Archive | March, 2013

Good Morning!

30 Mar


Rare sunshine has appeared in the Pacific Northwest.  This strange event may be short-lived.

Diatribe on Pre-Purchase Vet Exams

28 Mar


I don’t often diatribe, so today is a special day.

When buying a horse it’s generally recommended that you pay a veterinarian large sums of money to conduct a pre-purchase veterinary exam.  This is similar to taking your car to a mechanic to have it checked before you complete the purchase.

We did that when shopping for a used truck.  The first was a lovely white  “one owner” F-250 at a great price.  We took it to our local mechanic and discovered it was a beat up contractor’s truck with heavy asphalt underneath.  Among other issues.  Needless to say, we passed.  The seller then admitted it was the person he bought it from who said it was “one owner.”

Being the last of the baby boomers, we were raised by depression-era parents who remembered paper shortages and butter rationing.  This causes us to obsessively bargain shop and do things like conduct PPEs on trucks.

Most of the horses we tried to buy failed PPEs and we left them with our pocketbook diminished.  Soon, I could have bought an entire sound, well-trained horse with the money that disappeared into the pit of pre-purchase exams.  Finally I bought one who passed (passed meaning his flaws were minor).  Within a week he died, leaving us with a PPE bill, a purchase price expense, and emergency vet bill.

Pre-purchase exams are a boon for vets.  Many horse sellers lie and hide their horse’s injuries, lameness, old age, blindness etc. and then the vet finds it at the buyer’s expense, so the seller is out nothing.  They go on and offer the horse for sale until someone buys it without a PPE.  Or gets a vet who doesn’t catch it.

We have bought horses without PPEs.  They were ponies and minis.  All of them are sound and still alive.  None had any major health or soundness issue.  And they practically live on air and stay fat so they cost practically nothing to feed.  The pony is also a riding pony and went on to many highpoint wins as a show pony.  With no PPE.  So PPEs don’t guarantee anything.  You can get one, but that doesn’t mean your horse won’t go lame, drop dead, or have a mystery issue the vet didn’t catch.  They don’t miraculously make your horse sound, healthy and a good buy.  But they do give you information.  So it’s a choice every buyer has to make.

Katie Explains the Importance of Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously

27 Mar


Katie understands the unique challenges of being a miniature horse.

Dear Katie, I am a 28 inch tall miniature horse.  No one takes me seriously and I’m tired of being seen as cute.  What can I do?  Signed, Cute but Tough

Dear Cute, I, too, am extremely cute.  This is much better than being taken seriously.  If you are cute, you get lots of treats and don’t have to do much.  It’s also good for your health to not take yourself too seriously. – Katie

Katie Explains the Importance of Good Leadership

25 Mar


Katie understands the unique challenges of being a miniature horse.

Dear Katie, I am 33.5 inch tall miniature horse.  I would like to be leader of the pack, but a 26 inch tall miniature horse keeps bossing me around.  What can I do?  Signed, Charger

Dear Charger, smaller horses are always in charge of bigger ones.  It is just how it works.  Your best bet is to find a horse bigger than you and boss them around. – Katie

Katie Says Don’t Worry, Be Happy

23 Mar


Katie understands the unique challenges of being a miniature horse or pony.

Dear Katie, I am a 40 inch  Shetland Pony.  It’s supposed to be spring but it’s still snowing.  Are we entering another ice age?  Should I worry?  – Signed, Where Is Spring?

Dear Spring,  do not worry.  You are fine.  Shetland Ponies can survive any Ice Age.  – Katie

The Possibilities are Endless

22 Mar


This is not horse related, but it is art related.  Since everything is related, I guess it’s a post about everything. 

As a homeschool parent, you don’t receive many kudos.  Make that no kudos.  Society assumes you are Amish or hoarding an arsenal of weapons and cracked wheat.

Oh, well.  I’m used to being different. People homeschool for all kinds of reasons in this day and age.  There are millions of homeschooled kids, most of them successful, happy and can hope to be accepted to college and hold jobs.  If they really want to stockpile cracked wheat, they can do that, too.  The possibilities are endless.

But back to kudos.  One of my kids received awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition.  She likes to write and make art.   I submitted her work as her “teacher” because of course there has to be a teacher.

Today I received a lovely Made in China (yes, large letters informed me of that in case I had any ideas that the pin was manufactured elsewhere) Teacher Award Pin from Scholastic.

A nice letter thanked me for my “daily efforts in the classroom and the fundamental role I  play in the nurturing of the talents, abilities and personal vision of my students.”

Wow!!!  No one has ever thanked me for that before.  Well, Scholastic did last year.  But no one else ever has.  I don’t even have a classroom.  I think we will keep entering Scholastic as long as we homeschool.   I am feeling really important about now.

Yes, I know the pin is upside down.  Well, I know now. 

Katie Explains how to Weather any Storm

22 Mar


Katie understands the unique challenges of living in the Northwest.

Dear Katie, I am a 32 inch miniature horse.  I just moved to Seattle.  It’s March and has alternated between ice pellet showers, 55 mph winds that blew all my hay away and hours of pouring rain.  When will it end?  Signed, New to the Northwest

Dear New, It will not end.  That is because you live in the Northwest.  You will get a couple of days of summer sometime between the July 4th and Sept. 15.  The good thing is that the grass starts growing in January.  If you escape your fence and eat grass, you will soon not care about the weather.  – Katie

The Zen Of Talking to Yourself

22 Mar


Katie doesn’t have this problem.  Or so she says.  This is her person writing.

I’ve always been one of those people who organizes thoughts by talking to myself.  I used to think it was a mad scientist, artist or cooking show host trait.  But no, it is a Zen trait.

The kid with his locker next to mine in High School, Quinton, had it worse.  He would talk to himself as he rolled the combination lock, as he found his books and even when he walked.  I never knew if he was talking to himself, me or his locker.  He was a genius beyond genius academically, and one of my favorite people.  He was oblivious to social pressure, whereas I pretended to be a person who didn’t talk to myself.

I still talk to myself when I’m painting.   Zen helped me accept it.  Now that I comprehend that we are all the yellow ochre, chalky green and canvas itself, a conversation with art supplies (or combination locks) seems perfectly normal.

After all, painting a picture, opening a locker or even walking is the Universe having a conversation with itself.  So is playing an instrument, picking up trash, peeling an apple.  We’re just one face of the universe, and so is everything else.  We converse in various ways.  Sometimes we don’t respect the other faces we see- from plants, to the land to other creatures, human or otherwise.  Ultimately, that means we disrespect ourselves.  But when I see people making positive changes, caring, respecting our fellow earthlings (and ourselves), it gives me hope.  We are all one.  How we treat each other matters– readers, oceans and yellow ochre.  The little things matter.

Katie Knows the Importance of Setting Worthy Goals

21 Mar


Katie understands the unique challenges of being a miniature horse or pony.

Dear Katie, I am a 46 inch Shetland pony. I have made a commitment to getting myself fit and attractive for the show season.  Do you have any advice for me?  Signed, Needs A Makeover

Dear Makeover, you must stick to your goals and do not waver.  However, you need better goals.  Show season interferes with grass eating and ribbons don’t taste very good.  Therefore, you should make yourself as unfit and unattractive as possible.  Good luck.- Katie

Katie the Cover Girl

21 Mar


Katie made it onto the cover photo for a miniature horse show article.   Katie’s the one on the top.  The photo was taken by the pro photographer below at a show Katie went to a couple of years ago.