Category Archives: Horse Stories

Unusual Markings! Always fun… And things I wish they would invent!

Note:  12/8/10

Today got away from me… I spent the entire day with Norma and hadn’t prepared my post for you in time for my deadline.  So, I hope you don’t mind me re-posting an Oldie but Goodie.   Thank you for reading!


I’m writing about unusual markings because I was under the wrong impression for several hundred years.  You see, I have a Shetland, Dodger,  that I rescued off of a pony ring.  He was at auction.  Indeed, he had several ugly scar patches of white hairs on his shoulders, but he also had stray white hairs along his back.  At the time, I thought he not only had an ill fitting saddle at his wither, but howdy howdy, his saddle rubbed incorrectly all over his back! (Pictured is a long hair coat on my pony taken today.  All those white hairs will become a web pattern.)

Now, major scarring would be easy to believe because this little pony does have awful conformation.  It would make sense that my pony right circler would have many scars from those tiny kid saddles along his slab-sided top line, narrow high withers and chicken hips.  So, for many years now, let’s say… 14, I’ve believed that he had awful scars that kept growing over the years…  Huh?  Wait a minute… Scars that grow?  OK, something was up here.  So finally I decided to figure out what the heck was going on with this spider web pattern of white hairs growing on his back.

Lacing!  Have you ever heard of it?  Me, neither.  It can also be called “Giraffe markings”.  Literally, every year, this pattern gets bigger.  After doing some research, I find that the lacing is genetic and it grows as the horse grows.  So, all these years I’ve been blaming a non-existent saddle when in truth, he has a rare coat pattern called “lacing”.  Wow.  Just another horsey marvel…

Cool, eh?  I’ve added a few pics of better examples.

As I was thinking about odd patterns, I thought I would look to find unusual marking on the Internet.  Here are several.

1)  This is called “Birdcatcher”.  It is really an unfortunate pattern!  If you can’t quite see it, it appears that the horse was sitting under a few pigeons. .. I think, if it were my horse,  I would just get a sharpie or some food coloring or dye of some type.  Maybe shoe polish… In my head, I get this image of my mother running over with a tissue she’s wet on her tongue to furiously try and wipe off the bird droppings from my show horse….

2)  This one has no name.  It is a big blob of a darker color that looks like your horse is wet in that one particular spot.  These kind of marks remind me of that Far Side cartoon many years ago… It had the one bear with a bullseye marking on his chest and the other bear says, “Bummer of a birthmark, Larry.”

3)  A Heart.  I wonder what they named this horse?  Cupid, probably.  I think I’d like Montague for a colt and maybe Juliet for a filly.

4)  Brindle!  Wow!

5)  This baby is a Fresian/Appy Cross.  Way cool! I would love to see where this baby is today!

6)  These next two are just unusual…

The first looks like half dun or buckskin and the other half, I’m not sure.

The other is a bay horse with a flaxen tail.  It almost looks like extensions.

7)  I love the question mark on this horse.   It also kinda looks like a duck at the top and a tie at the bottom.  Maybe a duck with a really long neck.  Or a duck tie.

8)  And, last but not least, here is a horse with a horse on his forehead.  Perfect!



It never fails that if I am going to take a photo, every horse crowds right up against the lens.  I have to either surprise them and take a bunch of photos before they catch on, or I have to distract them by throwing carrots and then I only get horsey bottoms.  But, with a HorseCamForceField, I would be saved!  With this invention, all you would have to do is push a button and a light mist would stun your horses into a lovely, dreamy state.  They would feel like posing and moving close to the camera would be a far away thought.  They would be inspired to love life and do their best to resemble Barbaro.  And, as they prance around, trying to get the perfect action shot, all you would have to do is push another button that makes them freeze in their most becoming action stance.  Ahhhh.

HorseCamForceField App – In Hand Genie:

This would be an application for the HorseCamForceField.  When you are alone, you could just push a button and your genie would arrive to park out your horse for a decent standing shot.  As we know, it is impossible to quick run out and take a successful in-hand shot of your horse.  But, now with the In-Hand Genie app, all you do is push a button and out pops a little replica of Clinton Anderson or Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid or John Wayne.  If you upgrade, you could get Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall.

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INSTANT KARMA DO-GOODING! Our December Bucket Fund
HELP AND GET A PAYBACK!!   Donation Gift Certificates are here (link)!  Yup, if you donate to help Tullie (the burned horse), Gump (the ugly horse), Dixie (the starved and sick horse) or the Wild Mustangs/Burros (the gathered horses), you can now get  “A Donation has been made in Your Honor” certificates to give as gifts!  You can give them to coworkers, family, friends or even in lost pets’ names… for this Holiday Season. Yay!  INSTANT KARMA!

Click here for the Bucket Fund Donor Gift Certificates

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

When they’re sick.

After having any kind of animal around for a while, you become familiar with what to do when they’re sick.

Sometimes you play barnvet and tend to the kinds of surface wounds you’ve seen a million times or you put the ointment in the globby eye during fly season or you watch that little swollen area to make sure it is indeed a bug bite…   Sometimes, clearly, you realize that whatever is wrong is outside of your simple knowledge so you call the vet and he fixes it.  But sometimes it is different.  Sometimes you know immediately that you need to call the vet NOW and sometimes you don’t know how it will end.

This is the kind of sick that tries your soul.  This is the kind of sick that grips your brain and makes you run logarithms as if you were preparing for a stint on Jeopardy!.   Was it something I fed?  Was it something I didn’t see in the pasture?  Did I put the wrong horses together?  Were there signs that I missed?  Was that there yesterday?  Did someone spray?  Did I miss a dental exam?  What are the signs of tetanus again?…


Knowing that I am responsible for the well-being for my horses, in some twisted way, means that if they aren’t well, I must have created that unwellness or missed a way to secure their health.


And so, I stand before you today, utterly gut-twisted that I am not yet successful in curing Norma of her laminitis.  The fact that she is still not better and not worse, eats away at my constant running thoughts — enough to where I have a dull, throbbing headache at all times.  It is like CSI-Grass Valley… What did I miss?  Why is the culprit still running loose?

And worst of all, “This is my fault.”


I’m fairly certain that her pain is my fault.  I did let her out to eat green grass, like I always do on Fridays.  Except this was a Saturday, which should make no difference…  What did make a difference was that on this particular Saturday, the grass had been rained upon and nourished by the sun.  The nights had been cooler.  I let her out in the afternoon, when the grass sugars and starches are the most concentrated.  She’s overweight and I fell for her big brown eyes instead of holding to her diet.  I made all the mistakes.  I absolutely knew better and it was my cascade of misses that came together in one, huge wallop.  It is my fault that Norma is sick.  I let her down.  I failed her.


I sit here… clearing all the lines so my vet can call and running to the barn every few hours to study her.  Has there been any change?  How do I think she feels?  I sit with her and tell her that I’m sorry.   I read to her and stroke her soft face.  She seems resolute.  She doesn’t seem to be in severe pain but she certainly is not sound.  She lets me tend to her feet and wrap them.  She lets me sit with her when she is resting.

In a way, I feel that Norma is lapping up the extra attention.  I feel that although this is bad, she kinda likes the spotlight on her.  Here stands Norma,  who brayed at me whenever she saw me, hasn’t uttered a peep.  She knows I’m coming to the barn for her.  She likes that.  She had been missing me.  My second fail…


All the queen’s horse and all the queen’s men have come together to put the donkey back together again.

We’ve decided to put her into a clinical study of a new ‘wonder’ drug that has helped many laminitic horses – but has never been tried on a donkey.  The first go ’round, we gave her the same dose as a horse.  It didn’t work.  The clinicians were mystified until they discovered the inconsistencies between donkey blood and horse blood.  So, tomorrow, we try again.

In the meantime, I’m making up for lost time.  I’m spending as much time with her in her stall as I can.  I want her to know that fighting this will be worth it.  I want her to know that I do see her and I do value her.  Mom has been hit with the Whoops Baseball Bat and hopes to have more time with this wonderful donkey…


Well, either Norma will be the first donkey to recover using the experimental drug, or she won’t.  Right now, I’m taking one moment at a time.  If I think about what could happen, I fall apart.  So, I try to think about only this moment.  And, in this moment, she is still here and stable.  In this moment, she could be the first donkey to help prove this experimental drug.  In this moment, she is standing in line to make history, we hope.

The really profound part of all this is that Norma doesn’t know that I did this to her.  She has no idea that I was the one who put her in peril.  To her, she simply is not feeling well and Mom is flitting about trying to make everything comfortable for her.  That’s all.  She isn’t angry with me and she doesn’t blame me.

She doesn’t blame me.

For some reason, every time I say that, I cry.

Slick and Norma, best friends.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!