Monday, December 28, 2009
My non-veterinary opinion, based upon experience, is that he sprained a tendon or ligament in his fetlock. He had a marked limp when he walked, and was avoiding placing weight on it. There was heat and swelling in the fetlock, two of the more common symptoms of inflammation. I kept him penned up in his shelter for two days after first noting the problem. On Saturday morning I noted that The affected leg was beginning to stock up. Stocking up is a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in a horse's legs due to inactivity. It is the result of blood and lymphatic fluid pooling up in the joint, thus swelling up. To combat this I hand walked him for nearly an hour on Saturday, after running cold water over the joint. While the leg was still swollen, he was no longer limping when he walked, and was bright eyed as he followed me up and down the path.
On Sunday, our farrier stopped by, as we wanted to rule out a possible hoof abscess, a condition to which Smokey is prone. Smokey has his winter pads on, so the possibility of an abscess is not obvious to the naked eye. Not the case this time. Since he is no longer limping, and to combat the stocking up, he is no longer cooped up, and is free to roam his paddock. I checked on him this evening, and things were neither better, nor worse. These injuries generally just require time to heal.
Note to self: I've been spraying DMSO on the injury, to promote blood flow to the area. After spraying it this evening, I absent mindedly ran my bare hand down the leg. Immediately realizing my mistake, I rinsed my hand in the water bucket. Too late. My hand was tingling, and I had the taste of it in my mouth. There are just some things that I must periodically relearn.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Years later, I would revel in the opportunity to read the poem to my daughters before they retired to bed each Christmas Eve.
Which begs the question: Is Santa Claus real? I would argue that yes, he is. Not, of course not, in the conventional sense of a living person. No jolly old elf will be setting out from the North Pole, clad in red, pulled a regal team of reindeer.
What Santa Claus represents, at least for me, is hope. The hope that there is goodness in the world. That there are those who do good deeds simply for the sake of doing them. That we can make the world a better place, through simple acts.
It should be noted that Smokey has shown a flair for the melodramatic when he is hurt. He was in his shelter when I headed back to the barn to get the DMSO. When I came back he was walking around in the back of his paddock. He was limping on it, but clearly it wasn't going to slow him down too much. When I went to get him, the limp became noticeably more pronounced. For my benefit, I suspect.
For good measure, after spraying it with DMSO, I penned him in his shelter so he'll stay off it. We'll be keeping a close watch on it.
Monday, December 21, 2009
A few pics of life:
The weather was soggy yesterday.
Khira announces that the water bowl is empty by placing it in my lap. This is a fairly routine occurrence.
Rather unique Christmas decoration.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thus inspired, I broke out in the refrain from "It's a Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo. This immediately garnered the eye from DN3, along with the accusation that I am weird. It's worth noting that this accusation is levied in my general direction quite frequently. I'm starting to believe it. You try spending 20 years going to sea on submarines, and see how normal you turn out.
Without further adieu:
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I know it isn't midwest winter cold here, but it's cold nevertheless. Colder than it typically gets in this part of the world. Meanwhile, there is a summit in Copenhagen to perpetuate the fraud that Al Gore started and has benefited handsomely from. And the President is threatening to have the EPA take action to control carbon emissions if Congress doesn't tackle the "problem" post haste.
Nevermind that recently hacked emails have exposed the whole thing to be the sham that most reasonably intelligent people believe it to be. When the subject comes up, the lamestream media resembles crickets chirping. Wouldn't want to expose the media darlings for the shysters they really are, would we? And "Call me Senator" Boxer is calling for an investigation into the hackers. Ma'am, if your going to throw a smokescreen, make sure you've added the smoke fluid to the generator. Seems to me that it should fall into the whistleblowers category, and you should be calling for an investigation into Al Gore, et al.
It's my opinion "climate change" is a manufactured crisis, with the purpose of allowing the self declared "elitists" to gain a further measure of control over those of us who comprise the unwashed masses. They long for a return to the class structure of the early 1900's, but we just won't lay down and roll over on command. So, mix climate change, healthcare, TARP, crushing national debt and tax burdens, throw in a dash of Republican bashing, bake at 500F for a few congressional cycles, and Bam! Sheeple loaf.
It baffles me that there seem to be so many people drinking the kool-aid.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
To be able to teach a horse to do that takes skill that I doubt I will ever possess. The style of riding is called dressage, and while I have no desire to be a tally ho rider, I am nonetheless impressed. And it looks so effortless, I believe, because the mare knows her business. And I find it doubtful that the horse is an unwillning participant, else it would be nigh impossible to keep that up for over six minutes.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I may need to take that ceiling fan down...
Friday, November 27, 2009
So starteth the Christmas Season. And to start you all off with a little good cheer, I humbly present the following (NSF):
Generally speaking, the position of a horse's ears will give you some insight into their current mood. If there ears are pinned back against their neck, they are not happy, and if the situation doesn't change post haste, they will take action. An argument between two horses proceeds something like this:
1. Angered horse pins its ears back
2. Angered horse moves it's head towards the offending horse
3. Angered horse bites offending horse
4. Angered horse kicks offending horse
Now, if at anytime during the above exchange, the offending horse moves off, it all comes to an end, so the biting and kicking phase might never be reached. Humans could learn a thing or two about handling disagreements. Although my efforts to master the art of pinning my ears back has yet to produce any palpable results.
Now I realize that most people are not horse savvy, though the signs of an unhappy horse seem fairly obvious. But, like the car, Americans have a love affair with the horse. Thus, when horses are on display at the fair, they want to pet them and talk to them. And of course, some of them want to poke at them. Like people, horses come in many different termperaments. Our mare Bailey LOVES people. She eats up attention. Other horses are less affectionate, and some get downright mean after being poked and prodded by the general public for days straight. If a horse pins his ears and opens his mouth, he's not smiling for your camera folks. He's thinking about sampling your flesh, and as I can personnaly attest,their is a great deal of clamping force in those jaws.
I took the picture of Horse A while at the Central Washington Fair. Scotty belongs to a friend, and he was none too happy by day three, and just about everytime people came near him, he got that angry look on his face. What amazed me was the sheer number of people who couldn't recognize that it's not a happy look, and would continue to present hands or small children for sampling. Nevermind that there were dozens of attention loving horses in the barns. Fortunately, no was injured, although certainly not for lack of trying.
Oh yeah, if the horse is kicking at the stall door while you are standing there, that's not a happy sign either.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
And a brief moment for me to be thankful. The list of things I have to be thankful for is long and could probably fill pages, so I will touch on the highlights.
First and foremost, I want to give thanks to God that I am an American. That I live in the greatest country, with the longest enduring representative democracy. And thankful that I was given the opportunity to serve this nation during my years in the world's Greatest Navy.
I am thankful to be blessed with a wonderful family. I could not ask for a better wife or daughters. They have stuck by me through thick and thin.
I am thankful for all my friends, both the ones I see in person, and the ones I know only through the blogosphere. Friends that I can share success and failure with, without fear of judgment.
And I am thankful for the equine companions in our life. In a way that is hard to understand or describe, they act as a glue that holds the family together.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Below are pictures of two horses. Your task is to match the following statements to the horses pictured below.
1. This horse thinks you might have carrots, and would really like to be your friend.
2. This horse would really prefer to bite you and stomp your guts out.
Answers, plus an explanation for this seeming nonsense will be provided in tomorrow's post.
Monday, November 23, 2009
But wait! A beacon of truth appears, since apparently the LA Times has given up all guise of impartiality in politics. What leads me to make that statement? Read the first sentence of this article. I tried to convince myself that it was tongue in cheek, but, alas, could not reach that conclusion. Perhaps you disagree, and can convince me otherwise.
Now, as I've stated before, I'm no fan of Sarah Palin. I think she is a flash in the pan, not ready for prime time. Although I certainly do not think she is the reason McCain failed to win the Presidency. She does, however, possess the star power to help revitalize a lost party. There is something to be said for being able to write a book that is a bestseller before it even appears on the shelf. And, since the left is so busy reviling her, perhaps she has the power to help keep their eye off the ball, making room for a serious candidate to take the forum for 2012.
We can only hope.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
1. Those who carry a firearm, either on their hip, or tucked into their pack.
2. Those who do not carry a firearm, but are not opposed to those who do.
3. Those who do not carry a firearm, and are militantly opposed to those of us who do.
For the record, when riding the trails, I carry my trusty Smith & Wesson Model 19, in .357. A bit venerable, and not particularly glamorous, but it is reliable, and frankly, my favorite sidearm.
So, the question of why one would carry a firearm into the wilderness needs to be addressed.
An oft cited purpose is for defense against unfriendly wildlife. While dangerous encounters with predators such as cougars , bears , and wolves in the wild are not particularly common, they do happen. In the summer of 2008, my nephew and I came across two black bears on the trail within 200 yards of each other. Once these poorly sighted creatures had us in their view, they made themselves scarce. I blogged some time ago about our horses being attacked on the night highline by what we now believe were wolves. While tactics such as the use of bear spray, bear bells, or “making yourself look as large as possible” are the preferable way to terminate such encounters with wildlife, I prefer to have a fallback position should it appear that I am losing the upper hand.
Another, albeit less likely, reason that is argued is for use in encounters with predators of the two legged variety. I don't have any personal experience in this area, although I have heard second and third hand stories along these lines. There is also anecdotal evidence that farms of the illicit variety are popping up in the wilds, some of them guarded. I would suspect that said guards would tend towards the “shoot first, don’t ask questions” variety.
Now those in the anti-gun crowd would argue that those carrying a weapon would tend to present a hazard to others. I declare that argument to be bunk. If you don’t threaten me, then I’m certainly not going to threaten you.
Those of us on horseback have a more compelling reason to carry a firearm. In fact, I would argue that we have a responsibility to carry a pistol when we ride on the trails. Why is that? Accidents on the trail involving horses can and do occur. A broken leg is nearly always a fatal injury for a horse, even if it happens at home. Fatal because the nature of this injury requires, that in most cases the horse be put down. It’s not a simple applying a cast and ordering bed rest. A horse cannot support its own weight on three legs for an extended period of time. Despite the fact that money was no object, and the best veterinary care in the world, the race horse Barbaro eventually had to be put to sleep due to the damage that was being incurred by the non-injured hooves.
What will you do if your horse breaks a leg while you are miles into the backcountry? There is no vet around the next bend in the trail.
One of the old mule jockeys recently related a story from his youth. He and a friend were pushing cattle out of the hills, when his friend’s horse stepped in a hole and fractured a leg. They were miles from help, and had not a gun between them. They were forced to euthanize the poor animal by slitting its throat with a pocketknife. The event bothers him to this day, and he has never ridden without a firearm since.
While no horseman (or horsewoman) ever wants to find themselves in this situation, we should all be prepared for it. Our horses our are friends, and it would be wrong to let them suffer because we failed to be prepared, thinking “it’ll never happen to me”.
Seriously, Mrs. BR and her Paint Horse Ellie went to a schooling show at the Tacoma Unit yesterday. She took 1st Place in her pattern class, receiving a ribbon the size of a small third world country, and a $100 gift certificate to Hobby Horse, a purveyor of show clothes and such.
She's pretty stoked, to say the least, as this is her first Big Win on Ellie.
I'm proud of her, as it has been a long tough road to reach this point.
Man it was cold in that covered arena yesterday. I'm just starting to get the feeling back in my toes.
He's retired Air Force, currently residing in the Mountain West. He has some good stories from his USAF days, and good viewpoints on the current political climate.
Take some time and give it a look see.
Friday, November 20, 2009
That pause after the first question was so long and uncomfortable that I even started to squirm a little.
I find the decision to try these people in Federal Court absolutely unconscionable. But having made that decision, one would expect that Mr. Holder would have thought through the concerns that Sen. Graham raises, and would have clear, succinct answers. There should be no "it depends. " Depends on what?
If things reach the point where our Marines and Soldiers need to carry a copy of the Miranda Act in their pockets, then it just may be that we have lost the cause. As Sen. Graham says, it will "make this country less safe", and it is "a perversion of the criminal justice system".
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Read "The new wave of female firebrands striking fear into liberal America".
While I believe that, overall, the article paints these ladies in favorable light, a few words leaped off the page. Words used in reference to conservatives. Words like "shrill", "rabble-rouser", "ugly face of some modern conservatives". What words did they use to describe such notable organizations as Code Pink and MoveOn.org?? Groups that were far more mean spirited and ugly than any of the protest groups springing up on the right would ever dream of being. Do I smell a double standard from the media? Wait, I repeat myself.
Many on the left get worked up into a real froth at the mere mention of the names Palin or Bachmann. They declare them to be a "joke". If they are not to be taken seriously, why go to such efforts to denounce them. I must believe it is because they fear them. These ladies represent real Americans. People like you and I. Those of us who were not born with silver spoon inserted in mouth. What we have and who we are has been achieved through work and sacrifice. Not given to us by privileged parents, or a handed out by a bloated government.
They strike further fear through their ability to breathe new life and credibility into a Republican Party that is foundering on the rocks. They provide fresh, young faces, pushing aside the gray haired stodgy McCain types. Liberals try to dismiss Tea Party protesters by lewdly referring to them as "teabaggers", but deep down, when they are alone in their own thoughts, I suspect they are terrified. Their candidate, having ascended to the Presidency with few discernible qualifications, is making a mockery of the office and our country. Pelosi and Reid continue to drive the health care reform bill down our throats because they truly believe that they are the anointed ones who know best what us commoners need.
And all the while, the backlash is slowly brewing. Many who voted for The One are suffering buyers remorse. Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are helping to give conservatives new hope. And perhaps, in 2012, the Republican Party will give more care to their selection of a nominee for this nation's highest office. Contrary to some others, I do not believe that Sarah Palin is that person. But I do believe that she has the ability to assist in guiding the party back to relevancy.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Maybe the engineers designed it such that it needs the weight of the non-existent passengers to keep it on the track.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Four of these horses were lucky. They were found in time by a hunter who happens to be a horseman. And he chose to do something. Unlike the sorry sacks who abandoned them to their own devices in the backwoods. I hope there is a special place in hell for people like that.
Horse ownership is not an inexpensive proposition. I am not blind to the fact that in these tough economic times, some horse owners can no longer afford to care for their animals. And while Pierce County Animal control is but another sorry government run organization, there are avenues for help. The numerous equine rescue organizations would have helped, in one way or the other. Do not be too proud to use them.
While the thought of the wild mustangs on the range is very romantic, the fact is that domesticated horses do not possess the skills needed to survive in the wild. Forested areas in Washington state do not possess enough nourishing vegetation for the horses. As the article states, these animals were starved, and probably near death.
Since our government likes to regulate everything, why not regulate things that really count, like the ability to own animals or have children. Some people have no business doing either.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
With 205 bones and 42 muscle groups, the horse presents no less a daunting challenge for veterinary students. More rote memorization through hours spent staring at dusty old drawings and sketches.
Unless, of course, someone develops a better approach. That someone would be British champion rider Gillian Higgins. Over a four hour period, through the application of some water based hypoallergenic paints, she presents the horse anatomy as never seen before:
For more info an pictures visit www.horsesinsideout.com
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Or maybe not.
It never ceases to amaze me how elitist many politicians, at all levels of government, and regardless of political stripe, have become. They think they are smarter, more gifted, more talented. That they know what is best for us, because we are uneducated dolts.
When will people tire of this? How is it that these arrogant people keep getting re-elected? Do their constituents feel better when they are demeaned and compared to furniture?
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Because United States Armed Forces are filled with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who are like this man. A man who loved his country, and his comrades. Who served willingly.
Rest In Peace.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I have a general disdain for birds, viewing them, for the most part, as winged rodents. Not so the members of the raptor family. Eagles, Hawks, and Owls. I find them all very majestic animals, and will stop what I am doing to watch them in flight.
The fine folks at the Sardis Raptor Center were at the fair. They work to rehabilitate injured members of the raptor family. Human contact with the animals is kept to a minimum, and most are returned to the wild. However, due to nature of their injuries, some of these birds are unable to be released. These birds are used in their educational program.
I believe this is a Red Tailed Hawk:
4 year old Bald Eagle:
12 year old Bald Eagle. If you look closely you can see that he is missing his left eye.
The folks at Sardis are all volunteers, and their operating capital entirely from grants and donations. I hold people who volunteer their time for animals in great esteem.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
It seems that wannabe Lewis and Clark's, whose previous outdoor experience is limited to walking the dog at the city park, are now setting out in their birkenstocks with a sack lunch, their blankie, and a personal locater beacon. Thus emboldened, our intrepid adventurers boldly go where no man has gone before. The reason being that the men who went before knew better than to attempt such folly. But, have no fear, once they find their sorry asses in a pickle, they need simply push the panic button. This done, they can sit back, munch their tofu sandwich and sip a snapple, secure in the knowledge that the designated rescue agency is thundering to the rescue, placing their own selves at risk, to save the stupid.
Not so very long ago, when folks found themselves in such a predicament, they were faced with two choices. Either use their gray matter and work through the problem, or die. I suspect that most. although not all, adventurers made it a point to be prepared. Now any old soft body can go traipsing through the woods, secure in the knowledge that someone will save them when they get a blister on their big toe.
Now, I will readily admit that I have a handheld GPS. I keep it in my saddlebag or backpack. I mark the trailhead before setting out. Then I turn it off, and stow it away. My navigation tools consist of a map, and a Mark I, Mod 0 compass. I have used the GPS on the trail once. Our whereabouts suspect, I used it to mark our Latitude and Longitude. However, had I not possessed map reading skills, this information wouldn't have been worth squat.
My treks are planned out. Supplies are checked and double checked. I always have water, a survival kit, and first aid kit. If a trail looks questionable, I study the terrain, compare it to the contour lines on the map, and am never too proud to say "I don't think so." A healthy fear of heights probably goes a long way toward preventing me from endangering my skin, also. On one trip, we rode in out of the wilderness a day earlier than planned due the fact that thunderstorms were rolling in. Discretion, and all that. Maybe I'm old school, since I believe in preparation, and knowing ones own limits.
I firmly believe that these gadgets, whilst designed with good intentions, are directly contributing to dilution of the gene pool. Along with the thousands of OSHA regulations in place, they keep those of limited common sense from perishing in the wilderness, or dying in an industrial accident, as they would have earlier in the last century. As a result, people not smart enough survive when left to their own devices, are now kept alive by regulations and gadgets, which permits them enough time on the planet to breed. This is usually done with someone possessing of an equally low IQ, thus creating the next generation of people who require that others take care of them.
It is to weep.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
But, a bad day hunting is not a bad day at all. I simply enjoy the opportunity to get out of the house, and commune with nature in places that most people will never see. And I did shoot a few good pictures.
The last is of Unicorn Peak in the Tatoosh Range. Believe it or not, we were getting snowed on when I snapped the photo.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
And I've found a video that describes this condition to a tee:
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The first challenge is getting the offending wheel off the ground. A six inch lift and 35 inch tires tend to complicate jacking the vehicle up and setting it on a jackstand.
But it can be done, and soon the tire was on the ground, revealing the shiny new brakes I installed last weekend. Rust sure does set in fast in these parts.
Enter complication number one. Just about every fastener on this truck is metric, and the spindle nut (center of the picture below) is extra large. Despite having a tool set which is the envy of all my friends (courtesy of my Dad, the retired diesel mechanic), it's a bit light in the large size metric department. Thus it was off to the parts store to purchase a 35mm socket.
With that dilemma solved, the spindle nut was removed, followed by the the caliper, caliper anchor, and rotor, revealing the hub.
The cause of the problem quickly revealed itself. There was a great deal of play in the hub. The photo below reveals a bearing race sticking out where it shouldn't be.
While this was the more expensive of the two possible problems, it was the one that is considerably easier to fix, by about 4 or 5 hours. Money well spent. After another trip to the parts store, I was ready to put the whole shooting match back together.
Out with the old, and in with the new.
I'm pleased to report that the grinding metal sound is no longer present, and The Beast has once again been restored to her former glory.
On a side note, one socket and one universal joint were broken in the process of these repairs. Thank goodness for lifetime tool replacement.
The shortage of deer does not cause the hunt to end in disappointment. For me, hunting in more about the opportunity to be out of the house, in some far off stretch of land that few people will ever see. Even when I take pictures, they never reflect the same grand views that my eyes take in. The season isn't over yet, so pray for cold weather with rainy nights, for to flush out the prey.
We did spot this bull elk on the drive home:
I apologize for the poor quality of the photos, but the old Nikon Coolpix was at the limit of its range. The question has arisen, why didn't we shoot him? 1) It's not elk season, therefore doing so would be poaching, and activity I will not engage in. 2) As can be seen by the structure in the background, this young fella is standing in someone's yard. Undoubtedly, the homeowners would not take to kindly to gunfire in the yard.
I'm certain that come elk season, this bull will be nowhere to be seen, having found a safe place to weather the storm.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Until then, I leave you with this video, which confirms my belated switch to Ford (not to mention the fact that they didn't take any of my tax dollars):
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Think about this:
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq ... why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse or Congress is this --you cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery' and 'Thou Shalt Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians .... it creates a hostile work environment.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Quickly dressing, I grabbed a flashlight, and went outside to determine which car had fallen victim. I secretly hoped it was one of the neighbors vehicles, but these hopes were quickly dashed. It was one of ours. And of course, it couldn't have been the 1990 Honda with 220,000 miles on it. Nooooo...it had to be the cherry 1978 Ford F350. To wit:
We, of course, called the police. The offender had been kind enough to leave his passenger side mirror and numerous paint chips behind. This led us to ascertain that he had been driving an emerald green Ford. The mean and nasty side of me wishes that my F150 had been parked there instead. With it's 6 inch lift and 35 inch tires, the perps car may very well have become wedged underneath, making it harder to get away.
Living in a small town has it's advantages, and the offending vehicle turned up less than a half a mile away. From the intel we have, the operator an unlicensed teenager, and, yes, he was under the influence of alcohol. The Police placed the bracelet's on the lad, charged him with DUI, Hit & Run, and operating a motor vehicle without a license, and transported him to the klink.
My speculation is that mom & dad were fast asleep when junior slipped out of the house to go party. I'm sure the cat was let out of the bag when the cops woke them up first thing this morning. I'm disappointed that they haven't made any effort to contact us yet, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, as they've probably had their hands full today. Although their neighbors were getting a bit suspicious when did two drive by's today, admiring the Ford Explorer that has much of the paint missing on the driver's side.
I'll be paying them a visit tomorrow.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Seems that a few head felt the need to stop at a convenience store for an icee.
The horse in the store bears a striking resemblance to Smokey. I wonder if he is moonlighting?
UPDATE: There's video!!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
10 Thoroughbreds were seized in Snohomish County. Adding insult to injury, a horse had been removed from the property in July. Why the hell didn't animal control take all of the horses at that time? That certainly would have prevented a bad situation from becoming worse.
2.3 acres is not enough room for 10 horses. Two, maybe three horses, yes, but not ten.
Those of us who choose to keep domesticated animals, from gerbils to horses, have a deep responsibility to those same animals for their care and well being. Through millenia of domestication, they have lost the ability to fend for themselves. They count upon us for food, water, veterinary care, and their very well being. Along the same vein as having children, this responsibility cannot be taken lightly.
While it is often easy to attribute these cases to people who have fallen on hard times, this seems to rarely be the actual case. Most reasoning, thinking people can recognize when they are in over their heads. Seeking help before the problem gets out of hand is the best course. A horse rescue would much rather take healthy horses, as these are more readily adoptable than sick, malnourished animals which must first be rehabilitated.
Too often, the people who create these situations do not think, or accept, that something is wrong, They believe in their own minds that they are providing the best possible care. I believe that animal hoarding is a mental illness. With that said, it does not excuse this behavior.
I also feel that, in many cases, animal control is equally culpable. Too often, they have been called repeatedly, but claim "there is nothing we can do." Really? How about pushing for tougher laws, to start with. Give yourselves some teeth. Here in Pierce County, WA, if animal control is called to a farm for malnourished horses, they will first check to see if feed is on the property. If they find a nice stack of hay, then they will leave, because food is available. I'm sure Smokey would agree that the hay is of no use if it's not being FED TO THE HORSES.
I implore all of you, care for your animals, and if you are unable to, get help. And just as you would do if you suspected child abuse, if you believe that animals are being abused or neglected, please report it.
Monday, September 7, 2009
The article states that the dogs had been a continual problem. As is to be expected, reporting the problem to the proper authorities was to no avail. Personally, I would have allowed the problem to happen once. Upon the second occurrence, the offending dogs would have been roundly dispatched with a scattergun.
No two ways about it, the owners of the dogs are at fault. I have little (read: NO) sympathy for anyone who causes or permits violence upon women, children, or animals. I believe the punishment should fit the crime. In other words, the owners of these dogs should be locked in a cage with a pack of wild dogs, and let nature takes it's course.
Of course, at best they will probably get a slap on the wrist, and maybe a little community service.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Periodically, I stumble across stories of these people, and realize how small and insignificant I am. How little I truly do to make the world a better place.
In my blog list, you will see a blog titled "From Hell to Heaven: Saving Argus". This blog is written by a lady named Katie, and chronicles the rescue and rehabilitation of a Thoroughbred Horse who spent the first 16 years of his life locked in a 12 x 16 pen. It is a gripping, emotional, and very well written blog. While the tale is about a horse, if you look beyond, it is revealing about us humans. The kindness, and yes, the cruelty, that we are capable of.
I encourage you to read the blog, with two recommendations:
1. Read the story in chronological order. The first post is in December, 2007.
2. Keep a box of tissue handy.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
They must roll...
The time spent rolling is directly proportional to how clean they are.
Just for the record, if dry dirt isn't available, wet squishy mud has been found to be a great substitute.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
My father once told me that when I get old, I will listen to country music. I must be old, since I have started to listen to KBEC & KJUG on the computer. They play that old timey country. I've discovered that I enjoy it.
As for the newer stuff, I do like some of it, but as an old mule jockey told me, most of it is "rock 'n roll with a twang".
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." ~Winston Churchill
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I'm a firm believer in the Second Amendment. I have a few firearms myself. I do not personally see the need for assault rifles, but if that's what trips your trigger, have at it. But that's not the point of this post, either.
Seems it's perfectly legal to publicly pack an assault rifle around in Arizona. Still not the point.
The point is the great amusement I took in watching these two reporters trying to get their minds around the whole thing. They were shocked!, shocked, I tell you., and are desperately trying to come to grips with it. The one states that he had never seen an AR-15 before. I would venture a guess he's never seen any firearm before.
I'm still laughing.
On a side note: Those two are wearing nice ties...I wonder if they sell any men's clothes where they got them.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Via Gordon, I was given a glimpse of a true artist at work. I'm sure many of you have already viewed it, but it was nonetheless awe inspiring.
The artist is Ukrainian, and she is telling the story of the Ukraine being overrun by the Germans in World War II. The effect on the audience is profound.
Despite Hollywood's best efforts, true talent will always shine though.
2. If you drive one of these, it is never acceptable to drive 60mph in the fast lane. The thing was engineered to drive on the Autobahn for crying out loud.
3. If you are driving a Subaru or have Oregon license plates, please stay in the slow lane. It is best for all involved parties. Despite what you may believe, you are not the Washington State Pace Car.
4. If you are driving a Subaru with Oregon plates...please stay in Oregon. We have enough crappy drivers already.
5. No, the 50mph sign does not mean for you to drive 40mph.
6. If the policeman has a car pulled over, it really is not necessary for everyone to slow to 10mph under the speed limit. He's out of service folks.
7. If you are a young, healthy adult in the crosswalk, pick up the pace. I'm behind on my quota.
8. If I'm towing my horse trailer, DO NOT tailgate me. Rest assured that the horseflesh in the trailer is worth more to me than your sorry ass. Should you run into my trailer, your best course of action is to die instantly.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The days started early, with horses being fed at 6am. Once the horses had eaten, activity picked up in earnest. Horses were cleaned of whatever substance they had rolled in during the night, and thoroughly groomed, so as to look their best. The more spirited horses were lunged or ridden in the practice arena to take the edge off. With DN2 & DN3 showing horses in Western and English performance, Mrs. BR stayed busy helping with hair, makeup and show clothes, while I worked to prep the arena for the days events. This involved dragging the arena, erecting the barricades, chalking, as well as setting up trail, jumping, and dressage courses.
Mother Nature was on our side, with the skies overcast with temperatures in the upper 60's and lower 70's. Perfect show weather.
This years judges were unusually tough. Results, across the board, were not up to the standards that had been experienced throughout the show season. This resulted in no small amount of controversy, but in the end, judging is subjective, and the placings were fairly consistent from class to class.
This is DN2's last season. She and the other graduating Seniors were presented with their Belt Buckles (rather fancy ones, I might add), and formally recognized during Senior Recognition. She is also an alternate for the State Team. She went to State Fair last year, so, having "been there, done that", she isn't too disappointed. Due to cuts in the State Fair, the number of riders permitted this year is smaller, by half. And we will be taking them to the Central Washington Fair, in October, which, if given the choice, is the fair they would rather attend.
Western Equitation Class awaiting placings:
The best looking riders out there:
And, lest you think only the kids get to have fun at the fair, here is yours truly keeping the road apple pile at bay:
I knew playing with those Tonka trucks when I was a kid would eventually pay off.
Sunday afternoon, everyone gathered for the Awards Ceremony. With several of the presenters being a tad long winded, this event began to get a little long in the tooth, but after two hours, mercifully it came to and end. Which led to the mad dash to clear the barns. Decorations were taken down, stalls cleaned, tack packed up, and horses trailered. Finally, barn checks completed, vowing never to eat fair food again, we headed for home.
I think it was Wednesday before we fully recovered...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The loss of the Kursk is no worse, and no less so, than the many submarines lost either in wartime, or due to accident. For me, personally, this event was poignant in that it occurred during my time on active duty. It served as a reminder of the peril that we Dolphin wearers placed ourselves in each time we went to sea.
Submariners, regardless of nationality, share a bond forged in the dangers inherent to our chosen profession. The loss of our brothers, even our former enemies, strikes us in a way that words cannot express.
Take a moment to remember these brave souls.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
After the untold quanities of money that have been thrown down blackholes that provide no benefit beyond filling re-election coffers, I find it almost laughable to hear politicians suddently worried about "Taxpayer Drain". I hate to state the obvious for our challenged politicians, but that horse has already escaped the barn. Pun intended.
Not only does this help the wild horses, but it also preserves untamed land, keeping it free from further unchecked growth. Granted, much of the land is probably in the boonies where it won't be developed in the first place, but still...
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The United States has thousands of miles of trails in the wilderness. Winter, and the never ending onslaught of nature, take their toll on these trails. Once upon a time, the United States Forest Service used summer work crews to perform trail maintenance in the wilderness. A victim of ever shrinking budgets, they have, for the most part, been forced to discontinue their efforts. Much of this work has now fallen on the shoulders of volunteers. The Pierce County Chapter of the BCHW, of which I am a member, has teamed up with the Tahoma and Enumclaw chapters, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) to adopt a 35 mile section of the PCT, between Crystal Mountain and Government Meadows. Bear in mind that much of this section of trail can only be reached on foot or horseback. While the USFS has little budget for this work, they do provide tools, and through grants received by the PCTA, hay and water for the horses, as well as food for the workers was supplied. What is needed is labor.
We were operating from the Government Meadows Horse Camp. This accessed via National Forest Development Road 70. For the first ten miles it is a paved, windy road. After that, it becomes a dirt, windy, logging road. When traveling a dirt road, towing a horse trailer, and you reach sign that indicates a 12% grade, you will crease the seat a bit. And although I was traveling 10-15mph at best, I was throwing up quite the cloud of dust. This is the view from the drivers window on the way up.
I'm sure that by this time, Smokey was certain that he had died and gone to hell.
I arrived early Friday afternoon. People had been arriving and working since late Wednesday. After checking in, I saddled up, and headed out on the trail to one of the designate work sites. Shortly I began to pass riders who were heading back to camp. Talking with them, I learned that work had stopped for the day, and most were headed back. I decided to continue riding, to see the trail and enjoy the solitude. Soon, I reached the first section of trail that had been rerouted. It was a nice series of switchbacks that led up to the place at which the trail crosses the 7080 Road. At this point, it was still necessary to ride about 100yds up the road to pick the trail back up. Turning back onto the trail, Smokey and I headed another mile or so down the trail, before turning back.
This is a view of Blowout Mountain from the trail:
Returning to the 7080 Road, I soon realized that I had not paid as much attention to the location of the trail as would have been wise, since the new signs had not yet been posted. I wasn't lost, just geographically misplaced. We went up and down the road a few times before I finally spotted the freshly turned dirt between two small trees. Picking the trail back up, we rode back to camp.
Saturday morning, we ate breakfast at 7:30. This was followed by a riders meeting, and work assignments. Lunches were picked up, horses saddled, tools loaded on the pack horses, and then the teams would set out for work. I was on a team of six that would be posting new signs, assisting with the final section of trail that was being rerouted, and then helping to complete the bridge that was being replaced. An active group to say the least.
On the trail:
Smokey and his new found friend tied up at the trail work site:
Where are those darn horses hiding?
While chainsaws and weedwackers were available to clear the brush, the work of trailbreaking fell to basic hand tools, such as shovels and pulaski's. After our stint on the trail, it was time for our group to return to Government Meadows to assist with the bridge. Government Meadows lies along the Naches Trail. This was a trail that used by wagon trains back in the day.
Upon arriving, the task of gravel hauling became our primary focus. This involved shoveling gravel from the bed of a pickup into wheel barrows and then hauling it 100yds to the bridge.
This provided one of the highlights of the day: The Pickup Ride. To get more gravel we had to drive about a mile downhill on a dirt road to where a dump truck had deposited the rock pile. Now, this "road" might be considered a road to jeepers, but to those of us riding in the back of the 25 year old F350, it was anything but. And the driver seemed to have forgotten that there were six of us in the bed. More than one of us was nearly bounced clear of the pickup. The cackling laughter coming from the cab of the truck didn't exactly help, either.
Arriving bruised, but intact, we shoveled a huge pile of gravel into the pickup, then traveled uphill with the load. For some reason, I had a mental image of the tailgate fallling up, and being washed out in a cascade of rocks and dirt.
Back at the worksite, we shoveled the gravel out, then back for more. The second and third trips were a little less chaotic. It may be related to the threats that were levied at the driver, but I could be wrong.
The bridge complete, we headed back to camp. After watering and feeding the horses, we settled in to await dinner.
We were fed like royalty at this event. Chicken Friday night, steak on Saturday, with no shortage of food. A huge breakfast each morning, and an ample sack lunch for the trail. The evening entertainment was anothe of the highlights, courtesy of Denny, a colorful old mulerider, who is a talented guitarist and singer. His repartoire consisted of country songs, none newer than 30 years old. In his words, modern country music is "rock and roll with a twang".
Sunday consisted of some minor trail work, and the major endeavor of breaking camp. I rolled out around noon, dirty, hot, sweaty, and tired, but with an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction at having played a small part in something that is bigger than me.
Some hikers happened upon one of the work crews, and stopped to help them work for awhile. This is IMPORTANT. I will discuss why in my next post. As my picture of the cabin at Government Meadows fell victim to my shoddy photography skills, I was searching online when I came across this post by one of the hikers involved.
How cool is that?