Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Hospital Visit

 With a heading like that, you'd probably think there was some sort of emergency or urgent health issue that we needed to go to the hospital.  Fortunately we are all healthy and well.  The hospital visit was by request of a palliative patient's family.  

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely lady who has a life-long passion for horses.  Unfortunately her presence in this world will soon come to an end, but it was an absolute pleasure to be able to take Jasmine to the hospital to meet her and spend some time visiting.  It was very thoughtful of her family to tell hospital management about her interests so they could connect with me and we could make the visit happen.  

Balloons didn't bother her at all, it's just me who doesn't like them!

After our priority visit, we did go through the rest of the hospital, to probably 3/4 of the patient rooms, Emergency Department and visited with almost all of the staff.  Pictures galore.  I could definitely feel a difference in morale in the facility after our rounds.  I'm so glad that I can share this special experience. 

Now, I'm looking towards setting up site visits at other sites.  We're booked into Barrhead long-term care at the end of September.  Ideally, I'd like to visit a site a month, be able to do a bit of a costume, and take some appropriate treats for staff and patients/residents.  It's a lot of work (lord is it ever..) but it's the most rewarding thing at the same time!  

To bring Jasmine to Westlock, it takes roughly 3 hours of driving, altogether, an hour getting her cleaned up and ready, and 2 - 2.5 hours for visiting. With the prohibitive cost of gas, I'm afraid that I won't be able to fulfill all the visitation requests.  I've started a gofundme campaign and have received some early support from kind friends.  With some assistance, I'm pursuing funding requests from various societies and unions.  Hopefully the support will allow us to continue to spread joy and bring up morale.  It's been so much working in healthcare the last few years... The novelty of a pony in the site seems to make a huge difference for staff and those in care.  

And yes, that's her own ID badge on her harness.

Happy Horseing! 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Mr. Fabulous

 Over the last month, I've been working regularly with Ritchie to bring him back into shape, fitness and addressing body soreness, balance and stretching.  He's coming along really well.  One of the biggest bonuses of boarding with Sawatzkys is the constant variety of obstacles in the arena, and access to a giant obstacle playground outside.  Having Ritchie climb things has really done wonders for his strength in his hind quarters and the reach in his front end. 

While life has been more than a little crazy over the last month, Sunday gave Ritchie and I the opportunity of a perfectly quiet arena and loads of space.  Rather than tacking him up, I decided why not let him run around outside and stretch his legs without my interference??!  So out he went.  As soon as I unclipped his lead rope in the outdoor arena, I started taking pictures.  Happy would be a gross understatement, I believe.  

Once he'd had his fill of running around, we went out to the playground and worked over some obstacles.  There's a bunch of telephone poles on the ground of various heights as well as tables and moguls.  This time, he was far more confident negotiating them all. 

We finished with some grazing and a good grooming.  Such a happy boy.  


Happy Horseing! 

Thursday, July 7, 2022


 Do you know how long it's been since I've had foals?  The last youngest are currently 6... it's been a minute. 

Let me back things up cause, man, it's been one hell of a month since I last wrote.  

June 10 my dad passed away.  He'd been struggling with cancer for a long time, and although he'd been looking like he was making positive progress recently, he had a sudden decline that took him away from us.  While I miss my dad and am going through the grieving process, I'm so glad he's not suffering any longer. 

The very next day, Chai delivered us a bouncing baby boy!  I didn't expect her to deliver that early, but I didn't look that closely at the signs.  Understandably, I was distracted.  Anyways, she did great, he was wonderful, strong and healthy, but poor Chai was hurting.  She couldn't get comfortable or in any position to rest.  A dose of banamine and she laid down with me and her colt to rest for about 20 minutes and felt far better after.  She's been great since. 

Her colt, a tall nearly black - will turn grey, is named Nureyev SE with a barn name of Uri.  He's named after Rudolph Nureyev - one of the greatest ballet dancers to ever live.  

He's doing well with halter training and overall socialization.  Except that he's in the stage where everything needs to be nibbled.  I have a tiny bruise on my forearm... Turkey!  

I got to take time off from work and spent lots of time with the horses.  It was good for my heart and convenient for all the goings-on at the farm.  Just when I thought I would go back to work, I got an urgent call that one of the young boarded horses decided it would be far more efficient to eat from INSIDE the ring feeder, but got herself stuck trying to make her exit.  With the help of the neighbor, she was rescued but not without some injury.  By the time I reached the farm, a pressure bandage had been applied to her hock to stop some arterial bleeding.  I got the trailer hooked up, added to the bandaging, got her loaded and away we went.  The vets were fantastic.  Mostly just debrided and cleaned up the wound, a few sutures to ensure nothing headed down the wound in front of the tendon, and thankfully no joint compromise.  Little girl is going to be getting a lot of attention while her injury heals (and it's doing really well!!)  Reminds me a lot of what Mud had done when she was 2.  

So that was fun.  
I have been able to ride quite regularly now that Ritchie has fancy new dancing shoes on (he just needed his front shoes redone, there's nothing actually fancy about them...)  It's been really neat to watch his fitness come back as well as his willingness to work.  I do my very best to ensure he gets the attention he needs and deserves after work.  We've done a lot of pole work as well as stretching.  Seems to be making a difference to his strength and how good he's feeling.  What makes me happy is Matchy-Matchy tack and boots!!  hehehehe 

And lastly, in the wee hours of July 4, our last colt arrived.  I had been waiting for him. Sheeba held onto him for an extra 10 days and, being maiden and a Ritchie foal, we were worried that he might be very large.  Sheeba did great, started into an active labor at 3:00 and laid down to deliver by 3:30.  

This tiny, adorable little colt is named Baryshnikov SE (Misha for short) after Mikhail Baryshnikov, another incredibly talented dancer I adore.  Big name for a wee pony but I have no doubt he'll grow and become an impressive horse in his own right.  He was quick to find his legs and get up - probably 20 minutes.  Like Chai, Sheeba is a wonderful mom and recovered really well without need for banamine or anything other than a nice, warm mash.  Misha's got to grow quickly to be able to go play with his nephew, Uri!  

And now we're all caught up!  

Happy Horseing!