Archive for June, 2018

OUR KATY

June 25, 2018

I have a special request–would you please pray for our Katy? On Wednesday, June 27th, Katy is having surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to remove her gallbladder. Usually, this is a pretty simple operation, but nothing is ever simple for Katy. She was born with hereditary nephritis and Alport’s Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that’s taken most of her hearing, some of her sight, and left her with other special needs and learning disabilities. She’s also a bleeder, which makes this surgery riskier. In the near future, she’ll need a kidney transplant as both kidneys are in failure. Katy LOVES animal, as you can see here: First, Katy as the cutest kid on earth, while her sister climbs the wall; Katy with one of her dogs, Moxie and Munch; Katy with a bunny at our Amish neighbors and friends; Kay catching a bird; and Aunt Katy with Madison, one of her nieces.

Thanks, my friends, for praying for our Katy.

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CHEYENNE

June 8, 2018

Joe and I began looking for a horse we could afford. limiting our search to local trades and newspapers and word of mouth. We wanted a bombproof horse Joe and our kids could ride, but a horse that had enough spirit for me to really enjoy riding. We soon learned how hard it is now to find a horse that you can trust. I don’t know how many horses we investigated, but they were all nervous. Most had disappointed their owners, who had hoped to show them. The two Quarter Horses that were close to what we were looking for cost much more than we could afford.

Finally, one evening we drove to a farm to look at a horse of undetermined breeds. He was a sweetheart and calm enough for anyone to ride. I admit I feared he might be too calm for me. But I wanted a safe horse for our family. We decided to sleep on it. When we woke up, we agreed that it was a good horse and in our price range. We called the owners–the horse was sold. “But we have another horse you might want to look at,” said the owner. We sped to the farm, determined not to be outdone by another horse seeker. Running in the pasture was a beautiful Quarter Horse Paint. The mare was in a small herd, and they all charged in to be fed. Sure, she bucked at the other horses on that brisk morning–why not? And when I asked to ride her bareback and she wanted to run with me, the owner said she’d never been ridden bareback and the other horses were upsetting her. And besides, her ground manners were so friendly. And we didn’t want to lose out again.

We bought Cheyenne. There’s a reason I’ve included two pictures of her. Working with Cheyenne on the ground was a pleasure. She was a cuddler (picture on the left) and so sweet. She loved to be scratched and brushed, and she’d follow me anywhere. The picture on the right shows the “other Cheyenne,” the horse she turned into with a rider on her back. Can you see the tension? Her eyes weren’t actually glowing like they appear in that picture, but she’d get very wide-eyed. Right away I loved riding the spirited, ready-to-run Cheyenne, but she was far from bombproof and definitely not a kid’s or beginner’s horse. The kids could sit in a saddle while I led her. Joe, however, had no desire to ride the “wild” horse. Eventually, our oldest daughter could ride her, but I never relaxed when she did. I’ve always loved riding Cheyenne . . .except one day in early March, the first hint of Spring after a too-long winter. I should have lunged Cheyenne and taken it slowly, but I couldn’t stop myself. I hopped on her bareback. She wasn’t ready for me, and she bucked and reared until I slid off her backside in mid-buck. Her hooves connected, twice, and left me with two cracked ribs and a trip to the ER. Totally my fault, though Joe still hasn’t forgiven her.

LIFE WITHOUT HORSES

June 5, 2018

pasture

After I graduated from the University of Missouri, my first job was in Houston, TX, then Dallas. I traveled and rented an apartment shared with a roommate. There was no way I could have a horse. Later I lived overseas as a missionary behind the “Iron Curtain,” crammed into a house with 20 Poles in southern Poland, close to Czechoslovakia and traveling close to Russia. No chance for a horse there. Once back in the U.S., I worked in cities in Illinois, CA, MI, IA, OK, and OH, with no room for horses. During those horse-less days, I rode other people’s horses whenever I could, begging for rides, going on trail rides with horses that followed in a straight line.

When my husband and I finally settled in Ohio, and I began to write full time, the ache to once again own my own horse grew stronger and stronger. We live in the woods, but we don’t own pastureland, so how could we have a horse? I fully believe that God knew the answer all along. Our neighbors are Amish, of the most conservative order in America. Through circumstances we couldn’t have controlled, and tragedies we shared, we became good friends. When I asked them if we could keep a horse in their smallest pasture, which fed into a single stall in the barn, they said they’d need to talk to their bishop for permission, since mingling with the “English” isn’t encouraged. But the answer was yes! Now, all we had to do was find the right horse for the right (very low) price. (To be continued . . .)

ASH BILL

June 1, 2018

Bill

In her last years of high school, my sister, Maureen, decided she wanted a calm horse she could trust. I suggested we look for a Quarter Horse gelding, and we found this beautiful chestnut Quarter Horse in a stable near Kansas City. We didn’t know the people there, so we wanted to be cautious. I asked if I could ride “Ash Bill” to see how he handled. He was terrific, getting every lead, neck-reining, responding to the slightest signal. Just standing beside him, I could tell how sweet and calm he was.

We drove Bill home and helped him get used to Towaco and our barn. Everything went great–Ash Bill felt right at home. The next day we saddled him, and Maureen took her first ride on her new horse. He limped. Poor Bill was as sweet as could be, but he was lame in his left foreleg at the pastern (ankle). We couldn’t stand thinking of Bill in pain, so we called Dad, a medical doctor (for humans), to hurry home for lunch and to bring his doctor’s bag with him. Dad confirmed that the horse was lame and had likely been lame for a long time. He even found evidence of a syringe having been used on that leg, and he surmised that the owners had injected a dose of Bute (Butazolidin) to numb the problem right before our visit to the stable. The previous owner, of course, denied knowledge of a limp, though we later discovered the stable had a shady reputation. It wouldn’t have mattered. We’d already fallen in love with Bill and wouldn’t have given him back. Thanks to Dad, we helped Bill live with his infirmity. Heat rubs and wraps made the limp go away. And when that didn’t work, Dad had a backup supply of Bute on hand. Turns out that Butazolidin is one of the few horse medicines allowed on raceday.

Winnie’s mom (in Winnie the Horse Gentler) is said to have owned a favorite horse, a Quarter Horse. Anyone remember the name?