West Nile...isn't that in Egypt?

My DOR recieved this e-mail notification this morning:

Subject: Additional Positive Horses - WNv
The Zoonotic Disease Program received notification from Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
and Washington State Department of Agriculture that 4 more horses tested positive for West Nile virus.
This remains confidential until further details are received.
Yakima County :: Non-vaccinated, 10-year-old mare quarter horse :: Granger :: Pregnant and recovering
Yakima County :: Non-vaccinated, 17-year-old thoroughbred gelding :: Selah :: Euthanized
Yakima County :: Non-vaccinated, 26-year-old Arabian mare :: Selah :: Recovering
Yakima County :: Non-vaccinated, 19-year-old quarter horse gelding :: Selah :: Recovering
As of September 26, a total of 33 horses, 9 birds, and 41 mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus.
There will be no press release at this time.
Jo Marie Brauner
West Nile Virus Surveillance Coordinator
Washington State Department of Health
Zoonotic Disease Program
PO Box 47825
Olympia, WA 98504-7825
Desk: 360-236-3064
Fax: 360-236-2261

I thought the West Nile was an area of Egypt...turns out it is a horrible illness that horses can get, that is frightening! I looked for information and found some good stuff put out by the CDC:

West Nile Virus and Horses
Q. Has West Nile virus caused severe illness or death in horses?A. Yes, while data suggest that most horses infected with West Nile virus recover, results of investigations indicate that West Nile virus has caused deaths in horses in the United States.
Q. How do the horses become infected with West Nile virus?A. The same way humans become infected—by the bite of infectious mosquitoes. The virus is located in the mosquito's salivary glands. When mosquitoes bite or "feed" on the horse, the virus is injected into its blood system. The virus then multiplies and may cause illness. The mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds or other animals.
Q. How does the virus cause severe illness or death in horses?A. Following transmission by an infected mosquito, West Nile virus multiplies in the horse's blood system, crosses the blood brain barrier, and infects the brain. The virus interferes with normal central nervous system functioning and causes inflammation of the brain.
Q. Can I get infected with West Nile virus by caring for an infected horse?A. West Nile virus is transmitted by infectious mosquitoes. There is no documented evidence of person-to-person or animal-to-person transmission of West Nile virus. Normal veterinary infection control precautions should be followed when caring for a horse suspected to have this or any viral infection.
Q. Can a horse infected with West Nile virus infect horses in neighboring stalls?A. No. There is no documented evidence that West Nile virus is transmitted between horses. However, horses with suspected West Nile virus should be isolated from mosquito bites, if at all possible.
Q. My horse is vaccinated against eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), western equine encephalitis (WEE), and Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE). Will these vaccines protect my horse against West Nile virus infection?A. No. EEE, WEE, and VEE belong to another family of viruses for which there is no cross-protection.
Q. Can I vaccinate my horse against West Nile virus infection?A. A West Nile virus vaccine for horses is available through veterinarians. Horse owners throughout the US should consider vaccinating their equines. Consult your veterinarian for more details on timing of vaccination.
Q. How long will a horse infected with West Nile virus be infectious?A. We do not know if an infected horse can be infectious (i.e., cause mosquitoes feeding on it to become infected). However, previously published data suggest that the virus is detectable in the blood for only a few days.
Q. What is the treatment for a horse infected with West Nile virus? Should it be destroyed?A. There is no reason to destroy a horse just because it has been infected with West Nile virus. Data suggest that most horses recover from the infection. Treatment would be supportive and consistent with standard veterinary practices for animals infected with a viral agent.
Q. Where can I get more information on horses and West Nile virus?A. Visit the USDA Web site
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
While it is getting cooler the little nasty mosquitoes can be around until several good freezes. If you haven't gotten vacinated speak to your DOR about adding Ester-C and other preventive vitamins and minerals to your diet.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


We are starting to get winterized

Well the days are getting shorter and the evenings are getting cooler. In short Fall has kicked in full force here. The DOR is working on getting everything ready for winter. She has all of our hay stacked and tarped, is getting the mushfaces' (Freedom and Salty) winter feeding paddocks ready, and sorting out our winter jammies (only used if very cold, wind, and wet).
The DOR is giving us all grass pellets each evening for treats which she soaks and mixes with our vitamins, some roll mix, and our individual special supplements. She doesn't want to risk us colicing going straight from pasture to hay, so we are getting transitioned slowly. She is also making sure we are getting enough salt, some of us don't drink as much as we probably should be with the cooler weather so the salt is one way of making sure we drink plenty of water (again to help avoid colic that can come along with the change in feed). We are all going to get our fall worming with an herbal worming mix. The DOR is using an herbal worming mix because the vet said that two of her older horses can't tolerate chemical dewormers anymore (Salty got real sick the last time because of his kidneys), one of her horses has cushings, and us appys need special care because of our eyes. Appaloosas are notorious for eye issues and there is some research out that shows a link between the use of vaccinations/chemicals treatments and the triggering of uveitis, so she is careful to protect us from desease while protecting our eyesight.
I was happy to the DOR out to give us our treats today. She gave us all scritches, hugs, and told us we are the best horse ever. I like that about the DOR, she always tells each one of us how special we are and that we are the best horses ever, it makes us all feel so good.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR...make sure they know you think they are special.


Natural DORmanship: stopping

I remember one of the DORs friends asking where the stop button was on the horse. The DOR giggled about it a bit, she thought she should make a sticker to put on the horn of her saddle that said STOP.
The easiest way for me to help you train your DOR at this stage is to give directions to the DOR and then helpful hints to you in parenthesis.

How to Stop
You need to be able to stop your horse using one rein (I really dislike the DOR pulling on both reins, it is hard to tell if I am supposed to back up or what she really wants)-this is your horses emergency brake. To accomplish a one-rein stop, slide your hand down one of the reins, usually the inside rein, and then bring your rein back to your thigh (At this point it is important to make sure the DOR is asking for a halt and not a turn. If they don’t bring the rein around far enough just make the turn they are asking for. Your DOR may be a bit frustrated for a bit, but they will soon figure out what they need to do), remember to stay sitting square and to look down (All of that stopping you did when the DOR looked down in the walk training will come in handy here, it shouldn’t take them long to figure this out). If this was an emergency stop you would also place your other hand on the saddle horn, this creates a power position and helps keep you in your seat. This will cause your horse to flex their head around, thus disengaging its hindquarters. Once your horse stops release the rein immediately, that is your horses reward for stopping (If your DOR does not release when they should you may have to use a level 4 correction such as biting their book, to make them realize they have held you there for too long). Remember to breath, sit your seat further down in the saddle, and stop “riding” the walk.
Once you are able to execute a one-rein stop, you can move on to the two-rein stop (I am not sure why DORs feel the need to use a two-rein stop when we mind with a one rein stop). To cue for a halt, close your fingers and tip the bottom of your hands toward your belly. The horse should stop as he feels the backwards pull on the reins.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


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The world's largest grocery sack!

I am postponing the lesson on teaching your DOR how to stop to share something I discovered today with you. I have seen the world's largest grocery sack!
The DOR and one member of my support crew spent the morning out at the ranch. Hay was tarped and all of the DORs geldings were put together in one pasture for the winter. The DOR watched us all pose, prance, and generally show off for each other. With Freedom, Harley, Salty, and I all in one pasture we are one stunning herd. It was nice to get to see the DOR and give her a nuzzle.
This evening the DOR and Bryce came out and fed us all our treats. Harley looked at mine, so I had to charge at him...I got scolded by the DOR. I ate my treats, stomping my front feet at the same time...the DOR thought I was having a bit of a temper fit, but I was just trying to hurry so I could wipe my muzzle on her clean shirt to show her how much I have missed her. Bryce cleaned all of our hooves, the DOR still can't do that. The DOR did give me a good scritching and a bit of a hinny rub. I had to get after Salty and Harley for getting too close to her, after all she is my DOR and she hasn't been out in the pasture for a long time. The DOR told me to be polite and gave me a big old squeeze. She also told me that our lessons could start up again pretty soon. She and Bryce left and this is where things got strange.
They headed towards Prosser, rather than to home. They were gone about 20 minutes and then they drove back by the ranch. They didn't stop though...I was hoping for more scritches. I looked up and saw the world's largest grocery bag floating in the air. I know the DOR said that lessons would start up soon, but didn't think she was talking about today! Did she go get the world's largest bag and bring it back to torture me with? I kept watching the bag...what if it came down in the pasture? This one is definitely large enough to eat me. Heck not just me, it was big enough to eat all four of us at the same time. I started blowing marbles, boulders, cannon balls...I was not liking this at all.
Salty and Harley couldn't figure out what I was fussing about. They were quietly munching away, oblivious to the danger. The giant grocery bag floated far enough away not to be a threat. I am going to have to keep my eyes open, I will have to protect the rest of the herd since they don't seem to realize what danger they are in. For now the sky is clear, but one can never be too careful.
Tomorrow the DOR is going to come out and spend some more time with me, okay with all of us.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Natural DORmanship: riding the walk

Okay, now it is time to take your DOR out for a ride at the walk. The easiest way for me to help you train your DOR at this stage is to give directions to the DOR and then helpful hints to you in parenthesis. The picture is of me teaching the DOR to ride a walk without micro-managing, she is getting better every time we work on this lesson-I call this lesson "passive passenger walking". So let us take a walk, shall we…
Cue for the Walk:
Gather your reins so that you feel a light contact between your hands and the bit (If your DOR has the reins too short, try tossing your head up and down in order to pull out some slack. If this does not work, back up just as fast as you can…they will loosen the reins rapidly). Use both lower legs to squeeze the horse lightly behind the girth area (If your DOR taps too hard, make a small leap forward-that way they will understand just how sensitive you are). Your leg above the knee should remain motionless. At the same time as you cue with your legs, cue with your seat by pushing forward slightly with your seat muscles (yep that is right, natural horsemanship has the DORs riding you using butt cues. I still do not know what it means if they break wind, not that my DOR has ever done that but Dakota has).
Some horses are less willing to move forward than others. If your horse does not begin to walk nudge with your lower leg. If that does not work, urge the horse forward with your heels (Okay, if your DOR has to use their heels you are just being a bad teacher…give your DOR a break).
Your hands should follow your horse's head as the neck naturally extends to move forward (You may need to stretch your neck out far if they do not give you your head). Stop cueing as soon as the horse responds. You will find there is a slight rocking motion to the walk. Allow your body to relax and follow the movement of the horse (You will have to put up with your DOR fluctuating between being stiff and being a rag doll until they get the hang of this aspect of riding). If your horse starts to fade, cue lightly (If they cue you too vigorously break into a trot and the slow to a walk, this will force your DOR to be more gentle in the future) before the horse has decelerated to a complete stop.
Riding the Walk:
Head: Look forward in the direction you want to go (There is no telling where your DOR will look. Mine gets to rubbernecking which can be a challenge to keep up with. I do need to caution you that you need to watch out for your DOR’s and your own safety-I don’t care if the DOR is looking across a busy highway DO NOT FOLLOW THEIR GAZE!) . Don't look down as that stiffens your spine (My DOR is terrible about looking down, I am curing her of that by stopping and touching the dirt with my nose every time she looks down). You want to remain relaxed and supple (Soft and supple, soft and supple…sounds like Clinton Anderson doesn’t it).
Shoulders: Maintain good posture. Carry your shoulders evenly. A crooked rider will influence the horse, making it harder for it to understand some of your commands (Sometimes my DOR rides cockeyed, leaning a bit to one side. I just drift the way she is leaning and that reminds her to sit up straight).
Seat and Back: Make sure you are sitting square in the saddle, and that your balance is not shifted to one side. Again, a crooked rider will make a crooked horse (See the comment above).
Legs: Keep your lower leg quiet unless you are actively cueing the horse. Do not let your feet slide forward so that you are sitting 'chair seat' (If your DOR does this STOP. Feet forward causes their butt to sink down in the saddle. Too much of this will start to bother your back), or let your legs swing (If your DOR is swinging their legs while they are riding a walk they must be a bit bored, so trot-that will entertain them. If they keep this up you may want to convince them to take up bicycle riding). Looking downwards you should not see your toes. Do not let your thighs, knees or feet turn outwards as this weakens your seat and makes cueing more difficult. Even at the walk you should be working at keeping proper position.
Hands For Western Riders Using Two Hands To Ride (this is what your DOR should be doing during this initial stage of riding): Your hands should be steady with very light direct contact on the bit. As the horse walks, its head will move slightly with each step, your reins should be loose enough to allow the horse this movement without the reins pulling on the bit (I have the DOR hold the reins so that there is at least four feet of rein between her hands and the end of the slobber strap on both sides. Sometimes she forgets so I just get a bit “rammy” until she lets out some slack).
Tomorrow we will cover stopping...until then you can just keep packing your DOR around until they have had enough.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Ooops, where is the halter?

I am skipping the planned post on DORmanship to do a public service announcement.
This picture is of me and one of my support crew, Dakota. I have it up so you can look at me because I am soooo darn handsome...not really, I want you to notice the halter I am wearing.
That nice red halter is usually in the back of the DOR's car when it isn't being used. The reason she has a halter in her car is that we live in an area with lots of livestock and there have been times that she has needed it to catch some loose critter.She carries it and one other one almost all of the time. I want you to stop and notice the phrase "almost all of the time", it plays an important role in today's adventure.
The DOR was coming home after going to the mill to get orchard grass hay pellets for the mush faces she owns. While driving down OIE (which is a very busy country road) she spies a loose horse being followed by a very upset girl. The horse is beating feet down the middle of the road, cars are going by honking and not helping out at all. The girl is so upset with the horse she kicks at it in frustration when she got close to it...not a good way to catch your horse. Dakota is screeching about the horse getting killed by a semi as the DOR pulls over to see if she can help. Remember that halter that she carries "almost all of the time"? Well wouldn't you know today was one of those days she didn't have it. Actually she hasn't carried any tack in the car since last Thursday, it is her way of reminding herself NO PLAYING WITH HORSES until next week. What to do? Those of you that know the DOR also know that she wears three shirts all of the time: a white under shirt, a tank top, and the an outer shirt (usually a Hawaiian shirt). Well that came in handy today, she caught the wayward horse with her Hawaiian shirt. She asked the girl if she had a halter, no such luck. No rope, no halter, and a quarter of a mile walk back to the pasture along a busy road with cars going 50 mph...great, just great. The DOR told the girl to use the shirt to lead the horse and she would watch for traffic (remember the DOR is under orders not to be handling horses), the girl replied that she can't ever get the horse to lead...oh goodie, even better! She did have a bucket she was shaking for the horse to follow, so the DOR thought she could use that and get the horse to tag along-that was until she saw the bucket had dog food in it...what the heck? Well poop the DOR had no choice but to lead a balky horse down a busy road with nothing but a Hawaiian shirt and a bucket of dog food. It took a bit of time and some gentle persuasion by the DOR, paired with lots of pats and scritches to get the mare back home. She talked to the girl along the way, explaining about why the girls horse wouldn't let her catch it and how to respond if it ever happened again. The girl got a number from the DOR of a person that can help her learn how to handle her horse.
The DOR is having to ice down her arm that they ran the catheter through and is in big trouble with the support crew. She doesn't know it yet, but she is in big trouble with me! If she is going to break the rules she can at least swing by and rub my hinny just at the top of my tail...it is impossible for me to reach.
Here is the public service announcement: NEVER EVER EVER TAKE ALL OF THE HALTERS OUT OF YOUR CAR! You never know when you will need it and what will you do if you don't have a spare shirt? You fast drivers out there, when you see a horse running down the road slow down for heaven sake and don't honk your blankity-blank horn...thank you very much.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Natural DORmanship-mounting

Now it is time to teach your DOR to mount. While many riders mount from the ground, it will be much easier on you if you train them to mount using a mounting block. So let’s take a look at the mounting block method. Other than lining up to the block the same techniques apply to your DOR when they are mounting from the ground…well except your DOR will have to hop up and down like a rabbit in order to launch themselves from the ground.
From the mounting block:
Your DOR needs to understand that almost any object can be a mounting block; you can accomplish this by lining up to all types of objects and inviting your DOR to mount. Invite your DOR to mount by giving them that “come hither” look and then look at your saddle, you may need to repeat that several times before your DOR understands what you want. Remember the most common mounting blocks can be a plastic or wooden one or two step box where you will lead your DOR to stand so that they face you on the left side while standing on the mounting block. The mounting block should be very sturdy and not shift as the DOR steps up. Using items like buckets in place of a mounting block can cause your DOR to wobble and fall, this will spook them and they will be leery of using a mounting block in the future.
Some DORs are particularly ornery about using a mounting block; if your DOR is, you can try using “extinction” to alter their behavior-simple do not allow the DOR to mount unless they are standing on the mounting block. You can align your DOR on the left side. Tip your head towards your DOR, that way if your DOR looses their balance you can swing you hinny out of the way quickly.
Your DOR should have the reins in their left hand placed firmly on your neck where it meets the wither. If your DOR is not very balanced, encourage them to grab some mane so they don’t pull on the bit as they mount. Your DOR needs to face the saddle with their body almost facing your rear. You may need to move every they don’t do this. Remember to reward the try, stand still if the DOR is making progress. It they are not even attempting to get it right put pressure on them by moving rapidly away from the mounting block. The DOR needs to turn their stirrup place their left foot in. DO NOT tolerate a toe in your ribs, go directly to a level three correction if this happens…move rapidly away from the mounting block. The DOR may loose their balance and fall, but that is the natural consequence to their behavior and they will quickly learn to keep their toe to themselves. Once the DOR’s toe is properly in the stirrup, they should raise themselves off the mounting block. Make sure your DOR makes a pause before they swing their leg over you to sit down, after all they need to be polite. If your DOR does not pause start to walk off, in most cases this will cause them to return to the mounting block and start the process over. Your DOR should swing their right leg over the hinny without hitting you. If your DOR hits your hinny, a few episodes of “marbles in your nose” should encourage them to be more careful, if not throw in a small hop with your back legs. You want your DOR to sit down slowly, no flopping/dropping into the saddle. This is very important because this behavior could hurt your back. If you have a DOR who is a committed flopper you will need to immediately go to a level 4 correction, make them think the world will come to an end if they continue flopping.
I have included step-by-step instructions for you to share with your DORs

Proper mounting for dummies…errrr….DORs
Take the reins in your left hand (drape the slack over the horse's right side). Grasp hold of the base of the horse's mane with your left hand as well.
Use your right hand to turn the left stirrup toward you. Put your left foot in the stirrup, parallel to the horse's side.
Grab the back of the saddle, or cantle, with your right hand.
Bounce on the ball of your right foot.
Push off with your right foot and put your weight on your left foot (in the stirrup), while simultaneously pulling on the saddle and the horse's neck.
Balance on your hands and left foot in a standing position, then swing your right foot over the horse as you release your right hand from the saddle.
Lower yourself gently into the saddle.
Put your right foot in the stirrup and take up the slack in the reins.

Your DOR may need lots of practice to correctly mount. After all they need to be polite and unhurred at this stage of training.
Our next lesson will be riding a walk.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Natural DORmanship-saddling

Now that your DOR has reasonable skill at groundwork, it is time to get them ready to ride. The first part of that step is teaching your DOR how to properly saddle you. Make sure to roll in the dirt or mud when you see the DOR get the saddle out. Rolling will ensure that the DOR takes time to groom you before putting on the saddle blanket. This behavior will need to be repeated until your DOR becomes trained/conditioned to groom you whether you are dirty or not.
Note: While the DOR will normally saddle you from the left side, it is important that you train them to saddle you from either side. This might come in handy if they have to saddle you on a narrow trail that is running along a cliff…hey it could happen.
Make sure that the DOR checks the saddle blanket for things that might poke you. You can do this by nosing the pad every time the go to place it on your back until they take a close look at it. Your DOR is going to be excited to ride, so this step is very important. Teach your DOR to put the saddle blanket well forward and pull it back toward your rear so the front of the pad rests just in front of the withers. You can do this by moving when your DOR goes to set the pad down, aligning it for them. You can use the method that I prefer “pick the blanket up off the ground” game, shake the blanket off until your DOR puts it on in the right place. Your DOR will soon find this game boring and will quit trying to play. If your blanket is too ugly or not big enough to show all the way around the saddle you will need to convince your DOR to get a new one. I have found that chewing a hunk off a corner of the pad works pretty well.
Make sure that your DOR lays the right stirrup and cinches over the saddle seat-that way they will not hit you when your DOR tosses the saddle on. Believe me they will toss the saddle until they learn some saddling finesse. I have my DOR trained to hook her stirrup to the horn and to buckle her cinches to the strap holder on the right side. I also have her trained to lift the saddle up and gently set it on my back-this is quite a feat for an old lady, her saddle weighs 45 pounds. Again, you will need to work with your DOR on appropriate saddle placement; the techniques used in the saddle pad lesson also will work well here.
You may need to assist your DOR in moving to the right side (offside) to lower the right stirrup and cinch; you can do this by tipping your head to make it easier to pass. You need to have your DOR check that the blanket is centered; this can be accomplished by stamping a hoof as if something does not feel quite right. Once the saddle is on the blanket, have your DOR lift up the front part of the saddle pad to create an air pocket between the blanket and your horse's withers. I got my DOR to do this by hunching up a bit.
The DOR now needs to move back to the left side; again, you may need to help them by tipping your head. Your DOR needs to reach under your belly for the front cinch. Standing still is the best way to help a nervous DOR through this process. The DOR needs to tighten the front cinch just enough so it is up against your belly, now would be a good time to take a deep breath after all who in their right mind wants to be instantly squeezed. If there is a back cinch, your DOR will need to fasten it after the front cinch is snug - the back cinch should be close to the your belly so it does not get caught on brush or branches, but should not be tight (your DOR’s hand should be able to fit flat between the cinch and your belly). Now you need to walk your DOR around to make it relax. Stop and have your DOR check the cinch to snug it up a bit. You can accomplish this by letting out all of the air you sucked it, that way when the DOR checks the cinch it will be loose. It is important that your DOR has the cinch tight enough; you do not want to look silly when they mount and roll the saddle under your belly. Rolling the saddle could also set your DOR training back for several days.
If your DOR is one of those “reef the poopy out of the cinch” the first time humans put an instant stop to it! It will not get any better and will only get worse. You will need to move to a level 3 correction immediately. I found that ‘marbles in my nose” and some hopping up and down is effective in making any DOR take their time in cinching.
Practice saddling with your DOR several times. You want them effective on both sides. After a few practices you can move on to teaching your DOR how to mount, we will cover that lesson tomorrow.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Natural DORmanship

The DOR has been reading everything she can get her hands on about natural horsemanship for the past three years. She has attended clinics as both a participant and observer. Most of her herd has been trained at one time or another using this method. Well goody for her, but that means more work on my part learning natural DORmanship!
I started my study in this when I was sent to training by my first owner. I was sent to a wonderful facility and trainer, but I had no idea what I was supposed to to with a human. I was rough around the edges and made a few mistakes. I found out that bucking until I was so tired that I couldn't stand and then rolling around on the ground like a pig when the saddle was put on got me absolutely nowhere. I quickly discovered that if I stood nicely and didn't buck the saddle got taken off sooner. Hmmmm, lesson one; treat the DOR like they have the best ideas ever and their silly behavior ends sooner.

Natural DORmanship is the philosophy of working with DORs by appealing to their instincts and social structure. It involves communication techniques derived from the observation of the social structure of humans, allowing horses to exhibit behaviors that resemble the interactions that humans have with each other.

* Humans are social creatures. They have a highly developed communication system practiced primarily through speech and very little body language. This requires horses to learn techniques that mimic speech to communicate with their DOR. I nicker using different pitches to send messages to my DOR. I also use 'human-like' facial expressions and body language to reinforce what I am saying.

*Teaching DORs using fear, while occasionally effective, will probably get you a new home. It is essential that the human feel safe around you at all times. If a horse is calm and nurturing to their DOR the bonding process will be quicker and more effective. I have found that stepping on their toes, nipping, and hopping up and down causes the DOR to withdraw. I want the DOR to come closer and stay longer, I can accomplish this through continued mellow behavior.

*The horse must know the DOR's natural instincts and communication system, using this knowledge to train their DOR. DORs worry about how they look when other DORs are around, so the best thing we horses can do for them is to make sure they look cool at all times.

*There is the aspect of operant conditioning in this method. Apply pressure to get the DOR to exhibit the desired behavior, releasing that pressure when the DOR takes action to exhibit that behavior. Reward the try, setting the bar a bit higher each time, until the desired behavior is reached. Remember DORs are often a bit insecure, so take baby steps.

*DORs benefit greatly from groundwork. There are seven games to play with your DOR to make this time more enjoyable: 1) Catch me if you can-in this game you don't give in to easily, make the DOR work to catch you, they appreciate you more that way, 2) Touch my nose as I back up really fast-in this game once the DOR has haltered you back up at least three steps, the DOR wants to nuzzle you because you have been so good but they need to understand personal space, let your DOR touch your nose when you are ready, 3) Peek-a-boo with my hinny-DORs love to pat our big ol butts, when they go to pat your rear move it away from them, again this is a lesson in personal space, 4) Let's see how dizzy you can get while I run circles around you on a rope-this game is about teaching your DOR balance, you don't want them wobbly when they are riding, 5) Let me see how close you can stand to things and have me still squeeze through-this teaches the DOR how much space they need to allow you so they don't get bumped, 6) You point the way I am looking and then I will go there-the point of this game is to show the DOR that when they use body language you listen, 7) You do the chicken dance and I will move along just so you won't look silly-this is building the strength of your herd, the DOR will realize that you are willing to look silly to in order to protect them. I love the seven games, they are very therapeutic.

Once you have your DOR good with all of these activities you can move on to the riding lessons. I will cover those tomorrow.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


A little appy history

Since the DOR can not participate in training I am doing some research about Appaloosas and my family. It is really interesting.
Did you know that Secretariat's first foal was an Appaloosa? First Secretary, a 17 hand chestnut with a white blanket, socks and a blaze, was foaled November 15, 1974. He sired 247 foals including 39 race starters and 33 point earners. First Secretary lived into old age and died in 1993 after suffering from colic.
We have been around for a long time, roaming the earth since before prehistoric times. Pictures of spotted horses on cave walls can be found in many caves across Europe, some of which are 20,000 years old. Ancient artists painted these pictures as part of special rites, hoping for successful hunts and plentiful food.
In ancient Persia, Appaloosas were worshipped as the sacred horses of Nisca, the great hero of Persian literature. Rustan rode a spotted horse name RAKUSH. Rakush was chosen from among thousands of horses brought to the regions that are now Arabia, Iran, and Afghanistan. He was known as a "Great War Horse" and sired many beautiful spotted foals.
Spotted horses also could be found in China as early as 206 B.C. and before. In western Europe, the spotted horse appears periodically throughout history. The famous Lippizzaner Horses often exhibited spots during the 16th through the 18th centuries. The same spots still crop up to this day, and the Lippizzaner often displays evidence of mottled skin, one of the Appaloosa's characteristics.
The Spanish explorers introduced the spotted horse to North America. Spanish Andalusians often had spotted coats. The spotted horse spread northward until most of the Indian populations were mounted (around 1700).
The Nez Perce Indians of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho became highly sophisticated horsemen in the use of their horses, and their mounts were highly prized by other tribes. Unlike most tribes, the Nez Perce carefully selected the spotted horses they were to breed. Only the best horses were allowed to produce offspring. One of the first white men to visit the Nez Perce was an explorer and horseman, Meriwether Lewis. He described the Appaloosa in his journal dated February 15, 1806: Their horses appear to be of an excellent race. They are lofty, elegantly formed, and durable.
The Nez Perce horses performed tasks according to their value. The most precious horses were ridden during buffalo hunting and war. The war horse needed strength, speed, courage, and intelligence. Horses with these qualities and flashy or unusual markings had the most value. Spots helped to camouflage the horse and rider, for the splashy coat patterns helped to break up the horses outline and made it difficult to see from the distance. The short tail and ratty mane did not get tangled in the brush.
In the late 1800s, war broke out between the U.S. Calvary and the Nez Perce Indians. The Appaloosa was the reason the U.S. Calvary was deprived of victory for many months, as the Nez Perce fled over 1300 miles of rugged, almost impassible terrain under the guidance of the famed Chief Joseph.
This is Read Eagle, his is one of my famous ancestors. He won the 1951 National Grand Champion Stallion title, Reserve Champion Stallion at the 1957 National, as well as several Get of Sire honors.
Prince Plaudit is another of my relatives. He won grand champion stallion countless times at stock shows from Colorado to Texas as well as several champion get of sire titles. He won the National Champion Get of Sire title at the Appaloosa National Show in 1969, 1975, and 1976, and won the World Champion Get of Sire title at the Appaloosa World Show in 1975
Another one of my relatives, Joker B had an interesting start in life. Once he was valued for less than a vacuum cleaner. He spent his early years as a rodeo horse. He changed owners and his life changed also. Twelve year old Joker came away with a first place in the 220 yard race. In 1954, Joker started in eight races at Los Alamitos, and won six of them, all running against Quarter Horses often half his age. He continued to win and place at shows, and finally, at the age of fifteen, Joker B. won grand champion stallion honors at the 1956 Calizona Appaloosa Horse Show, his son Joker’s Flying Star taking reserve. Joker also won a first place in Get of Sire. He repeated his Get of Sire win again the next year, and placed in halter and several performance classes as well, winning high point honors at the 1957 Calizona show. At age 17, he placed high in get of sire, aged stallions, reining, and won a jackpot stake race at the International Appaloosa Show in San Antonio, Texas.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


The DOR is home!

The DOR is home and doing well!
For those of you who didn't know, she had a minor heart attack July 6th and has been having some trouble since. She had a bunch of tests run and they found a blockage in her heart...she was a bit upset about that. She had a heart catheratization yesterday and is doing well. The blockage is now gone and in two weeks she should be back to full-speed. Right now she is one handed because they went into the artery on her right hand. She can't use the hand for a week (we will see how that goes, sometimes she isn't good at following directions). She has a small blood clot in her ring finger, so that is hurting her a bit.
She says thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts and prayer, they helped her though a very frightening time.
The ubber farrier was out, he says Harley's hooves are starting to change the way he wants them to and that he needs touch-ups every two weeks to keep things moving right. He taught the ranch manager what to do (the DOR can't do it right now), so he wouldn't have to have to come out every two weeks and charge the DOR-that was really nice of him.
Bryce, one of my support crew, brought the DOR to the ranch so she could see us. She can't be near us until some of the blood thinners were off. She was so happy to see us she started to cry, turns out that she was worried it would be a long-time before she would see us again. I guess that we are pretty important to her.
I am glad the DOR is home and so looking forward to start to starting her training up again. I have been planning some really good lessons.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


A note from the DOR

So, today is the day. In fact I am already at the hospital, I have composed this post ahead of time (wonderful what you can do these days).
I am grateful and truly humbled by all of the kind wishes and thoughts for healing that have been sent my way. The world is a much smaller place since we can communicate electronically. I have met such wonderful people in cyberspace.
I must admit that this day has me nervous, oh who the hell am I kidding...I am scared. There is nothing more frightening than looking head-on at your own mortality. On the flip-side there is also nothing better for making one take stock of their life. Here is what I have found taking a look at mine:
*I have the greatest family in the world
*I have wonderful friends
*The people I work with are the best
*My students have taught me more than they probably ever learned from me
*Nothing smells better than a horse and saddle leather
*We are the sum total of our choices
*A horse is the most honest creature I have ever dealt with
I also know if I had my life to do over again I wouldn't change a single thing...well maybe I wouldn't have worn a lime green outfit when I was showing horses in 1972, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Every mistake we make, every hurt we endure, every person who touches our lives, every experience, and each day makes us the individuals we are. If I changed anything (even that butt ugly riding outfit) I would not be who I am now.
So now enough of the emotional "touchy feely" stuff.
I won't be able to mess with the horses, other than visit, for at least two weeks-boy am I going to be in the dog house with the herd! Jack is going to give me a raft of poop, because he will not be getting any hinny rubs from me for at least two weeks. If any of you want to help keep him from getting cheezed off at me you are welcome to come rub his big ol butt. Freedom is getting senile, so someone needs to show him my photo each day or he will forget who the heck I am. Harley needs someone to tell him how gorgeous he is every day or he gets a bit worried that he is loosing his looks. Ginger needs someone to rub her belly and the inside of her hips, she gets a bit itchy. Then there is Salty the Wonder Horse, he needs some one to rub his forehead until he just abouts falls over.
Take care and I will see you soon!
Have a good day and don't forget that your horse loves their DOR


Thanks Red

Thanks Red,
I have been trying out different poses on the mares. The first one is my coy look...it worked some, but not the results I was hoping for.
This one is my studly look. It seems to get a bunch of attention. I tried giving the mares the 'marbles in my nose' treatment that I give the DOR...the mares just jumped and ran off looking for whatever it was that scared me. I am working on a low "Barry White" nicker, boy is that working well. I have also found that if Salty is standing by me the mares are more interested. I think it is the double manliness effect.
The DOR gave Salty a neck scritch, he started leaning over so far he almost tipped over. I got a nice massage and I didn't tip over. I would like to that whoever conned the DOR into putting rolled mix in my treats tonight. We all got a bit extra, I think she is feeling a bit guilty about not doing chores for the next few days.
The ubber farrier is coming out tomorrow, wait until he sees Harley scooting around.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Ooh La La

I have spent my life in pastures with geldings or my mom. There have been mares around. There was even one that I fell in love with across the fence. I have wanted a mare of my very own, at least I thought I did.
The other day a mare snuck close for a visit. She was flirting and trying to get our attention. Salty wasn't too interested...he is used to having mares drool all over him. I found myself not sure what to do. Do I flirt back? Should I strike a sexy pose? Should I wonder over and nip her on the butt? I felt like a nervous boy on his first date.
I decided to stand by Salty and talk to him about the silly mare that was trying to get our attention. I pointed out that her mane was a bit tossled and gave a nervous nicker. Needless to say I didn't score any big points for that, in fact I got a dirty look. So I just hid behind Salty, peeking over every so often.
I am going to have to work on this mare/gelding relationship stuff unless I want to be an old bachelor like Freedom.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Saying goodbye

Today I said goodbye to two friends. They were residents of the ranch where I live (they were not the DORs horses, but she loved them too).
It is odd in a way. How do you say goodbye to a friend, when you really never said hello? How do you take it when they say it is time for them to go? I held my head high, held them close in my heart and then I let them go.
We horses manage to make friends wherever we are. Some horses are not as friendly as others, but we set our boundaries and learn to live together in peace.
One of the friends who crossed the rainbow bridge today was the first horse who was really nice to me. He never nipped me, didn't try to steal my treats, and when I was grounded to the paddock he would stand by me all night long. The other was a beautiful lady. She has been the adoptive mommy/aunt of the youngsters. She was the Dame of manners and made sure every horse she was with conducted themselves appropriately. She was the first filly I ever fell in love with.
Freedom is wondering around calling for his friend, Harley is trying to keep him distracted. Ginger and her pasture mate are hanging out in the shade, a bit demure. Salty and I are trying to keep busy and not think about things for right now. The other horses at the ranch feel the loss also. You see we do love and we do mourn our friends.
I know they are both running and playing, no longer limping or hurting--but they will be terribly missed by all of us.
I wish there was a way to help the lady who manages the ranch feel better, but I am not sure how...I am going to kiss her when she gets close enough. I don't know how to tell her she did the right thing and that we are all grateful that she was not selfish and did the right thing. The DOR is at a bit of a loss also, nice to know that humans often don't know what to do for each other either.
When you hear the wind this evening, wish my friends a happy journey across the rainbow bridge as they are carried on their way.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Feelings, woo-o-o feelings

There always seems to be a discussion of whether horses, along with other animals, have emotions/feelings. There are some DORs who think that when humans attribute emotions to their horses that it is just projecting their own emotions on their horse. There are other DORs who swear their horse talks to them, I think they must own Mr. Ed. I do believe we have ways of making our DORs know what we want and need-especially if the DOR wants to have good communication with us.
Here is what I have to say about it. I see the DORs car pull in the driveway and I run to the fence. I know the car and I know that it means I am getting a visit. I see a treat tub...well we all know what happens then. I see the saddle being put on the arena fence and I got to the gate and wait, I know I am going to get to play. I call for my pasture mates if they leave. I nicker to them when they return. I follow Salty around to protect him, you see he is getting old and not feeling too well lately. There are things that scare me and things that make curious. I l prefer one saddle pad over another and let the DOR know. I don't like an Aussie saddle but like the DeBerg saddle-boy does the DOR know that. I get happy, especially when I see treats or get scritched. I am sad when one of my friends leave. Most of all I can love.
I may have emotions that are more transitory that a human's, but they still exist. I also have some that seem to last longer or run deeper than a human's also. I know of horses who have visibly morned the death of a pasture mate, horses who remember a beloved owner years after being in a different place, horses who have never forgotten or forgiven a terrible mistreatment. I often think that horses remember humans long after a human has forgotten them.
My friend Red has been talking to his DOR. A horse named Jesse is trying to tell people why he doesn't want ridden. Me, I'm just trying to tell my DOR to give me more treats and scritches.
I think that we horses have to be patient with our DORs, they are doing the best they can in the communication department.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


It worked...well a little bit

Here is a photo of the medieval horse baths in Salzburg. Today the DOR spent the afternoon helping bath and photograph several horses at the ranch. I escaped having to take a bath, good thing because I would have just rolled in the dirt again.
Because she was busy we didn't go for a ride. She did however bring us all our treats and I found a bit of roll mix in mine (not enough to equal things up, but a step in the right direction). I looked at her, thinking she had given me Salty's by mistake-I figured I was going to get waved off at any moment. That didn't happen, in fact she started brushing me and humming. I got brushed the whole time I was munching. The DOR was telling me what a great horse I am, how lucky she is to have me, that I am the best Cactus Jack Splash she has ever known...by the time she was done I could have floated off my head was so big.
I have watched the DOR make sure that every horse she has knows how much they mean to her. I think it is a ritual she has, one she has developed while she was "seeing horses out", she took care of some rescue horses the last days of their lives (I hear she spoiled them rotten and gave them everything they needed). She never leaves until she has told us all we are wonderful and loved. She does that with her humans too. I think it is a great thing to do, so I have started telling my pasture mates how much I love them. They don't seem as appreciative of my nips and love taps as they are of her hugs and scritches.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Equal Treatment for Cactus Jack Slash Foundation

Okay, today the DOR crossed the line and I am officially launching the Equal Treatment for Cactus Jack Slash Foundation.
The support crew came out with the DOR so she could ride. That was no problem, I love taking the DOR for a ride. The problem arose when we are making our second circuit around the arena and I notice Dakota passing out the treat tubs. NOT FAIR!! He gave everyone a treat tub but me. I like treats, heck I love my treats, and here I am not getting any.
I stopped and pounded my right front foot, I want treats. The DOR gave me a nudge, I pounded my foot-I WANT TREATS. She gave me a kick and a tap on my butt, I pounded my foot and snorted-I WANT TREATS!!! The DOR said that if I didn't get moving I wasn't getting any treats when we were done, I moved. I kept going by the mounting block, lining up on my own, and looking at her...she wasn't getting the hint. I can tell I need to work with her some more on our communication skills. The DOR and I played for about an hour. While she was unsaddling me Dakota brought me treats, he even gave me a bit extra because I had been working.
I am still starting the Equal Treatment for Cactus Jack Slash Foundation. If you want to support my cause you can go to my Cafe Press Store and purchase products featuring the picture on this post (all proceeds go to Rodeo City Equine Rescue). I am listing the reasons that I need fair treatment:

  • Freedom gets 35 pounds of mush every day, double that in the winter.

  • Salty gets extra feed in his treats.

  • Ginger and Harley get the same treats as me, but they are not training the DOR.

  • I am the only horse responsible for DOR training.

  • Freedom gets ridden about twice a year.

  • Salty is now fully retired.

  • Ginger only packs Dakota around at lessons.

  • Harley is still only a pasture ornament.

When you take a look at the facts it is obvious that I am the most responsible, hard-working horse at the ranch. I deserve fair treatment. Sure the DOR spends the majority of her horsey time with me, I am the only one she rides now, I get played with every day, she gives me massages at least twice a week, and she tells me how much she loves me each time she sees me. When it comes to treats earned, I think I earn more treats than I am being given-after all consider all the treats that old fart Freedom gets and all he does is keep us all in line.

I am asking all of you to lend your support to my cause, send messages to the DOR, wear items with my foundation's logo on them. If we all join together I will be successful in my cause.


Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Where's the garlic?

I have gotten used to garlic in my treats, in fact I come to like it. Tonight my treats didn't have any garlic, neither did Salty's...what was up with that? To make up for the missing garlic the DOR did give us some roll mix. We gobbled out treats and wondered if we could scam some more-no luck.
The DOR did give me a quick bath. I am not sure why she wasted her time because I just went out and rolled in the dirt. It was nice to cool off a bit, so now that I am dirty maybe she will give me another bath tomorrow.
The DOR says thank you to everyone for their well wishes and concern. I am sure she will be just fine, after all she has to give me hinny massages.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Taking care of the DOR

This is a picture of a horsefly, it is artfully perched on a flower for the photographer. Hard to believe that something that looks kind of cute in a photo can bite so hard and be such a pest.
The DOR can only ride when there is another adult around, no she isn't grounded or a baby her heart is bothering her a bit. The vet for humans is going to fix it next week. So until then she is supposed to be careful, so she is being good-she wants to be around to keep playing with us. So on the evenings that it is just her and Dakota she just grooms us, gives us massages, and plays some games with me.
This is where the horsefly comes in. I am enjoying a nice massage. The DOR has done my neck, back, and hips. She gets to my hinny, this is my favorite spot, I have my lip hanging and my head just about to the ground. A darn horsefly lands in the middle of my back, the DOR didn't notice because she is talking to Dakota. I really want to run, kick, buck, and swish my tail like a lunatic...but I can't. If I do any of those things I will hurt the DOR and she is part of my herd, which makes it my job to protect her. So I'm twitching and squirming and the DOR looks to see why. She sees the fly and moves to swat it. She missed but the fly didn't, the jerk bit the DOR! She let out a whoop and shook her arm around a bit. I looked at her arm and gave her a nudge on her hip (it is were I nudge her to say everything is okay), she hugged me back. I am worried that I might not be getting any hinny massages for a while, at least not when there are horseflies around.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


We are still here and so is Switzerland

The Large Hadron Collider (click on the picture to visit the official website) was fired up today. There was quite a bit of concern from some people that the experiment could create a black hole. The black hole would have swallowed Switzerland, France, and other parts of Europe...maybe even the whole planet. Not this experiment has been a big concern with us horses here at the ranch, but it has been discussed by the DOR and her dad the scientist. Well whatever it was I am glad the DOR didn't get sucked into a black hole.
The DOR brought us all our evening treats. She jogged backwards for a bit with Harley's, getting him to trot after her. We were all happy that today he trotted with only a slight limp and that was his stiff knee, not his feet, that was bothering him.
This evening the DOR and I did not do any work, well the DOR did. I got a massage!! She worked on my neck, back, hinny, and legs. Sometimes I get a bit tight so a massage is a very nice way to relax. I wish I could return the favor, but maybe that is one of the benefits of this relationship. I relax the DOR by just existing and she gives me a relaxing massage.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Beat the clock

So I discovered that Salty has extra treats in his tub. The DOR is giving him stuff to help his kidneys, hay pellets, BOS, HES, garlic, vitamins, and rolled mix. She wants him to put on a bit of weight before it gets cold. I, on the other hand, am just getting hay pellets, BOS, garlic, and vitamins. The D OR won't give me grain because I am 'ripe', a bit fluffy, packing a bit of fat where I shouldn't be. She won't even let me use the excuse that I need to fatten up for winter-seems I am already fattened up.
I have figured out that I can eat my treats faster than Salty. If I can beat him, distract the DOR, I can steal Salty's treats. I tried tonight...struck out, seems the DOR read my mind and she stood brushing me while she had Dakota brushing Salty.
Salty and I both beat Freedom, so the minute that the DOR left the pasture we tried to steal his treats. It didn't work too well...Freedom is in a paddock with his mush. We hovered around, waiting for him to scoot his tub close enough to the panels that we could reach in and grab it. Freedom out smarted us. He flipped the tub out of the paddock, we raced over to eat the treats. The old turd had dumped all of his treats in the middle of his paddock. We looked at him and there he was munching away, snickering at us.
I also discovered that if I can get the DOR to do all of our ground work right the first time I can get her through all seven games inn 15-20 minutes. I am liking this time management stuff. I get more time to eat grass, roll in poop, rub my butt on the panels, play with my joy ball and hula hoop, and swat flies. I am having fun living a simple life.
I am trying to convince the DOR to buy us all white blankets and then paint them so they look like us. If she paints it just right and does a good job you won't be able to tell it is a blanket. I also found a nice camouflage blanket that could be fun, I could be invisible.
The DOR has a rescue board meeting tomorrow, so I am going to take the day off. If you miss me you can read some of my old posts or visit some of my favorite blogs.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Winter Wardrobe

As the weather starts to cool off and we are beginning to get furry, it is time to think about my winter wardrobe.
The DOR is looking at blankets for the winter. I want something stylish, she thinks functional and warm is what is important. I am glad she is shopping early, that way I have time to convince her to get me a blanket that suits my regal heritage!
I saw what Annie did to her fly sheet that Amanda got her, read Someting tells me she did not like it. I will use the same tactic if need be. The other horses are pretty good about wearing whatever blanket they get. I have heard both Harley and Salty grumble about looking like dorks. Freedom tells us not to be whinny babies, he says back when he was young he had to walk fifteen miles through five foot deep snow just to get a drink of water (that was is the water wasn't frozen)-I think he is telling fish tales.
I am starting to see the benefits of garlic. The bugs didn't bother any of us as bad today. I haven't noticed the other horses smelling like pizza or spaghetti, so I think that so far I am safe from smelling like Italian food.
Harley was seen running today...of course it was to escape a horse fly, but he was running all the same.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


A note from the DOR

Hello, it is me the DOR aka Syndi. I would like to thank everyone who reads this blog, it is so fun to share Jack's adventures training me with all of you.
In my life with horses I have encountered some wonderful and caring people. I would like to tell you about one of them. You have read about our 'ubber farrier' in Jack's posts. But there is more to this man than Jack has shared. His dedication to his caft is nothing short of amazing. He truly loves helping horses by taking good care of their feet. He also knows there are times when there is nothing that can be done and a horse needs to be let go.
I thought we had reached that point with Harley and our farrier knew that. He has worked with Harley for the past year and brought him from a horse that could hardly walk to a horse that walks the legs off of trotting horses, who trots and lopes (even though it isn't pretty), who bucks and enjoys life. We had reached the point where even though Harley was better, he was never going to fully recover. I talked about it with the farrier and he understood the decision and wished there was more he could do. Luckily for me and Harley this man did more than wish. He decided to do more research, to see what he could change with his trims to help Harley-he went looking for hope. He studied DVDs, read more material and has come up with a new plan. We should know after three trims if it is going to work or not. I am thrilled that Harley has another chance to get healthy, he is one of the nicest horses I have been around. There are not many individuals who take what they do so personally, who are willing to spend their own time to search out a miracle. The process of rehabbing a horse takes a good team. I am fortunate to have one: a great vet, a great person who manages the facility where I keep my horses, the 'support crew', and the 'ubber farrier.'
The pity of the situation is that he is crippled due to humans. The AQHA promotes small hooves, horses are broke to ride to young, used in high impact activities to soon and too much, and they don't receive proper farrier care. I encourage people to wait to ride their horses until they are at least three, make sure they have proper hoof care the moment they are born, and limit the hammering/high impact activities that you subject your horse to.
Here is a picture of Harley Darling, he is a lovely boy. Please send your good thoughts that the new approach the farrier is taking will work, thank you.
Here is a big thank you to our 'ubber farrier', no matter how this turns out you are the BEST!
Have a good day, hug your horses, and always tell them they are the most wonderful horse you know and how much you love them. Also remeber to let the people who support your love of horses how special they are.


Garlic and sunflower seeds

Dakota is growing sunflowers for us! He decided to give it a try. The DOR says he planted them a bit late so there may be no seeds, that is okay with me because I will eat the flowers.
Here Dakota is standing by some of his flowers. That is his cabin in the picture. He likes to hang out there...it is his quiet place. To the right is his woodshed/fort. He hangs out up there and reads books.

The DOR put garlic in our treats...what is up with that. She isn't putting in very much, too much can cause anemia, just a bit so we will stink away the bugs. I am not sure I want to be stinky, how will I attract a mare if I am stinky? The DOR says my feet are stinky, that I roll in my own poop and get smelly. I disagree I smell like a horse, which is what I should smell like. I don't need to smell like spaghetti sauce or pizza. Salty was a bit upset about the garlic also, he dumped his treats on the ground. He ended up eating them and then came over to see if I had anything left. I had to hurry and eat mine so he couldn't get them. The only one who didn't seem not to care about the garlic was Harley. I think that is because he is all looks and no brains. All of us horses call Harley 'Biff' behind his back. He is a pretty boy who is always worried about how he looks. Even if he didn't like the garlic he wouldn't make a face about it-he might get wrinkles.
Tomorrow the ubber farrier is coming...Harley is already talking about how pretty his feet are going to be!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

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