Thursday, July 26, 2012

yesterday was hard.

Yesterday sucked. Big time. I had met up with my husband after work so we could go look at a camper. We are headed to the largest country music festival in the country next week and had been looking for campers for a million years. When I got in the pickup he handed me a bag. It was Piney’s tail and forelock. I quickly looked in the bag but then put it away. It smelled like him. He also showed me the box that had Piney’s hoof cast mold in it. I didn’t open that up. I really don’t know when I will be ready. When we got home I told him to just put them away somewhere.  I just don’t have the power to deal with them right now.

And then to make matters worse when I drove past the vet hospital where we took Piney the saddest song in America was playing. My chest felt like it was caving in, and I lost it. My mind started racing to all kinds of questions that are probably best left unanswered. Like did they cut off his tail before they put him to sleep or did they let him go with the dignity of having it? And I kept thinking of our final moments together. Like how I ran my fingers over his dimply pinfire marks one last time and how soft his nose felt when I kissed it for the last time. I need to not take that route home for a while.

When I got home I started doing a few things around the yard to get my mind off things, and then went to the barn to get the horse’s dinner ready. My hubby was mowing the lawn but stopped and came to the barn and told me to saddle up my horse, and that we needed to go for a ride. I of course made up excuse after excuse. “My stomach hurts”, “It’s getting late”, “I have a headache”, etc. But I finally gave in and saddled up. It really was a perfect night for riding. It had cooled off, and there were no bugs. Pistol tacks up like a dream, but he’s so damn tall. He’s sweetened up so much too. It’s like he finally realizes that this is his home and we are good people. Riding him is so different than it was riding Piney. When I ask for a walk I get a nice forward walk, instead of asking, then asking again, then asking with the whip and then getting a slow, pokey walk. He is going places when he walks! And when I ask for a trot I get it! I was able to keep up with hubby and Duke on our ride, instead of being 6 horse lengths behind like I would be with Piney. With Pistol I’ve noticed that he does try to see what he can get away with. He doesn’t try very hard or for every long, but he does try. He is definitely more confident leaving the farm with a buddy, but he will go out alone. I would feel confident putting a beginner on him. I confessed to hubby that I didn’t want to get too attached to him though because he’s older. But I think it’s too late I’m already getting attached. He is the sweet horse that we saw in the auction ring. He was just in some pain and needed some love. Getting his teeth done was the nicest thing that anyone had done for him in a long time. I’m sure that’s why someone dumped him at a few auctions. He was getting hard to catch and bridle because his face hurt. So it was easier to just dump him off and make a couple hundred bucks. Right now we could easily double or triple our money on him, but he was exactly what we were looking for. A well broke beginner horse that anyone could ride. We were nervous for a while when we got him, but he’s really become a sweet horse.

Each day is going to be a struggle. And I notice that my sadness comes in waves. I will be fine, then I will get hit with something hard and then I will be fine again. I know it will suck a bit less as time goes on, but I just miss him so much.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thank you.

I just wanted to throw out a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been following our story and has left some love and support for Piney and I. It really does mean the world to me.  I read a lot of your blogs and have come to feel that I know each of you and your horses (and sometimes other 4 legged creatures!). I consider you all my friends, even if I've never actually met you. If you are new to my blog, thank you for following, I’m sorry that you had to start on my journey on such a sad time. I hope to start following your story and get to know you and your partners! Feel free to go back and read a little about my boy Piney. He truly was a one of a kind.

The plan is to continue blogging, I know I’m not the best writer out there and most of the time I suffer from word vomit and I ramble on and on and on. But I will continue to write about my two creep horses, my hillbilly farm, my adorable cocker spaniels, my adventures around North Dakota (and beyond), my photography, my sweet auction finds and of course there will be stories about the Boston Terrorist, Tucker. Some blog entries will more than likely be me talking about Piney and how much life sucks without him. I obviously plan to start talking more about how awesome Pistol is. You wouldn’t even believe he was the same horse that we brought home from the auction. I feel so guilty enjoying him though. My husband asked me if I wanted to ride last night and I made up a stupid excuse. I need to realize that Pistol needs me probably more than I need him. He’s starting to have a sparkle in his eye and adores being touched unlike when we first got him and he would avoid human contact at all cost. Someone was very cruel to him and he’s starting to realize that not everyone is bad or wants to hurt him. He is really a sweet boy and he is pretty well behaived. The other day it was really hot and we were hosing him down. He stood there in the pasture as hubby hosed him down. He didn’t even have him on a lead rope he just stood there. I asked hubby if Piney’s ghost had entered Pistols body. Duke on the other hand thought that we were trying to murder him when we sprayed him down…what a creep.
I also found out from my husband that the ranch where I got Piney from has 60-80 OTTB’s needing new homes. My husband is friends with the son of the veterinarian who gave Piney to me.  I probably should clarify a few things so you don’t think that these people are animal hoarders who have gotten themselves WAY over their heads.  The veterinarian is a traveling equine dentist and I must say he is awesome. He is also the track vet at Canterbury Park which is the racetrack in Minnesota. When thoroughbreds are injured, or too slow, or too old to race they are donated to the ranch where they spend at least a year to relax and to learn to be horses again. The ranch is about 4,000 acres and the horses receive hoof care, vet care, and are free to roam around and be part of a herd!  Most of the money to care for these horses comes out of his own pocket, but he receives donations from the track, as well as his clients and adoptive “parents”.  My husband and I have talked about going out there and getting another OTTB when the time is right. I’m not sure when that time will be. It could be in a month, it could be next year. I know for a fact that I want another Thoroughbred. I’m addicted. Ask any (well ALMOST any) person who rides Thoroughbreds and they will tell you that they wouldn’t want any other breed. So when I’m ready I plan to head out to the ranch and get adopted by another TB.

Life sucks right now but it will go on. I will always, ALWAYS miss Piney and I will always miss Yellow but I take comfort in knowing that somewhere they are waiting for me. Their bodies are restored, and they are both being lazy.
So thank you for everything you have said. It really means a lot to me.

PS. I have something really, REALLY awesome planned in the near future. It was what I had planned for a long time, but it’s taken a change of course and it’s going to be even more awesome! Just give me some time.

Love K.K.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Please tell me it gets easier...

It’s been a few days but the pain is as strong as it was on Friday. I feel numb. I’m on the verge of tears all the time and just break down at random. Little things set me off. I just want to curl up and sleep but hate sleeping because I only dream of him.

Thursday night we had done some barn chores and then I decided that I wanted to ride Pistol. Our ride was fantastic! We are really starting to figure each other out. He’s got such big steps and I know he’s got some power in there because when I ask for a trot he launches himself into it. But when I was cooling him off my husband said that Piney wasn’t eating. So weird. He is always eating. I’d noticed him rolling around in the pasture earlier, but just figured that he’d been rolling because of the bugs. But now that he wasn’t eating, that was setting off alarms. I haltered him up and started walking him around, he layed down. And would not get up. I had my husband call the vet who was on call and had him come out. I tried everything to get him up. nothing was working. Finally we got out my dressage whip and I whipped him a few times and he stood up, I then kept him walking until the vet got there about an hour after we called. The vet came and did what vets do when a horse is colicy. He even stuck around and kept an eye on him for a while. He said that he wasn’t that dehydrated, and that his pulse, breathing and temperature were normal. He even waited around for him to poop. His poop was a little mushier than normal but he was pooping. And peeing. And he was more alert now than he was when the vet got there. He thought that Piney was going to be okay so we turned him back out to the pasture and then called it a night.

When I woke up Friday morning. Piney was down in the pasture again. FML. I ran out there got a halter and lead rope. When I was walking out to him he called out to me. He got right up as I got next to him, but I wanted to walk him. When I started walking him he had diarrhea and he was straining to get that out. I kept walking him and he just went down. I tried everything to get him up, nothing worked. I got hubby up and he called the vet. They said to bring him in. I could only imagine how hard it would be to get him into the trailer. Of all of our horses, Piney was the worst to get in the trailer. But to my surprise after hubby hooked up the trailer, Piney got up and then amazingly walked right up into the trailer. It’s like he knew we wanted to help him. Piney rode calmly in the trailer the whole time. I was a nervous wreck that he was going to try and lay down in the trailer, but I watched him the whole way and he was fine. He basically leaned up against the divider the whole ride. When we got to the vet we hurried to get him out of there, but he didn’t blow out of there like every other time he’d been in the trailer. He stood there with his head in my hands. Leaning against me. He was sicker than I thought.

When we got him into the horse examining area he looked like he was going to go down, so the vet tech rushed us over to the stalls and we put him in one. Instantly he laid down. He was so sweaty from the trailer ride, he freaks out in there and stresses the whole way. Our vet only 14 miles and we drove faster than normal, because we wanted him out of there. They then prepped him to be hooked up to an IV. They needed to get fluids into him asap. They also drained his stomach through his nose. There wasn’t much in there. When they were doing all of this I needed to not be there. I sat in the main reception area and drank water. My head hurt so bad and I was dehydrated from all the crying I’d been doing. People were happily coming and going with their pets. And then there was me. My hubby stayed out and talked to the vet. When he came back and talked to me he looked worried and upset. He told me that it wasn’t looking good. They were doing an ultrasound. When Piney got there he was very shocky, and very, very sick. He was obviously in a lot of pain.
The last picture I have of Piney. It wasn't really him anymore.

As it turns out the vet thought that his colon had flipped and twisted. But she couldn’t be 100% sure until she cut him open and started looking around. The vet we had was one of the top vets in the nation. She had recently just came back up to this area and has had people from all over bringing their horses into see her. But she wasn’t optimistic about surgery. She thought he might have a 50% chance of getting better and even that was optimistic. The quality of life he’d have after the surgery wouldn’t be the same, and he’d more than likely have to be brought in monthly for treatments. Obviously I’m probably skipping parts because when the vet was talking to me all I heard was mumbles. Kind of like Charlie brown’s mom. I just heard the part “you are going to have to make a decision soon.”

His blood work was not good. He was dehydrated. I am forgetting the main part, but a normal horse is 30-40, Piney was at 68. The vet said horses don’t usually make a comeback when their blood levels are there. I wish I knew what exactly it was that they were talking about but my ears were only picking up some words. She also said that his organs were shutting down. His kidneys were the first to start failing and he was peeing blood. They did everything they could to pump him full of liquids, but it just wasn’t working. If we hadn’t rushed him to the hospital, he would have baked in the sun and died an awful death. It was about 100 degrees on Friday. At least in the hospital he was in airconditioning and they did everything they could to keep him comfortable.

Piney was burning through his medicine. They had given him stuff to calm him down and ease the pain but he was just blowing through it. He would get up on his feet, but it didn’t last long and he was down again. Most of the time lying flat out. I made the decision that it was for the best if I let him go. The entire time I was in the horse hospital they had a radio playing. It was on a country music station. And it was obviously “lets play the saddest effing music ever Friday” When we were listening to what the vets plan of attack was when we first got there the song “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” by Patti Loveless was playing. Are you effing kidding me?! I haven’t heard that song in 15 years and it was on the radio at entirely the wrong time.
The vet techs at the vet were amazing. One of them was my neighbor from my old townhouse. I jokingly told her that I planned to burry Piney in the back yard at my townhouse and that I hoped my neighbors wouldn’t mind. She laughed. I also asked her if they could get me his tail and she said that they would of course get it to me. The vet techs also told me that they would take a plaster cast of his hoof print. And send it to me. I told them to make sure they took a cast of his ugly flared out foot that we were in the process of correcting. After that was all sorted away my neighbor pulled us aside and said that she would bring in the tail and cast into my husband’s work and drop it off, just so that she knew it was safe. It really meant a lot to me that she was willing to do that for us.

So after I made the decision, the vet went over the process. She said that I could stay and watch but she didn’t really recommend it because a horse usually doesn’t just go down after the drugs are administered. She said I could come back in after she administered the drugs. Or I could just say my good byes and then leave. I decided that I wanted to say my good byes and then leave.

They gave him some more drugs to just ease his pain enough where I could go into the stall. I crouched down next to him. And apologized for everything and told him how much I loved him. I kissed him and hugged him. And then I left him. His health deteriorated in 12 hours. 12 HOURS! The vet said that I did everything right, and that there sometimes just isn’t anything we can do. I kept blaming myself and everyone told me that it wasn’t my fault. I had two vet techs in tears, I must have put on quite a show because they see that sort of stuff all the time.

When I got outside I almost collapsed. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t breathe. My head hurt, my eyes hurt, my stomach was in knots, my whole body was numb. My husband was a wreck too. My mom, who had driven up from the lakes to be with me, said she would come out to the farm with me and take care of me. She was awesome for coming to be with me. And my husband is amazing for putting up with my sobbing mess of a being that I am lately. We got home and collapsed on the couch. I tried to sleep but it didn’t work. I needed to get away from the farm. I needed to leave so we packed up and went to my mom’s cottage at the lakes. We spent the weekend there and I needed it. I felt better, but the moment we started home I felt sick again. Knowing that I would get home and not see Piney was causing my stomach to knot up again.

When I got home I went to check on the horses. I feel so distant to them. I didn’t want to interact with them. I just kind of checked their water and then went back to the house to do some stuff. Later I went to check on them again and put some stuff back in the barn. I went out into the pasture. Pistol came up to me and then dropped his head into my chest and let me wrap my arms around him. I cried and then cried some more. I let him go and then went and sat down by the lean and just sort of stared off into the pasture. Duke came up and touched my arm with his nose. And then touched my face. He kind of just stood there and hovered near me. I sat there and cried, My husband came out and sat with me the rest of the time I was out there.  He’s been my rock.

I can’t help but to feel guilty about this. I was having fun riding my new horse. and look what happened. Piney got sick and died. I asked both the emergency vet and the vet at the hospital if Piney had gotten sick because he was sad that I was enjoying my new horse. They said that was not possible. Horses wouldn’t get that sick over something like that. I try to tell myself that Piney waited to leave me until he knew I was safe with another horse and that there was another “rescue” that needed me. He taught me as much as he could and it was time for him to go.

I miss him. I miss him so bad that I want to throw up. I didn’t even get to ride him one last time. He had been recovering from his jail break injury. When I was shopping this weekend with my mom we went to an antique store and they had an older racing saddle. I’d always wanted to get one for Piney joking that maybe it would make him go faster. What are the odds that in 4 years of looking for one. I’d see one for next to nothing at an antique store the day after he died? I started crying in the store. I’m sure people thought I was a weirdo. And what really made me cry was I found out on Sunday that the article they wrote about me and Piney was published a week ago. I had been contacted and interviewed about Piney by the track that he retired from. Here is the link. It was beautifully written. I guess it sort of serves as his eulogy.

So that’s about all I can muster up to write right now. I’ve been crying on and off the entire time. I wish I could tell you more of the scientific stuff that the vet told me but like I said my ears wouldn’t listen. I couldn’t grasp on to what she was saying other than the fact that he was sick and it wasn’t promising. Why do I have to go through this again? 4 years ago it was Yellow and now Piney. Why am I being punished like this? I almost feel as if I need to give up horses entirely. I decided that maybe I am going to give horses up and take up freestyle interpretative canoeing. My heart would heart as bad when my canoe sank. I just don’t understand how people can treat their horses like garbage and yet those horses live forever.  Hubby said that if I want to and when I’m ready we can head out west to the second chance ranch where I got Piney and we can get me another Thoroughbred. Right now I’m not ready for that, but maybe in the future I will be ready. He told me that I gave that horse so much love that there is another OTTB out there that needs someone to love them as much as I loved Piney.

I will need to change my blog header, I just can’t bear to do that now. And I apologize for how crappy this post was written. I just wanted to get the story out  a little bit and I’m sorry if it didn’t make any sense. Hopefully you won’t blame me for making the decision I made. I just did what I thought was best for him. He was suffering, and I didn’t want to put him through any more pain. I hope that if any of you were in my shoes you would have done the same.

Friday, July 20, 2012

No longer the proud owner of an OTTB.

This is my 200th post. I was hoping that it would be memorable but not like this.

Piney left me today at noon. Forever.

I made the decision to end his pain and he is gone forever. His health deteriorated very quickly and in less than 12 hours he was gone. I will write more and tell the story, but right now is not that time.

I love you Piney. You were my best friend and the best horse in the entire world. I will never in my life have a horse like you. There is a giant hole blasted open in my heart and I can't express how I am feeling right now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pistol came home!!

Great news! Pistol  came home yesterday! And drum roll please…he’s perfect! Well maybe not perfect but he’s pretty darn awesome! I had been emailing the trainer and asking if he thought he was ready to come home and he thought that he was. So we hooked up the trailer and made the journey out to the trainers place.

When we pulled up the trainer came out to greet us and then we made some small talk about the weather then we asked about how Pistol went. “well” he said “he’s got some issues”. Great I thought! Here it comes! He’s gonna tell me that riding him is like riding a freight train and he’s got no breaks, and should probably be sent off to a rodeo for a bucking bronco. “Getting his teeth done was probably the best thing you could have done for him” the trainer said. “He’s gotten better each time I’ve bridled him up. But someone mistreated him and he has got trust issues.” We sort of figured that part out about him. The trainer figured that no one bothered to fix his teeth and just kept getting more aggressive with Pistol when he was trying to tell his rider that he was hurting. Then they eventually just dumped him at an auction because they didn’t want to deal with his problems anymore. He said that he rides great, but he doesn’t really trust that we aren’t going to hurt him. The trainer says to just love up on him as much as possible and he will come around. He also said that since he’d been at his farm he started warming up to the trainer and his family. Pistol just really wants to be loved. The other issue that he had was that he didn’t back up. He figured that since he’d gotten away with not backing up his whole life, he wasn’t about to start doing it now. But that is something I’m not too concerned with.

We asked if he had any other problems when it came to riding. The trainer said, no not really. He does spook sometimes on the trail if something leaps out at him like a dog or a deer. But Pistol will do a  little hop straight up, but then realizes he is fine and then keep going, he doesn’t spin and bolt for home. He said that he’s a bit on the lazy side but he does listen to your cues. Walk, trot and canter are all there, but he never really long trotted him much.  He also told us that he ties and stands well for everything. The trainer even told us that he was riding and then just tossed Pistol’s reins over the box of the pickup and ran into the house to get a pop. He came back and Pistol was standing right there waiting when he came back.  Yay! He also said that he’d feel comfortable putting any of his family members on Pistol and his family doesn’t really ride all that much. That made me feel happy. We now have  a horse for every riding level!

So chatted a bit more and then we went down to the barn to see Pistol. He went right up to him and haltered him up and brought him into the barn aisle. We had asked him to help us fit our bridle and bit with him just so we could get it done and not have to fuss with it when we got home. He fitted it and then just slipped it on no problem at all. Pistol doesn’t like his right ear messed with much but he just sort of looks annoyed rather than jerking his head straight up in the air and turning into a giraffe. The trainer then asked if he wanted me to saddle him up so I could try him out. Ummm YEAH! SO he saddled him up and then I hopped on up!

Pistol is a big boy. He’s very tall! But I managed to hop right on up and not make an embarrassing scene like when I tried out that pony at Christmas time. But I asked for a walk and got one. He neck reins too which is so weird for me! I’m so used to direct reining with Pinecone so it’s just kind of a nice surprise!  I just briefly walked and trotted him around the yard, I didn’t want to take up too much of their time.  Since it was hot and muggy out. So we untacked him and then we went to settle up our bill.

When we dropped Pistol off we had to pay $125 for board. The trainer said that he charged $10 a ride/training session which I thought was very fair. The trainer came up and I asked him “what do I owe you?” and he said “eighteen seventy five”. And for whatever reason my brain was telling me $1875.00 and I thought he was joking. So I said “Eighteen dollars and seventy five cents?!” And sure enough that’s what the remainder of our bill was. HE said that he only put on 5 rides because it was so hot one of the weeks he was there. He  said that he could have rode the piss out of him and made a bunch of money but that wasn’t right. Especially since Pistol didn’t need that. I appreciated his honesty. And I would recommend this guy to anyone who is looking for a trainer. We were planning on paying up to $450 for 30 days of training on him. Which sure isn’t much money by most people standards, but we just needed a refresher put on Pistol. I have a feeling  a couple of the other trainers I had contacted would have kept him for the 30 days, charged the $450 and then told me that they probably needed to keep him for another 30 days. A friend of mine who is big into showing AQHA’s and heads to the world championships yearly gave me a list of trainers that I could contact. She also told me to make SURE I told them I only wanted 30 days because a lot of trainers are notorious for putting 30 days on then saying they needed more time. Most of the trainers she gave me info for were around the $650 a month mark. Which, if I had a younger horse that I had planned on showing at a higher level in western Pleasure, or even Hunter under saddle then maybe that would have been a route to explore. But Pistol is older and he’s probably not going to see the show ring. He was purchased to be a trail horse for when we had people over to ride with us. But I must say  our trainer’s honesty really, made me happy with our decision to go with him. Sure he was 100 miles away from home, but factoring in gas we were still under our budget! When we left we told him that we would definitely be recommending him to anyone looking for a trainer. He specializes in ranch horses so we said that we might even be bringing Duke out to see if he could get him started as a roping horse.
So when we got Pistol home I decided to take him for a quick ride around the yard. I grabbed my saddle and then tacked him up and hopped on. Gosh he is a big horse! I rode him around the yard and he was fantastic. I then took him down the road and he was amazing.  I am so happy that we decided to send him to get a couple rides on with a trainer. I was actually getting very nervous about keeping him since I was starting to freak myself out over the thought of tacking him up. The $143.75 we paid someone else to get the first ride on him was well worth it in my opinion. He’s going to be a fun horse I just know it!

And I haven't forgotten about telling the rest of my Western Adventure...I know you are waiting at the edge of your seats to hear about it...but I will finish my story this week! ALSO this weekend we went to watch some horse racing here in Fargo. I will tell you all about that because I'm sure you are dying to hear about the small cow track we have here ;-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 2 of my western adventure

On day two of our western adventure we slept in and then realized that it was pretty sloppy out there because of the rain the previous night. The rain was a good thing. It had been so darn hot and dry out there the earth could use a nice drink. So we went to the restaurant at the ranch and had the breakfast buffet. Again since I was on vacation I could eat whatever I wanted and had a bowl of lucky charms AND a bowl of golden grahams. Hey don’t judge!  I was on vacation!

After breakfast we went into town to do some sightseeing. The town of Medora was founded back in 1883 by the Marquis de Mores and named after his wife Medora. He had plans to process beef in the west and have it sent back east in refrigerated train cars. However he was financially ruined and only 3 years later he moved out of the badlands for good. Apparently grass feed beef wasn’t as popular as corn fed beef…which is funny because now I think people prefer grass fed beef. During the time that The Marquis was in North Dakota a very famous fellow came out West in a fellow by the name of Theodore Roosevelt.  He had first visited the state in 1883 on a buffalo  hunting trip he then invested in the Maltese Cross ranch. Then in 1884 after his wife and mother died ON THE SAME DAY he headed out to North Dakota and built a second ranch. It was in North Dakota that he learned to rope and ride and became a cowboy basically he was toughened up out here. But the severe winter of 1886 wiped out all of his cattle he headed back east and then eventually ran for president. 
remains of the cattle processing plant
In the 60’s Harold Schafer (creator of Mr. Bubble bath bubbles) began to restore and modernize the town. IT is now the #1 tourist destination in North Dakota. Everywhere you go there is something dedicated to the Schafers or Teddy Roosevelt, or the Marquis.  All kinds of little shops and restaurants, but not one single chain or franchise. I believe that everything is run by the Theodore Roosevelt Foundation. Fun story, years ago I was hired by the Theodore Roosevelt foundation to be the assistant manager at the trail riding stable. I was so excited to go but decided to stay home after my boss at the time begged me to stay on as manager at his barn and that he’d give me tons more work to do so I’d be making more money. I did…but I didn’t have much to do. To this day I’m kicking my ass for not going out west. It would have been a dream to live and work out there. Riding horses all summer long. It was my once in a life time chance to drop everything and do something like that. I didn’t have a husband, or pets, or a real job. I could have and should have gone out there. Live and learn I guess!

Anyways we wandered through the many little shops selling typical tourist town things. We tried on cowboy hats and then boots. Next up was a driving tour through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. So beautiful. This trip through the park we encountered much more wildlife than I’d ever seen in the park. And they were closer than ever! Usually you can get up close and personal with the black tailed prairie dogs since there are hundreds of them in many different prairie dog towns. I’ve seen Bison in the park before and I’ve seen a few wild horses.  But this time it was un real how many we spotted. The wild horses are mostly ranch horses that have escaped over the years. They are not true mustangs. There were a couple I’d love to have in my pasture.
I loved this baby.

They weren't too terribly scared of people

This baby in the road wanted to come home with me.

We saw a few herds of Bison. But as we were ending the 36mile loop around the park, a lone bull was coming slowly down the hill, and then was taking his time to walk down the road. So we went to pass him…slowly…He wasn’t thrilled and almost looked like he wanted to fight my pickup. Have you seen that state farm insurance commercial where the car is being smashed by a bison? Yeah it probably would have been similar to that! But we got past him and then headed back into town and grabbed a burger before heading home. The boys then saddled up and rode for a few hours. I took the time to take a really nice long and well deserved nap. It was wonderful. I love naps and never have the time to take them!
coming down the hill

passing in front of us

So then later that evening we went back into town I was well rested, but could have called it a night…sometimes naps make me tired. We went to the local pizza place and ate WAY too much over priced pizza that was pretty good. We had tickets for the musical. The Medora Musical is all about the history of the town and Teddy Roosevelt, and The Schafers who fixed up the town. I usually hate musicals but I always have a good time. We were front row, which was great because I didn’t have my zoom lens with me!

So that about sums up day two in the badlands. I really wish ya’ll could go and visit so you could see first hand what it’s like there. My crappy story telling about it really doesn’t do it much justice! Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Western Adventure! Part 1 of many...

The problem with vacations is that they fly by and before you know it you are back home and exhausted. I can’t seem to get enough sleep to recover from the trip…and the time leading up to the trip. All that stress with the added head and humidity caused me to have a melt down on the 3th of July.
We went to my parents summer home in Minnesota on the 3rd after work. It was hot there. The heat and the humidity do not mix well with me. I try to keep my happy face on but sooner or later I have a meltdown. I could feel it coming. The stress of loading Piney was starting to get to me. He had been doing great loading, but last time we loaded him he flipped out in the trailer and kicked the shi…um he kicked the crap out of the ramp. We couldn’t even open the upper doors he messed them up so bad. So I had to go into the trailer (with my extreme trailer phobia) and keep him calm while hubby worked to open the back doors so we could get him out of there. Nice. Frickin horse is a dream boat until it’s time to load him. And even then he tricks you into thinking he’s fine until it gets closer to the time when he needs to go someplace. To make matters worse he still wasn’t 100% healed from his little jail break a few weeks ago. We decided to wait until we got home on the 4th to make the final decision on whether he’d be going with us. But I broke down in tears on the 3rd blubbering about how scared I was of bringing him in the trailer, and that I loved him too much to risk him getting hurt out on the trails and blah blah blah. I got it all out but I knew it would be better if we just left him at home. Hes a bit of a loner so he’d be fine at home by himself.
When we got home on the evening of the 4th Pinecone was still limpy. So that answered that question about if we should bring him at all. I felt better. We finished loading up my pick up with almost every single piece of horse equipment in triplicate that anyone could ever need on a trail ride. It’s better safe than sorry out there. There aren’t a lot of tack shops and the stores that do have horse tack mark up everything. I don’t want to spend over $100 on a simple pair of leather reins.
The next morning we woke up bright and early and gave ourselves 30 minutes to load Duke and then we’d be headed out west. Yeah…not gonna happen. Duke wouldn’t get in the trailer. It ended up taking us one hour and 45 minutes to get him in there. I was ready to sell the horses, the trailer and the farm about 5 minutes before he got in there. We tried everything. We tried being nice guys, we tried being gentle, we tried to push him in there, we tried to pull him in there, we wrapped a rope around his butt an tried to drag him in there. We tried everything. Then right before getting the rifle and shot him. We made a little trail of treats and grain and he ate his way into the trailer. And then rode like a champ the rest of the way. We ended up turning the top vent around and then had the back doors off. He never once freaked out. We were to meet my husband’s cousin an uncle in a town about an hour away…lucky for us they had trouble loading their two horses so when we met up with them we were right on schedule. When we stopped for gas we checked in on old Dukey boy and he was fine as could be. Not sweaty or worked up in the least bit.

When we arrived to our guest ranch we checked in quickly and then brought the horses down to the barn where they would be staying. There were three stalls with runs that were located next door to our rooms. But the guy at the bar where we checked in said that we could move them into the actual barn if the weather got nasty since there weren’t any other guests that were staying at the hotel with their horses. People were camping with their horses, but they had separate stalls for them down by the camp sites. The horses unloaded fine and we let them stretch their legs before putting them in their “rooms”.  I filled dukes buckets and then added electolytes. I had been giving him electorlytes in his water for a few days before we left as a precaution. I’m sure it wasn’t necessary but with the hot weather and the traveling I knew he’d need some hydration. And some horses don’t like water in strange places so this would have helped him if he was a weirdo about his water. We also bought some hay that was expensive but certified weed free. they don't want our weeds coming in and destroying the badlands...i wouldn't either.
So other than Duke being a complete ASS about getting in the trailer it was pretty un eventful. We didn't do much other than sit on the patio and enjoy the cooler temps. THen the rain came and we were stuck inside...but to be honest I didn't mind. They had satelite tv in the rooms...I miss tv...we don't have it at our place since we just have netflix...I forgot how much i missed tv...

to be continued...I promise the rest of the weekend didn't consist of me just sitting around watching tv...although....i did think about doing just that!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Picture overload!

I am back from my western adventure. I promise to tell you all about it, but for now I will overload you with pictures from my adventure!!

Please note: When we arrived to Medora, North Dakota I realized that I forgot to grab my camera bag so I only had with me my 50mm Compact Macro lens and camera with me. It does not feature a zoom of any sort so I had to get rally creative with my picture taking and get as closed to my subjects.

Duke was the only horse we brought out there...More on that fiasco later!
This is Duke's best buddy TwoBits.

The remains of a beef processing plant that was built by the Marquis de Mores.

Spare tires.

We spotted a Wintec lead line saddle....

on a bucking bull.

For my collection of squished pennies...Don't judge me...

The Chateau De Mores off in the distance...
Chateau De Mores

Pictures in no way do this place justice. So beautiful there...

There are bison in this picture.

Wild horses!!

This fellow...well I have a story about him...

WILD BISON! NO ZOOM LENS! We were that close to him...

Saw plenty of these by our ranch.

The Medora Musical. I generally do not like musicals, but I love this one..go figure!
The person who helped regenerate and bring tourism to the town of medora was Harold Schaffer who also created Mr. Bubble. So of course they would talk all about him...

This little fiddle player so so cute.

Clog dancing!

These singers couldn't clog dance...but they had wooden dolls that could.

Horses back in the day didn't have lives as good as they do now...

Teddy Roosevelt spent time in North Dakota. Actually it was North Dakota that helped toughen him up!
This was his actual saddle and some of his clothes.


We got cows!!

I love the Badlands!