Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chloe chooses life

I mentioned that we almost lost Chloe last weekend because she was having such difficulty with the cold, wet weather but I did not go into how heartbroken I was on that Sunday morning. Chloe had shivered on and off most of the night and not eaten or drank any water.

I called my wonderful vet that morning certain that Chloe's body was finally ready to give up. After much discussion we decided to wait for a break in the weather and let Miss Chloe make the final choice by letting her out and seeing what her mental and physical state said. We could not tell if her body was giving out from renal failure or if she was simply cold.

During a warm temperature upswing that morning I opened her stall door and watched in dismay as she galloped out to the pasture without hesitation and then proceeded to graze with gusto for the entire day.

Chloe had made her choice and I was overwhelmed with emotion.

I video taped her beautiful gallop-so full of hope and desire to live-and watched it over and over. I thought I should share the video along with some footage from our week of hikes in warmer weather. Our amazing trainer, Robin Taylor Long, literally saved Chloe's life by coming to town for this past week and helping Chloe learn how to accept a blanket.

I hope you enjoy this video-I had so much fun making it. It makes me laugh every time I see it. My heart is so full of hope and joy compared with how I felt last week. I have no idea if Chloe will have one more day, week, or month but I am grateful for every moment with my silly girl!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Temporarily Shutting Down My Blog

Hi Friends,

The Dream Valley Ranch Blog will be down for a few days because I am changing my domain registrar.

I refuse to support after reading some interviews with the CEO of that registrar.

For those who do not know, the CEO of has posted videos of himself killing an elephant and a leopard.

Transferring to a new registrar means that my site will go down for about a week.

Please change any blog links to the following address from now on:

Thanks for understanding! We will be back up soon!
Thank you!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meandering with my Mustang

I love my new toasty PJs!
It's been a rough week - we almost lost our sweet girl on Sunday. But a small break in the weather and an incredible visit by our mustang whispering wonderful trainer saved the day. Chloe now has a full wardrobe which allows her to stay warm in the rain and wind-and she is soooo much happier!

Ummm....Can you say restraining order?

Seriously people! She stalks me while I sleep!

She is still a very sick horse but it is looking like she and I will at least be able to enjoy a little more time together. I spend hours each day taking her for slow, peaceful grazing walks around the property and surrounding woods. I love meandering with my mustang!

A girl needs her fiber!

I love my sweet girl more than I can say and I will be forever grateful to my friend and trainer for coming to our rescue and helping Miss Chloe accept her PJs in such a gentle and kind way.

Auntie Robin playing with Chloe & her blankie

Friday, May 20, 2011

Springtime with Chloe the Wiiiiild Mustang

Most of our bloggie friends who have been reading our posts since back in the smrp blog days know that I regularly make videos of life with our critters (links to some of the videos are on the right side of this blog). It has been a while since I have made a new video and it was high time that I put something together about this time with my sweet mustang.

I was inspired to create a collection of wonderful moments from the past few weeks and have hopefully been successful at capturing Chloe's amazing spirit and attitude during this fight against renal failure. I have truly never known such a joyful and loving and spunky animal-she has such personality and such a wonderful sense of humor. Who knew that horses were so silly? I certainly didn't!

I admit that this video is a bit more melancholy than I expected but it comes from my heart. The truth is that I know that my days with my girl are numbered and I am having a difficult time with that reality.

I hope I was able to convey the beauty, joy, and silliness that this incredible horse embodies every day. I am continually humbled and inspired by my sweet wild girl and will continue to do my best to help her enjoy whatever time she has left to the fullest. She deserves it...all animals do.

Thanks to everyone for the love, good thoughts, prayers, and kindness that you have given to me, mr smrp, and our dear Chloe. It helps so much during those difficult times. xoxo

PS-The music is by Blind Pilot - the song is 3 Rounds and a Sound.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Breakfast in bed

It has been a difficult and tiring week figuring out how to manage our wild girl in the midst of these wet snowstorms. For a while I thought we had found a solution: fresh cut pasture salads for our sweet Chloe. I ran around like a nut trying to find grass to deliver to the Mustang Princess. But yesterday she decided that she no longer liked her yummy salad bowls.

Again I offered her everything possible but other than a polite attempt to eat some carrots she snubbed everything. And she began to shiver despite being in a fluffy heated stall.

As you all know I am struggling with the decision of when it will be time to say goodbye. Yesterday she had a great morning and was playful, silly, and joyful. But by late afternoon she was cold and it was raining non-stop so I could not let her out.

But then Uncle Curt and his Magical Mustang Snack Bar saved the day! He came up with the idea of picking up sod and offering her a bit of breakfast in bed...brilliant!

We had no idea what she would do but the reaction was priceless-she went nuts over her indoor pasture! She gobbled it up like corn on the cob and within minutes stopped shivering (for those non-horsie friends of ours: the main way to keep horses warm is to feed hay or let them graze). She ate 3 rolls of lawn by this morning and was toasty and happy. What a gift!! We will forever be grateful that Chloe has the best Mustang Uncle ever!

This morning we got up early and raked the deep heavy wet snow off of a big swath of pasture and then released the wiiiiild mustang. I'm sure you all know what happened next: Chloe walked right past all of the exposed yummy pasture grass, stuck her muzzle into the cold snow, and started hunting for her own breakfast Thank You Very Much. After all, what were we thinking? She IS a wiiiiiiild mustang.

Ps-yes-we do know that sod is full of pesticides and fertilizers. But if we have to choose between letting our girl go or letting her eat chemicals-I'll take the chemicals as long as she enjoys them :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The turmoil of spring in the Rockies

We've had a series of wet snowstorms hit us this last week and at least one more is on its way. We are extremely grateful for this moisture-the dry conditions from this winter have pushed us into severe risk of forest fires. The thought of evacuating our 8 horses and 4 dogs in the midst of a catastrophic forest fire is daunting to say the least. Hence our palpable relief and joy about the recent snowfall despite our desire for warm weather. If you live in the mountains you learn to take a step back and always look at the big picture-the warm weather will be here soon enough-we need this moisture now.

That all being said-it has been a difficult week for me and my sweet Chloe. She has been battling the cold wet temperatures all week. Yesterday I spent the entire day until midnight trying to entice her to eat so that her core temperature would rise. The problem is that she will only eat fresh grass and it is covered with snow. I raked as much snow as I could off of her little pasture and then hand cut fresh grass and fed it to her one bucket at a time until midnight. Sadly I simply could not help her get past the shivering. (For those who are curious: we offer Chloe everything under the sun throughout the day: soaked and dry cubes and pellets, every kind of grain and feed, warm mash, peppermint mash, carrots, apples, treats, soaked hay, different kinds of hay, straight name it we try it. Kidney failure is a tough disease to manage because as the kidneys lose their ability to function the toxins build up and make the animal feel icky. What is yummy one day makes them nauseous the next day)

She finally curled up into her deep fluffy shavings directly under her infrared heater and slept. I watched her for a few more hours from the house on the infrared baby monitor camera I set up in my barn to be able to check on my herd at night. She seemed to finally warm up enough to rest well. This morning the snow finally stopped so I re-raked all of the snow off of her little pasture area and she grazed hungrily for hours.

Kidney failure is such a roller coaster disease. If the slightest thing goes wrong an animal can crash and it is a matter of luck and determination of whether they will recover or not. Luckily both Chloe and I are very determined creatures and so far she has bounced back with enthusiasm.

Each time we go through one of these low periods I ask myself if it is time to let her go. If this was October I know that the answer would be yes. But knowing that tomorrow will be 60F and sunny and that she has an entire pasture full of grass I think that neither she nor I are ready to say goodbye. We have many grassy knolls to find and trails to explore together and the promise of snuggling in the warm sun with my beautiful and funny girl is so wonderful.

I am hopeful, more than I can say, that my girl and I will have at least a little time to enjoy the beautiful Colorado summer here at Dream Valley before she lets me know she is ready to leave me.
What a difficult year this has been on so many levels. Some days it feels overwhelming. But most days I simply focus on the joy of the moment and of my wonderful little fuzzy family and sweet husband who help me stay balanced and sane when everything around me feels like it is falling apart.

Spring is a time of turmoil here in the mountains. But it is also a time of inspiration and hope. A perfect time for a little sweet mustang to embrace all of the tender new grass, warm blue skies, romps with her baby dragon, and meandering walks in the woods with her very own horse crazed girl.

And...speaking of meandering's a silly moment from last night. Me and Snapdragon and Lily having fun at feeding time. (Yes...I know this is not teaching them good behavior-but sometimes you just have to have a little irresponsible fun and right now we all need a little laughter).


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

As you wish

We just had a wonderful and much needed spring snowstorm and I spent the day catering to my sweet Chloe's every whim.

Chloe: I would like to be hand fed all of my grain this morning even though there is a bucket full of grain right next to me please.
Me: As you wish.

Chloe: I would like you to follow me around all day hand feeding me fresh pulled grass from under the heavy wet snow please.
Me: As you wish.

Chloe: I would like you to play Musical Ponies and move everyone around so that I can have my warm fluffy stall back please.
Me: As you wish

Chloe: I would like you to build me a brand new paddock off my stall and shovel all of the heavy snow off of the grass so that I can graze now please.
Me: As you wish.

Chloe: I don't feel like eating it so instead I will eat snow and shiver because it is fun.
Me: As you wish.

Chloe: I would like you to stare at me all day and night long and hand feed me every hour so that I stop shivering from the wet snow please.
Me: As you wish.

Chloe: I would like a restraining order against my crazy Mom please.


I love my silly whimsical, demanding pony and absolutely love doing everything I can to keep her happy.

Today was a challenge keeping her warm-she has lost enough weight from her kidney failure and won't eat any hay which all of us horse moms know is the main way to keep your horse toasty.

A blanket is not possible (she got scared and accidentally trampled me and broke my ribs last fall when I tried to do that) but eventually I succeeded in keeping her warm.

She is tucked into her cozy fluffy stall, napping under an infrared heater, surrounded by buckets galore of every possible snack she might crave, and looks warm and content.

Sigh. A comfy mustang is all I ask for right now.

I love the coy look on her face in this picture. What a funny soul she is.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A beautiful day at DVR

And perfect weather for Bear Guppie to have a spa day. He looooooves to nap in his Guppie pond! Hope everyone is having a lovely Mother's Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthday to the baby bouncing mustang

Happy birthday to baby Snapdragon! She turned 2 years old today-I can't believe my little monster is all growed up! She is a great sweet silly horse...happy birthday buddy!

"Sunflower B. Snapdragon...The B is for Blossom!"

I am so glad she is still with us...she has already had some close calls. This little filly was carried by an extremely emaciated and parasite ridden mama (Chloe), had to be raised on formula, and then survived colic surgery at just 5 months of age. about mustangs being tough and surviving against the odds. This mom and baby pair are incredible, aren't they? We think the world of them!

Hi! Aren't I soooooo pretty?

I'm a BIG mustang now!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rikki Tiki Tavi's Tale

Today I thought I would share Rikki Tiki Tavi's story. This gorgeous girl will be turning 12 in June.

Beautiful RTT playing in the snow 2007

We adopted Rikki and her best friend, Sir, from a shelter in Connecticut in 2002:  she was 3 years old and Sir was 10. 

Sir and RTT 2002

A wonderful friend told me about these beautiful German Shepherds who had been in a no-kill shelter in CT for over 6 months. Their human had died of cancer in the fall of 2001 and had left a trust fund for his best friend to take care of the dogs after he died. Sadly, the best friend took the money and dumped the dogs at the local shelter.

Handsome Sir-Whitefish Lake, MT 2004

A puppy picture of RTT that came with her file. What a cutie!

The two were so intensely bonded that the shelter was desperate to adopt them out together. Unfortunately nobody wanted Sir because he was a senior so we ended up adopting them both. Lucky us! Not only is Rikki a wonderful and gorgeous and funny girl but Sir was one of the biggest loves of my life. What a devoted, loyal, hilarious, silly, absurd, smart, affectionate boy he was. I wish more people realized how incredible it can be to adopt a senior animal.

Willy Mammoth, RTT, & Sir on a hike 2003

One of my friends flew out to Connecticut and drove the two big dogs back to Colorado. We integrated the two shepherds into our then 6pack and they fit right in. Our pack was quite pointy eared back then...these days it is more balanced with one pair of floppy eared Guppies and one pair of pointy eared shepherds :)

The 8 pack in 2003

The Current Pack 2011

I always got a lot of oohs and aaahs from people when I would take Rikki and Sir to town to run errands so I made a point of mentioning that they were adopted from a shelter and that both had incredible pedigrees. Upon hearing that many of their admirers told us that they would adopt from breed rescue groups rather than buying from a breeder-it made me feel so good knowing that RTT and Sir were inspiring people to rescue unwanted animals!

Indian Peaks Wilderness 2004

We have always felt so lucky that we were able to step in before these two were separated-the shelter was certain that Sir would have not survived much longer in a loud and stressful shelter environment. We were able to enjoy another 3.5 years with the handsome boy and we are still, 9 years later, enjoying every moment with our beautiful RTT.

RTT proved to be a very unique dog-she had more drive than any dog I had ever met before-she is so much fun and so full of joy!

This girl has one of the most intense work ethics ever! She takes her play sessions VERY seriously!

And she has a serious love of toys!

Christmas 2009

But once the sun starts to go down she is quite the napper, too. The picture below makes me giggle...she practically disappears into the soft sofa cushion.

RTT & Sophie 2004

RTT is such a beautiful and happy soul and is such a great member of the pack. She loves her Guppies with a passion (even though sometimes she tries to taste them, just a little), she adores Count Basie, she has learned to engage her brain in a more calm manner by going out on long walks through the woods, and she loves to be snuggly and sweet every evening.

Each of our animals teaches us so much about life. Rikki Tiki Tavi has taught me more about being silly and having outright FUN in life than any other of our crew. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful and joyful reminder to wake up to every day. I love my Tick :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Introducing our new golden retriever...

Got your attention didn't we?

Actually-Miss Chloe the Wiiiiiiild Mustang has decided that she is a dog trapped in a pony's body. I have always marveled at how human centric she is but lately she has become such a sweet and silly puppy dog.
Today, for example, I taught her a new trick. Watch: Chloe loves me...she told me so!

My girl and I have been having lots of fun together...we both love going for little walks together to find extra special patches of yummy green grass. Knowing that these additional grazing sessions on lush grass is helping to keep her weight from dropping too quickly makes these outings even more fun for me (like I need more reasons to love my time with my girl?)

She also loves spending time with her baby Snapdragon each afternoon. I cannot keep them together full time because of Miss Chloe's special needs right now (she needs access to endless hay, grain, pasture and Snapdragon cannot handle that) but at least they get to hang out every afternoon together in the sunshine.

But I think the neatest thing that has happened recently is that Chloe thinks she is our 5th dog. Every evening we do our final walk of the day with the doggie fourpack down our long driveway. Chloe stops whatever she is doing and trots over to join us and then walks alongside us as far as she can go. She stops to graze at the end of the fence and waits for our return so that she can walk the whole way back up with us to the top of her pasture. She does it every single time we walk down the driveway-we crack up at how committed she is to our daily walk together as a family. What a perfect creature she is-now I just have to figure out how to sneak her into the house at night. I wonder if mr smrp would notice? :)