Sunday, January 15, 2017

When It Rains, It Pours



My life motto for the past several years has been "if you're not laughing, you're crying." My life is basically a constant comedy of errors, as I've written about before, and January thus far is really kicking off in fine style. 


I had big hopes for 2017. Have. Still have. There are a lot of things I decided are going to happen this year - 2016 ended pretty much with a crash and I decided that I wasn't going to let that get the best of me. I had increasingly good years following my move to Texas, and last year felt a little bit like a plateau. I want it to keep getting better, so I decided that I'm going to *make* it better myself. 


I decided this is the year Future Hubs are getting married (and then he can just be Hubs). We've been engaged for several years now, but I decided this year we're officially tying the knot. 

I also decided this year I'm getting a new truck. I've been wanting one for awhile, but my truck has officially reached an age now where I feel like it's rather important to get a new one sooner than later. Old Patron has 260,000 miles on it, and I am not sure I am really going to get another year of heavy use out of it. 


So positive stuff right?

Weddings are expensive. Super expensive. So, that's something to keep in mind. But that's easy enough right?



Well. There is more. New trucks are expensive... really expensive. Truthfully what I need to do is buy a low mileage used one, or one that isn't a brand brand new one (like a 2015-16 model instead of a 17). And really, I need to do this sooner than later, as my current truck is losing value with every day that passes. At some point it will be worth nothing and then I'll really be in trouble. 

Okay. That's fine. Two big expenses, that's doable. I think. 


Then I took my trailer in for it's yearly going over. I went to a new dealer, one I had been to for another small trailer repair and really liked at the time. He fixed up a bunch of things for me, put a bunch of improvements on like a new jack and LED lights, and then told me that there is some rust on the underside. The sides are aluminum and the frame is steel, and we already sandplasted and primed and painted it once before some years ago. I'm going to take it back in next month and have some reinforcements welded onto the underside, which will strengthen the frame. But the trailer is 17 years old now, and the fact is that I use it every week, several times a week. It gets a TON of use. Really and truly, it is time for me to get a new one, and sell this to someone who will be a little more gentle on it. Despite its age, it is really in great shape otherwise, and it certainly has served me well over the years. But it's time to move on - and probably get a 3 horse, considering how many animals I have now. My 2 horse is a warmblood size, which I needed at the time (Metro was a BIG BOY), but now all of my horses are 16.0 or under, except for Frank. A 3 horse slant is better suited to my needs - but do I get a gooseneck or a BP? I have to get a new truck first, especially if I consider a gooseneck. I also have to factor in the fact that I have to transport my carriages, which usually go in the bed of my truck - which means I can't have a gooseneck unless I have enough room inside the trailer to transport a carriage. There's a lot to consider. 

And, that's a third big expense. Can I really afford this?



And then today happened. I have a second vehicle, a mini van, that I use for toodling. I was heading to go see B2 and R for brunch this morning, and in the fog and rain I rear ended another small car. My radiator is crunched and the front end is all busted up, but at least I'm okay. B2 and R came to my rescue, checked me out, and helped me get the mini van home safely. As per my parents' advice (both attorneys), this little runaround vehicle only has liability insurance, not full collision coverage. I have to pay for all the repairs myself. 

So, that's a FOURTH big expense. It's worth fixing since it's clearly still driveable and fine (we drove it home post-accident), but.... still. Seriously. My god. Is it ever going to end!?




Sigh. Oh well. At least I'll have shiny new things, even if I'll be in debt for like.... ever. And ever. 
Fix mini van first, then wedding nonsense. New truck next, then new trailer. Or.... something.



Oh yeah.... and I need to still find enough money at the end of the day to SHOW! 




Since the trailer is back, Dylan is back to work as of tomorrow. Thank god too, I've been dying to go riding. It's been rainy and gross here for several days now, and without my trailer and subsequent access to an indoor arena, I have been out of luck. So at least after this, I'll be able to start blogging regularly again, at least about Dylan. Maybe not so much about the others until the rain stops....!

OH YEAH ONE MORE THING. I finally bought some new tall boots after trying on a million different pairs and not finding any that fit me properly. We ordered some through Dover, they arrived this week, and.... they don't fit. At ALL. So now I need to take them back and keep looking. Because I just have so much money and time to throw around! 


Can't you cut me just a LITTLE slack universe? I'm REALLY getting tired of this and it's only the 15th of January. 




Big Momma looking BIIIIIIIIIG

Seriously how is she getting bigger!?





Friday, January 6, 2017

SNOW!



The first week of the new year has started off with a bang. I've been powering through my days getting tons of stuff done. Aside from working literally every day, I've also been steaming through my year end bookkeeping, cleaning my house and putting away (most) of my decorations, paying bills, and ordering supplies (for business as well as supplements and FOALING SUPPLIES YES). I also dropped my trailer off for it's yearly servicing. Without it, I'm stuck at home, which is fine but it also limits me until I get it back. Considering that I've been working from dawn until dusk anyway, and I have no way to work anyone here in the dark, it has been a good time to get important indoors-only type stuff done. 



Today was one of the coldest days so far. The wind chill this morning was only 3 degrees. I worked all morning, and got home around noon after my afternoon clients rescheduled for next week (when it will be almost 80 again). It was a good thing they decided to reschedule... shortly after I got home it started snowing. Snow in Texas happens about once a year, but it's always pretty fun when it does. The horses LOVE to play in it, especially old Pmare who always gets reminded of her youth in Canada. 





Before snow.... O has been sleeping a LOT lately

It was solidly snowing by this time but O refused to get up, so Dylan wouldn't leave her


Sriracha and Zoodle going nuts!

That's quite a snowstorm for Texas

Pmare was INTO IT! She only plays like this in the snow! 

I don't know which is more fun.... seeing the babies playing in the snow because they don't know what it is, or seeing Pmare play in the snow because she DOES know what it is

Frank and Zoodle

As of right now the snow is still on the ground. It will melt by tomorrow but it was fun while it lasted! I could watch my goons play in the snow for hours. 


Monday, January 2, 2017

New Years Day Shenanigans



As is now a New Year's tradition, B2 came over yesterday to play ponies and enjoy the weather. R came too, and somehow we convinced him that he should go with us on our trail ride. All of my adult horses are great on the trail, so we had three available (and if we ever need a fourth, O is also great on the trail!). B2 rode Pmare, I rode Dylan, and R rode Big Frank, who has now solidly earned his husband-safe status. Future Hubs has been nervous about getting on him, because Frank was a little big of a goober when I rode him out alone for the first time, but in company he's completely perfect. He literally did nothing wrong the entire ride, even when the two horses spooked at something in the woods. 

R is not wearing a helmet in these pictures, because we tried to jam one of my helmets onto his giant noggin and couldn't manage it. We will have to get him one of his own. 




Pmare looks pretty good for almost 21!

Wild Stallion!

Pmare looks good but that neck.... we'll never get a decent topline on her again. Ohhhh well!

Come on Big Frank! Frank's favorite speed is plod. 

Dylan says, I would really like a piece of that booty




We had a great ride - we went about 4-5 miles or so, but not further seeing as the oldies aren't in great shape and neither are all that sound. They're plenty sound for easy trail rides, but not for anything beyond that. If we are going to be riding them more than on periodic easy trails, they'll both need to go on a more intensive joint supplement. I think that easy trails are good for these arthritic guys though - movement really helps their stiffness. P in particular really seems to enjoy going out on the trail - she walks along with her ears pricked the whole time. Dylan thought this was very sexy, and spent the entire trail ride waiting for me to stop paying attention so he could sidle closer and talk to her. Naughty boy...

Big Frank won the gold star of the day, just plodding along with R (who does not know how to ride). He must have been a quarter of a mile behind us at one point, and showed no concern whatever. We had R turn around long before we ever turned around, to give him a head start, and Frank had no problem leaving us behind. He stopped once or twice and stood there, but R told him to walk on and he did. Slow and easy and he didn't put a foot wrong. What a good egg he is. I bet he was really special when he was younger. 


When we got back to the house, I put B2 up on Dylan to go for a quick spin. He was super for her, doing everything she asked and doing it quietly. She raved about how much fun he is, and how super cool he is. Can't say that I disagree - how many upper level stallions can go you on a trail ride with, and then ride in the pasture with a loose mare?

He doesn't care. Or well, he does care, but he's too well behaved to act on it




Today I worked all day, but had enough time at the end of it to pull O out and give her a trim and a good grooming. She also got her final Prodigy shot, as she is now 9 months pregnant. She is HUGENORMOUS and she still has two months to go! As a maiden, I have no idea what she will trend towards, so basically from now on out I'll be keeping a eagle eye on her. She gets her final set of shots in early February, and then the countdown begins. As long as she holds on until February 14th, we'll have passed the coveted 320 day mark. She is already building a bag as of two days ago - she better cross her legs and hold on.




Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Goals



It's that time of year again..... time for our....



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~ 2017 Goals! ~

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Dylan 2017 Goals:
1) Compete 3rd/4th level on Dylan (USDF)
2) Compete at Intermediate level in Working Equitation
3) Compete at the Haras Cup
4) MAYBE - IALHA Nationals
5) MAYBE - Andalusian World Cup
- I say maybe to the last two because they are SUPER SUPER expensive. My bigger goals are to get my scores towards my silver medal, and to compete at Haras Cup, which is something I REALLY want to accomplish. Nationals is here in Texas, so that's a pretty good bet, but it's also an entire week - it's hard to get away for that long. The AWC I REALLY want to do but it's in Las Vegas, which is not exactly close. 

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O-Ren 2017 Goals:
1) Have a happy, healthy, bouncing baby!
2) Consider whether or not we are breeding her back for a second time
- This depends entirely on the quality of the foal. If we get something completely knockout and amazing I will consider breeding her back. Obviously if we get a dud we won't be doing that! We shall see what we end up with but I have high hopes for something of really nice quality. My dream is to get a matching team from this cross, but that's a long way off. 

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Pax 2017 Goals:
1) Continue baby school - wearing a bridle, being ponied on the trails, etc.
2) Show in the FEH at Meadowcreek (and maybe some other small in-hand shows for fun?)
- Unfortunately this year, Meadowcreek is our only Area V FEH that I know of. The other ones on the calendar were either cancelled or didn't happen this year. I had hope that this would change - maybe it will? - but as of right now this is all I get. Unfortunately it's in March, and basically everything else is going on in March (a surgery for Future Hubs, O's foal) so hopefully nothing gets in the way of this!
3) Keep growing up and being a horse! 


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P 2017 Goals:
1) Go on some trail rides! 
2) Continue being the resident baby-dragger
3) Enjoy retired life!
- We're done breeding P. I got my one and that's all, and that's fine. I have plenty else going on anyway! P has earned her place on the mostly retired list. She's sound for trails and she enjoys them, so that's mostly what we will be doing!

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Lendri 2017 Goals:
1) Continue trying to make her a driving moole!
- This is up in the air, as it has been. I want her to succeed as a driving animal but I don't know that she will ever be one. She can still be so reactive and spooky sometimes, and I just don't know that she will ever truly get over that. She is a really wonderful pet, so if she doesn't ever become a sport moole I'm quite fine with that. We will see! I'm going to keep trying! 

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Zoodle 2017 Goals:
1) Continue to solidify lunging
2) Teach long lining and long line all over the place!
3) Take him off property for lots of exposure and despooking!
4) Later in the year - learn about drag shafts and dragging small objects
- I'm excited about this little guy. He's going to continue to be a lot of work, but he's such a good natured little guy - if any zebroid can do it, it's him! He's the same age as Sriracha (2) so he's still a baby and has a long way to go.

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Sriracha 2017 Goals:
1) Continue regular handling as usual
2) Continue learning to lunge
3) Teach to long line
4) Maybe later in the year - learn about drag shafts and dragging small objects
- Sriracha is just two now, so she will turn 3 mid-2017 and is still quite young. I don't want to push her but later in the year I think she will be capable of handling these things. As long as she continues to show a talent for driving that is!

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Uma 2017 Goals:
1) Continue growing up and being a moole!
- Uma is Pax's age so she has a lot of growing up left to do before we decide if she's big enough to drive or not!
2) Continue regular handling - and later in the year, start introducing simple concepts of lunging and wearing harness

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Big Frank 2017 Goals:
1) Go on some trail rides!
2) Teach him to pony? 
- Depends on how he does with this.bank He's a weiner and all the babies are over him in the pecking order, which I didn't expect. He's also not terribly sound, so he'll be limited in what we do with him, but he is game for trails. 

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I think it's going to be a good one. My biggest focus this year is going to of course be Dylan, but I also want to prep and show Pax in the FEH (and maybe some schooling shows in hand?), and I want to make sure Zoodle gets the exposure he needs. I have a lot of hopes for show season, we're getting married this year (finally after being engaged for like four years), I hope to buy a new truck this year, and of course O's foal is coming. There are other things too which are just as exciting but less relevant to the blog. I'm not quite sure which direction our country is heading in at the moment, but I fully intend on making the best of it either way.


New Year's resolution: hug moar zoodle


Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Year in Review



I had a really amazing 2015, and a slightly less awesome 2016. It wasn't bad per se, but it kind of has sucked ever since the election, culminating with the loss of one of my cats, Jasper. I've been really bummed out about that and decidedly feeling low. There has hardly been any sun in three weeks either, which isn't helping my mood at all. I'm grieving for losses like Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and Richard Adams, who wrote my beloved favorite story Watership Down (Lendri is named after an animal in the book). But, I do hope that 2017 will be a really fantastic one like 2015 was. I have hope, anyway.



January:


January started out strong. A continuing theme throughout the year is always not having enough time for blogging. I started seeing a new physiotherapist for my calf, and kept working to try and get my body functional in the saddle again. I readied myself to say goodbye to Darby, and planned out my turnout for O's driving season. 



February:


We said goodbye to Darby at the beginning of the both. We also said goodbye to Zuul's nuts! B2 came over to practice navigating on the back of the Dartmoor, and I started lunging Lendri a little bit. I trailered Pax out for her first solo adventure and it went... sort of okay. I continued planning my turnout for O. Not too much else went on, besides riding and driving! 



March:


I decided I was finally going to be able to try working equitation! I had been interested in it for years but had never had a horse to do it on. I went to my first practice and had a great time, and so did Dylan. Deathstorm season began, and the mares came into heat, starting Dylan back to his old fencewalking habit with a vengeance. I reminisced about Gogo's many fails. O scraped up her leg, which led to me scratching from our first show, but we had Sunrise Ridge to prep for so we kept going! Naturally, AGAIN, she scraped up her leg right before that show as well. Because it's always something! While I was coldhosing and doctoring that cut, I did more working equitation practice with Dylan, and worked with the garrocha. Zuul was sold, and went to his new home. 



April:


Sunrise Ridge kicked off the month! We had a really crummy dressage test and not a great cones course either, and gossip and drama nearly caused me to scratch from the entire thing. I decided to put my big girl panties on, and we finished the marathon strong, ending up in 2nd place! I made tentative show schedules for the year, and called out a new chiropractor to see about addressing O's terrible dressage performance and get Dylan on the schedule as well. (Turned out, O's problem were simple and Dylan had even more of them than she did, but is better at hiding them!) We went to our next show, another Games Day, and as usual won everything. We wished Pax a happy first birthday, and I revealed plans to breed both O and P for 2017 foals. At the time, Pax was considered sold. That fell through, but P never took, so we still came out sum 0 there. P at almost 21 is now retired from breeding - I got my one, and that's all I'll get, and I'm good with that. April was a pretty good month.



May:


I found another special tiny moole to bring home, and due to being completely wild and feral, named her Sriracha. (I LOVE my Srirachy). I had lots going on, namely working on WE stuff with Dylan, breeding stuff with the mares, taming Sriacha down, working on long lining Lendri, working O who was now solidly in the middle of show season. I spent way too much money at the vet, and never did get P pregnant. I played a lot with my tiny mooles. O and I had a not great time at the Romp (which I don't plan on ever going to again, not after two crappy showings!), and I talked about trying to keep life organized (still haven't been successful there). I talked even MOAR about mooles. O, B2, and myself all headed to Pine Hill which was EPIC for so many reasons - read Part IPart II, and Part III (and bonus Romp pictures). We finished 2nd, and turned right around and headed out the next weekend for the final show of the season in Oklahoma! 



June:


We finished 4th at our final HDT of the season! We should have finished 2nd but SOMEBODY (cough cough me) messed up the timing heading into marathon and started 30 seconds late. We were so fast on marathon that it gave us about 30 second of time penalties for going too FAST. Part I, and Part II here - Stephanie of Hand Gallop joined us for the marathon too! I pulled the plug on breeding P. It got REALLY HOT really fast, and I shared some pictures of the 2015 show season. I put O and Dylan out together, and it was magic from the beginning. I rode, a lot, and fought my body hard in order to make it better.



July:


I played around with one-handed work for WE, and did not suck too badly at it. Pax's sale fell through right after I gave up on breeding P, and I contemplated if it was meant to be. Everything came temorarily crashing down when my idiot neighbors set fireworks off over my house, and both Pax and Dylan were hurt in the chaos. Since I had no one to ride for a bit, and O was officially off show duty and onto mommy duty, I had little else to do except pour my efforts into my mooles. I schemed up plans for the babies. Dylan got collected again, my neighbor's pig kept coming to our house, and I kept doctoring Dylan's leg, which healed very well. 



August: 


Zoodle arrived in the beginning of August after much planning! Even though I didn't keep Zuul, I still wanted to work with more hybrids, and picked a really special one to continue on with. Dylan went back to work mid-month, and did incredibly well. We also fitted his saddle, which was the final piece we were missing. I played with the babies, and continued to work to get it all done. (Sometimes, it doesn't work.) I made plans for Dylan's 2017.



September:


My mooles were already getting hairy in preparation for winter! I went over Dylan's tack. I added more sand to the mare pasture. I talked about what it's like working with zebra hybrids. The chiro came again, as she does every month now. I rode, and rode, and it was HOT. And showed pictures of baby Zoodle, which are all adorable.



October:


Dylan and I went to our first clinic together! It was awesome. I talked about Gogo, who has now been gone for 5 years and thus gone away from my life longer than she was in it. I talked too about Dylan, and what an amazing creature he is. I took my first lessons with a new trainer (which I love), took a second clinic with Tarrin, and signed up for my first show! (Spoiler alert: Dylan was great, I made dumb mistakes). It was a very productive month for Dylan and I, even though I did less with the others because I was doing so much with him!



November:


O was waddling by November. I went over goals with Pax, and had another lesson. The election happened, and I felt like a deflated balloon for weeks. Dylan and I went to our second show, along with regulars B2 and R as usual, and did great. I wrote less than I ever have in a month in November, which really dissapointed me.



December:



I started out blogging very strongly, which I am happy with. I had no intention of bringing ANY more animals home, but Big Frank ended up with us anyway! (NO. MORE). I started out talking about family trees, and haven't finished the second part yet. I had more lessons, both with Louisa and with Tarrin. The dentist came for her yearly visit! There was then a big pause in blogging for the holidays while I was away in both Austin and then Michigan, and a cold front came blowing in. It went from 80 degrees to 15 degrees, then back to 80 degrees and now again 30 degrees tonight. (I have NO idea what the hell is going on with our weather).

And... there will be more to come!






The end of the year is always full of chaos for me, with much holiday hectic travel and not a lot of riding or working the critters. But this is also a time for planning, for rest, and for looking forward to the future - and I have hopes that 2017 will be special. Or at least.... not terrible? I'm definitely ready for 2016 to be over with though. I know I'm not the only one there.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Arctic Blast


Texas is not known for being gentle or half-assed about ANYTHING. This of course includes the weather, and this past weekend was a prime example of the extremes that we get.



This usually happens a few times every winter, but this time it was EXTREME. It was about 75 and somewhat humid on Saturday. The horses had all been naked the night before, and were enjoying the warmth. Future Hubs and I had to leave that morning to go to Austin for his family Christmas, so I left my pet sitter with instructions to blanket them when the cold front hit that evening. We knew the temperature was going to drop, but you never really can appreciate how violent it is until it actually hits.

The cold front coming in. No precipitation, that's just REALLY cold air!

We were out on the porch having some beers when the cold front hit. It came in like a freaking freight train. Out of nowhere, this huge cloud covered everything, and suddenly we were slammed with icy cold wind. Chairs flipped over, papers flew, and people fled for cover as our fingers and faces instantly froze. The temperature dropped from almost 80 degrees to 20 in a matter of minutes, with wind chills in the single digits. It was like Mother Nature reached down and punched Texas in the face, and then beat us with a bag of ice. 

Back at home, my poor pet sitter was faring little better. I had wrapped all the faucet heads ahead of time, and made sure the insulation in the well house was good, but all the hoses still froze immediately, and the troughs iced over. The horses were naked and the wind was gusting wildly, so my pet sitter had to catch and blanket all the ones that needed it (P, Pax, O, Big Frank, and Dylan). Most everyone was easy to catch, and I had her catch and blanket Zoodle too (she said he was wonderful), but she couldn't catch Dylan. The neighbor's collie was back and chasing him around, and he was doing his usual you're-a-stranger-and-can't-be-trusted thing, giving her the runaround and refusing to be caught by any means. It must have taken her an hour, including the few minutes where she had to go sit in her hot car and warm up. Finally she got him after she gave O a carrot and convinced him to come and get one too. 



Fortunately, everyone survived the horrible weather. It was 14 degrees on Sunday morning, and the windchill was 3 degrees. When we arrived home it was little better, still very cloudy and gusty with temps in the 20s. Naturally, since *something* had to go wrong while I was away, when we arrived home all the mules and mares had let themselves out into the yard and were causing a ruckus. Dylan and O were FREAKING out. I grabbed Pmare, and everyone more or less followed her back into the pasture like little sheep. Everyone was fine thankfully, but of course, my life is a comedy of errors so something HAD to happen while I was away.


Moo and Tonka say, the only way to survive cold weather is to be inside and asleep

Finally warmed up today!


Unfortunately WD was not unaffected by the cold snap. A pipe burst in the indoor, which flooded the arena and made it unusable. I'm sure it will be fixed soon, but I guess Dylan's winter break is starting a little early! It's too cold to do much anyway, but when you have a lit arena to trailer to, you can make due during the winter even when it's chilly. Except... not if the arena is a skating rink.

Oh well!


Monday, December 19, 2016

Dentist Time!



My dentist comes in from Maryland a few times a year to do client rounds in Texas. Dylan, O, and of course Big Frank were due, so I got onto the rotation. Naturally, the day she was scheduled to come out, we had a cold front come whipping in, which dropped the temperatures to near freezing. The day before had been in the 70's - this is Mother Nature's favorite winter punch-in-the-gut for Texas. Obviously there is no rescheduling when your dentist comes in from out of state, so she showed up at 8am and we got to work!

Both Dylan and O didn't have a lot to do, which was nice. O has been done by this dentist for a couple of years now, and I've been really happy her level of care. Plus, O stands perfectly still without sedation and is quite happy to have her teeth done, which is really something considering her personality! Dylan, not surprisingly, is quite a lot more suspicious about it and way less behaved. Still, his mouthed stayed pretty well balanced, and most of the work was on his incisors.


Big Frank, not surprisingly, was the one who needed the most work. He hasn't been done in 3 years that I know of, and his dental history prior to that is unknown, so we were expecting to find a big mess in there and we weren't disappointed. My dentist let me reach into his mouth when the speculum was in, which is something I've never done before - it was kind of scary! All I could feel is that everything was wavy, ramped, and some teeth felt like they weren't there at all. My dentist basically said, "yeah it's not likely he'll be able to eat much hay but we will do what we can." She was able to get the giant wave down quite a lot, more than I think she expected to be able to do. She estimates that he's older than we thought, probably about 25. He's losing some of his incisors, and he's running out of tooth, so she did the best she could.




I have to say, a week out from the dentist and he's doing GREAT. He is eating so much better than he was before - he's able to chew side to side, and most of the food stays in his mouth now instead of falling out. He's eating hay now too, although not as much as the others, and I am still keeping him on the hay mush for now. These past two days he hasn't finished all his mush, which makes me think his hunger and craving for forage is hopefully being met to some extent out in the paddock, but we will see if he continues to eat it or if he doesn't. Currently he's eating Healthy Glo fat nuggets, beet pulp, tim/alf pellets, and tim/alf cubes, plus a vitamin/mineral supplement.


Good dental work is SO important. I feel like I have a good team right now - a great dentist, a great chiro, a great vet. And, a halfway decent trimmer, if I do say so myself!