Friday, August 31, 2007

DOCTORING DAY........!!!!

We certainly had an interesting morning today. Poor old Pepper, thinks he is the answer to a maiden's prayers. He has Cushings, is Insulin Resistant, has a bad knee, & won't see 30 again. Probably won't see 35 again. None of that has anything to do with his idea of how he should behave if one of the girls gives him that "come hither" look. Most of the girls think he's kinda cute & put up with his nonsense.........BUT the other younger boys aren't impressed with his attention to the girls. Especially if it's their personal girlfriend, like Buster & Lucy, or Belle & Shiloh. When Pepper came in from Burroland this morning he looking like he had ran his head & neck thru a buzz saw. One ear was also rather badly abused. In the wilds a lot of the older jacks, will only have one ear or an ear that no longer stands up because when they fight, ears are easy to grab & hang on. I got him cleaned up & he wasn't the least bit interested in eating, he wanted out, so he could go play. Nothing like an old fool, I guess. He finally did get out, but Belle & Shiloh are penned up for a few days, until things cool off. I was afraid if I just penned Belle, that Pepper & Shiloh would be outside the pen fighting.

We had to soak Jenny's hoof that has the proud flesh or whatever it is, on it. There are some areas that are dead, that I cut off after soaking. I hadn't soaked her foot for awhile, but she did pretty good, although she did decide when the soaking was finished, by jerking her foot out & spilling the water.

I noticed last night when I was taking fly masks off that Jack the mule had goop in his blind eye. John puts masks on in the morning, so he checked it out & told me the upper eyelid was swollen. Unless we're really feeling lucky, we try not to mess with him much. He has definate ideas about what can & can't be done to him. You don't want to be on the receiving end of his opinion, of what he DOESN'T want done to him. I haltered him, we tied him up & I tried to see if there was something in his eye. Then I tried to rinse the eye with eye wash. I finally tried eye wash on a rag & rubbing the eye. He actually seemed to like that. Still don't know what's wrong with it. I put some eye ointment in & we'll see how it looks tonight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Katie was here this morning to trim. Jenny has been walking pretty good lately, but her feet were really long & had started chipping around the edges. . All the rain & humidity seem to make everyone's hooves grow fast. Pepper & Lucy needed trimming as usual. And Mirage was pretty long.

Jenny actually behaved pretty good. She only squashed Katie once against the cross tie pole. When she first came here last spring, she was really difficult to work with. She is big enough to hurt you, & reacted like she had been getting away with stepping on people, kicking & squashing them against whatever was handy. She seems to have a hard time standing on her left front foot, when you need to pick up the right front. The right front visually looks worse than the left but obviously isn't. So when Katie was doing the right, Jenny wiggled & fussed, & "squashed". But once it was done, she stood still for the other 3 & was a good girl.

Everyone else self trims on the rocky ground we have around here. John & I have the tools if someone needs to have a bad place trimmed, but for the most part they do just fine on their own. That's good, I can think of a lot of things I'd rather do, than bend over at the waist, knees bent to an uncomfortable position, fight for possession of a foot, trying to trim & rasp it, as my glasses try to slide off the end of my nose from a buildup of sweat.......!!!! This time of year it's too hot & humid, I don't know how Katie does it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


This is the first donkey I ever remember interacting with. Almost every summer I would spend a couple of weeks visiting with an aunt & uncle in Coolidge, Texas. If you've never heard of Coolidge, don't feel bad. Even then it was just barely a speck on any map. It's between Mexia & Hubbard, sorta east of Waco.

If ever there was a kid's paradise, Coolidge was it. Jay was a blacksmith, had a large building in the middle of town, that I remember was very hot because of the open fires he & his employees used to work the metal. The farmers use to bring big old cotton mules in to be shod. I remember watching him shoe these huge animals, that weren't the least big interested in having shoes on, let alone having their feet picked up. It was not a pleasant experience, for them or for him, especially in the hot humid climate of the Texas Hill Country.

There were plenty of kids in town, that didn't care if I just showed up every summer, they always welcomed me back. The whole town was our playground, we even played in the old jail that hadn't been used for a long time.

Summer's were busy for Jay & Dudda, all the kids in the family I think took advantage of their wonderful hospitality. Jay had a couple of farms & always brought in horses & Kix the donkey for us to play with. I'm sure Kix was never thrilled with having his quiet life interrupted by city kids coming into town for a visit. This is about as excited as he ever got. We even had a wagon of sorts that we hooked him up to. He would pull it around for awhile, but when he decided he'd had enough, we left him & the wagon wherever we happened to be. Usually it was in the road, the cars just drove around him until he decided to move. Years later I heard that he had gotten a piece of wire wrapped around his leg out at the farm & by the time he was found, it had gotten so infected they put him down. A sad ending for a dear friend who gave me many hours of pleasure as a child.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


When we drove in the driveway yesterday afternoon, at feeding time Miss Cinder was standing at the gate. In all the years we've doing this they might be milling around in the driveway, or gathered at the courtyard gate to the house. But it only took Cinder a few days to figure out, nothing is going to happen until "they" come thru that gate in the big metal "can". Unfortunately, she had Mirage & Molly right behind her, trying to figure out what was going on, and we had both vehicles to get thru the gate. I finally picked up a stick, which seemed to impress Mirage & Molly, but Cinder just turned around & headed for the house. I guess her job was done, & she knew the next area to stake out would be the feed room.

Katie is coming next week to do trimming. We're going to start with Jenny, in case Katie wears out on her. Jenny isn't the most cooperative animal on the place. I have to doctor one of her front feet every morning & wrap it. I have a small piece of plywood I set the foot on, to make it easier to work on without dirt & gravel. She seems to have a sense of humor about the process. I will try to get her to lift that foot. She will lift the other one, & hold it in the air. I haven't caught her laughing yet, but I'm sure that's what she's doing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'M BACK.........!!!!

If anyone thought I had taken a vacation, not so. My computer, on the other hand, finally decided to hang up & not work anymore Friday night. Saturday morning I called around & finally chanced on Computer Renassiance in Tucson, open not only Saturday but Sunday too.........!!!! John was going into Tucson anyway, so he dragged my computer to the shop. We went back in yesterday to pick it up, & I found out why it is imperative to be online every day. I had 358 messages in my mailbox............!!!!! That kept me busy yesterday evening. Now back to more interesting things like donkeys.

Cinder is now out all day, & really seems to be enjoying her freedom. When she is on the road, she is either in a trailer, a small pen maybe 10 x 10 or a real treat, tied by one foot, so she can graze. She figured out the routine in one day, & is really a sweet natured horse. She needed to be reshod, so I called a farrier I know & he worked on her Friday. Her Mom was shocked when I said my trimmers don't do shoes, but it all worked out OK. She's the only equine on the property with shoes on.

It's still hot & humid & the gang is turning their noses up at our lovely offerings of hay. John went over on the 20 acres the other day & found out why. There is an area that is just like pasture, lots of grass & green stuff. They are on the 10 acres during the day, but have all night to pig out on goodies over on the 20 acres.

I got a phone call the other day from the woman we got Molly the little mule from. She said it was a good thing Molly was here, she had lost 2 mini horses & a Haflinger in the last week. What could cause such a catastrophic occurance.........!!!!! Grazing on pasture that has poisonous plants in it. What a heartbreaking thing to happen. She said she now has some weed killer to use on the pasture to kill the weeds. We have a small book on poisonous plants, & it is really amazing how many there are besides locoweed & oleander. A lot of people think equines are smart enough not to eat something that will harm them or only if they are starving. Obviously that isn't true, these were well cared for animals & she said they were leaving their hay to go graze.

Our herd are all doing well, I'm only doctoring three right now. Sha'ba & Cisco both are dealing with habronema on their sheaths. I've about got them under control, so I just need to keep thunja zinc oxide on their sheaths until the fly season is over. Flies hate it & can't land. If they can't land, they can't drop their little stomach worm eggs........!!!!

I"m still working on the proud flesh on one of Jenny's front feet. It has to be doctored & wrapped every morning. It's not going to be fixed quickly, but we'll keep working at it. Katie will be here to trim next week. We're going to leave Jenny's heels longer this time. Last time she went lame after her trim, & is just now getting around without limping.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


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It is really hot & humid right now. Everyone is doing OK, although we had to trim Lucy's front feet this morning. I noticed yesterday that her hooves were flared, picked one up & sure enough she had lots of extra hoof wall. Katie was just here 2-3 weeks ago. I guess all the rain & humidity has accelerated hoof growth. Noticed some of the others are pretty long too. Usually most of them self trim on the sand & gravel, & don't even get trimmed. When it's hot & sticky, they don't move around as much as usual I guess. Hopefully their feet will start chipping off pretty soon or Katie will have a BIG job next time she comes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This is Cinder, she's a pretty good looking old girl. I noticed her eyes were goopy & her Mom said she had always had runny eyes. Two days of allergy capsules, & they are dry. I think besides the invention of fly masks, finding out about equines having allergies & being able to dry them up so easily, is 2 of the greatest advances made in the past 25 years. Of course there are 100's of other things that have made horses more comfortable, but these 2 are so very simple & can be done on a regular basis.

I've been doctoring poor little Sha'ba all summer for habronema larvae on his sheath. It's nothing like the infestation he had when we got him, but they are there. So every morning I have to get "up close & personal" to see if there are any new outbreaks & if the old areas are healing. Unfortunately on the sheath you can't keep it covered, like a fly mask on the eyes. I try to get the larvae out if I can, keep the area covered with ivermectin to kill the larvae already there. Then I cover the rest of his sheath with thunja zinc oxide, which flies hate, to hopefully stop the reinfestation.

Cisco is another one that has a lousy immune system & has had past battles with habronema that would just break your heart. He's been real good this summer & I haven't been checking him every day. Checked him this morning, & found a pocket of at least 2 larvae. So now he will be on my daily "grope" list for awhile. He also got wormed with ivermectin, since it is a systemic wormer, supposably it will also kill the larvae, if me slathering them from the outside doesn't.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NO RAIN, HOT & HUMID.............!!!

John had to go to Tucson early this morning & by the time I got done with feeding, filling water buckets, doctoring & picking up poo, I was wondering when the monsoon will be over. I'M READY........!!!! I don't mind the heat, but the humidity makes you miserable when you have to work in it. The weatherman has quit jabbering so much about rain now. I've noticed the nights are starting to feel different, cooling off a little quicker & not so sticky, so we might be heading into fall.

Jenny & her feet are doing better. She's still lame on the left front, but is willing to put weight on it. So I'm assuming that it isn't a build up of infection after all. Everyone's feet look lousy right now. I don't know if the humidity makes their feet grow faster, or the rain makes the feet softer or what. But almost everyone has big chunks of hoof missing here & there with some cracks thrown in to make it interesting. She's the only one lame, so I won't worry about them too much. I do a "walk around" every morning to make sure everyone is OK & so far everyone is passing inspection.

Last night Cinder(ella) came to stay for about 3 weeks. Her Mom has been traveling with her, camping out & riding in Colorado & had planned on staying out until October. But she had to make a trip to California on business & didn't want to drag Cinder with her. Mirage was all excited when we drove in with her in the trailer. I don't know if he thinks she's his sister or his mother or what, but I know he recognized her, by the way he acted. McDee bought Mirage, a couple of years ago when he was a baby with the idea of replacing Cinder, who is now in her mid 20's, as her main trail horse. But he has gotten so big, she doesn't know if he'll work out for her or not.

Everyone else seems to be doing good. We've got to make an appointment up at Gilbert to take Buddy Brat & Molly for check-ups. Because of the damage to Molly's belly, I want to know if she should or should not ever be ridden or worked. I'm sure she had scar tissue from the surgery, & I personally feel, she probably should only be a pet. Buddy needs to have blood tests to find out, if he has an medical excuse for being overweight or if he's just a little pig.........!!!!! Right now we seem to be really busy, so it might have to wait awhile.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


The weatherman seems to think we will still get some rain. I hope so, we certainly need it after over 6 years of drought. John was working over on the 20 acres we call "Burroland" yesterday. The last time the wash ran a few days ago, it took out the perimeter fence that runs across the wash. He had to dig some post holes, & found it moist down about 18-24 inches, which is good. Everything is really green right now, at least everything the donkeys haven't eaten. They don't let any plant material get very tall, before it becomes a snack. So far we haven't noticed very many mesquite beans in their poo. If the beans start showing up, they will not be able to go over on burroland until the range cattle eat the beans. Lucy is carrying enough extra weight right now, I'm thinking of putting her in the Fat Farm. Unfortunately Buster would be absolutely heartbroken if he was separated from her. And if you put him in a pen, he has panic attacks, so I'm still trying to come up with a plan. This is a picture of Firecracker, a little donkey I was lucky enough to see born a couple of years ago. I was visiting with a friend in Alamos, Sonora Mexico & we were attending a fiesta on one of the local ranches. Stephanie, one of the owners was going to show me the 2 jennies, but only one came up to the fence & brayed at us. We back tracked her, & the jenny was just getting ready to lay down, so this little guy wouldn't fall on his head. Stephanie has quite a few mules, & this little guy is in line to become one of her herd sires.

Everyone is doing pretty good, although Jenny the big girl is pretty lame on her left front foot. I checked this morning to make sure she didn't have something caught on the bottom & saw nothing, so I assume something is going on inside. I hope the infection isn't coming back. The Naxcel really took care of her long term infection, but if there was any infection hiding someplace, it could be building up again. I'm still treating a glob of proud flesh on her right front foot. I think it's getting smaller, but it's going to take a long time, I'm afraid.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


This is the part of rescue I don't like. Sometimes there just isn't anything left to do. We got Trudy in the trailer this morning & hauled her to Gilbert as planned. We knew it was a long shot that cutting the deep flexor tendon would allow her foot to come forward. It had been contracted for quite some time & Dr. Taylor ended up cutting 3 tendons to no avail. He finally tried pulling forward as hard as he could on her fetlock joint. It didn't move at all. We all knew then, that it was over. He asked if we wanted to bring her home. I saw no reason to put her thru another long trailer ride, just so we could bury her here, they euthanized her before we left. She was only here about 2 weeks, but it was as hard to make the decision, as if she had been here for years. I know it was best for her, her other front shoulder & leg were under a lot of pressure & in the not too distant future, she would either have foundered in that foot, or damaged the shoulder so much, she wouldn't be able to move.

We didn't get home until about 7:30........ everyone was gathered in the driveway, BlackJack even met us at the gate. Life goes on, & they expect to be fed on time, no matter what. I gave them all an extra scratch for Trudy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Yesterday morning when we got up, it was really cloudy & looked like it was going to rain. I got the idea of covering Trudy's wrapped foot with a plastic shopping bag. I don't want to cover her foot with something that is going to make the foot sweat & stay moist. That could cause all sorts of problems she doesn't need. The bags you get at the grocery store, don't seem to be as air tight as a regular plastic bag or being wrapped up in duct tape might be. So we gathered our supplies & started putting a bag on her foot.

It started raining like pouring cats out of a bag, with lightening of course. Within a few minutes water started running thru the pens ankle deep. The pens are set up in an old wash that hasn't ran since 1983 & in 1990 we had a dike built at the east end. But when we get a gully washer, just the amount of water, starts trailing thru the old memories of the wash. Within 5 minutes the big wash started running bank to bank, which means someone east of us had gotten a lot of rain before us. John ran to check on the dike, came back & said we've got to move her, it's going to come over the rip-rap, which is tons of huge boulders on the face of the dike. He let the minis, & the 4 donkeys in the "fat" farm out, so they could go to higher ground. Everyone else was already out, as we hadn't started penning them for the morning feeding. By the time we got a halter, lead & had figured out how to get this very crippled donkey to high ground, the big wash had stabilized at bank to bank, & the rain started to slack off. John used a shovel to divert the water, away from Trudy's shelter, so she would at least have a place to stand out of the water. Within 45 minutes the water was gone, I could even cross the big wash, to feed the chickens & guineas. Unless you have seen a desert monsoon rain & watched a wash run, you have no idea of how quick, & dangerous a situation it can be. I'm just glad we didn't have to move her. And I'm happy to report that last night when we changed her leg wrap, the Wal-Mart bag had done it's job & her foot wasn't wet.

This morning we pounced on Trudy when she was laying down to clean the 3 feet that are out in the wet weather. I cleaned the front one & found a little bit of thrush a couple of days ago. At least I think it's thrush, it could just be smelly feet.......!!!! Tea tree oil never hurt anything, so I slathered it on all 3 feet. It didn't hurt at all, but she did not appreciate this insult to her body & I got kicked in the process. She may be old, & crippled, but she's not going to give up without a fight.

We have an appointment tomorrow at the Equine Centre in Gilbert to have her deep flexor tendon cut. I hope we can get her in the trailer, she can make the trip, & the surgery goes well. We will leave her there at least overnight, or longer if necessary.

Heard that Remington is starting to warm up to his new family finally. The pen he was in was large enough that he probably figured he didn't have to be sociable if he didn't want to. He must be getting lonesome....!!!

Haven't heard out Tula & Terry are doing. Don't know if Terry ever got Tula back in her pen or not. She wasn't in any hurry because of all the rain. Pens have a tendency to get "icky" when there is lots of rain. Hooves seem to keep all the dirt & gravel mixed up with the water, so it stays sloppy even after a few days of sunshine.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I might be off line for awhile, my computer is acting up again & probably will need to go to the "hospital", or be replaced. Everyone is doing good right now, enjoying the wild food, compliments of all the rain & humidity we've been having. Although they hate the actual wetness with a passion.

We will try to get Trudy operated on this week, & get her on the road to recovery. We trimmed her good front foot a little this morning. She was laying down, so John laid across her neck to hold her down, & I trimmed. She has almost no frog on that foot at all & has some thrush, which is a nasty smelly infection that eats away at the frog. Could be why she doesn't have much frog. I soaked it with tea tree oil, which seems to work good on thrush. We will have to clean that foot every day & make sure it's healing. Even though we gave her half a ginger snap when we started & the other half when we finished, she hopped up when we were done, & let us know we had over stepped the bonds of friendship. Tomorrow should be interesting...........!!!!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

CONTINUING SAGA.......!!!!!!!!

Monday I called to check on the little pony & found out the Vet had been out & ran an IV, but it had infiltrated & needed to be redone. Unfortunately the Vet had appointments & couldn't come back out, so we hitched up the trailer, picked him up & took him to the Vet clinic. They re-ran the line & we took him home. Haven't heard how he's doing, hopefully he's getting along just fine. The Vet said his teeth were really bad, but she also thinks he might have sand colic, even though he had gut sounds. They were going to run 5 bags of IV fluid thru him in about 24 hours, which should get things moving. He pooped & peed in the trailer, which we all really got excited about........!!!!

Heard back from Dr. Taylor about Trudy's foot. He thinks the tendon or tendons can be cut & put a cast or splint on it & help her walk better. He's out of town this week, so we will call next week & ask some more questions. I don't want to make her worse than she is, but if there is a chance to make her better we'll try. Nancy our local Vet said she would do it & I know she is very capable. But the Vet clinic up at Gilbert, is the largest Equine Clinic in the Southwest. There are many Vets in that clinic, an operating theatre with recovery room, indoor stalls & outdoor pens is they need to stay overnite. It's a 24/7 clinic, although I don't know if someone is on the grounds overnight. This is her only chance at a normal life, & we want to make sure she has the best opportunity available. It hasn't been that long since we took Belle to a Vet clinic in Tucson, & although they did surgery, they didn't get the cyst removed from her jaw. Dr. Taylor did....................sooooooooooo! I hate to haul Trudy that far, but we will probably leave her for a day or two & then go get her. That way if she needs some extra attention, she will be where she needs to be.

Jenny is limping around again. She was trimmed last week, & seemed to go lame right afterwards. But I'm beginning to wonder if she isn't getting a buildup of infection in her left front foot again. She was on Naxcel for 10 days, which seemed to dry up the oozing infection & she was walking good. Finished the Naxcel a couple of days before she was trimmed.............hmmmmm! If it didn't get all the infection, it stands to reason, that it could be in there causing problems.