There is a long way between the book knowledge of Knowdown & caring for a horse. When I was 9 or 10, I got a horse. I had taken riding lessons since I was 4 & I was a reader--read every horse book I could get my hands on.
This was about 1953 in upstate (central) New York State, which is very cold (below zero for weeks at a time) and snowy. My parents knew basically nothing about horses, also. My father had lived on a ranch in Arizona as a boy (in the 1920s) but that was many years before in a very "rough & ready" environment & he had not been responsible for caring for the horses.
I am sure the elderly mare they bought me suffered that 1st winter. I am not totally sure why but they took a gelding from the same people--I think boarding it might have "paid for" the mare. He would bite her & drive her from the hay & none of us knew to put out many piles far apart. We did know she was getting thin & we realized she had big patches where she was bitten. A neighbor realized the mare was thin & called the state police who looked at her & told the neighbor they thought she was just old so nothing immediate was done. My parents did get the gelding out of there as quickly as possible so the mare could eat. But it was still obvious as spring came that she was not well--thin with patchy hair loss.
I was fearful because I knew my parents had little money but I did bug them until they got the vet out. Of course, then we learned about tooth floating & worming (tube worming 2x a year in those days) and other aspects of horse care. The mare did not live out her life luxuriously (I never owned a blanket) but she did get good food, worming, dental work, etc.
Most of the books from those days covered such things as how to ride, select tack, etc. but not much real specifics on horse care. When I went to college, we had the mare euthanized because I did not want something bad to happen to her so she lived many years after we bought her, even though she was well into her teens at the beginning.
All horse people have to learn, some of us by hard experience because we don't have knowledgeable friends & relatives available. Fortunately, the vet my parents got was excellent. He was Dr. John Steele & I have seen him mentioned in the last couple years in the Chronicle as a show horse vet. He used to care for Standardbreds. When Niatross was the greatest pacer on the track, Dr. Steele was his vet.
This thread has brought back many memories of growing up, some good, some bad.
The heart and soul of Silicon Valley/Valley of the Heart\'s Delight....Sunnyvale, CA
Maybe we need an Off Topic week
in response to this!?! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller
Still proud to be a UCLA Bruins football fan!
In Honor of dublin aka Dee Dee 07/24/53-02/07/03
\"Of course, that\'s just my opinion. I could be wrong.\" - Dennis Miller
*Go Bruins - Go Niners*
Adorable. Was she deaf when you got her? I have a big rescue mutt myself who I found by the side of the road. She unfortunately, has never been smart enough to learn basic commands, let alone sign language.
Claire is half dalmation and half staffordshire terrier and she inherited her profound deafness from the dalmation side. She was born with incomplete eardrums. She is now 2 1/2 and an absolute delight but initially, it was pretty tough. We attached a longe line to her and when she would start to wander, we would step on the line and motion her back. She now knows to stick pretty close and is never out without me. The people who originally owned her had her in a shock collar and would zap her every time she barked. Did I mention she was deaf??? Claire doesn't know that barking makes noise. She frequently "mutters" to herself. Hey, so do I! What does that say about me?
And this is horse related because Claire and I live on a horse farm.
\"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~