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When we recently took Mija in for a checkup for her back pain, the vet apologized in advance. “I’m about to make your life more complicated,” she said. Then she proceeded to describe the twice-daily medicine mixing procedure for Mija.

I shrugged it off with a laugh. “I’m already mixing meds for two horses. What’s one more?”

And it’s true – no big deal.

It helps that I now work from home. It could be a problem if I were rushing out the door to make it to work by eight o’clock every day.

But I’m not.

I did however find it amusing one afternoon when I gathered all of the medicines in one place.

Two people, two horses and one cat have amassed quite an arsenal of supplements/medications.

We’ve got potions and powders and capsules and liquids going into our bodies all the time.

And it made me wonder this:

Are all these meds part of the process of keeping aging bodies going, or simply attempts to be as healthy as we possibly can?

Maybe it’s just an issue of semantics.

Is it a natural part of aging, or is it prevention of aging?

Or both?

Or neither?

I do remember a time when I took a couple of aspirin now and then, and a multi vitamin and I was good to go.

These days it’s a bit more complicated.

Maybe it’s that we know more than we used to about keeping bodies healthy. Medicine has made some mind-boggling advances.

Or maybe it’s that we Baby Boomers are realizing that life really does have an ending date.

I don’t know. I think I’m still figuring it out.

Any light you can shed on this?

The one thing I do know is we are all in it together.

In Colorado we live close to the sun, which means we’re at risk for getting sunburned. And sunburn is not a good thing for skin. It can lead to age spots, wrinkles and worst of all – skin cancer.

Slathering on sunscreen has become part of my daily routine.

Wake up. Check,

Drink coffee. Check.

Wash face. Check.

Apply sunscreen. Check.

Is Bud Getting a Sunburn?

This year as Bud has started shedding out, we’ve noticed a lot of pink skin showing through his thinning hair coat.

Are we really seeing more skin?

Or is he getting a sunburn?

We’re not sure yet.

Last fall our vet increased his Pergolide, which has made a huge improvement in Bud’s overall health and condition.

But now we’re wondering if it is causing him to shed out more than usual, leaving his light appaloosa skin exposed to the sun. He’s wondering if there is a Hair Club for Horses in his future. Just to be on the safe side, I’m keeping the credit cards and cell phone away from Bud for the time being!

Light skinned horses do get sunburned.

Some horse keepers apply sunscreen to their animals, though I’m not sure how well that works with horses that live in a pasture.

Others use a lightweight flysheet as a cover up.

This will likely be our choice if it looks as if we are going to need to protect Bud’s delicate skin.

Right now, we’re taking the wait and see approach.

First Mija and now Bud. What is it about our pink-skinned animals and us? There must be a lesson here!

How about you? Are you remembering your sunscreen every day?

Consider this a gentle nudge.

A friendly reminder.

A call to action.

How is it that parents and caregivers get so caught in the unsatisfying cycle of encouraging/cajoling/begging our children and animals to eat?

“Try it, you’ll like it,” becomes our rallying cry as we search for ever-more interesting, nutritious food. There are days, it seems that we will do just about anything to get food into our kids of all species.

The photo I’ve included here is my grandson on a day when eating wasn’t high on his hit parade. He was just learning that food came in options other than liquid, and frankly he was pretty skeptical that it was worth his time.

Miss Pepper can relate.

Lately she’s been skeptical as well, doing the horse equivalent of covering her head with her hands.

She’s not eating that much. She puts her head into the feed pan, and I swear just moves the bits of grain around. I see her chewing, but the volume of grain goes down really slowly.

She’s not a fan of the medication we have to give her.

Even though it makes her feel much better. She isn’t able to connect those dots.


So she takes a bite, chews it into paste, looks around at her friends, swallows and sighs. Then maybe, it ‘s on to the next bite.

All the while, I’m watching – hovering really.

She’ll walk away as if she’s forgotten what we’re doing here. We’ll turn her back to eating, and she’ll take another few bites. I’ll hold the pan so she doesn’t have to stretch her neck so far.

It’s become a game – one that we’ve reinforced. How did that happen?

Oh right. She does something, we respond in a predictable manner, and she learns.

Thanks B.F. Skinner for pointing that out!


Bud, on the other hand has no problem finishing his grain.

And Pepper’s if he can get to it. He’s an eating machine. Our only concern with him is that he eats the little pink capsule we place in his food every day.

It’s Pergolide, which has made an amazing difference in his health.

He can eat an entire pan of grain and avoid that little pill. Some days I’ll find it on the ground or at the bottom on an empty feed pan.

He’s a discerning fellow. But he’s reasonable. We can get the pill into him with enough food.

So this is what my life has become.

Pill pusher to horses.

Hovering mother of the pasture.

I can think of worse ways to spend my time.



Waiting for the farrier.

As nice as Saturday was, yesterday was nasty. In terms of weather, I mean. The day dawned cold and grey with an icy wind that cut through coats and gloves as if they weren’t pulled tight around us.

Of course it was the day we had scheduled the farrier and the vet.

Double duty.

We made an instant decision to take the horses to the barn out of the wind for their checkups. It was a no-brainer. Actually, the barn isn’t all that warm, but it does offer shelter from the bitter wind, and the illusion of warmth.

Led Behind the Pickup

We tried something new for our horses to get them from the pasture to the barn. I drove the pickup at a snail’s pace and Rick sat on the tailgate holding the lead ropes. Bud and Pepper weren’t all that thrilled with the idea, though Bud quickly adapted. He tried to get his head in the feed pan the entire time. Maybe that’s the horse version of stress eating.

Miss Pepper on the other hand was just plain freaked out about the whole idea. She pulled on her lead and did not walk quietly. Her expressions clearly said, “This is just not right!!”

But we made it with nothing more than one mildly confused Appaloosa, and one irritated mare.

Some might say, “So what’s new?”

On Farrier Time

Once inside, things calmed down. Bud and Pepper munched their grain and we waited. Farrier time is always a bit different than time for the rest of us, so when he said he’d be there in ten minutes, we hunkered down for at least a thirty-minute wait.

Sure enough that’s what it was. We kept the horses entertained by doling out horse candy. The activity kind-of-sort-of kept us warm.


Turns out both horses are in great shape. The daily meds have made a HUGE difference. Both our vet and farrier saw a remarkable improvement in Bud. Everything about him has improved – hooves, immune system, hair coat, and temperament.

Yea Pergolide!!

Our farrier confided that he didn’t have much hope for Bud to make it another year. That was hard to hear, even though deep in our hearts, we knew he wasn’t doing so well.

But now, it’s another story. Those daily trips to the pasture have been well worth every minute.

Comforting each other

As for Miss P. – she’s doing great too. The daily dose of Bute has worked miracles. She’s out of pain, which has allowed her to put on weight. She’s going into winter in the best shape I’ve seen her in a couple of years.


Just thought you’d like to know the good news…






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