Thursday, July 31, 2008

She's still a baby, really.

I always forget how young Cersei really is. She is so amazingly laid back and sweet - completely unlike your average young Labrador - but she's only 10 months old. Like, she's kinda scared of thunderstorms. Linux had such overwhelming fear issues that I worry, too much, about Cersei's temperament. Is she AFRAID of thunderstorms? Will she become totally neurotic about them?? Oh no!

But really, she's only experienced like 5 big scary thunderstorms in her life. They're probably pretty scary if you don't know what's going on. I deal with it by giving her a few pets, telling her it's ok, and then acting completely unconcerned. I don't want to reinforce her fear by calming her down too much.

And she doesn't really like to play with other dogs. I know she knows how to play - she's done it a few times - but she doesn't usually play. I was delighted last night when my parents told me that while she was with them, she'd played with their (also kinda crazy) dog Rags, tugging on a rope toy with him. And today SHE PLAYED at the park!

At 4:30, as usual, we headed over to the unofficial offical dog park. It sure was cloudy when we walked to the truck. And oh boy, it sure did rain a few times on the way over. But it'll be fine, right, and besides Cersei knows where we're going and I can't disappoint her!

Yeah, it started pouring down rain as I turned into the park. I stepped out of the truck and immediately got very very wet indeed. I threw the ball. Cersei ran to get the ball and bolted back. It thundered. I thought about the factors: I get completely soaked. Cersei gets exercised and has fun. And Cersei learns that sometimes you can have fun while it's thundering. So we stayed.

Two other dogs and their people showed up. One family from West Memphis, AR, with a really kinda ADHD year-old Lab/Pit mix, and this one asian gay guy with a well behaved intact American bulldog. The dogs all did their usual thing - Cersei chased the ball, the mix chased her, and the bulldog supervised the proceedings. The thunder and lightning and pouring rain continued.

The family left, so I hung out for a while and talked to the owner of the bulldog. I'd put the ball in the truck, so Cersei and the bulldog just kinda roamed around while we talked. Then, amazingly, Cersei initiated play with the bulldog! They sniffed faces for a bit, then Cersei backed up and play-bowed, then she jumped away and looked at him like "You gonna chase me or what?" He did, a little, and she ran, a little, and they both seemed to have a tentative good time.

I'm so very happy. I really do think that she's going to turn out a-ok. She's about halfway between dominant and submissive, and she does know how to play, and she's really just a baby. It's ok if she doesn't want to wrestle and play-bite with a whole pack of larger older dogs. She'll play when she wants to play, and she's a little timid but she's a baby.

My dog's gonna be just fine.

She's snoring on the bed beside me right now. A tired puppy is a happy puppy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Part one, in which I Am Brilliant.

So Wednesday I took that awesome picture of Cersei on my cell phone. I turned on the bluetooth, uploaded the picture, made a post, and forgot about it. Then Thursday or Friday I remembered the bluetooth broadcasting was still on, draining a little extra battery, so I turned it off.

Saturday afternoon I noticed that I had not, in fact, turned off the bluetooth. I turned off the phone's ability to send and receive calls, which is on the same screen as the bluetooth. My phone had been a PDA-only for a couple of days. Woops. Turned the phone on (and bluetooth off), checked my voice mail, and got a cryptic message from my uncle.

I called their house and my aunt answered. I told her I was planning to come down Sunday on my way to the exam if that was ok? and she said fine. She didn't mention him calling so I figured it wasn't that important.

Part two, in which I Know My Horses When I See Them!

I always go see the horses first, then visit the house on the way back out. I'd dropped Cersei with my parents, so driving out to the horses was a little lonely. I was bouncing through the field adjacent to the horses when I saw a flash of something that looked an awful lot like the spotted mare's flank in the corral by the barn. I briefly thought "Nah, that's just a new cow getting acclimated in the barn" but it just didn't feel right. I know my horses when I see them. Anybody with pets or kids knows what I'm talking about.

I stopped by the gate to the barn area and got out. Sure enough, it was her. She was sticky with sweat and pacing around, but she wasn't dangerously panicked. I petted her nose, shooed her away to watch her move, and looked really carefully all over her. She had two fresh minor cuts on her legs but was otherwise just fine.

I got back in the truck and drove the 200 yards or so to the horse pasture. The other three were standing at the fence, staring at the direction I'd come from. They were obviously looking for the spotted one, but they were a lot calmer than she was. I guess they still had each other and that made it better. I grabbed a halter and lead rope off the gate and walked the 200 or 300 yards back to the barn area.

The mare (who really needs a real name) was very glad to see me come back and actually stuck her nose right in the halter. Then she walked, like a completely angel, the 400 or 500 yards in the 95 degree muggy heat back to her pasture. When we got close enough that the horses could all see each other, she let out an earsplitting shriek of joy and started dancing in circles around me. Champ and others hollered back at her so I took pity on her and unclipped the lead. She broke into a beautiful canter over to the fence and there was the most adorable reunion scene! Everybody nuzzled over the fence and smelled each other and it was just like a picture.

I told her to come here so I could put her back out with them and she let me catch her with zero fuss. (I really think the "go be a horse and see if you're less of a spaz" strategy is paying off.) I walked her over to the gate, shooed the boys off of it, and led her through. I turned around to fasten the gate behind me and by the time I turned around, she was squealing at Poppy. I hollered at them, got the halter off of her, and they moved a few feet away to start squealing and kicking. Ahhh, horses. It took literally 30 seconds for them to go from "OMG so glad you're back!" to "I hate you! Don't touch me."

Part three, in which All Is Revealed.

I went by the house on my way out. Stupid mare had broken the fence Saturday morning and was CHASING CALVES. She's in heat, which is a decent excuse for horse stupidity, but argh. Chasing cows. That's not cool. And double argh, that my stupid phone was off and I didn't get the call to come help fix the fence. That's the first time anybody else has ever fixed a fence for me, and of course it was my 70 year old uncle doing it! Oh well. He's a farmer, so he wasn't mad - livestock break fences; it's a fact of life.

She was locked up by the barn because she is still as wild as a March hare for other people. She wouldn't let my uncle and his hired guy touch her or even get too near her! It was kind of endearing that she let me catch her so easily. :) More proof, I suppose, that my long term strategy with her is paying off. She does like me. Yay!

Home again!

Damn, my blog reader is full of stuff to catch up on! Yall have been busy.

First - I think I did ok on the bar. I know I got enough points to pass the essays; it all depends on how well I did on the multiple choice. And the multiple choice are ridiculously hard, even if you have all the law memorized. The questions almost always end up comparing two types of law, kind of an apples to oranges thing. We shall see in six weeks if I have to flee my loans and live in shame under an assumed name in Canada (or just retake the damn thing in February) or if I am admitted to the honorable practice of law in the great state of Mississippi!

I'll start posting stories about my trip tomorrow. I had an escapee horse to deal with on the way down, then I stayed in an apartment with a psycho kitty and the world's fattest cat, and of course I saw and met some wonderfully stereotypically Mississippians down in Jackson. I'm really glad to be home, and Cersei's really glad to be home, and I think even the cats missed me. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008


So tomorrow morning I'm packing up and going to Jackson, MS, to take the bar! I'll be staying at a friend's, but I don't know if she has internet, so I probably won't post until Thursday. See yall on the other side!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wildlife and Cow Junk

Last post from the Como trip!

I know there's a lot of deer down there - I see their tracks in the dirt all the time. Deer tracks are blase to me now though. (Live deer still leave me breathless with their wildness and beauty.) No deer track pictures for yall.

I do like raccoons though. They're pretty cute. I hear they're annoying as hell if you live in the suburbs, or I suppose if you're in the country and you don't keep your stuff secured. But really now, coon tracks are nothing but cute out in the wild. Little bitty hands!
Raccoon track

And the Mystery Burrow! I don't know what lives there. I have yet to see any tracks (other than cow and deer tracks) in the dirt near the burrow, but something keeps the grass beaten back near the hole.

The barbed wire and the creosote fence post in the picture give a pretty good sense of scale.
Can you see the burrow?

Here's a close-up of the burrow. Fox? Rabbit? It's too small for a coyote.
I guess it's a rabbit hole?

Cow Junk.
It's got "Old Scratch" barely visible on the nameplate on the cylinder. That gave me something to google, and I discovered it's a cattle oiler. Apparently one fills it up with insecticidal oil and the cows ... walk into or under it. I think the diagonal things are like backscratchers that dispense the oil. I'm not sure how you convince the cows to go near such a strange looking thing - just further proof that horses are not remotely like cows, I guess. I'm going to make some inquiries and if I figure out how this thing works, I'll update the post.

Anyway, the antique cow equipment!
Mystery thing!

The other thing I wanted to point out about this picture - and this is going to be a big long horsey observation / rant - this is a prosperous, well kept "hobby" farm in Mississippi. That's what fences LOOK like down here. There's scrap metal propped up against the fence, and there's a giant (broken? off-season? yard art?) cattle oiler sitting out in the open. That's all perfectly normal for me.

I read and love FHOTD. I totally agree with her about 80% of the time, and I think maybe there's some possible excuse for the horrible horses she showcases the other 20% of the time. I think she, like any other really popular author, has an agenda and it's noble and she's mostly right. I just think that just about any time you make a blanket statement, you're wrong for some small percentage of cases.

I don't mean that FHOTD should stop publicly humiliating people for keeping horses in junkyards, or breaking out yearlings, or (ESPECIALLY) running your old horses through an auction because you can't afford to feed them and can't bear to put them to sleep.

But what you see in the background of the Cow Thing is not officially approved horse-safe fencing. Except - it is reasonably safe. Yeah, it's crappy wire that could slice my beloved horses' tendons. But it's a HUGE FRIGGIN PASTURE, with a herd of adult horses who know each other. The smaller the pasture, the safer the fences need to be.

And besides, I'm pretty sure a horse bent on self-destruction (or maxing out his owner's credit cards) could hurt himself in a padded stall. You can't prevent all possible bad outcomes. Everybody has to do his or her own cost/benefit analysis on life, all the time.

This is rather jumbled up in my head, and I don't think it's coming out right. What I mean is that you, each individual person, has to find a balance between infinite safety and pointless cruelty.

How can this possibly be comfortable?

I don't know what else to say. This is a new variation of Cersei's favorite pose, on her back with legs akimbo.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Champ's tack

Here's another picture of Champ, with his current tack.
Definitely looking for wolves

I ride him (actually, all the TWHs) in this Tennessean Endurance Saddle. When I bought Champ, I bought his saddle too, but I really hated it. It was an actual honest-to-god roping saddle. It weighed like 40 lbs, and it was designed for a man. A very manly stoic man. I promptly traded it in at the feed store for a rather horrible cheap black generic western saddle. The best thing about the black saddle was its weight - it had a fiberglass tree and cordura fenders, so it weighed about 20 lbs. However, it wasn't much more comfortable for me and I'm sure it wasn't great for Champ. My friend Sara recommended the Tennesseans, so I watched til one finally went up for sale. I paid $300 for my saddle, and I think I got a steal :)

The pommel is fairly high, so it clears Champ's sharklike withers nicely. The seat is amazingly comfy. The fenders are cordura, so they're 1) light 2) easy to clean and 3) very thin, so you can feel the horse with your legs. I lost a breastcollar D-ring and had to sew a replacement on at one point, but other than that, I haven't had to make any repairs.

The blue strap on the pommel is just a ziptie, loosely attached. I use it as a place to hook crap onto the saddle - that day, I hooked the camera bag onto the ziptie.

And no, I DO NOT miss having a horn at all. IMO, all the horn is good for is stabbing you in the stomach as you try to duck under that low-hanging tree branch. I can hook crap on to the pommel via the ziptie, and the pommel is nicely shaped to act as a handhold in case of airs above ground. If I want to rope cows, I will go buy a real roping saddle and only ride in it when working cows. Horns are just goofy superfluous things for 95% of the riders out there.

I like neoprene girths. They stay clean, and when they do get dirty they're easy to clean. For the same reason, I like nylon cinches and off-billets. I never have to worry about keeping my cinch oiled or checking for cracks - it's pretty obvious when it starts to wear. Like WHP, I used to ride with a breastcollar, but the land here is so flat that I've taken it off.

Champ's blanket is purple because he is a pimp. Actually, all of my equipment is purple if I can get it in purple, or spray-painted safety orange otherwise. I used to board, and I'm sure I'll be boarding again soon. People will walk right off with your black English bridle, but for some reason they hesitate to steal purple roping reins or bright orange pitchforks.

That's Champ's bridle. It came with him. The old fellow who sold Champ to me told me that he'd go just fine in that bridle. Since he also told me to stay out of Champ's mouth, and bad things happened when I didn't... well, I haven't ever tried Champ in a different bit or bridle. At this point, I think I could deal with it, but why mess with success?

The bit is almost exactly like this one, but I think my shanks are shorter, maybe 6". The bridle used to have a separate throatlatch, with cool homemade silver-dollar conchos, but I took the throatlatch off. I'm not entirely sure what the point of the throatlatch is, honestly, but it wasn't doing anything for us.

Como is really pretty!

This time next Monday, I'll be done with the first day of the bar. Whew.

Last Saturday, I took a bunch of pictures of my uncle's place as I went tooling around on Champ. I was going to post them right away, but, well, I didn't. Here we go...

I went by the farmer's market downtown and picked up some veggies for my aunt. I had the camera with me so I took a couple pictures of my dad, selling his (totally awesome) birdhouses.
Here's Dad:
My dad, selling birdhouses

And here's a couple of his birdhouses. The one on the left is a facade, just a little "pretty" to hang in the house. The one on the right is an actual birdhouse, probably for a wren:
Some of Dad's birdhouses

Then Cersei and I drove to Como and caught Champ. The weather was (typically) awful - 90F, with about 65% humidity, and sunny. I wanted to ride, but I didn't want any of us to get heatstroke, so we kept it very slow. We went across a big field to a pond, along the pond, and across another field to a second pond. Champ was greatly displeased with the whole affair. He wanted to turn around and go back to his herd, but I cruelly insisted that he trot part of the time and even gait a little! To top it off, I made him canter for like 20 yards on the gravel road. Can you believe my nerve! It's maybe a mile from the second pond to my uncle's house, and it was just too hot to ask Cersei to trot that far with no water, so we turned around at the second pond.

The second pond is ugly. It's a cow wallerin' pond. The cows love to hang out in that pond, looking like really fat hornless water buffalo. Cersei just loves it because it's shallow, so I let her play in that pond for a bit but didn't take any pictures.

I started taking pictures as we headed back to the first pond, the one closest to the horses' field. Isn't this pasture just gorgeous? There are trees, but not the dreaded Just One Tree.* There's a bunch of different kinds of grass. Unfortunately, I don't have a clue what the species are.

*You never want to put your livestock out in a pasture that has just one tree. The cows/horses will huddle up under the one tree in a storm, and that one tree acts like a lightning rod, and BLAM you come out and find your livestock electrocuted under the tree. One tree bad, no trees bad, several trees GOOD. At least that's what they tell me.

Cersei had a blast playing in the pond.
Water dog
Cersei :)

She looks like a small furry hippo here.
Furry hippo

I got a couple pictures of Champ too. Riding him with a group of horses, I have a 50/50 chance of an interesting ride. Half the time he does his "zombie plow horse" imitation and just plods along behind the other horses, and half the time he is offended by the other horses and fights me to pass them, because he is obviously better than them. But regardless of what he thinks of his company, he never pays much attention to what's going on around him.

But when we're alone, it's a different story. Champ is constantly alert, on the lookout, being a Wild Horse and scanning the horizon for lions or bicycles or other Horse Eating Monsters. He feels lighter, he's more responsive, and he's constantly thinking about spooking. He rarely actually spooks, not like Silky or the spotted mare, but he's always thinking about it. A lot more fun!

However, being a feral stallion* is hungry work.
Wild horse
*Domesticated gelding.

I have a few more pictures to share, but I'll save them until tomorrow. I am going to try to post more and bring a little normalcy back to my life.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A tired puppy is a good puppy

I took Cersei to the park yesterday, but nobody was out there! We stayed for maybe 30 minutes while she happily swam around in the pond, but I got bored and we went home a little early. Well, it showed, because she was just rarin' to go again today. So off we went - a little early again, but she kept trying to play with the cats and making them yowl.

We did four laps of the little pond - I walked, slowly, and she swam in circles but vaguely followed the direction I was strolling. Then, bored, I took her back to the truck. She leapt in the truck and then her buddy Zu-Zu the pit bull drove up! (Ok, Zuzu's owner drove up, but same difference to a dog.) Back out of the truck and back over to the pond. She and Zu-zu played chase for a while, and swam for a while, and then the rest of the regular crew showed up. The German pointer, the wolf-dog, some random Labs. I let her play til she was really noticeably lagging, then we headed home.

She managed to eat dinner before she curled up on the bed, and she's been completely asleep since then. Tired puppies are the best!

Also, I got my admissions letter from the bar people today. I am officially allowed to take the bar! July 28, 29, and 30 in Jackson, MS. I am both more terrified and vastly relieved - there was no real reason for them to turn down my bar app, but I was halfway convinced they would. "Oh, a third party neglected to fill in the paperwork so you can't take the July bar." Or, "oh, you seem devious and nefarious, sorry." But they didn't! I'm of as good a moral character as any other Mississippi applicant! And my employers/friends/schools all filled out the right paperwork! WOOT!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Weird Life

It's 10 pm on Independence Day. In honor of the holiday, I am drinking, but in honor of passing the bar, I am also writing out some notes.

The animals are all weirded out by the fireworks on the river. Curtis is wandering around being emo, and Jerome and Cersei are cuddled up by me on the bed. (I am trying the "play it cool but don't make a big deal about it" method of dealing with her fear.)

It's the first 4th in... seven years that I haven't gone to see the fireworks. Just one more thing that's happened in this awful year. This too shall pass.

ANYWAY, I was quite amused because I'm:
a) drinking
b) writing out notes for Chapter 11 (corporate) bankruptcy law
c) reading stories about Punk Rock Houses when my hand gets tired of writing.

The punk rock and corporate bankruptcy stuff clash so nicely.


Heartworm pill (Iverhart) to Cersei, Catvantage to cats. I need more catvantage - the first thing I thought when I opened up the box was "why the hell did I buy six doses for two cats" and then I remembered that I'd bought like $150 or $200 worth of pet meds that day and I didn't want to spend that much more!

I know I could get my meds a bit cheaper online, but I just shop thru my vet usually. The actual savings for buying online for most preventatives isn't that great, and I like to support my wonderful vet. If it were something like Rimadyl, which actually is a lot cheaper online, I'd probably get it online.

Last night Jerome persisted in licking my barbri books. He likes to lick the edges. He likes it A LOT. He is a bizarre little beast. I put up with his weird ways because he is so amazingly sweet at bedtime. Bedtime is his favorite time - he comes dashing up as soon as I turn out the light. He just explodes with purring and trilling and begging for scritches, then settles down pretty quickly and curls up around my head. Then he goes to sleep. It's the very picture of contentment. :) You can lick my books, little buddy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Freedom to bolt, at RPF, and my experiences with Champ

Edna over at Red Pony Farm started off wondering why her horse is more curious about Horse Eating Monsters when at liberty than when ridden. Maybe, she thinks, it's because the mare feels like she's free to bolt if she wants to, so she's braver? She mentioned horses who freak out with too much contact, compared with horses who turn into The Black Stallion if they aren't ridden with contact. I've got both types, lucky me.

Champ was my first horse. A really nice down to earth old fellow sold him to me - he'd bought Champ as a yearling, trained him, and kept him for the next 11 years. In that understated old southern guy way, he gave me some advice about Champ. "Just ride him in that bridle that I'm giving you with him. He doesn't need a fancier bit. And don't get up in his mouth, you don't need to do that."

I heard him, but like most of life, I didn't understand him til I'd made my own mistakes.

Back at my ghetto boarding barn, I had a couple of nice days tooling around on a loose rein, like a WP quarter horse. The experts gathered around. "He's a gaited horse. Hold him back or he won't gait! If you're not holding his head up and he trips he'll fall and break his jaw."* It kinda sounded like bullshit to me but I also didn't want my horse to break his jaw, so I started riding with more contact.

*This is actual honest to god advice I received, yall.

My nice horse went away. He got really fractious and was constantly tossing his head or backing up. If I kicked him forward when he was backing up, then made him stand, he'd rear. We almost died when he backed out of the median into the path of a semi. Neither of us were happy.

I thought back to what the nice old fellow had told me. "Don't get all up in his mouth." Was I, in fact, "all up in his mouth"? But I wasn't pulling hard, honestly! It was just light contact! Well, I decided to try to ride him like a QH again. I dropped the reins, to a certain point. He pulled and fussed and tried to get me to let go of them completely, and I told him he had plenty of slack and to quit fussing. He decided that yes, he did have plenty of slack.

My sweet sensible horse came back. He quit rearing (except when I ask him to cross something he doesn't want to cross, and then I just whack him on the neck and tell him to quit clowning and he does what I ask without anymore fuss). He quit backing up - except for when I pick up contact but don't signal with my legs. How about that - he was doing what he'd been trained to do when he tried to kill us on the highway.

I did a LOT of reading about horse psychology and intuitive cues around that time. I learned that the natural cue for a rear is pressure on the reins (don't go forward) plus pressure from your legs (go forward). How about that - I was very clearly "telling" him to rear and then getting mad at him for it. Poor guy.

So Champ is a gelding who demands to be ridden on very light or no contact. Over the years, we've gotten to where I can ride him with the lightest possible contact, when I want him to gait. If I'm letting him rate his own speed, there has got to be slack in the reins or he's fussin. Tossing his head and chomping the bit and turning his head to roll his eyes at me. He's not nearly as emotional and weird as my mares, but he's got just as much personality as any horse I've ever met.

And no, I was never stupid enough to try changing out his bit (medium port unbroken medium shank curb bit). I did try riding him in a Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle, but that was an immediate failure. I suspect the feel of the straps grabbing his head was really annoying / claustrophobic, because he refused to listen and came closer to bolting with that thing on his head than he ever has before.

Anyway, that's Champ, and I'm not sure what relevance it really has to Edna's post. But I can attest that some horses just Do Not Want Contact.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yeah, ANOTHER post

Cersei had a good time at the dog park today! She played with other dogs, like, half the time and only had to go be introspective in the water part of the time. Yay.

She met (for the first time, I believe) a female Doberman and it was instant love. They play-bowed at each other and went butt-tucking running in circles chasing each other crazy. Then the enormous pit bull showed up and - because it was Cersei's second time meeting the pit - they all three played!

A small white pit showed up and the chase game got a little crazy with a little growling, so all the dog owners called their dogs back and made them calm down. Then we let them go again. It's really nice to be surrounded by responsible pet owners.

Also I studied a lot more, so now I'm going to play Dwarf Fortress.

Nerd alert - hoof pictures galore.

So I just checked the mail. There was some goofy catalog for clothing and jewelry featuring horses - stuff I'd never buy. (How do these people find me? I haven't ordered ANYTHING at this address.) But anyway, on the cover was a cute paint horse walking through a shallow pond. She had a foot raised to take the next step and the first thing I thought was "talk about underrun heels!" Then I flipped through the catalog to make sure they weren't selling anything useful, like tack, and threw it away.

Anyway, I haven't been trimming my horses. The last time I trimmed was at the end of April. It's a bit of an ongoing experiment - I've checked their hooves every time I've seen them, and if anybody seemed too long or uncomfortable, I would've dragged my rasp and stand down and fixed the problem. But Carmon's horses live on a mountain and self-trim. And there are wild horses in non-rocky areas who self-trim. I wondered how mine would do with a lot of room to roam but only dirt to wear their hooves down.

It's actually a success, as far as I can tell! Champ's feet looked pretty good before, and they look AMAZING now. Here's a blurry pic of his RF in March 07 (barefoot for 3 months, IIRC.)

Here's his LF from last week. The wall looks horrible and ragged, but it's wearing off. Not chipping off nicely into a mustang roll like if he lived on rock, but somehow wearing off nonetheless. And his FROGS! I really had no idea that his frogs could and would expand so much, ever! He wore keg shoes from when he was probably 2 til 13, and he had nice-ish shod feet with puny frogs.
Champ front solar

Here's his rear from March 07. His rears have always looked better (most horses' do), even though he wore shoes on the rears too. I thought he had nicer frogs, but high inside heels.
Champ RR

LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE! (Yeah, I know I'm yelling, but I'm a nerd and I get really excited about pretty frogs.) I even think the high inside heel is not as prominent.
At first, when I was looking through the pictures I'd taken, I really thought that was a picture of Poppy's feet. But I *know* I didn't pick up anybody's feet except Champ, and Poppy has a longer thicker tail and hairier fetlocks, so... that must be Champ's foot.
Champ rear solar view

And I didn't pick up Dixie Quinn's feet, but I don't have any old pictures of solar views anyway. We'll compare apples to apples with her. Here's her feet, shortly after I got her. The short back story is that she was a padded show horse for a season, then shod (fronts only) with heavy keg shoes. Her hoof capsules were horribly distorted - padded TWHs are the very definition of long toes / underrun heels. This is about a month after I got her and had her shoes pulled. You can see how much I pulled her toes back.
Quinn front right

Here they are today. Down in the grass you can see a tiny bit of ski-tip still growing out, but otherwise, her feet have healed really nicely.
Dixie's feet


Exam tip: In MS, the jury is entitled to consider insulting or abusive language as a complete defense or a mitigating circumstance for assault or battery cases. Don't cuss somebody and expect them not to hit you.

So last Saturday I went and visited with my horses. I've been going every Saturday and spending some time with them. The fly stuff is actually working! If I remember to get the name of it when I'm in the truck next, I'll post a link to it. The horses are HUGE. They still like me :3 and want to come hang out when I show up. The spotted one is finally calming down - she was so spooky and wild that I figured two months in a pasture would either make her totally wild or let her finally calm down. Glad she calmed down!

Pictures of my fatasses:

First, Poppy says Hey.

Here is gorgeous fat Champ eating oats out of a bucket with Silky. Champ

Silky looks good! She's slender and could use more muscle, but I'm just happy she's plump.
Silky near side

Poppy is EXTREMELY LARGE. He preferred to eat his oats straight out of the bag in the truck. (After everybody had a taste of oats I locked the bag in the truck, which REALLY PISSED OFF Champ.)
Poppy is Large.

The spotted one came and said hi too! She was really very inquisitive last weekend, and she let me touch her pretty much all over, as long as I kept it brief. I didn't even halter her to put the fly stuff on her. Yay!
Dixie says hey!!

Here's a body shot of her. Her roan flanks look even more frosted in person.

Here is a bonus picture of a very loud very angry bull. I have thoughtfully chosen the shot which does *not* show his pizzle. You just get to see the drool and the giant balls. He and his brother, in an adjascent pasture, bellowed most of the time I was out there.
Bonus: angry bull

And here's poor Cersei, hiding in the truck from the spotted one. Yes, the young'uns chased Cersei a couple of times. I've learned to leave the truck open so she has an escape route.
Interspecies communication

Next up: Economic torts, then a post about their hooves!

I'm still alive, really!

Still studying. Just under 4 weeks to go!

Dog update first. I've been taking Cersei to the unofficial dog park to play instead of out to the barn to play. There's several reasons - Sam the Barn Dog has fleas and keeps giving them to Cersei; it's twice as far to the barn as to the park; seeing other people's horses and not mine is kinda :(

Memphis in general is weird, yall. It's not just ghetto Frayser. The whole town is permeated with weirdness.

The Overton Park "dog park." First, it's not a dog park. I think we only have one official dog park, on the other side of the city in Shelby Farms. This is just an area in Overton Park where, by consensus, everybody brings their dogs to play off leash. The Not A Dog Park (NDP) is part of a large field, with a truly nasty concrete pond. There's a treasured patch of old-growth forest nearby, and a golf course all around.

The forest is another Memphis oddity. Back in the 60s, the highway dept wanted to build I-40 through the park, to connect East Memphis to Downtown. The Midtown hippies were up in arms (and rightly so, it's not just a park. It really is as close as you can get to untouched forest in any city). There was a lawsuit that dragged on for ten years, and finally the highway dept lost. In honor of this historic decision, they left the uncompleted access ramps and bridges to nowhere standing for the next 30 years. Seriously, two years ago there was a big renovation of part of our highways, and the Bridges to Nowhere were finally torn down. Just a surreal bit of Memphis history.

Back to the dog park. Cersei really loves to swim in the horrid nasty concrete pond, and she's warming up to the dogs who play there. She'll play with any given dog after she's met it twice, so she's starting to get some "friends." Notable characters and dogs I've met:
  • The Asian guy with the intact boxer. Not a show dog or a wonderful specimen of boxer-ness. I suspect he just doesn't want to genitally mutilate his dog. Whatever.
  • The sweet gay guy with that odd-looking black GSD. Well, I thought Diablo was a GSD until yesterday, when he admitted that the dog is half GSD and half timberwolf. Normally I'd call bullshit, but he wasn't bragging, just kind of matter of fact about it. Someone asked him about Diablo, and he told us. (I still don't think Diablo is an F1. He's SO laid back and SO doggy.)
  • The girl with the enormous BYB pit bull. Her dog is really sweet, and just a puppy who wants to play, but at 9 months the dog is already like 80 lbs. HUGE.
  • The guy with the two tiny perfect little pit bulls. His are both rescues, and they look to my untrained eye exactly like pit bulls should look. Maybe 50-60 lbs, shorter than Cersei, alligator jaws and built like tanks. I'm glad Cersei's taken a liking to them.
  • The girl with the out of control huge 80 lb Rottweiler puppy. Another one Cersei's age, but this dog really initimidates / bullies / annoys her. The Rott wants to play tackle football with every dog out there. Whenever the Rott knocks Cersei down, I go over and make the Rott back off and let my girl up.
  • And Cersei has a Chihuahua buddy! At first I was really reluctant to let her play chase games with a 5 lb dog, but the owners swore that the Chi loves big dogs and Cersei isn't very prey-drivey. And damn that little dude is FAST. Even if she wanted to chase him down and kill him she wouldn't have a chance.
The dogs are about half mutts or rescues and half purebreds. I've seen a Bouvier des Flandres, a couple of Ridgebacks, a (super cute!) Visla puppy, a couple of Great Danes, lots of Weimeraners and Dobermans and pibbles.

It's very strange. A very libertarian dog park. You can't yell at somebody for not controlling her dog (coughRottweilergirlcough) because none of us are supposed to be there. Non dog people wander through all the time. It is very odd to me when pit bulls run off to lick non dog owner kids, but nobody seems to mind. There are so many pits in Memphis that the general awareness about them is much higher - odds are that the non dog people at the park have friends or family with a pit, so they know that pits aren't actually babyeaters. And the pit owners are actually more aware of possible dog aggression than the non pit owners.

Cersei's number one favorite thing to do is still just to go swim around in circles by herself. She doesn't really want to retrieve, she just wants to swim in circles. About a quarter of the time she'll come out of the water and play with her "friends." She's getting more comfortable with the other dogs every day, and honestly, as long as she's having a good time, she can do what she wants out there.

I'm going to write out some notes and when my hand gets tired of writing, I'll come post HORSE PICTURES and write about my large useless beggars.