Stall Rest Chronicles 15 March, Turnout Day 1, Release The Kraken

Explanation. We have a horse on stall rest following colic surgery. This has taken over the blog. Mostly. [Begin, Phase IV]

Milton al fresco. In field sans halter. The first day of turnout had mixed results.


First turnout session went great.

Amid much trepidation, Chief Minion led Milton out to the field and removed the halter. Milton did … drumroll … nothing. Ate some cookies. Looked around. Grazed. Easy peasey.

Rodney went out for his turn afterward. Milton had separation anxiety but nothing alarming.


Second session, less great.

Milton fussed on the leadrope. Milton fussed off the lead rope. Milton kicked his minion. Rodney jumped out of the run in. In middle of this, there was activity in the cow field, which always sets them off.

In other words, mass hysteria.

Wait, what? How did this happen?

Rodney went out. Brought back in when time was over.

Milton went out. As best we can tell, Milton was mad about going second. I go out first! Then he thought he was back on a leadline. I do not need a chaperone!

He lost it. Spinning. Hopping. Flinging his feet. Minion managed to hang on. Fit the second. Minion got clipped on the hip with a flying hoof. Still managed to hang onto rope.

Settled down.

Ate a cookie.

Released the kraken! Kraken continued to express himself. This upset Rodney in the stall.

About this time, the truck showed up in the field next door to feed the cows.

During one pass, Milton came zooming back into the barn. We slid the boards across to keep him in. Everyone was lit up like thousand-pound, moving Christmas trees. Turnout was over.

Waited a few minutes for the steam to settle.

Rodney was still in stall. Milton in run-in. They needed to be swapped. Halters on. Horses swapped. Halters off. Rodney sashayed up to the corner were the board had been slid across the opening. ‘No. I need to check out the cow situation.’

Jumped out.

Yes, my 24-year-old horse, who can’t jump a crossrail without panicking, jumped a four-foot high board as tidy and clever as you please. No space. No speed. Just, boing, gone. Let’s not forget the low roof of the run-in shed that he had to stay under. Advanced level event horses don’t jump keyholes that tight.

Horse got hops.


Both horses went out quietly and stayed that way. They were read the riot act before they were led out. Either they listened, or they were too tired to fuss.

Thought For The Day

You would think that Horse Kicks Human would be the headline. Rodney saw that and said, ‘Hold my beer.’

Update. Minion good. Milton tagged him at full extension, so the force was low. It was as much a push as a thump, so the vector math was on the shiny side.


Other Horses, Optimus Returns

Optimus at Stepping Stone Farm.

Now that Milton is starting to go out on his own (crosses fingers), I decided I needed to get on with my life. So I went over for a saddle seat lesson.

On one level, the existential questions remain. Should I stay with saddle seat? In what capacity? Should put my energy towards getting back to the jumping disciplines? Can I do both? What – cosmically speaking – is the plan here?

On another level, a pleasant ride on a sunny day.

I fret that I am being undaring in riding one of the easiest horses in the program. However, this was shortly after Rodney jumped out of the barn. Uncomplicated sounded good.

Rodney’s fine. More tomorrow.


Stall Rest Chronicles 13 March, Phase IV Begins, Turnout

Explanation. We have a horse on stall rest following colic surgery. This has taken over the blog. Mostly. [Begin, Phase III]

Eleventh week post surgery
Two weeks at clinic DONE
Four weeks of at-home stall rest DONE
Four weeks of paddock rest DONE
Starting week 1 of four weeks pasture rest

As of today, Milton has veterinary permission for a month of pasture turnout, with no work. In other words, status quo ante, vacation mode.

However. There are a few things that prevent us from flinging the doors open and letting them have their heads.

Issue: time. We did not have a decent transition space for ‘paddock turnout’. So, last month has been an extended version of stall rest. Milton has been out, on a lead, for a few hours a day. We are leery of going from that to 24/7 liberty. [III]

Issue: company. Milton and Rodney have not been in the same space unsupervised since late December. Another horse means playing during the day and fighting – or at least feinting – at mealtimes. Kicking. Being kicked. Leaping about suddenly. Milton is capable of zoomies on his own. Another horse means egging each other on for extended zooms.

Issue: eats. The grass has come up. Usually, they are out as the grass comes in and they gradually adjust. As above, it would be a sudden change from short grazing breaks to 24-hour exposure. This is not Kentucky bluegrass. Nutrition content is low. However, we are twitchy about what horses eat right now.

And finally.

Issue: people. Underscoring all of these issues is our ability to deal with same. The horses lived together in 24/7 pasture turnout for years. They would be fine. We could probably turn them out together today and leave them. Probably. Maybe.

So, we will gradually reintroduce the normal routine as Milton adapts and we cope.

We will start with Milton going out on his own and wait until we all get use to that before we turn them out together. Once out together, they will probably come in at night for a while, mostly for piece of mind of the humans.


Stall Rest Chronicles 12 March, Finishing Phase III

Explanation. We have a horse on stall rest following colic surgery. This has taken over the blog. Mostly. [Begin, Phase III]

Finishing week 10 post surgery
Finishing week 4 of paddock rest

Today is the last day of Milton’s medium stall rest.

Milton has been a star about his second month of stall rest at home. His incision continues to mend. He’s gaining stamina. He stays in the stall peacefully. He goes out to graze like a gentleman. [III]

Well, a gentleman 99% of the time. [Milton Goes For A Run]

What he has not be a star about is being in the stall while Rodney gets time in the pasture. [Milton Has Temper Tantrums]

Has nothing to do with stall rest. Has everything to do with separation anxiety. This is not new. Worrying about him hurting his belly while melting down, that’s new. We’ve been standing with him, adjusting his feed., bribing him with alfalfa, anything we can do to either quiet him down or at least keep him from losing his marbles completely.

Rodney ended up not doing any work. Weather and logistics got in the way at first. When we had time and footing we debated, keep Milton in a stall? Stand him next to the ring? If Rodney gets demonstrative about going back to work, will Milton stand quietly and laugh – possible – or will he join in – also possible.

We looked at the odds. We have a 50/50 chance of either horse acting up. That means a 75% of someone acting up and a 25% chance of mass hysteria.

You know what? We’ve made it this far, let’s stay with what works. It’s not like Rodney is on any sort of schedule. Bring on the extended vacation!

In Other News

Speaking of last day. The last day for time change? I’d prefer DST for light in the evening, but mostly I wish we would pick one and stay with it. S.623 – Sunshine Protection Act of 2021. Passed Senate. Waiting on House & Prez. No change since 3/16/22.

[Sad Clock]


A Spot In The Sun, Pet Photos

Jasmine basks in the new dog pen. While we have fenced-in yard, it needs serious rehab before it is ready for the senior set, particularly Jas. She can get stumped by a twig in her path if she’s feeling ornery &/or particularly unstable. Now they can lie in the sun without someone having to stay outside to supervise.

Visiting the barn in the portable pen.

Favorite place for Pudge, formal name Reason. He has free run of house & barn. He wants to sleep in a feed pan in the front yard. In his defense, it is a sunny spot.

Internet wisdom says straw is the best outdoor bedding. Towels can get damp and cold. Hay can mold. Of course, that is for feral animals. Pudge’s straw is changed whenever it gets wet. Still, he seems to like it. The picnic blankets for the dogs get picked up as soon as they come inside.


Stall Rest Chronicles 10 March, Giving New Meaning to the Term Animal Veterinarian

Explanation. We have a horse on stall rest following colic surgery. This has taken over the blog. Mostly. [Begin, Phase III]

When he goes out lately, Rodney has been grazing farther from the barn, much to Milton’s dismay.

It could be as simple as spring grass.


Rodney was so good about staying close, to the point of getting frantic if he couldn’t get back in immediately.

It’s almost as if he is now saying, ‘Milton’s good. My work here is done.’

We are starting to agree with Dr. Rodney.


Thoughts on Future Lessons

Apparently my writing career was not as dead as I thought it was. (Prone to tailspins? Moi?)

So that’s the good news.

The bad news is that the nerves were horrid. Before the interview. Before sitting down to write up the interview.

This does not bode well for future lessons.

I’m not talking a few butterflies. I mean full-on, hysterical, nervous attacks that are COMPLETELY out of proportion to a short interview with an amenable subject.

Lessons with lesson horses are the same. Utterly no reason to get that stressed about a simple ride on a kind school horse.

I know I can do it. I know it will go well. Really. I honestly and truly know that it will go well, even while I am nervous. Doesn’t help in the slightest. In either case.

I am so, so tired of having to go through that to get anything done.

I’ve talked to people.
I’ve talked to myself.
Nothing makes a difference.

It’s fun being me.

Why am I telling you this? Dunno. You’ve been with me this far. Figured you were due a report on my progress. Or lack thereof.

Follow-up note. Article turned out fine. Well-received by editor. This will not have the slightest influence on my behavior the next time.