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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Icy Horse Halloween

Halloween played a cool little trick today with some icy snow, not so gently falling from the heavens. Clearly there must have been a cold front moving through heaven. I picture angels bundled like Green Bay Packer fans with icicles dangling from their wings and frost on the halos (or probably on their cheese heads at game time).

Today the horses are all bundled in blankets. They wanted to go out regardless and are now munching on freshly chilled grass in the pasture. "Frost on the Pumpkins" is a phrase you hear around here a lot and we've been using it this year since mid-September.

As I took a wheel barrow of manure out to dump, my fingers burned from the cold and I was quickly reminded that I needed to get new barn gloves. My old ones were thrown out on a warm day last spring. "I'll get new gloves", I can remember announcing to the world as if I were moving from the Cavaliers to the Miami Heat. Of course 90 degree days in the summer aren't always the best for marketers of winter apparel. They do seem to be good marketer's of the Miami Heat.

You know you live in Central New York, when parents annually jam snowsuits under their kids spiderman and princess costumes. Yes, they'll be a lot of overstuffed miniature ghosts prowling for candy tonight.

Time to throw another coal in the fire. Time to defrost the candy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pay Back Time -- She's Sick Now

OK ... now is truly the time that we separate the men from the boys. Yes, I was sick for a few days. Yes, my wife waited on me hand and foot. I had the life of home made chicken noodle soup. My medicine and tissues were brought to me like I was the Prince of Persia. I had hours of rest and relaxation.

Yet, all of that's over now. It's all a distant memory. I'm better, cured and she's the one now with the horrific cold and the fluid filled chest. I'm the one bringing her cold medicine, tissues and providing the foot rubs. Surely, I'd be the one making her home made chicken noodle soup, if she wasn't a vegetarian. Sadly, Tofu noodle soup just lacks the taste and medicinal qualities... of it's poultry laced cousin.

Oh and don't forget... I'm also the one take care of five horses before I go to work in the morning. I'm handling the hay, the grain, the endless supplements that I need a cheat sheet to dole out, the turn out, the stall cleaning and the sweeping of the barn. Like the Marines, I do (or did) more before 6 am than you do all day. OK ... OK ... make that 9 AM. But, still it's my pay back.

Days like this are the days when I truly realize what a sainted woman this is that I married. She does this everyday, 7 days a week, every freaking day of the year. She only gets breaks when I help her on the weekends and on the off chance we actually go away for a real vacation every couple of years or decades.

She needs more breaks... heck, I did it by myself today. One day and I need a break.

I know what you're thinking. Stop being a baby! You have a horse or two or thirty at your home ... you live this. I feel sorry for you. Yes, you're all saints. You all need vacations ...or at a minimum... get a freaking cold once in a while so you can finally get that break you need.

Gotta go... she needs another tissue.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Horse... Is it worth it?

We question ourselves quite often with the whole horse thing. Are we crazy? Clearly "yes" is the quick answer. If you're kid was interested in softball, it'd cost only the price of a glove, a bat, some balls and maybe a $50 annual fee for the league. If it was bug collecting, I'd buy a %10,000 bug net and still come out ahead.

With horses, the glove becomes a Pessoa saddle, the Louisville Slugger - a $500 riding helmet, the Rawlings balls become a $40,000 plus horse or two and the $50 annual fee becomes trainer fees, boarding, shoes, etc, etc and etc. Yes, NASCAR or golfing on the moon probably beats this. Yet, people who think Hockey or golf or skiing is expensive haven't got a clue what an expensive sport really is.

The question remains. Is it worth it? I can tell you only this. After riding since she was three, my daughter, now 19, is one of the most confident people I know. She's thinking about either medical school or a degree in business. She's dedicated her life to horses and thus she's stayed away from some of the typical teenage temptations. She handles herself extremely well with all types of people, whether young or old, nice or nasty or rich and poor. She was extremely busy growing up which taught her unbelievable organizational skills.

Could that have happened if we'd said "NO" more often, maybe. However, while it's expensive and at points we'd have to say we couldn't swing this or that, as a parent you search hard for the things that your child will be passionate about, whether track, softball, acting or (gulp) horses. If you find that one thing... that one very special thing that supersedes all, you've won.

The answer is that you have to figure all this out for yourself.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sick Today

I'm sick today with a bad cold and some chest congestion. Yesterday, I helped my wife clean stalls through that hacking and wheezing. Today's a different day. Maybe if I stayed quiet yesterday, I wouldn't be seeing the loving light at the end of a long tunnel today.

The guilt maybe the worse part of being sick on a horse farm. My wife cares for the horses all week and only gets of a bit of a break on weekends when I help her with the stalls. Not only does she not get the slight break, she's trying to nurse the prince of wimpyness (that's me) back to health. She's actually on her way to store now to buy stuff to make chicken noodle soup. "You don't have to," I wheezed out through a congested airway to no avail. She ignored me a usual and went anyway.

Who knows? I'm glad I'm not a sick horse.

If I'm sick, I can pretty much tell people where and how I'm ailing (and believe me I don't hold back). For horses, Vets have to be sleuth-like Sherlock Holmeses to deduce the virus or injury crimes by following the clues. Instead of following the money trail, finger prints or trail of broken hearts, they follow by listening to heart, belly and breathing of the sicko horse patients. They'll look at the poop, watch for biting at the sides, do pinch tests, nerve tests, watch for oozing or dozing or pacing or panting.

Vets will do anything, stick their arms up horses butts, stick tubes of concoctions (eye of newt and wolf bane come to mind) down their throats... all in the interest of helping to ease the discomfort of a frequently irate and often ungrateful patient.

We've had horses with colic so bad that it took forty feet of intestine removal and a$6,000 charge. Yes, we have insurance now.

We had horses that could barely stand due to hoof abscesses. It's good for them to walk, the vet would say, but it pained us to watch.

Ooh just thew up in the back of my throat. Yes, it stinks to be sick.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Own a Horse

10) You didn't need your toes anyway.
9) Cash ... It's just plain over-rated
8) They just don't make poop, like horse poop ... just ask my dog.
7) Horse chiropractors, horse psychics and horse dentists ... jobs to cool to be real.
6) Flies ... need I say more.
5) The stress keeps me lean and agile.
4) I love those rewards points from my Vet, Farrier and hay deliver guy.
3) Cool equi-vocab words are killer at parties... oxer, martingale, two-stride, in and out, hock.
2) Horse Snot ... life just doesn't getter better. Yes ... Living the Dream
1) Dover Catalogs are so much better than Victoria Secret

Perhaps you have some other suggestions for the list... send me a quick comment let me know your thoughts.