Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fly-By for Topline!

Hey! Salem & I are still alive and well, just ridiculously busy (well, I'm busy; Salem spends his days eating and strolling and converting oxygen to carbon dioxide).


I just wanted to do a quick post for those of you who don't read We Are Flying Solo (which I'm sure is none of you!) and therefore didn't see her review post of my new side business, Topline Leather. My Etsy shop is officially open, the Facebook page is picking up steam, and I've got a HUGE contest coming up soon!


Contest details will be posted on the Facebook page in the next few days, and you will definitely not want to miss this one, so "like" Topline and stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Cougars/Velociraptors/Chupacabras Are Back


I honestly don't know what is going on with my horse. It's 2:15 am and I just got back from the barn. Again, I arrived at the barn to find that Salem hadn't eaten his grain. But this time, he was pacing his paddock and looking worried, just like the freak-out episode that he had back in September.

A few weeks ago, when he had the infection, things were totally different. Thankfully, that was just a minor infection that he bounced back from in a few days. And I am thankful that my BO has actually taken my concerns about the rats seriously and things are greatly improved. I haven't seen a rat in weeks. So I don't think this episode has any similarities/causes as that incidence. That time, my guess is that he had some sort of infection/bug that was caused by the rat poop in his grain bin.

But this time, it has all the hallmarks of his mystery freak-out in September. I have no idea what caused it that time and I have as little clue as to what caused this one either. It's something in the nursery/grove nextdoor, as far as I can tell. But our last farm was also bordered by a  nursery/grove and he was totally fine there. I've thought about moving him, but I have no idea where we would go.

If Salem isn't better by tomorrow, I'll be calling Dr. F again and having him give Salem another shot of reserpine. I hate to drug him, but I have to do what I can in order to make my horse comfortable.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sneak Peek

Last month, I posted one (fairly terrible) picture to preview the side-project I've been working on. Last week, I was lucky enough to snap some nicer pics on a much better, more willing model (no offense to my beloved Saley-boo, but he doesn't exactly work the camera like the horsey equivalent of Cindy Crawford!). Here are a few to give you a taste:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Warning: Don't Try This @ Home!

Lately, I have been having many wildlife encounters. Just a few weeks ago, I was crouched on my screened-in porch wearing my giant blue leather "falconry" gloves, clutching a phone in one ear, holding an economy-sized Splenda box in the other, staring intently at a tiny little bird that my cat had had in her mouth for about 6 seconds, and whispering to my friend, "Should I poke it? Do you think it's okay? Do you think it needs to go to a wildlife sanctuary? Do I put it in the box? Will it try to peck my eyes out? Should I throw some bird seed at it?"

And then earlier tonight, I found this guy on the ledge of Salem's stall window:


Is it terrible that I think he would make a super-cute purse?

Now, I was about 97% sure that it was just a harmless cornsnake. But I knew that Salem would probably wig out whether it was a 12-foot water moccasin or a baby garden snake. So of course, I did what any mostly-sane semi-sane horse owner would do: I boldly charged into the stall wielding a riding crop and the protective fury of a mama cougar defending her young.

Oh, yes I did just yell "Git!" to a snake. At that point, he looked like he was going to slither into the section between the boards (the stable has double walls and he was going in between them), so I had to keep poking him with the crop and hoping he would vamoose.


I swear, these horses have NO idea the lengths we dedicated horse owners go to in order to ensure their health, safety, comfort, peace of mind, etc.--NO.IDEA.

*Lecture about why you should not poke wildlife with riding crops coming from eventer79 in 5...4...3...2...1...  (Lol, sorry--couldn't resist ;-D)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My TB Is Morphing into An Appy!

Well. Not quite. But Salem is developing some chrome/bling besides his star.

Yes, it is possible, I promise; and I'm not just talking about some little white hairs from a scratch or other injury. Nope--I'm talking about Birdcatcher spots.

Willspynow, a 1991 Thoroughbred mare

The above pic is an extreme example of Birdcatcher spots; most that I've seen are much more subtle. So, what exactly are these little white flecks? According to, there is a group of markings (Chubari spots, Bend Or spots, Manchado, and Birdcatcher spots) and "these odd patterns of dark and light spots do occur in other breeds, but they seem to be particularly prolific in the Thoroughbred, which is, of course, why most of them are named after TBs. The genes responsible for these spots have not yet been identified, so not a great deal is known about them. They are, however, entirely separate from the genes responsible for Appaloosa coloration." Birdcatcher spots, named for the Irish-born Thoroughbred stallion Birdcatcher (1833), are "patterns of small white spots on a dark coat. Usually, these spots appear once a horse has reached maturity and eventually disappear. Sometimes, however, they do seem to be permanent." These are NOT white hairs that develop due to a cut/scrape/injury.

I've seen these same markings on a Quarter Horse and a warmblood, although not until I moved to Florida (I wonder if sunlight has anything to do with it?). And I think they're simply adorable. :-)

Salem only has a few so far. But I'm kinda hoping he'll develop more. It would be WAY cool if he was as speckled as Willspynow, but of course the odds of that happening are slim to none. Still, the six little flecks that he has are quite cute--kind of like reverse freckles.

Left Eye:

Left Side of Neck:

Left Haunch:

Right Side of Neck:

Close-up of RSoN spot #1:

Close-up of RSoN spot #2:

Right Haunch:

This one looks near-invisible here, but it's much more clear in person

Anyone else have a horse with Birdcactcher spots or other unusual markings?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back to (Quasi-) Normal

Since Salem has been back to his usual goofball self since last Friday, I decided it was high time to let him go back to his daily pasture romps with his BFF Cloud. These two are hilarious--Cloud is somewhere between 25 and 30, but he's still pretty feisty and full of spit and vinegar, and he and Salem get along like ebony and ivory. They have a weird May-December sado-masochistic semi-homo-erotic relationship, but it works for them. :-)

They wander all over the pasture, alternating grazing with a little bit of playing/running/bucking/biting. I've never seen Salem like any horse as much as he likes Cloud. Granted, he does also really like biting him, but the good thing is that Cloud seems to like it. :-) Like I said, they're a little bit sado-masochistic and Salem is definitely the alpha, but they're a very good match.

I also did a really quick impromptu photo shoot with Salem for a little side project that I've been working on lately. Unfortunately, Salem is no model. No matter how many times I told him to "Smize" a la Tyra Banks, most of my pics ended up like this:

Yeah. Not exactly great. Luckily, this was just a little unofficial thing, so hopefully next time will be better! Oh, well. My horse is healthy and happy and I am thanking my lucky stars for that!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Out of The Woods

So thankful that this boy is still just fine
*knocks on wood* Well, I don't have any exciting updates yet, but fortunately I have a good update after we had a minor scare last week.
Wednesday evening, I got to the barn and Salem was out in the pasture with his BFF Cloud. As I walked past his stall, I noticed that his evening grain was still in his feed bin, but I figured he had just been fed and then turned out before he could finish. I shot a text to the caretaker. She answered, "I gave them an hour after feeding before I put them in the pasture." Uh-oh. When it comes to grain, Salem is pretty much the Tasmanian Devil and tears through his food with much gusto. Something was definitely not right. 
In the pasture, he seemed okay but not great--he was a little lethargic and he wouldn't eat his apple that he usually gobbles greedily. Red flag #2, so I took him in and looked him over. His gums looked good, gut sounds were strong, and his temp was normal (after I had a total blonde moment and thought the thermometer was reading 110.5, which I thankfully reasoned was just my thermometer malfunctioning and started ranting about what a cheap POS it was until I realized it was actually reading 101.5). So, I took a peek in his paddock and there were only three piles of manure out there instead of his usual 10-ish. Red flag #3.
I was about to call the vet, but after our last false alarm I decided to wait it out a bit and see what we had. I knew immediately that it wasn't a mystery freak-out like last time because Salem was perfectly calm and he had obviously not been pacing. A closer inspection of his grain revealed rat poop, which made me livid, as I have been complaining up and down about the rat problem and the BO is not solving it. Of course, I started worrying about lepto. And EHV-1 (I've been up to Wellington recently and there were confirmed cases there). The caretaker also told me that Salem had barely drank all day, and he's usually a pretty healthy drinker. On the outside I was calm but internally I was a typhoon.
Since Salem didn't seem to be in any distress, I decided to just give him some banamine and take him out for some hand-grazing and see how he did.
I love how these little green seed things get stuck on his muzzle. :-)
After several hours of steady grazing, no distress, and one normal-looking manure pile, I decided that Salem didn't need an emergency vet visit. I stayed until 2 am to make sure he was okay, and when I left him he was eating his nightly mash.

His goofy personality was still perfectly intact, lol.
(And, yes, he was wearing a turnout sheet and fly boots/mask, something he has been doing on
and off since October--we've had WAY more cold weather than usual, but
unfortunately the flies have never abated. Yuck!)
Late the next morning, I got a text that Salem hadn't finished his mash from the night before, and he had taken a really long time to eat his breakfast. I decided to swing by my vet's office to pick up more banamine, see if Salem could be squeezed into the schedule, and pre-pay a bit so I could stay ahead (we all know vet bills are never cheap, although thankfully mine is quite reasonable).
Thank goodness for my vet--soon after I got to the barn, I noticed that Salem hadn't touched his afternoon grain, and I was just getting worried when he called and said he was coming right over (I LOVE that he lives 5 minutes from Salem's farm!). Dr. F looked Salem over and said his TPR were normal, he had excellent gut sounds, there was nothing going in his mouth, and basically he looked really good. He said that he's seen quite a few colics lately from the weird weather, but Salem didn't appear to be colicky at all, so he gave me a week's worth of GastroGard to see if that would help anything. He said he could pull blood but didn't expect it to show anything; I decided to have him pull it just in case.
Goodbye, Money

 On Friday morning, Dr. F called and told me that, surprisingly, Salem's white blood cell count was a bit low. He said Salem most likely had some sort of infection (viral, probably), but since he didn't have a fever it was most likely minor and "we [could] just coast on this one." Thank goodness! :-) He said I should keep a close eye on Salem, have him take it easy (which is not to worry, as that is pretty much what he *always* does), and let him know if Salem wasn't getting better.
That evening, I was quite pleased to see that Salem's feed bin was empty and he had nine piles of manure in his paddock. I wanted to make sure he was okay, so I dumped another quart of grain in his bin to see what he would do. And thankfully:
I've never been so happy to see him being such a pig! He looks like he might have dropped a pound or two, but luckily he has plenty to spare. And *fingers crossed* he has been back to his usual self all weekend.
So, I think it's safe to say that my boy is just fine. Although he gave me a little bit of a scare, in the grand scheme of things it's pretty inconsequential. After watching my last horse drop dead from colic, I'm understandably a bit on edge every time there seems to be something a little off with Salem, but he's luckily still healthy as a horse.