Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The wonders of medical science

It was back to the vet with Jackie (or Jacket Rabbit as she is also known). Still off her food, and unable to get her to eat, we went to the Hound Homeopath. He is kind enough to allow dog-moms into the dark room where the ultrasounds are done (or perhaps he's wise enough to know that the dogs are calmer with their humans alongside?). At any rate, today I got to see the blood flow in a couple of healthy kidneys and watch as he inserted a needle into the spleen to do a biopsy!! Needless to say, the fact that my maths and science marks were so bad that I took art instead was probably a good idea...

The prognosis is good, the diagnosis is scary: hepatitis with a liver reading through the roof! There'a a brown paper bag of medicine in the kitchen and a tray of feline food, nice and bland and good for liver issues, despite the patient being a dog.

She's more her bright jack russell self already. All the vet did was smile when I requested something for my nerves...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So Sunday

The right idea for a rainy Sunday afternoon... sigh, if only I could do that too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Delicious birthday pressie

My li'l sis really does know how to shop for me...I stumbled across this image on the Net a few years back and used it as my desktop pic for a while, i loved it so much! I had no idea who the artist was... until I opened it on my birthday. She'd found this lovely old frame at the Rooftop market in Rosebank, after running around the mall all morning searching for one. They are the perfect match!

The print is "a reproduction of an original painting by Briar and Shannon Digby Curtis, two of England's leading mythological and fantasy artists..." I can't find a website for them, only tons of links where their work is showcased and sold.

This one is called Rhiannon a favourite horse goddess, of course. My interest in this character was probably fueled by my love of Stevie Nicks' brilliant song by the same name. Spine tingling, goosebump stuff!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Only in the country

Whilst tootling down a country road in my zippy suburban car, I noticed a small carriage pulled by two ponies trotting towards me. Not an unusual sight, given that I live in "horse-country". The carriage was being driven by a stalwart of the equine community here. She is noted for hurtling around the place and scaring the hell out of horses under saddle. For the non-horsey among you reading this, ridden horses cannot understand why on earth carriage horses are being chased by a noisy vehicle on wheels, and no matter how fast they go, they can't escape it. Being on the back of a horse when a carriage comes past you down the road, is NOT a fun thing to have happen to you. It usually means the horse you're on will either try and run away, run backwards or simply turn to stone from sheer fear.

The riders of our community are convinced that this particular individual takes great delight in scaring the hell out of everyone. On this sunny morning, I notice a black dog running alongside the carriage. All quite normal, except that he has something odd in his mouth. Eventually I realise it's a dead chicken! This dog is trotting alongside the carriage, happy as Larry, proudly bearing his prize. The two people in the carriage are completely unaware of what their canine companion has done.

This jaunty group were closely followed by a clutch of cyclists, all peddling along with their eyes the size of saucers, their mouths hanging open... having just seen a dog swoop down on a poor fowl and sweep it off its feet. As they disappeared down the road behind me, I noticed a few lone feathers on the side of the road, where the poor chicken had no doubt been minding his own business before he realised he was in the wrong place at the wrong time!

I sometimes see the strangest things.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The advent of horses in my life was no surprise, really. My dad had dabbled as a kid, and my aunt had a couple on her farm. It was always presumed that I'd end up riding, which I did when I was ten years-old. My parents agreed to riding lessons as a birthday present. They held back on actually getting me pony, saying that if I was still riding by June that year they'd consider getting me one. They kept their word, and later that year Smokey joined our family.

This is quite an apt full-circle kind of post. In that tomorrow is my birthday, and I had my first riding lesson exactly 27 years ago! I was your typical horse-mad kid. My folks always said I ate, slept and drank horses, and if I wasn't out riding then I had my nose stuck in a pony novel.

It was a couple of years after that that I discovered PONY magazine. It was a Saturday like today - grey and damp with drizzle. I was rummaging through a box of magazines at the SPCA book sale, when I unearthed this treasure. I still remember the cover - a two colour job in green and grey midtones. I was enraptured. If it had a horse on it, it got my attention, and here was an entire magazine full of horsey photos, stories and articles, written and designed especially for the girl who was crazy about horses. That was the day I fell in love with magazines. It was 1984 and the closest to a horse magazine our country had was the Farmer's Weekly, and ancient title which only seemed to focus on Saddlebreds.

That craving to create and organise beautiful editorial – words and pictures – led me to follow a career in layout and design, and finally, twenty years on, I came to do the layout and design for HQ, South Africa's premier equestrian magazine. Issue 46 includes, not only my layout, but also an article I wrote on one of my many passions: the horse-human relationship. It features Megan Jakson and her story of how she discovered the Tao Of Equus and The Way Of The Horse, that sole source of inspiration for so many equestriennes.

Horses have been my true north, guiding and influencing me for a lifetime thus far.

How have horses shaped your life?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sheer joy

Dogs really should be tasked with teaching life lessons. They are natural teachers, if only we'd be willing to learn from them.

Joe embodies the the words Enthusiasm, Intent and Humour. He's always up for a joke, making me smile by stealing my socks, but not chewing them. This is not the same as when he shreds something I hold dear, like my riding boots or hat, or my new gloves... or my favourite Bach Flower Remedy book - he knows exactly what to chew if he's been left home alone, when in his opinion, he should have been included in my plans.

He's six years-old now, and still suffers bouts of Puppy Hysteria. A term coined by my mom, which describes a blast of energy from a young dog, where it looks like it's lost it's mind, as it hurtles around whatever space is available. This might be the kitchen, or in Joe's case, my parent's front lawn. This is his best Greyhound Impersonation. Running for the sheer joy of it - he does it so well.

Taking time out to do something I love - for the sheer joy of it. Another lesson I could learn from my dog !

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

With age comes wisdom – and memory loss

This is much harder than I remember it... Day three and I'm exhausted. Why are Thoroughbreds so difficult? I requested that the grass be kept a longer length in Fly's new paddock, thinking he'd appreciate and enjoy that, given just how much he LOVES eating. Alas, the best part of the past 36 hours have been spent pacing up and down the fence and churning up the grass and soft ground, thanks to all the rain we've had.

At least he's eating everything else, and all that is going in the front end, appears to be coming out the back end... a good thing. Despite how stressed he looks, he did give me some deep sighs when I did some TTEAM work with him. And he was quite good in the new arena, considering that the neighbour chose that moment to drive his tractor past us. Poor Fly, I could feel his heart beating against my leg.

A roll in the mud and he seemed much happier. I guess we all love routine, and figuring all this out as I go isn't as routine as I expected it to be.

I'm off to lie in a warm bath - my response to a roll in the mud.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Fly has landed

Fly, aka Flying Promise, has arrived. In true Thoroughbred style, he is alternating between trotting up and down the paddock fence, grabbing a mouthful of grass, yelling at the top of his lungs and wondering, no doubt, why he's in a strange place.

I'm hoping he'll settle soon, and in time, I'll have to look at getting him some equine company... In the mean time, its odd having at horse at home again. First time in 20 years! I was just thinking about everything I have to re-learn. All the quantities, qualities and food brands; remembering to call the farrier, order food, not forgetting to deworm... A list which grows with time and becomes embedded in the mind of any horse-owning individual, until it is stored in an easily retrievable memory vault.

It's a tad daunting, but I guess it's like riding a bike. I'm hoping it all comes back to me as I go.