New Horse: Elsie

Dec 022011

As you know, my ancient horse Tara died on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Lila seemed to adjust to being alone well enough, but horses never like to live alone. So I wanted to find a companion for her sooner rather than later.

Happily, I was able to do just that in just a few days, on Saturday. One of my neighbors told me that another neighbor was looking to find a home for an extra horse. Our neighborhood has a stupid three-horse limit, and this horse put her owner one over the limit. So she had to find this horse a new home.

This horse, originally named Espy but now renamed Elsie, is a 14.2 hand mare and 22 years old. (Like dogs, smaller horses live longer than older horses.) She’s friendly and quiet, although with a touch of that bitchy mare-ish streak. (Lila doesn’t have that, but Tara did.) She’s healthy, sound, and even rideable, so she’ll likely make herself useful in more ways than just as a companion for Lila.

Like Lila, Elsie is an easy keeper, needing just hay, and she’s very food-oriented. That’s highly useful, because I don’t need to separate them for feeding. I had to do that with Tara since getting Lila last year, and that required four to six trips down to the barn every day. And she and Lila seem to like each other well enough.

So… welcome to the family, Elsie!

My Horse Tara, RIP

Nov 222011

I had to put down my elderly horse Tara today, very unexpectedly.

She was fine last night when I fed her. This morning, I found her lying down in the pasture, unwilling to get up. I called the vet immediately, and he arrived within an hour or two. She had colic — not an impaction but a twisted gut. Nothing could be done for her, other than to end her suffering. She died quickly and quietly.

Tara was about 28, and that’s very, very old for a horse her size. Colic is often the way that such horses die, even if they’ve never had any history thereof.

I’m very sad that she’s gone. I knew that her death was coming, but I just didn’t know that it would be today. So I’m in a bit of shock.

I’m so grateful that she gave me so many good years as a horse to ride and then as a companion to Lila. In return, she was well-cared for until the very end.

Winter Storm + Beasts = Cute

Nov 022011

I have so many things that I want to blog, but I’ve been short on time lately. For now, I just can’t resist posting these pictures of our ever-so-cute beasts in today’s snowstorm… including a video of Snow Doggie Wrestlemania!








Snow Doggie Wrestlemania

Doggie Wrestlemania 3

Jul 232011

Last weekend, I shot this video of our wild and crazy doggies wrestling outside. Conrad is the black-and-tan German Shepherd, and Mae is the smaller black dog. The barking dog is Red Dog, who we were watching for Kelly and Santiago Valenzuela of Mother of Exiles last week.

Conrad and Mae wrestle exactly like in this video a few times per day. Although it looks completely wild and crazy, they’ve never injured themselves…. and they love it!

Mae is definitely the instigator, and Conrad often gets very frustrated by his inability to control her. (Hence, his growling and occasional barking.) Mae is just a hair slower than Conrad, but she’s also far more clever about using obstacles to slow him down. She does seem to love to be caught and rolled over — to the point that she rolls herself over twice in this video to try to get Conrad to come after her.

So, now you know that when I say, “my wild and crazy doggies,” I’m not exaggerating!

Jul 162011

I recently took some pictures of my fabulous horse Lila. See for yourself just how lovely she is! She’s been coming along very nicely in her training, both in dressage and cross-country. Soon, I’m going to start jumping her, and I’m super-enthused about that!

The New Horse: Lila

Nov 062010

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had terrible problems with carpal tunnel pain due to my hypothyroidism. Instead of gritting my teeth through that pain while I wait for my increased dose of desiccated thyroid to take effect, I decided to work on projects that would take me away from the computer, like dog training… and buying a new horse!

Much to my delight, I looked at a great prospect on last Friday — a very quiet, 15.3 hand, seven year old draft cross mare named Luisa. Here’s the description from the advertisement:

Luisa is a 7 year old dark bay, TB/Percheron cross. I bought her to boost my confidence after another horse had injured me. Mission accomplished! She is very sensible. I have ridden her along a busy Hwy with trucks going past, as well as in the arena with her pasture friends running along the fence. Didn’t spook or speed up in either situation. Now at the Horsepark in Parker. Won ribbons with novice riders at the horse park in the lower level flat and over fences classes. Luisa has been out on the hunt and is a doll on the trail. Great feet and goes without shoes. Lot’s of thick, wavy hair, full body and a large soft eye to make her adorable! To a good home.

Here she is on that Friday:

I liked her immediately, so much so that I bought her that day. (She’d already had a pre-sale vet check done.) She was delivered to me on Sunday. I was thrilled to get her, and I’m thrilled to be riding her. She’s quiet, gentle, and sensible. She’s also rather green (i.e. inexperienced, untaught), so she’s the perfect project for me.

I didn’t much like her name (Luisa) or her nickname (Lala), so I renamed her “Lila.” That’s apparently of Arabic origin, and it means “night.”

Here’s some pictures that I took of her this past week:

My other horse Tara completely freaked out when she saw Lila for the first time. Happily, once I got them in the barn, they settled in together nicely. Now they’re best buds.

Tara is too old and creaky to be ridden, so she now gets to enjoy her retirement as the companion of Lila. Life is good for all of us!

Doggie Wrestlemania: The Chase

Sep 172010

Conrad and Mae chase each other around the desks on our office. The noise of it was amazing! And yes, those are Paul’s legs.

More Doggie Wrestlemania

Aug 022010

The dogs were absolutely nuts for wrestlemania last night, so I took some more video of them. I love how Conrad lays back twice with that “come hither, young lass” look. Then he gets more than he knows how to handle from Mae!

Based on the funny reports I heard about kids watching the first video, I highly recommend that parents with young-ish children video those children as they watch this latest video, then post that to YouTube.

One of these days, I’ll take some good video of them tussling outside, as they’re quite subdued indoors in comparison.

Oh, and did I mention that we’ve decided to adopt Mae? She’s now our doggie!

Introducing Mae

Jul 152010

Paul and I adopted a new dog yesterday… sort of.

Her name is Mae. She’s an eight month old German Shepherd / Lab mix. She’s fairly small dog by my standards, and I don’t expect her to gain much more height. She’s currently 45 pounds, and she’ll likely end up around 50 or 55 pounds, I think. (By way of comparison, Conrad weighs 70 pounds, and Abby and Kate were 75 and 80 pounds, respectively.)

Unfortunately, Mae has had a hard life so far. She’s been beaten up by gangs of larger dogs in some foster homes, as well as over-stressed by the family that recently attempted to adopt her. For the past few days, she’s been boarding at doggie day care. That’s fun but also stressful for a dog.

As a result of all that, she didn’t seem like a great prospect when we met her yesterday morning. She was snapping not just at Conrad but at Paul too. (She was fine with me.) However, I liked what I saw of her base temperament: very calm and easygoing. Her foster mom told us that her behavior was like nothing she’d seen in her home: it was probably due to the stress of the past week or so. The doggie day care workers gave her a very positive report too.

I’m a softie, and I didn’t want her going back into the same kinds of stress that caused her so many problems already. Plus, I thought she could recover herself very well in our quiet home with Conrad. However, I was reluctant to adopt her outright, as I was definitely concerned by what I saw. So we’ve taken her on as a foster dog, with the hope that we can adopt her in a few weeks. Basically, she’s my rent-to-own doggie!

Much to my delight, my instincts about her seem to be right on the money. The moment that we turned into the driveway, she became very happy-excited to be at our home. She’s settled in very nicely since then. She’s gotten along perfectly with Conrad: I’ve not seen the slightest bit of aggression from her toward him. She’s met my horse Tara. She was scared and barked a bit, but that’s to be expected: Tara is huge to little Mae. She’s also done well with the cats, although I’ll definitely need to keep an eye on that for the next few weeks. As for Paul, she was almost completely okay with him when he came home last night.

I was particularly delighted that she began playing vigorously with Conrad yesterday evening, first in our dog run, and then in our living room. I even caught some of it on video:

She’s really having a blast! I love how she pounces on him repeatedly — and gnaws on his neck like he does with other dogs. Clearly, Conrad is smitten, because he just doesn’t get on the ground like that with other dogs. (Conrad’s sneezing is part of what he does when he submits. I don’t know if other dogs do that too, but it’s quite odd!)

I’m amazed by her progress so far, and I hope that she continues to settle in nicely.

My New Standing Desk

Apr 172010

Since mid-March, I’ve been seriously wanting to

I had to make the desk deep rather than wide to avoid the glare from the windows to the left of my standard desk. I like having the computer far back though. That allows me to lightly rest my whole forearm on the desk, something helpful for my still-lingering carpal tunnel problems. Plus, I can drive my computer from my traditional desk by just turning the monitor slightly, as well as use my traditional desk as an additional surface while standing.

When my feet grow particularly weary, I can use the barstool, appropriated from upstairs, to sit for a spell. I hope that I won’t need that often or for long. The small stool is for resting one leg at a time, something that I’ve seen recommended. I’m going to buy some standing pads from Costco too, as those will add some more padding to our rather thin carpet.

I’m sure that I’ll do some tweaking, but I’m pretty pleased with this set up. Best of all, I didn’t pay a cent for it!

As a bonus, don’t miss the sorrowful look of doggie Conrad. Yes, I did require him to lay on his fluffy dog bed for all of about three minutes while I took the picture. The horror!

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