Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Birthday wish!

On April 10, 2012, I made the trek to Fallon, NV, to bring two horses to the safety of their new homes.   It's a 10 hour trip if you have no traffic or problems and can be tiring when doing it by yourself, as I was.  The weather forecast called for rain storms on the 11th so planning around that was important too.   The trip up took me on the east side of the Sierra's making an easternly turn at Mono Lake and then long stretches in the high desert.

Looking back at Mono Lake with the Sierra's in the background.
From here the trip is pretty boring and if you are tired, it's hard to not get sleepy.  I reached Fallon and settled into my room for the evening, too tired to even go get something to eat.  A good nights sleep and I would be find for the trip home.   Hoping that the weather wasn't too bad and I would make it without too many delays.

First thing in the morning on the 11th,  I got a call from the man that helps load the horses asking if I had room for a foal that was brought in with a trailer load of grown horses yesterday.  A BABY! Of course I would make room.  Yes, let's load her too.  He brings the horses in his trailer from the feedlot to the auction lot where we can load them easily and by the time we both arrived it was raining, looks like I wasn't going to be able to avoid bad weather.

It's pouring rain as we load the horses.
While many trailers have dividers installed to separate horses, our does not.  But it happens that on this trip, I had brought a pipe panel that could be used to divide horses if needed.  Having the pipe panel allowed me to load this baby without having to worry about her getting hurt in the trailer with two older horses that she didn't know.  Also she could be loose and move around on the long trip.  She would need that since she had spent the day before on a trailer too. From how far away, I did not know.

Baby on the right, gray pregnant mare next to her and large gelding  on the left.
Loaded safely, I took a few pictures on my phone so I could text them to each owner letting them know their horses were on their way home.  A hot road-cup of coffee waiting for me in the center counsel and I was ready to hit the road in the pouring rain.  I was concerned I may not be able to go back over the Sierra's because it might be snowing if the temperature is still too cold by the time I get there.  Guess we will see in a few hours.

Once I got out of Fallon and on the road, the rain drops ended and the sun began to shine.  By the time I reached Hawthorne, a small military town in the middle of nowhere and the turn off to take one of two routes back into California, the temperature was in the low 40's so I thought I wouldn't run into snow along the Sierras and going that way saves at least 30 minutes to the drive.  Another cup of coffee and back on the road.

It's an uphill climb from there to the turn off at Mono Lake and as we climbed the temperature dropped and between Mono Lake and Mammoth Mountain it was snowing from the high clouds next to the mountain yet the sun was out where I was driving.  I couldn't see the tops of the Sierra's and the sun was hitting the snow as it was falling making it glisten in prism colored reflections.  I was glad I had chosen this route because it was beautiful.  By the time I reached Bishop, the snow had stopped and the skies showed no sign of rain.

A brief stop to see Debra Hawk and Troy Kelly, the coordinators of the Fallon horse rescues that I have been working with over the last many months and now friends with the same calling to help horses,  they loaded me up with scones and a deli sandwich from the little bakery in town and another fresh and pipping hot cup of coffee and I was on the road again.

I know this stretch of road between Bishop and Ramona after many trips over the last few years for work and now hauling horses so it's easy to settle in for the drive and just cruise down the road.  Perfect opportunity for me to call my best friend and wish her happy birthday.  Hands free of course!

We got to chat for a while and catch up on a few things and she told me all the wonderful things she had gotten for her birthday.   Flowers, cards, cup cakes at work, well wishes from friends and all she gets from me is a phone call from the road.   Laughing, I told her I would get her a horse for her birthday.  While she is one of my biggest supporters, she is not a horse person so that makes the thought rather funny, especially since she has a small back yard with a pool in it.

As I get closer to the city I am ahead of schedule and realize that I can deliver each horse to their owner rather than go to one location and the owners transport from there.  While we put the baby on board and her 'bail' was graciously paid by Lisa Bone, she still had no definite place to go yet.  Of course had I told Debra and Lisa that she could come home with us if nothing else.  So when I reached San Diego county and had still heard nothing, I called Lary and asked him to make a stall for her in our quarantine area because we were adding one more to the group.

Baby on Board.
After delivering the pregnant mare and gelding each to their new homes, I pulled into our place about 7pm and there was still some remnants of daylight left.  One of the things that we noticed about this filly is that her left eye was two colors, brown with blue on the top. Unusual, but not totally uncommon and since it was still daylight it would give me a better chance to get a look at her eye and her right hind leg was also swollen when she was put on the trailer.  Having the pipe panel divider in the trailer made it much easier to look at both because she was confined to a smaller space.  It also allowed us to put a halter on her before letter her loose making it easier to catch her in her stall.

A close examination of the eye showed that it wasn't two colored at all, she had a corneal ulcer - an infection in her eye.  Because of the ulcer, she couldn't see well out of the eye and was afraid of movements on that side so we had to be very slow and gentle putting the halter on while trying not to scare her.  A sore leg and an ulcer on her eye.  Well, she came to the right place.  It was just last fall that SHALA came to us underweight, with parasites, cuts, a tooth that needed to be extracted and corneal ulcers in BOTH eyes.   Her recovery took monthss but she is in excellent health and a happy horse now.

The blueish white area is the infection (corneal ulcer).
Our hearts went out to this frightened little girl and while calmly stroking her to help her relax as we got the halter on her and I told her, "don't worry, you have ended up in the perfect place to fix your eye, after SHALA, eyes R us!".

She unloaded from the trailer into her new stall and settled in nicely.  She was exhausted after the long day in the trailer and who knows where she came from the day before.  Based on her teeth, I could see she was at least six months old and underweight in addition to the swollen leg and ulcerated eye.  Well she can rest and relax now.  She doesn't need to go anywhere until she's fully healed.

It's always a challenge to name the horses.  Some names come quickly because of the color, looks or personality, sometimes other people come up with the perfect name, sometimes it takes weeks to find the right name.  Thinking about the serendipitous nature of her getting added to the trailer load at the last minute and having no place else to go so she came home with us which is exactly where she needed to be to have her eye treated immediately, I can only think that God definitely had his hand in this one.  

She's so pretty, sweet and good natured and she deserves a special name.  Well I did promise my best friend I would get her a horse for her birthday and I can think of no better birthday present that naming this little bundle of joy who miraculously found her way on our trailer after my best friend.   So meet Miya.

Feedlot photo of filly #14 4-10-12 now named Miya.

Happy Birthday!

Home after a long haul. 2 days, 1100 miles, from sea level to 8,000 ft elevation, sun, wind, rain & snow. Two families with two new horses (and one on the way) and a four legged bundle that found her way in our trailer at the last minute and is now in the front stall next to Little Miss (Ari). Four lives saved and I am blessed to have played a small part in it all. LIFE is SO good!

Friday, April 6, 2012

They ARE just like dogs.......

I know you are used to me writing about horses as though that is all that keeps us busy here at the ranch and while they do take up much of our time, we are in the country and have a small assortment of animals.  I am not even sure if I have mentioned George, Gracie and Griffin before.

Here, I just ran outside and took a picture:

It's a beautiful morning and you can see the sun coming up through the trees in the back.  There is frost on the roof.  It's APRIL, why are we still having frost on the roof?   And you think San Diego as all warm and!

Now where was I?  We have had these three for a couple years now.   George and Gracie came to us from a rescue in Poway, CA.  They had been bottle raised together and though we got Gracie first, we went and got George after the first week so they could be together.   A few months later a friend of ours named Mark, showed up with a horse trailer and a sheep that needed a home because his owner was losing her house.  Mark told us he was already named Griffin, we didn't really believe him about the name until on day the prior owner called me and asked how Griffin was doing.

Goats and sheep are pretty easy to care for, just make sure you feed and water and check their hooves for trimming a couple times a year.  Griffin needs to be sheared once or twice too.  But other than that, easy keepers.

With the warm, cold, wet, dry winter and spring we have been having, the grass in the back yard has grown, but we haven't really wanted to get back there and mow it.   The side yard where these three clowns have been is nicely groomed like a golf course.

In addition to our 3G's, and don't get any ideas that we need 4G's like Verizon, we have 3 chihuahua's and a cattle dog who delight in barking at the 3G's through the fence from time to time.  Now they have all resided next to each other for two years and realizing this we thought, well the grass is really high in the back yard (you can't see the chihuahua's out there when they are running around), maybe we should let our weed wackers in the back yard to graze it down.  Worth a try!

Our biggest worry was what our cattle dog was going to do with them, but we found out quickly that when it came to herding, Gracie won hooves down.  It only took Tanqueray a few times to get head-butted by Gracie before she decided it wasn't worth the effort to contest who was in charge.  That settled, they all seem to be doing just fine in the back yard together.   Two goats, one sheep, 3 chihuahua's and a cattle dog.

I have to admit it is fun to see them walk up to the deck door while we are watching tv and quizzically look at us and wonder what we are doing or coming bouncing up to say "hi", if we step out back.  Always ready to have their head rubbed, just like any good dog.

But I didn't realize how strange it may look to an outsider until the other day when our son had some people over looking at a piece of equipment on the side yard and I had gone back there to meet them.   As introductions were being made the dogs came running to the fence line barking and the 3G's came running to the fence too.  

There they stood, all in a row.   Curious at the strangers and defending our house at the same time.   Oh, how I wished I had a camera at that moment.  But it will always live in my mind and make me ponder - they are just like dogs!

See, they look up at you to have their head rubbed or patted just like a dog!   Gosh, I hope they don't figure out the doggy door........