Welcome to the herd!

Mouthguards suck.
Mouthguards suck.
It's a pretty big pasture!
It’s a pretty big pasture!
Quiet time in the pasture.
Self proclaimed herd leader Tush on the left, guarding Emilie, Gäskir and little grey Blomme on the right.

Emilie got to be out with the herd for an hour today, introducing her to most of the other horses at the new barn. She immediately formed a group with her barn neighbour, Icelandic horse Gäskir, which was then joined by little grey Blomme who seems to love everyone as long as they have four legs. Pinto herd leader Tush allowed her into his herd but kept her separate from the other horses for now.

Fjord horse Loke took one look at Emilie and went for a nap — and he’s supposed to be the grumpy one!

Emilie will only be doing 1-2 hour pasture visits this week so that we can be sure that she doesn’t eat enough through the mouthguard to cause her laminitis to flare up again. But from the looks of it, she’ll fit in just fine.

Horse Whispers

Emilie came down with laminitis on all four legs two days ago. In spite of the pain and the stress from the treatment (no food, no pasture, no nothing), she is able to talk to me. This morning she did not want her treatment.

Every morning this week I give her an injection in the neck, for pain relief and lowering her blood pressure. The vet showed me how to do it Saturday. I may have turned a little green around the nose Sunday, but I got it done without Emilie catching on to my discomfort (I’m terrified of needles). This morning, when I approached with the needle, Emilie moved away.

I walked after her and pinched her neck skin lightly as one does, to distract her from the incoming needle. She flattened her ears and glared at me. At this point I remembered how sore muscles get when nurses keep jabbing in the same place day after day. So I pinched her 5 cms further to the right — and voila! She stood statue still and relaxed.

Tomorrow I’m going to jab her on the other side of the neck while I quietly give thanks for how good horses are at communicating if you’ll just listen to them. No stress, no panic, no anxiety. Just letting me know that this spot is sore. Please give the injection a little to the side of yesterday’s spot.

I’m ever impressed with how much information horses can convey with how little voice. I’m no horse whisperer, but my horse certainly can whisper me a thing or two.

I’m not dead yet

It’s been a while, and what a while; one of those whiles where you struggle to keep swimming and at some point you look back and realize that six months went by without you really noticing. But I’m not dead yet, and as long as there’s life there’s hope.

I did not get to do much with Emilie in this long while. She’s still struggling with back pains, and I am still struggling with fibromyalgia. Together we exercise from the ground – she needs to practise lifting her hind quarters over cavalettis and using her hips correctly, and I need to walk, any kind of walk. It’s harder than it sounds like, and I’m still not sure how I feel about my new walker-rollator. On one hand it means I can leave the house – on the other hand it kind of feels like giving up on ever walking unaided again.

My health has been down the crapper this autumn. I’ve been through the proverbial wringer, with hospital visits and with testing out new medication options. At this time it seems low-dose Naltrexone works best for me. It does not reduce my pain, but it does give me some energy and ability to cope in spite of the pain. The Combar that I was put on in order to solve my not sleeping due to pain issues has to go – it has weight gain and muscle pain as a side effect, and I’ve gained 10 kilos in three months in spite of moving more about than I used to.

In spite of the last two paragraphs, though, this is not a venting session or pity rant. The structure of my life is holding together. The framework is solid. I woke up this morning with the strangest sensation of relief; the proverbial manure hit the fan a couple of times, but the windmill is still standing. If there’s something to be grateful in life, it’s the ability to cope with crisis and still be there afterwards. I’ll never take that for granted.

Ah well. Onwards, let life speak for itself in pictures.

The husband snapped this one in the yard. We have an astounding amount of wildlife here.
The husband snapped this one in the yard. We have an astounding amount of wildlife here.
Can't have a lawn without a hedgehog.
Can’t have a lawn without a hedgehog.
Or newts.
Or newts.
In fact, we seem to be collecting newts. The husband has been building little sleeping spots for winter for them, too.
In fact, we seem to be collecting newts. The husband has been building little sleeping spots for winter for them, too.
This little fellow visited us in the sun room; fortunately the husband got to him before the cats.
This little fellow visited us in the sun room; fortunately the husband got to him before the cats.
I'm not keen on pictures of myself but the husband wanted to document my attempts to take up watercolours again. If I ever acquire a scanner I'll show you my amateurish compositions.
I’m not keen on pictures of myself but the husband wanted to document my attempts to take up watercolours again. If I ever acquire a scanner I’ll show you my amateurish compositions.
The murderkittenz love nothing as much as their 'wild water' - drinking from the tap is just that much better than the water bowl.
The murderkittenz love nothing as much as their ‘wild water’ – drinking from the tap is just that much better than the water bowl.
Yes. Miv fell asleep with his face in the food bowl. Again. He does this pretty often, even when there is no food up there.
Yes. Miv fell asleep with his face in the food bowl. Again. He does this pretty often, even when there is no food up there.
This naked lady or autumn crocus popped up in our lawn in October just as everything else was turning pale and wet.
This naked lady or autumn crocus popped up in our lawn in October just as everything else was turning pale and wet.
Who knows where the road is winding? It's beautiful there, at least.
Who knows where the road is winding? It’s beautiful there, at least.

What comes next? Only time will tell. Life’s being a bit of a female canine at the moment but it tends to go on anyhow. A mountain of trouble may seem like a road bump six months later. I’m not dead yet.

Summer’s Beautiful Though

Summer is being rough on me this year. The heatwave that began in May shows no sign of letting go anytime soon. Everything is bone dry and the air is full of dust. The heat is not doing my fibromyalgia any favours. But one thing can be said for this very atypical hot Danish summer: It’s beautiful. I’ve spent more time in my garden this summer than in the twenty years previous at the old house.

I planted wildflower seeds in a big pot on the terrace in order to feed my never-ending love for cornflowers. The outcome is a little weird. There’s all sorts of other flowers in there too, but it’s the pink cornflower that baffles me. I had no idea cornflowers could be pink. Cornflowers range from white over pale blue to dark cobalt blue. Maybe this one’s just colour blind.

Wildflowers in the yard. Notice that pink cornflower? I had no idea cornflowers could be pink. Maybe it's just colourblind.

We live close to the river so there is a lot of wetlands wildlife in the area. We see toads all the time, and salamanders are fairly common too. But the ones we usually see are smooth newts, by far the most common in Denmark; this big fella is northern crested newt which is a rare and protected species here.

No one who knows my husband will be surprised to hear that we now have salamander-friendly patches and watering holes under the rhododendrons. I’m hoping to meet adders out there too. The neighbour claims to see adders in his garden all the time. I love them.

I can spend hours just looking at the wildflowers. I have no idea what those pink ones between the morning glories and cornflowers are, but they are absolutely gorgeous. The husband built bee hotels in the yard and now that everything is so dry and dead, the wild bees are here in droves to check out those wildflowers.

It’s so dry here now that when we go to the barn and water the horses in the pasture, wasps turn up in droves to drink. Look at the soil; there’s no moisture in the earth anywhere. We’ve had the hottest May on record ever, June and July have not let us off the hook. It’s pretty, but I will admit, it’s taking its toll on people and animals alike.

There’s only one family member who absolutely loves the dry dusty heat. It’s great for certain purposes!

May Pretties

The husband bonds with animals on a level I can never match. No fuss, no big deal, they just fall in love with him as easily as he falls in love with them. And sometimes, I swear, they’re talking about me.

“And then she said …”

We’ve had two weeks of blazing summer-before-summer; in fact, one of the hottest May months in a century. After the meteorological disaster that was 2017 I can’t say I am complaining. I don’t do well with heat, but it’s pretty to look at, and no one yells at me for sitting in the shade.

The heat means I have to braid Emilie’s mane or she’ll sweat buckets. She wasn’t too fond of this notion last year, but something must have clicked: Now she stands perfectly still and seems to even enjoy the treatment. Of course she also picks half the braids out in an hour once released into the pasture. Oh well.

Barbecue on Thursdays, carrots optional.
Barbecue on Thursdays, carrots optional.

I love how expressive Emilie is. She talks. All the time. Some of it is vocalized, little grunts and snorts (in a surprisingly deep tone). Most is her eyes and ears, though. I always pull her forelock aside so I can watch her eyes when we’re together. Her eyes are so remarkably talkative, and so are those big draft horse ears.

"No, seriously, then she said ..."
“No, seriously, then she said …”