Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Greetings All. Happy New Year

It's been awhile.  My good intentions to blog weekly seem to slide into every month then six months!  ACK!!!

I've been tasked with starting to blog again, so I'm going start 2016 with better intention (and a reminder on the phone!).  Soooo, early Happy 2016! Hope it's an excellent one for everyone!

Year in review

Horses
I was hoping to be down to 30 Minis before 2016, and fell short there.  We're at 35 as of today (technically 37 as we have two here, one boarding/one hasn't returned home yet).  So, not quite as low as we wanted, but getting there.

We're happy with the herd in general, just would love a few less to care for on daily basis.

Two mares that we had sold years ago came back home, under different circumstances.  Bonnie was voluntarily give up to Angels For Minis.  I was lucky to be able to track down the people that had bought her from me, so got her paperwork straightened out.


Surprise was fortunately removed from awful situation (thanks Nola!), and we were allowed to bring her back home.  Nola gave her quite a bit of TLC, so she was in great condition when we got her.


Ringo arguing with another stallion stuck his leg through a fence and came up lame.  He was 'rested' or as well as he can impersonate resting for a month and seems to be back to his normal self.  We were hoping to get him in training for driving in 2016, but that may be shelved for a few months more.  Now that we've sold all his foals, except Rocky, we're debating on breeding him in 2016.  I'd love another Blessings just A size.

Woody our chronic founder boy is doing okay.  He's not getting worse and actually doing well most days.  The last time he was doing this good he broke into the chicken pen and pigged out on their feed to the point he pretty much lay down for two days.  Silly boy.  He's his own worst enemy.  Comet has been keeping him company, she seems to randomly have issues with our lush pastures (which is a total joke for those that have been here!!!  How they founder this past year on the scrubby crap growing is beyond me!).
Woody at six months back in 1999. Just starting to show his appy-ness.  I thought I'd bought a black colt.....


It does look like a few of the mares are rounding up for April foals.  Remy, Diva, Baybee and Annie look like 100% chance of being pregnant.  Swan, Sarah and Dani don't.  As we sold three mares bred to Oz (Fallen Ash Scouts Oscar), we figure that will be the three pinto fillies and we'll get three-four black colts!  At least that seems to be the general rule here.



Ranch
We've torn up a few runs and fencing projects are underway which will likely take a few months (help is coming in April to kick it in to gear!).  The goal is to have it easier to get around here when people are out and also for us at feeding time.

This involves more work than my aching bones enjoy, so it's slow going.  But coming together.  (We were suppose to be buying fencing today, but cold and looks like rain so blogging!).

One of our cats, Vicki, took his trip over the Rainbow Bridge in March. He had the best personality and was such a cool, fun cat.  We still miss him.
Vickie, Auggie and Odie were the three our Aussie, Sabrina, brought home that we bottle raised back in 2002.


Thirteen years later, Odie and Auggie are still here, along with Howie (black and white) cruising along at 16ish. We do have a new throw-away cat someone dumped living in the hay barn. Cut muted grey with white feet (but I don't need another cat!!!).  So we've feeding it iin the hay barn, hoping it will enjoy life there and keep mice under control.  He/she has been over here a few times, but I really don't need another lifer pet in the house!  We lost another of the llamas in the fall too, leaving us with Premierah and Blanca. We're also down to three chickens - Superpeep will outlive them all - and the three peacocks - Fabio with his wives Chloe and Zoey.

Speaking of peacocks, we found our Chloe and Zoey are both excellent moms!  One of them (we can't honestly tell them apart) had two clutches of babies.  One we let her keep for about a week.  We're thinking if either have peachicks this year, we're going to let them raise them.  I'm very very cool with them having ZERO.  If I want to breed peacocks I'd rather have some of the exotic



The humans are doing well, getting older and feeling it at times, but doing well! Scott's off working, so busy busy boy.  Anya was home from college at Christmas.  She's turning out to be quite the young lady.  Very very proud of her.

Although she doesn't miss life on the farm, well she missed it here, not the feeding, and cleaning and feeding and cleaning and feeding and ......  She totally missed the zen of manure!

As for me.  I'm still plugging along.  Some days the coffee seems to kick in and it's a whirlwind of activity.  Others not so much!


Goals for 2016

  • Finally get the place set up so it's EASY to do things here.  
  • Lighten the load - declutter, donate, sell, whatever - less is more is the goal!
  • Handle all the horses regularly so they're ALL uber-friendly. (We have a few hold outs on that!)
  • Geld at least one or two of the boys - Leo and Rocky are on the list
  • Maybe find that homozygous bay pinto stallion I've been wanting for five or so years
  • See how this years foals are and maybe add another mare
  • Work on ground driving, obstacles, etc. for some 
  • Continue on the path towards better health (life changes are good!).
  • Blog and keep the website up at least bi-weekly
  • Pick up a few more website clients - need to do more design work!



That's the short list.  So what are your hot plans for 2016?








Monday, June 08, 2015

Angels for Minis - Miniature Horse Rescue

I'm no stranger to non-profit work, I managed one back in the 80's that did relief work in Somali. In 2003 I was a founding director of Chance's Miniature Horse Rescue with Kay Baxter, Nila Young, Virginia St. Pierre and Robin Cole.  

It's hard work, often unbearably hard,that can literally suck every minute out of your day.  It's also highly fulfilling and worthwhile work.  We're very fortunate here in Northern California to have a wonderful resource in Angels for Minis Rescue.


I first met Mary and some of the wonderful helpers of Angels at the unpleasantly-necessary but OMG-yeah-it's-finally-happened seizure and sale of the animals from that infamous piece of work in Southern Oregon in 2012.   Since then I hadn't had much contact with Angels (yes guilty of not helping like I should!), until a couple weeks ago, when a Facebook friend (Chanda Brandt - thank you btw!) posted a recent rescue from Horse Plus Humane Society.

I knew one day it would happen and one (or more) of my horses would end up in a rescue situation - heck I've taken back some really bad cases over the years (see photos below).  But they came back to ME, not a rescue!  I immediately shot off an email to Horse+ with the pertinent info and identification photos of Zorro, a horse I hadn't seen in seven+ years. (FYI - I keep files on every horse I've owned and all that I've bred if you have or get one!)

Horse+ called the next day and I spoke with them briefly as I was heading out of town. They told me Zorro and all the stallions would be gelded and there wouldn't be a problem finding him a new home, but if I wanted him to fill out an application and send a deposit of $50 against his $400 adoption fee.  I was a tad surprised at that, as I know there will be costs involved with gelding and rescues need every penny they can collect, but for a horse they'd had literally a matter of days?

(BTW - Zorro would make a great driving gelding - he's half-brother to Las Doradas Cajun Rhythm and has nice movement - besides being pretty!!!)


Wesco Farms LM Cajuns Masked Man aka Zorro

Anyway, Horse+ gave me Angels telephone number as they were the original contact and collected the horses from the owners.  I immediately called Mary and asked if she had Bonnie.  She confirmed she did and offered her to me for a reduced fee as I was her breeder.  I also provided information from the studbook to verify everything for all the horses that had been surrendered.  Emailed my application to Angels and made arrangements to get Bonnie.

Less than a week later, my good friend Jenn Davis  and I were motoring off to get Bonnie in my recently renovated van (thank you Holly Bradshaw!).  We arrived, saw Bonnie and met a couple other mares in with her, including her four year old daughter that took an immediate shine to Jenn!  So yes, we left with two not one!

Or I should say after a half hour of working, shoving, bribing, pushing, dragging we got Bonnie and her daughter in my van!  Thanks to Mary's helper or we might still be there!

Both of the horses did great on the ride home, well Noname (Jenn hasn't named her yet), did a bit of screaming and pawing, but otherwise it was uneventful.

The two have settled in in their private pen (quarantine and TLC time) next to the house.
Bonnie and Noname from my deck their first night.

Noname is coming around and is such a sweet, friendly mare - she's right there the moment you poke your head out the door and follows you around like a puppy!  Bonnie, is much as I remember her (like her dam) still sketchy about where she is and takes some warming up, but we'll convince her!  She has done some calling, so we're not sure if she's excited by the horses in general or recognizes some of her old buddies and her two half-sisters.

We did move them to a new pen yesterday (Noname is leaving this week), between our TLC group (aka founder or overweight!) with Ringo on the other side - he's thrilled to have mares next to him - and a Ringo proof fence works! He can talk to them, but can't manage a surprise Ringo baby next year!

This story ended well.  Not all do - see pics below.


I do encourage ANYONE that is facing difficulties with keeping their Minis to please contact Angels before your horses are in deplorable condition.  It's a kindness to have them go to a new home, rather than suffer from hunger, or need their hooves done or vet care, etc. like these - I got from someone that didn't think she was a "Bad Mommy"!!!  I mean literally.  She told me that on the phone hours after we'd brought these ones home.
Two Minis from a group I got back from a Hoarder.  Filly on left hadn't ever been trimmed at a year. 
The mare on right normally weighs about 300lbs.  See original article here.

Angels for Minis is there to help without judging and they're a wonderful resource for our community!  We all know - shit really does happen - often we don't have the control of where life goes.  No time or energy or money or health issues to deal with everything and life can easily slip into a permanent state of overwhelmed.  If that happens - give them a call - Angels is there to help before it gets really bad.

######

If you are looking to adopt a pet Mini or a companion, you may want to contact Angels - I'm perfectly happy selling you a horse btw! - but realize it is a volunteer run organization, so be patient.

Also understand these are rescues - often with health or personality issues, no papers, pedigrees or information, etc. I was lucky that someone spotted Zorro and the owners surrendered them all with their paperwork.  Most do not come with alot of information!  

The Minis may need to some work and are not child-friendly out the door.  They can become pocket-pets, but may need 1v1 TLC!  So if you are not experienced with unruly horses, spend the extra dollars to get a safe horse if you have children from a reputable breeder or find a trainer!

Also, if you do not own a Mini currently and do adopt - consider getting two.  Yes it costs more, but horses are herd animals and do better in a herd situation! I tell people that when they come to buy, but it always sounds like I'm trying to sell them another horse!



If you're unable to help foster, adopt, etc., and could use a tax deductible donation - Angels is a 501-c3 non-profit!  






Thursday, June 04, 2015

Upward Pateller Fixation

** reposting this great article for info purposes **

Upward Pateller Fixation
From Petcaretips.net
Reprinted from: The Atlanta Equine Clinic

Intermittent upward patellar fixation is a condition whereby the horse’s pelvic limb temporarily "locks" in extension. As a result, there is a delay in flexion of the limb. The delay in flexion can range from milli-seconds to over several minutes. A short delay in flexion may manifest only as a subtle pelvic limb asymmetry or lameness; severely affected horses (with a long delay in flexion) may be unable to flex the affected limb without assistance.

What is the "Patella"? The horse’s stifle joint is analogous to the human knee. Just like humans, horses have a patella, or "knee cap", which slides along the distal aspect of the femur (thigh bone) during flexion of the joint. The patella slides within a groove (called the trochlear groove) and serves as a fulcrum for the extensor muscles and their tendons as they course over the front of the stifle (or knee) joint. The patella is attached proximally to the quadriceps and biceps femoris muscles and distally to the tibia. In humans, the patella is attached to the tibia by one distal patellar ligament. Horses have 3 distal patellar ligaments: the medial patellar ligament, the middle patellar ligament, and the lateral patellar ligament.

How does the horse ‘lock’ the pelvic limb? Horses have the ability to lock (or fixate) the pelvic limb in extension. This is possible due to the unique anatomy associated with the horse’s stifle joint. The proximal aspect of the medial femoral trochlea is shaped similar to a hook or ski jump. By placing the space between the medial and middle patellar ligaments over this hook, horses can "lock" their pelvic limbs in extension. Once locked, minimal effort is required to maintain limb extension. A similar locking apparatus in the thoracic limbs allows horses to sleep while standing. Therefore, patellar fixation while standing is a normal process in the horse.


What is ‘intermittent upward patellar fixation’? Although patellar fixation is normal in the standing horse, it can produce pelvic limb dysfunction if it occurs during exercise. Inadvertent locking of the patella over the medial femoral trochlea prevents normal flexion of the affected limb(s). Consequently, pelvic limb asymmetry and lameness frequently become evident.

What causes upward patellar fixation? There are 3 primary causes of upward patellar fixation in the horse:
  • Lack of fitness: Lack of quadriceps and/or biceps femoris muscle tone results in an inability to quickly pull the patella up and off of the medial femoral trochlea.
  • Straight or upright pelvic limb conformation: This places the medial femoral trochlea further distad in closer proximity with the patella, facilitating patellar fixation.
  • Excessive distal patellar ligament length: This places the patella proximad in closer proximity with the medial femoral trochlea, where it can inadvertently "catch" or "lock"
  • It should be noted that the factors which cause upward patellar fixation are often interrelated. For example, an unfit horse will generally have increased laxity (and therefore increased length) of the distal patellar ligaments. Furthermore, if unfitness is secondary to another disease process (such as neurologic disease), intermittent upward fixation may also occur secondarily. Therefore, it is important to assess the horse as a whole prior to determining the cause for upward patellar fixation.
What are the clinical signs?

Horses with intermittent upward patellar fixation will exhibit clinical signs during their attempt to flex the pelvic limb from an extended position. In acute severe cases, the pelvic limb may stay locked in extension. The horse may not be able to flex the stifle and tarsus without assistance. In some instances, the condition may temporarily resolve only to recur after taking a few steps. These signs are quite obvious and diagnosis is relatively simple if the condition is severe. Most of the time, however, there is only a "catching" of the patella as it slides up and over the hook and the limb does not truly lock in extension. In this situation, there may only be a mild pelvic limb asymmetry or lameness. This type of lameness can be easily confused with other problems and therefore may present a dilemma in regard to accurate diagnosis.

Following are common clinical signs associated with mild to moderate forms of intermittent upward patellar fixation:

Non-weightbearing pelvic limb lameness
  1. This may be distinguished from tarsal (hock) soreness which is usually weightbearing in nature 
  2. The horse will frequently drag the toe of the affected limb(s) during exercise
Visible wearing of the dorsal aspect of the toe/shoe may be apparent.
  1. The foot of the affected limb(s) will have a low-arc flight pattern
  2. The horse will usually exhibit a shortened cranial phase to the stride
Resistance in the canter
  1. The horse will resist the canter, particularly if circled toward the more affected limb
  2. Resistance may be most noticeable during the transition between the trot and canter, when the horse is forced to extend the pelvic limb for a prolonged period
  3. Many horses will toss their head, rear, or stop when asked to canter. This may be due to their "anticipation" of impending upward patellar fixation.
  4. The horse would rather trot than canter (which is harder for the normal horse)
Consistent lead changes or cantering on the wrong lead
  1. The horse avoids prolonged pelvic limb extension with the affected limb. This is particularly apparent when cantering in a circle towards the affected limb.
  2. The canter is very rough or "bouncy"
  3. This occurs as a result of consistent delay in pelvic limb flexion from the extended position
Swelling, heat, and/or pain may be associated with one or both stifle joints
  1. Upward patellar fixation causes patellar instability which in turn may result in femoropatellar synovitis
The horse drags his hind toes during exercise
Resistance and/or difficulty when walking up and down hills, or when backing up
  1. These situations force the horse to extend the pelvic limb for a prolonged period
  2. Rather then fully extend the pelvic limb(s), the horse may "crouch" while walking
  3. Rather than flex the pelvic limb(s) normally, horses will often swing their limbs to the outside
  4. This may cause the lameness to be confused with neurologic disease (such as EPM or stringhalt)
Lameness is most severe when the horse is first taken out of the stall
  1. Many horses will improve as the workout progresses
Lameness becomes more obvious following an extended period of stall rest
  1. Loss of muscle and patellar ligament tone exacerbate the upward patellar fixation
  2. The horse does not improve (and may worsen) as a result of taking time off
The horse does not respond to anti-inflammatory (e.g. Phenylbutazone) therapy
  1. Intermittent upward patellar fixation is a mechanical problem and is not inflammatory-mediated
As with many cases of pelvic limb lameness, secondary abnormalities such as thoracolumbar ebaxial (back) and proximal thoracic suspensory ligament soreness are also present. These are generally detected during the passive lameness evaluation and are suggestive of chronic pelvic limb asymmetry/ lameness.

How is upward patellar fixation diagnosed?

Clinical signs are characteristic and, if the limb is locked in extension (i.e. the case is severe), diagnosis is simple. As previously mentioned, however, most cases are mild and diagnosis may be more difficult. A detailed history and careful clinical evaluation are essential parts of a proper workup. One helpful diagnostic aid involves placing the horse in one or more situations where prolonged pelvic limb extension is normally required. Such situations include walking up and down hills, the trot-to-canter transition, and backing up. When confronted with these situations, the affected horse will either 1) demonstrate upward patellar fixation by temporarily locking the pelvic limb, or 2) cheat by switching leads, swinging the limbs to the outside, avoiding pelvic limb extension, etc.
Many times, a slight hitch or "catch" is visible as the pelvic limb begins to flex from an extended position. This "catch" is most easily detected by visualizing the point of the hock as the horse picks the limb up to advance it cranially. Infrequently, an audible "snap" or popping sound is also evident during exercise (particularly walking).

In many instances, upward patellar fixation can be produced in affected horses by manually forcing the patella upward and outward. The examiner may actually be able to keep the pelvic limb locked in extension using minimal effort.

Since the problem is usually secondary to conformation and/or level of fitness, it is almost always bilateral. However, affected horses historically exhibit clinical signs in one pelvic limb. It is not until the more affected limb is successfully treated that a problem in the contralateral limb is manifested.


How is upward patellar fixation treated?

Currently, there are 5 forms of treatment for intermittent upward patellar fixation:
  1. Exercise: Lack of fitness results in decreased thigh muscle and patellar ligament tone. With decreased supporting muscle and ligament tone, it becomes easier for the patella to lock on the femur and harder for it to replace within the trochlear groove. In subtle cases of upward patellar fixation where conformation is relatively good, increased exercise alone may result in resolution of the problem.  We frequently ask the client to grade the level of their horse’s current level of fitness on a scale of 1 to 10 (1=very unfit; 10=extremely fit). We suggest achieving a fitness level of at least 7-8 (if possible) prior to pursuing other forms of treatment. This will rule out unfitness as a major contributor to the problem as well as increase the effect of other therapy.
  2. Corrective Shoeing: Since fixation of the patella occurs when the pelvic limb is extended, prolonging the extension phase of the stride can make "unlocking" more difficult. Alternatively, shortening the amount of time the pelvic limb spends in extension allows the horse to unlock his/her patella before the distal patellar ligaments become excessively tight. Since the conformation of the distal pelvic limb and/or the toe length is intimately related to pelvic limb breakover, the farrier can frequently alleviate the problem via corrective trimming/shoeing. Rolling and/or rockering the toe of the shoe, applying a full (egg-) bar shoe, and/or the use of wedged pads (when needed) are commonly used techniques. In many cases, we are able to help the pelvic limbs break over before intermittent upward patellar fixation occurs.
  3. Hormonal Therapy: The administration of estrogen has shown to prove benefical for some horses exhibiting intermittent upward patellar fixation. The presence of estrogen within the body of the horse may increase tension of various supporting ligaments. These include the collateral, suspensory, cruciate, and distal patellar ligaments. Increasing distal patellar ligament tension helps to relocate the patellar further distad, thereby making upward patellar fixation more difficult. This in turn may alleviate clinical signs.  It should be noted that estrogen is also a powerful behavior modificator in the horse. It is often used for stallions and geldings that are excessively difficult to handle, aggressive towards people or other horses, or overly anxious at shows and other events. Estrogen is very effective at reducing anxiety and resistance as well as improving overall behavior in these horses. Treatment usually consists of 2 injections of estrogen (25mg) in the muscle twice weekly for 4 consecutive weeks, then as needed thereafter. Administration of estrogen to mares usually causes them to exhibit clinical signs of estrus (heat). Since this change in behavior is generally undesirable, we do not recommend its use in mares.
  4.  Intraligamentous Infusion of Counterirritant: This form of therapy is usually referred to as "blistering". Blistering involves the inject of an irritative substance into soft tissue(s) in an attempt to create an inflammatory reaction. The irritative substance usually consists of iodine 2% in an almond oil base. This substance can elicit an inflammatory response for up to 30 days depending on the amount used and the location of injection. It is important to remember that fibrosis and scar tissue formation within normal soft tissues will occur as a result of severe inflammation. As you know, scar tissue does not function like normal soft tissue. Therefore, blistering in certain areas may inhibit proper function of associated soft tissue. It is for this reason that The Atlanta Equine Clinic typically does not institute blistering as typical form of treatment for soft tissue problems.  However, in the case of intermittent upward patellar fixation, we gain a biomechanical advantage by replacing normal tissue with scar tissue. The infusion of counterirritant within and around the medial and middle patellar ligaments results in the elicitation of an intense inflammatory reaction by the horse’s body. With inflammation, fibrosis and scarring of the patellar ligaments occur. During the scarring process, soft tissues will contract (shorten). As the patellar ligaments shorten, the patella is pulled up and over the hook of the medial femoral trochlea and into its normal position within the trochlear groove. At this point, it becomes more difficult for the horse to lock the patella and easier to flex the pelvic limb from an extended position. In our hands, this from of treatment has been extremely effective in a vast majority of cases involving intermittent upward patellar fixation.
  5. Medial Patellar Desmotomy: The medial patella ligament is one of the key structures (along with the patella and middle patellar ligament) that is required to lock the patella on the femur. Since the problem represents the horse’s inability to quickly disengage the patella from the medial femoral trochlea, surgical resection of the medial patellar ligament results in complete resolution of the problem. Once the medial patellar ligament is resected, upward patellar fixation becomes impossible and the clinical signs associated with this condition disappear. Consequently, this has become a very popular form of treatment for horses with intermittent upward patellar fixation.  It is extremely important to note, however, that the medial patellar ligament also performs another function: stabilization of the patella within the trochlear groove of the femur. Without tension from the medial patellar ligament, the patella becomes unstable within the femoropatellar joint. Femoropatellar synovitis and frequently osteoarthritis result. Since the stifle is high-motion in nature, chronic inflammation within this joint poses a significant concern in regard to future performance soundness. Persistent femoropatellar joint inflammation typically needs to be addressed on a continual basis and often requires considerable maintenance therapy. It is for this reason that The Atlanta Equine Clinic views this form of treatment inappropriate except for the most severe of cases that have proven refractory to the other forms of therapy.
Other resources:

The Horse Doctor: Stifle Issues
DVM 360: Inside the equine stifle
Burlingston Equine Vet Services: Stifle Disease

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Stages of Aging on Horseback....


Stage I:  Fall off pony. Bounce. Laugh. Climb back on. Repeat.

Stage 2:  Fall off horse. Run after horse, cussing. Climb back on by shimmying up horse’s neck. Ride until sundown.


Stage 3:  Fall off horse. Use sleeve of shirt to stanch bleeding. Have friend help you get back on horse. Take two Advil and apply ice packs when you get home. Ride next day.

State 4:  Fall off horse. Refuse advice to call ambulance; drive self to urgent care clinic. Entertain nursing staff with tales of previous daredevil stunts on horseback. Back to riding before cast comes off.


Stage 5:  Fall off horse. Temporarily forget name of horse and name of husband. Flirt shamelessly with paramedics when they arrive. Spend week in hospital while titanium pins are screwed in place. Start riding again before doctor gives official okay.

Stage 6: Fall off horse. Fail to see any humor when hunky paramedic says, “You again?” Gain firsthand knowledge of advances in medical technology thanks to stint in ICU. Convince self that permanent limp isn't that noticeable. Promise husband you’ll give up riding. One week later purchase older, slower, shorter horse.

Stage 7:  Slip off horse. Relieved when artificial joints and implanted medical devices seem unaffected. Tell husband that scrapes and bruises are due to gardening accident. Pretend you don’t see husband roll his eyes and mutter as he walks away. Give apple to horse.

Stage 8: Switch to Minis!!!   



Changed this just a little...... 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

MHU - My Horse University

Reposting this article for those that are interested in furthering their Equine Education - My Horse University - check it out!
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I'm a lifelong learner.  If you ever think you know it all, you definitely don't.  We all meet those types in daily life.

I was talking with a friend recently about the number of people that I've met with Minis that have that attitude.  Most are "lifers" with horses.  You know the - I've had horses since I can walk, blah blah blah.  Surprisingly three of "those" types have been the worst horses I've had to take back in various states of "OMG WTF did you do to these animals?"

So, anytime I think I know it all, I try to learn something from every encounter, person, event or class as I know I don't know it all!

I'm not a sucker for fads, but will listen and hopefully garner some information from anyone that is teaching me about a new product, idea or trying to sell me something.

That was a nice lead up to online education.  We're fortunate now to be able to access educational opportunities locally and across the world.  Here's one such place.....

My Horse University or MHU has some great educational webcasts that are FREE!  There is a great monthly newsletter you can sign up for as well and of course their educational courses..


Here are some of the upcoming FREE ones:

Upcoming Webcasts:

Health Concerns for the Overweight Horse  (A great one for Miniature Horse breeders and our "fluffy" Minis!)
Speaker: Dr. Colleen Brady| Purdue University
Date: December 17, 2013 | 7 PM ET
Summary: This webcast will discuss health concerns for both under and overweight horses, with an emphasis on the overweight horse. Following this session, horse owners will be able to assess if their horse is over or underweight, and have strategies to manage their overweight horses.

There are a number of archived ones as well (2007-2012):

Archived Webcasts

(To view an archived presentation click on the title to be directed to the webcast details page. Then click on "View Archived Recording" and a new window will open. Make sure to have the volume turned up on your computer.)

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Greetings and Happy Holidays 2013

Greetings all.


It's been a busy year - mostly real life things - so I haven't been keeping up on this blog at all and basically been slacking on the horses a bit too - not their care, but my activity in the Mini Community.

The horses are (knock on wood), all doing well and the herd has been stable at 28-30 Minis this year.  We did have one sale fall through, fortunately the mare never left here, so yeah for that! Still have a couple of "fun" buyers that I'm having to chase for money owed - surprise!

A few of our older ladies went off to a wonderful retirement home with Veneta at Galloping Angels Rescue/Sanctuary, where they're getting tons of TLC.  It was hard to see them go, but after Veneta's awesome job getting Woody's founder turned around last year, I have every faith she's giving them top quality care.

We really vacillated on breeding or not this year, but finally did.  We're at a comfortable number (I'd still like to get down around 20, but 30 is a huge improvement over the 55-80 we had for a number of years). So, we did end up breeding late, and gave Oz (Fallen Ash Scouts Oscar)  three weeks - make it or not - with the mares.  Once he got over his joy of having a whole bunch of mares all to himself, he seemed to settle into getting his job done.  So, we're crossing fingers we should have a great foal crop this coming Spring in mid to late May.


I was tickled to get Oz last fall, as I've been wanting to add the L&D Scout line to our herd, and had been looking at grand-daughters/grand-sons, so to get a son, was just wonderful.  Especially one with a National show record and his line already proving to be have what it takes in the show ring here as well as overseas.


We do know at least one mare was pregnant as Valentina (Wesco Farms AToy4Me Brazen Beauty) aborted last week at 4.5-5 months.  Of course a perfectly formed pinto filly....argh!!! Fortunately, Val is healthy and bounced back as expected.  Sad loss, but it goes with breeding.


On a happier note, we will be getting Boo (Wesco Farms Netherstorm) back from Redbud Mini Ranch in January. That should be exciting, as we've had a lack of "color" in the herd the past couple years, while I've been sorting out life.

Boo's baby pic

We do have a few for sale, but not really pushing them as the mares are one's I really don't want to sell, but do need to reduce the numbers down a few more. Decisions, decisions!  Post foaling, we'll definitely be making some decisions/corrections/adjustments to our breeding program as the goal is to have ALL the foals for sale, but I'm sure there will be one I'll want to keep!  So to keep the numbers under 30, if I keep one, somebody hits the sales list!

Other than that, I've been slowly (I mean slooooowwwly) going through all of our equine books, magazines and tack to put things up for sale.  The accumulation of "stuff" since 1999 definitely needs to be pared down!

I'm setting myself a goal of getting more involved with the Mini Community again and keeping the blog/website updated more frequently in 2014.  We may actually even show up at a show or two!!!!

Happy Holidays to everyone and best wishes for a totally fabulous, awesome 2014!










Monday, November 26, 2012

Two years later

Celena is one of the Minis we "got back" two years ago from a person that well, there are words for people like that, but I'll try to keep in PG.

Two years ago, Celena had disintegrated frogs, thrush so bad her hooves bled (you could smell it from 10 feet away) and close to a one on the Body Scale chart.  Celena before leaving our place had been weighed at UC Davis and came in at 350 lbs., on their scale.  Too see this was heartbreaking.




Fortunately she's a tough old Mini, and recovered completely from years of neglect.  Here she is today at age 20 enjoying her retirement with the other old ladies.



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Fall update

Greetings Miniature Horse lovers.

I'm off track again on keeping up on this blog, but life has been busy, so I do apologize.

Part of being busy has been successfully reducing our herd down from the 54 we started with in December 2011 to 33 as of today (November 7th).

We were a bit lower but unexpectedly added a new stallion (Fallen Ash Scouts Oscar "Oz")and two new mares (Half Measures B&W "Bea" and Half Measures Lord of the Dance "Dani" upping our pinto quotient by two black and one buckskin pinto!  We also hadn't anticipated but happily took back one mare because of the new owners real life issues.

Fallen Ash Scouts Oscar "Oz"

Half Measures B&W "Bea"

Half Measures Lord of the Dance "Dani"
Dani's a little thin in this pic but has put on weight here.


We did lose one mare to colic (April) which was traumatic in early July.  Two others, Mardi Gras and Lalique, went into a permanent retirement situation as they are ones we'd taken back from awful situations but neither has the temperament for pet homes.

We're keeping fingers and toes crossed that all the rest are in great places.  You know the kind of  homes we hope for - as in lifer, we love this Mini so much we won't dump it in a couple years and will give it great care -  type homes.  It has been hard letting some of them go (two of them are still here - Jamaica and Vanna - which is going to be hard to have them leave, but they're going to an awesome place in the next few months.

We didn't breed for 2014, but Ringo did have a night out, so we're wondering if we'll have some blue roan or black (the only colors he seems to sire) in April - hoping not, but the stud reports are being filed just in case.


Woody (he's the "W" in Wesco Farms)

Woody, one of our first Minis is off rehabbing with a kind friend, Veneta, as we've been fighting founder with him for two years, and she has a better setup to deal with him at this time and a farrier that is literally a phone call away.  Our farrier, Tomas, is great, but he lives at a distance so is only out about once a month.  We're hoping for Woody to turn around in the next couple months and be able to come home.  We'll just have to keep him off spring grass and monitor his time out. The last report from Veneta's farrier was he was doing well and wouldn't need to be trimmed for five weeks.  We were assuming 2-3 weeks, so great news.

We've also (as I think I'm nuts at times!) added a couple of new varieties of chickens and a flock (only six) of guineas to the mix here.  The new chickens are beatiful and the guineas well - they're guineas!  Chicken Little should have been called Guinea Little - they constantly think the sky is falling!



That's all for this update, I'll try to be more regular about posting, but life is so busy as of late there just isn't enough time!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Update midyear 2012

We're on the downward side of 2012, the economy sucks, hay prices are high ($14 a bale here), drought is predicting higher food prices and we have a presidential election coming up with two candidates that, well I wish there was a third.

But other than that life is good.  It could be better, but it could be a hell of a lot worse!

We've been fortunate this year, as we've exceeded our goals on reducing our herd number.  We started 2012 with 52 Minis and are currently at 30. That definitely was more leaving to new homes than I'd hoped for, so yeah!  We still have a few left on the sales list - three of the nicest colts/junior stallions we've produced as well as a couple of under 28" mares and one retiree.  There are a couple other mares I'm considering selling, but haven't made it up for sale yet!

I'm very excited to see what some of the horses that went to other breeders produce in 2013 and on, plus it's great to have new (and old) friends planning breeding and training with horses that we've raised.  Always nice to think you're going in the right direction!

So where does that leave us?

We have six or so that I class as retired or pets; three breeding stallions: Topper, Jelly and Ringo; and fifteen breeding age mares: Una, Jiji, Valentina, Sarah, Dresden, Annie, Remy, Comet, Patsy, Swan, Baybee, Savvy, Blessings and Rose.

It really is nice to be in the ballpark of what I'd planned to have as our total Mini herd back in 1999. Too bad it only took 12 1/2 years to get there!  What a roller coaster of learning it's been. You sometimes wish you could have a do-over, but I'm not sure what I'd change. I figure for each negative there have been some immense positives. Horses I wouldn't have, friends I never would have met, etc.

What's in store now?

One getting caught up on all the outstanding registration paperwork before the end of the year.

Two, as we chose to NOT breed in 2012 as we were reducing the herd numbers (although Ringo did jump the fence one day, so we have have some Ringo 'gifts' in April 2013), we are considering breeding in 2013. Which ones and how many will really be determined by the economy more than anything.  I tend to see-saw between breeding the proven mares and breeding the ones I've never bred (some are past five years old now).

Three, my never-ending search for the perfect stallion. I really don't see me getting another stallion until 2014, but I'm keeping my eye out.  I will eventually find that under 31" bay or black homozygous pinto, proven, aged 3-11, double registered, with a show record stallion one day!  Yeah, I know not sure 'exactly' what I want right? lol  That and hopefully adding another mare or two over the next year or so.

Four, rejoicing in a lower feed/farrier bill for the remainder of the year.  It does look a bit empty out here, considering in 2010 I had close to 70 Minis.  That is another consideration come Spring 63 acres of spring growth grass and less than 30 Minis - founder may be a concern for the first time. So, I'm thinking on how best to rotate horses around to avoid that.


Just because - here's a couple of photos.

Kind of hard to see, but that's Noomi and Cleo (Great Pyreness) watching the road. From this hill they can see out to our road and behind them down to house and up/down to where the horses are.  They so darn smart!



Binks - unbrushed/ungroomed waiting for his farrier trim.  Excuse the crap in the background, we were doing some down/dirty registration pics and of course he looked pretty nice.  If we'd had him 'posed' somewhere scenic, I wouldn't have got two that were decent!

Binks (Wesco Farms Best Guesstimate FF)

You can see the mare/gelding herd up on the hill watching and waiting for breakfast.

Baby Tox, being tormented by the humans.  His first trim (we missed his original appointment) and halter trauma.  He was 100% sure I was going to eat him, but what a fiesty little guy, he really thinks he's all that and a bag of chips!
Tox (Wesco Farms DN Gamebreaker) we 'thought' was black at birth but he's turning into a gorgeous dark bay.  He has the 'tude and movement to be a wonderful show prospect.  Now to get some decent photos of him.






Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another day, another farrier visit.

Tomas was out early today, but it was a 'mare' day which for some reason takes a lot longer than the days we have the boys trimmed.  I tell people when they come to buy their first Mini, get a gelding and take the hormones out of the equation.  I mean seriously mares have so much more good/bad/okay days - I'd take a gelding as a pet/companion/only Mini any day.

Most were fairly cooperative though, I was glad it wasn't windy that seems to make them more 'in a mood'.  We finally caught Comet, who was very overdue, and she got trimmed - big yeah!  She's easy to handle once you catch her, it's the catching part.  Celena one of our rescues from 2010, was showing she's fit as a fiddle, by making sure we got a workout catching her.  Twenty years young and she did quite a few laps around the paddock before she decided (I do say she!), had ran enough and allowed herself to be caught.

Bad news, well not horrid, but not great - Woody's still in a very sore recovering from founder state. This is the second year he's having issues.  UCD isn't really sure what's going on, and just call him a management issue.  He's not overweight, gets plenty of exercise, but has a bad metabolic reaction to spring grass.  Just weird, as he's been on pasture his whole life, but at the glorious age of 13, he's decided to have hoof issues.  So next year he's definitely on dry lot starting in April to avoid this.  We put him back out with the main herd, as the exercise should do him good, and everything is bone dry out there, so grass to eat but it's not fresh and pretty like it was two months ago.


Tox (Wesco Farms DN Gamebreaker), our only foal for the year is doing great.  We threw Rose in to keep him company (she's two) as she loves the babies, so they're fast friends and he spends more time playing with her than following his mom around.  I must say for a solid black colt he's darn nice.  I was hoping he'd go grey (I know who wishes for a grey horse - but I like them!), photo-ing a black horse is definitely an art form.  I get black featureless blob pics of him sadly.

That cross was definitely one I would repeat (Buckeye WCF Dance All Night x WCR Sheza Savoire Affaire) awesome bloodlines and it shows!


We decided to NOT breed in 2012 as I'm trying to reduce the herd number and I'd like to see the Mini Horse prices bump up a bit.  I shouldn't have said that in Ringo's hearing.  The brat decided to jump the fence and was out all night with the mares.  A long stallion report will be sent to AMHA/AMHR and we're crossing fingers/toes that he didn't get much action in the 10 hours he was out.  So he's in a well fenced (high an strong) pen for the summer.  Love his babies, but I'd like to pick the when, where and who for his little 'blessings'.  So, we may have a couple of foals next year - late April/early May.  He's sired 50% blue roan/ 50% black so, we'll see!


Horse sales have been good, not great, but steady. We've placed twelve Minis this year in some really nice homes and they all seem to be well loved - so yeah there!   There are still 16+ on the sales list, a few that are going to be extremely tough to see leave.  But I need to have less to manage by next year, so sticking to the list as painful as it may be!