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Even though I know how well trained my equines are, they never cease to amaze me! I can be dog tired and know that this is the day they must be groomed, wormed and vaccinated…all thirty of them! The very thought is quite literally exhausting on occasion. Though my staff helps with maintenance doctoring what are now mostly older and geriatric individuals, I still basically train and manage all my equines by myself. When I am tired and a job must be done, I am repeatedly reminded of how well I have done with all of them. All the worry and stress about having to go out and work is washed away the minute I get out to the barn with their never ending affection, interactive neighs and brays and ultimate compliance.
Lucky Three Cyclone is a thirty-one year old, 14.2 hand Arabian mule, the very first mule born here at the Lucky Three Ranch. When he was first born, his mother dropped him on the ground and turned to look at him in total puzzlement. He had long fuzzy ears that she certainly did not recognize that caused Angelique to bolt away from him. Being her very first foal and a mule at that, she was not interested in him at all. I had to restrain her to get her to allow him to nurse. This was his first introduction to LIFE!
Cyclone was trained in English and Western Pleasure, Reining, Second Level Dressage and even carried my185-pound husband over two and eventually three-foot jumps for several years. He was kind of a spooky “Little Feller” as I affectionately called him and he used to scare our farrier half to death when he went to trim the back feet. Cyclone had a ticklish butt, so if you touched him on his behind and he wasn’t expecting it, he would quickly tuck his butt and scoot out of the way. Of course the farrier thought he was getting ready to kick, but he never kicked anyone ever. He was just trying to be polite and get out of the way.
Four years ago, Cyclone began to develop little nodules on his upper left front leg, on the right side of his neck and shoulder, and on his right cheek. The one on the cheek was the largest although with a simple application of Neosporin, they did not seem to be spreading or getting larger until just recently when four more popped up within three months. I was concerned that they could become too numerous to manage if we didn’t at least get a biopsy and find out exactly what we were dealing with. My amazing veterinarian Greg Farrand and I thought they were sarcoids and he later said he had done some research and that they could be “cattle warts” which is another name for certain sarcoids. He too was concerned that they had begun to propagate so quickly all of a sudden so we opted to do a biopsy. I apologize for not having photos of the biopsy surgery for you, but my staff photographer faints at the sight of blood!
We decided to biopsy the one on Cyclone’s cheek since it was the most mature nodule. Rather than sedate him, we opted to give Cy the opportunity to cooperate with our plan. Cyclone loves to give kisses and was busy giving me kisses in exchange for oats just before the surgery. Greg asked if I could get him to hold his head a little higher, so I carefully lifted Cy’s nose to my shoulder and set it there. He affectionately leaned his head into mine where we met eyeball to eyeball. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes as Greg approached with a syringe of Xylocaine to numb the area locally.
As Greg poked and prodded the needle into the nodule, Cy never moved a whisker. I would open my eyes at intervals to find him comfortably relaxed upon my shoulder with not a hint of stress in his body. When Greg walked away to get the scalpel, Cy gave me another kiss and I responded with another handful of oats. Greg returned and began cutting, but Cyclone was still chewing. When Greg said, “It’s a little hard to do this while you’re chewing,” Cy abruptly stopped chewing and again stood stock still, returning his chin back to its place on my shoulder. Greg had to clamp a bleeder vessel, but even that didn’t bother Cy. When that was finished, he again gave me a kiss and I gave him more oats. As soon as Greg approached with his florescent pink stitches, Cyclone again stood like a soldier while Greg carefully stitched up the wound. Another kiss…more oats…and he was happily taken back to his stall. I am so glad I took the time to train slowly and develop this mutually satisfying relationship with all my equines. Being older and much more vulnerable than I was in my youth, I truly appreciate what I have learned from my equines so we can all grow old together and be safe, happy and healthy doing it!
Many of you know that I lost my father when I was 4 years old. I think of him every day but especially today. I think he would be especially proud of me this week and I hope you are too!
I stopped by the Governor’s office and I was shocked to find that he has burro-art in front of his Las Vegas office. The receptionist was very nice and she reminded me to also send the request for a “Burro Day” proclamation online and also to request an audience with Gov. Brian Sandoval. I hope to hear back from his office soon.
Also, I couldn’t believe it myself how big of a deal it was to finally file the Wild Horse and Burro Initiative with the Secretary of State Ross Miller. This is what I have been working towards since I was 9 years old – an official petition! My goal is 110,000 signatures and then the petition will appear on Nevada’s 2016 ballot!
I cannot do this without your help. Time is of the essence. To meet my goal I need to collect almost 1000 signatures a day and I have to do it the old-fashioned way – in ink and in-person, by registered Nevada voters.
Thank you for your help. If you are over 18, live in Nevada, and you can help collect signatures please contact us. If you don’t live in Nevada and you still want to show your support please give today.
Do you want to bring AMERICAN MUSTANG The Movie to your town this summer? With the help of our friends at Tugg, Inc., we can bring the film to you!
Tugg is a crowd-sourcing tool that helps bring independent films to areas where there is a demand for screenings. With Tugg’s help, AMERICAN MUSTANG has already sold out one screening in Carson City, NV! In addition, screenings are pending in Georgia and Florida, and plans are in the works to bring the film to more than a dozen cities around the country!
And we can bring AMERICAN MUSTANG to your city, too. You can now request a screening date between July and September.
Request a theater in your city by becoming a “Promoter” with Tugg. Don’t worry, “Promoter” just means that you’re our person on the ground in your city. You are the primary contact, but not in any way financially responsible. A contact like you, who knows your city and local groups, is important as multiple screenings are planned around the country.
Fill out an Event Request form by clicking on “At a Theater” here:http://www.tugg.com/titles/american-mustang
Once you choose the theater, Tugg will handle the logistics to get your theater confirmed. Once the theater is confirmed by Tugg, with a date and time, AWHPC and the AMERICAN MUSTANG team will help you invite your friends, members of your community, and others who are passionate about wild horses. Then sit back, and enjoy the show.
In May, the House and Senate Appropriations committees reinstated a defacto ban on U.S. horse slaughter by including a provision to defund USDA horse slaughter inspections in their pending FY15 Agriculture Appropriations bills.
Now, in a last minute attempt to circumvent the ban, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) has just offered an amendment to reinstate horse slaughter plant inspections. This amendment may be voted on next week by the full House of Representatives.
We must stop this horse slaughter amendment. Please take one minute to contact your Congressperson today!
Roll and I finally got some time to begin warm up exercises after a whole year off. I was pleasantly surprised to find him much stronger in his new posture than I thought he would be after so much time away from his exercises. All he did for the past year was regular maintenance, turnout, massages and farrier work. It seems that after three years of posture training prior to last year, it has become his normal way of moving and has sustained his good condition with only turnout for exercise.
When I first took him from his pen, we went through his small pen gate and were met with the younger saddle mules along the fence line just outside his turnout pasture in the dressage arena. I dropped Roll’s lead rope and turned to give oats to the other mules. When I finished, I looked over my shoulder and Roll was walking through the pasture gate and onto the cement pad outside the gate about fifty feet away from me. I hollered for him to “whoa” at which point he finished exiting the gate and turned to face me on the other side just as if I were standing with him! He knows exactly where we go and likes being with me so much that he forgot about four-foot tall lush grass just off to the side of the pea gravel walkway to exit through the gate. Too bad I didn’t have the camera person with me at that point! I just laughed and caught up with him and we continued our walk to the wash rack! What a guy!
I groomed his body and then washed the winter dirt and baby oil out of his mane and tail.
Then we squared up and went for a walk down road north of the house to the hayfield road.
There was a fence between him and the tall grass in the turnout pens, but once we hit the hayfield, there was no fence between him and the tall grass in the hayfield. Even faced with the five-foot hayfield grass on his right all the way down the road, he was engaged and obedient. Being as big as he is, he could easily have launched me off my feet and into the hayfield! He still walked straight lines with energy and enthusiasm (He was always sluggish when we first started in 2010), stopped in balance and squared himself up easily and willingly. He is maintaining a strong top line and is alert and happy about everything he does.
Meredith is pleased to have contributed an anecdote to the first edition of a new book series featuring humorous, equine-related stories called Horse Tales for the Funny Bone, Volume 1. The tales were collected by Bonnie Marlewski-Probert at Whitehall Publishing, who also put together the Horse Tales for the Soul series. Horse Tales for the Funny Bone features stories about all breeds, all styles of riding, and all age groups—60 in all. This book is sure to brighten your day and put a smile on your face, and makes the perfect gift for all the equine lovers in your life! Also, the book will be used to help fundraising efforts for therapeutic riding centers. Get your own copy of Horse Tales for the Funny Bone, Volume 1, here!