Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Area businesses host “Giving Trees“ for Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary

Through the month of December, three area businesses will host Giving Trees to benefit elder horses living at Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary. TREES, in Spotsylvania, Virginia, promotes the humane treatment of geriatric horses through education and example. Some of the horses in residence were abandoned or neglected when they were no longer considered useful, while others were accepted when owners encountered financial or physical difficulties. The sanctuary is currently home to eighteen geriatric horses, with the senior member of the herd approaching his thirty-eighth year.

The Giving Tree program was instituted this holiday season to help Traveller’s Rest obtain supplies needed to care for its residents. Visitors to participating merchants and equine service providers may view ornaments on the trees and purchase a designated item for donation to the sanctuary. Items requested range from first aid supplies and senior horse feed to stable equipment and veterinary services.

TREES’ Giving TREES may be found at the following locations:

Rappahannock Equine Veterinary Clinic
7050 Governor Almond Road
Locust Grove Va. 22508

Culpeper CFC home & Garden Center
15172 Brandy Road
Culpeper, VA 22701

Orange-Madison Co-op Farm Service
13323 James Madison Hwy.
Orange, Virginia 22960-0346

For more about Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary, visit http://www.equineelders.org/ or call 540-972-0936.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Equine Arthritis clinic

Topic: Osteoarthritis in Equines

Date/Time: Saturday, November 15, 2008 -- 12:00

Location: Rappahannock Equine Veterinary Clinic, Locust Grove, VA

Contact: 540-854-7171
Seating is limited, so reserve a space today! (REVC closes on Friday at noon)
Free Lunch provided!

Dr. Robert Keene

Dr. Keene received his undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Montana State University in 1980, and graduated from the veterinary school of Colorado State University in 1983. He went on to practice in California, focusing on equine health, reproduction and surgery. Since 1985, Dr, Keene has served as consultant to many veterinary and equine research companies, and on several committees of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Friday, November 7, 2008

TREES Needs Trees!

Christmas trees, that is!

Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary is looking for artificial Christmas trees in search of new jobs. Any size or shape is fine, but we do ask that the trees be in good condition. If an idea to generate support works out, the trees will be on display in area business, so they must look nice.

If you have an extra tree please let us know , preferably before Thanksgiving, so we'll have time to coordinate other aspects of the program based on number of trees available.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Age is Just a Number

"At what age should I retire my horse?"

We hear that question often and I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. I'll just say that there is no magic number. You should retire your horse when he no longer enjoys his work.

"'I will retire Elmer when he no longer enjoys the trail,' said [Mary Anna] Wood. Saturday (10-25-08) was not that day." http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=12985&source=rss

Elmer Bandit....our hero! Many senior horses' owners have followed Elmer for many months as he approached the competitive trail mileage record. In Kansas, over the October 25-26 weekend, he did it. Elmer broke the old record of 20,710 career miles. As if that number wasn't impressive enough, here's another: Elmer broke that record at age 37!

See? Just a number.

Be sure to read the article linked above, written by Marsha Hayes, who had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- to ride her horse Ransom, next to Elmer during his record breaking ride.

"Elmer Bandit is not scheduled to compete in any other events in 2008. "

Sonny in Virginia Horse Journal

The November issue of The Virginia Horse Journal asked horses why they are thankful to live where they do. One of TREES residents is included in the feature.

I'm sorry to say I can't find a way to link directly to that page, but go to http://virginiahorse.epubxpress.com/ , choose "Current Issue," then go to page 22-23. Look for the smart aleck Palomino

Edited Nov 4: Thanks to an anonymous post in the comments section, we now know how to link to specific pages of VHJ. Look for Sonny here:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Horses are not interested in "Eastern Standard Time."

Today's post is courtesy of Delphi, one of TREES alpha horses.

"What gives? For 28 years now, I have been wondering what's up with Annual Torture Your Horse At Mealtimes Day. What? You suddenly forgot when the sun comes up in the morning? You are surprised when it sets in the evening?

OK. Yesterday, the chow wagon started its rounds before the sun was above the eastern tree line. Today, no chow wagon until well after the sun was totally visible to all. Helloooo? Did you not notice us lined up along the fence staring at the house an hour ago?

We knew this would happen. You just forgot, didn't you? Once a year, every year, like clockwork, you forget the schedule. Of course by this time we should know to expect it, but when it didn't happen in October as usual, we thought the you were finally out of that annoying rut.

I suppose one good thing is that now supper comes half an hour "earlier" (By the human clock.... by the horse clock, its still half an hour late) because you have "less time" to finish the outdoor chores before it gets dark.

Which brings us to another issue..........dark, schmark! If you grew some decent whiskers, you wouldn't have to depend so heavily on daylight.

Sometimes I think the wrong species became the care givers!"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Horse-sized Place Mats!

Traveller's Rest would like to thank all who donated stall mats to the cause.

The mats, however, will not be used in the ordinary way, providing a comfortable floor in a stall. Rather, they will serve as over-size place mats. Many of our dentally challenged horses drop food while eating. This, in itself, would not be a significant problem if they did not try to vacuum up the leftovers once their food dishes are emptied. All residents are served soaked food, so you can imagine how much dirt or bedding might cling to the "plops" that hit the floor at meal time. We have always tried to keep feeding corners swept clean, so there is not much to stick to dropped food, but since the floors are dirt there is still a concern that the horses might be swallowing dirt or other debris which could lead to "sand colic" (or dirt/gravel colic depending on your environment and just what your horse is likely to swallow.)
Through no fault of his own, Rienzi is our biggest offender. Not only does our clown prince have a serious malocclusion, but his previous home was a paddock he shared with goats and pigs. After picking up a mouthful of food, he still looks around to see whether or not his "roommates" are coming to share the meal. As you can see, this habit distributes his food in an impressive arc around the dish.

Rienzi's "bite:"

Here is Rienzi's mat after he decides he's vacuumed all he can. He does a pretty good job picking up the dropped food. If he were eating on dirt or in a bedded stall, he would pick up a lot of debris with each meal. He is still pushing a lot of food off the edges of the mat, so we will need to dedicate two mats to this particular feeding station.

The remaining mats will be cut into triangles that will fit in stall corners below the feeders. We'll still need to sweep up around feeding stations after meals, but this should make the job much easier in addition to providing a little more peace of mind concerning what is going into residents' stomachs.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Show off your oldies..........

......your geezers, your seniors & elders. Tell others how you deal with changing needs of aging animals. Discuss special shelter programs to rehab or find new homes for seniors. Above all, celebrate the wisdom and humor of elders! Join TREES' Senior Animals group at Sheltersource.org Discuss geriatric animal issues, post photos, invite friends, find a senior friendly shelter near you, network with like minded folks!

The Temps, They are A-Changin'

Slight Pause!

It seems we've skipped autumn entirely in this neck of the woods. We moved from 85 degrees on Thursday, to a cool rainy Friday, to a morning chill in the upper 30's this morning (Sunday.)

It also seems like someone snuck in Friday night and replaced several of our geezers with rambuncious two-year-olds. Thursday the horses hung out in their sheds, taking full advantage of the shade, sweating in mid-October under their developing winter woolies. Yesterday, however, the old farts lost all semblance of dignity, jumping around and jostling for position as if they had been transported back twenty or thirty years. Most of TREES' residents, especially those with Cushings, tolerate cold weather much better than they do hot weather and the first real cold front of the season is always a reason for celebration. (Sometimes followed by a day of commiserating about the sudden overuse of previously less active muscles.)

Cooler temperatures seem to invigorate our elders. Flies and mosquitoes disappear. Masks and boots are packed away. Less time is spent in sheds. Breathing eases for those with COPD issues. Appetites pick up. Breezes blow interesting scents from new directions.

But.....behind the wonder of the first cold front is the knowledge that winter is not far away. (Truthfully, though, winter is a harder on human caretakers than it is on most horses.) For a few tips on keeping equine elders comfy and healthy during cold weather, please visit Wintering Wisely.

Oh......if you're in Virginia, or otherwise have access to The Virginia Horse Journal, please pick up the November issue. TREES' own Country Sunshine ("Sonny" to his friends) will be included in a feature asking horses why they are thankful to live where they do.

(His answer isn't what you think it will be.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two more - Baltimore

October 19, 2008: Happily edited to Add that these two old gals are in a new home in Virginia. Thank you, Kathryn!

Forwarding info only. If interested please use contact listed below:

Two former school horses in Baltimore that are to be sent to auction Oct. 1 if a home cannot be found for them. Their information is below. Please contact Russell Ashton at rashton@fbw.com W)1-800-795-9322 or H)410-433-7760 if you can help.

>>As you may know, the Park School horseback riding program has ended. We have been very busy trying to find new homes for our beloved animals by September 30.

The two ponies are very happy in their new wonderful homes, however our two horses, Annie and Dory, are still waiting to be adopted. Annie and Dory have lived at Park for many years. They have served our students well. Young riders have learned not just how to ride, but how to care for horses. They are great, well-behaved horses who deserve a peaceful retirement. They are kept on pasture with a run-in shed and are easy keepers. Annie is a chestnut quarter horse mare in her mid-twenties. She is gentle and walks, trots, and canters. Since she lunges well, she has been a mainstay in our former program. She has provided many children with wonderful lessons. She still enjoys trail rides and can handle gentle riding. She has been diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease, which is common to many older horses, and has responded well to medication given in her food. Annie would be a great horse for beginners or for the casual experienced rider. She is what we call rock steady.

Dory is a 32-year-old bay thoroughbred. Despite her age, she is in very good condition and has no complicated health needs. She can still be casually ridden and willingly walks, trots, and canters. We would like to place her in a home where she could simply grace the pasture with some other horses.

Both horse have been vetted and have a negative Coggin’s report.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Posted on "Virginia Horses Needing Homes"

Virginia Horses Seeking Homes - This week's additions:

20 year old, 17h TB gelding, Spotsylvania, VA - photos included post

30 year old Quarter Horse gelding, Fredericksburg, VA

4 year old Quarter Horse mare, Amelia, VA - photos including in post

18 year old TB/TWH mare and 30+ year old half-Arab, Madison, VA

11 year old TB gelding as listed on Craig's List, Moseley, VA

If you can help Virginia's horses in need, please join http://forums.delphiforums.com/VAhorsesneed/start and lend a hand. Offer haven for horses in need, volunteer with a Virginia rescue organization, or spread the word to friends looking for new equine family members.

TREES collecting feed coupons

As many know, rescues in VA have been increasingly overwhelmed by calls from pepole needing to find new homes for horses.....most due to financial/economic reasons.

Right now, with facilities crowded, the best we can do is help them advertise the horses seeking new families. Most recently through http://forums.delphiforums.com/VAhorsesneed/start )

Meanwhile, we know there are coupons for different types of horse feed floating around out there. We're sending out what coupons we have while owners wait for homes to come along, hoping they won't need to cut back on feed while they wait.

If you have any extras.........any type, any brand........please consider sending them to TREES, PO Box 2260, Spotsylvania, VA 22553, or to someone else who can either use them themselves or pass them along to someone in real need.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TREES - Volunteers needed Sept 27

Need volunteers early early early Saturday morning, Sept 27. (No horse experience needed for this one!) Traveller's Rest has a table at the Mine Run VFD Yard Sale. Sale STARTS at 7AM, meaning we need early birds to help set up before hand. Vols to staff sale table also welcome. Sale goes until 1PM. (Mine Run is on the Orange/Spotsylvania county line) Hey! If you're there that early, you get to do the early bird shopping at other people's tables too! If you can't come early, perhaps you could come over toward the end of the sale and help us pack up the leftovers.

Email Traveller's Rest or call 540-972-0936

For more information on volunteer for Traveller's Rest at any time, please visit our Volunteer Information page.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Find Homes for Virginia's Horses

Virginia Horses Needing Homes

Virginia's horse welfare facilities, for many months, have been receiving increasing numbers of calls from Virginians who need to find new homes for their horses, sometimes on short notice. Some people are losing their farms, some have lost jobs or are facing transfer out of state, some are boarding horses at barns in danger of closing. With farmland disappearing at alarming rates in some areas of the state, finding new homes for large animals is not always easy.

Many of the horse looking for homes and sound, healthy and well-trained. Please take advantage of this forum to list horses in need of new homes. Spread the word to friends and family that might be looking for horses.

Virginia Horses Needing Homes

While homeless horses are a nationwide problem, if you are "shopping" for a new horse, "shop" locally first. Let's show that Virginia really is for horse lovers.

Note: The managers of Virginia Horses Needing Homes cannot guarantee the accuracy of information in messages posted by members or guests. By posting on VHNH or responding to posts, you assume any and all risks associated with placing or accepting a horse via the Internet.

Virginia Horses Needing Homes

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We will always remember

September 11, 2008
"We will forever remember our loved ones, friends and colleaques"
--intro to locator stone

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Have you Goosed your Geezer Today?

As the hours of daylight decrease and colder weather approaches, our horses are beginning to replace their sleek summer coats with thick winter woolies. Many elder horses tend to grow thicker winter coats than they did in younger days. This is especially true of horses with Cushings Disease or PPID.

Thick coats can hide changes in physical condition. It is not uncommon for elders with marginal dental challenges to lose weight over the winter when tender pasture grass is replaced by chewy hay. Subtle changes in weight may not be immediately obvious under winter wear.

Begin now to note how your horse's body feels when you groom, scratch or hug him. Take note of the flesh, not only over the ribs, but also along the topline, over the hip bones and rump and across the shoulders. As the winter coat develops, feel under the hair for any changes in weight. Running your hand over the surface of a thick coat may not give an accurate assessment of condition.

Oracle ("Ori") shows how a Cushings coat can hide weight loss. Visually, there is no indication that Ori is underweight.

Under that coat*, however:

(*Please note, Ori was not clipped just for this demonstration. Hers was an abnormally long "cushings coat" causing her to sweat profusely, even in February. It was matted, unhealthy and putting her at risk for skin infection.)
So, goose your geezer, feel your fogey, scratch your senior. Get under that winter coat and monitor weight by feel rather than by sight. If needed, increase feed a little, use a blanket on cold nights to conserve calories, or find a more appropriate winter substitute for pasture. Its easier to prevent weight loss in winter than to put weight back on in winter. Goose early, goose often. Don't risk an unpleasant surprise when spring shedding begins.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Management - horse hockey!

This is Rufus, Traveller's Rest's new Supervisor of Horse Manure Management.

Rufus does such a good job as director of Pest Control, he decided he was ready to take on more responsibility. More info on Manure Management

Monday, September 1, 2008

Virginia - 25 y.o. Thoroughbred mare needs home

Stafford, VA. A 25 year old Thoroughbred mare is in search of a new home. Her owner, one of a growing number of horse owners in this position, is faced with this terrible decision to due a combination of finances and the ever increasing acres of farmland disappearing under housing "developments."

This former foxhunter is sound for flat work, but her owner does not feel she should do any more jumping, having some arthritis, as we all do at her age. She does better with a confident rider than with a nervous beginner, but will do okay as a lesson horse on lead- or longe-line. UTD on vaccinations. Barefoot now, but may need shoes if in regular work. Looking for new home by the end of September. Serious inquiries, contact Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary for owner's info.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Resilience of a Horse - Delphi update

No matter how many times we watch this happen, each case seems almost miraculous.

This was Delphi on August 9, 2008

And this is Delphi today, August 27, 2008, less than three weeks later:

This mare was not ill, did not have organ damage, did not have a lurking infection, was not "skinny because she's old," is not dentally challenged. All she needed was appropriate food.

Donate via PayPal

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Equine Vets are the Best!

Traveller's Rest uses the services of several equine veterinary clinics on a regular basis. Some vets serve as our remote "eyes," evaluating and beginning treatment on horses still in their original homes, but bound for the sanctuary as soon as arrangements are completed. Some come to the sanctuary once in a while as specialists or complimentary practitioners.

The bulk of TREES' vet care, though, falls in the more than capable hands of the veterinarians of Rappahannock Equine Veterinay Clinic in Locust Grove, VA. Drs Blanton, McColgan and Licciardello all seem to have the same soft spot for Elders that we have. Not only do they provide excellent care (sometimes requiring a little extra research for the uncommon health issues we seem to attract - see "Happy Summer Solstice") but they treat our seniors as though they are high dollar show ponies. (Or course, some of them are, its just been a few years since they pinned that last ribbon .)

REVC looks out for our elders in other ways too. Sadly, one of the clinic's other clients recently laid to rest his last elderly horse. Having several hundred pounds of senior feed and bagged forage in storage, the old veteran's owner and REVC discussed whether or not there was a way to put that feed to use. We are gratefully happy to say they decided to donate the forage and senior formula to TREES. Arrangements are being made to pick up the goodies by the end of the week. TREES has also benefitted in the supplements and blanket departments when REVC mentioned the sanctuary to clients with surplus supplies.

Its difficult to express our gratitude for the entire staff of REVC, the vets, the techs, and the "girls" who keep the office humming. So we'll offer a shameless plug.........if you're interviewing equine veterinarians in the Spotsylvania, Orange, Stafford areas........add these folks to your short list.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Equine Elders - organization of the week!

Check it out! TREES is Organization of the Week!
Shelter Source

Then visit Traveller's Rest's Shelter Source "My Page" Visit often, watch for news and events, or leave a comment!

Be sure to browse the rest of the ShelterSource --- a free resource and networking hub 'helping people help animals --- too!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Equine Dental Doin's - The Sequel

Warning -- if moderately icky photos make you queasy and you receive our posts via email you may not want to open the attached photo.

I hesitated to post the lower picture, but decided this more than adequately illustrates the reality of elder dental issues. This, folks, is why a quick feel of a tooth's chewing surfaces is not enough. Merely running a finger over grinding surfaces to look for sharp edges is NOT a thorough dental exam.

To conduct a thorough exam, the dentist should use a speculum to hold the horse's mouth open. Each tooth should be examined on all surfaces......the grinding surfaces, the side facing the cheek, the side facing the tongue. Feel not just the "top" surface, but along the gum line for irregularities. Smell the breath, and yes, smell your fingers after feeling around. Is there a spoiled or rotten smell? Possible infection? Then wiggle, wiggle, wiggle each tooth to look for looseness or fractures. Take note if the horse appears to "react" to specific areas.......is that site painful? NOTE! Don't do this yourself without a speculum if you value your fingers!!!!

The motivation for this post? Sonny. This photo was taken Aug 17. 2008, one week ago.
Our 37 year old alpha horse had been feeling a little "off" lately. He was eating fine, had no obvious injury or pain issues, but wasn't quite himself and seemed to lose a little standing in the herd. Sonny had no (zero) top molars when he arrived. Last November, he lost three lower molars that had become loose. Two days ago, another dental exam revealed several more loose teeth. Not only were they loose, but decayed beyond belief. How does something like this even stay in a horse's mouth?

Note that Sonny has not been losing weight, had not stopped eating, had not exhibited any obvious signs of pain or illness. There was nothing to indicate a problem of this magnitude. The moral of this story is something we've preached about before.........by the time your horse shows outward signs of dental pain, he may already have a big, big problem. This issue was detected during a routine exam. Had we waited until Sonny appeared sick or in pain, the infection may have spread to other tissues, possibly even the jaw bone itself.

In addition to Sonny's infected teeth, the dentist also discovered an infected incisor in Rienzi's mouth. It slid right out, having no root left. Rienzi had also been examined in November. Things happen that fast in elders.

And Val was found to have yet another fragment beneath the surface of the gum. These fragments seem to show up in places he was missing teeth as a teenager. We don't know why he lost so many teeth by the time he arrived here at age 15 but, four years later, pieces are still showing up.

More frequent dental exams..............don't skimp on this one if your horse is over 20 years old. Make sure exams are thorough, make sure they are frequent. Don't depend on your horse to tell you when something is wrong. An ounce of prevention...........

Monday, August 18, 2008

Elder Horse Updates

Finally. After welcoming three new residents within 10 days, we've had time to catch our collective breaths and add the newcomers' photos to the Residents page. We hope, soon, to add individual pages for each resident so visitors can keep up with residents' activities. Watch the Residents page for progress. Visit soon, visit often. We'll try to keep up!
Marye yesterday (Aug 17, 2008) Can you believe the progress in just one month!?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dental Doin's at Traveller's Rest

Here are a few photos from a recent equine elder Dentathon. Not everyone was seen that day, but Denathon the Sequel is scheduled for next week. Keep in mind that elder horses need more frequent dental exams than their younger counterparts. Teeth wear more quickly as the hard layer of enamel disappears. Faster wear at increasingly sharper angles may mean more extreme points or hooks. Roots begin to decay, leading to loose teeth or possible infection. Some teeth may crack or fracture. Seniors should be examined every six months rather than once a year.

The first photo shows a tooth (right arrow) that became sharp enough to cut into the inside of the cheek (left arrow)

Below, a speculum is used to hold the mouth open during a "power float," while the head rests on a head stand:

A better view of the head stand:

Some dental practitioners prefer a harness, hung from a rafter or door frame to hold the head in place:

Be sure your dentist disinfects his or her tools between horses. You expect your dentist to do the same between patients, don't you?

Keeping elders comfortable often depends on good dental health. Schedule that six-month appointment soon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Country Supply Clearance Sale!

The "Clearance Issue" of the Country Supply catalog arrived in yesterday's mail. Not bad, folks!

Standard fly masks marked down from $14.99 to 7.99. Air Stream Combo Summer Sheets down to $39.95 from $59.95. A few saddles are almost half price, many on sale for a little less of a discount. Reins, bridles, bits, helmets on sale. First aid supplies, grooming kits, halters. Weight Builder supplement $18.99, from $29.99!

If you don't need anything for your own horse, or don't have a horse to shop for, their gift section is fun to browse. Welcome mats $14.99 (were 18.95,) wind chimes $9.99 (were $19.99) earrings $4.99 (were $17.99.) Check it out.....back to school? Early Christmas shopping?

So, why are we plugging this sale? Simple! If you shop at Country Supply and enter "equineelders" in the box for "Country Care Code," Traveller's Rest will receive a donation based on the amount you spend. You save on sale items and TREES benefits at no extra cost to you.

Truthfully, TREES needs all the pennies you can send our way. Feed prices are going up. Hay prices are going up. Vets must ask more for farm calls. Farriers and dentists may soon need to follow suit. At the same time, we realize it is harder for many families to find "extra" funds to donate to charity. This program helps both the donor and the charity.

So check it out, shop till you drop, and help TREES help equine elders in need.

http://horse.com/ enter country code: equineelders


Monday, August 11, 2008

Fall Workshops at Traveller’s Rest

Fall Workshops at Traveller’s Rest: Animal Communication and Reiki

Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary will host three energy healing and animal communication workshops in September and October 2008, conducted by Janet Dobbs of Animal Paradise Communication and Healing.

A basic Animal Communication workshop will be held Saturday and Sunday, September 13 & 14. This two-day workshop will provide an overview of animal communication and will demonstrate how students already communicate with their animal companions.

A three-day Advanced Animal Communication workshop will run Friday-Sunday, October 10-12. In “The Deepening,” students who have completed the Basic Animal Communication workshop will gain more experience, knowledge, guidance and inspiration.

On October 25 & 26, Janet, a Reiki Master, will conduct a Reiki I (Human and Animal) workshop, teaching a traditional Japanese form of Reiki called Usui Reiki Ryoho. According to Janet, “This Reiki Level I class is for animal people who want to deepen their relationship with animals and learn ways to heal the animals in their lives as well as themselves.”

Traveller’s Rest, a Spotsylvania, VA sanctuary for previously neglected or abandoned elder equine, will receive a portion of the workshops’ fees. For more information about all three workshops or about Janet Dobbs, please visit http://www.animalparadisecommunication.com or call Janet at 703-648-1866. For more about Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary, visit http://www.equineelders.org or call 540-972-0936.

Friday, August 8, 2008

This is Why we do it, folks.

Delphi arrived yesterday. Horses like Delphi and Marye are the reason Traveller's Rest exists - we're here to make their Golden Years golden. After years of service, don't they deserve that?

Can you help?

Donate via PayPal

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Santa came!

Oh boy, oh boy!

A short note while hopping up and down!

The UPS truck just delivered a brand new, shiny Celestron microscope, courtesy of Gene and Carol Craigo, two of Traveller's Rest's most dedicated volunteers. Having this microscope (and a few other supplies) means we will be able to perform fecal egg counts at the farm for pennies. Being able to do FEC's on a frequent basis will allow us to monitor the internal parasite control portion of our integrated pest management plan. Hopefully, testing will provide proof that the plan works. On the other hand, it may show that we need to tweak the program in some areas. Either way, this gift provides a priceless opportunity to gauge the success of one aspect of TREES' management style.

Thank you Gene & Carol!! Let the sampling begin!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Got Bots?

'Tis the season. Botfly season. The flies themselves don't harm horses, but their larvae are common parasites of the equine digestive tract.

Ever see this on your horse's legs? (They may appear on other parts of the horse's body as well.) Marye brought these bot eggs with her when she arrived. They were immediately removed.

After the adult botfly attaches eggs to individual hairs on the horse, the eggs begin to hatch when stimulated by warmth and moisture when the horse licks his leg or rubs his muzzle over the eggs. The larvae then burrow into the tongue or gums, where they stay for several weeks. As the next stage emerges from the tissues, they are swallowed and attach to the stomach lining. Approximately nine months later, the grub-like larvae pass out in the manure, pupate in the soil, and the cycle begins begins again.

Last fall, I visited a herd of horses whose legs were literally covered in solid masses of bot eggs. Viewing the photo of "Bot Larvae" at the link listed below will illustrate why that was a disturbing sight. Aside from the potential masses of larvae in the stomachs, it must be tortuous to have that many larvae burrowing into the tissues of the gums and tongue.

Ivermectin will control bot larvae, but wouldn't preventing infestation be easier than managing the subsequent effects?

For more on bots, visit http://www.extension.org/pages/Stomach_bots_in_horses

Monday, August 4, 2008

The cavalry has arrived!

Meet "Fitzhugh Lee!"
"Fitz" for short.

Fitz, who arrived yesterday, is a 25 year old Throroughbred named after Robert E Lee's nephew, a Confederate cavalry commander. Sometime in his past, this handsome gelding suffered a jaw injury, causing a few dental abnormalities. He's had two unhealthy teeth extracted in the past few months, one a "corner incisor" which allows is tongue to slip outside his lips now and then. Fitz will probably always require more frequent dental care than most horses, but is otherwise very healthy.
Each month, TREES receives more and more calls to help equine elders like Fitz. Can you help support Fitz, Marye, or other residents of Traveller's Rest?

Update on Marye

After a hectic week (dentist last Monday, Farrier on Thursday, Massage Therapist on Friday, and "routine" chores in between,) we'll just copy 'n' paste a Marye update posted elsewhere on Saturday:

Oh boy. Marye arrived Monday. She was breathing pretty normally Monday and Tuesday. (She has severe heaves/COPD) While she was still at the other farm, the vet started her on dex to knock down inflammation and ventipulmin as a brochodilator/mild expectorant. Then she came off the dex, continuing on just ventipulmin.

Unfortunately, as her body cleared itself of the dex, she started having trouble again. On top of that the weather took a turn, becoming much hotter and more humid than it was early in the week. Dex injections yesterday made no difference at all. Today the vet came back and gave her a different steroid that I've never heard of before now. Triamcinilone (sp? having a little trouble reading her writing) That reduced the symptoms some, but we're still not back where we were last week.

Wednesday is supposed to be extremely hot and humid, so Doc is standing by for an inhaler treatment that day if needed. Our hope was that if we could get Marye through this (hopefully short) heat wave, we'd have more time to customize a long-term management scheme for her.

But....after Doc had me listen to her lungs today, I'm not terribly optimistic. There is so much scarring that at least one area of one lung is not moving any air at all. Another area literally sounded like a rusty door hinge, which Doc said was the tissues of the bronchi trying to pull apart and take in air. It was the strangest sound I've ever heard through a stethoscope.

The good news is that Marye is very bright and alert, eating well and grazing so we'll keep tweaking her care and see if we can get this under control. On the other hand, she's not buying the reasoning that we need to get her breathing under control before allowing her to go out with a herd.

We're doing our best to keep dust down, 24/7 turnout except during meals, but we are having a mildew problem this year, with more rainfall than normal.

Meanwhile, we're open to any and all alternative or complementary treatment ideas. We don't care how off the wall they may sound!

Edited to add: Since that update on a horse-related discussion forum, we received a response recommended Spirulina as a possible way to manage COPD symptoms. We'll keep Marye on her current medications as we begin this trial, then see if we can wean her off the steroids and ventipulmin.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Girl Scouts, Horses, Bats & Bluebirds

As its Bronze Award project, Girl Scout Troop 3502 chose to help Traveller's Rest with its Integrated Pest Management program (part 2 here.) After visiting the Sanctuary and learning that several equine diseases are transmitted by insect bites, the Scouts agreed to research bluebird and bat habits and build shelters to encourage more of the mighty insectivores to take up residence at TREES.
Today, seven bluebird houses and two bat houses were delivered by five representatives of the Troop. In addition to researching construction details, the girls compiled information on where to position the houses, when the houses are likely to be inhabited, and the benefits of encouraging bluebirds and bats to live at the Sanctuary. As a bonus, each house is signed by its builder; each one a signed original!

We'd like to thank Troop 3502 for the time they invested in helping TREES' residents stay comfortable and healthy in their Golden Years. Hopefully, the girls can return next spring or summer and watch young bluebirds cruising the skies. Thank you, Troop 3502! Come back any time.

Horse-y or not: let us recycle your "stuff!"

Maybe you'd like to support the Horse Elders at Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary, but your "spare" cash is going into your gas tank or in your own hay loft. Perhaps your tack room is crowded with items that haven't been used in five years. Got extra office supplies you need to move out of the way? Do you have hidden talents that might help the Elders in non-material ways?

There's a good chance TREES can use your "stuff!" Here's a list of stuff we can put to good use if you no longer need it. If you have supplies to donate, please mail to TREES, PO Box 2260, Spotsylvania, VA, 22553 or email info@equineelders.org, or call 540-972-0936 for street address.

Horse Care/ Stable Supplies

~100X Microscope to use for on site fecal exams
~Alfalfa/grass mix forage cubes
~Bedding, pine- bulk sawdust, bagged shavings, pelleted bedding
~Box fans
~Clippers, heavy-duty body clippers (to keep Cushings patients comfortable)
~Corta-Flx Rx 100 Ultimate Solution
~Cotton leads
~Desitin or Zinc Oxide
~Double ended snaps
~Fly boots (all sizes)
~Fly masks (all sizes)
~Fly traps or strips
~Funds paid directly to Rappahannock Equine Veterinary Clinic for Traveller's Rest account http://www.rappahannockequine.com/
~Grass Hay - 1st cutting
~Grooming supplies
~Halters (prefer leather or breakaway)
~Ivermectin paste
~Manure forks
~Muck buckets
~Orchardgrass Hay - 2nd cutting
~Portable corral or round pen panels
~Stall mats, used or new, to serve as "place mats" for horses that drop feed on the ground
~Swat ointment
~Triple Antibiotic ointment/Neosporin
~Triple Crown Senior feed
~16 foot stock trailer - Doesn't need to be pretty or fancy, but road-worthy and safe for the horses

Office Supplies/Educational Programs
~8-1/2 x 11 copy paper (white or pastels)
~Legal size paper, white or pastels
~AA batteries
~Books on anything horse related.....fiction, training, nutrition, first aid, genetics, color, general care....if you have it but don't need it, we'll glady accept it!
~Fax machine
~File folders
~Rubber bands
~Paper Clips
~Poster board
~Poster frames, any size
~Permanent markers
~Any surplus office or school supplies - some may be used to support our administrative needs, others might be used for educational displays.
~Table or Floor Easels
~Three-hole punch
~Folding Tables
`Folding Display Boards

~Proof of Purchase seals from Triple Crown, Legends and Reliance feed bags
~100 watt light bulbs
~1x6 oak or poplar fence boards, 8' or 16'
~Battery powered wall clocks w/ second hand
~Gift cards: Office Depot, Staples, or Best Buy, Lowe's or Home Depot, Tractor Supply, Target, etc. We can use almost any cards to purchase office supplies, cleaning or first aid supplies, maintenance and stable supplies, you name it!
~Scrub brushes
~Used tack or books and yard sale items for future fundraising events
~Ideas! Send your suggestions for fundraisers, blog topics, web site content, educational programs, whatever! Let us know what you'd like to see TREES do to further promote the humane care of Equine Elders.

~Grant Development
~Fence Painting
~Farm Labor

If you have supplies to donate, please mail to TREES, PO Box 2260, Spotsylvania, VA, 22553 or email info@equineelders.org, or call 540-972-0936 for street address

And, or course, cash donations are always appreciated.

For more on how your stuff helps senior horses, visit http://www.equineelders.org/

Friday, July 25, 2008

Coming soon to Traveller's Rest..........

New arrival! This is Marye (pronounced like "Marie.") She is currently being cared for by an acquaintence of the owner and will arrive at TREES Monday (july 28) She seems like a dignified, elegant girl. (So far......we'll see what happens when she puts on a little weight and joins a group of already smart aleck elder horses.)

If you're in the Fredericksburg, VA area and would like to meet Marye or any of TREES' other residents, let us know. We'll schedule a visit!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Traveller's Rest in the news!

Thank you Toni Stinson, Caroline Progress and CFC Farm and Home Center!

Read article here

"Smith was overjoyed at the gift of free feed for the 14 elder residents at her farm. The senior feed that many of the resident horses require is their sole source of nutrition since many no longer have the ability to graze due to dental issues.

'We feed about 100 pounds of feed a day, so this will really help,' Smith said."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

TREES and the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign

Traveller's Rest is now registered with the Combined Virginia Campaign!
"The Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) is the tool that facilitates State Employee giving."

If you are a Commonwealth Employee, please consider TREES as your CVC designate to help Forgotten Friends.
CVC Code 3876

Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th Firework Safety For Horses

From 'A Horse and a half'

TREES does not particularly look forward to "the Fourth." Last year, neighbors on opposite sides of the sanctuary seemed to be having a competition to see who had purchased more illegal fireworks than the other. Batten down the hatches and pray for rain tonight.

Wade's new clothes

Wade, Wade, Wade.

What looks like one of TREES' strongest, healthiest geldings is actually one big ball of special needs.

To begin, Wade has Cushings. He had already been diagnosed as Cushingoid before arrival and was being treated with pergolide. He seemed to be free of observable symptoms, with the exception of excess sweating on moderately hot days.

Two summers ago, Wade had a short period of the itchies. Tail rubbing, belly rubbing, occasional hives. Episodes seemed to come and go quickly, so we didn't get overly concerned.

Last summer, it became apparent that Wade was developing serious allergies to something in his environment. He rubbed an enormous bald spot on his tailhead. The hair on his midline was replaced by weeping, itchy lesions. He lost most of the hair on his face, even though we never saw him rub his head.
Allergies in horses are often treated with steroids like dexamethasone or prednisone. Steroids and Cushings, however, are not a good mix. Wade was given hydroxyzine, an antihistamine, and Voila! Itching was gone, hair returned, life was good. Hydroxyzine, in horse-size doses, though, can get a little pricey.

As spring 2008 approached, it was obvious Wade was facing even more pronounced symptoms. By now, the vets were fairly sure Wade's sensitivity was to insect bites. As they dispensed antihistamines, they recommended finding fly spray concentrates and diluting to only 10% rather than 5% or less. Ach. Not something we really wanted to apply to a horse with so many imbalances already.

Thus began yet another round of experimentation and observation. Aha! Wade was coming in with hives in the morning, but by each evening the hives were pretty much gone. The culprit seemed to be nocturnal.

Coincidentally, Schneiders catalog came along......lo and behold, a Mosquito Mesh sheet for horses! Its perfect. Wade wears his at night. No hives, no tail rubbing, his facial hair is returning. Bingo! And he's been off hydroxyzine for several weeks now. Even better!

He's not wearing it in the photo above, but as an afterthought, we also purchased a neck protector since there were a few bites just in front of the sheet.

Wade wears his new clothes at night, and trades them during the day for a fly mask and boots.

Oddly enough, Wade's excess sweating seems to have decreased as well. Whether or not the two things are actually connected is in question, but we'll take it!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What types of horses do you have?

This morning, a reporter with the Caroline Progress asked what kinds of horses we have at the sanctuary. In thinking more about that question, we realized just what a variety of residents we've been priveledged to care for at Traveller's Rest.

In terms of breeds, we've hosted several Thoroughbreds (one a grandson of Secretariat,) a few Quarter Horses (to include Impressive and Poco Bueno descendants,) a Standardbred, two or three Arabians, a Friesian mare (Els B, the first mare to grace the cover of the Stud Book,) two Tennessee Walkers, a mule, two Shetland Pony crosses, a couple of draft crosses, and a plethora of wonderful grade horses (in other words, we don't know their breeding and don't care!)

We've cared for an eventer, a "big lick" Walker, a steeplechaser, several (former) brood mares, Western Pleasure mounts, dressage horses, a cow "pony," camp horses, trail horses, a harness racer, an endurance horse, a barrel racer, and some horses whose pasts are complete mysteries.

Some residents came to the sanctuary due to owners' financial, family, or health difficulties, some were abandoned at boarding stables, some "conveyed" with the property when farms were sold, and some were plainly neglected by owners who didn't care.

The conclusion seems to be that there is no "average" TREES resident. By the same token, no resident in more "special" than the others, regardless of pedigree or accomplishment. Retirement is the great equalizer in the world of equine elders. A Kentucky Derby winner is no more deserving of comfortable Golden Years than a camp horse who toted dozens (hundreds?) of squirming children up and down Blue Ridge trails.

Whatever their backgrounds, all of our residents are "golden" oldies. If you are in Virginia, whether you live here or are passing through, stop by and meet these wonderful old veterans. Forget the stereotype of "old nags." Our residents may surprise you.

Watch for...........

Traveller's Rest and CFC Farm & Home Center in the July 10th issue of the Caroline Progress!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

VA - 27 yo TWH needs home

(This horse is being place by a private owner and is not a resident of, nor affiliated with, Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary.)

From our friends at White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue:

"All:I have received a call about a Tennessee Walking Horse in Gretna, VA who is losing his home due to a divorce. He is 27 yo and suffers from ringbone and had EPM. That's the bad news. The good news is that he isa friendly, good-looking ex-show horse who would look great in yourpasture. He is a 16.1 H mahogany bay who is well-mannered and pasture sound with just a little bute. If you ever wanted a "big lick" TWH butnever had the nerve to actually ride one, here's your boy!Unfortunately, he is losing his home in two weeks and risks being left with someone who is unlikely to even feed him, so he really needs a guardian angel to come get him. "

Interested? Please contact TREES for owner contact info.

To see more listings for senior horses in need of new homes, please click "needs home" tag following this post. This is a listing service only. Traveller's Rest cannot guarantee the accuracy of information contained in "Needs Home" entries.

"No Latitude for Attitude"

After reading this article from the Connecticut Post, we had to pass on the link. A quote from the owner of Gray Friesian Farm sums up horse farm management perfectly. "Our emphasis on mutual respect and community means there's no latitude for attitude.....It's a healthy environment for both people and animals."

"No latitude for attitude." Love it! Applying that phrase to Traveller's Rest includes both humans and horses. Humans can leave ego, attitude, and preconceived notions at the gate and pick them up later on their way out. Caring for a herd of geriatrics requires teamwork, not competition.

Horses, too, can get over "attitude" here. While most are here because their working days are long past, the residents are still expected to maintain good ground manners. There is a tendency to allow special needs horses to get away with behaviors that would not be tolerated in other circumstances. Val, for example, broke a former owner's nose while "head butting." Not acceptable, no matter how "weak" he was at the time! Betty, in her former home, plowed over an elderly man trying to enter her pasture. Obviously not acceptable, chronic illness or no! While we like to see spark, spirit, and self-confidence in our Elders, "attitude" is not necessarily a good thing.

"No latitude for attitude." Leave it at the gate!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Today's "rescue"

As Mike was mucking stalls "out back" this morning, he heard a racket in the aluminum rain gutter on the back of the barn. Since he had the ladder out to hang fly strips, he climbed up for a peek. On its back, trying mightily to right itself, was

a male Eastern hercules beetle, also called a rhinoceros beetle, or unicorn beetle (apt names all!)

Mr. Beetle was released in a brush pile, we hope to be fruitful and multiply. OK, hercules beetles don't really have a job in our pest management program (adults eat plant sap and larvae eat decaying wood) but you have to admit they are interesting to have around!

Is Horse Rescue Depressing?

Several days ago, a new visitor to Traveller’s Rest commented that she was relieved to visit a rescue facility that wasn’t completely depressing. That was not the first time we heard someone express that sentiment, even though it is not always worded the same way. While we are thrilled to hear that visitors feel TREES’ horses are happy and well-cared for, it is disheartening to hear that equine shelters as a whole have reputations as unhappy places.

Why do so many people hold that opinion? Rescue facilities should be places of celebration. Celebrate that the horses in residence are safe from whatever circumstances put them at risk. Celebrate that they no longer suffer starvation, pain from untreated illness or injury, or anxiety due to isolation or excessive confinement. Celebrate that the resident horses are returning to good health and regaining confidence.

Granted, there may always be a horse or two that seems unhappy or insecure at a shelter or sanctuary. Horses that have recently arrived at a shelter have every right to be unhappy. They may be ill or injured. They may be malnourished. They may have lived for years in a small dark stall and are overwhelmed by the outside world.

That part of their lives, however, is all in the past once they reach safe haven. Don’t dwell on the past. Focus on the future. A horse’s recovery is often measured in small increments. Take note of the smallest changes. We cannot push recovering horses into more than they can handle, physically or emotionally, at the time. Progress is progress and each horse will recover at his own pace.

Don’t look at rescued horses as “poor things.” Instead, let them know how special they are and that The Good Life has arrived. Most horses are very sensitive to their caregivers’ moods. If you are anxious, the horse may be anxious. If you are relaxed, the horse is more likely to relax. A relaxed, secure horse will recover far more quickly than one that is unsure or afraid. “Listen” to the horse, note the small changes, and appreciate the trust a formerly mistreated animal may offer.

Celebrate the rescue. Celebrate the sanctuary. Celebrate the horses’ futures. And whether you are a rescuer, a rescue supporter, or a rescue volunteer, celebrate your part in those futures.

(“Geezers Rule!”)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Integrated Pest Management, Part 2


Picking up manure on a frequent basis helps control fly populations as well as internal parasites, but as a whole, flying critters are almost impossible to eradicate entirely. Poop-scooping is an obvious step in controlling fly populations. Here are a few other things TREES does:

All of our residents eat “mush,” which is simply Triple Crown Senior Formula soaked in warm water to an oatmeal-like consistency. Since many elders tend to drop feed as a result of dental challenges, the mush ends up on walls, in stall corners, smeared on stall gates and on the horses themselves. Even after it has dried, leftover mush attracts a lot of flies. To combat this problem, a whisk broom and dustpan is always nearby. Walls and gates are brushed off after meals, corners are swept, and horses’ faces and legs are cleaned when necessary. Flies are experts are finding the tiniest bits of leftovers, so all feed dishes are removed from stalls and rinsed or scrubbed after each meal, even when they appear clean.

Because flies can find bits of food the humans miss, many TREES residents wear fly masks and boots during the day. It seems that no amount of grooming or washing can remove every mush molecule once Sonny or Rienzi smear breakfast all over their lower legs. Fly masks andboots do not affect the fly population, but they do keep the horses more comfortable.
Another control measure involves good old-fashioned fly strips. Strips are hung in stalls and run-in sheds, especially near feeding stations. They do a good job, but need to be replaced often. Fly strips are useless once full.

“Fly Predators” also seem to be effective. We’ve noticed a drop in numbers since beginning to use them, but because our neighbors have both horses and cattle, we are visited by their flies. Since fly predator orders are based on the number of horses on a property, next year we will order based on both farms’ populations and place predators along the property line.

Mosquitoes and other flying pestilence

While flies are a big problem around many farms, mosquitoes warrant attention too. Several very unpleasant, sometimes fatal, equine diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes. West Nile Virus is one example. During wet years like this one (our area had the second wettest May on record this spring) it’s hard to do anything about puddles, but under normal circumstances, there are a few easy steps toward reducing mosquito populations. Most obvious is to eliminate standing water. Turn empty containers upside down so they don’t collect water. Don’t allow old tires to collect on the property. If you maintain bird baths, dump and refill them twice a week. Horses’ water tanks and troughs should be dumped and refilled twice weekly as well.

TREES also encourages resident bluebirds, barn swallows, bats, toads, and frogs. As a matter of fact ALL insect-eating critters are welcome here! According to “
Chiroptera: Life History & Ecology,” “Insect-eating bats are supremely good at what they do: a single little brown bat can catch and eat 600 mosquitoes in an hour.” Bluebirds Forever tells us that “bluebirds eat large quantities of insects, in fact 60-80% of their diet is insects.”Currently, only one bluebird house graces our fences, but plans to mount several more are underway. Bat houses will also be added this year. Toads have voluntarily taken up residence under all of the water tanks, requiring a little extra care when cleaning the tanks. Some toads can consume well over half their body weight in insects each day. Barn swallows often nest in sheds, run-ins and barns. BirdWeb says “Barn Swallows eat mostly flying insects, especially flies…..”


Traveller’s Rest has been lucky in the tick department. For the last five years, the only control measure required has been our “tick buffers.” The grass outside all fences is mowed very short. This seems to keep the ticks in the woods or in unused meadows, whether on our property or the neighbors. Walk in the woods or “tall grass,” though and all bets are off!

TREES’ pest control measures require a little extra work each day, but since most are free or cost very little, it seems worth it to provide a more comfortable, and cleaner, greener, living space for the elders.

We’d love to hear other ideas. Please tell us about your integrated pest management techniques

Friday, June 27, 2008

Integrated Pest Management

As part of our holistic approach to horse care, Traveller’s Rest is experimenting with several non-chemical means of pest management.

Internal parasites

Standard Operating procedure on many farms is to administer a chemical anthelmintic and/or boticide every six to eight weeks, year ‘round, no matter what. We’re trying some techniques that may make such frequent administration unnecessary. Most are aimed at preventing the horses from reinfesting themselves day after day.

When a new horse arrives at TREES, he or she is kept isolated from the other horses. This serves several purposes, but one is to keep a new horse with a potentially heavy parasite load from infecting pastures, paddocks or drylots occupied by other horses. The newcomer is kept separately for several months, being dewormed twice during that period. Manure is picked up in the area at least once, often twice, daily.

In established pasture groups, manure is picked up every day when possible, but is left no longer than three days. According to a report by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (Australia,) “the egg of the small strongyle may take between three to five days to hatch, depending on the temperature. When hatched the larvae develops from first instar larvae to second instar larvae and migrates from dung to pasture as encapsulated third instar larvae.” Cleaning up manure several times a week will hopefully break that cycle.

To monitor the effectiveness of this program, TREES would like to purchase the tools and supplies needed to perform on-site fecal egg counts at regular intervals. We’re researching sources and prices now. Results will allow us to administer chemical dewormers only when needed and will also tell us whether or not some horses are prone to heavier parasite loads than others.

Boticides will be administered once or twice a year, but to lessen the load, all horses are examined daily during the summer for bot eggs which are removed immediately upon discovery.

Part Two of our Pest Management notes will discuss flies, ticks, mosquitoes and other flying pestilence.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Summer Solstice!

June 21. The day of the year on which "daylight" is at a maximum, and "night time" is at its shortest. According to ReligiousTolerance.org, "People around the world have observed spiritual and religious seasonal days of celebration during the month of June. Most have been religious holy days which are linked in some way to the summer solstice. "

No matter how you view Summer Solstice, at Traveller's Rest it is a day of celebration. Especially for Betty Boop.
Betty suffers an autoimmune disorder called pemphigus foliaceous. Her immune system sees her own tissues as foreign substances and attacks her cells as if they were bacteria or viruses. The result is a number of skin lesions which, when not managed, can cover her entire body, causing itching, infection, weight loss, irritability, anxiety and other problems.

Betty's immune system is controlled by daily doses of prednisolone, a corticosteroid. Since long term steroid use is often accompanied by unpleasant side effects, we strive to keep Betty's dose as low as possible while controlling the pemphigus symptoms.

Oddly, the most problematic "trigger" that sets the disorder in high gear is exposure to sunlight. Betty must stay indoors from dawn to dusk, sunup to sundown, 365 days a year. Betty's quarters are a 12x24 stall, deeply bedded, with fans at each end and attached to a run-in shed where two of her "roomies" hang out during the day. Even with roomy accommodations and company, however, being inside and free from symptoms is no substitute for turnout.

And so, we celebrate June 21, for starting tomorrow the hours of sunlight begin to shorten and Betty's turnout time will increase, little by little, until Winter Solstice when the cycle begins again.

Happy Summer Solstice, Betty!

Another "slight pause"

"Slight pause!!!" was something my grandmother always announced, slightly annoyed, when one of her grandchildren didn't jump on his or her turn quickly enough during one of our many many many card games.
Once again, we had a "Slight Pause" in our blog. This time, the problem was a hard drive failure in a three-month old computer. Fortunately, the warranty covered replacement and we're back in business. The Geek Squad was able to salvage most of our data, but not everything, especially the most recent updates (do as I say, not as I do......Back Up your files!)
The most serious loss was our email address book and whatever emails were pending response in the last few weeks. If you emailed TREES recently and have not heard from us, please send us another note. We're doing our best to catch up with everything computer-related. We apologize for this inconvenience. Thanks for sticking with us.