Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blackjack Improves, See What I Mean and Dawn is Sweet

Little Blackjack seems to be doing a bit better. He didn't have a temperature this morning, and had eaten a bit more of his beet pulp last night. We are giving him a low dose of Banamine at feeding time as he's shown some signs of discomfort when eating. This morning he ate fairly well - he drank his beet pulp water and ate quite a bit of the pulp itself and also ate most of his soaked hay cubes. He was happy to go out to his paddock, and rolled, although he had a little bit of trouble getting up - he's probably a bit weak. But the biggest happy event was poop! This was the first poop in days, which makes sense since he hasn't had anything much to eat for a while. So at least he seems to be holding his own for now.

Now for some pictures of Miranda - warning, very disturbing photos ahead. She was over at the water tank and I started taking some pictures. She was clearly interested in the clicking of the camera.

She was interested, just like any other horse would be - ears up, a little blowing. I held the camera out to her and she sniffed it with interest. This looks pretty much like a normal horse to me:

Then the eyes started to change - I think she noticed the camera that she was interested in was attached to a person:

She's biting the post while looking at me:

She walked away for a moment, still obviously disturbed by my presence:

Then came the charge:

Here she's lunging over the fence - both front feet are off the ground and her head is at the height of the top of the hay feeder:

This photo for me says it all:

And a few moments later:

Well, enough of disturbing things - here are a couple of pictures of sweet Dawn that I took while I was filling water troughs. Her muzzle is very soft:

She was a bit drowsy, but was interested in what I was doing:

She's starting to fall back asleep:

From now on, if I ever say that Maisie or Dawn are difficult, please slap me.


  1. Those are disturbing pics. I feel very, very sorry for her. I love the pictures of Dawn; she reminds me of my TB & he has the most kissable muzzle. Her eyes look so relaxed and soft in those pictures.
    Glad to hear that B-jack is doing a little better. He seems like such a dear gentleman. Amazing how a spectacularly difficult horse can put into perspective the other horses' issues.

  2. I'm glad Blackjack is feeling a bit better, he is such a cute old man.

    As for Miranda, I am glad there was a sturdy fence in between you and her. I feel bad for the horse, she clearly is not a happy camper in regards to life generally.

  3. Yay Blackjack! Poor Miranda - she's so unhappy :(

    Glad to see Dawn again. I love sleepy horses!

  4. Dawn is very relaxed and cute with her sleepy eyes. I'm so happy to hear that Blackjack is holding his own. As for Miranda, I feel sorry for her she looks very afraid and unsure of herself. She looked like she was interested in the beginning and then simply became fearful. Poor girl.

  5. Thinking good thoughts for you now. It is so tough for us as humans not to know what is going on in their heads. Poor Miranda. Whatever it is, she certainly is trying to explain. Love up your Dawn and Maisie and think only sweet thoughts when you look at or handle Miranda. If you can empty your energy of negative then she will only have her energy (and obviously from the photos she has enough for everybody). Most of all, stay safe!

  6. I agree with GHM that I see fear in Miranda's eyes, even if it's rage that I see in her behaviors. And such swift changes from okay to nasty to okay. What a puzzle. You're right--the challenging ones certainly put our others ' naughty days into perspective.

    So glad to hear Blackjack is feeling a little better. Isn't it funny how excited we can be over a little poop!

    Dawn is so relaxed--just like my Kate.

  7. Wow, that really is a dramatic change in Miranda's demeanor and behavior. I'm glad you were able to capture it in pictures to show us. I see fear too. So, my question is, can fear cause a horse to become angry? I know we usually think of them as flight animals, not fight, but there are always exceptions, right?

    One more thought -- if you stand near the fence, but are obviously doing something else and not paying any attention to her, does she still go through this change? Or is it precipitated by you watching her?

  8. Grey Horse, Evensong and Katharine - I see confusion and pain (emotional? physical?) - she just wants whatever she feels to stop and is fighting against that, not even so much the person she is raging at. I think the pressure of a person's presence or touch is painful, perhaps for neurological reasons, and unwelcome - to answer Katharine's comment, she will attack (as with our barn lady in her stall or if someone is doing something like filling the water tank) but the pressure of looking at her seems to really agitate her. You notice that in the pictures where she's OK, she isn't making eye contact, and in the pictures where she's agitated she's making direct eye contact - as long as she can avoid "seeing" you she's OK, but when the presence/pressure becomes too much, then she blows.

    I've seen a number of horses that were fear aggressive, and the ones I've seen looked a bit different - their demeanor was more consistently fearful and less changeable, and it was possible to move them away. As an imprinted horse, this doesn't work with Miranda, and I don't think she's fearful of people per se, I think she's confused and in pain because of the pressure people put on her, however inconsequential we might think that pressure is.

  9. Ugh. Poor Miranda. She's come such a long ways. I hope you and your daughter get something worked out for her.

  10. Those are some pretty drastic changes. And the charge is downright scary. Wonder what in the world is going on with her.

    What is interesting, in a scary sort of way, is that the decision to charge seems to be deliberate, not motivated by emotion. Its as if she went off to think about it for a moment and then decided to take action. Something threatens her, that's for sure. And she's the kind of horse with a personality that says "fight" over "flight."

    Glad to hear Blackjack is doing better. Only horsemen can appreciate the wonderful experience of a good poop! *S*

  11. I don't mean to make lite of the situation but the "mood change" you describe in Miranda is like a teenager. I hope she eventually finds peace, but she is lucky to have landed with your daughter and yourself.

    I'm glad BlackJack has stabilized and he's doing better.

  12. Really great the way you captured Miranda's mood swing in photos. And what a dramatic contrast to Dawn's sweet sleepy face. I wish we could know what she's going through. It's frustrating and heart breaking. I'll be thinking positive thoughts for the best outcome for you and Miranda, whatever that means.

  13. Ms. Jeckyl and Ms. Hyde?

    I can't imagine how to begin to deal with those issues. Does she still lead well? How is she to blanket?

    It's tough to believe that your daughter was able to work with her. Goes to show what dedication can do. But if she can't hold onto progress, I imagine it becomes clear that she's suffering, just in a way that isn't as obvious as Blackjack (glad he's doing better) or as Noble was.

    It reminds me of a few people I know with intense anxiety disorders. Life is very, very difficult for them and they live most of their lives in abject terror. Medication is the only thing that keeps them from ... leaving.

  14. Go Blackjack!!!!

    I don't know what to say about Miranda. Poor little girl it must be horrible to live in the world that she lives in, in her head.

  15. Hurrah for poop! Hope Blackjack continues to improve.

    Poor Miranda. I don't know what to say but she is obviously in a great deal of physical or emotional distress about something :( She looks very sweet and content when she isn't in that state.

    Your mares look cosy and dozy *g*

  16. I would love to see photos straight/frontal on of Miranda's eyes and how they are positioned on her head. I once read a book that actually describes how the positioning of the eyes, the size and how the actual shape of a horses eyes can hinder how they view their world.....literally! Since you mentioned her eye contact issue I'm wondering and pondering that. It appears she has a smaller eye but it's a little hard to tell from photos the proportion. This author also stated different personality traits that are on the whole consistent with that theory of the smaller eyed horse. My husband read this and thought it was a bunch of hooey but I'm not so sure logically some of it could be legit! I'll see if I can find the book. She had all types of muzzles, chins, nostrils and ears in the book as well. Then she went on to the body. It made for an interesting read and helped me to study every horse more closely. Her whole point was that sometimes we overlook obvious genetic traits that could be a cause for behavioral problems or health issues. It's so disheartening to see her so unhappy!

  17. Wow! Miranda can be very intimidating when she goes from Dr. Jekyll to Mr Hyde. I feel very sorry for her, but even more sorry for you and your daughter. I don't envy how difficult this is for you and the tough choices you are being faced with. ((hugs))

    Dawn has such gentle soft eyes...what a difference and contrast from Mirands's eyes and demeanor.

    Hang in there,

  18. Hi Kate, I'm just now catching up. Miranda's behavior is very disturbing! I have dealt with a brain-damaged horse once in the past--this mare was fine on the ground, but sometimes, unpredictably, under saddle, her wheels would fall off, her marble would pop out of the socket, and she would start a truly inspirational bucking fit. We never did discern the triggers, and sometimes the incidents happened in truly perilous places--on the edge of a cliff trail, or in front of traffic.

    The owner sold her to a beginning rider (BAD!) and the new owner broke his heart trying to fix her. I think she eventually went to slaughter. I still mourn her, but when offered the opportunity to buy her I declined--I can't afford that kind of horse, you know?

    It's tough. I'm sending your our best thoughts and wishes.


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