Saturday, November 23, 2013


It has been over two weeks since Junior's colic surgery.  Kind of still feels like it's not real.  Also kinda feels entirely too real sometimes.  I've always been crazy about this horse, but I didn't know how much until there was a real possibility that I would lose him. But enough about that.  That's the "too real" part. 

We still have to watch for signs of hernia and infection and colic and my anxiety levels... ha ha! But he's been doing very very well.  

We brought him home on Tuesday 11/12. He spent the first few days on free-choice hay with daily walks.  We started him slowly back on grain last week and on Thursday 11/21 Junior got his staples out.

We will be hand-walking only until December 7th, when he can be turned out in a small paddock, but will still need to take it easy.  So far he's been quite mellow, but I'm sure as he continues to feel better he'll get tired of the stall rest and get crankier about it.  He did get all snorty-nerves over a pile of rails and cones in a freshly drug arena and I was worried he'd actually spook at it, but eventually he forgot it was scary and then nosed-over the cones like he was looking for treats.  

For now we enjoy grooming and walks in the arena...

and aisle visits with his best bro-friend....
and just being glad to be home.  :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

WTFriday - NFL Linebacker is Afraid of his Team's Mascot....

Apparently an Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Eric Berry is afraid of his team's mascot, an adorable paint mare named War Paint...It came to light when the cameras/mics caught him talking about it on the sidelines each time she came out to take her victory laps after each touchdown.

I always feel badly for people who are afraid of horses.  I mean, I'm afraid of SOME horses, the uneducated and disrespectful ones, but ALL horses, that makes me sad.

The video is a bit long, but if you get bored, skip to 5:00 and watch the rest.
Story, gifs, and VIDEO HERE.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bit Warmer Pattern!!!

Hello Dear Readers!

First, I'll tell you that Junior is doing VERY well after his colic surgery.  He's scheduled to come home Tuesday morning.  Thank you all for your encouragement and support!  It means so much that we have such great friends spread across the world!

Second, I'll tell you that my Bit Warmer Pattern & Tutorial is FINISHED and is up for sale on my Etsy store!  It's been SOOOO long in the making!  I really wanted to launch it sooner, but getting the details of the file just right took many trials and some wonderful volunteer readers. It only took a touch more work to finish and what else do you do while your horse is in the hospital?!?!

You may remember back in November of 2010 when I posted about a microwavable bit warmer that I'd created.  You can read about it HERE.

The original worked, but this new version is much nicer.  A bit more complicated, but a LOT more awesome! Full description is on Etsy.

The pattern is a digital download (.pdf file) and includes step-by-step photos and instructions, so even if you're a novice but know your way around a sewing machine, you can make this.

I'm considering making some Kits that will include a printed pattern and pre-cut fabrics, but I'm sure most people find selecting their fabrics and colors to be the most fun part!  I sure do!

So go check it out and get sewing!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Colic Surgery

The short version: Junior colicked on Wednesday afternoon and had surgery that night.  He's currently recovering well, but of course not out of the woods yet.

The whole story...

On Wednesday at about 2:20 I received a message from my BO that Junior appeared to be colicky.  He hadn't touched his afternoon grain - I knew that was bad.  I left work and headed out to the barn.  The nearest vet was already there. Junior looked bloated, but otherwise okay. The vet's diagnosis was impaction and he was concerned about the location of the large colon, but couldn't be sure what he was feeling in there.  Junior was tubed and oiled.

I was given the information that it was possible he could get through this on his own, but there was a chance he'd need surgery.  We could monitor him there at the barn and the vet would be back later that evening to check on him, but we are a 45 minute drive from the Ohio State Vet Hospital and we didn't want to risk him sliding downhill quickly and either not being able to get him on the trailer or not getting him to the hospital in time.  I totally trust the barn staff, but they were about to get busy with a full evening of lessons and I could only envision myself standing in his stall having a panic attack wondering if he was okay or not, trying to decide to take him or not. I don't know anything:  How would I know when it was too late?

For once, my Overanxious Horse Ownerness came in handy and I decided to play it safe and take him right away.   At 5:00pm Junior was on the trailer and we were headed into rush hour traffic to get to the clinic.  We arrived around 6 and they started their examination.  It was a blur with far too many big medical words for me to follow, but all his vitals were okay other than his elevated heart rate.  They re-tubed him, did ultrasound, another rectal... that poor boy had at least 4 peoples arms up his bum that day, took lots of blood, and they even drained some abdominal fluid which, thankfully, came out the "right" color and consistency, which is clear yellowish, btw. They could feel an impaction and were confirming that the colon was moving a bit.

They put him up in a stall and said he was stable and that it was possible that he'd recover without surgery.  They said it was a good thing we brought him in. The colic surgeon was in another colic surgery but as soon as he was finished he'd be in to examine Junior.

The BO and I headed back to the barn where Junior's Other People were having their weekly lesson. About a half hour after we got there (about an hour after we left the clinic), the vets called saying he'd gone downhill pretty quickly and they wanted to do surgery and gave me the quote.  I said do it.

The BO, the BM, Junior's Other People, and myself all headed back to the clinic.  We were able to watch a lot of the surgery but we didn't have a clear view of everything.  I could see his little white nose and the drapes covering his feet.  I did get brave enough to go look at his large colon out on the table.  It was absolutely surreal.

At midnight the vet came out and told us that everything looked really good.  He had both a small colon impaction and a large colon impaction but all the tissue looked healthy. It would be at least another two hours before he'd be up and moved back to a stall.  I looked around at the tired faces of Junior's Entourage and told everyone to go home.  I went home too.  They called at 2am to let me know he was in his stall and was alert and nickering. I tried to sleep. I cancelled my Thursday morning classes.

At 9am they called again to let me know everything was going well.  Due to the risk of salmonella with a small bowel impaction he was in an isolation unit to protect the other animals, so he's alone and not loving it.  I went to see him about 10:30am.  He nickered to me right away and put his head right up against me.  The vet re-explained everything and told me I could stay as long as I wanted.  It was hard to be there because I couldn't do anything to make him feel better.  He was wearing a muzzle which he wanted OFF but he had passed some manure so that was a very good sign.  He was terribly annoyed at life, but standing/pooping/annoyed is far better than the possible alternatives.

I got another update at 6pm today(Thursday).  They are VERY happy with his progress so far.  We're not out of danger, of course, but so far all is well.  They had taken him off the fluids, he had passed more manure, and they were giving him a hand full of hay every 2 hours.

I should get another update in the morning.  I'll do another post when there's more to tell.  Hoping he can come home Tuesday.

It all happened so quickly and I'm drained and really emotional. I've renamed my motion sickness bracelets (sea bands) the Emotion Sickness Bracelets as they went on when I got home from the clinic and didn't get to come off until about 6pm tonight.  I am SO thankful that I board in a barn where they pay close attention and therefore we were able to catch it so quickly.  I am thankful that for once, my Overanxious nature paid off in taking him to the hospital right away. I am thankful I didn't have to go alone. I am thankful that I have a job so that, even though it's going to be a tight budget for a good long time, I was able to give him this chance.  Obviously our goals for showing and cattle work and mounted archery are on hold indefinitely.  For now we will focus on getting him healthy.  The daily hand-walking for 6 weeks will be good for me, too.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday morning: "I do not like this muzzle of shame."

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Thank you all for your votes and shares on my recent design competition jacket!  I received a solid 2nd Place.  Unlike last year when I think I was beat out of 1st and 2nd place because teenage girls have too many facebook friends and not because of design merit, THIS year I feel very good about my placing.  The winner was clearly a high quality design.

SO my prize is $150 in Hobby Horse store credit.  Last year's prize money bought me the black pants and fabric for this year's SMS suit.  This year I'm going to wait and see what the 2014 line has for new colors. I'm pretty sure there's going to be grey as a base color, but odds are I'm going to stick to my black base for my own wardrobe for SO many reasons... I'll run into the same roadblocks I did when I was considering the Teal.  grey would require yet ANOTHER pair of boots, and I can't imagine wearing either my black or my bone hat with grey so I'd need to buy white (too hard to keep clean) or grey (can't find one I can afford) and either way that would require me to ALSO buy a double hat can.  I could spend the money for pants/boots/hat/carrier, OR I could take more lessons and stick with black.  I'm pretty sure you know what the better decision is. KISS, right?

I'm playing around with iron-on transfers for my Etsy store. I have to do more R&D, but what do you think?  What would you be most likely to buy?  A t-shirt?  Tank?  Hoodie?  Tote-bag?

Here's two quick samples I did:

Silver on Black

Multi on White

Friday, November 1, 2013

Can I Get a Tester?

Hi Friends!!!

It's FALL!!!  Three years ago I posted about a DIY reusable bit warmer that I had created.  It's been one of my most viewed (and pinned) posts. Even eHow basically stole my tutorial for their site, so the first two google search hits for "DIY Bit Warmer" lead to this blog.  

I've been spending the last year+ trying to improve the design and create a pattern to sell in my Etsy store.  Last fall I made many samples and the final outcome was barn-tested all last winte. I couldn't be more pleased! The resulting pattern/tutorial is pretty swank, and ready to launch, BUT I need a tester.  I need somebody with little to some sewing experience, preferably with a PC and average computer skills.

Here's the deal: I'm hoping to launch the pattern as a printable .pdf file, rather than a printed copy that I ship snail mail.  Faster and cheaper for the purchaser.  BUT the pattern needs to be printed the correct size - this is where I need a tester (or two). I need somebody to receive the pattern via email, then print it and see how successfully (or un-successfully) it comes out the right size. I need to make sure the file and printing instructions are clear enough for the average person.

I need this done ASAP, like THIS WEEKEND so I can launch next week!  What's in it for you?  Well, you'll get a free pattern for a sweet reusable and washable bit warmer that you will totally make and then wonder how you lived without it, and if that's not enticing enough, if you ACTUALLY MAKE the bit warmer - again, THIS WEEKEND and send me photos of it for use in the selling the pattern, I'll send you TWO decals of your choice from my store.  Anything you want.  I'll even do a silhouette of your horse's head with your horse's own markings.  Yup. Anything.

I know you all are up for this.  Who's in!?!?!