Not Complaining, well maybe…

Little Mickey flying fast and high!

Little Mickey flying fast and high!

One of my favorite all time pictures of Mickey and Lauren. She is giving him a little pep talk before a jumping class.

One of my favorite all time pictures of Mickey and Lauren. She is giving him a little pep talk before a jumping class.

Rain is always the enemy of Six Meadow Farm.  I know we need it to grow pastures, flowers and hay but a little goes a long way.  It has been a rainy fall.  Dev called to check if Lauren wanted to go to a lesson.  He asked if Feather and Bruno have been doing well in their workouts.  Well, Bruno has a chipped bone and stitches in his face so that is keeping him off the work rotation and it would be impossible to work anyone anyway, with the rain that has fallen and fallen some more.

There was a window on Sunday, where we could have probably taken Feather and Snow out on the fairly dry hay roads.  But Lauren was out hunting (I never thought I would utter those words) and with the time change the day ended before we got the ride in.

Mickey, as discussed over the last few weeks, came charging out to the pasture after rain on October 14th and twisted his horseshoe side-ways ripping nails through and into his foot.  Lauren made an attempt to pull the nails out.  By two days later, Mickey was seriously lame.  We did the prep for hoof abscesses (wrapping, soaking, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics).  He was x-rayed and found that one of the nails had broken off in the hoof.  Five days later he went to the vet and shoer.  They got the abscess open and draining.  They removed the nail.  Mickey was sent home with a hole in the bottom of his foot.  We were told by both the farrier and the vet, to keep him in a couple of days, the abscess would drain, he should get better and then could go out.  He did not come home with the hoof bandaged or with instructions to bandaged.

Hoof abscesses (think giant pus pocket in the foot) are common.  I can honestly say that I have never had a horse with an abscess in all my years of horse owning.  I know many people who have a whole abscess care path down to a science.  I am not one of them.  I took the vet and farrier at their word.

However, while Mick did improve, he never got where he could walk without pain on that foot.  I talked to Dr. Criner on Monday and she felt it was time for her to see him.

My life with vets is tricky.  I live in a rural area serviced by a hometown vet practice that does everything from cows to ferrets.  It is a nice facility.  I think all the vets are TAMU grads but it is not a horse (especially performance horse) specialty hospital.  I also use Dr. Lynn Criner, a hunter/jumper rider, who is a horse specialist,  who is not part of this group (who made the great catch on Bruno’s hoof) but she is 50 miles away with time commitments that do not allow her to run down to Wharton each time something happens to my horses.  Like when Bruno had blood streaming down his face, that was not a time to wait for Dr. Criner to make a trip to Wharton.  Even if Bruno would have been fine, Lauren needed immediate assistance and Wharton Vet provided that.

So it is hard!  Just like doctors don’t always treat the same thing the same way, neither do vets.  Probably if I had taken Mickey back to the Wharton vet, he might have done exactly what Dr. Criner did-at least I can tell myself that!

Lauren and I drove Mickey to Dr. Buff Hildreth’s vet practice on rainy Monday evening.  It was pouring as we loaded him, pouring as we walked him painfully to Buff’s barn.  He would stay over and Dr. Buff and Dr. Lynn would examine him on Tuesday.

Upon examination, poor Mick had at least three and perhaps four areas of infection in his single hoof.  I got some amazing pictures of pus running from his hoof (I am only sharing one-you are lucky!).  I got video too if anyone wants to see a simulation of a volcanic eruption of pus from a horse’s hoof-just send me a note and I will forward it to you.   After the fine ladies of vet medicine cleaned, poked and pushed infection out of the hoof, Mickey was much happier.  Yesterday he got to be just like Bruno with a fancy shoe with a surgical plate that we can unscrew and clean his sore ol’foot as directed.


Of course, this comes at a time when Mickey who has been enjoying a sort of semi-retirement was due to go to Dev’s to be leased by another rider.  Finally, he gets a job and then look what happens!  But he should be good to go in a month or so and Dev is being very gracious about waiting for him.

Dr. Buff started in on precise, detailed instructions on how to use the surgical plate.  Little did she know, we had totally perfected that with five months of Bruno hoof care.  I understand that she might be a little hesitant given my care of this hoof abscess but when we move on to stall rest, surgical plates and hoof wraps, we have certainly been there done that!

Blue skies are once again lighting up my windows and the rain  hopefully will not descend again for at least several days. I hope Mickey and Bruno continue with their recoveries.  Thanks for riding along!

Kona Picture-contact info


I wrote about this amazing picture by talented artist Amber Brooks previously but failed to give the contact information.  I could not be more pleased with her work, her customer service, or her end product.  Amber will being doing a drawing of Lauren’s horse, Feather, for Christmas.

If you want an Amber Brooks original of your horse or dog, you can contact her on Facebook at


Don’t Blink

Bruno, his stitches covered with his fly mask, interested in what I am bringing to his pasture.

Bruno, his stitches covered with his fly mask, gleaming in good health, is interested in what I am bringing to his pasture.

There was one glorious moment on Sunday, when I was standing in the pasture, the blue sky running on forever, the horses contentedly eating the green grass, Bruno helping with the chores, Kona and Lula by my side, the rest of dogs safe in the backyard, all my kids and grandkids healthy and happy and mom relatively sane that I thought my life is amazing!  And it is.

When I blinked again, I saw that Mickey was still walking with a serious limp, rain was on the horizon, the Texans were losing yet another game (at least they looked better doing it) and I had a ton of work to do.

But the moment in the pasture was a good realization for me.  I tend to get worked up and overwhelmed with the things I need to fix instead of acknowledging the things that are right and good in the world.  I was on my own Sunday.  Friday night spent in the hauling of Pixie to Pine Hill and the associated nerves that accompany the selling of any horse.

Saturday dawned with lots of horse chores to catch up on after several days of rain and Jordyn and Kendyll coming to visit for the day.  Immediately after we picked them up, we headed to my mom’s.  She recognized the kids (although I do not think she has ever understood Kendyll’s name).  We closed the door to her room and just let Kendyll roam as a toddler does, picking up everything from shoe horns to empty “Boost” bottles as she created a path of destruction across her great grandma’s room.  Lauren turned on the popular “what does the fox say” song. We all got up and danced along.  Even momma!  I tried to get Lauren to video this moment of quality family entertainment but she failed to capture the essence of four generations of dancing fools.  Momma had a great time.

My mother and her great granddaughter, Kendyll, having a serious conversation.

My mother and her great-granddaughter, Kendyll, having a serious conversation.

Later, Lauren went off with Blake for opening day of deer season and I was left with the kids.  A friend came by and I think he was shocked by the general disarray of my house.  Kendyll had taken out most of my books and spread them about.  I asked which dogs he wanted to see (he takes care of them when we travel) and he said all of them.  Then we had seven excited dogs, two children and a hundred books in the living room.  What a mess!

The rescued kitten, Levi-formerly Esther, is much improved and certainly going to be around for the long run.  He is absolutely enamoured with the Yorkie, PuppyGirl and they play constantly.  It is a flying ball of grey kitten and long-haired Yorkie, rolling, flying, biting and scratching from one end of the house to the other!

Can you tell where dog ends and kitten begins?

Can you tell where dog ends and kitten begins?

I think Sunday’s calm, beautiful demeanour was soothing to me after the hectic days I have had.  I am hanging on to the image of Bruno and the blue sky stretching out with endless promise.

Pixie heads east

Lauren making her way up the hill from the Pine Hill cross country course on her last ride on Pixie

Some horses I buy with the clear intent of working them, training them and then selling them on. Because my heart inevitably gets caught up in this process it is not near as neat as I describe it. When Pixie first came from Florida, from the same folks we bought Feather from, I was not at all sure if I would move her on or try to keep her as Jordyn’s show pony. Snow is great, but at age 20, his best show days are past.

Pixie is four years old. A time in a horse’s life that a lot is learned. Pixie came to us with a smart, inquisitive mind. I rode her a lot in the first months. I enjoyed her. She was quiet, pretty easy to handle and at 14 hands not a long fall to the ground. But she needed finishing. Her canter was likely to be peppered with a few bucks. Her stopping was a little inconsistent. Off Pixie went to trainer Sarah for six weeks of basic training.

As usual when horses return from Sarah, they are vastly improved and this was no exception. That is the best time to sell them. A truck I needed to pay taxes on, some staggering unexpected vet bills along with Christmas coming fast, made me decide to try to sell Pixie before either Lauren or I screwed up anything good Sarah had done. It is always hard to figure a price and with all the quick interest and even faster sale, you have to wonder if I did not underprice her. I got a fair price from Dee, had paid vet and trainer fees and just wanted to cover that. Still it is hard to let go of the “I should have asked double for her” thoughts running through my brain.

We drove Pixie the hour or so to Pine Hill. It was insanely busy with Eventing starting tomorrow. I really had no clue what Pixie would do amongst hundreds of horses, trailers, riders, kids and general pandemonium. From the minute she came off the trailer to the time we left, she was calm and quiet. I am not sure ANY of my other horses would have done so well. First there was a vet check up, which involved the usual things like temp, heart rate and hoof testing. Pixie had no prior issues but you never know what the vet will find.

Then there was the ever popular, hold the pony’s leg up (one at a time) tightly coiled for a couple minutes then drop it and make Lauren trot away with her. The idea is to see if the pony has sore joints and steps off lame. We had not tried this at home so I had no idea what to expect, but she passed all four feet with flying colors.

Next, we saddled her and took her down to the beautiful, nationally respected cross country course. Gee, one time I had taken Pixie out on the hay roads but never had she seen so much open space, and so many other horses and riders. She was great! By the time we ended I did not care if they bought her or not as I was super impressed with this young pony and her quiet mind.

But in the end, we left and Pixie stayed along with her pretty pink halter we had bought just for her. She will spend the next few days getting to her new home with vet Katie in North Carolina. A forever home. A perfect ending. So why did I still have tears in my eyes as we drove away? I will miss you pretty, pink pony. Head east now to the start of a new life. God Speed Pixie girl!

Pixie looking eastward

Pix and I at our first off-site adventure