Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dental Appointments Finished, Weather Changes

I am so happy that today was the last round of teeth floating and sheath cleaning. We've had the dentist out four times over the last three weeks. She is a really nice person and we all enjoy having her out but I'm also glad to have that crossed off of my to-do list for awhile. I think what I like best about her as a dentist is she does not work in absolutes. She does not do just hand floating or just power floating, but instead uses whatever tools she feels will work best for each horse's needs. She also does not insist that the horses heads be held in a certain position. Some of the horses, like Sparky the donkey, are happiest just having their heads down towards the floor of the barn - of course the horses are all lightly sedated so their heads are droopy. However some of the horses don't like that and are happier to have something supporting their head and holding it up while she works.

Speaking of Sparky the donkey, it is always a challenge to do anything with him that involves a needle. Sparky is perfect for the farrier and politely puts his hooves on the hoof stand. He is excellent about having paste wormer administered, you don't even have to put a halter on him. He stands like a statue to have his blankets put on and taken off. However he hates needles. The only person that can hold Sparky while he is having his vaccinations, having blood drawn for his annual coggins, or while having an IV shot to be sedated for his annual float is Jason. Amy and I attempted to hold Sparky while he had his shot for sedation. He drug us out of the barn and across the driveway without even putting any effort into it. Amy and I (we each had a lead rope, and I had one with a chain on over his nose!) just skied along behind him, completely powerless to stop him, turn him, or do anything at all. I was beginning to wonder if he was ever going to stop for a couple of seconds! The dentist was laughing and said that Elvis had left the building.

I had to call Jason and have him come outside to help us. We had led Sparky back into the barn and he was getting ready to exit stage left again, but then he saw Jason. He immediately changed his entire body language and became much more cooperative. You could almost hear Sparky's thoughts: "Oh, it's that guy, I guess I am getting that awful shot after all." In case you are wondering, Sparky really likes Jason.

We had a weather shift over the weekend. We had had rain off and on for almost ten days, with Saturday being one of those days where it poured almost all day. However the rain finally moved out Saturday afternoon. We've had a lot of sunshine since then which has been very welcome. The temperatures also dropped from the mid 80's and have been in the mid 70's since Sunday. Even though everything was still wet on Sunday from the long rain shower on Saturday the humidity also dropped considerably as well. It is starting to feel like fall around here the last few days.

Tony lifting his head from grazing for a moment. Tony is a Dutch Warmblood and was one of the top amateur owner hunters in the country.

Sebastian, a Connemara/Irish Draught cross, hanging out in the shade with Bella the dog.

Asterik grooming B-Rad

After grooming they grazed quietly together

Something captured Chili's attention; he is 30 years old and I think he looks great

Trillion, Winston and B-Rad grazing together

Ogie, retired eventer, and Faune, retired show hunter, enjoying some grazing time

Snappy and Lightening; Snappy is another retired eventer who then had a winning career as a show hunter and Lightening was a trail horse

Lucky, Clay and Chili; all three were trail horses at one point while Clay also raced on the Quarter Horse circuit and Chili worked cattle

Clay, Teddy, Lightening and Slinky graze together with Baby and Trigger hanging out on the other side of the fence

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jason Goes Back to School

Another guest post by Jason:

Every fall for the past several years I have been invited to join the Equine Industry class at MTSU under the professorship of Dr. John Haffner as a guest lecturer. I very much enjoy doing this….the young people in this class are always ready to hear more about applications for what up to now has been theory. Conversely, I always learn at least as much as I teach during these sessions.

Given the level of interest in any equine program at any university, IMO the equine industry is rife with ways to spend money on horses, however outside the field of veterinary medicine it is more often than not woefully short of good paying careers for those who would otherwise choose to make horses their life’s work. This is as true of agriculture generally as it is of the equine industry specifically. Well do I remember spending time with the guidance counselors in high school who did all in their power to kill my passion for farming and steer me (an “A” student) away from a career path in agriculture and toward something they felt was more promising…..this in a farm community. Only on the intervention of my parents did they back down some, and outside of my home I never did receive any “institutional” encouragement for my path of choice. Perhaps because of this, I always begin my teaching sessions by sharing the aforementioned story and by encouraging the students to follow their passion and their dreams and not to let anybody stand in their way regardless of how impractical the dream may seem to them. I've never been of the mindset that it was necessary to work at something I didn’t like all week in order to earn enough money to be able to afford to do what I liked at the weekend. Five out of seven days of my life was just too high a price to pay, so why not just find a way do it full time and enjoy every day?

One of the questions I receive every year at these sessions is what do we need to do in order to do what you and Melissa are doing? Of course there is no correct answer to this….every person and every situation is different. However I think the trick is that after thinking it through one has to choose to do SOMETHING that puts the goal at hand closer to reach. After I've answered their query with a question of my own (What are you doing RIGHT NOW to move yourself closer to your goal?), more often than not students (and others that contact us with the same question) spend their time telling me all the reasons they can’t do something as opposed to taking the time to think it through and find a way to get it done. So dear reader, I encourage the same positive thought process for you, no matter what it is that you’d like to do!! I think it also comes as a revelation to many of them that there is no easy path to “success”….mastery of anything comes only after much patience, fortitude and continued elbow grease…or maybe it’s just that I’m a dummy as I have been working steadily towards my goals since I was 4 years old ! LOL !! (end Jason's post here)

We are contacted at least once a week by individuals who are interested in starting a retirement farm. I used to spend so much time answering the same questions to people over and over that I actually put a page on our website called "Run the Numbers" that outlines all of the expenses that need to be taken into consideration when starting a farm. I'm always surprised by the very open-ended questions I am asked, typically something of "what do I need to know to start a farm like yours" or whatever. If only I had enough time to sit down and type that out for someone - and I absolutely, positively don't have time to walk you through it on the phone! Thus I type a very short, polite reply stating that fact and wishing them good luck, and giving them the link to the Run the Numbers page on the website. If someone asked me a specific question that I could answer fairly quickly you would give yourself a much better shot at success and getting a useful answer.

I agree with Jason's whole post but I think one key point is worth repeating: you need to do something to move yourself closer to your goals. I think a key mistake which is commonly made is that people think that this something has to be a big something. This thought is a dream killer because it stops people from working towards something they really want because the end goal seems impossible. Just do a little something: maybe write a few sentences of a business plan, or open a savings account and put $50 in it, or maybe something even smaller than these tasks. Just do a tiny something every single day and after awhile you will realize that you've accomplished a lot, probably more than you ever thought possible.

With that, on to some pictures of the retirees ……

Snappy and Lightening; Snappy is a Polish bred horse that competed in eventing through the four star level before becoming a hunter. Lightening is an Arabian and was a trail horse.

Lucky, Clay and Chili. Lucky was a trail horse, Clay was a race horse on the Quarter Horse circuit before hitting the trails, and Chili was a working cow horse and trail horse.

Missy, former dude ranch pony who was saved from the kill pen by a wonderful family

Lily enjoying a nice roll - I think her rolling form is absolutely perfect in this picture - I give her a 10! Lily is retired from the jumper ring.

Lily finishing up her excellent rolling effort.

Lucky and Chili taking a drink together. During the summer months the troughs are dumped and scrubbed every day. I spray them down with bleach, scrub and rinse once a week. During the cooler months I dump and scrub the troughs about every two to three days. I can't stand dirty water troughs so I engage in a perpetual battle to clean them. It really drives me nuts when I have just filled up a perfectly clean trough with crystal clear water and I hardly get to enjoy the sight for a few seconds before someone comes to take a drink and dribbles grass bits into the trough. Grrrrr.

Slinky, Teddy and O'Reilly. Slinky is a large pony and specialized in the pony equitation divisions. Teddy is a Quarter Horse who was ridden in dressage and Mr. O'Reilly is an Irish bred horse who competed in the jumpers.

Homer, Apollo and Ivan making their way across the pasture for breakfast on a foggy morning. I love the sight of horses coming through the fog for some reason.

Getting closer and getting much easier to see

Asterik trotting through the field; Asterik is a Holsteiner and a really gorgeous horse.

Clay and Slinky

Two ponies hanging out in the shade; Traveller and Norman

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Dental Day

Today was another dentist day however it ended up not taking nearly as long as our dental day last week. The dentist couldn't stay as long today so she will back again tomorrow. Hopefully one more day next week will wrap up the teeth floating for awhile. The horses were all really good for their floats today which always makes for a nice day. The boys are clean from the inside out as they also had their sheaths cleaned.

I mentioned in my last post about a lot of the hoof pathologies that show up on the farm. If anything is amiss in their mouths it would seem that some people who float teeth do a really good job in the front of the mouth, but sometimes seem to not as good of a job or altogether skip the very back of the mouth. I always like to take a look and feel around in their mouths before and after floating so I can feel things for myself. Obviously I am not a dentist but I can look in there and see and feel hooks and points. A few of the residents have what are called "wave mouths" and a couple have what are called "shelf mouths." These things generally don't really effect the horse too much, but you do want to correct them as much as you can to help them masticate their food properly and have better wear on their teeth. However, one mistake that is easy to make is to do too much trying to correct things. It is very possible to remove too much and over float the teeth.

I've learned over the years if you want to see some heated debates among horse people two great topics of discussion to bring up are farrier care and dental care. You tend to hear a lot of extremes on these topics:
"I would never put shoes on my horse."
"I would never work a horse without shoes."
"I would never let someone use a power float in my horse's mouth."

Personally I don't really like extremes about anything. I am more of a fan of evaluating each horse's needs and each practitioners work on an individual basis. That being said I am just as guilty as anyone else of having the words 'always' and 'never' in my vocabulary!

Elfin looking very satisfied - and very dirty - after a roll; you will recall that Elfin was a top a/o hunter

As always Elfin has to continue the fun when he rolls. He doesn't stand up and then lay back down to roll on the other side, he just sits up and does his 'dog walk' to roll on the other side. Here he is mid dog-walk.

Mr. O'Reilly and Lucky grazing. O'Reilly is an Irish bred horse who showed in the jumpers and Lucky was a trail horse.

The horses looked so peaceful together in their line-up. From front to back we have Trillion (national champion hunter), Winston (retired adult hunter), Asterik (retired from the hunters and the jumpers on the A circuit), Faune (big time show hunter) and Sebastian (another Irish bred horse who excelled at everything from fox hunting to jumpers). A lot of fancy horses in one picture!

Teddy; he is a Quarter Horse whose owner did some dressage with him

Lightening, the energize bunny trail horse

Sparky and Norman, two of the biggest personalities on the farm

Chili and Lucky were walking somewhere with a purpose

Sebastian, Asterik and Faune

Ogie, Winston and Trillion playing follow the leader through the pasture

Ogie napping while Asterik grazed

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reasons for Retirement and Home Found

I am excited to say that our stray dog that joined us last week has found her home again. Her owner saw one of the signs we had posted about her and came to get her on Monday evening. As it turns our her name is Flossie and she is 13 years old. Flossie was really happy to be re-united with her person. She lives about a mile and a half further down our street. I'm really glad we found her owners. I had mentioned that her back legs looked really arthritic and as it turns out she is on a lot of medication for them, which of course she hadn't had in five days. Thank goodness for a happy ending!

Flossie is home!

One of the most common questions that I am asked is why are the horses retired. Obviously some of the residents are here because they are older and were simply ready for retirement for typical age related reasons. If you've read this blog much you probably know that a lot of the horses are not particularly old. We seem to have two dichotomies when it comes to retirement ages. For the most part the horses are either in their early to mid twenties when they arrive at our farm, or they are between the ages of 7-14 years old when they arrive for retirement.

It often surprises people to learn that about half of the residents here are in that younger age bracket when they originally arrive for retirement. The inevitable question is then "why are they retired?" The most common reason is soft tissues injuries, especially suspensory injuries. As many of you know, soft tissue injuries, depending on severity and location, can be really hard - and sometimes impossible - to completely heal. A lot of the owners have gone through real heartbreak. They do everything right, send their horses to rehab facilities to take advantage of aqua-cisers and tread mills, employ the latest technologies like shockwave and stem-cell therapy, and the horse ends up breaking down again. Often the horses have re-injured the same area, sometimes they end up having compensatory injuries from bearing more weight on their other legs to avoid fully weighting the injured leg.

The other main reason for retirement is hoof related issues. I've seen some feet that were so messed up I couldn't have imagined ever seeing such wonkiness in a non-neglected horse. One poor guy his heels didn't even touch the ground and he walked only on his toes up front, and the super duper expensive, best-in-the-area and charged $350 a shoeing farrier was responsible for that mess. He even shaped the shoes to follow the curve up of the heel so the poor guy had no chance of ever standing on his whole foot. I feel like I have seen every possible combination of shoe/pad combination show up here. Various types of bar shoes, pads, wedge pads, rim pads, pretty much if you name the hoof pathology and the typical treatment for it, it has arrived on this farm at some point! I've seen heels so high you would have they were wearing spike heels, toes so long they had big dishes in them, severe contraction, uneven angles, trailers on the hind shoes, huge toe and quarter cracks, I could go on and on. Some of the residents have severe navicular and a couple of them have previously foundered. If nothing else you do get to see a lot of hoof pathologies!

All of these horses have people who care about them a lot and employed the top vets, farriers etc. in their area. Many were boarded in very big name show barns. More of the horses show up with really messed up hooves than don't. I will admit I scratch my head over this. I realize not every horse is genetically blessed with perfect feet, but I also don't think that most of these horses had hooves that looked anything remotely close to the train wrecks they ended up with when they were foals. You will not convince me they came out of the womb with a lot of this stuff, maybe tending towards some of them but not the extremes they wind up with. Some of the issues can be blamed on metabolic problems. However I'm sorry but a lot of these messes are farrier and vet created. No one seems to trim to the hoof anymore. They are always trying to change the hoof, change the angles, lengthen the toe, raise the heels, etc. Every time a horse shows up with lameness and these awful feet it is always accompanied with "my vet/farrier worked together to come up with a shoeing strategy.

I will admit I often want to ask if they were blind and/or drunk when they decided to trim/shoe the horse this way. What happened to reading the hoof and trimming each hoof individually, and then applying the shoe on top of a correct trim? Why is it such the norm now to try and force our horses' hooves into a shape or angles that the hoof in question was never meant to have? Speaking from experience with a decent number of retirees out here, these approaches may get you a temporary fix that either gets the horse sound, makes the horse move better, or meets whatever the goal was, but sooner or later it leads to a permanent crash and the horse ends up here, retired. What shocks most owners is that every single horse retired here for hoof issues ends up improving in both hoof form and soundness here while cruising around with their bare hooves.

I realize I am probably going to get blasted for some of my thoughts on hooves and farrier work in my preceding paragraphs. I'm a big girl, I can take it. :)

The third most common reason that the horses come here for retirement is arthritis. As with the soft tissue problems this can be another unwanted roller coaster ride. There are almost endless ways to spend money attempting to treat arthritis. Supplements, injections like Adequan and Legend, joint injections, special shoeing, and treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. Of course that is on top of the money spent on the diagnostics: x-rays, MRI's, bone scans, so many ways to spend time and money. In this area some horses seem to be just flat out unlucky. When you are being retired from arthritis at 8 or 10, you have to wonder about the genetic component. Sometimes I wonder if it is possible that maybe they hurt themselves as a foal when they were playing, something that probably no one ever saw or realized as it happened in normal foal play, that set them up for early arthritis.

Another cause for retirement is complications from serious illness such as EPM. Yet another tough scenario. You manage to nurse your horse through a terrible disease or illness only to realize that your future together is permanently altered.

Having retired my amazing mare Bridget young myself, I understand what the owners have been through. You literally almost drive yourself over the edge. For me it wasn't the setbacks that were the hardest, it was the hope that kept killing me. You keep trying, hoping, waiting, spending obscene amounts of money, hauling the horse to different specialists, etc. all while living an emotional roller coaster. I think we're making progress and feeling a little hope! All hope dashed, all progress gone! Trying something new, I think it may be working! Never mind, it didn't work after all! Let me tell you this is torture.

Regardless of the problem, I'm not sure what is harder, chasing a diagnosis or trying to find a treatment/rehab plan that works. It is easy to wind up spending a lot of time and money trying to ferret out the root cause. I think what often happens is secondary issues are first identified and treated, and then other problems keep cropping up. As I mentioned, this is all a torturous roller coaster ride from the aspect of mental health, time and money. After all we have a lot invested in our horses, both emotionally and financially. We all want to have a long partnership with our horses, and certainly no one in their right mind would hope to have a horse that winds up as a young retiree.

I applaud and respect everyone who has retired their horse with us. I'm honored to have earned their trust to care for their beloved horses, and I respect the fact that they are willing to provide a retirement. Many cannot afford another horse so they truly are stepping up to the plate for their animals in a big way. I know what it feels like to be on the sidelines with a retired horse. Of course we still love our horses but there is nothing shameful about admitting that you wish you could ride your horse since you are still spending the money! I'm thrilled to be back in the saddle on my own horses this past year and I appreciate it more than ever. I rode other people's horses but it isn't the same as with your own horse.

Sometimes it does seem that you can do everything right for your horse, but life happens and disaster strikes. I'm just glad that I have the opportunity to know these amazing horses in a different phase of their life. Wow this post ended up long. I can be quite verbose when the mood strikes me. That is a nice way of calling myself a wind bag.

Clay; Clay started life as a race horse on the Quarter Horse circuit. His owners said he won a decent amount of money. I will admit I find that shocking, Clay isn't in a hurry about anything. He then became a trail horse. Clay is 30 years old now, but was retired in his teens due to navicular.
Snappy on the left and Mr. O'Reilly on the right. Snappy was a 4 star eventer, then he was crashed into a cross country jump by a bad rider error. He had to have tendon surgery on both front legs and then became a show hunter before retirement. Mr. O'Reilly was retired due to a recurring soft tissue injury at age 14.
Enjoying a meal together; Cuffie in the very front (retired due to arthritis and hoof issues), MyLight (retired due to arthritis), Harmony (retired sound at 18 from polo, she is 29 now) and Lily (retired because she developed heaves)
Trigger is 10 and was retired because of navicular and Baby is 9 and had several soft tissue injuries
Lily gave me a laugh one day. She was making doe eyes at the geldings in two different pastures.
She looks like she is batting her eyelashes here!
But then she decided that boys are boring . . .
. . . REALLY boring!
Ogie in the back, Winston in the middle, Trillion in the front. Ogie is made of iron and retired sound from eventing. Winston is retired due to suspensory injuries as is Trillion. Ogie is approx. 29, Winston is 19 and Trillion is about 24 and has been retired for a few years.
Sebastian and Asterik; Sebi retired sound in his early 20's and Asterik retired at 14. He stepped on a nail at a horse show and it went through his collateral ligament in his hoof. Talk about heartbreaking!
Norman with two of his ladies, Bridget and Sky. For Norman I don't think life gets any better than enjoying a meal with two of his babes.
MyLight loves to rest her head on Buffy. here she is lightly resting her chin; Buffy definitely does not mind being a head rest. Buffy retired at 14 due to soft tissue injury.
Do you think Harmony found some mud to roll in?
I took this right after I had been spotted early one morning; Lightening is in the front leading the way in for breakfast.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trying New Things, Dogs With New Do's, Great Rides

First of all let me start by saying I love rain. I love being soaking wet every single day. I love handling hay when I'm soaking wet and therefore having little bits of hay stuck to me everywhere. I love putting plastic baggies in my rubber boots to keep my feet dry. I love it when my jeans are dripping wet and stuck to my legs. I especially love rain when my rain coat has holes in it. Sigh. It has rained at some point every single day for the last five days. And Mother Nature, with her sick sense of humor, has made sure that the rain happens to come at a time when I have to be out in it.

I have been drenched and soaking wet at least once a day, every day, for five days in a row. Wednesday was the worst I was soaking, sopping wet all day long. At some point each day I look like I just took a shower with all of my clothes on. It has been a nice warm rain though, temperatures in the low-mid 70's, and the horses are loving it. They are like pigs in mud, literally, and they look like it!

My farrier and I are trying something new with Sky. The vet who did her pre-purchase exam had told me that her toes were really long and needed to be addressed. Sure enough when she arrived she had super long toes. I think the best way to approach long toes (and honestly most hoof pathologies) are with bare hooves so they can both get natural wear and be trimmed more frequently. We pulled Sky's shoes about a week after she arrived. I was expecting her to have crumbly feet up to the nail holes but wasn't expecting anything more than that. Aside from the really long toes her feet looked nice, really wide heels, fat, healthy frogs, etc.

She was not sore when we pulled her shoes. Her feet did end up crumbling to the nail holes as expected. What surprised me was the walls continued to get crumbly. This made me nervous as I didn't want her feet to disappear before my eyes nor did I want her to get sore. There was also nothing to nail a shoe onto thanks to the crumbling. I thought about glue on shoes or having equicasts applied. However my farrier happened to receive a demo kit of a new product from Easycare so we decided to give them a try this past week.

They sent Gwen a kit for their new product which is the Easyboot Glue On. Basically it is a shell that you glue on and it has no hardware at all on it like a regular hoof boot would have. It also has a very aggressive breakover set into the boots. Gwen used the fit kit to determine the appropriate sizes for each foot. Then she applied Sole Guard to the soles on each front hoof and allowed that to set up before gluing on the boots. So in effect we applied pour in pads and then a glue on shoe. The same glue which is used to glue on regular steel shoes is used to glue on the boots.

Gwen pouring in the Sole Guard on Sky's hoof; it sets up in less than 30 seconds

I was really excited to try this as I do believe the best way to grow out a good foot is to not have any nail holes. Before anyone misreads my words let me state I have no problems with shoes at all if I feel they are necessary. I'm simply stating that to best tackle my wants of addressing Sky's long toes and growing in a thicker hoof wall I felt it was best done without regular shoes with nails. The Glue Ons have certainly been tested these first few days as the weather has been so wet. They are still on very tight and she feels great in them. I've managed two rides in between all the rain and Sky has felt very confident and comfortable with big, swinging strides. I've even hopped her over a small crossrail just to test things out. They should ideally be re-glued every 5 to 10 days and you can reset each boot several times. I can put the Sole Guard in and re-glue the boots myself, that part is fast and easy. They fit very tightly but nothing comes above the coronary band so nothing gets rubbed. On her black feet some people don't even notice that there is something on it, the boot is that inconspicuous.

One freshly applied Glue On boot

Speaking of riding Sky - I love her. She gets stronger and learns more with every ride. She is really getting the concept of back to front, inside leg to outside rain, lifting her back, etc. I was really excited today as we had our most correct canter to trot transitions yet. She tries to please you with every step and you can't complain about that!

My other fabulous rides the last few days have been on Bonnie. I've squeezed in two rides on her as well between rain showers. (I have to insert here that I love my arena, no matter how much it rains there is never a puddle in there!) I've spent the last two rides on Bonnie with a giant smile plastered on my face and said "good girl!" about 15,000 times. I can't believe the difference. Her flat work went from being iffy Training Level, mainly due to the canter but also sometimes the trot, to being not only stellar Training Level but solid First Level as well. She has felt amazing the last two rides and for the life of me I do not know what changed with her and what brought this on. We've made progress over the last few months but it has been slow and painful (I mentioned that riding this horse was going to turn me into a zen master) but the last two rides have been WOW.

She is so soft, so engaged, and so round it is unbelievable. Her transitions are incredible, we're doing nice shoulder-in work at the trot in addition to our leg yields, really nice lengthenings at the trot and canter, and she stays so soft and connected in the downward transitions. I really want to identify what allowed us to make this giant leap forward together because I desperately want it to stay this way!!! But I really don't know what changed, same rider, same saddle, same bridle and bit, riding in the same place, etc. As I mentioned previously I had done some ground driving with Bonnie and Sky to acclimate them to the cows and other scary things so we could get out of the arena more often. We have had a few nice walking trail rides up and down the hills and meandering through the cow pasture. Maybe she is just happier because of the variety?

On the dog front the stray dog that appeared last week is still with us. She is so sweet and so friendly, and so frantic about not letting you disappear from her sight. She follows every step I take on the farm which isn't a good thing. She has no horse experience at all, that is very obvious as I've watched her almost get stepped on too many times, and she is too old and arthritic to keep forcing herself to keep up with me. I cover a lot of ground during a day's work around here. She also follows me when I ride. I've tried shutting her in a stall but that sends her into a blind panic. I hope we either find her real home soon or she settles down a lot. I can't blame the poor thing for her state of mind but it isn't working out well for her or for me.

She is so sweet and I hate to see her act so frantic about not letting me out of her sight and following me as closely as possible.

We had a mobile dog groomer out to the farm last week

In other dog news we had the mobile groomer out on Friday for the dogs. all of the dogs except for Bush had a bath and Bella and Bear were clipped. My house cat Gracie was bathed and clipped as well. I've never had Bear shaved before in the 10 years we've been together. However I've been really lax the last several months about grooming him and his coat was reflecting it. I was thinking about just having him bathed and having a super duper grooming on him but my dad talked me into having him shaved and letting him grow back in a brand new coat. Well, see for yourself:

Bear unshaved

Bear after his shave. EEEEEK!! She had to go really close to the skin since he has a thick undercoat, and the undercoat was the main part that needed to go. My dog went from being a Schipperke to a Chihuahua!

In some ways he looks kind of cute. Jason is horrified though. I keep telling him it will all grow back.

Bella had a bath and good body trim as well

Bugle had a super deep clean bath, he was gross; Bugle did not want to be groomed and managed to jump out of this tiny window of the groomer's trailer in an escape attempt. My dad and I saw him make the leap and couldn't believe he got his body through that tiny opening. He didn't get far and went right back in for his grooming!

Trooper, the 3-legged wonder dog, also had a super scrubby bath and a blow dry

Bear and Trooper relaxing after their morning at the spa; I don't think they looked at it as the spa treatment.

Bear sporting his new 'do

This week won't be quite as busy as last week but we'll still have plenty going on. There is another dentist day on Thursday. So more teeth floating and sheath cleaning coming up on Thursday. After Thursday there will be one more dentist/sheath day left and then I can cross that off of my to-do list for awhile, thank goodness. The dentist (actually she is a vet) is a great person and I like her a lot but those are extra long days.

I'm off to tuck in the World's Cutest Fainting Goats and to wrap up this day.

Faune and Asterik. Faune is a Selle Francais and won a lot in the hunters at the biggest shows. I've had the pleasure of riding him a few times. He is a very big boy at just shy of 18 hands but he is light as a feather to ride. The term "broke to death" would apply to this horse - you think it and before you've even finished your thought it is happening underneath you. Asterik is a Holsteiner and showed in both the a/o hunters and jumpers. Not many horses can do that and win at both on the A circuit. He is a lovely mover and jumps in beautiful style, and he also has a lot of scope.
Mr. O'Reilly and Chili. Mr. O'Reilly is an Irish bred gelding and you can read his detailed story here. Chili is a Quarter Horse and was both a working cow horse and a trail horse in the Colorado mountains. These horses have no idea how lucky they are
Baby in the back (fanciest hunter mover I've ever seen), Tony (nationally ranked in the top six a/o hunters) and Dustin (grand prix jumper) in the front
Ivan (Grand Prix jumper) in the back and Chance (race horse, carriage horse, and finally h/j horse) in the front
Leo in the back (awesome show hunter who also showed through 4th Level dressage) and Elfin (one of the top a/o hunters in Zone 4)
Homer; Homer is another one of our residents who is originally from Ireland. He won a lot in the hunters and was circuit champion at places like the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Not a bad retirement