Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Surprising news about Solomon.

When I turned the car off up at the ranch today, I heard "meow. meow. MEOW!"

"Well that can't be right," I said to Sensei, "it sounds like there's a cat out there."

"Yeah, I hear that too," he said, and we got out of the car to find this:

Okay folks. I'm going to give you a short little lecture right now about dropping your housecat out in the country. Or any pet.

You don't want fluffy any more. Maybe he doesn't match your new curtains, or you actually believe that he will suffocate your new baby at night because he is an agent of the devil. Or maybe you can't afford to take care of him any more and don't know what else you can do.

So you think to yourself, "oh hey, I'll let Fluffy live in the country where he can be free and wild and happy, frolicking in the flowers!"


No, Fluffy will be terrified and starving, thirsty, with no knowledge of how to hunt for food on his own. Fluffy will get hunted down and eaten by coyotes, run over by a car, shot by a rancher who doesn't like cats or who worries that the barking, charging dog is going to attack his stock, or slowly, painfully starve to death, scared and alone.

That's what happens most of the time when you take Fluffy out to the country and dump him.

This cat is ribby and scared and clearly isn't used to living in the country. He's small enough for a large owl to take. He doesn't seem to know how to hunt, and he has that desperate "please save me and take me home" cry.

Does anybody want a cat? Anybody here in Northern California? I'll drive him to you if you can commit to giving him a good home. I haven't been able to convince my entire household to take him yet, and even if I could, I don't know if he'd be able to get on with my two cats. He is pretty and friendly and sweet though. He purrs if you pick him up. Not a feral cat. Bo says he's a city cat, somebody's abandoned pet. Bo is not a cat person.

Okay, we have that bit out of the way. Now on to horses.

All the photos taken today were taken by sensei. I was busy doing horse stuff for the most part, some of it pretty visceral wet stuff, so a camera was just not practical for me to carry around. Thank you, sensei, for taking photos!

Lil was running around, having a blast being a horse. I really do like this mare!

Bo and I talked about approaching a horse, getting to know her, getting her to accept you, and working on co-operation instead of coercion. She could have gone anywhere on the ranch when this picture was taken, but instead she let us mess with her, pick up her feet, play with her tail, rub her belly, rub her ears, eyes, face, everything.

Wow, my pants are WAY too big. :/

The equine dentist I saw today, Dr. Stewart, was a really great guy!

He was kind, compassionate, and patient with the horses. They all responded to this eventually, even the one who rears when you stick a needle in her. He kept calling them "sweetheart" and telling them that no one was going to hurt them. He told them he was just going to help them feel good. They don't speak English, but they do understand focused intent, and they understood his.

He managed to look in Sol's mouth before sedating him. Nice work! Then he sedated him, and thought carefully before sedating him some more. "I don't like to sedate a horse more than he needs to be sedated," he said. I like that. Solomon is a sweet boy but he gets mental blocks with certain things and really fights losing control. If you drug him, he'll fight the drug.

Sol had good teeth. The best he'd seen yet on the ranch, the dentist told me. The last people who floated his teeth did a very good job. He evened out his incisors, which were only a little bit off.

I asked Dr. Stewart, "hey, how old do you think this horse is?"

"Well," he said, after looking and carefully considering, "going by his incisors, I'd say 18 or 19 years old, but we're going to have to look deeper to get a really good idea of how old he is."

"It's okay sweetheart, I'm going to help you and make you feel good," he said, putting the oral speculum on Solomon's head.

He looked in Solomon's mouth and said he only needed a little work there too, which he did. When he took the device off, he turned to me and spoke.

"Well, if I were to have jsut gone by his incisors, I would have said 18 or 19," he said, "but you have to take a look at the 4th molar. It's the first tooth to come in, and the first to wear. Now, I have been wrong about a horse's age before, but I'm pretty confident of this. When a horse reaches about 22 or 23 years old, their 4th molar starts to cup. His tooth has been cupping for a while now, looks like, at least a number of years. I'd say this horse has to be at least 25 years old. At least."


So Solly is 25 or older? Oh. Oh wow. Okay.

The people at the place I rescued him from said he was in his early teens, 12 or so. Somebody else told me 14. The vet who just looked at his incisors at the time said between 15 and 17 or so, probably more like 17. A year ago I got the estimate of 18. I figured he was probably on the older side and maybe about 19 by now. I did kind of of wonder if he might be older though.

If he's 50 or older, he's doing pretty well for a retired horse with physical issues!

"Oh, well! That might explain why he doesn't have so much pep," Bo said.

After Solomon got his teeth cleaned, and the dentist pulled out a couple good sized beans, Sol was still so stoned that we didn't want him to try to walk anywhere. He fights sedatives, but then they hit him later like a ton of bricks.

I love stoned horses.

I had to help him balance himself for a while. He really seemed at fist of toppling over. It seems like holding on to his head helps better than leaning on a shoulder, especially since when he's stoned he doesn't really think about how leaning back would just result in falling down and squishing mom.

Of course I had to be a complete dork, and drag my poor old horse into the dorkiness pool by making him "talk" with his droopy stoned lower lip. Yeah, I know, should I really post this on the internet? Oh well!

I decided I'd put it off long enough, once he could more or less stand on his own. I asked sensei to hold him (I have to start teaching him basic groundwork, holding horses, moving through gates, that sort of thing) and I got the bucket, the gloves, and the Excalibur.

Yes, in case you missed it before, the sheath cleaning soap I use is called "Excalibur." HURP A DUR HURRRR!

Okay I let it go a year. This, as it turns out, is WAY too long to let Sol's sheath go without a cleaning. I felt so bad about it! It was... okay it was not pretty. I don't think I even managed to get everything on the inside of the sheath loose. I got most of it, but it took so long that the sedative started to wear off enough for Solomon to a) decide he was enjoying it a bit too much, and b) decide to go on walkabout. Sensei doesn't know how to handle horses yet really, so he didn't know how to STOP Sol from wandering over to sniff another sedated horse. That was the end of the sheath cleaning session. But my back was screaming by that time anyway.

He has a little lesion on his penis. It might be that he just scratched it somehow on something, I don't know. But I'll have to keep an eye on it. I know that a few years ago with a previous owner he got summer sores on it and had to go to U.C. Davis for treatment. Yeah, don't want that to happen!

Anyway, I hosed out his sheath (cold water, poor baby!) and then I completed the trifecta of torture by worming him. He was in the cross ties, sensei was trying to hold his head with the halter, and he was still pretty drugged, but this was Solomon so he tossed his head and fought. Instead of trying to steal it though, I did what Bo has done, let him get used to the tube touching his face, sticking my finger in his mouth, and eventually (EVENTUALLY, heh) just sticking the tube in and filling his mouth with nasty nasty wormer.

Once defeated, and after I held his head up for a minute or so, stroking his throat to encourage swallowing, I let Solomon go, and he had to do his thing. Every time I worm him, or something else terribly upsetting happens, he has to hide his face under my arm. He shoves his head under until his eyes are shielded, and then he stands there.

So I hug him

"I am safe, Mom has me and no one can see me because I cannot see them!"


Amanda said...

Love love LOVED the last pics of you snuggling up with Solly. You look great. :)

Evergrey said...

Awh, thank you! I am still not used to pictures of me out at the ranch, but I did love some of these. That old horse makes me so happy. <3

Maggie said...

Every post gets better and better. Lucky, lucky solly, and lucky lucky you.

BTW, you look great!

Evergrey said...

Thanks! It really means a lot to get such great feedback. :}

Anonymous said...

Ooh, penis lesion on an old gray horse... quite probably melanoma. If it's not kept on a leash, I've seen some cases where it grows so much that the horse has to lose his penis. And many owners opt NOT to do that surgery.
So... Just keep a super special close eye on it.

Evergrey said...

Oh dear, hoping it isn't that. Looked more like a cut or scratch type of thing though than a melanoma- he has a few of those, which I keep an eye on. I'll watch it carefully.

Maggie said...

Did the kitty find a home?

Evergrey said...

The kitty hasn't found a home yet. I'm still looking though!