Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last D-Day

(post by Jason) Tomorrow is our last D-Day (dental day) of 2012 and I say that with a toothsome grin because what we're hoping to do...and what we will do if all goes as planned..... is finish floating teeth on the farm until late spring next year. I think floating teeth is possibly my least favourite job on the farm. Even while sedated a few of our charges are something less than cooperative and my job is to hold their heads still and steady while the vet does his work. I have fourteen heads to hold tomorrow and experience suggests that by days end my arms will feel like an old used up piece of sisal rope. 

In other news we are very thankful that the only thing Hurricane Sandy has brought to Middle Tennessee are clear skies and cool, windy days. The horses have been loving the clear skies, wind and cooler temperatures. They've been acting pretty wild and watching them buck, run, snort and jump has brought a smile every morning the past few days. The humans have sometimes felt otherwise as  the temperatures have been fairly clement but the steady north wind feels like it's coming straight out of the arctic in spite of the mild thermometer readings. Still, we'll take what we're getting compared to all the folks up in the Northeast and parts of Eastern Canada right now. We hope all our clients and friends are high, dry, safe and warm up there right now.



Noble, Thor, Fabrizzio and Walden on the move

O'Reilly and Lucky having some play time

Baby and Moe were also being playful and charging around the pasture


Rampal and Bergie

I took this picture of Traveller strictly because there was some fall color behind him.  In Middle Tennessee we are not exactly known for our fall colors so we show off what little we have.

Norman also had some nice colors behind him

something had Gus and Romeo's attention

Apollo and Elfin

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In Memory of Bush

We have been experiencing more than our share of the circle of life lately, at least it very much feels that way to me.  As everyone knows my father recently passed away.  Soon after that The Don was killed.  We had to say goodbye to Fuzzy last week.  This weekend we lost our coon hound, Bush, who had been pictured on this blog many times through the years.  


Bush was born and raised on the farm.  My dad was driving home from Memphis on I-40 and stopped to get gas.  While filling up his car he noticed the skinniest looking dog he had ever seen hanging around the gas station.  He went inside and inquired about the dog and was told she had showed up a few days ago.  She was very friendly so my dad put her in the back of his SUV and she quietly rode in the car for a couple of hours until they made it home.  

enjoying a good roll

My dad named the stray dog Dolly, and she was definitely the skinniest dog we had ever seen.  It was amazing that she was alive.  Dolly rapidly began gaining weight and my dad was very proud of his rehabilitation skills.  My mom was looking at Dolly one day as my dad was proudly talking about how much weight she had gained.  She walked all around Dolly and really studied her from every angle.  Mom then announced that Dolly was, indeed, gaining weight but not just because of all the food she was eating but because she was pregnant.  My dad laughed and completely dismissed this ridiculous notion, she was gaining weight because of her wonderful new home.  A few weeks later, on September 13, 2001, Dolly had 13 puppies.  Mom was right and Dad was definitely wrong.

riding in the back of the Gator

Since the puppies were born the day after the tragic events of 9/11 my parents named the puppies after the president, vice president, some generals, and other such names.  It made it easy for them to produce 13 names. They were able to find homes for all of the puppies except Bush, so he became a family member.  

big stretch

Bush was definitely my dad's dog and they spent a lot of time together.  The thing Bush loved to do more than anything in the world was to ride around in the back of my Dad's Gator.  Anytime my dad was out and about the farm on his Gator Bush was riding along in the back.  Bush did not like to sit on the passenger seat but always rode in the bed, standing up and taking in all the sights.  Often if the Gator was parked in my parents' garage Bush would climb in the back and sleep in it, waiting for someone to come and drive him around.  Whenever my parents were out of town Jason and I had to take make a point of taking Bush on Gator rides each day because he would stop eating if we didn't.

riding in the back of the Gator with my dad driving, Bugle in the passenger seat and Trooper sitting by the passenger seat.  Sadly everyone in this picture is now deceased except Trooper.

The other thing in life that Bush loved was riding around in  my Dad's truck.  He didn't get to ride in either of my parents' cars but anytime the truck was being driven Bush went for a ride.  Without exception he always chose to sit in the back seat.  Bush made many, many trips to the co-op, the feed store, Tractor Supply, Home Depot, and even made the yearly trip to the vehicle inspection station.  One time the truck had to be towed to the dealer because of a broken belt.  The tow truck came and Bush's truck was winched onto the back.  Then the tow truck began driving down the driveway with Bush's truck on board.  Bush was beside himself.  His truck was moving and he wasn't in it.  Bush frantically ran after the tow truck with his truck on board.  My dad ended up having to chase Bush down in the Gator, and Bush finally jumped into his customary spot in the bed of the Gator and allowed his truck to be towed.

There were also a few things Bush did not like in life.  Even though he was a coon hound and therefore a hunting dog he was scared of gunfire.  He hated 4th of July fireworks.  However his biggest nemesis in life was thunderstorms.  He was petrified of thunderstorms and his issues with thunderstorms only got worse over time.  My Dad bought a Thunder Shirt for Bush and that helped a lot although he was still terrified.  With his Thunder Shirt on he went from out of his mind terrified to scared and shaking but able to function.  We always knew if there was a thunderstorm on the way because Bush could hear them long before he could and he would be frantic to get in my parents' house so he could go to his hiding place in the laundry room.

Bush in his Thunder Shirt

After my father's death Bush seemed to lose his enthusiasm for life.  He lost interest in riding in the Gator.  We would have to coax him in and we could tell the Gator rides just weren't the same for him anymore.  He stopped eating well despite my mom trying to tempt him with various types of dog food as well as people food, and unsurprisingly he started losing weight.  My mom took him to the vet but they could not find anything wrong with him.  On Saturday morning my mom found Bush curled up in his dog bed with his head on his paws, sleeping in his favorite position.  He was not alive, and had passed in his sleep sometime during the night.  

Bush sleeping in the back of the Gator while waiting for a ride. Note there are two dog noses in this picture, one in the front in the passenger seat.  That is Bugle, also waiting for my Dad to come drive them around.

All of us are taking the loss of Bush hard.  He was our link to Dad in many ways as Bush was his constant companion.  I try to take comfort in the thought that Bush and my Dad are together again along with their other companion Bugle.  I imagine they are all in their usual positions in the Gator, my Dad driving, Bugle in the passenger seat, and Bush in the back.  They all sat in the same spots in the truck as well.  I can sometimes smile as I think about the three of them riding around together again.  I wish them many more adventures together, I only wish they were having them here with us.

Bush and Cloudy

 Bush always wore his blanket in cold weather.


Lighty and Africa

Sebastian, Murphy and Dutch


Hemi and Thomas


Zeus and Winston

Clayton and Bergie

Walden, O'Reilly and Noble

Trigger and Homer




Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Memory of Fuzzy

We had to say our goodbyes to Fuzzy Punch, more affectionately known as Fuzzy or The Fuzz, on Tuesday.  Fuzzy had been with us for a little over two years, and it had become apparent in the last few weeks that the issues that had led to his retirement were catching up to him.  Since he was just shy of 22 years old it made saying goodbye even more sad at his relatively young age, but everyone on Fuzzy's team knew it was the right thing to do.

Fuzzy Punch

With Fuzzy it was not one of those situations where everyone was in a panic as we had to make "the" decision right now. The downhill slide had clearly started but I guess you could say he had more room to slide.  Several years ago we would have made the (wrong) choice to keep him going a few more weeks or a couple of months thinking we were being nice. Thankfully Fuzzy had the benefit of our years of experience in dealing with end of life issues and we made the decision to let him go when it could be peaceful for all involved.  Saying goodbye is never easy, but it was a lot less stressful for Fuzzy, his mom, us and his attending veterinarian to honestly assess Fuzzy's outlook a little bit in the future and say goodbye to him now without panic and without surprise. 

a winterized Fuzzy

Fuzzy's mom had owned him for over 17 years when he passed so they had a very long relationship. Fuzzy and his mom met when he was just four years old. The Fuzz was a big boy at 17.3 hands and one would not normally think of pairing up a huge, young and green off the track thoroughbred with a young rider. However The Fuzz was nothing like your stereotypical hot thoroughbred under saddle so Fuzzy's mom began riding him some for her trainer. Eventually she convinced her Dad that the tall, handsome gelding was the perfect partner for her and she has owned Fuzzy ever since.

Fuzzy and Chili running through the pasture

Fuzzy and his mom showed in the Children's Hunters, and then in the Amateur Hunters when she aged out of the juniors. She then handed the reins to her sister-in-law for awhile and Fuzzy taught another family member. He took his mom's sister-in-law from the Long Stirrup division to the 3' ring.

Fuzzy and Renny

After a nice career showing with two family members on the A circuit a soft tissue injury led to Fuzzy's retirement.  We had the pleasure of welcoming Fuzzy to our farm almost 2.5 years ago. We quickly learned that Fuzzy did not lack for opinions on anything.  As long as everything was to his satisfaction and standards he was happy and laid back. The minute things were not up to par The Fuzz let us know, usually by pacing in his stall or along the fence.  

Fuzzy with his friend Clay

Once The Fuzz was ready for group turnout he joined his group quite seamlessly. Jason and I were patting ourselves on another job well done as we watched Fuzzy hanging out with his new friends.  Then we saw the other side of Fuzzy, the one where he let you know all was not right in his world.  The pasture next to his was home to several calves at the time and Fuzzy decided they were aliens and they were here to get him.  The rest of the horses would be quietly grazing by the fence near the alien cows while Fuzzy drew himself an Invisible Line in the pasture. He did not cross this line even with the other horses did. Instead he would pace at the Invisible Line, back and forth, while the other horses grazed away. As soon as the horses moved to a different part of the pasture Fuzzy would immediately revert back to happy and grazing.  Fuzzy did not cross his Invisible Line in the pasture for two days, and just when we thought maybe we would have to move him The Fuzz decided the cows had no malicious intent and joined his buddies on the other side of the Invisible Line and all was fine in his world.

Fuzzy and Renny

When we moved Fuzzy's group to our new farm we definitely wondered what The Fuzz was going to think of things.  Specifically we were not sure how he was going to feel when he heard the large band of donkeys that lived across the road all start braying loudly, in unison.  As we watched them happily grazing in and exploring their new field the donkeys began their loud braying.  Jason and I looked at each other. We didn't have to say anything to each other as we were both thinking "uh oh, what is Fuzzy going to think."  Fuzzy's head came up immediately and he began looking around.  He kept his head up for a minute, listening intently, and then he put his head back down and started grazing.  Jason and I high-fived each other.

Fuzzy and friends emerging from the woods

During his time with us Fuzzy seemed to have an affinity for two things.  His particular friends that he spent the most time with were always chestnut in color like him, and he really liked Jason.  Although he got along with all of the horses in his group he was especially fond of Clay who predeceased him, Chili and Renny.  All three of them are chestnuts.  Fuzzy was also quite fond of Jason.  I'm not quite sure what the attraction was to Jason since he most definitely is not a chestnut color, but nonetheless The Fuzz loved Jason.  

Fuzzy and Jason

I can honestly say that Fuzzy loved his life with us.  Fuzzy was never a horse that could live happily with individual turnout, the companionship of other horses was very important to him, so he really thrived with us.  At times he could be quite frisky and playful which was always fun to watch, and he was never far from his friends.  

Fuzzy and friends 

Fuzzy went very peacefully. The weather this week has been nothing short of spectacular and he left us quietly with his pal Renny grazing quietly by his side. Fuzzy did not like change to his routine so he left us while he was grazing with his friend. It was our final gift to him.  The day we all made the decision that it was time Fuzzy's mom happened to be in the middle of moving. She happened to pick up a photo album and one lone picture fell out of it, the picture below of her and Fuzzy in mid-air over a jump. I started to cry when she told me that story because both to me and to her it seemed like the universe sending us a message that we had made the right choice. We needed to let Fuzzy go now before something catastrophic happened, and we needed to remember him for the partner and friend that he was.

We are glad we had the opportunity to get to know The Fuzz and his mom these last couple of years.  Knowing both of them was and is a pleasure.  Rest in peace Fuzzy.  You are missed by many which is the sign of a life well lived.


I'm pretty sure I took this picture when Fuzzy heard the donkeys for the first time

enjoying a good roll


Fuzzy and Renny waiting for breakfast a few weeks ago

Fuzzy and Chili

a classic Fuzzy pose

Fuzzy and friends on the move through the pasture


peeking out of the run-in shed

Fuzzy and Clay

Fuzzy napping hard with Chili and Sam grazing nearby

Fuzzy on the move with Murphy and Dutch

Fuzzy and Murphy hanging out

a happy Fuzzy trotting through the pasture

Fuzzy and Clay on a snow day

hanging out with friends