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am hoping to read more of your journal, but am enjoying what I have read so far. Congrats on new kitty and great ride. I'll drop in again after I know more about your journal. pretty cool.
 

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First of all, I'm really sorry about your parrot and the broken wing. I was very intrigued about him being a free-flying bird, though. Part of me has always wanted a pet bird, but putting them in cages seems really sad. But if they are free to roam then (1) don't they get into things and cause messes and (2) what about the poop?
 
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Happy for Strider & you! :D Glad you had a good ride at the new barn! I'm so sorry about your parrot though, poor thing, I hope she will start to improve, I know it won't be an easy adjustment but she has everything she needs and you are taking good care of her esp since you modified her cage. :)

I know it's hard when our pets are having issues, they're our babies! It sounds like you really care about yours & they know it.

I hope you can catch a break soon - hugs to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #364 ·
First of all, I'm really sorry about your parrot and the broken wing. I was very intrigued about him being a free-flying bird, though. Part of me has always wanted a pet bird, but putting them in cages seems really sad. But if they are free to roam then (1) don't they get into things and cause messes and (2) what about the poop?
Pet birds can make great companions. I don't believe in having a pet parrot--of any size--that is kept as a cage ornament. That being said, they DO need a cage to stay safe sometimes. I have the biggest cage I can afford and fit in my house. I have all different kinds of perches from floor to ceiling to mimic the jungle environment--as well as hanging toys at all levels, and of different varieties--bells and metal things that make noise, rubber chewy things, shreddable cactus and paper toys, etc. She sleep in her cage and she is in there when we are not home. And it's open all the time for her to go and eat and drink (although I do feed her outside the cage too). The cage is in my "office" and when we're home (which is most of the time) she is free to fly about the house (although being a flock animal she's always in the same room as me, if not actually on my shoulder). If I need to take a nap or when I'm watching tv in the recliner--she gets locked in my office--but free, out of the cage. It's "her room" and it's relatively large.
The poop is an issue if you want a pristine house. I also have four cats and a dog, so pristine is out the window anyway. LOL But she does the majority of her pooping ON me (I wear a cape) or near me, so it's easy to clean up. But we do have to get to other areas--high on top of curtain and stuff, once in a while as it does collect. It's just a process you learn to live with. And bird poop has no odor so it's not "nasty".
As far as the safety issue of being free flighted, that's a process too. You have to train them a bit, but the natural instinct to stay with their people does help keep her out of trouble. And she's too small to cause any real damage to the house. I did foster an Umbrella Cockatoo for almost a year, for a sanctuary (BIG bird) and he was very destructive if left to his own devices--he destroyed a door! But I had a roommate for a short while and that was HER fault. She let him out of his cage and went to another area of the house and forgot about him. When I had him out he never destroyed anything--he was just happy to be with me and hang out--and I always had toys he could occupy himself with too.
The other thing about safety is, they are much safer being able to fly. Cropped wings will cause all kinds of injuries--falls, etc. And if they get on the floor and can't fly off--that's a big issue too. Parrots require a big learning curve BEFORE getting one. LOL For instance, all teflon pans in the house should go--it's horribly toxic and the fumes will kill a bird. No Windex in the house or anything with ammonia. No toxic cleaning supplies at all--which leaves out most of the normal cleaning supplies. I use all natural stuff and vinegar. No cheap candles--only soy or beeswax and not lit when the bird is loose. And they need a proper diet and a few things are toxic to them, like avocadoes.
I have found birds are a lifestyle. When my last bird died 5.5 years ago, I was devastated. It was traumatic--he got wounded. And he wasn't even nearly as sweet as my Piper. I got him as a rescue when he was 3 years old and he had problems. He was bonded to me eventually, but would still bite sometimes and draw blood. You couldn't get him out of his cage without a towel and since he couldn't fly, (he had some injuries and feather issues before I got him) he was prone to doing dangerous things. He spent a lot of time in his cage--with the door open and able to crawl all over and onto the play stand on top, but he really didn't want to leave his cage area. When I got Piper, I did everything different. I got a 3 month old baby from a breeder who raised the chicks right. Piper has been such a joy in my life, sweet and cuddly and a clown, she talks, etc. The few months I had no bird after the last one died, were so bleak. The house was so quiet and flat. They are not for everyone, but if you have the time and patience to learn it's so rewarding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #365 ·
am hoping to read more of your journal, but am enjoying what I have read so far. Congrats on new kitty and great ride. I'll drop in again after I know more about your journal. pretty cool.
Thank you! I'm glad all my sometimes hairy adventures can be of value to a few people, even if just as entertainment! :) LOL
 
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Discussion Starter · #366 ·
Happy for Strider & you! :D Glad you had a good ride at the new barn! I'm so sorry about your parrot though, poor thing, I hope she will start to improve, I know it won't be an easy adjustment but she has everything she needs and you are taking good care of her esp since you modified her cage. :)

I know it's hard when our pets are having issues, they're our babies! It sounds like you really care about yours & they know it.

I hope you can catch a break soon - hugs to you!
Thank you so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #367 ·
Had my second ride at the new place yesterday and it went great. Well, it started out a little wonky. I put Strider on the lunge line before I even took him to the barn. We were in the indoor arena. He was acting pretty normal, until I asked for canter--he exploded, bucking and racing away at a full gallop--almost pulled the lunge line out of my hands. He was going so fast he looked like a barrel horse--leaning way close the ground. Took me a couple minutes to get him to slow down. Same thing on theother side--and he just wouldn't stop. I did finally get him slowed and then stopped. He was blowing like crazy. So I got him groomed and tacked up and he was again very good--no dancing around or shoving me. Even when a mini got loose inside the barn and ran right down the aisle towards us he just looked amused. And the mini was adorable--acted more like a dog. :)
Well, we went back to the arena and I got on. I did the normal walk and then trot for about 10 minutes. I was nervous about asking for canter because at the trot--he was just so forward--no pressure needed to keep him going--I actually had to hold him back a bit. But I just put my hand on the horn (in case he took off or bucked) and I asked for canter. And I did it right! I did all the proper "buttons" and even got him on the correct lead and he cantered first time I asked him, no problem. And he cantered beautifully! And we did two full laps around the arena without slowing! That's a record for us. We did more trotting, and more cantering and he was raring to go, but never took off on me or anything. I had my husband take a little bit of video at the end of our ride. Before I share it where the owner can see it, can anyone tell me how he looks? Is he going ok, not hollowed out at the trot and canter? Would you say he's collecting himself? i'm certainly not doing anything to collect him on purpose. LOL Two videos.

Then it was cool down time, we went for a walk outside for about 15-20 minutes. And yet, he was still soaking went when we got done--on the chest anyway. Took an hour to get him dry--and that included a lot of rubbing with a rag. It was warmer yesterday, in the mid-40's and sunny. I am hoping when it's colder again, that he won't get as wet--and that he won't do all the galloping on the lunge line very often! Lunatic. I'd like to ride longer, but don't want to spend two hours cooling him out on the back end! We are talking about doing a trace clip, but then I think he'll have to wear hi
blanket all the time. Not sure.

My parrot also continues to improve. She had her 1 week checkup--this time with a real Avian vet. Phew! What a difference. They took the body wrap off and looked at the wing. The vet didn't feel any fractures, so it may be healed already, or mostly healed. He put a "handcuff" wrap on it--just taped the wings together at the bottom of the flight feathers so she can't fly, but has some movement available in her shoulders and upper wings. It's a lot more comfortable for her. I am supposed to leave that on for two more weeks--unless it comes off or gets chewed off sooner. If it's off sooner and she's fine, we will be done! So far, the vet seems to think she'll heal just fine and be able to fly. Hallelujah! So relieved. I hope he is right.
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Discussion Starter · #370 ·
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Discussion Starter · #371 ·
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Discussion Starter · #372 ·
ANother ride today. We finally were able to get outside for a "trail ride" around the farm--dry ground! But Strider wasn't feeling great today. He gets this way when the temp swings. We have had 30 degree swings since Tuesday--back and forth. He wasn't colicking or anything, just not feeling spry, he acts like his tummy hurts a little. He didn't want to canter at all, so I didn't make him, more than a few strides early on. So we walked and did a little trotting, for 45 minutes, outside, and it was quite cold. When I got off, he was SO hot and sweaty! Worse than on Summer days when we do a two hour trail ride with long stretches of cantering. Sheesh. I think we are going to have to do a trace clip on him. It took almost an hour to get him dry. I've reported it all to the owner and she expected it, given the weather.
So, not a great ride, but it was ok and we got out to see the property and go back by the treeline and some woods. Strider seemed to enjoy that--he loves to see new places and just to explore outside. i don't know if it was just time for him to finally be more used to me, or what, but he's been really godo for me in general. He is actually dropping his head and opening his mouth for me to put the bridle on. He has done that the last two rides--and he's never done that before. Bridling him has always been a chore as he throws his head way up and tries to back away the whole time and closes his mouth tight. All of a sudden, at his barn, he's different. I'm wondering if it's because I'm the only thing familiar and he's being more "in my pocket" as a result? Whatever it is, I'll take it! He's standing pretty well for grooming and saddling and for mounting, etc. And listening to me in the saddle. I hope it continues to be the norm. :)

In other news, my bird's wings are free! The vet said we could take off the little wrap today. Her wings are so butchered and battered from all the taping, I hope they fill in and fluff out quickly. She is hesitant to move the wing that was injured, not sure if it's sore or just stiff from not being used for two weeks. Fingers crossed. We are still keeping her contained for at least another week--not loose in the house until she can fly well again.
And my husband is getting his first cane. His hip pain has gotten so bad at times that he is scared a bit. So the physical therapist recommended a cane and he does do better with it--and it relieves some pain. Since he does NOT like the idea of having a cane--being the rock n' roller he is, I got him a replica of the black cane with flames that Dr. Gregory House uses in the TV show "House". LOL He's a little more willing to use THAT.
We haven't seen any spine specialists yet, but physical therapy is helping with symptoms. This is started happening really since Spring or Summer so it's pretty scary. But part of it is too, that he was used to being a superman. It's hard to go from being somewhat superhuman in terms of physical health, to subpar. LOL We are taking it one day at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #373 ·
Ok, pet peeve or real danger? I forgot to mention that I noticed for the first time on Friday, that one of Strider's pasture mates has a rope halter on--a full rope halter, no metal or leather or anything breakable. The barn owners insist everyone has to wear a halter 24/7,so this horse is out there in an out of the way pasture with this thing on all the time! That seems nuts to me! I just hate seeing that. This is a sweet older horse.
And second, the rear cinch on Strider's Western saddle fell off on Friday--as I was taking the saddle off. It's on their with those leather lacings and I think it just came loose--I'm hoping it didn't actually break. Not sure how to reattach so that will be an issue tomorrow when I ride. I'm bringing my silicone seat riding breeches just in case I need to use the English saddle. I've been using the Western one until we're both comfortable at the new farm. I'm such a chicken! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #374 ·
Had an interesting day at the barn yesterday. I met a new lady who arrived the same time I did to ride yesterday. So we rode together and she showed me all over the farm. We rode for about 50 minutes, only at a walk. We did a tiny amount of jogging. Her horse is 26 and is raring to go so she was holding him back the whole time while he pranced along. She is 20 years older than me and doesn't like to canter much and not outside an arena. She said she didn't dare let her horse go because he would take off at a racing gallop and not stop. About halfway through, Strider decided he wanted to run too, so I was holding him back for awhile. LOL He had a lot more energy yesterday--consistent temps.
But, once again, even though it was 30 with a wind chill colder than that and all we did was walk--he was all hot and sweaty when we got back. Took about 45 minutes to cool and dry him. I'm getting my exercise walking him in hand all over the farm and then rubbing and rubbing with a towel. His owner said she will try to get out there to clip him next week. Then he'll have to wear his blanket full time--which is fine with me and she said she's going to get him a fleece slinky that he'll wear while we're riding him, to prevent him getting chilled. Will the fleece soak up the sweat if he gets warm in it? I'm a little confused by the whole thing. He has a VERY thick coat and that's why he's getting so hot when being ridden. If we shave it off, but then put a thick coat back on him for riding, how is that different? Things you don't know about horses even after a lifetime! When you have never owned a horse or been fully responsible for one, it's amazing how much you don't know, or how long it takes to discover all the ins and outs.

Friday, Christmas Eve, I am just out for a very short ride in my English saddle in the indoor arena. Hoping to make it a short visit so don't want him to get all sweaty. I am beyond stressed out lately with all the medical issues in the house. My bird is still on cage rest and I am worried she may never fly again--although I guess it's too early to determine that. We are taking her for a recheck tomorrow, but so far she refuses to move the wing. My husband has two medical appts this week, one is an injection for his hip--fingers crossed that it will bring relief and he can move more normally! We still have to do grocery shopping sometime this week and prepare food for Christmas Day--we are headed out of town to my parents house for the day. And I just can't relax. I'm doing my meditation zoom class in a couple hours--just before my husband's appt. They are doing the one I like today--they only do it once a month. And I need it BADLY! My nervous system is on overdrive--which can spell bad news for my Reactive Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. Trying to take care of myself through all this. I have barely had time to register that it's Christmas. Hoping to catch up with housework next week and some errands and maybe feel a little better. :)

Happy Holidays to everyone--whatever holiday you celebrate! If none--than have a good weekend! LOL
 
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Things you don't know about horses even after a lifetime!
This is so so so true! I started riding at age 8, got my own horse at age 12, kept my horses on my own place . . . and STILL learning new things all the time. I wouldn't have a clue about how and when to blanket because I never or quite rarely did. When I was an adult living in Maryland, I blanketed when trailering below 32 F and blanketed at night if it was below 0 F. That's all I know. I never clipped, foxhunted every winter for years. There is so much I don't know. But at least I'm still learning! And so will you, @Animalia .

Prayers for your anxiety and your and your husband's health issues too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #376 ·
Merry Christmas and Happy Whatever Holiday you Celebrate, if any--a day late. :)
I rode on Friday, Christmas Eve, morning. What a mess. I should say I went out thee and lunged Strider and took some pics. There was no actual "riding". Why? I had a shorter amount of time, so it was supposed to be a short ride--like 20 minutes. But, the best laid plans.....He was a wild creature when I got him on the lunge line. He started out ok, but within a minute or two he was in a crazy raceaway gallop, with rolling eyes. It took me a couple minutes to slow him--and he almost ripped my arms out of my sockets. This was more than just having a lot of energy. I went the other direction and he all of a sudden was doing the same thing--he knockd down a couple cones that were in there--trampled them--and just wouldn't slow. I did finally get him under control--but 7 minutes of this or so, and he was blowing and soaking wet. Ugh. The plan was to NOT get him sweaty so I didn't have to spend so long cooling and drying. Well, the hysterics continued. He barely let me lead him outside, from the arena to the barn. I put him in the crossties and couldn't leave him to walk even a few feet away to get my stuff off the bench. He was truly testing that breakaway halter--both on the lunge line and in the cross ties. I finally just unclipped him and put his lead rope back on and held him. I tried letting him smell some lavender--that helped a tiny bit. Then...the bobcat that the barn owner had been driving all around since we got there--shut off. Within a minute or two, Strider was completely calm and himself again. That bobcat had been driving all around the outside of the arena walls while we were in there and then came closer to the barn while we were in there.
I hadn't thought that could be a problem because he lives with tractors and bobcats on his own farm. His owner was shocked about his attitude because she says he won't even get out of the way when she's tractoring round bales into his pen--he is so undisturbed by it. I figure there must be a weird pitch to this one? I don't know. I did see the owner (the husband side of the couple) driving this when we first arrived and he was taking two horses out of the barn on lead ropes--got into his bobat and drove with one hand, leading the two horses with the other--speeding off to a pasture--the horses running to keep up--next the tractor--and I mean RIGHT next to the wheels and tripping over each other. It was so dangerous looking. I just hope those were his own horses and not boarders. But it did make me wonder if when he brings hay out to the pastures with that bobcat, does he do something that would scare the horses-like use it to herd them, rev the engine, beep at them, etc? And is Stormy now thinking that thing is evil and something to be feared? I have NEVER seen him act like before so I don't know. His owner was pretty flabbergasted too when I told her.
Anyway, Strider DID stay calm after that. But he was soaking wet and hot all over. So I got him to stop blowing, tacked him up and we did Christmas pictures, but I didn't ride him more than to sit on him--because I didn't want to make him even wetter. It was in the mid-40's, so he was having trouble getting cool with that major thick coat he grows. He was very good for all the pictures, but I was on him and I thought I head that tractor start up again, so I scrambled off that wispy saddle and we were done. There is no way I could ride him if he got into the state he was in earlier. I think they just moved the thing a few feet for parking, because it went off again right away and didn't come back on.

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Discussion Starter · #378 ·
Apparently he was a "fireball" for his owner yesterday--her words. She went out to clip him and ride him and she said it took 20 minutes of working him very hard to get his brain to work. So today, he was limp and lifeless. LOL He was literally dragging his behind. But he was also not feeling well again. We've had big temperature swings again and his belly was a little off. I can tell when that's the problem because he kind of holds his tail funny--slightly lifted and to the side and his canter is so short strided it's almost like a crow hop--not in a naughty way though--more like it might be tender to stretch his belly out at a canter. So I don't push him on those days. We rode about 25 minutes--mostly walk and trot--well, jog really. I worked on my seated trot since he was doing such a nice gently, even jog. :)
We are also cutting his grain by half. I suggested that last week and she said no, until she saw him and rode him yesterday. LOL

I also found out that on Friday, when he was a wild man, the riding instructor had brough her new housepet out--a young pot bellied pig. And it was squealing all over the place and making the horses very nervous. So I may have arrived at the tail end of her visit and just never saw her. I've seen Strider with a lot of energy before, that day he was in total fear. Glad he was ok today. Hopefully Friday we'll have a more normal day--where he has some pep and feels good--but not wild. :)
 

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Just a suggestion since Stryder is colic prone at weather changes. His grain is not making him hot - that is an old wives tale and any reputable vet will tell you that. Will a grain give more energy - yes! but that is what a good healthy diet will do for all mammals. If you do not want to give him more grain then see if switching to a soaked pellet - at 20 he is an older horse and can and will lose weight quickly. He needs fat and protein to keep his muscles working well and older animals do not metabolize feeds as well as they did when they were younger. A nice soaked Timothy pellet is great for older horses and has less calories than soaked alfalfa. Beet pulp is also great.

I say this as someone who went to school for animal science and my focus was feeds and feeding - and my daughter is in vet school and her focus is large animal care.
 

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The riding instructor brought a pig??? Was she thinking to desensitize the horses maybe? I mean, otherwise geez that doesn't say much about her horsemanship.
 
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