June 19, 2011

Living with O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome....

A message to other horse husbands suffering the same affliction....

Just recently, after years of research, I have finally been able to give a name to what my wife and I have been living with for years. It's an affliction, for sure, which when undiagnosed and misunderstood can devastate and literally tear a family apart. Very little is known about O.C.E.A.N. Syndrome. But it is my hope this article will generate interest from researchers involved in the equine and psychological sciences. You will, no doubt, begin to identify similar symptoms in your own family and hopefully now be able to cope.

Obsessive Compulsive Equine Attachment Neurosis Syndrome
(O.C.E.A.N.S) is usually found in the female and can manifest itself anytime from birth to the golden years. Symptoms may appear any time and may even go dormant in the late teens, but the syndrome frequently re-emerges in later years.

Symptoms vary widely in both number and degree of severity. Allow me to share some examples which are most prominent in our home.

The afflicted individual:

1. Can smell moldy hay at ten paces, but can't tell whether milk has gone bad until it turns chunky.
2. Finds the occasional "Buck and Toot" session hugely entertaining, but severely chastises her husband for similar antics.
3. Will spend hours cleaning and conditioning her tack, but wants to eat on paper plates so there are no dishes.
4. Considers equine gaseous excretions a fragrance.
5. Enjoys mucking out four stalls twice a day, but insists on having a housekeeper mop the kitchen floor once a week.
6. Will spend an hour combing and trimming an equine mane, but wears a baseball cap so she doesn't waste time brushing her own hair.
7. Will dig through manure piles daily looking for worms, but does not fish.
8. Will not hesitate to administer a rectal exam up to her shoulder, but finds cleaning out the Thanksgiving turkey cavity for dressing quite repulsive.
9. By memory can mix eight different supplements in the correct proportions, but can't make macaroni and cheese that isn't soupy.
10. Twice a week will spend an hour scrubbing algae from the water tanks, but has a problem cleaning lasagna out of the casserole dish.
11. Will pick a horse's nose, and call it cleaning, but becomes verbally violent when her husband picks his.
12. Can sit through a four-hour session of a ground work clinic, but unable to make it through a half-hour episode of Cops.

The spouse of an afflicted victim:

1. Must come to terms with the fact there is no cure, and only slightly effective treatments. The syndrome may be genetic or caused by the inhaling of manure particles which, I propose, have an adverse effect on female hormones.
2. Must adjust the family budget to include equine items - hay, veterinarian services, farrier services, riding boots and clothes, supplements, tack, equine masseuse and acupuncturist - as well as the mandatory) equine spiritual guide, etc. Once you have identified a monthly figure, never look at it again. Doing so will cause tightness in your chest, nausea and occasional diarrhea.
3. Must realize that your spouse has no control over this affliction.
More often than not, she will deny a problem even exists as denial is common.
4. Must form a support group. You need to know you're not alone - and there's no shame in admitting your wife has a problem. My support group, for instance, involves men who truly enjoy fishing, four-day weekends and NASCAR. Most times, she is unaware that I am even gone, until the precise moment she needs help getting a 50-pound bag of grain out of the truck.

Now you can better see how O.C.E.A.N.S. affects countless households in this country and abroad. It knows no racial, ethnic or religious boundaries. It is a syndrome that will be difficult to treat because those most affected are in denial and therefore, not interested in a cure. So, I am taking it upon myself to be constantly diligent in my research in order to pass along information to make it easier for caretakers to cope on a day to day basis.

Happy Trails,

June 15, 2011

CJ vs. Everything!

This kid is unstoppable and completely fearless....the girls have really screwed up my perspective of what kids are all about....I though I had them pegged...mine at least....then along comes CJ! Anything and everything interests this kid...I take a short break from pulling the punks around the farm and the next thing I know CJ has jumped out of the wagon and decided he will continue the ride....

...as you can see, Sophie isn't too keen on the idea though!

....and then there's the overwhelming desire to climb into the most obscure little crevasse he can find and then fuss when he can't get out.....

The girls never behave this way....they are content with the space they are in and the toys they are provided...they've never emptied every cabinet in the kitchen or every drawer in the office....this kid is ALL BOY....and then some....I need a nap!

I should mention this all occurred with an hour...you can only imagine how the rest of the day went!

Happy Parenting,

The Ponydoodle!

I sense a new "pet trend" on the horizon....no, we will not be getting one!

June 14, 2011

A mother's overture....

This is total MOMSENSE....enjoy!

Happy Trails,

June 13, 2011

Prima Randirina in her 2011 Recital...

The Spring Recital marks the end of Randi's second season in ballet. I'm not sure she is technically any better than when she started, but she sure is having a good time! We started off the weekend with a dress rehearsal...the girls got to run through their routine and get comfortable with being on a big stage for the first time.....curtains, lights, and all!

Then we came back the following day for the big show....Randi admitted she was a little bit nervous....I can't blame her, there were about 100 girls there waiting to perform....it was a little intimidating for a first timer....and her mom!

Good friends always help ease your stress though.....Chloe is Randi's BFF.....so glad they have each other to lean on...

But enough gabbing, let's cut to the action....Randi's on the far left in the back row....you can see her bouncing around throughout the clip....starting to wonder if she might be more cut out for hip-hop or Jazz...the girl has ENERGY! My apologies for the spastic footage at the end...when the crowd begins to clap Sophie gets startled and jumps up, busts me in the chin, and almost knocks the camera right out of my hand.....silly girl!...enjoy!

CJ's first hair cut....

It was a milestone event....the trimming of the golden boy's golden locks. I almost couldn't do it! What I wouldn't do for those sweet little ringlets on my own head....boys always get the best hair.

I went conservative just to tidy up the edges and reduce the length....I don't think it turned out too bad for the first go around...what do you think?





Happy Haircuts!


World's Greatest Horseman....

Very Clever!

So you want to do-it-yourself?

"Cruiser" @ Congress

Trained & Shown by a Non-Pro

You can do it too!

A message for Mary...

I got your message and I am sorry to hear about your trainer...I hope she beats the odds!

I wanted to give you some encouragement to move forward and continue Cruiser's training with confidence...One of the biggest differences between a trainer personality and a non-pro personality is: The trainer will get on a horse and push that horse for more every day, whereas, the non-pro will get on the horse and ask the horse if they can do more that day. Most non-pro's get stuck here because of their lack of confidence of "doing it right". There is no "right" way to train a horse. There is point A and point B. If you want to get to point B, you have to work at it. It might take you longer than others because your timing isn't quite as good or because you have to solve training issues you've never solved before that trainers accomplish as second nature.

One of the most important things to remember when you make the decision to train your own horse(s), is that when you issue a command, you have to be prepared to win. This concept has always made tremendous sense to me when dealing with confrontational people and competitive situations as well. Know where to start, have a plan to escalate reasonably as needed, and always have the capability to win the battle. Or stay out of it. With most horses, owners have the physical capability to win. What they lack is the mental fortitude and plan. And winning isn't just about disciplining the horse into submission. It's better to win through motivation, so the horse repeats the desired behavior because they want to rather than because the expect reciprocation (a treat) or they fear punishment (a correction).

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how you win the battle, (ethics considered of course) as long as you get to point B. Your methods and skills will improve relative to your amount of experience. You will make mistakes, I promise, and you will be a better rider/horseman for it.

Just remember your goals and every day work toward them. And ALWAYS end on a good note.

Happy Trails!


June 09, 2011

Good Morning, Bambi.

This is what I love about the "country".....this little fella saw me off to work yesterday morning.

Happy Trails,


June 08, 2011

Baby Steps!

Randi Mae was 15 months old before she took her first steps...it appears that Sophie and CJ are going to beat that by a couple months....go punks go!

Sophie Goes in Cirlces...

CJ Walks!

They'll be running laps in no time.....

Happy Feet!