Thursday, July 9, 2015

Articles about American Pharoah on Racing Reviewer

If you were wondering what my thoughts were on this year's Triple Crown winner, then take a look at the racing pieces I wrote for Racing Reviewer.

Kentucky Derby Week in Review

Belmont Stakes Week(s) in Review

History: Rewritten

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Death of Joey & general update on Lim

A couple years ago I wrote a post about Lim's then-boyfriend, Joey.  A few months after that post, Joey's owners opted to move him to pasture board. He had a hard time adjusting to the change and lost weight rapidly. 

A good friend of a pasture boarder, Barb, took pity upon Joey and, with his owner's blessing, took him under her wing as if he were her own horse. With her love and care, he gained weight and had a spark in his eye. But, always burdened by the toll of old injuries, the damage was done to Joey's hind end and he had a hard time moving quickly.

On Sunday July 5, Joey no longer had to worry about keeping up with the herd as they traveled to the lush grass of the front pasture. He no longer had to worry about the brutal winters blanketing Chicagoland in recent years. With Barb by his side, he was put to sleep.

Limerick was walked over to his body to say goodbye to an old friend.

Lim and Joey, summer 2012

Limerick has been okay aside from some vague hind end lameness, not unlike what she had in 2013. I think the soreness was a compensation injury from having sore front feet. Unfortunately, it appears my farrier's handiwork--and professional courtesy--have gone downhill in recent months. So I found another farrier and am hoping that he can do great things for Lim's feet. 

In the meantime, while Lim's feet grow out a bit, my vet okayed her being put on a month of Previcox. I also scheduled a session with the equine massage therapist and an equine chiropractor, Sig Hansen, adjusted her. He will adjust her again in a couple weeks, and again in August, to ensure that her body is nicely aligned. I lunged Lim last week to gauge her progress and she is, happily, sound!

Unfortunately I can't ride her for another reason. On June 25, the day before I was to leave on a solo drive to Kentucky, someone (I have my suspicions as to who) took a great big bite out of poor Lim's back.


I've had her for over 19 years and have never seen a bite like this. And from the comments of a few other seasoned horse folks, many of them haven't seen one this bad, either. 

Luckily it's healing nicely but since it's smack in the middle of her back, right on her spine, there is no way I can ride her until it's at least 97% healed. 

Such is horses. Such is life.

Day 1, after hosing.

Day 2, after hosing (many thanks to my husband for tending to Lim while I was gone the following day!)

One week later. Looking good so far.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Spring is wound season

Poor Limerick presented with a wound on her right hock last night. When I saw it, my blood pressure went through the roof. Most wounds don't bother me, but wounds over a joint--no matter how small--make me neurotic.

The swelling was very minimal and clearly from trauma to the tissue, which is expected. And although the wound had a bit of a scooped-out appearance, there was no puncture. Thankfully.

I have no idea how she did it, but that's horses for you. There are a couple new horses in the herd so that probably has something to do with it. My husband also found a protruding nail head in the stall at exactly the right height. It was free of hair and skin but it was also a possible cause. As a precaution it was nailed back into the wall.

I hosed the wound for 10 minutes to clean it and bring down the swelling. Then I patted it dry with clean paper towels and applied a thin coat of antibacterial ointment. I gave her 1 gram of bute for the swelling and some ProBios to help counter the negative effects of the bute and possible pain on her digestive system.

Before hosing.

After hosing.

After a restless night I visited Limerick early this morning to check on and treat her leg. I had horrible visions of a very lame Lim with a blown-out hock dancing in my head before I saw her, but to my extreme relief she was no worse than last night. If anything, the swelling had gone down a bit.

I hosed the wound and general hock off for five minutes and applied a thick slab of antibiotic ointment to the wound itself, and a thick layer of Corona ointment around the wound as an insect deterrent. Then I sprayed her legs heavily with fly spray.

All the while, Lim gazed at me sweetly with happy, content eyes. That look alone not only melted my heart, but gave my spirits a much-needed boost. I cuddled her head and kissed her blaze and told her I loved her, and that I was so happy her leg was okay this morning.

This morning.

Ready for turnout!

Hopefully the wound still looks good tonight. I truly hate wounds around the joint because they can turn very bad very fast. The first 48 hours will be very telling.

Bonus photo of Lim looking cute in her new mosquito sheet.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Common ground at the barn

I was trying Limerick’s new mosquito mesh fly gear on her last night (a purchase of belly band extenders is warranted, and the boots will be returned in exchange for a larger size) when I saw the husband of a new boarder petting his wife’s horse in a dark stall.

I flicked on the light switch for that horse’s stall. “Here’s the switch for the light,” I said.


“The light switch—it’s here if you want it,” I said.

“I’m sorry?”

Abruptly finding myself on the other side of the glass, I realized he was hard of hearing and repeated myself a third time.

He thanked me and I returned to Limerick. A few moments later he asked me what the mosquito mesh was for. I told him that Lim hates mosquitoes and that they couldn’t penetrate the fabric, which I held up to show him. He apologized for not hearing me the first time and pointed to the tiny hearing aids in his ears. I smiled and laughed and said, “It’s okay, I can’t hear well, either!” and pointed to the digital hearing aid in my left ear.

He said he began losing his hearing as a young man and needed to get the hearing aids at age 45, and now he was 70. He asked me when I began to lose my hearing and I told him I had meningitis when I was very little.

Our words and curious looks danced around one another. It was fascinating to have this sort of discussion, and I could tell he felt the same way.

We talked about Limerick a little bit, and when his wife returned from returning some grooming supplies to the tack room, he relayed a summary of our discussion to her. With that, goodbyes were said.

This man and I could not have been more different, yet we found common ground in our deafness. Although I already knew this, our encounter was a reminder that being open-minded can take you on the most interesting excursions. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Limerick on the grass

Christine sent me this photo of Lim grazing in turnout on Monday. Doesn't she look happy?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Happy 24th birthday, Limerick!

Yesterday was Limerick's 24th birthday. A box of gingersnap cookies courtesy of my husband, and a lot of cuddling, was the order of the day. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

It's always nice to see your horse doing this after recovering from a hoof abscess.

I free-lunged Limerick on Sunday to see how her feet were. To my relief, she was sound and I was able to ride her Monday and yesterday.

Here are a couple clips from Sunday:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Quick update: Limerick, Calusa Red breaking his maiden, and Deaf Women History Month

Limerick developed a hoof abscess a couple weeks ago so our riding has been on hold, unfortunately. She seems to be slowly returning to normal, however, so hopefully we're back in the swing of things soon. She has been doing well otherwise, and has her boyfriend Call Shot wrapped around her little hoof.

Lim after being groomed last night. She is not impressed by camera phones!

Christine's homebred racehorse, Calusa Red, broke his maiden in his third start last Saturday. I was already there to shoot the Illinois Derby so the timing couldn't have been better. I was absolutely thrilled and that race was the most exciting part of the week. You can see these photos on my Medium publication, Racing Reviewer.

Lastly, I came across this article today about Deaf Women History Month. The article was published April 1 and Deaf Women History Month is apparently March, so the timing is a little odd, but I thought it was pretty cool. I can attest that intense observations of social behavior and a deep sense of empathy are traits that I also carry with me. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The dapples are emerging, so spring is officially here.

Limerick's dapples have begun to emerge from beneath layers of shedding winter hair and dirt, not unlike the blades of green grass and daffodil leaves emerging in yards and gardens around here.

I am no poet but I was inspired to write this:

Dead vegetation
And hair
Flattened by pressure
From wind and hand
Float away
To feed the earth
And leave behind
Blooming dapples and life

Monday, March 30, 2015

A deaf receptionist in the White House

Today I read this article about a deaf woman acting as the gatekeeper to the Oval Office--and the President.

I think that's quite amazing, and I hope that people around the country read this and realize that there is little that the deaf cannot do.

It's been 7 years since I last needed to search for a job but I remember the discrimination I faced during the search. In fact, this blog was started during that time frame partly in response to that discrimination.

In the years before and since, I have encountered discrimination in various forms. I have a thick skin and most of the barbs tossed my way--whether intentional or not--don't penetrate because the people doing the throwing have no power over me. But once in a while, they do have such power--nurses, doctor's office managers, potential employers, friends, family members, and so on. And most of these people are basing their discrimination upon what they assume I cannot do.

And in assuming, they forget what I can do, and what I am--an intelligent, creative, observant, capable individual. The only thing I cannot do for certain is talk on the phone, which isn't a big deal in this era. My only request is that people look at me when talking to me so that I may read their lips.

Most of us have limitations. What are yours? How do you work around them--if at all?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

19 years

To my darling Limerick,

Happy 19th 'anniversary'.

Much love, 


Racing Reviewer: Racing in New Orleans: Two Loves

Some places touch a deep part of your soul. For me, New Orleans and its heady weird beauty is such a place. Each time my plane descends towards Louis Armstrong International Airport, over the resplendent gray-blue expanse of Lake Pontchartrain and the silty ribbon of the Mississippi, with its barges and tugboats and green grassy banks, my heart skips like a happy colt and a part of me feels like I’ve come home.

Continue reading at Racing Reviewer...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Before and after: a grooming saga

Mud, mud, mud everywhere. Yet it's too cold to give your horse a bath. The months of March and April can really test your horse grooming skills.
Yesterday a friend sent me a photo of Lim in turnout. My darling mare looked adorable, of course, but boy was she dirty! It was time for a deep grooming session, which can be fun when you have a quirky mare.

First I used a metal curry to remove all the mud and loose hair. She dozed off during this section. Next, I used a double-sided rubber curry (one side has large nubs and the other side has fine ones) to curry her hair and skin. She didn't doze off during this section, but she stood patiently. Next I used a stiff body brush to whisk away dust and loose dirt. She eyeballed me during this section but made no complaints otherwise. Lastly, I sprayed Vetrolin Shine onto a horsehair finishing body brush to complete the body grooming session. She pinned her ears and let me know she wasn't too pleased with this delicate brush. 

Next I sprayed her tail and mane liberally with Vetrolin Shine. I then brushed her tail out, from bottom to top. I haven't brushed it all winter so it took a while--you don't want to pull on the knots.

Then I brushed her mane very well and gave it a light trim to tidy up the uneven edges.

Lastly, I groomed her face and head. 

The entire session took about 1.5 hours but it was so worth it, and the liberal applications of Vetrolin Shine will make it easier to remove any fresh mud she rolls in.

"Stop, no photos please!" (photo courtesy Mary)

"Photos are perfectly okay."

Monday, March 16, 2015

Medium: Finding Ogygian

Ogygian died last night. He was three days away from his 32nd birthday.

He was a dazzling racehorse, as speedy as they came. But I didn’t know him as a racehorse.

He was a moderately successful sire here in the States and in Japan. But I didn’t know him as a sire.

He was a beloved pensioner at Old Friends Equine. And I did know him in this role — as one of the retirement facility’s earliest ambassadors.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Using a Game Ready unit for the first time

After a long brutal stretch of cold air and endless crusty snow cover, spring has abruptly arrived. And even better—we have been rewarded with warm air and sunny skies rather than the lukewarm torrential rains that typically mark the end of winter.

But no matter how Mother Nature brings it about, the end of winter always signals lots of mud, frisky horses, and injuries. 

Despite being a dignified lady of near-24, Limerick is not exempt from this annual rite of passage. I took a quick jaunt to New Orleans last week and my first stop from O’Hare was the barn, where I found my girl wounded (of course—it seems like most of her injuries are discovered by me upon returning from a trip). 

Blood had cascaded from a mystery wound down the white sock of her right fore pastern. I could not see the wound clearly, even by the light from my phone’s flashlight. Since she was sound and comfortable, and the wound wasn’t grotesquely swollen or hot, and it was very late, very cold, and very dark, I decided to leave the dried blood as a natural bandage of sorts and visit her again the next morning.

The wound turned out to look much worse than it really was, but it still required attention. So thus began a twice-daily routine of cold hosing and/or icing. 

Then Christine suggested we try her Game Ready machine on Lim’s legs. Lim has never used it but what better time to try? It applies both compression and cold therapies simultaneously, and I was impressed with the condition of the injury after 35 minutes with the Game Ready. 

If you have horses, I highly suggest looking into one of these units. 

Using the Game Ready.

It was back to turnout--and her boyfriend, Call Shot--after the Game Ready session.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Horse racing content on Medium

Starting this year, horse racing content will be posted (or re-posted) on Medium. You can see my profile on Medium here--links to my posts can be found on that page.

I will continue to post on this blog, but the content will mainly be Limerick-related.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Winter at the barn

A friend at the barn took the three photos below. One horse's blanket is hanging off him by a strap and the herd--riled up by the flapping, dragging thing--is running around with this horse. And is Limerick among them?

No, she thinks they're all fools!

The Super Bowl Blizzard of 2015 dumped over 19 inches of snow in the area January 31 through February 2 (thereby becoming the fifth heaviest snowfall in Chicago history). The worst of the blizzard was the night of the 31st but of course, that didn't stop me from going to the barn. My husband went with me and my VW Rabbit got us there safely.

Limerick the afternoon of January 31

Heavy snow drifts at the barn the evening of January 31. This area had just been plowed four hours prior!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

What a difference in the weather between the New Year's Days of 2014 and 2015. Last year we had a blizzard dumping inches of fresh powder onto a thick layer of old snow. This year, however, was sunny and brown.

My husband took the photo of Limerick and me on New Year's Day 2015, and I'm including the photos I took of Lim on New Year's Day 2014 for comparison.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2015!