Thursday, May 19, 2011

In which we are not unaware, but not very worried about germs

We're headed out in about an hour to the Mt Adams Endurance Ride. 

With all of the brou-ha-ha about EHV-1, and the inevitable screaming of "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE" in regards to a virus, I did a bunch of research and decided to go to the ride. 

Here's the statement from our head vet, Mike Foss DVM, about the EHV-1 risk this weekend:

There is some risk of your horses contracting EHV1. In most cases it is a very small risk. Keep in mind that diseases have cycles and we are simply in an active cycle for EHV at this time. We have had EHV1 outbreaks in the Mid Columbia area before and we will have them again. Right now the thing we should all do is minimize the spread of the current outbreak. Our biggest problem is the broad and rapid movement of horses in our region of the country. My advice to horse-owners in the Mid Columbia is as follows;


1. If you or your horse had any contact or even close proximity to any horse that was at the recent Cutting Horse event in Ogden Utah then please do all of us a favor and stay home and stay away from other horses until this outbreak is over. Contact your veterinarian to form a plan to monitor your horses and know when to seek help.


2. If your horse activities are not Western Performance then your risk of exposure is very small. If you are simply trail riding then your risk of disease is minimal. You can probably continue your normal activities. Simply be vigilant and follow common sense.
3. If you participate in Western Performance activities then you might just want to stay home until this outbreak is over.


4. If your horse is just staying at home then relax as there is very little risk of disease.


5. Stay informed. I will try to keep this website updated. As of today, May 18th @ 7 pm there is a confirmed case of EHV1 in Clackamas County. (That horse did go to the Cutting horse show in Utah.) The Mt Adams Endurance Ride is still on. Expect the horses will be subject to a physical examination including rectal temperature.


6. The signs I will get concerned about will be depression, a runny nose, a fever and/or a cough. Call me if your horse develops any of these signs.


For most of you your horse is more likely to get colic or a laceration than get EHV1 so do not forget to watch for the usual stuff.

With all that in mind, we're going.  Goals for the weekend (in reverse order of importance):  Finish Fiddle's 2nd 50-miler, have fun, stay safe. 

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In which I take a Sentimental Journey, and set my heart at ease

Years ago, a fellow horse-person opined that a person's horse preference was strongly influenced by the first horse book that s/he REALLY connected with as a reader.  She, herself, was a life-long lover of Arabian horses, and as a kid had pretty much read the covers off of The Black Stallion and King of the Wind (much like many readers of this blog, I suspect).

Me, I read anything to do with the Pony Express, the Wild West, and any other excuse that  authors could write about that put a rider in the saddle all day long (and all night, as well).  I read everything by Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry, Sam Savitt, Glen Balch,

as well as some remarkably obscure books and authors. 

This book, in particular, caught my attention and held it for several years:
 

I have no idea where my copy originated (a garage sale, I suspect), or where it went when I moved away for college (another garage sale seems likely), but I couldn't possibly forget a book that I had read 10 times or more as a kid.  

Recently, I saw a copy of my old friend the book for sale on amazon.com for super-cheap.  I bought it.

But, could the story possibly be as wonderful as I remembered?

Well, no.   And yet, yes.

The basic plot was implausible to the point of flat-out-impossible: 

A newborn foal is christened a "weak-kneed sister" by the vet, because her legs are too twisted to support her weight and allow the filly to stand and suckle.  Normally, a foal like this would be shot, but the last-second pleading of Jimmy, son of the mare's owner, grants her a reprieve.  Jimmy is a cripple (hey, it was published in 1928; they didn't call polio survivors "handicap-able" then!).  Jimmy pledges to raise the foal himself, and does.  After many weeks of physical therapy administered by Jimmy and the stable hands, the foal finally stands on her own.   

At this point, adult readers are wondering why the foal didn't die of pneumonia in the first three days, or how gut motility was able to function in a long-term recumbency.   Yeah, I know.  But at age 10 when I first read the book, I didn't know about stuff like that.  It just made for a good story!

Within a year, the filly is walking and running on her own, so they break her to harness and let her pull the wagon home.

"Long-term soundness issues resulting from early work on an immature skeletal system!"  I hear you all thinking.   And yet, at age 10, it made perfect sense to me.

There are other difficulties to overcome, and of course there are many exciting races as well.  Eventually, Jimmy, aided by his now-strong, now-fast, and always-beautiful standardbred mare, becomes strong enough to overcome them all...until the penultimate tragic chapter.

I won't give away the ending, just in case you want to read it.  Selected chapters are available through Google Books at the link HERE, and there are usually copies for sale pretty cheaply on amazon.com.   

Suffice to say, however, that although I didn't cry buckets, I did sniffle a bit.

So what about my friend's statement, that the books we read as kids shape our horse-lives as adults?  Well, you could certainly make a case that the fictional harness-racing horse in my favorite childhood book influenced my breed of choice in my adult real life.

What about you, Gentle Readers?  Does your horse life now reflect your favorite books then?

And hey:  does anybody have some good horse stories for adults to recommend?  I need a good one to read!

Monday, May 16, 2011

In which stupid songs end up mashed in my head during rainy-day rides

As I trot my horse down the trail for hours on end, my brain casts around wildly for entertainment.
My family will not be surprised to hear that the result is often a de-composed song or two. 
 Some of my decompositions are brilliant

Most are a little warped.  

The latest is a mash-up inspired by Patty, who calls my mare "Little Bunny Foo-Foo," as a compliment (surely it is a compliment?) to her ears and attitude.   In fact, this song is pretty much entirely Patty's fault.
I apologize in advance to my 1st grade teacher at Columbia Elementary School, Mrs. Holden.  She taught me how to do it correctly, and all I've ever done was twist it around and try to break it.

For best results, sing this out loud, and do the hand motions while on a trotting horse in the pouring rain.

Little Bunny Foo-Foo
Hopping through the forest
Down came the rain, and washed the bunny out
Out came the sun, and bopped her on the head
And the Little Bunny Foo-Foo went up the trail again!

I did warn you.