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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Summer Continues in Estes Park

Now that I am done ranting about colic, its time to get back to getting things back up to date.  That starts with Westernaires show in Estes Park at the end of June.  The first day of the show was sunny and hot.  There was the usual hustle of teams and volunteers work in carefully choreographed chaos to get all of the riders into and out of the arena safely. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I Hate Fall

I love the colors of fall.  I love the cool weather and the smell of the autumn air.  The crunch of leaves underfoot and pumpkin spice lattes.  That is all wonderful.  What is not so wonderful is the weather can raise havoc with the horses.

On October 5th we were at Westernairs.  Beamer was just going into the Crimson ride when Kumi asked if looked okay.  She said that he was looking at his ribs and didn't feel quite right.  He looked okay so I told her to ride him for warmup and see how he did.  As she rode off one of our friends came up and asked if I was Boyfriend's daddy.  I said yes and then she said those words horse owners across the world hate to hear, "Your horse looks like its colicing at the trailer."  Off to the trailer we go and sure enough, Boyfriend is in trouble.  He is kicking at his barrel and you can see that he actually tried to lie down.  Since he was tied to the trailer at the time, we are very lucky he didn't get hurt.

One thing I have learned about colic is that one of the very best indicators is when the horse's rider says there is something wrong.  The horse may not appear to be in any distress at all and may even have stomach sounds but the rider knows.  This is the kind of thing you only learn from experience and that means I have had a lot more experience than I would care to have.  We lost a horse at Estes Park this year to colic and the only real sign we had was that the rider said the horse wasn't right.  Since Kumi said her horse wasn't right, I figured I had better be safe than sorry.

SO off I run to the arena where Kumi was riding and pulled her out of the ride.  I had the instructor call a halt-ho and all the girls started looking around to see who had fallen off or wasn't ready.  The instructor told Kumi to leave and she headed for the gate.  We get back to the trailer, unsaddle and load the horses.  We dumped out half a bucket of water for each horse as we cleaned up around the trailer and headed for the vet.  When we get there we took both horses in.  Both horses were dehydrated and impact coliced.  Damn.  So we tube both horses and head for home.  We locked them in stalls for the night and monitored them and, I am happy to say, they were both fine the next morning.  Catch colic early and the odds of survival go way up.  Sidebar: Five horses colied that day at Westernaires due to a change in the weather.

You may be asking your self how one little incident of colic makes me hate fall.  Well, Sunday and Monday and Tuesday were fine.  Wednesday we took Beamer and Kumi to have senior pictures taken.  Absolutely beautiful Colorado fall day.  Blue sky, trees dressed in green and yellow and red and brown and unusually green grass.  That would be thanks to the storm that came through in early September that resulted in all the flooding.  It dumped a lot of water and all the lawns are as green as spring here in late October.  Senior pictures went great.

Thursday morning I went out and Beamer would not eat.  Oh oh.  Never a good sign.  He would take a bite and listlessly munch and then wonder off.  Quite stomach sounds to boot.  So I load him in the trailer and head to the vet.  I was waiting for them when they opened.  Sure enough, B was dehydrated and impacted.  I was a bit surprised since during pictures, he ate a bunch of green grass.  That usually has the opposite effect and makes him really loose.  So they tube him and I take him home.  Thursday night we go out to feed.  B still wont eat.  Stomach sounds are still quite so back to the vet, emergency visit this time.  Still colicing so they tube him again and we discuss whether or not to leave him overnight on IV fluids.  Hard decision but we decided not to leave him.  He seemed a bit better.  Wake up Friday morning expecting to see a happy horse.  Instead,  end up loading him back in the trailer and heading to the vet yet again.  This time there was no discussion, we hooked him up to the IV and prayed. 

It terrifies me when you have a horse end up on IV fluids.  It really is a coin toss as to whether or not they will pull through.  All you can really do is pray.  It was hard for Kumi that night.  She was out feeding the rest of the horses and her baby was not there.  Tears were involved in that feeding and who can blame her.  Her horse knows her and comes to her when she calls him. 

Saturday morning dawns bright and sunny and we load up and head off to Westernaires.  What else would we do on a Saturday.  I got a call from the vet saying that B was doing great.  He was pooping again and each pile was getting wetter so his hydration levels were improving and that we could pick him up in the afternoon.  Thank the vet and praise God.  You could see the relief wash across Kumi's face when I told her this news.  She was ecstatic.  We pick up B and took him home with us and began the long process of returning him to normal feeding patterns.  We had to do two bran mashies a day for 3 three days followed by three days of one mashie. We also had to feed him every two hours for those first three days which was a real challenge.  We didn't get much sleep and we had to come home from school or work to feed and water him.  It took a week and a half but he is fine now.  He is healthy and he would have a nice shiny coat if not for the fact that it snowed lightly the other day and he had a great time rolling in the mud.  With annual show this weekend, I am wondering when we will get to bathe him. 

I was thinking back to Wednesday night before Beamer coliced wondering what would have caused him to colic again.  Kumi frequently lets Beamer into the barn while she is feeding.  He is well behaved enough that he is the only horse we can let in and know he wont trash the barn by pulling down bales of hay.  He stands quietly and nibbles at the hay on the floor.  On Wednesday he was investigating things and knocked over the bag of wheat bran.  Kumi stood it up right away and Beamer ate what had spilled onto the floor, maybe a quart.  But that wheat bran is so dry I wonder if it sucked all the water out of his stomach and digestive track as it moved through.  It seems to make sense so be warned, keep your dry wheat bran out of reach of your horses.

So that's why I hate fall.  The weather changes trigger colics which trigger trips to the vet which results in large vet bills.  Maybe I'll just go order a pumpkin spice latte and take it to the park where I can enjoy the colors and sounds and smells of fall and rediscover the joys of autumn.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Summer begins with Inter-Club

Inter-Club was Boyfriend's first show as a Westernairs horse.  Kira was a the Apache rider for the show.  Each Westernaires show opens with a grand entry.  The grand entry team rides in with Colorado and American flags and and the leads the riders that will be in the show through a serpentine line.  There can be over 100 horses with their riders in the arena at the same time.  When they are all carrying flags, its quite a site.  For inter-Club there are no flags.  Once the serpentine line leaves the Grand Entry team presents the colors and we sing the National Anthem.  The team is dismisses and the last one out is the Apache Rider riding hippodrome and her two out riders.  Here is Kira in her exit.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Prom Season,

Prom Season!  Okay, this post is REALLY late.  I am talking about prom season from last year, Kumiko's junior year.  It started with her wanting to go dress shopping with her friends but she needed some money.  Now this is kind of a big deal.  Kumi does not wear dresses as a rule.  She hasn't worn a dress to school since 1st grade and the last time she wore a dress before prom was her cousins wedding that was over a year before.  I certainly wanted her to find a dress but I really, really did not want to go dress shopping with a bunch of high school girls.  So, being the crafty father that I am, I gave her my credit card and told her what her limit was.  It was a low limit.  It was so low I was fairly certain that she would never find a dress for it.  So off she goes with her friends.  (Remember back to the very first post in this blog where the crafty father ended up owning a horse in spite of all his best craftiness.)

A short while later I get a call.  "Dad, I found a dress but its expensive."  Uh hu.  So I ask her if it is "THE" dress.  She thinks for a moment and said, "No, not really." So I told her to keep looking.  A little while later I get another call.  "Dad, I found a dress but its expensive, just not as expensive as the first dress"  Uh hu.  So I ask her if it is "THE" dress.  She thinks for a moment and said,"Um..."  I asked her if she liked it better than the first dress.  She said yes.  So I asked her if was "THE" dress.  She wasn't sure so I told her not to get any dress that was not "THE" dress.  She needed to love the dress before I would say yes.  She decided that it was "THE" dress so the only think I could do at that point was say yes to the dress.  Here is what she came home with.

 So how did Dad feel about the dress?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kira's Boyfriend Moves In

In March of 2013 our fourth horse (Yes, we really have four now!) moved in.  It was an interesting move.  The day we went to see him it was windy.  Very wind.  45mph guesting to 60mph.  We had to drive from Arvada to Yuma, roughly 160 miles one way.  On the way to Yuma the wind was at our back.  I burned less than a 1/4 tank of fuel.  On the way back to home we burned the remaining 3/4 of the tank.  That was some serious wind!  Here is Boyfriend.

This was just before their first parade together.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kira gets a new Boyfriend.

In the last nail biting installment I relayed the bad news that Ebony developed arthritis and we retired her.  Well, there was a little time that passed between the time she was diagnosed and the time we actually retired her.  Before Ebony came to live with us we had two horses, Beamer and Mariah.  Only one of those horses was well enough trained to do Westernaires.  When Ebony came to live with us we now had two horses that were well enough trained to do Westernaiers.  And the girls took advantage of that.  Kira joined trick and Kumi joined Horse Romans.  (Sorry for the blurry picture)

That is Beamer and Ebony and Kumi doing Romans.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bad News about Ebony

Ebony was coming along fine as a Westerniars horse.  Her big problems was that she was a bit herd sour so taking her off the trailer was tough.  She was hard to lead because she kept trying to turn around and go back.  Riding her was better but once she stopped, she would start dancing and calling and be a general pain.  Once in the arena, she was perfect, best trained horse we have (Thanks to Carly Davis).


CAUTION!  This post contains dirty pictures.

Last Christmas I got a weather station from my daughters.  Its been fun to see the wind speeds and temperatures through out the year.  Monday morning, September 9th, the total moisture that we have had since December was 6.41".  Friday night, September 13th, the rain gauge said 12.53".  We doubled our entire rainfall in 5 days.  The change in barometer made Beamer colic on Saturday night about 10pm.  As I sit here Sunday morning, its raining.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Little Fun at Stock Show

Well stock show has once again come and gone for the year.  But we managed to spend a few days and a lot of dollars before it left.  One of the fun things we did was make a rope.  For $6.00 you got to pick your colors and then start cranking.  It takes two people to crank out a rope.  The first one to crank creates 3 strands.  The second cranker twists those three strands into a single rope.  


 Probably one of the best $6.00 I've spent in my life. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Concrete Mine

We had drainage problems in the front yard.  Basically, the yard slopped from the street to the house, and was covered with two layers of black plastic and rocks.  This had the effect of turning our basement into the primary drain for our front yard.  Not good with carpet all through the basement.  So we had the rocks and plastic scraped off.  Something like 80 tons worth.  Now I was down to dirt so I started scraping that off to level out the yard.  I came across a rock.

I got out a pick and tried to pop it out.  Nearly broke the handle of the pick and the rock didn't budge.  Got out the tractor, dropped one scarifier down and hooked the corner of the rock.  It stopped the trator dead in its tracks.  Oh-oh.  Time to get out the big guns.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vacation in Europe

Happy Thanksgiving from the Front door of the Hapsburg Winter Castle.
We spent Thanksgiving in Europe.  Back in July I was watching the morning news and saw a commercial that invited us to come see the Christmas lights in Europe on a river Cruise down the Danube.  The price seemed okay but it didn't include airfare.  I figured what the heck, call the company and get the rest of the story. I just knew that it will be too much money once airfare was added in.  So I called and chatted with the travel agent, asked a few questions and ended up with round trip airfare from Denver to Germany for $400.00 per person plus and upgrade .  I couldn't say no to that.  So I asked the family if they wanted to spend Thanksgiving in Europe. 
Our Boat - The Viking Njord

Welcome to Passau.  Well this is the view across the river Ilk from Passau.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ever been totaly helpless?

A sober post today.  Last Saturday we had an accident in trick class.  One of the rider started a trick, stirrup over the horn, and it started well.  The trick involves hooking a stirrup over the horn of a saddle such that the fender wraps around the riders leg.  The rider then leans backwards and to the inside of horse as the horse slowly lopes around the arena.  As they went around a corner the rider fell out of the trick.  The rider ended up head down, very near and slightly under the horses back legs which spooked the horse causing it to break into a run.  From where I was standing, in the opposite corner, I could the exact moment when things went wrong.  And there was nothing I could do.  I watched as the horse started to run and the rider, hanging from a foot trapped in the fender, was dragged more under the horse.  I heard the impact of a hoof against bone and was too far away to do anything. 

I, along with the others holding the trick tape, dropped the tape and started running for the horse.  Instructors and first aid people started running to the gate end of the arena where the horse was headed.  There is no way to catch it so I started running to a point where I could intercept the horse. The arena was recently redone to provide a better surface for the horses to run on.  While its great for horses, it is really hard to run across when you are wearing boots.  I stumbled a couple of times but myself and one of the instructors did manage to get in front of the horse.  The horse, who had come off the rail, spun back towards the rail.  We watched as the rider swung out from the side of the horse and then fly towards the rail as their foot finally came lose from the fender.  The horse was far enough off the rail to allow the rider hit the dirt near the rail and roll under the rail without hitting the rail or its posts.  The instructor ran to the fallen rider and I ran to the horse who stopped once the rider had come free.

First aid was there immediately and 911 was called.  We got word the next day that the rider was okay.  They suffered a head injury, looks like the get hit twice by the horses hoof, and some bad bumps, bruises and abrasions but was in good spirits. 

It is a frustrating position to be in when you see something has gone wrong and you know that have no way to get there in time to prevent things from going bad to worse.  I thank God for the small miracle that prevented the rider from being much more seriously injured.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2012 Westernaires Annual Show

I last visited these pages in September.  Its January.  That is a fair amount of time to let pass.  And a lot has happened in that time.  October came and went frightening spped.  I went to work, the girls went to school, my bride went to work and the horses ate and contributes significantly the compost pile.

One of the biggest events was Kumi's first Annual Show with Westernaires.

This is the only picture I have.  And I'm not even sure Kumiko is in it.  Why?  I was a barn dad.