors) way and I thought all was cool until I spotted Wildairo spotting Foxsun. Wildairo seeing another horse out in the sage brush trotted high headed towards him. One big problem, barbed wire! There was a fence between them. I was watching and hoping Wildairo would use his common mustang sense, and he did.

Wildairo was really brave now he had another horse near him and he went exploring further into the pasture. He kept running back to take a quick look at Foxsun to make sure he was still there then he'd go off exploring again. He found some tall sage brush and jumped into the middle of it and used it has a back scratcher.

The fence has electric wire in front of it but Wildairo kept clear of the whole thing regardless.

Foxsun has lost a lot of weight. We tried to cut back on his bute to once a day and it didn't work. He stopped eating his oats and would just dig in them till they were on the ground. I don't get it because he'd gobble down grass in the meadow and garden like a healthy horse. I saw him visiting the chickens so I gave him some of their hen scratch and he went crazy for it. He not only has gone off his oats but he also stopped eating the sweet feed and senior horse feed. Now he thinks he's a chicken. He's become a picky eater alright. Sometimes I wonder if he just hasn't gone daft! Yesterday in the feed store I was trying to decide what to try next and bought 50 lbs of the pelleted beet pulp. I can't see him eating that mush but I'll give it a try.

It looks like Brad is leading Wildairo home....

..... a closer look and you can see Brad is using something stronger than a rope.....

... hay!

Wildairo loves food of any kind. He's always hungry for more.

When Wildairo is closer Brad calls him in and he comes on the run afraid he's going to miss out on some more food.

I asked Will to lead Foxsun towards the corrals in case Wildairo was reluctant to leave him out there.

But no... Wildairo didn't give a hoot because he had his eye on the prize.

Echo had is hay tub and water moved in to his temporary digs.

Gates have been propped up and tied with baling twine. I'll be glad when this project is finished!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Echo and me.

Echo continues to make progress. He's still reluctant to have me approach him in the big corral until I have have spent sometime with him in the small pen.

Last night instead of getting Brad to help me get him out of the big corral and into he alley, I waited till he was near the gate and shouted at him to go through and he calmly walked up the alley and into the small pen. He knows what I want him to do. I've been making my movements more exaggerated and he seems to be getting used to me. Brad and William came over to talk and Echo was very nervous to have three humans standing so close and he was very grateful for me to stand with him... like we were a team.

I had my cell phone and thought I'd try to take some pictures of the two of us. Echo wanted to get his nose in on the action.

I took about 20 pictures mostly of Echo's nose. Really though he was a very good sport about the whole thing.

When I let him out in the big pen he became very cheeky with me. He was bumping my hands for carrots and yawning in my face. In the small pen I'm only just getting him to move his feet to get a carrot.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Slow but Steady.

Echo and I are making slow and steady progress. Every evening I spend a few hours with him in the little pen although Brad has to help me get him in there. He over excites himself when the two of us go in the big corral with him. I must say he's incredibly athletic and he was really showing us his wonderful 0 to 90 mph take offs and fast spins last night. I wasn't unable to walk very well and so for my own safety left the big pen and let Brad sort him out. Brad resorted to yelling at him and little Echo responded by quickly leaving the big corral like he was supposed to and standing in the 'willing horse position' in the little pen. Once he's in the smaller pen Brad leaves me to get on with it. I don't put him behind the gate but practice walking up to him just petting him. The first time I did it he ran backwards and when his bum hit the gate he froze and didn't try to move again. The gate wasn't latched so he could have escaped back to the big pen if he hit it a bit harder.

Every night we get more comfortable with each other. Last night I was grooming his mane with my fingers and running my hands down his legs. He doesn't wear a halter because I want him to stand there on his own accord for now. When I ran my hand down his left leg, just before I reached his fetlock he lifted his foot, I thought 'alright' but then he tried to hide his foot behind his other one. So cute! I hope he didn't think I wanted to bite his legs like Wildairo did.

He's really scared because at the start of our sessions his nose and lips tremble and his breath is all shaky too.

He still enjoys me singing to him. I think human talk to him reminds him of when he was being frightened in the BLM facilities. I think poor little Echo took all what he went through very personally, so I sing him little songs and he quickly calms down. I made up a little song called 'Echo the brave mustang' and he really enjoyed it and let me put my arms around his neck and give him a cuddle.

Here he is the other night when it started to rain.

Last night when I let him out of the small pen I went into the bigger pen with him and he let me touch his face and give him a kiss.

It's taking less time every night for him to calm down and I'm really pleased with our progress.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Echo becomes a halter boy.

I worked over Echo for three hours last night. The first thing I did was put his halter on. (Cell phone picture).

I had to put my soft rope around his neck to bring his head closer. I had put some twine on the crown strap so I could pull it up and over his head once I got the nose band on. I saw a man from the BLM get Wildairo's first halter on like that. I'm pretty short and Echo was holding his head pretty high, so I put the twine through the loop at the end of my riding crop. Brad saw the struggle and helped out. I was trying to hold on to the soft rope, the crop with the crown strap tied to it and keep the nose band up on his nose. (The words, cluster, monkey and football come to mind... and I don't know why. lol). Anyway Brad sorted it all out.

Now would be a good time to go to the top of the page and have a quick look at Wildairo having his halter put on for the first time....yep, they are all different.

We are making slow progress with Echo but he's lovely to work with although once again he was snorting at me and running away when I went into his corral. We got him into his little mustang trap without incident. He knows the routine. Once in there he feels safe. I think when he starts acting all snorty and evasive he scares himself and it escalates.

Last night I just made him feel comfy in his halter.

Foxsun showed up the other side of Echos chute and was tearing at the wooden boards with his teeth. I've never seen him do that before and the noise was really getting on my nerves. I kept trying to poke him in the nose with my crop but I couldn't reach him very well...then I found the perfect Foxsun deterrent, the flash from my camera. It made him run off yet Echo doesn't mind the paparazzi at all. Wildairo used to be the one who would create disturbances but since he's been allowed to go out he's happier. I gavehim an apple and a carrot so he didn't feel left out.

Talking about deterrents; the mosquitoes were terrible. I called and asked William to bring a can of spray. I sprayed myself next to Echo and he stood so still I sprayed him as well. He seems to prefer the aerosol can over the ones with the hand trigger thingie.

Echo loves his brother.

I didn't leave his halter on. He seemed calmer when I let him go this time. I had a little hay there for him to eat instead of running off. The moon was really bright and in the big pen he kept giving me gentle little bumps wanting me to feed him the rest of his dinner.

Monday, August 3, 2009


It's been very hot here in Odessa, Washington. We are prepared for the hot dry weather in the summer by irrigating all our crops (lawns and gardens) and having air conditioning in our house and vehicles. It's been in the upper 90's, reaching 100 degrees Sunday.


Todays forcast...

Very hot. High clouds in the morning...then mostly sunny. Highs 97 to 100. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph in the morning...becoming 5 to 15 mph in the afternoon.

It's a very dry heat. Our annual precipitation is only about 10 inches. It most of it coming when we are putting up hay it seems!

I waited till the sun was low on the horizon before venturing out to work with Echo.

Brad has been spending some time when he feeds him and said he'd been getting him to move into the small pen calmly and stand still. But with two people there Echo acted silly by snorting about high headed. Brad had to put him behind the gate and I was pleased he stood in the 'position' without any fuss.

Once again he was very tense and froze with his back arched. I calmed him down and made a halter for him from my rope.

As you can see I'm not very good with ropes.

Here he is standing behind the gate.

There's a lot of room in front of him so I thought I'd give him his first leading lesson.

He refused to move his feet. Ever since he tried to push his way through the metal gate and lost some hair he's decided it's safer to keep his feet firmly planted. Not even a giant juicy carrot would make him step forward. I didn't push this issue because it's a good thing he doesn't move when he's being held in a small place. I'm thinking about the future when he's hauled places or being examined in the vets chute.

The William showed up which made him happy because all William does is say "Hello Boy" in a loud voice and feed him carrots. He really showed a lot of interest in William.

I showed Brad my awful knot and he, being the maker of fine baling twine riding bridles......(see below)
..... fixed it a bit better for me.

At that point Echo decided to have an out of body experience. Probably to gallop across the sage brush flats of his old wild home with that cute little filly he left behind.

After letting him go I went and had a nice cool moonlit swim in my little pool. There's a flock of bats that show up for a drink every evening. I enjoy watching them all the while hoping they have they radars turned on so they don't fly into my face which is poking up out of the water.