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chickadee-mustache

Aging has this way of giving you a one-two punch.

Some things are good and others not so much. It seems our bodies start behaving as if they belong to someone we don’t even know.

We have little creaks and twinges that are new.

We make noises we never made before.

We can’t eat things we’ve eaten our entire lives.

We look in the mirror and wonder who in the world is staring back at us.

Well our dear sweet Chickadee is turning into a little old woman with a mustache.

For some reason her “stache” shows up especially when the weather is cold. The hairs on her upper lip get stiff and go in all sorts of directions.

 

I must say she’s handling it much better than I would. Animals are so much more adept at surrenduring to what is. For me, it’s a daily challenge.

 

Chickadee, Pepper and I are not the only ones experiencing this aging thing are we?

We definitely need company.

Please share…

horse-hotel

It’s been freezing cold here in northern Colorado­—especially so over this past weekend. And unfortunately our Golden Girls were not doing well. They’d been hunkered down in the very back of the shelter, not even venturing out for water, which isn’t a good thing.

So what would two enterprising females do?

Ours decided to check themselves in to a swanky hotel complete with room service, lots of sunny areas in which to hang out, and daily maid service.

The Golden Girls have been living it up with lots of TLC, all the hay they can eat, fresh water only a few steps from the shelter, and their daily ration of grain from us.

And you may notice that Miss P. has a spiffy new red coat—one that is much heavier than her old blue one.

It was a frantic day on Saturday. None of us wants our animals to suffer. They’re like our children. When we got word that the girls weren’t doing well, we had to switch into high gear. But seeing them grooving in the sun, with shelter and no younger, stronger horses to push them out of the hay line, has made all the last-minute running around worth it.

When the temperatures warm up, the Golden Girls will head back to the pasture. But for now, they’ve got room service on speed dial.

Golden Girls

The Golden Girls in their finest.

These two have won everyone’s hearts out at the pasture.

They get special delivery hay so they don’t have to fight the younger, stronger horses.

How cool is that?

I’m so grateful to everyone for looking out for our girls.

Gives me faith in human nature. Of course I’ve pretty much always had that faith.

How about you?

Chickadee-in-snow

Miss Chickadee is officially part of our herd. We’ve adopted her though we don’t yet have the papers. (That’s the unofficial part.)

Our boarding facility was recently sold to new owners. Chickadee belonged to the previous owner who didn’t know what to do with her when she left the property. Who wants a thirty-two year old mare?

Well, we do!

Chickadee and Pepper have become fast friends–the Golden Girls. Everyone around the facility has taken a shine to the two old gals. They get extra hay and quite a lot of attention, which makes my heart happy.

My husband has long harbored a dream of running a rescue program/retirement center for senior horses. I guess we’re doing it one horse at a time.

Chickadee is a sweet-tempered girl, so grateful for the extra feed, the warm coat we wrap her in, and our attention. She’d been literally put out to pasture, and was doing okay, though not great. Already she seems to be thriving as part of our herd.

Seems we’re destined to still be caring for two old sweeties.

 Welcome to the family Miss Chickadee!

Chickadee-window

In case you weren’t aware of this fact, allow me to enlighten you:

Horses come with poop.

Actually the same is true of people, but you can breathe easy because I’m not going there!

 

Lately our adopted/foster horse Chickadee has been having a few problems in the pooping department.

Namely diarrhea.

Let’s just say it hasn’t been pretty, though it seems to be getting better.

Finally.

And to that I offer a resounding, “Yippee!!”

 

Yesterday I donned latex gloves and peeled dried horse manure from her tail.

Is that being a good friend or insane?

I haven’t decided.

 

Just keeping it real here.

Sorry if I grossed you out.

Forty

Love those ears!

This is Forty.

At least that’s what’s branded on his neck. He only drops by occasionally to say hello, get his head scratched and of course to nibble a hay cube.

And then another.

And then maybe another five or six!

He’s a nice horse. Friendly, mannerly, and really, just a sweetie.

I’m told there are ten senior citizen horses in the pasture right now. It’s no surprise that as we age, our animals follow right along beside us.

I don’t know about you, but I find it inspiring and somewhat comforting. I like sharing space with these wise, old, sweet things.

And I’m sure they’ve passed the word among them to be on the lookout for the Snack Lady.

I’m good with that too!

My son suggested making a photo book of the oldsters in the pasture. I’m thinking it could be fun.

Stay tuned!

“I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that.’

~Lauren Bacall

There's a lot of life reflected in those eyes.

There’s a lot of life reflected in those eyes.

This is Neighbor. I don’t know his official name, but we call him Neighbor. He sometimes watches us feed from the turnout beside the road.

He’s a gentle old guy and I find him adorable.

He doesn’t push.

Or kick

Or pick fights with his paddock mates.

He waits.

And watches.

And is ever so grateful when I give him an alfalfa cube.

In the summer his coat turns nearly white, making him look even more like the venerable old sage that he is.

What does your face say about your life?

“Age is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.”

~Martha Graham

Mama

My friend Cantari. We call her mama. Look at those eyelashes!

For some reason this week I am drawn to the oldsters in the pasture. Young horses are beautiful, there is no doubt about that. Sleek and strong and full of life they are the true expression of vitality.

But it’s the old ones that pull at my heart.

They are my teachers, my friends.

They have the time to talk with me, listen to me and perhaps on good days, enjoy a little rock and roll.

Can you find the beauty in aging or do you want to turn from it?

 

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, suffering, struggle, & loss, and have found their way out of the depths. 

They have an appreciation, sensitivity and understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.

 Beautiful people do not just happen.”

      Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Old Joe

My friend Joe

I’m looking at my friends in the pasture, the ones that have been around this earth for awhile.

And as I look, I see the wisdom and value they’ve brought to my life.

Beautiful horses do not “just happen” either.

Here’s to celebrating all of life!

curb-service

If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile you know that we’ve taken Chickadee under our wing. She and Pepper have become good pals; we’ve dubbed them The Golden Girls. Chickadee is 32 years old—a year older than Miss P, so they’re a good match.

 

Chickadee and Pepper share some of the same issues. Both are skinny old mares. As horses age, keeping weight on can be a challenge. We feed Chickadee when we feed Pepper. It didn’t seem right not to, and Chickadee’s owner has given her blessing.

 

I guess we’re just used to feeding two horses!

 

Pepper is totally tuned in to us. Most of the time she’s waiting at the gate. And if not, she hears or sees us almost immediately when we enter the pasture.

Chickadee isn’t quite a well conditioned. If she isn’t close to Pepper when we arrive, sometimes she misses out.

Or comes running to the gate in a panic. “I’m sorry I’m late. It won’t happen again.”

She’s come to rely on that daily ration of grain. You can see in the photos, that she’s pretty ribby.

 

Notice how she's keeping one eye on Pepper as she finishes the last morsels of grain.

Notice how she’s keeping one eye on Pepper as she finishes the last morsels of grain.

One day when Chickadee was extra slow getting to the gate, Rick decided to offer her curb service, rather than bring her out to eat and then put her back in. Pepper was almost halfway through her pan of grain, so it seemed like a good idea.

 

We do have other things to do with our time besides hang out at the pasture, though the horses can’t fathom such a thought.

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