My Easter Miracle, the day after.
In order to tell you about the miracle I have to go back a few weeks. I will warn you this story is long. We start by going back two Mondays ago…. Monday is my day off and since Saddlebred Rescue was and continues to be past full of rescue horses waiting for adoption so I did not plan on going to the sale. It is very hard for me to go to the sale and not buy all the Saddlebreds I can so I decided not to go. I was happily sleeping when the phone rang and I heard Mark say,“ I will tell her and she will call you back”. Well THAT woke me up! As it turned out it was Kelly from Omega horse rescue telling me about two horses that our broker bought at the sale. What really made me say I would take them was the fact that one of them had been body clipped. I called Pat and ask her if she wanted to go with me and pick up these horses. She, of course, was game to go on a short notice. I didn’t check the weather forecast and it never entered my head to do so before I left. I thought Pat would know so off we went on our 3 hour one way trip to the sale. Needless to say there was a winter storm warning that I did not know about and it was awful driving for at least two hours on our way to the sale not to mention the return trip.
Once at the sale we noticed the place was deserted and the only people there were a handful of men moving the cattle around for the upcoming Tuesday auction. When Pat and I finally found our horses they were in a pen with about 20 or so other horses all turned loose and milling around. As we approached the gate Pat informed me she was not going in the pen so I was on my own. I spotted the body clipped horse and made my way through the a maze of horse butts all the while being very careful to watch each and every horse to make sure I did not get kicked. On my way to the middle of the pen I heard a man ask Pat if she needed help. Pat told him she was there to pick up some horses and when the man heard the word horses he looked into the pen of 20 or so horses moving around kicking and squealing. He told Pat he would rather go into a pen full of mean bulls before he would go into that horse pen. Well, THAT made me feel more confident!!! NOT!!! I scooted up to the body clipped horse and just when I went to touch it, the horse lunged at me with teeth barred and ears flat back. At that point I was glad I had used the restroom BEFORE I went into the pen. The thought HOLY CRAP went through my head but what came out of my mouth was “HEY!! YOU SON OF A B!&@#” and my arms flew up in the air without me knowing I did it. The horse jumped away and I stood there for a moment wondering if I really wanted that horse. I really did, so I needed a Plan B.
Plan B consisted of grabbing the halter of a VERY LARGE & KIND Standardbred horse and using him as a shield. This big horse and I became friends and he did indeed help keep me safe and catch a horse that did not want to get caught. The trip home was worse than on the way up and it only took me 3 ½ hours to get home and it was NOT, and I repeat NOT, a fun drive. This will come into play for next week. When I got home I saw posts on Omega’s Facebook page and so I wrote on the post about the horses in the pen. I made sure to tell of the big horse and how kind he was and how he needed to get a home. Later I found out this horse’s name is Great Greco or something on that order and he had won $140,000 in his career. How does a horse like that go to slaughter? I also learned that his rescue bail money had been paid but he had nowhere to go. Kelly asked if I would foster him for awhile and I told her I thought it was the least I could do for the horse that was my shield. I also told Kelly I would pick him up the very next Monday. All I had to do know was tell Mark. Well maybe I would wait a few days first.
Fast forward to the following Monday on March 25th. I did check the weather and there was another snow storm on Monday, can you believe that? Well I had just about as much fun as one person could handle the Monday before in the snow so I was not about to do it again. I called Kelly and told her I would not be able to pick the big horse up and would it be okay to get him on the Monday after Easter? Bruce had no problem with that so we were “on” for the next week.
Today April 1st was a beautiful day with no snow, so Pat and I were a “go” for the sale. I told Pat I was going to foster the big horse so I needed to go today and pick him up BUT I was NOT going to buy ANY horses as we are full. As we pulled up and parked I saw Kelly in the parking lot so I flagged her down. I was told the big horse was in Bruce’s trailer. I would have found him anyway then as I always have the habit of going up and looking in his trailer to see what horses are in it. I peeked in and I was surprised to see a smallish saddlebred looking horse right next to the big horse. I made a mental note to ask Bruce about this horse when I saw him inside at the auction. When I asked him he looked surprised and almost shocked, he said “you do not really want that horse do you?” and as he said that his Dad, standing next to him, said “that is not even a Saddlebred. It’s just an old pony.” I thought to myself (I must be losing my touch because I thought that looked like a Saddlebred). What I said was “ I guess I do not want the horse if it is not a Saddlebred”. Bruce told me to look at another horse he had just bought and see if I wanted it. I bet you can guess what my answer was? “Of course I want it, it is a Saddlebred after all”.
After the sale I loaded the new Saddlebred from today’s auction and then I went to Bruce’s trailer to get the big horse. Pat was behind me writing checks for Bruce and the vet work and I loaded the new horse by myself and headed over to Bruce’s trailer. The big horse was in the back of the trailer and the back of his trailer has two doors that swing open to get the horses out. Anyone who knows me KNOWS I like to talk and I really like talking to all my horses. As usual I was talking to the big horse while opening the doors and then saw that he had sores from an old halter so I was rubbing the big horse’s head and telling him I was sorry he had those sores and we would make them feel better at North Wind. Also of course I told him how beautiful he was so I guess all of the horses in the trailer could hear me. After I led the big horse out and handed him to Pat (who had caught up to me) I turned around and saw the old pony and then I SAW the old pony SADDLEBRED! And you know what? She saw me too and then she stretched out turned her head, put her ears up and she SAW ME like she knew me!!!! I instantly KNEW HER!!!! You may think I am crazy but the horses in my barn know their people, I cannot tell you how times I have watched a horse look at their people then slightly changing their body and eyes as they recognize their people. I have seen this 100s of times maybe even 1000s of times. Every time the horses stand taller lifting their heads, ears are as far forward as they can go, their eyes get bigger, brighter and you KNOW they know their people. This is what happened this afternoon in the trailer. She knew me! I knew her and I KNEW I was going to take her home. As I went to tell Bruce I realized I recognized this horse and wanted to buy her. He told me her story. Bruce’s son went to a sale and bought a mule. As he was loading it the man that ran the sale wanted it back for some reason and offered to trade the mule back for two old horses. Bruce’s son gets home and needless to say Bruce was not happy so he was taking these two old horses back to the man after he finished his business at the sale at New Holland. That was the only reason that mare was there that day. I think Bruce thought I was just being a “wacko” horse lover because I kept telling him I knew this horse and she was a wonderful horse. The mare was VERY thin, very hairy, very un-kept, very cut up and had bad feet. Nothing about her looked wonderful but I KNEW her and she remembered me so Pat wrote out another check and she was ours.
By the time we got in the truck I was an emotional wreck and Pat was not totally sure it was the horse we knew from 7 years earlier. (Pat did not see the mare recognize me so she was just looking at a beat up old horse.) The first thing she does is look up her records on the ASHA website for the markings on the mare we had so many years earlier. I was right they matched. What were the chances of this horse being the same one? Here is some more back story on this mare. When I was in Illinois the breeder sent her to my barn to train and show. After a period of time the mare was sold to another trainer who I was friends with. Several years later when we moved to New Jersey I needed a safe kids horse so I called my trainer friend to see if they would sell the mare. They would and I did for one of our good customers in New Jersey. We have the mare several years and the kid grew up and went to college so the mare found a new home down south with the promise she would be sent back if she was no longer wanted or needed. A while back I did receive a call that the mare was going to yet another barn as they needed a horse just like her. Again that was fine but she was to come back to New Jersey if she was no longer wanted. Imagine my shock, my anger, my hurt to see this mare STANDING in that trailer and OWNED by our slaughter buyer. Had that mare not recognized me and let her “INNER BEAUTY” show and instead just stood there like a beat up old pony I may not have taken her. This mare showed me her SADDLEBRED beauty!! I remembered, she made me remember and I saw her as the horse I once had and not the beat up old horse she is now.
I have been wondering the last few months if I should continue going to the sale buying horses and having almost everyone around me involved in Saddlebred Rescue. Is it worth it? Am I making a difference and is what I do really needed. It has been a huge struggle to raise money for Saddlebred Rescue and to keep the operations going the way I felt was best for the horses. It takes resources in order to feed and care for the horses as they should be, and have training available so we can properly evaluate them in order to place the rescues in a home where they have a chance to have a good home and to be useful. We have to raise around $200K to $250K every year to rescue, rehab and place around 100 horses and every year it gets harder to do. Am I needed? Should I continue to do this? This type of work needs to be supported by everyone and sometimes I feel people interested to adopt and help do not get the rush of saving a horse in our operating format as compared to other rescue groups that advertise that you need to bail out a horse from pending slaughter by Saturday or else, etc.
Here is what had to happen for me to save this mare. If any of these things had not happened I would not have seen the mare at all.
1) Kelly called me on my day off and got me to go to the sale
2) I did not check the weather and we had to drive in a bad snow storm both ways,(not fun)
3) All the people were gone (because of the snow storm) at the sale and I had no help
4) The body clipped horse lunged at me and scared the beejeezus out of me (even though the horse is really kind)
5) I felt like I needed a horse for a shield
6) I picked the big Standardbred
7) I wrote about that horse and how good he was on Omega’s Facebook page
People donated money but no home was offered
9) Kelly asked me to foster the big horse and I had a soft spot for him so I said yes
10) The next Monday I was supposed to pick up the big horse but it snowed and I did not want a repeat of the snowy Monday before
11) Bruce’s son went to a sale on Saturday March 30th and bought a mule
12) The sale wanted the mule back and traded for two old horses
13) Bruce did not think that was a fair trade and decided to return the two horses after New Holland
14) I was picking up the big horse that day and Bruce had him in his trailer with the two old horses
15) I talk all the time to the horses and I was talking not so quiet to the big horse as I unloaded him out of Bruce’s trailer
16) The old beat up mare remembered me and made me take a good look at her.
17) The old mare was even dumped and shipped up to the Lancaster area from the south in the first place (when she was supposed to be sent back to me)
Is there a higher power out there? I would say YES. I believe there is and this was a miracle! I know what I need to do! Stay the course and keep doing things how I feel in my heart that they should be done. I know I am asking for help to keep Saddlebred Rescue up and running so I can go out and find the lost souls that need help. One thing I LEARNED today…. NO HORSE IS SAFE !! IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THAT HORSE IN YOUR BARN UNDER YOUR CONTROL….NO HORSE IS SAFE!!!!!!!!!!
My Easter Miracle, the day after.
As many of you know SBR is FULL! I had no intention of going to the sale as we just did not have room. I was napping in the other room from where Mark was working when I heard the phone ring, I heard Mark say that I was not available and he would have me call back. When Mark came in the room I was in he told me Kelly called and said Bruce had purchased Saddlebreds at the sale would I take them? I hate this part because I know SBR is full and I know the donations have been slow, and with the problems we had with saddlebredrescue.com many of the applications that came in were stuck in limbo somewhere and we did not even know they were sent to us. At first I said no room at the Inn, but then I realized if I said no they were going to either Canada or Mexico.
I decided to post on facebook and ask for help to raise much needed funds and maybe get some horses placed to give us room to go get more Saddlebreds that are being shipped to slaughter. That was a good idea except Facebook would not let me post on SBR’s page….. WHAT THE %$#@@#$$&%$# was happening? After I do not know how long and about 50 attemps at posting I gave up and ask Mark to do it. Mean while back at the sale Kelly was making arrangements for the vet to draw coggins and get the paperwork nessesary to bring the horses home. Mark finally got my post on the SBR page, we started getting pledges (well one) and I called Pat and said “do you want to go to New Holland?” Pat ask when and I said in about 30 minutes. I told Pat the story and about the pledges (well one pledge at the time) and told her we could be back at 9 pm. Pat said of course she was game to go so I made plans to meet her at the A&P on the way out of town.
I am a little old fashion when it comes to the weather so my way of checking the weather is to look out the window and see and feel what is happening. Monday at 3 pm was partly cloudy and cool. Just before I left the house Kelly called and said one horse had been body clipped so I did mange to grab a blanket, after I tested the weather and it was cool. I pick up Pat and off we go like Lewis & Clark on an expedition, in reality we were like Abbott & Costello. We were busy making calls with the vets, Kelly and Bruce and were well on our way when I noticed it was raining and the temp was 33. I looked at Pat and said “is it supposed to snow”? Pat told me yes it is going to get colder and snow most of the night. “What” I said, “really” . Pat then told me it was all over the news and internet. “OH” I stated “I never check the weather…. OH WELL!”
Pat found out everyone at the sale was leaving to get out before the weather hit. That would be the weather we was driving in. I hoped the temp would go up but it did not, it got colder. Then I found out that our horses were in a large pen with about 20 other horses AND one of ours was hard to catch, right after Pat told me that she was not going in the pen becasue she did not like the thrill of being smashed and kicked by a bunch of horses. To make it even better it was really snowing by now and Pepper told me he had to pee so I had to pull of the road and let him out. At least he did not pee in the truck.
Fast forward to the sale, the roads are getting slick and it is still snowing and getting colder and NO ONE is around but a few cow guys moving cows from pen to pens. We find ALL of the horses and I can see the body clipped one is in the middle but kind of in the open. I opened the gate and squished through a bunch of horses until I was close to Mr.Naked Boy. Being careful not to look at him I back up to the horse next to him and then have to decide if I want to touch the big horse that has no halter on. Sometimes no halter means no broke to lead. When I got up my nerve I touched him and he jumped forward leaving me very close to Mr. Naked Boy aka MNB, “great ” I thought and just as that thought went through my head he turned his head flattened his ears and lunged at me! “HOLY CRAP” is what I thought but “HEY YOU SON-OFA-BITCH” is what came out as I threw my arms up in the air at him. MNB turned and moved away frowning at me as he went. I must say I was glad I went to the bathroom when we got to the sale! It was at this point I decided to get the mare in the back that was standing in a crowd. I was just a little bit worried about the over 20 horses in this pen but I WAS NOT going to give up. As I am walking back to the mare I hear a man ask Pat if she needed help, before she could answer he told her he was afraid of horses and he would rather go in a pen with mean bulls rather than go in this pen of horses. Well THAT made me feel better!
In order to get the mare I made friends with several of the larger horses and held on to them to use them as sheilds to protect me (or so I told myself). I did get the mare and mange to get her out without me getting killed or mamed. The little mare loaded great and it was once again time to try and catch MNB. To make a long story short I used my horse sheild tecnique to get MNB in the far back corner,as hard as I tried I could not get the front end of MNB to get anywhere near me I could only get the kicking end. I called Pat and she walkked around the outside of the pen and pick up hay and offered it to MNB. I thought to myself that old trick was not going to work as this horse was smarter than that but to my surprise it did work. MNB ears went up and he allowed Pat to hook the lead rope to his halter. Once he knew Pat was friend and not for his whole demeaner changed, he was happy, relaxed and much easier to deal with. It took me 5 minutes just to get him out of the pen because of all the horses were now inbetween me and the gate (not fun to walk through leading a horse).All in all it took us 30 minutes to get this horse caught.
The trip home would have been a nightmare but I am from Chicago as I kept telling myself and Pat, so this winter storm was nothing. I got home at 10:30 instead of 9pm AND my trailer was covered with snow, slush and ice, but I was alive uninjurged and had the horses so over all it was a good trip.
Tonight’s post will be short. Today we had to put our Boxer June to sleep. Anyone who knows me know I LOVE my animals and June was a wonderful dog that we have been blessed to have in our lives for several years. June has been having issues for several months now and today it was clear to me that I was not being fair to June. I will post our story of June later but tonight it is too fresh for me to even write about it. All I can say is, there is a huge hole in my heart from losing June.
Christmas is a time of year for giving, and as you get older the giving feels better than getting. This Christmas proved to be a great Christmas for a different reason for me. Just before Thanksgiving I bought a VERY hairy Yorkshire terrier that was kept in a small 1’x1’ wooden box with a chicken wire cage attached that was same width and about 2’ long. The whole cage was off the ground so that this dog was living and walking on a wire cage. The cage was behind a barn so that it was not visible from the road or for even from the house of the people who owned him. This dog had lived in that cage for all but a few weeks of his life when he was born. As I turned my horse trailer around I saw the dog but even though I could tell he was a “Yorkie” he was huge looking to me. When I really took time to look at the dog I could tell he was a mass of hair and had not been groomed in maybe a year or more. I was determined to get this dog out of this situation come hell or high water. After some bargaining, Mark and I were the proud owners of a little dog that was almost unrecognizable as a dog for he was covered in mats from his almost unrecognizable head to his body that looked like he was cover with some kind of massage armor. Did I mention that he flat our stunk to high heaven, (that made for a pleasant trip home in the truck).
Fast forward we got the dog, (now named Matty) home and on the way we got an appointment for him to go to the vet’s office the very next day to be clipped and checked out. As you can guess they had to put him under just to clip him and when we picked him up later that day we learned about how bad he really was. Matty’s hair was so matted that it was cutting off the circulation to his front legs and when in a few weeks he would have been in danger of losing his legs, plus most of his teeth had rotted out. Other than that he was in good health! I was going to a horse show for a week and it was decided he would go to a rescue that worked with puppy mill dogs and they would help rehab him and maybe he would find a home. I kept track of Matty and when I saw he had not found a home I ask Mark if he would bring him home for me for Christmas. On Monday we drove up to get him. Anyone who knows Mark, knows I have the BEST husband in the world.
Matty is not house trained, Matty is very scared and untrusting of people, and Matty is about six years old so he was not a dog that people wanted, except for me. We picked up Matty on Monday and today was Christmas so I got him home in time for Christmas, that was important to me. I know Matty did not know what day it was today BUT I did. I promised Matty this was his home from now on, I promised him he would be loved no matter what and he would be important to us for the rest of his life. Matty did not know what I said but I did. Matty has been hanging with my dogs and of course Mark and I two days now and you what? Matty is starting to want to sit in my lap, Matty no longer cowers when Mark or I pet him, Matty will come when we talk baby talk to him (he maybe crawling on his belly but he comes to us).
Tonight while I was petting Matty, Pepper & Poppi, I thought what a great Christmas! Matty, just by showing me that he liked me and wanting my attention made me feel like I can make a difference in this world, even if it is to ONE dog, or to ONE horse. I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE !! It is so amazing how these down in their luck dogs and horses, that have been forgotten or mistreated by humans can be so forgiving when they are treated with respect and love. Just imagine how much can be accomplished if everyone would help make a difference in just one dog or horse’s life. I can tell you if you just give to these animals you will get something back in far larger proportions than you gave , a feeling that you cannot get from opening presents or getting stuff from others.
THIS POST IS FOR YOU MARK & MATTY! THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY CHRISTMAS GREAT.
Sorry I skipped a day, yesterday was a big day in the barn. We had a Christmas Party and everyone rode the horses as well. Even though yesterday went well and everyone was in a good mood and rode their best I came home drained and very tired. I decided not to write as I was not sure what might pop out of my fingers onto the keyboard so I went to bed early. I wanted to be ready for the last day before two days off and Christmas, but instead I woke up sick. There is an upside to being sick in my house and that is the dogs! My pack stays with me through thick and thin, bed or bathroom, and, even if I look like a commercial for sick people before they take the wonder drug that not only makes you feel better but also combs your hair AND applies your makeup. Well I was the before, with my dogs all looking at me as if I was the most beautiful person in the world. I did get up and eat toast thinking it would settle my stomach and help me feel better. Just a little insight into my brain, when Mark is sick he will not eat anything because he feels bad, when I am sick my brain tells me things like “eat toast you might feel better”, “toast did not work so try chicken noodle soup”, “if that did not work try PUDDING! Pudding makes everyone feel better!” well I guess you get the point.
Today nothing worked but the dogs. The dogs go to work with me every day and today meant work was helping me feel better. Most of today consisted of sleep for me and all the dogs either on the bed or in bed waiting for me to move. When I would wake up and turn over the dogs would instantly be on their feet jumping around getting happy because we were going to do something. Then that was followed by a silent Stand Down order from one of the officer dogs. All of the lower ranking dogs would then drop back into a quiet but waiting mode. EXCEPT for Poppi, my Jack Russell puppy, who would jump on my head and look me square in the eyes and all but speak to me “Let’s go!, It is time to get up! Get UP!!!” Poppi is still young enough to not know the routine and think she can will me out of bed so she can go outside and get into trouble. If I did get up to make a hurried trip to the bathroom all dogs jump up and race me to the dog gate which is the start of the dog & pig free zone where our cat lives, with the world’s best food ever. The minute I start to untie the gate the pigs race over, hoping I will forget to re-tie the gate when I go into the bathroom. So I have to spend precious time keeping the dogs and pigs out of this area. Once I go into this zone I am immediately greeted by Puddy (pronounced like hoody) our cat, who thinks the only reason I come into this area is to admire her, which I do. It is easy when I do not feel well to stay in the bathroom longer than usual and pet the cat. One day I may just fall asleep just listening to her purring and scratching her. I might just do that but the pigs keep pushing on the gate and grunting their dismay at me for locking them out. The nerve of me! When it is time for me to return to the office or the bedroom I have to push the dogs and pigs off of the gate because it opens towards them and then quickly close and re-tie the gate so the pigs cannot get in and eat the cat’s food. As I walk back to bed the pigs are swearing at me (I can tell), Poppi is upset that we are not going outside to the barn to work and the other dogs just follow me back to bed and assume their usual spots of waiting for the General to feel better.
This was my day today on Sunday before Christmas and even though I did not feel well I did feel loved and needed. I may not please everyone but I do please my pack (except the pigs).
It is funny how two totally different events intertwine into a third event that ends up to be comical.
Event #1 Mark and I went to a barn in Kentucky with a customer to look at a western prospect that I had seen earlier. The barn we went to was Singing Hills and most of you know Gene and Annalize have a pet pig named Bacon. I was instantly intrigued by this little porker who was a barn pig by day and at night she was a house pet. A house pet may not be accurate – she is one of the “kids” and has even slept in their bed when she was little. I went home and just filed the pig info in my brain and did not think of it until closer to Christmas. One day close to Christmas Mark asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I have a wonderful life with Mark and my kids & horses & dogs… and well, anyway, I could not think of anything I wanted or needed other than underwear (Oh when did I become my Grandma?), so as a joke I said I wanted a house pig. Mark had a scare at first and then I told him I was joking, KIND OF! As the days passed I started looking at baby pigs online and then I started studying them, then I wanted one, then I really for real wanted one! To make a long story short, I got a baby house pig for Christmas and several months later Mark and I were not only proud parents of a baby house pig, we were proud parents of two baby house pigs, Binky and Pixie. For more information on our piggys scroll back on my blog a ways and read all about the early days of new pig-parenthood.
Event #2 Mark came in from outside this spring and told me a wild black and white cat ran out of our garage when he came in. At first I panicked because June has come in the house twice before this after she had been playing with a wild black and white “kitty”, or as it is commonly called, a skunk. Mark, after seeing the look on my face (something between screaming with the home alone face & looking like I would throw up if I smelled that skunk smell in the house again) assured me it was really a cat and NOT a skunk. Over the next couple of months we saw the wild cat many times running away from us but still around the house none the less. Maybe that was because Jason and I were feeding it in the garage. I am not sure but maybe. I told our resident Cat Lady (said the kindest way there is), Pat. Pat says she is a cat person and not a dog person. Pat likes dogs but she LOVES her two cats. Anyway I told Pat about our wild cat and she asked where I see it mostly, so I told her in front of the house near the garage. Pat took off to the front of our property and came back in about 10 minutes and told me “That is NOT a wild cat. That cat is, or was someone’s house cat. Back out front we went as I had to see that myself, and sure enough, that cat was tame and had a beautiful coat of hair. I started having Jason help me look for missing cats on the internet (I know, wasted time) and of course no one was missing this cat. The words “house cat” kept me up at night worried about was she afraid? Was she cold at night? Did she have TICKS eeww? Did she wonder where her family went and why she was left outside with no home? On a Saturday I sent Pat and Mary Mitkish to catch the cat and take it in my house. I just could not live feeling guilty over this cat. Yes, my mom was ready to kill me, but that only lasted about an hour. We took her to our vet she was spayed, slightly skinny, and in good shape after what she had been through. Puddy did lose the end of her tail – more than likely from a too-close-for-comfort coyote.
Event #3 Puddy (short for Puddy Tat) now lives in my part of the house in a bedroom that we use as a dressing room (do not ask). Puddy is the BEST CAT IN THE WORLD. I dearly love her. Puddy is polite, very quiet , never jumps on things and minds her own business. Puddy is not really afraid of the dogs or pigs and even seems to like them. The dogs and pigs on the other hand see Puddy as the one who has the best tasting food in the house. We have a gate that blocks off that part of the house and Mark and I call it the dog/pig free zone. The D&P free zone contains Puddy’s food. The dogs just stand at the gate and wish they could get in there to eat the food. Once in a great while one of the dogs will follow Mark in that area and sneak a bite of the cat food. Mostly the dogs are dreamers. The PIGS, on the other hand, are DOERS, and I mean big time. At first they would wait and follow someone in the room then race for the food and “pig” it down. (sorry about the play on words) Mark and I got smarter and did not let the pigs follow us in. Then the pigs got craftier. They would wiggle the gate with their noses to loosen the latch, then open the gate with their noses, then run in and gobble all the food. OK, Mark and I got smarter and started tying the gate closed and that worked for about a day. Pigs stood and wiggled the gate, then stood and looked at the gate, then wiggled the gate, then looked at the gate and pulled on the strings and untied the gate. Eureka! The pigs ran in and ate the food. Mark and I got smarter and tied the gate up on top so the pigs could not reach the ties so there was no way to get the food. That made pigs even have to form a better attack plan. Every day 20 times a day or more each pig wiggles the gate to see if we have forgotten to tie it. Now they have a different plan. Mark calls it STEALTH PIGS! The pigs wait until Mark or I go into the bathroom, they know we will not be long, but there is a way they can wiggle the gate open and tiptoe very softly (not making their usual grunting sounds they make when they walk) go carefully and quietly past the bathroom and eat the cats food. At first we did not know they were doing that we just thought the cat was eating a lot of food lately, but we finally caught them in the act. Mark and I now have to untie and tie the gate shut every time we go into D&P free zone. Which means we have to tie and untie ourselves in the Pig free zone EVERY TIME, no matter how big a hurry we may be in. The dogs, by the way, still cannot get in the room. The pigs catch us off guard about 3 or 4 times a day. Now we just say the cat has had marauders that were in the Stealth mode! The dogs I am sure are thinking “one day when dogs fly we will have best food in the land.”
Here is an extra post tonight. Mark and I have lived in the house we are in now since the fall of 1999. For the last several (maybe more) months the shower in our bathroom has been acting up. Acting up is a horse term for not working correctly. I have told Mark and Jason about it and at first they seemed to think I was making it up. Why would I make that up? Jason said he could never get it to do it when he checked it, and Mark said it did not do it when he showered, it seemed it only did it to me. Hmmm an intelligent shower, NOT!! Without going into poke-your-eyes-out details, I shower at night before I go to bed. That is because I literally have a dirty job as I work in a horse barn with horses. Mark on the other hand has a desk job so he showers in the morning, he says it wakes him up. I would be afraid to wake up with the shower, as I would be afraid of drowning before I woke up. My preferred method of waking up is by Jack Russell. Every morning around 8:30 Poppi, our JR, stands on my head looking me in the eyes and I swear she is saying, well, yelling with her eyes and body language “GET UP, GET UP, IT IS TIME TO GO TO THE BARN, WE HAVE WORK TO DO!!!” Oh sorry– I got off track–welcome to my world.
Anyway Mark says the shower never acts up with him. Does that mean the shower is too tired at night to work correctly? Here is how my shower goes, Step 1: turn on shower and wait for hot water to get to the far end of the house. Step 2: get in and within minutes the water turns scalding hot and I cannot get it back to a normal shower temperature. Step 3: jump back out of water until the cold water decides to get back to that end of the house. I wonder where it went? Did the hot water scare it away? Step 4: adjust the handle until the water is just right and get back in the water. Step 5: get head wet and put shampoo on my head, notice the water sounds different and as I am rinsing my hair the water turns ICE COLD. Step 6: gasp and hurry up and get the shampoo out and jump back out of water. Step 7: adjust water and step in, apply conditioner listen for the sound change to get ready for the scalding water. Steps 8 through 12: lather, rinse, repeat in between the ever changing hot and cold water. This is accompanied by a lot of swear words. Is it possible the shower gets tired? How is it that it never happens to Mark in the morning?
I was kind enough to give Mark my cold and while he was sick he started showering at night and guess what? His crazy wife was right — the shower is acting up! I hope now that he knows I am not making this up, and that it will be fixed sometime in the next year or so. Why am I writing this now? Because I just got out of my shower and it was on my mind.
Ok I know it has been forever since I have written and my last post must have seemed like I had the world’s worst pig but in reality Binky has turned out to be a wonderful addition to our house, in fact we got a second pig so Binky would have a friend. Pixie came to our house from a pig rescue just outside of Philadelphia. I will be talking more about the “girls” in later posts but for now I am just going to get you up to speed.
My beloved Suzie an older Great Dane passed this spring leaving a huge hole in my heart. I am hoping to find another older dog to bring home but as of yet I have not found one, maybe because my heart needs more time. Suzie was raised in a show kennel and had never been a house dog. When her owners’ life changed Suzy needed a home. Mark found her for me and that was one of the best dogs I have ever had. Suzie was not house trained but in two days,with a shovel, an industrial size carpet cleaner and a whole bunch of Febreeze we had her house trained. I am glad she was a quick learner as I do not think we could have taken much more of the horse-size piles of doo doo and lakes of pee. Once she figured it out we were all doing a happy dance. Suzie went to the barn with me every day and that was her favorite thing, next to just being with me. In our morning walk to the barn (not very far from the house) Suzie would, for lack of a better word, “prance” her way to the barn as if to say “I get to go with my mom and be outside off the leash!” Seeing that made my heart sing with the knowledge that I did make a difference to that dog. I do not know if I will ever find a dog as wonderful as Suzie but I do want a chance to give a down-in-their luck dog a happy home and life in the last part of their life.
North Wind is going along great and I have to say that it is truely so rewarding to watch Jason turn into a confident, nationally known trainer that is also so compassionate about the horses that he trains. It is almost equally rewarding to watch my riders grow and become true horsewomen. The 2012 show season was a good one and even though we had our highs and lows there were so many more highs this season that I have to say it was well worth our efforts. Even though we do not “lay-up” our horses for the winter we do let them down and even turn them out to play a couple times a week. We continue to train and work our horse year round and that way we are never behind.
Saddlebred Rescue is dealing with the economy with more horses than ever needing our help. Add that to the fact that there has been less money being donated so that we are always working to raise money to allow us to help the horses we can.
I know Nealia has not been bloggin’ lately, but I expect her to be back soon. We just got back from Chapter 14 Spring Premiere Horse Show in West Springfield, MA. This is always a good event and even despite the cold, rainy and windy weather it didnt damper the spirit of this horse show. Before I get in to the pig situation I want to give a few shout outs to some of our new teams this year. Mary Mitkish had a successful show with her 2 new horses as the 2011 season will be the first full show season to see Mary and her 5 gaited pony, Top Dawg and her other new mount The Fabulous Truth (aka Trudy). You will see Mary and Trudy in show pleasure and equitation this season. Right behind Mary is her Mom who has co leased CH Callaways Royal Request and was the Adult Country Pleasure Reserve Grand Champion at the show. Mary Elias brought out her new western horse, Happy Seventy Fifth, where Jason show cased the horse in the Western Open classes and Mary broke the ice showing Happy with skill in a couple of western classes. This is a stunning team and her new mount keeps turning heads. Theresa Scott is teamed up with Top Beat this year which is a new equitation team for us. Theresa is also showing western for Nealia and helping get out a few of the rescues at the shows as a test for the evaluation process. Mary Mitkish also took on the challenge of showing Steeleto, a SBR horse at this show. We had another Academy rider who has now graduated in to the big leagues and at this show started her show career with Some Kind of Magic in country pleasure junior exhibitor. Its just a beginning but we expect a lot from this new team. Meghann Belser is showing Pat Johnson’s famous, CH A Magic Surprise, who got the reserve champion spot in western championship. Nealia and I were all very proud of all the members of the North Wind show team.
It was Mary Elias’s purchase of Happy Seventy Fifth from agents Gene and Annalize van der Walt that got us in the pig business. Once you have met their Bacon Nealia could not resist. You have read Nealia’s prior posts that described a less than perfect start with a well…wild baby pig. Now Binky is about 6 months and has found her place in our family. She has even adjusted being around the dogs. What I was not expecting was my relationship with her. Since we got her in the winter she stayed pretty much in the house and even the barn on most days was too cold except for an hour visit or so. Even after about an hour she comes up under my chair in center ring and gunts. That means I am cold Dad. So up she comes and lays on my chest covered with a horse cooler. Now since I am working mostly from my office at home she and I have developed a bond. Most days she is with me in the office sleeping either at my feet or next to my chair. Ocassionally when my waste basket is full of paper that is fair game to tip that over and root around in the papers under my desk for a while. I will admit that some of the attention comes from feeding her as that is my job mostly. Nealia has had to rein me in on the treats which consist of green grapes, pieces of apple or a few slices of carrot or a few cheerios. Boy did I get it the first time we went to pig camp! She is too heavy, I was told. The first time she was still on a mix of baby feed and adult feed. That could have been part of it, but when they told me she should only get 1 grape a day that was a shocker. One grape! What’s in one grape? Sugar I guess……news to me. I guess I didnt connect the dots on that one. I also learned that watermellon is also full of sugar, not just water. Also this is new info as well. Where have I been? I am not saying that grapes and watermellon are on my diet food list, but whats wrong with a few grapes and a slice of watermellon in the summer? See what you learn when you get a pig?
Binky is our 2 year old child so to speak. You almost have to approach her on that level. Remeber when your kids were small and the first weekend they stayed with the grandparents? They were angels and when the kids get back home holy terror strikes for a couple days. Well maybe Binky did that to us as well. Last weekend was her first horse show and she was an angel. She stayed in the heated stall with the dogs. She had her own section with her crate and large dog pillow. Did you know pigs sleep under pillows, not on top? Be careful where you walk! More than once our dogs have been surprized sleeping on the dog pillow and Binky creating an earthquake rooting to get under the pillow. She came out of her stall at the show on her leash did her chores outside everytime, visited with people and checked for interesting things on the ground. She even slept in our hotel room each night in her crate. Did her chores outside and ate breakfast in the room. Not one mess ever and not a peep either. She was perfect! I didnt mention that in addition to us and the pig we also had 6 dogs in the room. I wonder if Red Roof really knows what their “Pet Friendly” policy really means? I am not telling them. We get home and all is back to normal. She comes in my office and is mad about something and pee’s right in front of me. Then that night since she did so well in the hotel we brought her crate in the bedroom and in she goes. Well she would have no part of that. It was like the Tazmanian devil in a box. So back to the laundry room which is her space. She was so good at the show that once home she let loose. Is this like a 2 year old or what?!
It’s getting late and I will leave our current pig venture to another post in the blog.
Until another time. MLM
I know if you are reading this, it sounds like my piggy did not work out too well but, things are really pretty good around here, pig and all. My only complaint is the spiteful peeing once in a while. Binky likes a routine and she likes to be around everyone…that is everyone who LIVES in this house. Binky KNOWS her people and she is not sure if anyone else should come in the house and stay for any length of time. Sherrill comes in and works in the office with Mark about once a week and let’s just say Binky does not like to share her #1 man. This usually means after a couple of hours, Binky walks in the office, looks at Sherrill, and pees. Binky will run to the door as soon as she has everyone’s attention. I think that is Pig Latin for your time is up, you need to go home. I am thinking if everyone did that when they had guests in the house, they would soon have no guests. The new saying should be smart like a pig.
Binky is very much like a small, sometimes naughty child. If she feels left out or ignored she will “act out” by peeing. After a busy day with work and a busy evening cleaning up after Binky, I was just about to thrown in the towel. That night while trying to go to sleep I told Mark, “You know what? Binky is acting like a child that needs attention!” The next day after work I was much more careful to keep her busy little mind VERY BUSY with stuff to do. It worked! No accidentally-on-purpose accidents!! In the the long run, spending more time with Binky saved me time with no clean up of toxic waste (pig pee).
Binky loves being part of the action. When the dogs run to the door barking to greet Mark or Jason, Binky is right in the middle of the pack. I must say it is a little weird to hear dogs barking wildly on the other side of the door, and open it to find one small little pig standing in the middle of the dogs with her tail wagging wildly. Binky’s reaction is always the same, I walk in, Binky greets me then runs to her cage to show me she has no food in her bowl. That trick does not work on me because she always cleans her plate in 3.5 seconds and then spends the next several hours trying to trick us into believing she is starving.
Our routine has changed a little and one of the big changes is Binky will not go to bed early anymore. She likes to lay down in front of the sofa and have me lay a blanket over her so she can nap, but still be with the family. We still do not allow Binky to sleep in our room. Why you ask? #1) she SNORES BIG TIME!! #2) she pees! or maybe I should say #1) she goes #1 and #2) she SNORES!
Yesterday the weather was perfect and Binky spent the day running around in our backyard. Now I know that sounds like “what could go wrong” but let me tell you about Binky’s “BIG ADVENTURE”. Monday Mark took Binky in the backyard and showed her “around”. Mark had a temporary brain freeze and walked her around the fence in the backyard. The “hole” in that was we had a hole in the fence in a far corner, which Mark did not apparently notice or “forgot” how smart pigs are. Mark thought nothing of the hole but Binky made a mental map and a “Plan”. On Tuesday morning when Mark and I woke up Binky was waiting for us to give her breakfast in her room just like always. My day started out like every day but as soon as I got to the barn Jason told me that Lalo told him that when he (Lalo)went out in the back field to empty the manure Binky was out there rooting in the dirt. Of course Binky does not really “know” Lalo so she would NOT let him catch her. Binky thought nothing of being a little bear “snack”, but she would have no part of “stranger danger”!! Lalo had to chase her all the way back to our house, and of course she used the hole in the fence to get back in. Needless to say we fixed the hole that morning so we would not have Binky running amok in the 1000 acres of woods that surround our house. Yes, we are surrounded by 1000 acres of state land: see our website to view pictures. The funny part of the whole thing was Mark was totally “SURPRISED” that Binky found the hole and got out. All I could say was “Mark pigs are the fourth smartest animal on this planet…. humans, primates, dolphin/whales, THEN PIGS!!!
Mark and I both love Binky and enjoy her “pigness”, BUT I cannot say the same thing for our dogs. My dogs seem to have an invisible target or sign on them that makes them easy pickins for a crafty little pig.