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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back from Vacation!

Howdy!  I'm back from a wonderful vacation....updates and pics coming soon.  Just wanted to drop a note saying I missed you'all and I'm excited to catch up. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thoughts on I'll Have Another's injury

Just saw this annoucment:

 It makes me wonder, with a potential Triple Crown winner on their hands, why the trainer didn't get the filling in the leg ultrasounded prior to letting him do the gallop? The article doesnt say whether the horse had a history of filling, which might have influenced his decision.

I'm not one to try and play "back seat vet" or "back seat horse owner" since there's always circumstances that aren't fully reported, BUT with it being such a public case, and dealing with several cases of "superficial digital tendonitis" I just wonder. The last thing I would do a week prior to Tevis would be to take my horse out that had filling in one leg and do a conditioning ride on it --> If I had any thought I would do Tevis on that horse still, I would ultrasound it first to see what, if any, visible damage there was, before risking further damage.

Further out from the race, I might do exactly what the trainer did --> give the horse some time off, wait until it dissapeared (I think they waited?) and then go out for a light conditioning ride and see what happened. I do this all the time, especially with my horse's history because filling isn't a reliably indicator of whether there's an reinjury in Farley's leg right now (although it IS an indicator that I did something that was probably too much).

Even with tremendous public pressure I'm glad the decision was made for the horse's sake, although I'm dissapointed (as I'm sure everyone is) that there will be no triple crown winner this year. May we all have the determination and courage to do the same by our horses when that time comes!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mickie is missing - UPDATE FOUND

UPDATE: I found her this evening in the bushes of a neighbors house.  Was on the porch and when I called her, immediately ran and hid (typical for this cat, very shy).  Would look at me but very hesitant to come forward so I ran into the house for a can and a canopener.  She's never been on wet food in her LIFE, but because when I originally accepted her company at the Wild horse Sanctuary I lived and worked at I used to share my can of tuna with her, I think that's why she comes running at the sound.  Sure enough, it worked like a charm, she came to me, and is recuperating in the bathroom where she won't be stressed by the activity of the household.  Hopefully if she gets outside again, she'll be familiar enough with the neighborhood that she'll stay close again.  WHOO HOO!

 PS - ignore the shredded towel -> it's a dog towel. 

Original Post:

Just wanted everyone to know that my cat is is missing.  Obviously none of you are local and I don't expect search parties are anything!  But I would appreciate good thoughts being sent her way.  I'm leaving for a week out of state in a couple of days and it's now been officially 24 hours since she went missing.  She was a feral that chose me almost 10 years ago and has chosen to be a house cat since then, although for a couple of years she did have to be a ranch kitty while I finished college!  She slipped out of a screen in the bedroom that had a tear in it wednesday early morning and I haven't seen her since.  She's a shy cat that likely hid somewhere and i fully expected to see her that evening but so far no luck.  She's wearing a safety collar and is easy to identify so I'm hoping that if I leave a message at the pound i have a good chance of getting her back if she was picked up (instead of "random tabby").  Of course she's the only pet I have that isn't microchipped! I'll update this with a picture of Mickie once I get home. I can't figure out how to post blog pics from the iPad and my email posting isn't working right now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The last of the nutrition stuff

Some thoughts on Hay

Many many many of the issues in our horses come back to how we feed and the nutrition.

For you cow people,  the hind gut of the horse functions like the rumen (that’s where the stuff ferments etc) --> dysfunction in this part of the GI system will result in SYSTEMATIC effects.  I can think of more than one disease that fits this definition, such as laminitis/founder.
--> in the future, will probably find out that hind gut dysfunction has an impact on lameness.  KER at the AERC convention talked at length about how different feeds, such as corn, function in the hind gut and warned that it’s really not a good idea to feed substances that alter the physiologic environment of the hind gut (like corn).   He talked about feed stuffs in light of ulcers etc, but what you put into the horse goes beyond ulcer risks. 

Horses are fed on a dry weight basis as a % of BW --> The reason that grazing on a pasture is so good for a horse is because moisture is so much higher on pasture, and it takes all day for the horse to eat 2% DM of BW on pasture.  However, that same a 2% dry matter in a flake of hay can be polished off in an hour. 

Based on nutritional content of a “typical” pasture, a “maintenance” horse can probably be maintained on pasture, working horses probably have additional requirements.

Grain hays: tend to higher in NSC (>20%).  May have lower protein.  Bottom line: although I may occasionally feed it (for example, if it’s at a ride and it’s at the check and that’s what Farley wants), I will not make feeding grain hays a typical practice.

Legume hays:  VERY high protein (even though it is lower quality than dairy alfalfa, still running over 20%) and Ca.  Typically high calorie.  Low starch and sugar (low glycemic) but some carb sensitive horses can not handle it (11%). Experts are not sure why. Adding more than 25-30% to the horses diet is not recommended --> diets that contain over this amount are hard to balance nutritionally.  in addition to the additional water needed to process the protein (as discussed earlier in the blog), high protein --> causes body temperature to go up!!!!!!  At this point you may be saying, why the heck would I ever feed alfalfa to my endurance horse?  Alfalfa has a more complete amino acid profile (lysine) than other hays (such as grass), which is needed when the horse is under significant work and building/repairing muscle.  Additionally, the calcium has a buffering property.   I plan to make sure I include alfalfa in my horses diet before, during, and after an endurance ride, even if I don’t typically feed it.  Alfalfa that is added to the diet should be fed in the morning because that’s when the acid content of the stomach is highest.  Why? The horse stomach continually produces acid in its stomach regardless of whether it’s eating (because from an evolution standpoint it’s a grazer), and the horse is usually not eating as much at night, if at all.

Grass hays: moderate protein (10-12%, which is PLENTY of protein for the performance horse! However some areas are growing grass hays that have 18% protein.  Know the forage in your area!), lower calorie, moderate NSC (~12%).  Grass hay is suitable for most horses.  I personally love grass hay for my endurance horse and this makes up the bulk of Farley’s diet. 

***remember to look at the leaf to stem ratio regardless of the hay in your hay quality evaluation.

If you are buying hay in large quantities, hay analysis is fairly cheap ($26 or so).

I think we all know to look at the NSC’s, calcium, Se, Copper, Iron etc in hay analysis’, but something else to look at in your hay analysis is ADF. 
-Do not want an ADF over 32% or so for performance (or other high energy need horse)!

To weigh or not weigh?

Interesting fact: Flakes tend to be consistent in one load of hay because of how it is baled --> so if you weigh flakes at the beginning of a load, you have a good estimate of what flakes in that load will weigh. 

Thoughts on other Feeds

Dr. Thunes mentioned Triple Crown several times in her presentation.  In generally, Triple Crown, and other companies that are fixed ingredient/fixed formulation feeds will cost a bit more, and flutuate with feed prices, because they don’t sub in ingredients.  My favorite companies, like LMF, Elk Grove Milling (stable mix), are fixed ingredient/formulation products. 

Dr. Thunes opinion is low level deficiencies cause problems in the older horse, even if the younger version looks fine.  Thus, feed a ration balancer.  Hay is predictably low in minerals and vitamins, thus feeding a ration balancer is an EXCELLENT idea, unless you are feeding another complete feed AT the manufacture recommendation.  I personally don’t know of ANYONE that feeds as much complete feed/senior feed etc. at the manufacture’s recommendations, so my suspicion is that most of us fall into the category of needing a ration balancer, if our horses’ diet consists mainly of hay. 

There’s a particular ration balancer she liked for California hays --> if you are feeding a California hay, email or comment and I’ll give you the specific product (triple crown).

One question I had for Dr. Thunes was feeding a ration balancer on top of another feed that is being fed below the manufacture’s recommendation.  For example, I feed EGM Stable Mix at various levels depending on the amount of work Farley’s in, but as this feed is formulated as a “complete” feed that can completely substitute for hay in the horses’ diet, it is unlikely I will EVER feed enough for her to meet the recommendation on the bag.  This applies to other feeds too --> I fed LMF Gold for a while and while the manufacture’s recommendation was around 12 pounds or so (relying on memory here….) I never fed over 4 or 5 pounds because I didn’t need to based on her body condition (adding most of these feeds in order to maintain a certain level of calories, or for mashes at rides for hydration etc.). Am I creating an imbalance by adding another feed on top of the ration balancer?

Her answer was that feeding a ration balancer on top of another feed, as long as I fed the feed below recommended manufacture’s amount is fine, even in the case of a feed like LMF Gold, where I’m feeding a higher %age of the recommended as compared to Stable mix.  Feeding a ration balancer on top of beet pulp and oil is also fine.  If at some point you feed enough of the “feed” to meet the manufacture’s recommendation on the bag, then discontinue the ration balancer. 

I had pretty much come to the conclusion that there was no use for stuff like grains, corn, in my horse’s diet.  Thus, I surprised to learn that anaerobically working horses need grain!!!!!  They NEED the starch.  There IS a place for these feeds in SOME horse’s diets.  That being said, endurance horses are working aerobically so it’s unlikely that the endurance horse needs substantial amounts of starch or grain in their diet.  High levels of fermentable fiber (like beet pulp), hay, a ration balancer, and some oil should probably be the basis of the endurance horse diet (not corn, molasses, grain hays, etc.)

One of the things that seems to shock horsey non-endurance people when they ask what my horse eats at rides is my attitude of “my horse can eat whatever she wants”.  They always ask about colic etc because of letting my horse try novel hays and mashes at rides that she doesn’t have access to on a regular basis at home.  There’s a couple of strategies that might be worth considering if your horse eats a fairly simple diet of grass hay, oil, beet pulp at home, but you want to provide more options at a ride without worrying. 

-One is to introduce alternative feeds 1-2 weeks before the ride.  In those 1-2 weeks I stop the oil, increase vitamin E concentrations, increase Se supplementation and add a small flake of Alfalfa.  If I haven’t been feeding EGM mashes, I start adding them in those weeks and I rotate LMF gold or whatever other feed I have at hand that I plan on bringing to the ride. 

-Another thought is to pick a feed whose top 3 ingredients are typical forages that the horse might see at a ride, OR feeds that you can break out and offer separately so the horse has more variation on ride day, without those feeds being truly “novel”.  For example, if you pick a feed that contains “Oat, beet pulp, etc.” in it’s top ingredients, you could offer that as a mash during the ride, OR offer an oat mash, beet pulp mash etc. as separate choices. 

I’ll end this post with 3 of my favorite feeds :) --> triple crown, LMF, EGM. 

EGM Senior Stable Mix -> has a higher fat content than the “regular Stable Mix”.  I think this is regionally available in the west so sorry all you folks on the east coast.  It’s an affordable feed with a fixed ingredient list, and it’s a local company.

LMF Low NSC Feed -> I used to feed LMF gold but I think this would be a better choice for Farley.

Triple Crown Low Starch -> I got a sample of this at the AERC convention and I was really happy with it.  Great palatability, made a great “milk-shake” mash.

I hope you got a few gems out of these posts.  I know I sure did. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

continuing with the nutrition stuff

It's going to be a scorcher today.  My guess is the weather is trying to prepare me for what Arizona is going to feel like next week.  I see napping in my future and a distinct lack of motivation to run. 

We are nearing the end of the selenium and vitamin E discussion.  Just a couple of wrap up points, some product recommendations, and some miscellaneous tidbits.

Vitamin E and Selenium Wrap up/Product Recommendations
I continue to feed and recommend the Selenium supplement sold by Platinum Performance.  I trust the company and had good results with it actually making a difference in the Selenium blood levels of my horse.  I've heard recommendations for smart pak, so if you are already a customer there, that might be a consideration.  I would also trust products from KPP (Kentucky Performance Products) or KER (Kentucky Equine Research).  My preference is feed my Selenium and vitamin E separately, so I can monitor both and adapt to the other nutrition parameters/practices in my horse's life.  For example, if I start feeding a complete feed or ration balancer  that has adds a certain amount of Selenium to my horse's diet, I may want to back off on my Selenium supplementation, however, adding a complete feed or switching to a different hay supplier doesn't necessarily mean that the vitamin E supplementation need goes away - I need to be able to supplement them separately. 

I'm currently feeding vitamin E that is sold at Walmart for humans.  It's ~$22/bottle (although on line it's listed for $15, but I've never bought it for that price, so I'll use the $22 number for this purpose).  It is possible for Farley to pick out the little capsules if I'm not watching carefully.  I'm not sure they break down well in a horse stomach --> they don't' break down noticeably in mashes.  I guess it SEEMS to work, but I have very little evidence either way since I don't measure her vitamin E levels.  KPP sells a vitamin E supplement separately.  In a cost analysis, the KPP product is $52.52 for 2 pounds.  From their webstite, 7g of powder = 1,000 I/U.  Thus to feed 3,000 I/U per day (my maintenance dose), I need to feed 21g of powder.  A 2 pound tub would last ~43 days, or approximately $1.22/day.  My walmart stuff lasts ~62 days, or ~$0.35/day.  Huge difference in cost.  There may be other options as well --> Smart pak looks like it has product that is in between the cost of Walmart and KPP.   KER has a vitamin E only supplement that has "nano" technology, (hind gut buffer so you know that it will be absorbed) but it's pricey.  Dr. Thunes recommendation was that I use the KER product for dosing the 5,000 I/U in the 2 weeks prior to race to make sure that my horse has sufficient levels. 

Sorry folks, but my time allotted to blog today has just ended so I'll have to get to the rest of my points (balancing the ration and my misc points) in the next post.  Finding the product links took me more time than I thought it would!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

OK OK OK.....

So I didn't post daily and the series isn't an appeasement I give you.......

A write up my mom did about the first day of the backpacking trip.  As an incentive I will tell you that it contains cute pictures of Tess!!!!  It was the longest trip I've taken yet at 3 nights.  I would love to do the John Muir trail in a couple of years so I keep pushing a little further and harder each time to see how realistic that goal is. 

This has never happened to me, but I thought it was HILARIOUS because I could totally see it happening.....yes I have a roomba vaccum and I have dogs --> dogs that have not yet figured out how very funny (NOT) this would be.  The video is a little slow, but watch it 'til the end. :)

Series is continuing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

more on vit E/Se/Balancing rations

Let's move onto Selenium.


Selenium has a very narrow range of "OK".  Too little is bad, too much is bad.  This scares a lot of people.  Talk to knowledgeable people in the animal medicine field about selenium supplementation in horses and the first thing I get is a look of concern, followed by "did you hear about the polo ponies?".

The polo ponies had an overdose of Se given by IV.  Not orally.  Someone made a decimal point error the ponies received many many many times the safe amount of Selenium.  I asked every nutrition professor and nutrition guest lecturer of whether they had EVER heard of a Selenium overdose that occurred in horses as a result of ORAL supplementation.  The answer has been no.

That being said, if you are going to supplement Se, keep in mind that most feeds have Se in them and it can add up very quickly if you are feeding 5 pounds of this and 2 pounds of that and scoop of that over there.....I try to keep my feeding routine very simple (not feeding a lot of different feeds or "complete" supplements), supplement with a product from a company I trust, AND periodically test Farley's Se blood levels.  Personal research has made me comfortable with a level of 0.3ppm or above in endurance horses.  There's nothing published that I can find, and no one I've talked to in the nutrition world has been able to give me a definitive answer.  However, from my research, and people I've talked to, and personal experience, I shoot for a blood ppm level of 0.30-0.45.  Considering that the upper safe level is 0.5ppm ("normal" is 0.08-0.5ppm *I think*  Need to go back and double check the range) I'm operating at the top of the "safe" range and need to be careful.  I don't always get my hay from the same sources although my other feeding remains fairly constant and depending on whether the hay is local or shipped from the NW (Oregon, Washington etc.) the Se levels can vary GREATLY, which is why it is worth my time to keep an eye on Farley's Se levels.  Even though in my opinion oral supplementation is generally safe, especially if you have a baseline Se value for the horse and you know you aren't sitting at 0.45 or 0.5, if your hay source varies AND you are feeding a multitude of different feeds/supplements/mashes etc., I would DEFINITELY be testing blood levels regularly if I decided I wanted to supplement.

Selenium is "vitamin E" sparing, meaning that when you have sufficient levels of Selenium, vitamin E doesn't get "used up" as fast.  Selenium, like Vitamin E participates in the antioxidant process and neutralizes radical oxygen species (ROS).

Radical Oxygen species
I thought that it might be useful to briefly discuss what ROS's do since both vitamin E and Selenium are both neutralizing them and it seems that this actually might be relevant to endurance horses --> since apparently deficiencies may be linked to all sorts of things, and it is my belief that one part of why Farley tyed up in 2010 was related to being deficient!

ROS are generated by inflammation, radiation, oxygen toxicity, chemicals, and reperfusion injury.  They alter the membranes of cells in ways that decreases stability and maintenance of permeability --> which leads to collapse of cell structure and cell rupture.  This is BAD.  There are several defenses against ROS, one of which is antioxidants.  Vitamin E "quenches" the ROS.  The "used" vit E is then regenerated by vit C.  Glutathione (another antioxidant) regenerates vit C.  Selenium reacts with the product that vitamin E changed and changes it further into something harmless (water I think).

So, as you can see, Se and Vitamin E participate in the same process, BUT they aren't necessarily directly linked.

Deficiencies of vit E and Selenium

Now that I've thoroughly bored the vast majority of my readers, let's go on to conditions that cause deficiencies!!!!!!!

Even though I explained (in probably unnessarily complicated biology) that Se and vitamin E and not necessarily biologically linked, except as participating in the same cycle, deficiencies of Se ARE linked with vitamin E deficiencies!

Here's the short list of conditions that create deficiencies that I thought relevant to endurance
-Consumption of grains or forages deficient in Se of vitamin E (for horses, almost everything we feed them is vitamin E deficient.  Most feeds are OK in Se, but depending on where you live your forage may or may not be OK).

-diets that include unsaturated fatty acids (I mentioned this in my fat post.  Feeding fish oil requires an increase in vitamin E!!!!!!!!  IMO choose a different oil to feed your horse....)

-stress and high rates of production (ummm......IMO there is just a *wee* bit of stress associated with running 50-100 miles.  What do you think?)

-Damage to tissues (oh I'm sure horses coming off of a 100 *never* have damaged tissues......or muscle repair....or soreness....or any other type of tissue repair going on....)

I've already touched on Se supplementation, but a note about vitamin E supplementation: generally regarded safe.

As with anything you can over do it, but that 3-5K I/U range that mentioned in my last post is what I consider appropriate for my endurance horse.

I'll get into the specifics of what I feed and why, and what I'll be switching too in a next post :).

Just a note: There are tests that you can do to test levels of both Se and vitamin E, however the only one I've seen done in my experience is the Selenium test, since that's the one with the narrow margin of safety.  With more wiggle room on the vitamin E, I just don't see the sense personally to spend the money.

To be continued!.....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Revisiting vit E, Se, and overall nutrition of the endurance horse

During the last block of my first year of vet school I got to sit through some lectures on nutrition, including a lecture on equine nutrition given by Dr. Claire Thunes.  I learned some really interesting stuff that I wanted to pass along to you. 

The good news is, if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, especially through Farley’s tye up an my discussion of vitamin E and Selenium supplementation, there’s probably not a lot of new information here.  I think that many endurance riders ARE well educated on the importance of vitamin E, Selenium, and the role of forage in a performance horse diet.  As always, there were a few nuggets of information that were new to me and I’ll be implementing them into Farley’s nutrition routine. 

I’ll start with the introduction and general information that was presented during my nutrition class, and then follow it up with specific performance/endurance horse information that I learned in the equine portion of the lecture.

Warning --> this is probably going to post in several parts over the next couple of days.  I’ll try to work on it daily and have the series finished up by the end of the week :). 

Vitamin E

The term “vitamin E” is a term used to describe several compounds.  There’s all sorts of naturally occur forms with various names, but the one you need to be aware of in terms of meaningful nutritional activity is alpha-tocopherol.  D-alpha-tocopherol has the greatest activity, synthetic sources of vitamin E are a racemic mixture of D and L-a-tocopherol (I see some of you gamely reaching deep into the recesses of your brain trying to recall your organic chemistry.  Don’t bother.  Basically, look for the alpha-tocopherol designation on the vitamin E label, and realize that D and L forms exist, which are mirror images of each other, and the mirror images have different biological activity.  See?  Simple!).

As most of you probably remember, Vitamin E is one of the fat soluble vitamins and is unstable/reactive and has to be packaged nicely so that it stays good for the body to use.  Vitamin E is often used to control the rancidity of fat in foods while it’s in storage, but it’s a balancing game because the same factors that will cause fat to go rancid (heat, light etc.) also cause vitamin E to break down, in addition to the vitamin E that used up controlling the rancid fat……How food is stored MATTERS.  Hot warehouses are not your friend.  Putting your horse/dog/cat food in a clear container where the sunshines is not good.  Putting that food anywhere the sun can heat it up (like a garbage can out in the open) is not good.  The unstable nature of Vitamin E is one reason I’ve struggled with how to supplement it.  It has to be processed with a stablizer/carrier --> I’m feeding a human supplement, but how much of that is actually bioavailable to the horse digestive system since that’s not what that particular product was designed for?  How was that supplement stored before I got it, especially if I am feeding a horse specific product that wasn’t stored in a human grade warehouse?  How am I storing it?  Fortunately I was able to talk to Dr. Thunes about my concerns and got some really good advice that I’ll be sharing later in the post :). 

I’m getting off track, biology first, THEN practical application.  I know --> most of you probably don’t care about all this theoretical stuff and just want me to get down to the bottom line, but trust me, I’m only sharing the nit-picky details that I think are important as you make your own decision (perhaps in conjunction with your vet) about what program you want to put together for you and your horse. 

Alrighty.  So how/why does Vitamin E work?  It’s primary function is that of an ANTIOXIDANT.  I won’t bore you with the details, but basically it protects the cell membranes in the face of oxidative damage (I think --> anywhoo it’s some sort of oxygen-type radical damage that I don’t feel like looking up).  In the whole cascade of antioxidant activities, it works in CONJUNCTION with Selenium. That’s why vitamin E and Selenium are often talked about in the same breath. 

Natural sources of vitamin E aren’t even worth mentioning.  Of course I was given a list in lecture --> vegetable oils, eggs and liver, green forages esp alfalfa -- that we all dutifully copied down.  The nutritionist giving this lecture was primarily a small animal person and although many of the concepts were universal, some of the information given, like good sources of vitamin E in animal diets, didn’t ring true from what I knew of horse nutrition.  When I ran these sources by the equine nutritionist, I was told that most vegetable oils lose the vitamin E during processing, and drying forages completely destroys the vitamin E in them.  Thus feeding dry forages to horses does NOT provide vitamin E (even if it’s alfalfa) and feeding oil will not substitute for vitamin E supplementation.  On the other hand, fresh pasture has LOTS of vitamin E.  However, I think at least in my part of California, adequate access to pasture is a rariety for most horses. 

In my equine nutrition lecture is was recommended that performance horses have a high level of vitamin E in their diet --> when I asked afterwards exactly what levels were recommended, it was in line with what I’ve been feeding.  3,000 I/U normally, increased to 5,000 I/U 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after an endurance ride. 

It was the equine nutritionists belief that Vitamin E deficiencies (because you can assume your horse doesn’t get any from the hay…..) MIGHT cause some of the disease processes that we are seeing --> i.e. small deficiencies of vitamins and minerals may not seem relevant/harmfull right now, but over time may lead to a shortened career or life span. 

Continued in the next post….

Sunday, June 3, 2012

10 steps to civilized living

How to integrate yourself back into the modern day world after a fabulous 4 day backpacking trip:

Step 1: Look at your face in the starbucks mirror and realize that in addition to the overall dirtiness of your face, there are distinct lines of dirt as if you decided to do some sort of weird Indian warpaint.  Complain to your hiking buddies that they didn't even have the courtesy to tell you, and be told that they didn't even notice.

Step 2: Drink a mocha coconut frappichino while finishing off the rest of your backpacking food.  On the patio.  Because you smell too badly to further integrate yourself into society just yet.

Step 3: Take a shower.  Realize you have ZERO spare clothes.  And since you sacrificed extra clothing in your pack in order to take a pillow, there's nothing that you haven't worn for 4 days.  Borrow clothing from a family member.

Step 4:  Joyfully exclaim that you managed to escape the forest of poison oak with a mere 5 patches of the stuff on various unmentionable places of your body that you didn't bother to apply ivy block. 

Step 5: Sleep.

Step 6: Unpack, wash, dry, and put away gear.  Scamper after the puppy as she realizes she's next on the list for the same treatment.

Step 7: Clean house.  Check on horse.  I use the term rather loosely as I stood at the front of the stable and called her name.  From 6 paddocks away, Farley pricked her ears and walked towards my direction.  I decided she looked fine, paid my board bill, took stitches out of a goat (my first step towards being a small ruminant vet!), and left. 

Step 8:  Put on a sundress and go out for a date night.  There's nothing more civilized than dinner (with a gift card!) and a movie with the boyfriend. 

Step 9: Sleep

Step 10: Peruse facebook.  Discover you have to relearn to type.  After several hours of spying on your friends and family, decide you are caught up on the world events and are ready to rejoin the land of the normal. 

And the last step of all to return to civilized, normal living: WRITE A BLOG POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!