Monday, November 26, 2012

Crushing's Disease...

No, that's not a misspelling.  That's my new term for Equine Cushing's disease, since Owen has it and I'm crushed by the news.

Equine Cushings is caused by a pituitary tumor in the brain stem, and I've been consciously blocking out the subtle signs I've seen in Owen (most noticeably fat deposits in what is usually an extremely fit horse) because I didn't want to face the disease that ultimately took my beloved Chummie from me.

I forced myself last week to draw the blood and send it out, and though I had girded myself for a positive test I was nonetheless devastated by the news.  Yes, there is medication to manage the symptoms, but it is not without side effects and cannot stop the inevitable and destructive progress of the pituitary tumor.

I fear this means that Owen has peaked and I can expect no further progress with him.  It also means constant vigilance for the remainder of his life in the form of diet and turnout management...Owen is going to HATE wearing a muzzle, but on the plus side it will keep him from cribbing!

Our meeting with our attorney last week was not inspiring, either, since he said it was unlikely we would get any of our money back from the builder and that we would be throwing good money after bad should we try to pursue legal address.

We had hoped to be in our new house by now, and the deal with Bruce was that once we had the new place established I would get another horse.  But I think I need another horse now.  I have so much emotional investment in Owen, and I need to start another project lest something debilitating, such as founder, happen to him.

But what horse can possibly fill his tiny shoes?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Self Improvements

Of course, when I say self improvement I mean improvements done by myself rather than actually improving my person.  It's true I've not posted for a while but it's not for lack of sidesaddle activity.  I've been hamstrung by the limits of technology...I can't post from work thanks to the security programs put in place by the NSA and I can rarely reach the internet from home since we can't even get a paltry dsl line here in the sticks.

Little by little I've been tweaking my latest sidesaddle and I've been giving it alot of miles.

Owen ready to hit the trail.

First, I replaced that horrible plastic stirrup with this antique Nettles stirrup I found online.  It's got a nice wide tread which any endurance rider can tell you really makes for more comfort than a narrow one.  I still need to replace that cheap cut off leather, and ultimately I'd like to put a tapedero on it; it's safer than a standard western stirrup since there is no break away, tho' of course you can't show in them.  Don't know why...

I also swaped the tie straps so the half breed is on the offside where it is more accessible and doesn't form a bulge under the left flap.  I purchased a set of matching yuma berry conchos and saddle strings to give it a more uniform appearence.  I also added leather rosettes, which actually have a purpose since they act as washers under the concho screws and keep them tight.

This little saddle is fast climbing the list of my all time favorite sidesaddles.  It definitely is my favorite sidesaddle for trail riding and general hacking, and today after a long ride I did some quick schooling in it.  It rode extremely well, and we even were able to get some rough tempis in, even without having a stick on the offside.  I'm still not thrilled with the rigging, but Owen is comfortable in it and the saddle doesn't shift a bit even after several miles on the trail so I'm not rushing to change it.

Old tymey Owen...looks the part, doesn't he?

Yesterday was the Fall War for the medieval re-enactment group I hang out with.  Due to the move I wasn't able to find 99% of my gear, and in the end just threw some of Midas' old Men of Warwick gear on Owen.  With a bit of tight lacing it all worked out, and after a little warm up we headed out to the fighting which was a series of brief skirmishes in front of the castle.  Owen was the only equine present, and though we didn't actually participate he did stand at the margins quite well, even when the canon was fired.  Owen will now let me carry and throw a spear from horseback, and yesterday he even let me carry and swipe a sword around.  At one point he even did canter pirouettes in both directions with the reins in one hand and sword held up in the other. Where is a photographer when you need one?  I'll tell you where he was...sitting only a few yards away, engrossed in a conversation with our friend Bill about computers and missing the whole thing.

On the depressing side of things, our builder has gone out of business, taking our money with him.  We consulted an attorney, and tho' he is going to send a threatening letter, he told us it is highly unlikely that we will get any of our expenses back.  I think the term "blood from a stone" was bandied about.  This leaves us absolutely strapped, since we really can't afford to take the guy to court, and we don't have the money to start again with another builder.   We've been taken to the proverbial cleaners and are now homeless to boot.  I'm not sure where we'll go or what to do with Owen.  If we have to move to far from Woodwind I'll be forced to board him somewhere and I'm not sure where the extra $$$ will come from.  Bruce and I are both determined not to sell him, tho' he could provide a deposit for a builder.  No way.  All the money in the world couldn't buy the experiences I'm having with him.  (Owen, stop that!  Owen, spit that out!  Owen, leave that alone!)

Happy times.  But I may have to sell some sidesaddles and habits.