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Saturday, December 21, 2013

A True Story

I was updating one of my websites and was making some changes on the Petting Zoo page.  As I was writing somehow this is what I ended up with.  About half way thru it, I stopped to read it and got such a laugh I decided to finish it.

For all the people who actually know me, they are going to enjoy this as much as me.

At a lot of parties we have someone that will ask, "how long have you been doing this?"  "How did you get started?"

As you read this, as I was living it, at that time a lot of it wasn't funny.  That was then, now it made me laugh at my life.  Thank you, God, for having a sense of humor.

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 Party Critters
Someone asked, "do you have a petting zoo you can bring?"  I thought about it and decided we could add that.  It would be fun.  

We bought 2  baby rabbits,  we had to buy cages, bedding and water bottles.  They had to be gentle and not bite or scratch, so we put them in the house so they'd be handled a lot.  

I decided that just rabbits wasn't a very good petting zoo, what could I add?  (Somebody should have slapped me).  

We saw an ad for 2 Guinea Pigs for $40 with their cage, we got them.  What a mistake -they only lasted 2 weeks, they don't do anything but squeal day and night.   

We bought a Mini Horse cause he was only 21" tall and the kids would love it. 

Storm wanted a Baby Goat, well, I couldn't just buy 1, it needed a buddy, so we bought 2 females.  They were only a week old  and had to be bottle fed every 2 hours.   (leave it to Florida to freeze that night, we brought them in the house, put them in the hallway.  overnight 2 baby goats ate the linoleum off the floor, ate the insulation from around the hot water heater, ate the dryer vent, ate a hole in the wall and ate the door facing). 

A few months later, Storm says, "why don't we have Baby Goats?"  Back to the auction and bought a Billy Goat.  (now we have to build a goat pen because the horse fence doesn't keep them in).

Now I find out that the big horses don't like the little mini horse and  they are going to seriously hurt him kicking and biting, so he's by himself all the time.  We have to buy him a buddy, hello "Charlie".  (the mini horses can walk between the wire around the pasture, we have to fence off a separate pasture for them).  

Somebody asked if we had a chicken, back to the auction, we bought 2 Silkie Chickens.   (now to keep the coyotes from getting them, we need to build a chicken coop).

Now we had 3 goats, 2 chickens, 2 mini horses and  2 rabbits to take to parties.  

How are we going to keep up with them at the parties?  We bought a portable fence (they are expensive).  Now we have a fence to carry around.  

At a party we were given 3 Ducks.  We had to buy a Pond and a cage  for them.  Now we have to carry around a Duck and it's Pond.  (to keep the dogs from killing them, they needed a fenced area of their own, more fence posts and wire).

Storm wants a snake.  We buy a Python.  Buy a cagewater dishhidey hole logheat lamp,  thermometershumidity thingy.  We have to buy mice once a week.  Did you know they come in Pinkies, Fuzzies, Hoppers?  Ok, we take the snake with us to buy mice so they can tell me which ones I need.

Now it's time to go to small, medium and large mice and only feed every two weeks.  All of a sudden he is eating 3 large mice every 10 days and then he looks for more for 3 days.  Back to the pet store,  they say, "you can start feeding him rats,"  I look at the rats.  Nope, not me!  Then comes the day we go to pet store, no mice, we go to 6 more pet stores, no mice.  Sold out.  He goes 17 days without eating, something has to be done.  

I go buy a rat.  It's 20 miles to the closest pet store.  They put the rat in a cardboard box (more like paper).  I'm driving home, the box starts moving, you can hear him chewing on the box------oh, oh, oh, his nose is out. I grab the box and swing it back and forth, I figure with it swinging he can't chew it - if he gets out of that box  I'm getting out of the truck while it's going down the road.  He is now eating 1 or 2 rats every 15 days at $5 to $9 per rat.

You guessed it!  Now we have rat cages and are raising rats.  I figure if it gets out of hand I'll make the cats happy.  (why why why have I got all these critters to feed and clean up after)?

Lady calls to book a party.  "Do you have a Donkey?"  No.  We do now!  (can't believe my hubby hasn't killed me yet).

Look, there's a Mini Pig for sale.  Yep, we now have a Pig to carry around.  (we need a cage for the pig and her and the ducks hate each other,  so we have to fence off another area for the pig, more fence posts and wire).  Guess what?  For the next week we got to chase the pig down every morning - they are serious escape artists.  (go buy stuff to bury all along the bottom of the fence so she can't root under it).

Well, somebody lied, the mini pig now weighs 65 pounds and it's just to big to lug around when it refuses to walk on a lead.  Sell the mini pig.  The next 10 phone calls for a party say, "oh, I want the pig".  Start hunting a pig.

Yikes!  Teacup Pigs  are $500 and up.  I can't pay that.  Ohh Look!!!  Teacup Pigs $25 each, housebroken, will only weigh between 7 and 10 pounds.  Make the call, find out why they are only $25 (family emergency).  Okay, what's the address, I want a female?  Oh, you are only 3 hours away, be there tomorrow morning.  Ended up buying 4 females and a male.

Got to build shelters for all of them.  Need to find dishes for food and water.  Oh my God, they attack you when you go thru the gate with food.  

Lots of places don't have any shade, now we need a Canopy so all the animals will be in the shade.  Something else to carry around.    (those things are a pain to put up and take down, allow another 1/2 hour for each party to do that).

We used to saddle 2 horses/ponies, load and go to the party.  Spend 15 minutes decorating them.  Do the party, go home.

NOW  we load the canopy, travel cages for the duckpigrabbit and the individual wooden fences for each of them.   Make sure you get the screw in the ground stakes for the goat and the mini horse and the donkey.   Don't forget the duck pond and  water to fill it.  You need 8 lead ropes (2 extra in case), the pig harness, 2 saddles, 2 saddle pads, the step stool, apple juice for the horses.  Load the Python and his cage.  Horse decoration box,  hand 
sanitizer, address, licenses, paperwork on all the animals.

Did anybody brush all the animals?  Take the grooming kit.  This party has face painting, don't forget to load the face paint bag, table and chairs.   Let's go, we got 78 miles to go.

The party is usually anywhere from an hour to 2 hours.  Unload and setup.  Time to go, load it up.  78 miles home.  Unload everything, feed all the animals, feed us, bathtime, nite-nite.   We got to start loading at 8 am tomorrow, first party is in Ellenton, 2 1/2 hours away.

We are going on 13 years.  It's a good thing I love what I do. 

We have a lot of fun, at most parties the kids and adults are just great to us.  In the summer when it's 95 degrees I wonder why I do this.  But honestly, I can't imagine not doing it.

This isn't counting the crap we went thru when we were turned in to USDA for not being licensed.  I didn't know you needed a license for a petting zoo, I thought USDA was for meat you eat.  Between the feed bills, vet bills and the money that I pay out in licenses and insurance - maybe I'll break even.  Oh well, that's life.  At least I'm having fun.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Horse Slaughter in Florida

People that know me and family members will tell you that I'm not a violent person.  I don't like to fight and don't like to watch "blood sports" of any kind.

I have owned, bred and rescued Pitt Bulls for over 15 years.  I don't believe in dog fights.  There is no better dog anywhere as far as loyalty goes than a Pitt.  If raised correctly they are lovable, gentle, well behaved and will protect you with their life.  Pitts have a bad reputation because of the people that keep them caged, on chains, feed them gunpowder, starve them and do whatever else they can to make them fight.  Pitt Bulls are "Catch Dogs" and they will bring something down that runs from them.  If mine goes after something and I yell "SIT" her butt will hit the ground and bounce, but she will stop and that is what counts.

Our Horses though are another story.  Horses don't hurt anyone, they don't bite or chase kids or kill other animals.  Most of all they are not meat for human consumption.  As many horse owners as there are why can't we stop them from slaughtering them?

If you are caught illegally slaughtering a horse, not your own, one you stole somewhere and cut meat off it while it was still alive, not caring how it suffered - you will get up to one year in jail and up to a $3,500 fine.
In the Florida Statutes, if the horse is a Registered Horse then the jail time and fine is more.   WHY?  My grade mares and geldings are just as important as a Registered Horse.

I have been doing research on GPS Tracking for animals.  There are quite a few out there for both cats and dogs.  Some of these tracking devices allow you, the owner, to track your animal on your home computer or your cell phone.  Some of them even allow you to put in boundaries and if the animal leaves that area you are notified by text or phone call.  All of them are collars with fairly large units attached to them.

A company called Tractive has one but it is to big to use on your horse, someone stealing the horse would see it and simply remove it.  Garmin and Home Again both have them but again they are to big.  Why can't one be made small enough to put on our horses bridle?  There are several out there that you can get and pay for a service to track them.  I don't want a Service to do it, I want to be able to pull up GPS on my phone if it shows my horse has left his allowed area and track him.  I can promise that I won't slap them on the hand for stealing him or trying to slaughter him.  I won't give him a bed to sleep in, cable tv, exercise equipment and 3 meals a day.  Having my horse in their possession would make me be the judge and jury and they would not do it to another horse ever..

Saturday, September 14, 2013

OBama Care - They don't have the right to do this!

I sincerely hope that there are lots of comments left on this subject.  I have not been keeping up and just started to really pay attention a few days ago.  I went to this website and started reading, the more I read, well,  I just couldn't believe it.

I really want comments on how you feel about this, what you are going to do and any advice for the rest of us.  If anyone knows options we have, ideas that may help us - comment on this and help any of us who need it.  If nothing else, get it off your chest if you feel like I do.

I thought I lived in America, Land of the Free.  Where does the government get off telling you that you have to purchase health insurance?  I drove a school bus for 11 years, my health insurance was covered as a part of my job.  To add my husband and my daughter to it the price was over $500 per month.  If I had spent $500 a month on insurance, it would not have done me any good to work because I would not have had enough money to pay my bills.

My daughter turned 20 in August and when I went into the hospital to have her and that was the last time I seen any type of doctor.  If I had been paying insurance for the last 20 years at say, $140 per month (and I doubt that I could get it for that amount), that would be $33,600.  That would have been just throwing the money away since I haven't been to a doctor.

I was taken to the emergency room in Bartow recently.  I spent two nights in a hospital bed, had surgery the next afternoon and went home the next morning.  The bill I received is for $45,390.59, but it says on the bill, the discounted amount I owe is only $16,340.61.  I had no health insurance, no medicare or medicaid, yet they are giving me a discount of $29,049.98.  

What that amounts to in my mind is they were going to charge me $29,049.98 more if I had insurance, since I didn't, they would charge me less so that everyone would get paid.  No wonder insurance premiums are so high, when you go to the hospital or doctor you charged more than double the amount if you have insurance.

And, to go one step further in proving that, I called around last week to get a dermatologist appointment to have a mole removed.  I called 5 different places to compare prices.  If I had insurance the office visit was $150 to $185, if I didn't have insurance, the office visit was between $70 and $100.

All of the people I know just barely get by as it is.  None of us drive new or fancy vehicles, we don't live in half a million dollar homes, we don't have vacation homes or fancy boats.  With what we make we have clothes to buy for ourselves and our kids, vehicle insurance, tags, property taxes, groceries, school supplies, pet food, vet bills, vehicle repairs, house payments, electric bills, phone bills, internet service - then you have Christmas, Graduations, Funerals, Weddings - there is no money left.  

I manage to get my bills paid all year and wait on my tax refund check to be able to pay my property taxes and now OBama Care is going to take part of that if I don't pay for health insurance.

I don't know about the rest of you out there, but I don't have an extra $100 or more each month to pay for health insurance.  My pickup has over 200,000 miles on it, if I had extra money it would be used to make a truck payment before this one breaks down permanently.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Xxterra Horror Stories are TRUE - sarcoid update

First the Good News - the sarcoid we were treating on her face is gone and the wound has healed.  The vet said to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't come back (10% of them come back a 2nd time and 2% come back a 3rd time and there isn't any info on it coming back a 4th time).
It took 37 days from the first treatment of the Xxterra.  But the hair is growing back and it just left a small scar on her face.  I'm praying we are done with this one and it won't come back.


We are on Day 48 on her shoulder and it is still an open wound.  We are on Day 45 on her right front leg and it is still an open wound.  

They are ugly but it has not been as bad as all the internet articles said it would be.  She didn't even really mind me putting the Xxterra on the one on her face and the one on her leg.  She got a little cranky with the one on her shoulder on the 8th Day of using the Xxterra.


This one is a nightmare!
On August 5th I started watching one on her tummy, wasn't sure if it was a sarcoid or not.  On August 28th the vet looked at it and said, "start treating it."    I believe this is where the horror stories started.  The ones that were on her face, shoulder and leg were on areas that didn't touch any other areas when she moved.  The one on her tummy is maybe a finger width in front of where her leg goes into her body.  Every time she moves the skin behind the sarcoid touches where the Xxterra is .  The other 3 we've been treating were not in "tender" spots.  She was okay with the 1st treatment, that was it.  It took 7 days to get an open wound.  By the 3rd day she was trying to get away from me as I applied it, on the 4th day I had to have help holding her cause she was trying her best to kick me.   The 4th, 5th and 6th day it took 3 of us to put it on her.

The Xxterra made an open wound where the skin was touching the area where I was treating the sarcoid.  The sarcoid didn't turn into an open wound until the 13th day.  Now the wound is twice the size of what it should have been.  The part where the sarcoid is looks like all the others I've treated, ugly, but looking better everyday.  The wound behind it, where nothing was wrong, except for the Xxterra touching the skin, is horrible.  It had infection starting in it so that I've put her on antibiotics as you can't mix another drug or chemical where the Xxterra has been.

If any of them are going to come back a 2nd or even a 3rd time, PLEASE God, don't let it be this one!
Day 5 - you can see where the piece of skin is behind the sarcoid that the Xxterra is effecting.

Day 7 - you can see where the wound is starting on the healthy area.

Day 9 - healthy area has pus in it and sarcoid is not even a wound yet.

Day 13 - sarcoid is now a wound, but it should only be the size of the red circle.  all the rest was healthy skin that the Xxterra was rubbing on.  this one is going to be hard to heal (the others were) and this one is more than likely going to leave a good-sozed scar.  Who knows at this point how much worse it's going to get before it gets better.  Skyla doesn't even want me looking at it.  Poor thing, I hope all this works and gets rid of them for good.  I hate knowing that I may still have to put her down after putting her through all of this.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sarcoid Update - Looking Pretty Good

We are on the 18th day of treatment on the shoulder. Day 8 it became an open wound and we have not been using the Xxterra.  At this point we are watching it, waiting on the wound to heal and hoping it is gone and doesn't come back.  There are 10% of horses that will get them back a 2nd time and have to do the treatment again.  There are 2% of horses that will get them back a 3rd time and you have to do the treatment again.  There doesn't seem to be any documentation of any horses getting them back for a 4th time.

We are on the 16th day of treatment for the one on her face.  Day 4 it was an open wound, no more Xxterra.  Now we watch it and wait on it to heal.  It was a lot smaller than the shoulder and seems to be healing a lot faster. I feel good about this one and don't think it will come back.
We are on the 15th day of treatment on her right front leg.  It is the worst looking.  On Day 6 it became an open wound so no more Xxterra.  Watch and wait. This one hasn't even lost the scab totally yet and it is horrible looking. 
The one on her right side on the bottom part of her tummy is not being treated yet.  I'm pretty sure it is a sarcoid, but want either the vets opinion or for it to do something so I know for sure before I use Xxterra on it.  I have to go pick up some coggins the last of this week, I'll take her with me for him to look at it.  This one will be awful to treat cause once it turns into an open wound it will be pulling every step she takes.
The worst part of all this is Skyla was a lovable, in your pocket horse.  She was born here and I have spoiled her and spent lots of time loving on her.  She has been to quite a few Pony Parties, she smiles on command and the kids love her.  Using Xxterra has make her into a "don't touch me" and "get away from me" horse.  I hope once it's over that with a little time and a lot of love and attention she will go back to being a "pocket horse."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sarcoid Update

I called the vet today because I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be watching for.  The instructions for the Xxterra said to apply if daily until it swells and becomes an open wound.  That part was easy.  Then it said to watch it and if the process stopped working to re-apply.  What did it mean by, "if process stops working?"

Vet said as long as the would was "raw" looking and it didn't show that the sarcoid was growing again it was working.  So it looks like the one on her face is doing what it is supposed to do and the one on her leg should be an open wound tomorrow or the next day.  The one on her shoulder is taking the longest to do anything.

It only took 3 days for the one on her face to swell and the 4th day it was an open wound.  On her right front leg it was swollen on the 4th day, a little bit of bleeding on the 5th day.  Her shoulder was swollen on the 6th day and today is the 8th day and it is still swollen but does not have any bleeding or has not turned into an open wound.

The horror stories on the internet from people who had supposedly used this on their horse are grossly exaggerated.  From what I read and what the vets told me I was expecting after the first time putting it on her that she was going to try and kill me from then on until we were done.

The 1st application was on July 26th and was no problem.  On July 30th she tried side-stepping away from me when I tried to apply it but nothing else.  On Aug 1st it was a little harder, it took one person to hold her while I put it on.  On Aug 2nd she tried to turn her butt to me but did not actually try to kick me.  It may get worse as we are not done yet but it's nowhere near as bad as all the reviews made it sound.

Monday I will have to order a 2nd bottle of Xxterra as I don't want to run out and have to stop the treatment until they are gone.  And I'm still waiting to see if the one on her left leg is a sarcoid or not.  Yesterday I found another spot where her back leg meets the bottom of her stomach and I'm pretty sure that one is a sarcoid.

The vet said though that once I started treating them that it would make the sarcoid angry and it would turn aggressive and try to make other ones before I killed it.  Sounds more like an "alien" than some type of cancer.  The internet and the vet talks about when you mess with them they get angry - makes it sound as if it has a brain and can think, scary, huh?

Next update in a couple of days.  Hope this is beneficial to someone out there that may have sarcoids on their horse and didn't know what to do about it.  It seems that there is not very many vets who tell you about the Xxterra or they don't know about it themselves.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sarcoid Update - Sarcoid on Face is Horrible Now

The instructions from Xxterra is to use the product 4 days then rest for 10 days.  The instructions from the vet were use 4 to 6 days or until it starts to swell and turns into an open wound.  I decided to do it the way the vet said.

The one on her face we took the first pic on July 27th.  On Day 3 of treatment, July 30th,  you could see swelling.  Today, July 31st, 4th day of treatment - it is what I would call an open wound.  Did not treat it with the Xxterra.

Will continue to follow vet's directions to watch it and if it looks like the process has stopped will start re-applying it.

Will call vet tomorrow to get antibiotic for infection and butte for pain.

You can see the swelling in the one on her shoulder,  tomorrow will be the 7th day of treatment on it.  I hate to see what it is going to look like in the morning when I take off the bandage.

God, please let this work.  As of tonight I'm down to 1/2 the jar of Xxterra.  It looks like I will have to buy a 2nd bottle, another $100.  I don't want to have to stop treating it while I wait on it to be shipped.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sarcoid Treatment Update 1 - Side Effects Have Started

Started treating the Sarcoid on her shoulder on July 25th.  I am doing the treatment in the evening and taking the photo the next day.  This is what it looked like after the 1st treatment with Xxterra.
Day 2 of treatment on July 26th. This is what it looked like after the treatment.
Day 3 of treatment on July 27th, Today (no photo till tommorrow).  Evidently today starts all the horror stories of the side effects.

Around 3 pm today Skyla went down.  She was not rolling but kept looking at her belly like when they get colic but it was only on the side where the Sarcoid is.  Got her up, listened for belly sounds, checked color of gums.  Belly sounds and gum color was okay.  Called the vet and told him about it, he said it was probably caused from the Xxterra.  Told me to give her 5 cc of Banomine, Butte for pain and to keep an eye on her.  She was up and walking around 15 minutes later.

We left to go do 2 parties and didn't get home till 9 pm.  Skyla was laying down and didn't even twitch an ear when we opened the gate.  We thought she was dead.  She stood up just as the truck pulled up to her and lifted her tail and it looked like the stream from a water hose.  She went right back down.  Her neck was very cold and she was trembling.  We put a blanket on her, put her in the barn.  Checked belly sounds and gum color.  It looked as if her stomach was bloated.  Called the vet.

Vet said to give her Butte and another shot of Banomine.  She got up and pooped again and it was like water shooting out of the water hose again.  Mixing apple juice and water to be sure she drinks and does not dehydrate.

You can tell just by looking in her eyes that she is in pain.  Nowhere in reviews I read from people using Xxterra or the vets or universities studies on it did it say a horse had died from using it.  Skyla just turned 2 last month and she is so sweet and I know she is probably the last baby I will raise and break, I can't stand the thought of losing her (that's why I'm sitting here doing this at 2:30 in the morning).

2:15 am, went to check on her, was laying down and doing a partial roll every now and then, gave her 5 cc of Banomine.  Offered her water and apple juice mixed and she refused it so i poured some in her mouth so I know she got some liquid in her.

Have a party in the morning in Tampa, going to worry myself sick about her.  Think I will leave Banomine in barn so I can call neighbor to go check on her and give her a shot if needed.   Everybody else is in bed.  If this was Lexi or Captain then Storm would be out there ever 15 minutes checking on them and yelling for me to come and make sure they were all right.  Since it's my baby it seems I'm the only one that cares if she is okay or not.

Everybody say a special prayer for me and Skyla.  Let her be okay in the end even if I have to take care of her constantly until we get the Sarcoids gone,  just let her be okay.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sarcoids - the most common skin tumor in horses worldwide

My filly had this spot on her face that looked like a bug bite, and she had to little lump on her left front shoulder that was just a bump, you could barely see it but you could feel it.  Both of these have been there for over a year.

In May 2013 we went to the vet for coggins and I asked about them.  He told me it was a form of cancer called a Sarcoid.  I asked him what I needed to do about it and he told me to watch it and to leave it alone.  He said if it started growing then something would have to be done.  I asked what and he told me that he could remove it surgically ($400) but it would come back several times until we could get all of it and each time it came back it would be worse.  It could easily take 10 or more surgeries to get all of it.

This is my baby.  I wanted a second opinion so I called and made an appointment at another vet and was told the same thing.  I came home and started researching.  I found out that these are common to horses and if you bothered them they got angry and then turned aggressive.  Just from the two vets looking at them and touching them they turned aggressive.  They had stayed the same size for a year and from May to July both of them started growing like crazy.

Both vets and my research told me that there was lots of ways to treat them and almost none of them worked, the Sarcoid would come back worse and you would have to do treatment again.  It could get so aggressive that it would spread rapidly over large areas of the body and the horse would have to be put down.  Sarcoids are caused by the Bovine Papilloma Virus.

I wasn't willing to try something that was going to assure me of losing her.  So I went back to researching it.  I found two products that assured me they would work.  I called and talked to both vets about them.  Both of them agreed that the product called Xxterra would work but it was painful to the horse and it would get a whole lot worse before it got better.  Over a few months it would kill it and it would fall out and leave a big hole and I would then have to deal with severe infection.

Only a vet can purchase this product.  They were both willing to order it for me and both of them refused to use it on her, I had to do it.  Research states the following about Xxterra. It alters the antigenicity of a sarcoid to stimulate the hosts immune system and results in an immune rejection reaction of the sarcoid.  It also says that 10% of horses will have a recurrence and have to be treated a 2nd time.  The 2nd time it says that 2% will have a 3rd recurrence.  After the 3rd treatment there is no documentation of it coming back.

I had the vet order it for me.  1 ounce is $100.  You use it daily for 4 days and then take a 10 day break.  If it's not flaking and cracking you do another 4 days and you keep doing it till it's gone.  Usually it is about 60 days.  You can't even treat them one at a time because when you start the treatment on one the virus will try to go to the other one.  It's painful to the horse as it burns it down to the root.  It has to be bandaged, the one on her shoulder is going to be heck to bandage and her cheekbone is going to be even worse.

In my research I read 100's of reviews from people who has used Xxterra.  All of them said it eventually worked and the horse had not had any recurrence once they were gone.  But, god the horror stories I read of the effects of using it.  It seems to be the only option.  The other product that is also supposed to work can only be purchased from the University of Liverpool by a vet.  I couldn't find a price for it.

Today is July 25, 2013 and I applied it for the 1st time today.  Because there are so many people on the internet asking if anyone has used Xxterra and wanting to know exactly what happens I am going to take pictures of it daily and keep a record of what is happening.  I will keep it posted here every 4 days or so.

It is an infectious DNA virus that comes from cattle.  There is vaccines to give cattle for it.  Cattle can carry it and not have the sarcoids but it is still infectious.  It is primarily found in calves under 3 years of age. It can be transmitted by tack, ropes, halters or anything that touches the cattle who carry it.

Since so far none of the other horses have it I'm going to quarantine Skyla to the barn during treatment.  Now I guess I will also be paranoid about checking all the horses every time I feed.  It is usually only found in young horses although older horses can get it.  Unluckily I have cattle all the way around me so I guess I'll be doing lots more research to see if there is any way to protect my horses from it, especially since I have 3 pregnant mares.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

See Our Hugging Zoo Animals on TV

Several months ago I received a call from Leftfield Pictures in New York.  They wanted to hire our animals to do a T.V. Series.  Honestly I thought someone was pulling a joke on me.

I asked some questions and gave them a price.  They set up a time to come and meet with me.  I was surprised to say the least.  The two Stars of the show, Jeremiah and Ox and the camera crew, sound guys, field medic and the production people were all great.

We were not allowed to tell anyone the name of the series or any details until filming was done.  Some of the filming was done here at our barn and some in Winter Haven.

When they were doing the filming here at our barn somehow both me and Storm got talked into being on film.  I told them that I was already fat and didn't need the camera to add any more to me.  They all laughed and said they would fix it, I wouldn't be fat.  

We have now been given the okay to tell people about the show.  The name of the show is "Hillbillies for Hire" and it airs on CMT on July14th at 9 pm.  I'm excited and looking forward to seeing it but at the same time I dread seeing what I'm going to look like on film.  I'm self conscious about my weight as it is and the thought of being on t.v.  and everybody seeing how fat I am is my worst nightmare.

At this point we don't know what all was used for the T.V. Series and what was cut.  I spoke to the production guys on the phone and once they filmed it everything then went to CMT for their people to edit it and put it together.  There are four episodes that are going to be on and we don't know how many of them or which ones will have our petting zoo in them.

I can say that after doing this I have a very high respect for actors and actresses.  The first day of filming we spent 9 hours in front of the camera and only got 3 1/2 hours of actual film to use.  Some of the scenes we taped over and over again.  And each time it had to be taped again you had to be in the exact same position as the first time.  That is really rough when you are dealing with animals.

I know the camera guy got one really funny thing on tape and I have no idea if it will be used or not.  If it is, I guess I'll just go dig a hole and crawl in it cause I'm going to die of embarrassment.   In this one scene me and our little mini stallion, "Charlie" was in the house and there were two monkey's sitting on the dining room table.  The lady who was in charge of the monkey's asked if one of them could pet the horse.  She said they had horses at home and the monkey loved them.  So, I walked "Charlie" over to the table and squatted down next to him.  The monkey reached out and patted him on the head, no problem, "Charlie" didn't care.  The monkey patted him again and then started jumping up and down and screaming, it scared "Charlie" half to death, he took off running and with me squatted down I went over backwards and he was pulling me across the living room floor on my back.  Naturally the camera guy got it all.

The filming was horribly long days and it was lots of hard work but it was also a lot of fun.  I wouldn't want to do it for a living though.  We met some great people and got a lot of laughs when they were at our barn.  New York City guys are scared of farm animals.  

The series should be hilariously funny.  Even if I don't look great on film, I'm proud as can be that my animals are going to be on t.v. in a movie.  I hope everyone enjoys watching it and now when our petting zoo comes to your party you will get to meet real movie star critters.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New CDL Requirement Stinks

Well, I have to get on my soapbox over this.

Our kids, grandkids, loved ones and friends fighting and dying for a Free Country when the government is trying (and succeeding) in running our lives?

I drove a tractor trailer when there were no CDL's.  You had a chauffeur license for any commercial vehicle.   I had to get my CDL to continue driving.  I have all the endorsements, including "P", "S" and "motorcycle" on my CDL.  I gave up the "H" endorsement when I renewed them last time.

If you have a CDL you have to have a DOT Medical Card to drive and if you have the "S" endorsement you have to have a DOE Medical Card to drive.

I recently received a postcard from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles telling me there is a new certification requiredment for CDL holders.  You have 4 categories
to choose from:  (A) non-excepted interstate - federal medical certification required, 
(B) excepted interstate- exempt from medical certification, (C) non-excepted intrastate- state medical certificate required, (D) excepted intrastate-exempt from medical certification.

This is required if you operate or expect to operate in interstate or intrastate commerce.

"Failure to self-certify in one of the categories and, if required, maintain a valid Medical Certification will result in the disqualification of your CDL privileges."

Due to the economy there are a lot of CDL holders who are not currently driving commercially.  But, the government is telling them they have to go pay for a Physical or lose their CDL.  If you lose your CDL then you will not even be able to apply anywhere for a job driving.  Any company you go to work for sends you to get a new Medical Card when they hire you, but they are not going to hire you if you lose your CDL.

1.  what gives Florida the right to take our CDL if we are not using it?
2.  what gives them the right to make us have a Medical Card if we are not driving?
3.  if the vehicle weight says you need a CDL, why are some people exempt?
4.  as many people who are driving cars and should not be - why don't they need one?

Seems to me that as long as we have a valid medical card when we are driving a commercial vehicle that is all we need.  

If they want to do something useful and get unsafe driver's off the road then they need to require medical cards for people driving that are over 65 years old.  About 1/2 of them can't see good enough to drive.  The State of Florida will renew their license regardless of their health or age by mail for another 5 to 7 years.

But for us, Professional Driver's, they pull this kind of crap.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Party Changes for Summer

Summer is Here. . . . .I know the Calendar says it starts on June 21st. 

Beginning in May we will only be doing 2 parties per day. 
Usually we go back to 3 or 4 per day sometime around October.

Please think of our animals and try to book your party early in the
morning or late in the afternoon so it's cooler.

On days that it is really hot and the humidity is high and you have booked the petting zoo, the rabbit may not come to the party.  The heat is hard on her
with all that fur.  As long as there is shade the other animals are okay with it.
We have a 12 x 12 canopy that we can put up so the animals have some shade.

During the hottest months, June, July and August we sometimes bring a fan and an extension cord with us for the petting zoo animals.  We will need the use of an electrical outlet.  With the fan, at least it will keep the air circulating so that it will not be quite so bad on the animals.  Our main concern is that
none of the animals get to hot or get dehydrated.  All of the animals get all
the Gatorade they want during the summer when working at parties.

If we are doing horse and pony rides out in the sun with no shade to walk in then one horse or pony at a time will get a gatorade break for a few minutes.
We have to make sure they get plenty of  fluids so they do not dehydrate.
We make sure that you get the full time for riding that you are paying for.

Your understanding during the hot months is very much appreciated.


FREE stuff - just let us know when you book your party
horse shoes
steer roping

Feeding the horses and ponies
apples cut into quarters

Feeding the ducks and goats
fruit loop cereal

Our goal is to provide you with the Best Party, the Best Service and the Best Price in the Polk County Area.

Insurance Info

Let us know when booking your party if you need a Certificate of Insurance, there is no charge for this.  If you need added as an "Additional Insured" we
need a few days notice and the charge is $40.

Friday, April 5, 2013

This is the reason we do Parties. . . . . .

We did a party last weekend for this huge hotel in Clearwater.  We took the Horses and the Petting Zoo.  They neglected to tell us that there was no "outdoor" area to speak of.  The entire place was done in Italian Marble.  We could not even get our truck and trailer in because of the archways.

We parked in a parking lot for a church on the next street and walked everything over.  Lee and Billy took the cages with the rabbit and duck and me, Storm and Shelby took Cash, Damian and Mouse.  We hit the first obstacle at the entry.  Cash was to tall and hit his head on the archway.  When we went through the archway there was a 4 tier fountain that was about 15' around.  There was an Olympic size pool and all the way around was different things to do.  We had to walk the horses through the center of the bar, go down the steps and then down a sidewalk with people everywhere.

I was so proud of my horses, they were real champs.  The only grass area they had was about 60' around and that is where we set up.  We were there for about 4 hours.  I don't think there was anyone there that wasn't from another Country.

I saw a lady pushing a wheelchair with an older lady in it.  She was staying well away from where everyone was lined up to ride the horses.  The lady in the wheelchair had a severe stroke and one side was paralyzed and she had arthritus in the other hand.  She could barely talk, one or two words at a time.  I squatted down to her level and asked her if she had horses when she was a girl.  She smiled and said, "one, his name was Danny."  I pointed to my horses and asked her if she would like to go see them.

I walked Mouse over to her and then Damian, I didn't take Cash as I didn't want her to be scared of his size.  She petted Mouse and Damian and then pointed to Cash and said, "he like my Danny."  When Storm go finished with the ride she was giving I had her bring Cash over.  The lady was all smiles as she petted him.  Cash was such a good boy, he lowered his head so she could reach him.

The lady pushing the chair took pictures and sent them to me.  I also took the rabbit over to her and let her hold it. 

Seeing the smile from this lady is what makes it all worthwhile.  I think it's even more special when it's an older person than when it's the kids.  She patted me on the arm when the animals left and said, "god bless you."   God has blessed me by allowing me to give someone the special gift of remembering their own loved animals when they were younger.  This lady made my day a brighter place.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What We Do At Your Pony Party

Pretty Pony Parties

Visit our Website

What you can expect at your party to insure the safety of everyone.  

We are Registered with the State of Florida, Licensed in Polk County, USDA Licensed and
we carry a $2,000,000 Insurance Policy.  Let us know if you need a Certificate of Insurance
(no charge) or if you need to be listed as an "additional insured" there is a charge of $40.

Animals are just like us, sometimes they have an "off" day where they just want to be left alone.  If we see one of our animals who acts "standoffish" and doesn't really want to be held, we will remove that animal and put it back in the trailer.  

Horse & Pony Rides
The horses and ponies used for parties are first used for trail rides and parades.  We ride the horses in eight to ten Christmas Parades and several other parades throughout the year.  Most of the time, if a horse can do parades they will make excellent party horses.  We also spend time de-sensitizing them to things they may see at parties, balloons, swingsets,  hanging banners and more.  We sneak up on them and try to scare them with different objects, we throw things toward them and do other stupid stuff to try and upset them.  We even crawl under them . Once they are okay with anything we do, they stand still and don't try to run, rear or get crazy, then they are ready to do a party.

At the party we have an adult leading the horse/pony and an adult walking beside any child under the age of  seven or eight.  With special needs kids there is always someone walking next to them.  In the case of an emergency the walker will get the child off the horse.  We do not use straps to secure your child to the saddle and we do not use the automatic "hot walkers".  Since we started Pretty Pony Parties we have never had to quickly get a child off a horse and we have never had anyone injured at a party.  We also walk them around the party when we get there, just in case you have anything they have never seen before, we make sure they are okay with everything around them before anyone gets to ride.

Hugging Zoo
All of the animals that we have are our pets.  They are loved on everyday, fed twice a day, bathed when needed, given shots and wormers as needed and they are healthy and happy.  When animals can be held by anyone it's because they have been handled with love and care.  All of our animals can be fed by hand, held and petted and they will never offer to bite. 
Hugging Zoo animals are 2 pygmy goats, pot-belly pig, rabbit, duck, 21" tall horse and a ball python.  Let us know if you want the snake.  All of the Hugging Zoo animals love to eat Fruit Loop cereal.

Face Painting
We use only Professional Face Paint and cosmetic grade polyester glitter. Mehron face paints are manufactured in the US using only FDA listed materials safe to use on the face and skin.  Their products are not tested on animals.  Washes off with soap and water.
Please note, for the health and safety of all the children we will not do face painting or glimmer body art if they have a runny nose, open sore or cut on their face.  We will be happy to do it on an arm or leg.

On children under the age of 5 we do not paint on the eyelids or directly underneath the eye.  The face paint will not harm them but if they should move we could get the paint in their eyes or touch the eye with the brush.

Glimmer Body Art
 Glimmer Body Art Glitter Tattoos are non-latex, hypoallergenic and meet all FDA cosmetic grade safety standards.  They are waterproof and last up to 7 days.  Remove with baby oil or alcohol or an exfoliating scrub.

Paint the Pony
Kid's get water based non-toxic paint and brushes to paint designs on the pony.  It's amazing, but the pony and the horses love this (I guess they think they are being groomed).   I put the photos on the website of the pony and the artwork.  The kids love to do this.

Decorate the Pony
Each guest will get several bows and stick-on jewels.  The Birthday Child get to decorate the face and forelock.  The guests then get to put their bows and jewels on the pony.  You get a really wild looking pony when they are all done.  Photos of the pony will go on the website.

Our Clown is not scary to most kids.  I don't use full makeup and I dress really funny.  When you get the Clown to do Face Painting we also have a 2nd Face Painter that will do any kids that are afraid of the Clown.

You get over 100 professional photos.  The photos are mailed to you on DVD within 5 days and they are all high resolution and are suitable for printing in any size.  Photos will not have the copyright stamp on them.

Feather Hair Extensions
Each guest can choose from 10 to 15 different colors.  Each guest will get one extension.  The Birthday Child gets 2.  Feather Hair Extensions last for months in your hair.  They can be washed, curling ironed, straightened and colored.  Easy to remove if needed.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
This is a girls only party and is limited to 8 girls.  The girls will each get a Feather Hair Extension, Theatrical Make-up and their Nails done.  We take both still photos and video that we will mail to you on a DVD.  Girls can go through our boxes and play Dress-Up.  We have regular costumes, belly dancing outfits, evening gowns and lots of other choices.  They have a box of accessories with gloves, glasses, wigs, pom-poms, hats, capes and more.  If your child likes to play dress-up then this party is for you. 

We supply Hand Sanitizer at every party, each staff member has it on them at all times. Medical records are also with us at all times.  Please ask us if you would like to see them.

Pretty Pony Parties does everything we possibly can to see that everyone has an enjoyable time with our animals.  We do expect the children to show respect to our animals and to be gentle with them.  Any children that are trying to hurt any animal will be told one time to "be gentle with them" after that they will not be allowed to interact with them. 

Florida Equine Laws

Insurance is NOT REQUIRED by the State of Florida to have horse and/or pony rides at your home. 
From the Allen Financial Insurance Group, Kenneth C Sandoe, attorney at law.
A homeowner’s policy generally covers horse accidents which are non-business related. For example, if you take a number of guests on a trail ride or wagon ride and an accident occurs, this should be covered under your typical homeowner’s policy.    We are Licensed and Insured.

You can read the entire statute here.  Read the entire Florida Statute  I'm only touching on the important things in the statutes that a person should be aware of.  
Summary:   This Florida statute provides that an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities. 

(1) "Engages in an equine activity" means riding, training, assisting in veterinary treatment of, driving, or being a passenger upon an equine, whether mounted or unmounted, visiting or touring or utilizing an equine facility as part of an organized event or activity.

(4) "Equine activity sponsor" means an individual, group, club, partnership, or corporation, whether or not the sponsor is operating for profit or nonprofit, which sponsors, organizes, or provides the facilities for an equine activity.

(5) "Equine professional" means a person engaged for compensation:

(6) "Inherent risks of equine activities" means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of equine activities, including, but not limited to:
(a) The propensity of equines to behave in ways that may result in injury, harm, or death to persons on or around them.
(b) The unpredictability of an equine's reaction to such things as sounds, sudden movement, and unfamiliar objects, persons, or other animals.
(c) Certain hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions.
(d) Collisions with other equines or objects.
(e) The potential of a participant to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, such as failing to maintain control over the animal or not acting within his or her ability.

(7) "Participant" means any person, whether amateur or professional, who engages in or any equine that participates in an equine activity, whether or not a fee is paid to participate in the equine activity.

(1) Every equine activity sponsor and equine professional shall:
(b) Give the participant a written document which the participant shall sign with the warning notice specified in subsection (2) clearly printed on it. Said written document may be used in lieu of posting the warning on the site of the equine activity sponsor's or equine professional's facility, and shall be given to any participant in an equine event not on the location of the equine activity sponsor's or equine professional's facility.

Nicole's Law (Helmets)
2) A child who is younger than 16 years of age must wear a helmet that meets the current applicable standards of the American Society of Testing and Materials for protective headgear used in horseback riding and that is properly fitted and fastened securely upon the child's head by a strap when the child is riding an equine upon:
a) A public roadway or right-of-way;
(b) A public equestrian trail, public recreational trail, public park or preserve, or public school site; or
(c) Any other publicly owned or controlled property

4) A parent or guardian of a child younger than 16 years of age may not authorize or knowingly permit the child to violate this section.

(6) This section does not apply to a child younger than 16 years of age who is riding an equine when the child is:
(a) Practicing for, riding to or from, or competing or performing in shows or events, including, but not limited to, rodeos and parades, where helmets are not historically a part of the show or event;
(b) Riding on privately owned land even if the land is occasionally separated by a public road or right-of-way that must be crossed.