Friday, November 29, 2013

The 300th Post

I made it!

Barn Baby

Ready to visit Harley

I made it to Friday.
I made it to six months with my baby.
I made it to the barn before dark.
Or I didn't make it to the barn before dark, but I managed to give my horse his medicine(s), a carrot, and a kiss in thirty minutes flat.

I made it to the time of year when my horse needs his blanket.

I made it to work on time.
I made it to work before 7:30 am even though I got locked out of my car and my house after a really long streak of making it to work on time (sigh).
I made it to bed with almost everything that I needed done, completed.
I made it to the couch at the end of the day with my baby on my lap and my blog reading list waiting for me.
I made it to your blog and read your latest post and, if I had it together, I may have even left a comment!
I made it to 300 posts!

The horse blogging community is such a great place to be.  Without it, I would be a total and complete hermit, instead of just a quasi-hermit.  I have truly appreciated visiting your blogs and reading about your lives with horses as mine has undergone so many changes.  There have been many times when I have been so relieved to have started this blog a few years ago and to have met so many of you at this venue.  It has kept me from feeling totally isolated during some very isolating times, especially this summer.  My real barn time is limited these days and that used to also be my social outlet.  I do not choose many so that cut me back to almost nothing.  I am an introvert by nature, but I still enjoy some adult interaction and if horses are the backdrop, even better.  In that way, this blog and your blogs have been my lifesavers.

Thank you for stopping by, reading, and leaving a comment when your time allows it.  I know that we are all very busy and blogging can easily become just one more thing.  I want you to know that it is much more than that to me.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I do a lot of it these days. Nursing has become my life.

I nurse my baby around the clock and I can honestly say that it is wonderful. The first three days of breastfeeding were painful. I am not going to sugar-coat it.  And the next several weeks were tough because I had to pump and bottle feed after marathon nursing sessions to make sure that she was gaining weight.  Apparently early babies are not quite ready to nurse vigorously, but we stuck with it and now, six months in, it is so EASY.  Going back to work and pumping to provide milk for when we are apart is NOT easy, but I am very proud our accomplishment in making it this far. The achievement is shared with my Mom and husband. I could not have managed without them.  I wish new Moms starting out could get a glimpse of nursing half a year later, because so many struggle and stop.  Breastfeeding rates in this country are astounding low and there are many barriers to success.  I know, because I have been rallying against them from day one.  For example, why on Earth am I getting emails from formula companies?  I sent back a very STRONGLY worded reply when I saw that I was enrolled in some bogus program designed by the company. That is sabotage and not even my own inbox is safe from it.  On a separate note, whenever I see breast cancer awareness campaigns these days I feel like shouting, "Encourage breastfeeding!" out the car window.

Am I becoming a nut?

Maybe, but the truth is that breastfeeding is normal and should be the norm. I see this now and it frustrates me.  I like to think it is passion rather than craziness, and I believe that is also what is keeping me going with Harley.

I am nursing him a lot these days, too.  Daily medication is never easy with an animal.  I know this from having cared for my beloved Rascal cat years ago.  The commitment is even more taxing when your animal is not on your property and more difficult still when you have a baby in tow.

His weight looks ever better than here.  This picture is over a month old.

Rascal.  My smudge cat.

Harley is a very good patient.  I keep worrying that he is going start recenting me for jabbing him with needles and squirting syrup down his throat, but he is ever kind and willing.  I am determined, but utterly exhausted.  We just need to get past this coughing spell.

After years of lamenting about Harley's weight, I almost failed to mention how good he looks this fall. The haystretcher pellets are doing great things for him and his grain was successfully reduced. Score!  At least something is going well for him.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November Health Report

Two years ago this month, Harley started coughing.  He was checked out and received medication, but the coughing didn't go away.

We tested him for allergies and his bloodwork came back with a slew of offending allergens.  I opted for the immunotherapy route, because I wanted to treat the cause not just the symptoms.  There is no cure for allergies, but good management can go a long way.  I remember asking about how long a horse has to have immunotherapy shots.  The answer was three to five years.

At the time I thought, "yikes" that is a long time, but, I don't care, I love my horse and I am going to make the commitment.

Two years later, I am starting to wonder what that three to five year timeline meant...

Harley is coughing again.  I didn't even get him off the first round of meds and we are back at square one starting a new round.  The barn owner has had to text me several times this week, because he keeps having flare ups.  I have stopped putting on my riding pants when I go to the barn.  I don't have time to ride these days anyway, but it doesn't mean that I don't miss it terribly.

Three to five years.

If you read horse blogs long enough you know that sometimes things go bad and the owners write about it and we all cry and then thank our lucky stars that it isn't happening to us.  I do not want to be on the other side of that.  I am really worried though.

We are going to start him on a different medicine.  A bronchial dilator.  I think the immunotherapy is going to sit on the shelf for a while.  Did it help at all?

I just want my horse to feel better and now.

Love you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

In Awe of Equine Vets

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a veterinarian.  Not for large animals,  but for small.  Long story short,  I never even applied to vet school and chose a different path.  I had the grades, the gumption, and the love,  but I lost my passion for the job.  After shadowing a couple vets at a hospital,  I decided that I didn't want to put animals to sleep,  perform daily neuter and spay operations and to top it off,  my allergies were so horrendous that there may not be enough immunotherapy shots on the planet to have kept them at bay.

More than a decade after graduating college,  I am still happy with my decision and more convinced than ever that I would not have been happy as a vet.   Although I was not going for large animal medicine,  I see what my vet does now and I am consistently amazed.   How does she do it?   I am so thankful that there are individuals out there who can:

  • Work ten to twelve hour days regularly.
  • Explain patiently and with tact the nuances of an animal's medical condition.
  • Be available on weekends, evenings, holidays, and will leave special events to attend a call.
  • Eat on the run for every meal and every day (Seriously.  When does my vet eat?  She is constantly moving from call to call.).
  • Maintain a business from the field.
  • Shake off a nasty kick from a "patient" (I watched my vet get pinned and then kicked by a big pony; she barely took five before continuing with her work.).
  • Stay focused and calm in critical medical situations.
  • Say what needs to be said with an animal's best interest at heart.
  • Maintain composure when transitioning from a tragic call to a new patient and client.
  • Show empathy when a beloved animal is lost (My vet honestly and sincerely cried after putting one of our older horses to sleep.).
  • Give the injection that ends suffering.
I have always admired my vet, but I admire her even more now because I have a baby and am working so hard to juggle everything.  My vet is also a mother.  I just can't fathom how she does it.  She must be a super woman. 

Harley has been doing better with his coughing.  I was inspired to write this post, because no matter how late it is,  whenever I see or speak to my vet,  she is never on her last call of the day.   Equal praise goes to her faithful assistant.  The two of them are my heros.