Friday, June 24, 2011

a few little odds and ends

I'm home from my writing workshop and was of course drawn immediately, even before my tire tracks crossed the November Hill property line, back into the whirlwind of activity here on the hill.

First, Salina had a middle of the night accident of the very scary kind, scraping around and right up to the edge of her remaining eye. Both upper and lower lid were swollen, and I was frankly ready to call the vet. But it was evening, she was eating and drinking just fine, the scraped area had been cleaned and protected by a clean fly mask, and I decided to implement my eye routine and wait for morning.

One dose of banamine, then alternating doses of arnica and symphytum until bedtime, plus a thorough rinsing with an herbal eye rinse containing calendula, goldenseal, and eyebright.

Limited turn-out with her donkey boys in the grass paddock and barnyard.

By morning the swelling was almost completely gone and now we are very close to being back to normal. The scrape is scabbing and she has not missed a beat eating and drinking. She's still on limited turn-out just because I'm being extra careful. It's fine with her, but the donkeys are getting a bit stir crazy and both went on a little donkey adventure yesterday and today to break the monotony.

In other news, Dickens now has a battle wound - a split ear that has healed as fast as he got it - and the pony is walking around with his own personal flock of birds again. Everywhere he goes, they go.

We are in need of rain, on the one hand, but on the other, there is no grass to speak of and so these easy keepers are doing fine without the sugar.

My first sugar baby watermelon appeared to be ready yesterday. I picked it, chilled it, and then we cut into it. Alas! It was not yet ripe. But equines got a nice treat and even Keil Bay, who would not touch the melon, enjoyed smelling it as I doled it out to the rest of the herd.

We have made a dent in the fly overpopulation using plain, old-fashioned sticky strips. Between those catching the adults and the fly predators targeting the larva, I think we're getting back to a manageable number at this point.

One of the barn fans lost a blade, fortunately encased in the cage of the fan, but according to son, it sounded like machine-gun fire going off in the barn, and when he got out there all equines had abandoned the vicinity and were waiting for help turning the hideous noise off! He unplugged the one fan, replenished hay in mangers, and they went back in without fanfare. This is one reason I would never leave them closed in without one of us in earshot. And while I wish they didn't have to deal with a broken fan on a hot day, it did relieve me that they simply vacated the barn and stood calmly while someone fixed the situation. 

The summer solstice came and went as I sat by a rushing mountain stream working on Fiona and the Water Horse, book two in the Magical Pony School series. My hope is that the heat and dry weather so early in the season means we are in for an early and long-lasting autumn season.

Meanwhile we are considering doing a rain dance and finding ways to stay comfortable. After we make it past the fourth of July and the possibility of fireworks, it's one long slide toward my favorite season.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Glad to hear that Salina's scary ordeal is turning out well. I'd like to send you some of our rain, it's been raining almost the entire week here. Autumn is my favorite season too and I only wish it could be year long. Hang in there.

billie said...

Thanks, A. I wonder sometimes if we are on the brink of not being able to let Salina turn out with the herd. But 99.5% of the time it is okay and she prefers being with them. Usually if you give her the choice, she makes the right one for her.

Wish you could send rain too. It is happening all around us, daily, but seems to be missing us for the past 3 weeks or so. With the heat, that's just too long!

billie said...

Also meant to add - we got a new third fan and it is much smaller but still w/ sealed motor and rated for outdoor use. Will be much easier to get down to clean!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Glad Salina is okay, and the fan incident was mostly noisy. I'm paranoid about our fan, cleaning and checking compulsively ;)

We've had 1/4 inch of rain since the first of May. Same deal here - the clouds seem to split and go around. The solution will likely be tropical... I vote for a tropical storm coming in at the gulf, losing all winds and raining heavily for several days as it heads out over the state :)

Michelle said...

Tiny had a similar eye scare last week...thankfully hers resolved itself too, although I wish I had seen this post earlier and could have used your remedies. Have you ever thought about writing a book regarding holistic treatments specific to horses? You have a lot of great information that I haven't seen elsewhere, or at least not compiled into an easy to use format.

billie said...

C, I probably should be more paranoid about the fans! We purposely spent the extra money to buy the industrial ones rated for outdoor use in lots of dust and humidity. The motors are completely sealed and we have never had a problem. But this one had to have had a weakness in the blade that broke. It is actually the newest fan we had, only two years old.

I do have a rule that if no one is here, which is extremely rare anyway, the fans must be turned off. Combine that rule with the fact that the horses are rarely stalled and there is a lot of room for not stressing about the fans! But maybe if I did more frequent spot checking I would have noticed the blade... no way to know for sure now!

billie said...

Michelle, I'm happy to hear Tiny is okay!

Re: a book - I have thought about it. I would probably have to include a huge disclaimer, as I rely a lot on my intuitive sense and on what the horses "tell" me about what is going on with them when I use one of my "protocols."

I also have a pretty well-developed sense of when something is a definite "vet call" or not - and I trust that inner voice that tells me which to do.

Which is not to say I don't agonize sometimes as I make the decision - usually I know if I'm going to call the vet. It's when I'm not sure that it gets difficult - because I'm well aware that calling the vet isn't an "out" for me - it can mean additional stress for the horse, and about half the time can mean using treatments that themselves stress the horse's system and often have side effects. So I have to weight it all out, and generally pretty quickly. I'm not sure how to explain that part of my process clearly. It also involves reading and re-reading through notes I've made, doing additional research quickly, etc.

Interesting b/c I wanted for many years to be a vet, and what I do now for my own horses I know I would be doing for every horse I might see were I a veterinarian. I can't imagine the hours in the day would be enough to do that job the way I would have to do it to feel okay about my work.

So... long-winded response ... I'm thinking about it - but still sorting out how I would write it in such a way that it would actually be useful. Ultimately one has to take on a lot of responsibility to make treatment decisions. For a lot of people, it is not how they want to operate. I suspect you are one who would be fine with it!

Dawn said...

Geez. So glad her eye healed up. Scary stuff.

billie said...

Definitely scary!