Friday, May 23, 2008

No horse

Well, my first week as a horse owner took a difficult turn yesterday. Last night during feeding I noticed Duke favoring his front leg and I was beside myself trying to understand why. He was sound when I purchased him on Saturday, everything was fine. What happened? And how could it have happened so quickly. Lots of things crossed my mind, and I feared the worse. Last night I cried. Every horse owner understands four simple feet, no horse.
First thing this morning I contacted a local vet, the best horse doctor in the region. I had already planned to have him do a 'new horse' exam this weekend. I met up with him this afternoon and he confirmed my worse fear, Duke had a minor case of laminitis. Unfortunately, Duke is an 'at risk' horse for laminitis according to the vet for several reasons. Fortunately, we caught it early enough that the prognosis for full recovery is very good. What puts Duke at risk is first his weight, he needs to lose 100 pounds. Second, he had a severe bout with it three years ago, which his prior owner fully disclosed to me long before I decided to purchase Duke. I've done a great deal of reading about laminitis since learning of Duke's history, and everything I read gave me hope that while it could recur again, it is preventable through careful diet management. And third, he's large boned. But it was neither of these reasons that brought it about this time. The vet believes stress is the reason this time; the stress of a new home and new owners. While Duke has outwardly taken the change in stride, internally it was another story. Horses are like that, especially a horse like Duke. I've watched him carefully every day for signs of stress, but he never exhibited any outward signs.
It was frustrating, to say the least. Duke can't have alfalfa hay because of the high concentration of protein in alfalfa (which caused the bout three years ago), so I searched everywhere to find him grass hay (it's in short supply). His prior owner also fed him sweet feed and beet pulp to supplement his grass only diet. But I've heard some unfavorable views on sweet feed and so after consulting my other horsey friends, decided against the sweet feed and pulp. The vet agreed Duke doesn't need the extra bulk at this time. In the end, one of the last things he said was he's never seen a horse with such a great disposition (even in the pain he was in) and my decision to purchase him was the right one. We have a friend who also recently purchased a horse (a quarter horse) and the same vet rejected the first three horses he considered buying. This vet will tell it straight and honest, he knows how much is at stake with these horses and their people.
So, from here treatment consists of: reducing Duke's daily food intake from 20 pounds down to 10 pounds (he's not going to be happy about that!), administering a dose of horsey aspirin twice daily, soaking his feet in ice cold water every day and 30 days stall rest. No riding, no exercise. So, photos of me riding Duke will have to wait.
It's been quite a week.
As for the new job, it's been hectic too. But in different ways. New job, new people...Duke's not the only one feeling the stress of adjusting to change. But it's going very well. It's a nice change not feeling constantly overwhelmed.
Tuesday, before the lameness reared it's ugly head, Sam took photos of me and Duke after I played with him in the round pen. During a break in lounging, Duke and I posed for one shot and somehow we both managed to close our eyes at the precise second Sam pressed the shutter. Like minds Duke and minds.
One...two...three...close your eyes!
Hey, I see other horses over there! Let's go check 'em out!
Eyes open and forward this time. Notice the one ear turned toward me, a sign that his attention is focused on me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What is it about girls and horses...

Introducing...Diamond B Duke

The first meeting

Meeting Duke for the first time and leading him out of his corral while my friend Barb (Elvira's mom) takes our picture. Looks like Duke's posing for the camera, doesn't it?

Duke struting his stuff. Getting warmed up by Keith, the seller.

Our first ride.

He has the sweetest face and the kindest eyes. They are so unusual in that they are a very light brown, rather than dark brown.  And he's just gorgeous. Still has a bit of his winter coat to shed (it's the darker brownish black you see on his neck and body). Duke is getting settled in and adjusting to many changes. It was difficult taking him away from his home and after a couple of delays he was loaded and we were on our way. It was hot, 97 degrees and I worried about him, but he seemed to take it all in stride, and now he's home with me. He's all mine.  :)

More to come...time to get rested for my new job tomorrow!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Change...there are changes afoot

Yesterday was a weird day. Surreal, but not different. It could have been, perhaps should have been, but through it all it was just like any other day. The one exception is that yesterday was my final day at the job I've held for the past twelve years.

May has been a month of changes.

It was bitter sweet and a difficult decision to make, one that Sam's been urging me to make for at least ten years. And it was time.

So today begins a new day, and another new chapter of my life. I am currently not employed, but that will end Monday morning when I stroll into the office of my new job. It's a major change for me, from fiscal officer to administrative assistant, but I was ready to step back from the over whelming demands and pressure cooker I've worked in since 1996. I'm so excited about this new opportunity that presented itself to me last month, now I'll be the right hand of the operations manager for a company that helps people put their lives back together. Great changes. Oh is good.

And then there's tomorrow. My search for a horse has brought me to a happy trail, he he. At this time tomorrow I'll be on the road to the Yakima area, with horse trailer in tow, to bring home the new brown eyed boy in my life. His name is Diamond B Duke and he's a 13 year old bay Morgan gelding with a soft eye and a huge heart. I've been in constant contact with his owner, whom I was put in touch with last month after looking at a beautiful 10 year old black Morgan mare (whom I didn't take, see layout below). On the drive to the mountainsabove the community of Kamiah a friend told me about Duke, just in case the Morgan mare we were about to look at didn't work out for me. Well, she didn't and once home I got a query off to Duke's owner, introduced myself and one month later I'm one day closer to making my life long dream a reality. I may seem calm in my writing, but believe me I'm jumping for joy all over the place. Duke's owner, like many horse owners, screened me very carefully and throughout the process I could see he loves his horses and wants them to only go to a loving home. He closed one of his last messages to me by saying, "This makes my heart glad that he is going with you. It sounds like a perfect match."

Pictures, and Duke's layout, will follow, after I bring him home. :) I'm sooooooooooooo happppppyyyyyy. Last month, Sam purchased a beautiful horse trailer for my birthday present...the one I really wanted. He's such a great guy, and a wonderful person. I'm so lucky to have him in my life. :)

It's a 2006 Trails West 2 horse slant load with sealed tack room. Hard to believe it was used, the previous owner only used it three times before she realized she couldn't afford it.

Horse compartment.

And, if you love horses, you'll love watching this. Click on the link below.

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