Sunday, October 13, 2013

Humans are silly.

MomToo had to go do another book thing this weekend. I miss her.

Auntie Niki played dress-up with me. She's silly, but I like the hat. I wonder how far I could throw it.

MomToo said she might try this hat on me. It wouldn't even make a good snack.

* * * * *

My book is still free. You should get it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Come get me!

I'm free in the Kindle store on Amazon.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm (almost) free!

Starting at midnight, my book will be free on Kindle. MomToo says it will be free for three days.

I don't have a watch. Can someone tell me when midnight is?

Amazon link:

What should we do?

MomToo has a bunch of stuff she wants to give away. She says she'll even give out one of my books, too. Here's what she has:

We got four coffee mugs. What's coffee?

And some hats. I like hats. They taste funny, and I can throw them really far.

And some big grooming bags. I love grooming bags. So much fun to look through.

MomToo ways she'd like some ideas for how to give these things away. I think she should give away carrots and apples. Everyone would love that!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I like apples

What do you like?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Excerpt: Learning old things in a new space

MomToo wanted to talk about other stuff today, but I wanted to give you another piece of my story. This is the story of me and Auntie Niki in the big arena, and how every day I got to learn new things - sometimes I learned old things in a new place.

* * * * *

One morning, after we had our training, Auntie Niki led me to the upper arena instead of going back to the barn. We sometimes did this. She would stand and talk to the other humans there, then take me back to be unsaddled.

Imagine my surprise when she took me into the arena and got back in my saddle. We were in a real arena at last. I was very excited, but tried to be good. She asked me to walk, so I did. There were other horses being ridden around me, but they didn’t want to talk. They were busy working. I put my nose forward and tried to look like I was working, too.

It’s funny how a different place makes your brain feel all soft and mushy. Auntie Niki and I had practiced turning and stopping in the wood pen forever, but somehow when she asked me to trot and tried to turn me in the bigger arena, I forgot how. Instead, I stuck my head up in the air and tried to wriggle my mouth away from her pulling. If she tried to pull my face down and turn me, I stopped. Each time I did that, she would push me forward into the trot and we’d try it again.

It took a few more days of being ridden in the arena before I could pay attention to her and be a good horse. After my mind calmed down, I remembered my lessons and it was easier. I learned that staying against the fence was called being on the rail. Each day, I would be walked and trotted on the rail, then in circles in the center of the arena. I liked it a lot. It was really easy.

Until the day we loped. I had gotten pretty good at it in the wood pen. She tapped me forward with one leg and I understood. I’d push off with my outside hind hoof and reach out with the inside front one. The arena was so much bigger than the wood pen, and I could go straight forever before I had to turn.

Auntie Niki asked me to lope down the rail on my left lead. I started really well. Then I started thinking about what I was doing. I felt happy to be loping such a long way in the arena. It was like I was free.

Loping… I’m loping! Here I go—loping!

I’m afraid I lost track of everything then, even my rider. I was running down the edge of the arena. Auntie Niki was pulling on the reins, but I stuck my head in the air and ignored her. It was fun until she finally got control of me again and made me slow down.

Miss Tina was walking past when it happened.

“Damned horse ran off with me,” Auntie Niki said as she made me walk.

“Yeah, but his legs were moving so slow,” Miss Tina told her. “And his knees were nice and flat.”

It turned out that having Miss Tina watch me gave her ideas, even if I was out of control.

Auntie Niki thinks I look silly in this picture.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A horse at home

When I bought Frostie, I used to daydream about having her in my backyard. I even used to look at equestrian homes for sale in our area. She would have an in-and-out, like Mr. Ed, and a turnout area, and we'd wander around on the trails together.

Then, little by little, I began to understand two things: I didn't have enough information, and I didn't know enough people.

One day, Hilde the groom brought Snowy the pony out of his paddock, down to a stall. He told me Snowy wasn't feeling well. I looked at the pony and thought... really?

"Look at his sides, how hard he is breathing," Hilde said. Snowy was trying to colic a little, but we took his food away and stuck him where we could watch him, and by the next day he was better.

This was a perfect example of how limited my knowledge of horses was. If I didn't recognize colic in Snowy, what if something happened to Frost?

Then I began to read the stories of backyard horse owners who went on vacation and paid someone to watch their horses. They came home to filthy stalls and skinny horses because their paid help didn't do the job. And then there was getting a good farrier to come out to do a single horse, and not being able to share a vet call, and the complete ease of paying someone else to feed every morning and evening and clean and blanket, not because I am lazy, but because some days, if I have to put one more thing on my to-do list, I shall certainly start screaming.

And I'm not certain when I shall stop.

Still... the idea of having them with me clings like a romantic notion. So I've been having fun with my pocket Snoopy. It was given to me by a darling young girl who attends Breyerfest every year. This year, she went to one of their crafty-shops and bought a small horse, then painted him to look just like Snoopy, down to the freckles on his legs.

It is a thrill to have Snoopy as a Breyer horse, even if it's not official - yet.

Snoopy has been helping me around the house. He makes certain the dishes are clean.

Helps make coffee in the morning.

Reminds me to unwind with a nice red in the evening.

He even updates his Facebook page.

Maybe real-life Snoopy can't go to book festivals or hang his head in my kitchen window, but pocket Snoopy can even visit Marcus at college.

I might end up with a horse in a backyard someday. But for now, I've got a little reminder of that big goofball waiting for me at the ranch.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I wasn't there.

MomToo says she brought me to the book festival. She brought the thing that she says is my autograph.

She brought the little horse she calls her "Pocket Snoopy."

My friend even stopped by to say hello. She calls him one of my "Snoopy Groupies."

I don't know what she's talking about. I was in my stall all day.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Where'd they go?

MomToo isn't here today. She's at some park somewhere, selling our book. I don't know why she doesn't take me along when she sells our book. She has some silly thing to make it look like I sign the book. I can't hold a little stick and make marks like she does, but I could bite a book. That would leave a mark.

Auntie Niki's not here either. Good thing I have my buddies Bubba and Jet to talk to.

MomToo said she'd come see me on Sunday. Maybe she will bring me carrots.

(MomToo here: I'll be in Duarte, at the Festival of Authors, with all my books, including the one Snoopy and I wrote. Come by and see me if you can!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

A secret revealed

Snoopy does not like to discuss this, but today I must tell you about the dark side of his injury.

No, not the back side, the dark side.

Imagine a young horse. Actually, imagine a young anything. A horse, a dog, a person. Imagine them getting hurt or ill and being under doctor's orders to stay quiet. Remember when you had to keep your toddler from running around the house with his 100-degree fever?

Not easy.

At four, Snoopy should have been allowed time to go out and leap and scamper and be a horse. But with a broken leg, we couldn't allow it, so he stood in his stall. His body was restless. His mind was bored. He needed stimulation.

God knows we tried. Toys, treats, grooming, hand-walking. None of it was enough. Eventually he picked up a habit to help him pass the time. A bad habit.

I'm talking about cribbing.

Cribbing usually looks like this:

The horse plants his upper front teeth on something immoveable, then pulls back and sucks air in. Most people believe that sucking in air releases endorphins. It's pretty much like having a cigarette, without the nicotine.

There are lots of opinions about cribbing. Some people say that it can damage a horse's throatlatch, and even lead to digestive problems by filling their stomach with air. Some people don't think it will hurt the horse at all.

Collars are available to keep the horse from swallowing air. I didn't try to make Snoopy stop while he was stall bound, but after he was back to work, he wore one for awhile. Then I had a little difference of opinion with his old trainer, who didn't want him to wear it. I may put it back on him if he begins to crib too much.

Although I wish he hadn't started cribbing, I figure it was either let him do that or watch him lose his mind. Only one of us needed to do that.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Channeling a horse

I have my own stuff on the internet. I have an email and a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I even have a YouTube channel. I wish I knew what the internet was. All I know is, MomToo tells me I have these things and humans ask me questions and say I'm handsome.

Maybe, although I'm not as spectacular as my friend, Bubba. No one is.

This is my YouTube channel:

MomToo says this is her favorite video:

What's a video?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Did you guess yet?

MomToo is busy, so she wanted me to tell you that my foot is feeling much better. Auntie Niki let me trot on it today, but I tried to jump and buck and she said no, stop it. Sometimes Auntie Niki is strict.

Yesterday she asked a question. Anyone who answers it can get a copy of my book. I told MomToo that no one would want my book if they hadn't read a little bit of it, so here is a part of it:
MomToo says that people love baby pictures.

* * * * *

There were two goats in the pen next to us. They were girl goats, about half my size and brown, and had funny little tails that stuck straight up. I usually ignored them, since they were not very interesting. It’s not like they ran around and played. They spent most days standing in the corner and eating, or looking for food to eat.

One night, I lay down to sleep and somehow woke up in their pen. There was a space underneath the metal bars just big enough for my body and I guess I scooted around to the other side while I dreamed. I don’t really know how it happened, but I went to sleep in the pen with Uncle Snowy and woke up in the pen with the goats.

At first, they liked playing with me. They ran around the pen and I ran after them. Then they came over and sniffed my legs. That’s when I saw their little tails wiggling.

I couldn’t resist. I reached over and grabbed one goat’s tail in my teeth and lifted. Her back end came off the ground, so I shook her up and down. She started yelling. I let her go and grabbed the other goat’s tail. I shook her, too, then I dragged her up to the gate. She yelled even louder.

I dropped her and ran after the first one again. It was a fun game, chasing the goats and grabbing their tails. I couldn’t quite throw them, but I could shake them up and down and drag them around the pen.

One of the ranch men came running. He caught me and took me back to Uncle Snowy’s side of the pen. He wasn’t happy with me. Neither were the goats. Uncle Snowy wasn’t thrilled, either.

“You are a doofus,” he said. “Leave the goats alone.”

“But it was fun.”

“It wasn’t fun for the goats.” He shook his head, making his white mane wave in the hot sun. “Look, I’m a pony. I’ve lived my entire life being a pain in the butt. But I’m small, so they don’t get that mad at me. I get cute points. You’re six months old and already as big as me. No one will think you’re cute when you’re as big as a tractor, especially if you’re pulling pranks.”

I trotted a big circle around him. “But Uncle Snowy, fun is fun. Who cares about cute points?”

“You will when they whip you for being bad. Listen to me, Snoopy. The humans here are very nice. Some of the nicest humans I’ve lived with. They do everything they can to make us understand what they want. But if we misbehave, they spank us, sometimes with the whip. Just learn your lesson now. Leave the goats alone.”

Even now, I don’t know what everyone was so mad about. I thought it was fun.

* * * * *

Would you like to read more? You can win a book - just go to yesterday's post and answer the question!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A little too much help

Snoopy and I had a great show season. Starting in February, we went to one show a month, until August. I was concerned that it was pushing the envelope for his body, but I kept him seeing the chiropractor and monitored his physical condition. When September rolled around, I breathed a sigh of relief.

No more shows until next February at the earliest.

Then one morning, after Niki had schooled him, I got on and... he was limping. On the broken leg. Gah-d.

Thus we began a series of investigation/medication/lay-up to try to figure out why he was sore. We tried a few days of bute-plus-handwalking.


Then we had Dr. Pollard out to visit. He reported a strong pulse in the foot, then administered a block from the pastern down. With his foot numb, Snoopy trotted sound both directions. Dr. Pollard pulled the shoe and tested the hoof. He thought the inside was more sensitive than the outside. Based on these indicators, Dr. Pollard pronounced it an abscess.

I hate abscesses, but if there's something wrong with my horse's leg/hoof, that's what I'll vote for. Still, Snoopy has only had one abscess before, and it never actually popped, making it a frustrating experience. Especially since he was four months old at the time and we had to soak his foot every day. It took three of us - one to keep his foot in the warm water and Epsom salts, and two to scratch his withers as a distraction.

After the vet's visit this time, we soaked Snoopy's foot twice. I'm happy to report that Snoop was a more agreeable horse. Then Monte, our farrier came out to put his shoe back on.

That's when all the pieces came together.

Monte is always trying to make certain that Snoopy is sound and comfortable. This usually means padding and thicker shoeing to lift his heel and make certain his leg stays in the proper tracking. When Snoopy was last shod, Monte had put a new padding in that foot to raise it a little. Turns out he raised it too much.

This was basically like wearing a shoe with an arch insert that's a little too high. Yeah, your foot would hurt, too.

He swapped out the shoe and padding and Snoopy showed relief immediately. We're slowly putting him back to work, but it looks like new shoes solved our problem. (Seriously, when don't new shoes solve a problem?)

In the meantime, Snoopy and I are committed to posting on our blog every day in October. We are going to be asking questions, having contests, and giving out freebies. Stay tuned to see if what you can win! (Hint: It won't always be a free book. It might be a gift card or ???)

Today's contest: Answer correctly in the comments and win a free copy of Snoopy's ebook, in whatever format you would like.

QUESTION - What is the proper name for bute?