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Wow, that horse is a saint. Very cute costume!
 
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Discussion Starter · #343 ·
Thanks, and yes, he really is. I've ridden him during gunshots going off and trees getting cut down. And his owner has been dressing him up for years. He's a real ham and I think he likes it and likes having his picture taken. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #344 ·
Went on a trail ride today--Yay! It was a morning one, so very early out of bed, but was a lot easier today for some reason. Did not get to meet the woman who is interested in co-leasing Strider--her dog was having puppies this morning. So she still hasn't meet Strider or the owner either. Today would have been a good day for her to ride Strider--he was bering a very good boy--no bucking or crazy cantering, etc. He was a litle slow, but would go faster with some urging--and was very willing to run to catch up when we got too far behind--we were at a full gallop at one point.. :)
It was an absolutely gorgeous trail today--all yellow/orange trees, with some green shrubs peeking through. And we met a bulldozer working on the trails--and Strider couldn't care less--and we had to climb through some thick piles of "trail" LOL.
But then we came across a hiker or a hunter? and was wearing camo and black and was several feet off the trail in the trees. And he seemed to just be belligerent about following oure requests to move around or wave. So then we got right next to him and he finally talked--loud and scared the heck our of Strider who felt like he was coming unglued underneath me in a second. He wanted to take off, but listened to me. LOL
Biggest thing that happned all day was getting ready--tacked up at the trailer. One of the boarders was along with us and she and Strider were tied together on the same side. She was crowding me really bad and I had already elbowed her in the ribs as she sandwiched me between her and Strider (she was on his left side). So then, I'm getting him cinched up and all of a sudden she takes a chunk out of my low back--she bit me! Through my thick jacket and shirt--right at the top of my waistline--I have a mark! She got her teeth right in there. As I sit here, it's getting more and more sore and I'm having trouble sitting back in my chair. And then she tried to get me again up near my shoulder--but she gave me a warning touch of her muzzle and her owner saw it to and we stopped her. And then the horse tried to bite Strider out on the trail. Ugh. This is the same horse that is being aggressive with all the other horses out in the pasture. If she starts pulling these shenanigans with people I think she may get kickd out--and it's a shame becasue her owner is a really nice girl and has become a friend of the barn owner/Strider's owner.
And just to make my life more stressful, my husband is really having problems with Strider's owner. He doesn't like her much due to what I think is mostly age difference and miscommunications--and she isn't always that personable--but she and I have horses in common so we get along well. I really like her and enjoy my time there and with Strider and now I can ride Pooh Bear as well if Strider isn't available. He doesn't have to talk to her much, but he's always trying to be friendly--and goofy and I think she just isn't that kind of person. So, he wil just avoid her for a while and hopefully it will get better. And we'll be gone to the new barn for a few months, so that will be a break too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #346 ·
So I toured the boarding stable yesterday. It will work for us. No frills, a little ugly, but looks like some nice riding situations. They have grass trails all around the 110 ace property. --nothing in the woods or anything, but plenty of space to ride outside on nicely flat and even terrain with virtually no rocks. And they keep this all mowed when grass is growing and plowed in Winter. Has a good sized indoor arena--not huge, but normal sized--plenty of room for cantering without going in a tight circle the whole time.
And a nice big outdoor arena. Once I get Strider out--and take him to the barn--everything is right there--entrance to both arenas or take off on a grass path. The barn is decent and there is room in the tack room I'll be using, for both saddles--Western and English and a place to keep his grain in the barn. And I will be able to cross tie him right next to the tack room, so easy access. She said at the times I ride--morning/midday weekdays there most likely won't be anyone else there--I'll have the place to myself.

Strider will be out with two older horses who seem very quiet. The property owner said they are very kind and easy going and the property owner is pretty sure Strider will get along with them well so they can all get in the shelter together with no problems during the Winter. And it sounds like she feeds a lot of good quality hay. Not sure if it's 24/7 hay, it might be. But she makes sure they always have enough hay to get through the night. I told her Strider is used dto 24/7 hay and she nodded in affirmation.

The only thing that's a bit wonky is she leaves halters on everyone. 60 horses on the place, more than half are outside horses only and every single one has a halter on. She believes in leaving halters on so if/when horses get out they can be caught easier. I know in most barns this is a big no-no and Strider has never worn a halter 24/7, so this may be an issue for his owner, not sure.

Now we just have to see if my potential co-leaser is ever going to meet Strider and his owner so we can figure everything out that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #347 ·
Ok, good news day! Went on a trail ride this morning, with Strider's new co-leaser! Yes, it's a done deal now! She's very nice, and older like me--about 10 years older than me even! She's mostly going to do quiet, short rides on Strider and put her little granddaughter on him with a lunge line. And she lives close to the boarding barn, so she can go see him for short visits, to give grain and stuff, more often.
I'll be trying to ride twice a week. We packed up all his stuff today and he'll be moved Dec. 4th. I'm praying for now snow until at least January so I can enjoy the outdoor paths for a while!

We did another two hour ride today, I rode Pooh Bear, who I'm realizing is a really good horse! He's thinner than Strider, so I'm not so sore today either, but sore enough. We did a lot of running. :) Gorgeous day here--about 60 and full sun. Absolutely prefect for a trail ride.
This might be it for the season for me and the trail rides since the owner will be gone for a week in November (but not with Strider so I'll be riding on the days I do chores while she's gone). And then Thanksgiving. And i'm ok with it since I'll be getting a chance to explore the new property. :)
And I bought Strider a breakaway halter, and a lead rope and lunge line to match. LOL His owner calls it his "vacation gear". So at least he won't be hanging himself with the halter.

Exciting times!
 

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Discussion Starter · #348 ·
Well, it's been an interesting week. Last Monday, I had my beloved cat Giselle put to sleep. I had been treating her for kidney disease since March. She was Stage IV when diagnosed and even though I did subQ fluids every day and gave her several supplements every day and made homemade food for her--as well as buying a myriad of different kinds of foods to keep her eating, she kept steadily and slowly declining. She was just under 11 years old. Way too young. She was my baby. I cried for two days straight until I was just exhausted and dehydrated. Then on Thursday I went and did animal chores at Strider's place (his owner is on vacation) and I felt a little better. I couldn't ride because it was pouring rain and he was soaking wet and it was also very cold so I didn't dare brush all that water deeper into his coat or put a saddle on him. I gave him a little extra lunge time and that was it.
I had been feeling a little more normal about Giselle, until yesterday. The one week anniversary. Then I cried a bit again in the morning. And i was just crabby all day. We had to go and do chores again (owner is back today) and this time I did ride. I wanted to get the English tack out and make sure I had everything I needed before going to the new barn. So I still have time to meet with the owner in case we need to adjust something.
Well, after about 40 minutes of lunging, grooming and tacking and re-tacking I finally had the saddle on--or so I thought. The big problem was Strider. I had forgotten that when the weather gets cooler he is a real pill. There are no cross ties in the barn--you just have to tie him straight on. Same with outside. He's a little better outside, except that now there's still a little bit of grass around the hitching post and he will strain and strain and pull off the post to get to the grass.
So in the barn we go--which is literally only a few feet from outside--in front of a large open door. But he just swings from side to side like a crazy man. He almost knocked me over completely swinging so rapidly to one side. I was getting so angry. I used my loudest and firmest voice and that would stop him for about 2 minutes. And he was bopping me in the chest for treats--HARD. I put him on the lunge line and when I asked for canter, he was a wild man--running and bucking. That's fine, that's one reason we do this. He was so full of energy I lunged him much longer than usual and he never seemed to get really tired like he sometimes does. But since I was using the English saddle, I wanted him to have his ya-ya's out before I got on.
Well, it wasn't enough to keep him still for tacking up. In fact, he dumped my saddle into the dirt by swinging around so much. I could barely get it placed on his back and he was dancing off, I had to chase him. Then when I walked around to attach the girth he did it again the other way, I managed to hang on to the saddle and then went quickly back around, but as I reached under for the girth he swung away again and the saddle went slipping to the ground. Ugh. Nothing like trying to saddle a moving target, with cold fingers and tack you haven't used for months and an unfamiliar girth that is slightly too big so it's hard to get tight.
I finally got the darn thing on and took him outside to mount. Then he wasn't standing well at the mounting block, that took a couple minutes. Then he was finally behaving and I was doing the "frozen" thing on the mounting block, with one foot in and afraid to hop up. I really need practice mounting this wisp of a saddle from a normal mounting block. I keep propelling myself so hard that I almost go over the other side, because there's nothing to grab. Well, I got on, barely and then I felt good. Had my new breeches (silicone riding tights actually) on and they worked wonderfully!). But then, I took a walk around and saw that the saddle was too far back. It had slipped back during all the chaos of getting him saddled. So, with my husband's help this time, I re-did the saddle-right there in the arena. It took another 10 minutes to get it undone and then re-done. Now, you'd think I was ready right? So, I go to mount and Strider is being very good now at the block--and I finally gear up for the "haul" and as I'm throwing my leg over, the saddle slips severely to the left. I got on and slid it back, but there was no way I could ride with the cinch that loose. I mean, it slipped almost fully sideways from my weight while mounting. Ugh. So, I got off and now I was in tears. My husband said, "why don't you just ride Western today? Well, that would have been another 15-20 minutes to dig out the Western saddle from uncer the other saddles that were currently stored on top of it. And a bridle change, the whole thing. I said I was just going to be done, couldn't take this anymore. But as I was bent over having a crying jag, my husband managed to get the saddle tightened, and it seemed to still be in place, foward enough, so I gathered my wits and got on again. This time it all seemed to work. RELIEF!!
Now, I was only planning on riding for about 20 minutes or so. It was wet out there, and soggy. So I rode in the indoor to start. But there is now equipment in there again (tractors, etc), and the space to ride is only about the space you'd lunge a horse in. And with a rider on his back, and his lazy nature, Strider was having trouble holding that tight circle in a trot, so I couldn't get into a good posting trot and kept losing my balance as he zigged and zagged and and slowed and speeded up. Ugh. More walking. And keeping my leg on him to get him to stay as far to the edge as possible, without ramming my leg into something. We went outside and walked around the less mushy areas. He prefers to be outdoors. Then we'd go back into the indoor to try trotting again--same problems. And by now my hips were feeling the strain of giving so much hard and constant pressure to one side and then the other. Geez!
So I went outside and found a short straightaway that was grassy and not mushy and he didn't slip at all, no rocks, etc. And we trotted. Finally, a few strides of a decent pace. And I could start feeling my post in this saddle again. I was a little wobbly, but not terrible. We did this run a few times and then I walked him around a little and got off. Just a little over 20 minutes.
So, between all of this and all the chores which were heavier yesterday then the previous Thursday due to having to throw hay and such, I was really tired and aching. And it was no 2PM and I hadn't eaten since lunch the day before. This is always the case, due to my bloating issues I have to fast before riding. But today, we weren't headed home. After the hour drive back, we had a couple hours of shopping/errands to do.
Finally got home a little after 4PM and had to put groceries away. Finally sat down to eat at 5PM. We had left at 9:30 that morning. Wow. Long day. And I continued to be pretty crabby all day. I think I was subconciously turning my grief over Giselle into anger and Strider was NOT helping matters.
So, I have probably one more ride, maybe two before we move him to the new barn, not sure what that will look like--depends on the weather. It will probably be English again, but not sure. One thing is for sure. I am SO looking forward to CROSS TIES for Strider finally, and a large indoor to practice my English riding in and finally canter in the AP saddle, on Strider. Although, my first rides out there will be in the uber safe feeling Western saddle, hopefully outdoors, exploring the farm and cantering and galloping down those long grassy paths!
 

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I'm to chicken to ride in a saddle without a breastplate. The saddle may slip a few inches but then it will hold. When I get on I reach over and grap the off side of the breastplate to help get on. And continue holding on while I get my feet in the stirrups and get settled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #350 ·
Well, Thanksgiving did me in for riding. I couldn't ride for 2.5 weeks due to timing. I had my whole family over, first time ever hosting a holiday and our house was a bit of a disaster and needed some TLC. And then there was weather involved too, and the fact that my next visit was also to meet and possibly adopt a kitten from the farm owner. She needed to be there and be available. So, I went out on Wednesday and had a great ride--despite it being pretty short, about a half hour, just on the property--but at least not stuck in the indoor "ring". And I rode Western, so I was very comfortable. And Strider was doing great---much better attitude while getting him ready and he had a lot of pep. He did get spooked by something across the street once and bolted a bit, but just a but and he stopped for me after a few seconds of pulling on the reins. Whatever was over there--probably a human or a deer--they hunt over there, went away and he was fine after a few minutes. We did some cantering and got into some real nice, even trotting, which always makes me happy!
And......drum roll please.....we have a new kitten! She is just so exactly what I was looking for! Although maybe about a month older than I wanted, but she's small. She's about four months old or so, she was found on the farm as a really tiny kitten two months ago.
I named her Cosette and she is currently in a baby sling tied around me, so she can sleep on my chest and I can still type and walk around. She just always wants to be with people and she loves to snuggle! She is helping heal my heart after losing Giselle.

And, the big day is tomorrow--Strider goes to the boarding stable! I wish I felt better physically. All the stress of the last few weeks has caused recurrence of a pinched nerve in my upper/mid back. Which is affecting my arms and hands--tingling, pain, general unhappiness all over both arms and hands barely want to work, or so it feels like. And it's causing the nerves that run from there all around to the front to give me cardiac flutters--or PVC's. Totally benign, as a trip to the ER last year confirmed--but make me a little lightheaded and a little sick to my stomach. Seeing the chrio on Monday--the soonest I could get in. That usually fixes it. I haven't had it this bad in a few years. Pretty miserable right now. It got MUCH, MUCH worse starting two days ago when we got some really bad news about my husband. He had an MRD before Thanksgiving to pinpoint what the doctor thought was a couple of minor pinched nerves or something similar. Well, the results were shocking. Severe degenerative spinal stenosis in the cervical region and moderate in the Lumbar region. The doctor is reccomending surgery, fusion, etc, but we have to see Spine Care to determine that for sure. We hate the idea of surgery when he is barely having any symptoms and still living pretty normally. But there is danger of complete paralysis at this point if we don't do more aggressive intervention--possibly. We couldn't get in to Spine care until Jan. 5th, so we're on pins and needles here. I'm just terrified. If he has surgery--the recover time could be 2-12 months depending on what they do. That means no driving! And I can't drive! And we are living on Social Security and can't afford to hire help if he has to be in a wheelchair--and we live in a multi-level house. Even if he has surgery and it goes well, we're not sure how long it would take for him to be able to do stairs. You can't even get in our house front or back without doing several stairs. Ugh. It's very frightening to think of my vital, manly husband becoming crippled. Especially when I have all my diseases and blindness. I don't understand why life keeps kicking us--so hard. I am praying for optimal outcomes and trying to be hopeful that all the worst case scenarios won't be realized. But until then, my Reactive Arthritis is reacting badly to the emotional stress and inflaming my spine and most of my joints. Thank goodness I have a new kitten for some distraction and joy and the new horsey situation as well.
 
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I suffer from severe arthritis and have had both hips replaced (I am 51) I have mild spinal stenosis in the lumbar region and it may be further up but the MRI I had done was for hips. Its best to have it fused now before anything degenerates further. If he is pretty active and healthy he should recover pretty quickly with some restrictions. December will go by in a flash and then he will have his appt and hopefully surgery to follow. Sending good vibes your way.

Congrats on your new kitten
 

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Discussion Starter · #352 ·
I suffer from severe arthritis and have had both hips replaced (I am 51) I have mild spinal stenosis in the lumbar region and it may be further up but the MRI I had done was for hips. Its best to have it fused now before anything degenerates further. If he is pretty active and healthy he should recover pretty quickly with some restrictions. December will go by in a flash and then he will have his appt and hopefully surgery to follow. Sending good vibes your way.

Congrats on your new kitten
Thanks for that. And you are still riding horses, that's so great! A purley decompression surgery would have a minimal recovery time--maybe 4-6 weeks, but he might be able to drive in 2 weeks. But if he has the fusion, I think he would be in a halo apparatus and he would be greatly restrictted for many months. So we can't do surgery until at least May, because we have Strider at the boarding barn through April. After that, I might have to take a break from horseback riding. I am desperately hoping the no driving thing won't happen, or at least not more than a few weeks. My whole family lives an hour and a half away and my mother-in-law lives 2.5 hrs away and is 94 years old, so she can't drive this far anymore. Not to mention getting to doctor's appts, grocery store, etc.

His father had the same thing and after the furst cervical fusion surgery he was never the same--couldn't drive cause he couldn't turn his head, was partilly in a wheelchair until he was fully in a wheelchair and eventually in a nursing home and needed a hoyer lift. My husband is kind of terrified after seeing his Dad go so downhill for so many years.
 
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I will be praying for you. Wish I was closer . . . as I have wished for a long time since I have lovely horses and need people to ride them . . . I could help with driving too. Instead, I can pray, and I will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #354 ·
As always, you are so kind and I thank you! I hope there are more angels like you waiting to come forward here in our own backyard.
 
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Discussion Starter · #355 ·
As always, you are so kind and I thank you! I hope there are more angels like you waiting to come forward here in our own backyard.
I told my husband about your kind words and he laughed and said "where does she live, what are housing prices like there?" LOL
 
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Discussion Starter · #356 ·
Well, Strider is at his Winter vacation home! It was a heck of a day yesterday. We went to Strider's place to get him out and get him ready and help load stuff from her trailer--which we packed up two weeks ago, to a new borrowed trailer. His owner has a new truck and doesn't have the 5th wheel hitch for the truck bed yet (she's been waiting for 4 weeks for the parts to come in!). So she had to go borrow a bumper hitch trailer. Well, the new truck's bumper hitch wasn't the right size and needed a sleeve insert thingy, which she found out when she got there. Long story short, we sat there for 2.5 hours waiting for her to get back. It was bad circumstances. If we had all known about this and how long it would take, I could have ridden Strider. But it was always "we're almost ready, no, there's another problem". So I watered the horses and groomed Strider and lunged him and let him graze and played with the goats. While my husband sat in the care fuming with anger at the waste of a day. Ugh. And then, we ended up getting to the new barn just before dark, so it was a bit of a nightmare for me. But we got it done. Strider's owner got on him in the indoor arena to show my co-leaser a few things about him. I sat in for a refresher and for anything I'd missed in past times.
We really need to work on collecting him at the trot and canter--and even the walk, to build muscle. I know about collection, have for many years, I can always recognize a well-collected horse, but I've never known how to do that. She was telling us about "bumping" him with the reins--with the Western bit it's pulling back in a "bump" on both reins and the English bridle is more a slight see-saw motion, alternating the reins. I have only successfully done this once, while in the Western gear, with the owner schooling me for a few minutes. But I have the memory how he responded. On my own, I think I've done this kind of by accident or instinct so I wasn't paying attention to what I did. But sometimes he has just gotten into a real nice collected trot or canter for me. So, stuff to work on. The owner's words to me yesterday when I asked her to show us this again, were "when I've seen you riding around outside, you are focused on yourself and your riding, which is fine, but if you want to progress then you can start working on this". She knows her horse very well and can tell when I'm not riding him to his potential. LOL And I do want to progress, so I chose to not take this comment in a negative way and feel bad about it or her opinion of me, but rather to see it as her helping me progress.
I also found out that Strider's backing is based on the rider leaning forward, rather than back. No wonder he doesn't like to back up for me. She had never shown me that before. My co-leaser, who is 10 years older than me, agreed that was different than what she knew.
I want to take more lessons on Strider, but my concern is, that his owner keeps saying "he was trained a little different" or "he does it 'this way' or 'that way'", which is usually different than the typical way. So if an instructor doesn't know that about him, will we get anywhere? Opinions and advice gladly accepted here! :)

Looking forward to my first ride at this place on Wednesday, even though I might have to go straight to the indoor arena. I had through I would have some time to enjoy the outdoors, but it's snowing today and we're expecting snow and rain tomorrow and then overnight a high of 5 degrees with high wind. So that will mean ice. But it's supposed to warm into the 40's again with lots of sunshine over the weekend, so hoping to ride on Monday and get some outdoor "trail" time.

Hoping Strider is doing ok with his two new gelding companions. They seemed to all get along right away, but the one horse kept following him pretty close--didn't seem menacing, just very interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #358 ·

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I told my husband about your kind words and he laughed and said "where does she live, what are housing prices like there?" LOL
I live in N. Central Florida, 45 minutes northwest of Gainesville. This morning I rode Isabeau for 2 hours, 15 minutes. Nice dependable riding horses cost anywhere from $1200 to $4,000. Board is anywhere from about $200 to $600 a month. Modest houses with some acreage where you can keep a horse run from about $150,000 to $300,000.

I had thought I would have some time to enjoy the outdoors, but it's snowing today and we're expecting snow and rain tomorrow and then overnight a high of 5 degrees with high wind. So that will mean ice.
It was about 50 degrees in the morning when I was riding, and warmed up to about 75 degrees. Come on down!!!! Of course, the summers are brutal and seem to go on and on forever, but the winters are lovely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #360 ·
I rode Strider yesterday, first time at the new barn. We had a blast! I wasn't sure I was going to make it because the night before--about 7:30PM, my little parrot broke her wing. We rushed her to the vet ER and three and a half hours later and $400 poorer, came home with a very unhappy little girl. It's been a whirlwind of getting her settled and figuring out living arrangements while she can't fly and needs to not be high up in her cage. We have everything rigged up now and she's finally eating normally and has started talking again. She has no freedom and is unhappy about that (she's normally free-flighted in the house) but overall we've gotten her in an ok place. I ws pretty worried about her while at the farm so I didn't ride as long as I would have liked--only about 30-40 minutse, but it was all good experiences for both me and Strider so it was plenty. It always amazes me how long it takes at the barn to ride for a half hour! We were there over 2 hours. By the time you get the horse--it's a bit of a hike now, lunge him, groom and tack, ride, get untacked and feed him his grain (slow eater) it's just a long process.
Anyway, I was a mess--hadn't slept the night before because of Piper, my bird. Hadn't eaten since lunch the day before and I was mounting him at about 1PM. But it's amazing how horse therapy works. As soon as I got him out of the pasture, I was focused and not thinking about Piper. He was so good for me yesterday, it's like he knew I was hurting. He went better in the arena for me than he EVER has. He picked up every cue immediately--no kicking and squeezing for 5 minutes to get him into a trot. Cantered first time every time I asked. And he kept going at a trot or a canter for almost two passes around the arena with minimal pressure from me. I was out of breath! I hardly ever get to ride him like that until I'M out of breath. LOL We only did about 20 minutes or so in the arena--I wanted to end on a good note--before he might get bored and stop moving for me. And we went outside and rode another 15 minutes around the property. Unfortunately, there was a thin sno pack all over, so all we could do was walk out there. That was fine, he needed a coolout anyway. But it's supposed to be in the 40's and 50's the next several days so I am hoping next week the snow will be gone and it won't be too soggy so maybe we can get out to the edge of the property and play a little on the straightaways. :) If not, the arena will be ok. That's the main reason we're there anyway!
So this was a great first day for both of us. Very encouraging. And I got home and Piper was still ok and we modified her cage to make it safe--she was in a cardboard box for 24 hours and that was making her and me nuts. LOL We see the regular vet on Tuesday to see how things are healing. And I ride again on Monday. And I thought my new kitten was going to have to go the vet on Tuesday, she was acting sick all day, but then I found an infection in her ear and I've been treating that and she's much better. More energy than she's had since we got her. Phew! But i'm tellin ya'. These pets are going to kill me this year. One cat blew out her knee a year ago and has been a gimp ever since--and for several months she was special needs. Then there is my beloved Giselle who I treated for kidney failure since March. We had her put to sleep a month ago and now have a new kitten (fun, but a little stressful) and then Piper. And my husband! My Reactive Arthritis and Fibromyalgia are working overtime. I'm a mess. Next week, I am riding two days, my husband and I each have doctor's appts on different days and the bird as a doctor's appt and he has a new friend coming over to help with an outdoor project one day. That's more activity than we've had in two years. LOL

Going to go chill right now! :)
 
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