Ring Out Those Solstace Bells

Anyone living with Retinitis Pygmentosa, or any similar condition, holds a vary special place in their heart for the Wintdr Solstace. This is because one of the earliest, and most challenging itng, symptoms of RP is Night Blindness. These days it makes absolutely no difference to me. However, I well remember the stress, hard work, and bruises of Night Blind Winters. In fact it was a journey home from work, a re-routed bus, and the lack of a Long Cane that finally made me apply for a Guide Dog all those years ago.

Nowadays it makes very little difference to me if it’s day or night. It does to Hal though, , and, I’m sure it does to the horses too.

Looking after four hairy mud monster in the dead of winter is hard work – no matter how much we love them. From here on the days get longer, which means the horses can stay out longer and longer, until that glorious day when they can stay out overnight.

In so many ways, and for so many people, 2016 has been a difficult and challenging year. We all deserve a little peace, joy and R&R. So to all our followers of all faiths and none, we hope the coming festivities bring you all you desire.

Thank you for following us. Merry Christmas

Tummy Ache

You know that feeling? The one when you have been out for the most amazing meal, eaten far too much, had a couple glasses of wine. You feel fat, full and contents, and go to bed feeling good about the world. Then, about an hour after you’ve gone to bed, your digestive system catches up on the evenings events, and you spend the next 30 minutes locked in the bathroom while your body goes through a fully automated emmergency evacuation procedure. Well, that was me on Wednesday night. So, when my alarm went off on Thorsday morning, I resolved to have half an hours lie I n. Ripley had other ideas though. He must have been listening for the alarm, because, no sooner had I turned it off and snuggled down, , than he started a song and dance act, whining and marching about on the laminate, right outside the bedroom door. I’m so glad he did!

So, having been forced from my slumbers by an elderly Labrador, I set about my usual routine, feed cats, spend and feed dogs, check and feed horses, tea and wake Hal. Usually when I arrive on the yard there are 4 hungry heads hanging over doors, Leonie is kicking the door, and Florence is wickering and snickering away, telling me all about it. On Thursday though something was a miss. It was a bit too quiet. Leo was certainly giving her door the usual abuse, but there was no commentary coming from the end stable. Asleep perhaps? Walking up the yard, saying good morning, and gibing everyone a rub in that special place on the forehead, , I was disturbed when Florence was still lingering at the back of her box when I got to her door. Had Sapphire kicked the partition down in the night, trapping Flo at the back? Cautiously I stepped into the stable to check. No, the partition was fine. Which wasn’t the case for Floremce. Stood stock still, sweating heavily, and panting. Please don’t let this be what I think it is! Giving everyone their breakfast haynet , my fears were confirmed when Florence’s only reaction was to let out a quiet groan.

Colic!

Head collar on, walking a remarkably compliant Flo up and the yard. Phone emmergency vet. Phone, and wake, Hal. Get called by vet. Keep walking. Please don’t try to roll. Hal comes out, opens gate for vet, and takes over walking. Vet arrives a remarkable 30 minutes after my first phone call.

Temperature fine. Heart and respiratory rate elevated. Gut silent. Rectal examination normal.

There’s nothing for it, she has to be flushed!

The problem was that Flo had to be sedated, but the vet couldn’t find a vein. However, once this was sorted, and a sedative and anti spasmodic administered, the procedure could commence. A tube was passed up Florence’s nose and down into her stomach. The vet having to be very careful to time this with swallowing so as not to pass the tube into her lungs! Then, some plain warm water was gradually poured I’m. After a while some electrolyte was added to the water, and the procedure repeated. The tube having been removed, , we were told to keep Flo in, with no hay, until she did a poo. Then she could have a small hay net. We arranged to check in with the vet again at about 3.30, it still wasn’t 9.00 when the vet left us.

We turned Leomie and Breeze out, but left Nurse Sapphire in to keep Florence company., and retired to the house for breakfast.
Florence was very obviously feeling better, and wasn’t vest pleased about being confined to barracks with no food. Unfortunately, she appeared to have no intention of having a poo! By 3.30 Flo was getting increasingly cross, but still hadn’t delivered the goods. The vet suggested letting her graze for an hour to hopefully stimulate the gut. So Flo and Sapphire spent a happy hour on the lawn. Worryingly though, still no poo by 4.30. So the vet came back and flushed her again!!

This time, as the tube was removed Floremce sneezed and farted violently 3 times. That had to be a good sign didn’t it?! The vet suggested a small haynet might stimulate the gut. However, if nothing had happened by 8.00 to let her know. She also left me with a tub of probiotic which I was to start feeding Flo immediately.

Thankfully, when I went to check Flo just before 8 I found her standing over a fresh pile as if it were a new born foal! What a relief! A quick text exchange with the vet, and I was able to leave Florence tucking into a small feed.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that Ripley wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. I dread to think what might have happened if I hadn’t gone down to the yard when I did. I’m delighted to say that Florence is as right as rain again now.

That was really scarey. I don’t want to go through that again please.

Honey I Broke the Gate!

It’s been a long, but enjoyable day. Hal, Quincey and I have been to the South West Christmas Equine Fayre , at Westpoint Arena, Exeter. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us. Hal buys the tickets for me each year as an early Christmas present. However, having a full day out comes at a price, and not just the money kind.

We were up and at it early, and the horses were out in the field a good hour before normal, which came as a shock to all concerned. There were cries of “I haven’t finished me hay yet!”. We then didn’t get home until about when we normally bring them in at this time of year – and we still had to muck out, fill Haynes and do water. We desperately needed a medical emergency cup of tea first though.

To be honest, it makes very little difference to me if we do things in daylight or darkness. It does make a difference to Hal though, and, despite them supposedly having excellent night vision, I suspect it matters to the horses. So there we were, about two hours later than usual, in the pitch dark,, with a freezing East wind blowing, in the act of bringing the horses in. Leo was already in and stuffing hay, and, after Sapph and Breeze had had a brief, erm, discussion about who should come in next, Hal was on his way in with Sapph. When Yours Truly broke the gate! Now, when I say gate, what I mean is a continuation of the electric fence with a spring loaded, insulated, hook style handle on the end. . I’d had thrown the bottom line over the fence to get it out of the way, and was struggling to hook the top line shut. I gave it a yank when… “It just came off in ,e ‘and your ‘omour!”. Suddenly I’m holding so much loose electric fence, have a wide open gateway, and two loose horses. Breeze took the opportunity to stroll past me and help herself to some grass, and who can blame her. It’s what happened next that has really rocked my world. “OK Florence, where are you then?” I muttered under my breath. . Breeze can be very food possessive, and I really didn’t want to get flattened if she decided she wasn’t sharing. I needn’t have worried. I was just looking for the fence, to put myself in a safe zone, when Flo walked up and stopped just inside the mow wide open gateway. She wickered quietly and reached and gently touched my arm with her nose, as if to say “I’m just here”. She then stood like a statue while I stepped away from her to hang Breeze’s head collar and the remains of the gate on the fence, . She wickered to me so I could find her again and slip her head collar on, and stood rock steady while Hal caught Breeze. Not once did she consider going through the the gate and helping herself to some grass. What a special horse!

She got an extra big haynet after all that!

Frozen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/186408721474505/permalink/1083883751726993/It’s properly cold out there. What a contrast to last week! When Storm Angus hit we had so much rain that parts of the field, most noticeably the gateway to the paddock we call Annabelles Bottom. Dangerously boggy. You could hear the water bubbling! Unfortunately the awesome foursome had been turned out in Annabelles Bottom before the waters rose. Hal got the three bigger cobs out without incident . Not so for Sapphire and me. We’d cleared the running water, and had just stepped up onto “dry’ land, when the ground went from under us! Cue more than a little spooked , breathless, blind woman, desperately clinging to an electric fence while trying to convince a snorting, panicking pony that she wasn’t on her way to the bowels of the Earth. Suffice it to say we won’t be using that particular paddock until things dry up again.

,So wind forward to this week, what a contrast! Cold, crisp, fresh, and, I’m my mind at least, sparkling like an accident in a glitter factory. I make no bones about it, I love this cold, frosty weather! It’s not without it’s challenges though. . Frozen taps, troughs, and hose pipes go with the territory. Breeze and Florence seem not to notice the icicles they have almost perminant lay got in their beards. However, I wasn’t prepared for the water that is actually inside the stables to freeze. It has for the last two nights! How cold has it been in the wee small hours?

I’d much rather have to break ice than cope with the wind, rain and mud we were battling with this time last winter. Here’s to a proper winter.