Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘horses

Catching Up

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I’m in ‘catch-up’ mode this weekend, trying to do a week’s worth of chores around the property after my bicycling vacation. Tomorrow, it’s back to the grind of the day-job. Meanwhile, Cyndie remains tethered to one-arm limitations while her shoulder heals from the surgery.

I finished mowing and trimming the lawn grass areas yesterday, but that leaves quite a few acres of fields yet to be mowed with the big tractor and the brush cutter. It’s a jungle out there!

The horses happily volunteered to work on keeping the arena space short.

We enjoyed a pleasant surprise yesterday when a contractor knocked on our door to announce he was ready to start work on building doors for our hay shed. After a few years of watching the outside bales baked to a nutrition-less crisp of dried straw, we have settled on solid doors for a long-term solution.

The prospect of a curtain or hanging shade cloth would be a challenge to secure against the abuse of wind and sun. Rolling metal doors is our choice.

Speaking of wind, we lost two large tree branches to a gust yesterday after I mowed. I didn’t even notice the wind blowing, but the evidence is impossible to ignore in two completely different ends of our property.

Even after having the tree service trim out the risky dead wood from our large trees, there is always a threat of falling branches. Maybe we need to provide hard hats on windy days around here. Geesh.

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Written by johnwhays

June 25, 2017 at 10:32 am

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Fiery Sky

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The horses were heavily harassed by biting flies yesterday, which made my session of scooping manure a lively affair. The biggest hazard, beyond unpredictable flailing hooves as they fling a leg out in response to a bite, is the nasty snap of their tails. They could take an eye out with that whipping action. At the very least, it stings when they get you.

I’ve noticed they will frequently align themselves to purposely have their heads in the wash of someone else’s tail for added fly management. There is no doubt they are thicker skinned than we are. I wouldn’t be able to endure the beating.

I worked well past the dinner hour last night, after a full shift at the day-job, to create added open space in the compost area for my approaching week-long absence from home. The effort now should pay off when I return, so I won’t come home to a disaster of overflowing piles.

Manure management is one of those jobs that is made easy by frequent attention. Let it go for a day or two between scooping and it can become an exponentially more significant project.

Last night, I opened up a gate to a section of pasture that still has long grass, to allow the herd a brief session of grazing. The first thing three of them did was pee. The second thing they took turns doing was laying down and rolling around.

When I looked their direction to see they finally got around to seriously grazing, the setting sun was illuminating the clouds to create the impression of a great conflagration. Photo Op!

One last day at the day-job today before vacation. I hope to try mowing the yard tonight and maybe doing a little laundry so I can pack clean clothes for the bike trip.

If I pack warm clothes and rain gear, maybe I won’t need them. We all know that if I don’t pack those things, it would guarantee that the week would turn out cold and wet.

If we see fiery clouds in the evenings during the bike trip, I hope it will mean, “sailor’s delight.”

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Written by johnwhays

June 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

Animals Sense

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This morning we are headed to an outpatient surgery center for Cyndie’s shoulder repair. The plan is for an arthroscopic procedure to reattach ruptured tendons and clean up any tissue tears, and then clean up arthritis discovered in the MRI done to assess the injury.

The silver lining in this incident is that she hadn’t previously realized the extent of arthritic damage in that shoulder that was contributing to a chronic discomfort she had come to perceive as ‘normal.’

Welcome to the world of chronic Lyme disease outcomes. Sure, she was treated extensively with long-term antibiotics back when her symptoms mushroomed to a level of undeniable evidence, but it’s an imperfect science. Even more so back in the ’90s when she experienced it.

A vast majority of health insurance corporations and plenty of doctors closely associated would like her to swallow the company lines that she is completely cured. We tend to feel the wild litany of afflictions picking away at our sanity every year since that initial treatment are unsurprisingly identical to the long list of Lyme related symptoms listed in medical research reports.

Her debilitating arthritis is just a fraction of the issues she experiences, but at least modern medicine offers clear surgical options to repair or replace arthritic joints.

As frustrating as it is to be going through this routine again, we are at the same time grateful to have this opportunity. We intend to focus on the potential for less pain in that shoulder, and the return of function of her dominant right arm.

I want to know if she will be able to hoist bales of hay again. Hopefully, even better than before.

Our animals seem to recognize she is in a world of hurt since the arm was yanked. Cyndie reported that yesterday Legacy approached her and uncharacteristically, with his head down, ever so gently rubbed up and down her afflicted limb with his nose, as if in acknowledgement of her discomfort.

Pequenita, who generally reserves the majority of her affection for me, has switched allegiance and has been sleeping on Cyndie the last few nights. I spotted her on Sunday, all curled up in a ball with her head turned over, sleeping just below Cyndie’s pillow.

We are all mustering our best Cyndie care-taking energies to guide her through today’s procedure, and then on to recovery and rehabilitation. We’ve had some practice with this. I’m pretty sure we know what to do.

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Written by johnwhays

June 13, 2017 at 6:00 am

Getting Scary

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This is starting to get a little scary now. First, my wife gets her face bashed in by a relatively far-fetched event of stepping on a rake. Then, a few days later, her right arm gets yanked out of the socket, tearing her rotator cuff and tendons in two places.

She toughed it out for a day or two with ice and ibuprofen, until the pain and dysfunction became unbearable. That led to a visit to Urgent Care, where she was told to get an MRI and see an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulders.

He sensed a necessity to conduct a thorough interview to see if Cyndie feels safe at home.

“Stepped on a rake.” Yeah, right.

“My horse got startled by the chickens and her panicked lurch pulled the lead line I was holding in my right hand while attempting to secure the paddock gate with my other hand.”

“Are you SURE you feel safe at home?”

John might be getting a surprise visit from a social worker in the days ahead.

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Written by johnwhays

June 10, 2017 at 6:00 am

Beating Heat

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Although Arabian horses were bred to perform under harsh desert conditions, the humidity that we get with our high heat is enough to make all species a little irritated. In the summer, we offer our horses a warm dusty breeze that moves enough air to toss their manes and chase off some flies.

It actually seems like little comfort, blowing hot, humid air, but Legacy has taken a particular liking to it.

Delilah prefers to lay on the cool tile in the house. Her fur coat doesn’t allow for wind to be much help. Luckily, she is a big fan of sprayed water from the hose, so we can shrink her coat dramatically by getting her wet.

We are arriving upon my last weekend before the annual June biking and camping week. I will be looking for a way to spend some time on the bike seat without putting myself at risk of heat stroke. It would be really helpful if I could rig up a mount on my tractor instead, so I could sit on my bike seat while mowing the lawn.

Speaking of mowing, I will be picking up the old Craftsman rider from the shop this morning. Now I can return the borrowed John Deere and get back to my own rig. I’ll be able to find out if it runs well under intense heat, that’s for sure.

The summer heat has brought out the lightning bugs. With the strawberry moon glowing brilliantly last night, the neon green flashes dancing above the tall grasses made for a glorious nighttime walk with Delilah as I rolled the trash and recycling bins down to the road.

George has come back for the weekend while he is serving his farrier clients in the region. I tended to the horses while he trimmed our herd after dinner. Cayenne is making good progress. He removed her shoes and left her bare foot again.

It may be hot, but things here are actually running pretty cool.

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Written by johnwhays

June 9, 2017 at 6:00 am

Battling Growth

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Sometimes it does feel a little like a battle against a siege of growing greenery. The lawn grass that I cut with the borrowed mower the other day now looks like I’ve neglected it for a couple of weeks. Now imagine what the areas that haven’t been cut at all look like.

The two pastures we refer to as “back” and “north,” are over two feet tall. I was just starting to mow the back pasture last Saturday when the sound from the brush cutter caused me to stop and check on the gear box. There’s some serious mowing left to be done back there still.

Yesterday afternoon, Cyndie laid down some pool noodles in the arena space to do an exercise with the horses. She said it didn’t work very well because the grass was too tall and it was hard to see the noodles. I decided to get that cut before resuming work with the brush cutter.

First, I needed to sharpen and adjust the blades on the reel mower for Cyndie so she could use it on the labyrinth. Seriously, there is nowhere that doesn’t need mowing right now, pretty much on an every-other-day basis.

We try to keep the arena grass as short as possible, usually mowing it with the rider. I ventured in there after dinner last night with the borrowed tractor and quickly discovered the grass had grown a lot longer than was noticeable from a distance.

It was so long and thick in places that I needed to make a first pass at a high setting, to enable mowing it a second time at the lowest one.

While I did laps on the rider, Cyndie worked the fence line with the power trimmer.

A couple of soldiers fighting the good fight for order and scenic well-being against the growing chaos and unwelcome infestations.

Seriously, it’s like landscape warfare.

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Written by johnwhays

June 7, 2017 at 6:00 am

Bang. Ouch!

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This morning, the horses grazing in the arena space to the choral serenade of innumerable songbirds was right up there on a list of top idyllic moments we enjoy at our Wintervale paradise.
That is in stark contrast to the anxious drama that played out yesterday.

It started normal enough, but quickly shifted when a startling accident drew blood. For me, it was the sound that was most unsettling. The cries and curses, and then the flowing blood were all more of a given, considering the indescribable sound of impact and the reaction it unleashed.

I rushed over to Cyndie’s aid and worked to calm her while I recovered her glasses and guided her out from under the willow tree and up the driveway to the house. I had immediately placed my hand over her bloody forehead and then told her to use her own hand to keep pressure on the wound while we walked.

Not having taken time to immediately inspect the source of all the blood, I imagined a series of possibilities while we walked. I was also factoring in a potential trip to an emergency room to get her stitched up. Luckily, that turned out to be unnecessary.

Today is Cyndie’s birthday. She has given herself a hell of a black eye for the occasion. That, and a story to tell.

I’m not sure it is my place to reveal the full detail of her foible, but let’s just say you have probably witnessed the scenario play out on a few cartoons or slapstick episodes of Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges.

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Wish her a happy birthday. 🙂

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Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2017 at 9:42 am

Posted in Chronicle

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