I Don't Believe the World Will End Today. But Just In Case It Does.....

Just in case the world really does end today I wanted to tell everyone that it's been just fantastic knowing all of you. Yesterday was a super day because I finally got to ride! Indy and I only stayed out about 30 minutes because this was my first ride with my new hip, and I didn't want to overdo it, and besides, this was our first ride since last October when I had to quit with my old hip.

Everything went great though. My hip felt like my real hip before it started going bad. Absolutely no pain. I didn't even feel any tightness on the inside of my leg - either leg really - despite being so long since I'd ridden.

Anyway, if it all ends today, tonight, whatever, I wanted to leave you all with this wonderful little story. I found it floating around the Net years ago, the author lost in cyberspace. Too bad, because whoever wrote this really should get credit. Enjoy.

FOR ALL THE GOOD CRITTERS ---------- ... and the people who love them... 

A man was riding his horse down a road, his dog padding along by their side. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that his horse and dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. 

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He nudged the horse toward the gate, and as he got closer, saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?" "This is heaven, sir," the man answered. "Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked. "Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open. "Can my friends," gesturing downward towards his horse and dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked. "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept animals." 

The man thought a moment and then turned his horse back toward the road and continued the way he had been going. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?" "Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there" The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in." "How about my friends here?" the traveler asked. "There should be a bowl and a bucket by the pump." They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl and a bucket beside it. 

The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then gave some to the dog while he filled the bucket for his horse. When they all were satisfied, he led his horse back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them, the dog following faithfully behind. "What do you call this place?" the traveler asked. "This is heaven," was the answer. "Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was heaven, too." "Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell." "Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?" "No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind". 

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The Winter of Our Discontent

I know my title is not particularly original, but it's such a perfect fit I had to use it anyway. What are we discontented about you ask. Or, maybe you should not have asked....

By far, the most important problem this winter was Ami. She somehow bruised her feet worse than she ever has which apparently led to her first case of active laminitis since her original episode in 1996. Talk about scary! Given that she's always had thin soles and rotation from that first episode, more rotation was the last thing she needed.

We immediately put in an emergency call to Dr. Conley's new clinic with Dr. Koontz, and it was Dr. Koontz who came out. This was the first meeting for all of us including Dr. K and Ami. She was well behaved for him, and he immediately diagnosed the active laminitis. The first thing he did was tape some large Styrofoam-like pads to both front feet, and she immediately went sound in her deeply bedded stall with a stall mat underneath. Dr. K was very happy with our set-up and recommended keeping her in the stall for a couple of weeks, and of course, try to get some weight off.

HELP! I'm being held captive here!

Dr. Koontz coming back next week to do spring shots and check her out. Looks like all is going to be well, thank goodness!

Another problem with this winter is that it doesn't want to go away. We sprang forward just like we are supposed to .....

Spring Forward! THIS otta do it!

but it didn't seem to help. Temps have stubbornly remained in the 40s and 50s, and even when it's relatively mild, the wind is howling at 25 mph and/or it's pouring rain. I haven't even had a chance to see what riding is going to be like with my new hip and my legs being the same length for the first time in my life. Should be interesting and I'm getting frustrated with this rotten weather.

The most depressing thing during this winter though was learning more than I ever wanted to know about the workings of our government and how utterly corrupt it is. Special interests rule, and it's delusional to believe otherwise. Even small things - relatively speaking - like getting horse slaughter outlawed in the US for good and all and preserving the small remnant that remains of our once magnificent herds of wild horses on public lands in the west - are totally under the control of the special interests and the will of the American people is irrelevant. 

I would have considered the things I have learned this winter inconceivable if I hadn't seen them with my own eyes in pictures and videos of those in the front lines. And I'm not talking about the Obama administration either. This has been going on for probably as long as the Department of the Interior/BLM has been in existence no matter which party was in the White House.

Ever since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed in 1971, the BLM have been loading the dice in favor of the ranchers in the Public Lands Grazing Program until by now there are few acres left for the horses despite the Congressional mandate and even fewer horses grazing on them. The BLM rounds the horses up - at public expense - and warehouses them - at public expense while the ranchers lease their land for almost nothing.

Now something even worse is happening. The horses are literally being purged from their legal lands, but not for the ranchers this time, although those good ole boys haven't figured that our yet. No, this time the DOI is planning to allow extractive interests, many of which are foreign owned, to have pretty much everything they want. More open pit mines, shale oil extraction - known as fracking - tar sands extraction - all of which require millions upon millions of gallons of water which cannot be replaced because it is contaminated during the processing. Ain't that a hoot for states like Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, etc. that have no water now?

Meanwhile, the idiots ranchers are pushing for Nevada legislators to pass a law that screws with the definition of "wildlife," and will deny the wild horses the right to drink the water. No, that's not a typo. They want to cut Nevada's wild horses off from access to water. Well, when the water guzzling fracking and tar sands developing are finished with Nevada's aquifers there won't be any water for their cattle - or them either.

As for the pro-slaughter activists who block every effort to get a national ban on horse slaughter for human consumption, I'm even more contemptuous of them.

The big horse organizations like the Quarter Horse Assn., the Jockey Club and others want slaughter back so they can breed and breed and breed, looking for that "special one" while the culls - hundreds of them every year - are dumped off to be slaughtered. Nice, huh? Also, that horse that doesn't run quite fast enough, doesn't spin fast enough or doesn't have enough "cow" doesn't have a happy retirement, he goes to slaughter. Use 'em up and dump 'em off, that's their motto. Who cares how much they suffer or how many dangerous chemicals are in their meat. Not my problem.

Big Animal Ag seems to think that slaughtering traditional food animals might be threatened by banning the slaughter on a non food animal like horses. It's insanity, I know, but they actually seem to believe the "Vast Vegan Conspiracy" - which exists only in their imaginations - is using banning horse slaughter as a "slippery slope" to ban all animal precessing. I can't believe they think this could really happen, but why take chances, right? The only problems horse slaughter causes is intense suffering for horses and, given that American horses are not raised as food animals and are regularly exposed to substances that are banned from the human food chain, meat adulterated with dangerous chemicals is regularly being exported to unsuspecting consumers abroad. But, this bothers the Big Animal Ag fellas not one whit. After all, if there is the slightest minute microscopic chance that they might be affected, well, who the hell cares about anything else?

Lord, Lord! Excuse me while I go out and watch Indy and Ami having a good time, frolicking without a care in the world. And I plan to keep it that way.


Last one to the barn is a rotten apple!

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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra