Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Doctor Cookie Visits!

Since the last visit from the vet, I've made some changes with Truby. First off, I go and feed her her supplements every day. I had issues all summer with her not necessarily getting her supplements each day, plus, when she did get them, she had the tendency to swap meals with her buddy Cherry, since pasture feeding sucks. So now I go and feed them every day. I know they were fed, and I know TRUBY ate them. Plus it gets me out to see her everyday!

I added in a joint supplement, as well as an amino acid supplement, which claims to be good for helping horses develop muscle. It was cheap and had good reviews, so I thought I'd see if it helped.

Will be cute for snax

I was pleased that Truby seemed to look better 2 weeks or so after the vet visit. Of course, it was mostly due to the fact that she had enough hoof grow out to protect her tender little tootsies. But she continued to look happier in general and walk more freely. Sometimes I'd look at her think  "wow! You look great!"

But then...sometimes I'd look and her and think she was still off. Something, somewhere was wrong. And I couldn't really put my finger on it. So I called the Cookie Doctor and had him come back out, because who  needs money when a Truby might be ouchy? 

This is how hoof supplements work, right?

So Cookie Doctor came out. We talked about what I was doing with Truby and what I'd noticed. And how I might just be a hypochondriac horse owner, but maybe not. He looked Truby over, and had me walk and trot her up the driveway. I was thrilled to not trip and fall on myself, but Truby thought trotting was stupid. 

Then we did some flexion tests. Cookie Doctor would flex a limb, then have me trot her across the arena, do a tight turn, and then he would take the rope and trot Truby so *I* could see her move, without having to do the test twice. Love that.

We hit the jackpot with her right hind fetlock. As soon as we started moving I could hear the lameness and feel the resistance through the lead rope. I thought it was dramatic, and he scored it a 4 out of 6. The pain and stiffness up in her stifle areas are now thought to be caused by compensating for her painful fetlock. Her first few steps of those tests were off, but she quickly worked right out of it. 

Before every test, while he was explaining what we were going to do, the vet gave Truby a horse cookie and a rub on the forehead. After each test was complete, he'd give her another cookie. He told me that he knew he was going to cause her pain or at least discomfort, and he didn't want her to think he was doing it to be mean. Since Truby lives for cookies, she didn't hold a grudge for long!

I love you, Doctor Cookie <3 

At one point, he apologized, and walked back to his truck.
He had run out of treats and went to get more.

So, we know where Truby's really hurting. But why, and what do we do about it? I, of course, am fiscally irresponsible, and decided to have him come back out and do some x-rays. I really want to know exactly what's wrong, rather than assume it's just arthritis. Which is pretty much where we're at. 

I'm concerned that she has arthritis that bad, and that suddenly. Is is because she really aggravated it during her hitching post disaster? Or is it just really bad and now my princess pony is a cripple? Or do we have a fracture or chip? Ringbone? Ankle gremlins? 

I am happy, Truby is back to her cheerful self, she's moving much better, just the odd step now and again. Basically I have a content horse. But...something is still wrong. So that has me worried. I'm looking forward to seeing what's going on with that leg! 

Pre-appointment grazing on a sunny afternoon. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Achievement Unlocked: Desert Wildlife

I'm moping around with a head cold today, so let me tell you about THE COOLEST THING EVER that happened a few weeks ago!

I got off work a little early, and was debating whether or not to stop by the barn on the way home, or wait until later in the day. I finally realized that if I went home first, I was probably going to sprawl on the sofa and never move again. Better to go in the middle of the afternoon and avoid the sofa temptation.

When I drove up, I noticed Truby standing in the middle of the gate area between the ring and the front pasture. She was perpendicular to the fenceline, looking into the neighbors property. It was a really weird position to be in...but she seemed normal, and gave me a little whinny and walked right over when I pulled up, so I shrugged and chalked it up to "horses are weird".

I gave her her supplements and a handful of grain, and hung out with her while she ate. Just petting her and looking her over. Truby was munching away, and I was leaning on her, enjoying the afternoon sunshine and smell of warm horse. I glanced idly over into the neighbors field, wondering what Truby had been looking at earlier.

And then.

Then I saw it.

Just sitting the the grass.

Right on the other side of the fence. Totally chill.

A bobcat!!!!!!!!!

Even though Tucson is a good sized city, we have a ton of wildlife that is perfectly at home wandering the streets and trekking though yards. The washes crisscross the city and allow wild animals like coyotes, bobcats, javelinas, etc to travel all around without having to worry about humans or cars. It's incredibly common to have wild critters knocking about your trash cans or playing on your patio (so I'm told!)

I was really disappointed when I first moved here. It took me weeks to see my first wild critter - a road runner - out in the wild. Finally, after about 6-7 months of living here, I saw a coyote trotting down the road. A few months ago, my husband and I saw a pair of javelinas crossing the road while we were out walking one morning.

But my dream has always been to see a bobcat in the wild. I know that bobcats will stalk around houses, and even bring their kits out to play poolside at people's homes. Clearly these wildcats are not shy!

So you can imagine how excited I was to finally see a bobcat, in the wild, and super close up! I was torn between watching her as long as possible, and running back to my car to grab my phone. (Bad logic: I'm just going to feed Truby, I don't need to bring my phone. That would be silly!) I watched for a bit, then hustled over, grabbed my phone, and hustled back.

going places, doing things

Stalking ground squirrels 

It was almost unreal to watch a bobcat, maybe from 50 feet away. She was strolling through the pasture, pausing now and again to stand perfectly still, staring at the ground. I assumed she was hunting ground squirrels, and could hear them rustling under her feet. And she was SO CLOSE!

I want to hug her so bad!!!!

I got some video too, but blogger won't let me upload...I'll try and figure out how to get it up sometime when I'm not super sick. 

So, I'm watching this bobcat, and internally squeeing, and stalking alongside her as she travels through the neighbors field to the wash behind the ranches. and I feel something bump my shoulder.

hi! We're watching bobcats do bobcat things! Yay!

Yup. Truby was tiptoeing behind me! Apparently this is our thing. It was interesting though - none of the horses seemed at all concerned about the predator strolling along the fence. Granted, horses are probably too big for a bobcat to attack, but you'd think they'd at least be worried. Nope. Only Truby seemed to even notice the bobcat, and while she enjoyed watching, she didn't seem at all concerned. Just interested.

annoyed at me for taking too long to line up the perfect shot

Hi Kitty! I'm Truby, let's be friends?

I watched until the bobcat wandered out of sight, probably headed home via the wash behind us. It was the most incredible experience I think I've ever had. It was just so close! And so relaxed! Had the fence between us not been wire mesh, I probably would have done something really stupid, like get waaaay too close, and maybe try and give it a hug. She was so chill it was really tempting! It's probably a really good thing that fence is mesh...

P.S. do not hug bobcats
even if they had cute wittle ear spots and a wittle nubby tail!

My cat, Sara, is a Highland Lynx, and one of the early breedstock.
HLX cats have quite a bit of American Bobcat in them, which is probably why
it's so tempting for me to want to snuggle actual bobcats.
Since this is probably a bad idea, and my health insurance sucks, 
I instead only snuggle  my little bobcat Sara. 
Sara thinks this is great, and purrs and purrs and purrs. 

P.S.2. Do NOT attempt to snuggle wild animals! 
And if you do, don't blame me, kthanx. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving, so you know that means the obligatory "what I'm thankful for" post. 
It can be fun to read through and see what other people are thankful for. Or why they're thankful for it. I have lots that I'm thankful for, so let's get started! 

Spoiler Alert: I bet one of the things I'm thankful
for is Truby. Probably. 


I'm thankful almost beyond words for the amazing people I have known over the years. Some people I knew in person, but now only keep in touch with online. Some people I met online and later became Real Life friends. And some friends I only know online. Some I will get to meet someday, and some I never will know in person. Some friends were friends only for a brief time, some pop in and out of life, and some are always there, steady and consistent. I'm lucky for all of you, thank you for being a part of my life!

I could explain this, but it's more fun not to
yes, that's a potato


My family. I am so, so lucky to have the family I do. Sure, we're all kinda messed up, one way or the other, but we love and care for each other. I know I can ask almost any member of my family for help, and they'll give it to the best of their ability. Everyone is there for each other. We're a really weird group, but we have great senses of humor, and enjoy each other. 

Really, my friends are like family, and my family is like friends. In the best possible way!

This is obvious! I love this little gray mare. She's my entire life. 

Haiku and Sara

These two. My beloved housepets are getting old, but they're still my perfect friends. The days are long past that Haiku and I would go walking on the horse trails, or hiking with my dad. For a little lap dog, Haiku would go with us all day! Now we don't go much further than around the block, but it doesn't matter. She follows me around the house, hangs out with me, and keeps me happy.
Sara...such a tiny little cat has given me so much. Our days of competition and fame are well behind us, and it doesn't matter one little bit. I know her days are coming to a close, but she still snuggles with me and purrs and purrs and purrs. I'm thankful for each and every day I have left with her. 


I'm grateful for my job. Despite the fact that my career was completely wrecked, I mean, temporarily paused, by coming to Tucson, it's given me some pretty amazing opportunities and I've gotten to meet incredible people and have unbelievable experiences. I'm not sure what's in store for me (probably a complete career change) but I always have skills to fall back on. 


While life here didn't turn out the way I hoped, it's been a fun and interesting place to live. I'm thankful for the ability to live in different places, experience different surroundings, and learn different ways of life. Tucson is very different from the East Coast for sure! I'm lucky to be able to try out different places, and hopefully find exactly the place I belong. 


I belong wherever Truby is.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Ouchies

The last couple weeks have been crazy. My in-laws came to visit, so I took a couple days off work to pick up them from the airport, settle them in their Airbnb, grocery shop (never again!), and explore the desert a little. I thought they were flying in Thursday, instead of Wednesday, so I lost a day off to relax and do "things". One of the things I was trying to do before they arrived was have a new farrier out to trim Truby's feet.

Our last farrier did a nice job on her feet...but was a PAIN to deal with. He wouldn't schedule appointments in advance, I had to call every 6 weeks. KNOW I want her feet done on a regular basis, plus you trim two other horses here...just set up a regular schedule for us. But, no. He was super paranoid about opening gates, so he'd either climb awkwardly over/through fences, or I literally had to open and close the gate for him. I can see the benefit to this paranoia, but it was weird. Speaking of weird, he wore canvas slip on shoes. Need I say more?

Of course I do! He was super arrogant, which went hand in hand with his misogynist viewpoint. Combined with the fact that he was chatty...made for often uncomfortable interactions. Just trim my horses feet and maybe not insult every other farrier or woman you've ever met? Maybe?

He thought horse shoes was EVIL, and hoped PETA would learn how malicious shoeing was so they'd "take care of it". He also though open carry laws were dumb, because "you still get in trouble if you shoot someone! What's the point of being able to use a gun if you get in trouble for using it?!" 

So...I thought maybe I'd try someone new. Cherry's owner raved about her farrier, so I gave him a call, he seemed fine, and he came out Tuesday. While he was nice enough, handled Truby well, and his trim looked ok...I also thought it looked VERY short. And he worked FAST. Like, the fasted I've ever seen a farrier trim. And I've been at a lot of barns and been around a lot of different farriers. And he was kinda pricey. Whatever. My week was cramjam full and Truby seemed ok, so I didn't think too hard about it. 

Except for two days later, when I brought my in laws out to meet Truby. Despite having owned Truby much longer than I've been married, and having been married for 11 years and change, my in laws had never met Truby before. How does this happen???? So I brought them out to visit what turned out to be a very miserable little gray horse. 

She did not want to walk. She just looked painful. It was hard to tell exactly what was wrong, because it appeared to be everything. 

Hard to get a nice pic with their grandpony. Truby was
feeling pretty bad.

Jena offered to take a look the following day, since she would be out to get Cherry's teeth floated. While the in laws took a midday siesta, I headed to the barn. The vet was there doing regular stuff on a few horses, and Jena checked Trub. She thought she was still painful in the painful areas she had after her hitching rail drama. Then another boarder tried some flexion tests, and thought she hurt everywhere. And "If ONLY THERE WAS A VET HERE, RIGHT NOW, THAT COULD EXAMINE TRUBY...!" So I asked the vet if he had time to look at a new patient that wasn't feeling well and we weren't sure why. To which he replied, "of course I do, it sounds like we need to take a look!". Love him.

thorough exam on my unicorn

Grumpy unicorn: That HURTS!!!

Hoof testing

Truby: Hello, new friend. Please to make Trubys feel better?

I was very pleased with how thorough, careful, and methodical the exam was. He checked everything. He also had a great "dad" sense of humor, and halfway through the exam the whole gang started singing Safety Dance, because Truby. 

We can dance if we wanna

I really appreciated the good cheer and humor, because I was tired, stressed, and worried. The final verdict was a combo of painful feet and painful body. Great.

The vet said she tested painful in all 4 heels, but especially ouchy on the right front. Her toes were ok, so he didn't think laminitis (whew!) but it was probably going a bit longer than normal between trims (9 weeks as opposed to her usual 6/7) and a different trim style, and also way too short. He was able to give me a recommendation for a new farrier that he thought would be a good match for us. Apparently she's as obsessed with trimming as I'm obsessed with my horse, so that sounds worth trying. 

The body pain was basically the same exact ouchie spots Jena found. Leftover trauma from the hitching post. That' "good" because it's not "new" damage. just old damage that's a little worse than we thought.

He said the combination of the two was probably just making her feel painful and miserable all over, which it totally was. Poor Truby! He suggested a week of Bute followed by another week of no Bute but rest. That would give her time to heal, relax, and grow some hoof. And then we could see what was what. 

I was extremely happy with both the exam for the current problem, and suggestions for general health. He noticed Truby's sorta "pre-metabolic", something I'm always aware of. He suggested running some bloodwork, mostly to get baseline numbers, as we may need to check for Cushings or other metabolic issues in the future. He also noticed she does have a little arthritis in her hocks, and at 17, it's not surprising! He went over supplements vs injections briefly, and for now, we've started on a good basic joint supplement. 

I also really appreciated him taking on an extra, unexpected patient, and giving her such a thorough work up. It relieved quite a bit of stress and worry. Although now we've finished our Bute week, and have almost finished rest week. She looked so much better Bute week, but now seems a bit stiff and ouchy again. This has gotten a bit long, so I think I'll continue tomorrow. Right now, I need a nap!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I had a couple different things I was going to blog about, but I've been putting it off because 1)tired 2)aggravated 3)busy. Shall we say Barn Drama and Life In General and leave it at that?

That's a bit boring, so let me tell you a little Truby story instead!

I was over at the ranch, just visiting. Mostly give Truby hugs and brushing her.

A flash of red caught my eye, and the REDDEST bird I've ever seen was sitting on the fence. 

It was SO red, it was unbelievable! 

Vermilion Flycatcher 

I really wanted to get a picture, so I tried to causally sneak up on it.

Sneak, sneak, sneak.

I got about halfway across the ring, when I paused to take a picture.

Yeah...I needed to get closer. Or get a real camera! 

I took my picture, and then felt something smooshy bump my shoulder!

It was a Truby!


Truby had been sneaking up on me, sneaking up on the bird!

I snuck a few more steps to see what she would do, and she continued to tiptoe behind me. 

Yay! Being sneaky! Having adventures! 

It was adorable. 

I never did get a better picture of my bird. I was laughing too much, and petting and hugging Truby, grateful that's she's Truby, and always there to cheer me up. Seriously, cutest pony. 

The bird I was sneaking up on was a Vermilion Flycatcher and in addition to being the brightest, reddest bird I think I've ever seen, was also quite interesting. When it became alarmed that I was too close it would fly away. But instead of away-away, it would fly up and then do a loop and land quite near to where it had started. It was really cool to see it fly up into the sky, arc around, and come back to sit on the fence. I saw it do it several times, so I guess that's what they do. 

Truby: Birdwatcher, Sneaker Up On-er 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Altius Volantis - Soaring Higher!

A couple years ago I took Truby to her second horse show. Truby is really, really, really good at things at home. At home, she's easy to handle, usually unafraid of random things like tarps or other "scary things"...

barnmate bought out the Dollar Store
to help desensitize her baby horse
we played too

Unfortunately, as soon as we step off the property, LIFE IS TERRIFYING OMG!!!!!!!!!! I've owned Truby for almost her entire life, so this is 100% my fault. It's not a thing we did when she was young, and, shows. 

So anyway, a couple years ago I took Truby to a show. I gave up a few minutes into the warm up, when she ended up standing in the middle of the ring mindlessly bucking and kicking out. Poor Trub. Her brain just falls out of her head and all that's left is panic. Our barn owner at the time took her little daughter to all the nearby shows, and said we could tag along anytime there was an open spot in the trailer. And we did. We'd go to the shows, and walk and scream, and walk, and walk, and scream, and walk...after a couple shows Truby actually started to keep her brain between (below?) her ears and realize Everything Was Fine. Huzzah! 

Kids, take your horses trail riding, to shows, to your trainer's, to your friend's barn, to wherever when they're young! It's easier than when they're old and set in their ways. Also, when you're old and set in your ways!

The second show Truby got exposed to had a costume class. It was a small, very friendly little schooling show, and you could ride or walk. We're pretty brave when everyone has their feet on the ground, so I figured it would be safe to enter, and a great experience for her. But first! A costume! I really wanted to do a My Little Pony costume, because I was born in the 80s and grew up with MLP. And I love the latest series, Friendship is Magic. 

I was kinda adorable back in the day

But I didn't want to do an all over color job, because I'm lazy and that's a lot of work...but I didn't want to do a cheesy looking blanket for body color thing. That's when it hit a Wonderbolt!


I did dye her tail

so pretty!

I used a sleezy-type blanket as the uniform, some by-the-yard felt for wings, a see through mesh fabric for the googles, and vet wrap and tape for the legs. I dyed her tail purple (wrap her tail in tinfoil? no problem! Walk off the property? ZOMGNOOOOO!!!! Oh, Truby.) For the mane/forelock I used a little feather boa. I learned I hate crafting, I'm too impatient! But I got it done, and I think it turned out fab-u-loooousssss! 

My Wonderbolt

We got dressed while Leadline was doing their classes, then headed into the ring. Truby was antsy and nervous, and just looking for things to attack her. But we walked. And walked, And walked. There were quite a few people in the class, I think everyone that entered the show also entered the Costume Class, as it should be, it's for fun! Oddly, Truby didn't seem reactive to any of the costumes, just the fact that it wasn't home. But we walked. Probably the class went a little over long, (it was a "everyone gets a ribbon" class, and they had to come up with Best Whatever for everyone) but for us it was perfect. It allowed us to do what we needed to do, which was get comfortable in the ring. And guess what? Truby DID! She started to relax. Her walk slowed and lengthened, and even got a little swing-y. She started looking around. But quietly. To look in interest, instead of terror. I gave her tons of praise and cookies, and let her work through it. And she did great! And we started to have fun!

Relaxed pony and Big Smiles from her trainer!

My costume was simple, 
but I did make myself a Wonderbolts Trainer jacket

We survived! Yay! Look at her, she's *pooped* 
Stress is exhausting 

Altius Volantis!

It may not seem like much, but this was a huge step to help Truby feel more comfortable and confident away from home. We went to a couple more shows before I actually rode her in one, but the boring and endless walking walking walking really paid off. We need to do quite a bit of this kind of work in Tucson, because I'd love to go trail riding! But this method works for Truby. It works for me. It just takes time. But to help my horse feel comfortable, and for me to feel safe, it's worth it. All the time I spend with Truby is worth it. 

Truby's first ribbon!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Might be Hard to Explain: Part 2

Because there's always a Part 2. At least when I'm involved. Or horses. Considering it's me AND horses, I expect a Part 3 to most stories. Luckily, not this one. I think this is just a two part-er.

So I left Truby turned out. She seemed fine. I had things to do. I'd check on her later. We headed over to the ranch after dinner. I hadn't brought my purse or my phone, because why bother? We drove over in the husband's car. Which meant I also didn't have a flashlight, and Tucson is dark at night.

The ranch driveway forms a big U that goes behind the house, and curves around by the gates. The short end of the U points at the gate to the ring/Truby's nighttime pen. Husband stopped pointed at the gate, but basically in the middle of the drive. I asked him if he was going to pull over or just block the driveway. He said he was going to stay in the car, so blocking the drive won't be an issue. Fair enough.

A Truby in the Tucson desert darkness

I grabbed his phone for the flashlight, and gingerly made my way to the feed room to get some Bute made up. I survived the trip (Arizona is full of things that want to kill you, walking around in the dark in sandals is not good times, at least for me!) and gave Truby her Bute mush. It was nice to be out though. The moon shone, the sleepy horse snorts, a soft fuzzy Truby to pet.

After she was done, I locked up, got in the car, and...nothing. Car wouldn't start. Did all the sad, desperate things you try and do when your car won't start. Nothing.

Now, we've lived in Tucson for almost a year, but haven't really made any friends. Met some nice people, yes. But definitely no one you'd call when you need a ride home or a jump start. I'd actually been joking about this with one of my co-workers, and she told me if I ever needed it, I could call her. phone was at home. I had no idea of her number, because who memorizes phone numbers anymore? We just tap them into our phones and forget it.

So we walked next door to where the ranch owners live, and knocked on the door. Luckily we could owner G right before he headed off to catch a movie (Kidnapped, he doesn't recommend it) and he let us borrow one of those solo jumper things.


It was a nice, cool night, and we lived nearby. So we decided just to walk home. We returned the jumper, rolled the car as close to the gate/out of the way as possible and headed home. We did peer hopefully at the vet's parking lot, perhaps if there was an emergency...but no. Everyone was home and healthy and happy. Anyway, we're only about a mile and a half, and we've been walking 1.5-2.25 miles almost daily. No sweat. We got home and decided to deal with it in the morning.

We started off by buying our own auto jumper. I've owned one before, and it's AMAZING. Especially for someone that has a tendency to leave their headlights on. Oops. I got two jumps out of mine before it stopped holding a charge, but it was totally worth the $40 I paid for it. So we bought one, charged it up, and headed over to the ranch. Truby got some more Bute and snuggles, and we tried jumping the car.


We went BACK home and decided to call a tow truck. G just happened to call before we did, and he told us he wanted to try jumping it off his truck. It might work since it had way more juice than the solo jumpers. No problem, never hurts to try.

how I spent my day off

I'm sure you know where this is going. Nowhere. We tried it all and husband's car is just dead. We called our insurance, and the sent a tow truck over. He got there in about an hour, and my husband worked on some schoolwork, and I wandered around petting ponies and talking to my dad back home in Maryland. It also gave us a chance to review the damage from Truby's "You won't like me when I'm scared" Incredible Pony Hulk experience. Luckily G had the same reaction I did, just laughed it off. No big deal, no one hurt, an easy repair, man aren't horses something?

She's definitely something!

watching the tow truck pull up

Already bored with watching the tow

To continue our All's Well That Ends Well theme, the tow was covered 100% by our insurance, and we were even able to pick up the car the same day. The battery was dead. 3 volts left and they said nothing was gonna bring that back to life. They checked out everything else, and it was fine, literally just the battery. 

So there you go. A wild "weekend" for us. Everything worked out in the end, and everyone, including the car is just fine today! Let's see how long this lasts...

Planning shenanigans. I know it!

Doctor Cookie Visits!

Since the last visit from the vet, I've made some changes with Truby. First off, I go and feed her her supplements every day. I had issu...