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Aging Animals, Aging Me.

I am just in from the barn, lamenting over the fact my 29-year-old Arab mare has not wintered well. It is late winter, early spring and the horses always look scruffy this time of year. Add to that mud and yeah, not the best time of the year for anyone living in the country with animals! My mare is thinner than she has ever been and scruffy looking about still active. Thankfully spring is almost here and she will likely bounce back with the warmer weather & spring grass. I've battled chronic loose manure with her (bennonite clay works well!!). Her teeth probably need done too so I am putting that on my 'to do list'.

Once inside, I head to my studio and feed my toothless 14 yr. old chihuahua her pureed food and place her on her 'chair'. Fawn is getting a teeny bit unsteady on her feet and must be watched closely because she is hard of hearing and her eyesight is not what it once was. She is quiet as a mouse and could wander off easily without me noticing so I have begun to just keep her in my studio, in a more confined space so I can keep an eye on her. She is happy with this arrangement because she has her 'chair' and the quiet she likes but it is hard to see her get more feeble.

My aged mare, Abbey, teeters on the edge between being too thin and ballooning up and being 'laminitic'. Thankfully she has not had laminitis but she sure gets close once the grass is in so I have to watch her like a hawk. My older pony will have to wear a grazing muzzle and as will my big trail Tennesse Walker gelding. It is getting harder to strike a balance between letting them have the room to move about the pasture or restricting them into a 'mud lot' to keep them off the grass.

As I think of the horse management changes I have to continually tweek, I also am well aware of the changes I've had to make because of MY age! I really can't keep up with the stalls any longer (or risk putting my back out and missing work) and it is hard to find anyone to pay to clean them. Whoever I find wants more than want I make at my part time job!! LOL So the horses are out in the pasture and run in as much as possible. The barn is not as clean and tidy as it used to keep it. I watch the slow progression of aging in myself, my husband, my animals and vow to keep as active as possible, for as long as possible....but know adjustments will continue to be needed- for me and them.

The past 2 years of this pandemic has really set in my introverted tendencies- I hole up in my art studio and paint away....but as with all things balance is important. With the spring, warm weather & fewer covid cases, I am looking forward to trail rides and time at Lake Erie with family. Hope you all are well and are taking good care of yourself.

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