The Two Leaves Health Website is Finally Here

I have taken a lot of time off from blogging lately between Alanna and a project I have been working on. I’m happy to announce the official launch of my website TwoLeavesHealth.com

Do you want what’s best for your horse, but find the number of supplements on the market overwhelming? Could your horse be  better, but you just don’t know how to get him there? To let an evaluation turn uncertainty into confidence your horse is on the right track go here.

Naming Raven

In the wake of Alana’s death I expected her owners, first-time horse people, would be out of horses forever. To my surprise, I got a call several weeks later asking if I was interested in coming out to look at a horse with them.

We found a nice 16-ish hand, 17-year-old, solid-black mare (official measurements still need to be made. We have been having too much fun doing other things). Her new owner fell in love with this rescue and we brought her the almost one-hundred miles home.

The first order of business was to name her. The old cowboy who sold her called her Black Betty. No one liked the name. While shopping the next day I started keeping a list of names on the lid of a takeout box from my lunch. We came up with Void, Regal, Raven, Onyx, Obsidian and a few other names. Later, when her owners came out to visit her we started talking about names. I ran inside to grab the list and had a moment of panic. Where had I put the list? After a bit of searching I found it in the refrigerator. The list was on a takeout box after all.

Back from hiatus & Loss

Aside

I haven’t wanted to update since we lost Alana.

She fought valiantly for several days, but she was desprately underweight to start with and she didn’t have the reserves to keep up the fight.

I grew attached to her in the handful of days she was with us. Caring for her every hour or so and encouraging her to keep fighting created a bond. She always kept me on my toes. If I left her pen gate open she would make a three-legged dash for the green grass. Finally I left her in the fenced yard rather than make her hobble away from the other horses and good grass.

I went out the last morning. She was down and lacked the energy to get back up. She lay, muscles quivering, for a few moments and quit breathing. She held on long enough not to be alone.

image

Alana

For those of you following Alana’s story I am going to start updating here.

For those of you who haven’t been following the story, here is where we are so far. I had a student who wanted to buy a horse, so we found her the perfect mare. At 16 and about 16 hands the chestnut paint mare is striking, if a bit skinny. She was recently rescued from a hoarder and has been gaining weight in the month since.

She arrived last Tuesday and seemed to be settling in well. She was still in new-horse quarantine when I walked out to feed her Friday morning and found her 3-legged-lame. There was no sign of trauma, but it was starting to swell in the shoulder and upper arm area.

The vet came out and x-rayed her. Despite finding nothing on the x-rays she wanted to put her down on gut instinct. She had seen a mare carrying her leg similarly who did have a broken leg and never healed. She conceded privately it could be something else including cellulitis, pigeon fever and a few other things.

I would have agreed she should be put down if there had been a break on the x-rays or any sign of trauma to the area indicating a break, but there weren’t any abrasions, she was in isolation so it wasn’t a kick and she was clean which she wouldn’t have been if she fell.

My farrier and I both had the gut feeling it might be an infection, so her owners are giving me three days to see what I can with alternative care. I evaluated Alana and put her on a personalized feed and supplement program supported by topical sprays.

Yesterday she was able to put a bit of weight on it, not enough to walk, but she would use it for support if she wanted to use or rest a back foot.

Despite her leg, she is still fast when she wants to be and enjoys eating even when stealing my lawn grass. Last night I heard a clatter and ran out praying she hadn’t slipped and fallen. By the time I got there she had pushed the gate open, someone had forgotten to latch it, it knocked over a bucket which was the sound I heard, hopped out onto the yard and was happily enjoying my lawn. I was able to get a rope around her neck and lead her back in without trouble, but I could tell she would rather be out where there was more grass. I couldn’t get irritated at her because she still enjoys life and wants to do things. I just make sure to latch the gate now.

My prayer for today is that she will be able to limp on four legs by this evening and will be fully healed without complications.

 

For those of you who have been wondering what happened to me, I have continued to teach. Horses and students have come and gone, but Cole’, Mint, Countess and Little Bit are still here. I have been taking classes in horse nutrition and alternative care which, along with teaching and starting a business creating custom supplement plans for horses and humans has taken up most of my time.

Spring Comes to Reflections

Spring is coming to Reflections Equestrian. The horses are shedding by the handful and the days, on the average, are getting warmer. There are always exceptions to every weather rule in Oklahoma. So every day I have to decide whether to wear a T – shirt or insulated underwear.

Aside from clothing conundrums, spring brings other changes. The hay lasts longer as the grass starts growing. The horses leave skid marks in front of the gate to the hay pasture when they discover it has been closed for the summer. Countess’s blanket is boxed up and I am thinking about finding the fan that keeps the tack room cool. I am looking forward to what God will do in this new season.

The words that make Sword of the Spirit

I love the concept of the warrior Christian. This is the second time I have touched this concept in written art. I may eventually post the original I wrote for my brother years ago.

Bible sword 8x10-1

Verses:

  • 2 Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
  • 1 Samuel 12:16 Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes
  • Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
  • Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
  • Psalm 91:3-6 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a] And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
  • Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
  • 1 Timothy 6:11-12a But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called
  • 2 Timothy 2:1-4a You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure[a] hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him.
  • Ephesians 6:10-18a Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
  • 2 Samuel 22:4 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.
  • 2 Timothy 2:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Behind the art – Royal

Royal is of a lovely cat named Junebug waiting with others under the care of Pets and People.

Cat head 8x10-1

Every line is made of words. Here is what is said of the mysterious and royal cat:

In a cat’s eyes, all things belong to the cat.

A cornered cat becomes as fierce as a lion.

Beware of people who dislike cats.

Happy owner, happy cat. Indifferent owner, reclusive cat.

Love

Hope

Such pleasure from a wee ball of fur

A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for three he stays.

The cat is a tiger in a jungle of small bushes.

Happy is the home with at least one cat

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry.

You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats.

Joy

Peace

A cat’s eyes are windows into another world of the cat’s own

Curiosity killed the cat, Satisfaction brought it back

The cat is nature’s beauty.

Royal

Serendipity

Play

Pounce

Comfort

Purr

Majestic

My Big Green Waterproof Miracle

Some days I see God’s plans come together in ways I could never have dreamed.

I have this thick green winter horse blanket. It never fit my stocky little paint mare well. She doesn’t need it. I used it a few times the first winter I had her because I was a new horse owner and blanketing was what I was ‘supposed’ to do, and that was it. It has been moved around from one storage place to another taking up space and getting in the way for more than 10 years. I have been meaning to sell it, but it found a home on a shelf in our storage building and I forgot about it.

I ran across it last week when looking for stuff to sell. I spread it out looking for mouse holes (our cat died this spring and the mice have taken advantage of our lack of a feline) Miraculously the blanket and all the straps were intact, but there was a large spot where the last horse who wore it had laid on a pile of poo. So I washed it and it got left in the tack room so I could get a picture of it. I was busy one day, sick another, between one thing and another I never got the picture.

I went out to feed and water the horses in the afternoon and saw all three of the big horses wet and shivering. Countess, the thoroughbred, was the worst. She can’t seem to store enough fat to use as insulation and was visibly shaking almost non-stop. The word hypothermia kept popping into my head.

I realized that while some of the water was from the freezing rain, the big horses had all gotten splashed on the chest when I turned on the water to fill the trough. After vigorously rubbing them down with dry towels Cole’ and Mint were able to fluff up their coats and were fine, but Countess was still shivering.

Since I had recently found and cleaned the blanket it was on my mind and I knew where it was. I was able to slip it on her without problems because one of my students had found my fly sheet this summer, thought Countess would look good in it, and spent the time to get her used to wearing something.

I wasn’t sure the big, thick, waterproof, green blanket bought 10 years ago for my stocky paint would fit my lanky thoroughbred, but God’s plans are good. Not only did it fit her perfectly, much better than it ever fit Cole’, but I didn’t have to adjust a single strap.

Once she moved around in it a bit and drank the warm water we carried from the house Countess and the other horses looked warm and content. I watched them thinking about my God’s plans through time. I failed when I measured Cole’ years before Countess was born. I don’t usually think about blankets, let alone having a clean fitted blanket ready to go, but God knows what I need through all of time and space. Where I failed God used my failure for a success beyond my wildest imagination.

Like A Child

I think it’s very funny
The way a puppy grows–
A little on his wiggle-tail
A little on his nose,
A little on his tummy,
And a little on his ears;
I guess he’ll be a dog all right
In half a dozen years.
Leroy F. Jackson

That poem came to mind when I was watching my youngest student play with Little Bit. He is so natural with her he doesn’t realize he is learning a new language. He bounces from one thing to the next with the energy and attention span of a six-year-old, or a puppy. He is not thinking about applying the seven games or avoiding tangling himself up in the rope and carrot stick.

A day goes like this:
Feed horses – friendly; anything that causes the horse to want to be with you or continue doing what you asked them to do
Prevent LB from eating Mint’s food – driving; rhythmic motion to move the horse
Scratch and halter LB – friendly game
Once haltered LB follows him everywhere at a walk and trot
Remember carrot stick and go back to the tack room for it – friendly and porcupine; steady pressure to cause the horse to move
Pretend to mount LB bareback – friendly
Slide down the slide while LB watches from near the end of the 12′ line – friendly game
See if LB will back under the slide (her withers and back fit with less than two inches to spare) – driving, squeeze, and yo-yo; back and forth on a straight line
Ask LB to walk under the slide and branch supporting it (She fits, but only with her head down) – yo-yo and squeeze; going over, under, between, or through
Scratch and hug – friendly
Run to the bridge and back up – yo-yo
Circling game in the pasture; asking a horse to take responsibility for going in a circle
Get saddle out
Find and play with ball, put on LB and hit the ball off – friendly game
More circling game
Ask LB to sniff saddle – friendly, driving
Play soccer around yard with ball – friendly
Start rubbing legs to see if she is ok with her feet being handled – friendly
More soccer – friendly
Sat for a few moments on the ball to get his wind back – friendly
Show dad he can saddle by himself – friendly
Show LB she can now reach the mineral feeder (The footing was raised 8+ inches while they were playing) – porcupine, friendly
Bring back to the herd and take halter off – porcupine
Hang out with herd – friendly
During and between he leaned on her when he was tired, or trying to think of something, sang, ran around with his arms going crazy; all friendly things that will build a strong relationship between them.

He thinks he is playing, but he is really learning. This week the saddle went on on the second try. They got a full circle at a trot. She was more comfortable with him. She followed without dragging. He caused her to sniff something on the first try. He haltered her even if he did get the halter inside out. He used the rope and carrot stick like they were part of him. Every time they are together they improve. A wise man once said, you don’t get better by doing 1 thing 100% better, you get better by doing 100 things 1% better. They are more than 1% better this week.