Posts Tagged ‘chicory’


In fact I don’t even plan to share it to facebook. This is me getting the crazy grief out.

Yesterday I put my beautiful sweet boy down.

I am heartbroken.

He was 20 something years old and I had him for more than 18 of them. Though he was technically an old horse I fully expected to have another 5 or 10 years with him. He was very healthy and robust and very much the best horse I could have wished for. Even in the end, when he knew something really bad was about to happen, he didn’t bite or strike. He just rolled his eye to me asking “Why?”

He stopped wanting to walk around 3 weeks ago. The vets ruled out anything like navicular or founder. Arthritis was their best guess early on, HYPP was explored and there was talk of tumors. All of these things can’t be fixed, though pain management seemed possible. In the end it seems doubtful it was arthritis or Hypp. Both had vague symptom similarities but just didn’t quite fit. Tumor? maybe. Whatever it was it progressed rapidly.

He was on maximum Bute for longer than he should have been but at the end it didn’t touch the pain. His last day he got up twice to only lay back down in minutes. I brought him water and treats which he ate. Hay he ignored. He had a bit of a bloody nose though this could have been a side affect of the bute and just lay sprawled out in the snow groaning softly.

I called the vet and he couldn’t get out for a couple of hours, so I sat with him with his head in my lap and stroked his face, telling him how much I loved him and what a good horse he was while we waited.

Chicory has always been terrified by vets. One whiff of vet stink and he’d bolt. The only thing I can think was when he was a baby he ran into a barbed wire fence and totally tore up his shoulder. This was before me but I imagine it was traumatic enough for him to hang onto.

So when the vet touched him he popped up like a jack in the box. He struggled to stay up but did. In fact he never went down until the very end. He was given more than 5x the normal amount of the drug that was supposed to put him to sleep so the second injection could stop his heart peacefully.

It didn’t work. What should have been a 15 minute procedure took almost 2 hours and in the end we had to give him the heart stopper without him being asleep.

It was so horrible … I have no words.

You’d think that since I have been crying for weeks because I knew this was where we’d wind up that I’d be all done. But no. The pain washes over me randomly. My horse pen is close to the house so it shouldn’t surprise me how much I look out the window to see him. Yet … it does.

Chicory always whinnied loudly when he’d see me first thing in the morning, which alerted the barn cats they’d soon be fed and they’d explode out of the barn in a mad dash. Even on his last day he managed a weak nicker. This morning … no nicker. Oh how I miss it.

He is being cremated and they couldn’t come out until this morning. I tried to set it up so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. I left directions with them the night before and a check in the car.

But at 9am there was a knock at the door. I pondered not answering but what if he was having a problem, so me in my jammies, no bra, crazy hair and my eyes swollen from crying all night I answered. the door. He looked at me sweetly and just wanted to let me know they were taking him.

So there you have it. All my pain out for everyone to see. I’m not sure that I feel any better … at all. But I think it will help at some point.

The photo above is from many winters back and one of my favorites because you can see he was happy and just being goofy. He loved me as much as I him. Even when he got out of the pasture he always came galloping back when I called. Always whinnied and nuzzled and hugged.

I’m one of those touchy feely types who believes animals have souls, so I hope and pray he forgives me for that last betrayal … ending his life before he was ready … and that he is running pain free somewhere in heaven.

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So yesterday was just too gorgeous. I went for a 3 mile walk and then stood in the yard wondering what I could do to stay outside. Pondering picking up some sticks when Chicory gives me that “come hither” nicker. I grab my brush and we spend some quality time.

Lordy, the hair … I spent the rest of the evening picking hair out of my teeth, eyes and various facial orifices. You’d have thought I would have learned to keep my mouth closed when brushing him. But Chicory and I like to discuss world events, politics and the growing season of grass.


So this is a small portion of what did not blow away on the breeze. So much hairy goodness for the new little Spring birdies for their nest building. And as you can tell by the uppermost photo, Chicory has a ways to go before he’s done shedding. He’s still looking a bit gnarly.

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Stealing Apples
Having just finished a marathon of art fairs my kitchen counter is brimming with apples. As has become my habit I have returned each weekend with a armload of stolen apples for my horse.

Well . . . technically they aren’t stolen. (I think) I mean if hotels put them out for people to eat for breakfast, they are there for the taking right? In my defense I often look for the bruised and least appetizing fruit. I figure most folks wouldn’t eat it anyway and so it would just get thrown. And thus, the rationalization for my taking apples is complete.

Just so you know my life of crime will eventually end. Last year we planted a Honey Crisp apple tree. (Honey Crisps are my favorite apples. I will spend more per pound on those babies than I will beef.) In a few years (providing we continue to keep the deer and rabbits at bay) we (Chicory and myself) will be enjoying the “fruits” of our (Mike and my) labor.

How the crime spree began

When Chicory was very young and I had just gotten him, I was trying to give him all sorts of treats, (because I was raised that food equals love) but other than grain, Chicory refused whatever goodies I offered.

If your curious why I don’t eat the pilfered apples myself. Well, I am a fruit snob.

The hotels we stay at only put out the cheapest of apples and being a diabetic means whatever sugars I put into my body, have to be worth the spike in my blood sugar levels. So I eat only really good fruit.

In fact, the first time I gave him some apple, he spit it out, waggled his tongue around to make sure absolutely no bits might yet be stuck in his teeth and gave me a very distinct “are you trying to poison me!” look. I pretended not to notice and took another bite of the apple while using my best high school drama class acting abilities, I made it clear that this apple was the best thing ever.

He watched closely for a few moments and then kinda snuffled at me hinting that I should share. I gave him another chunk, and he promptly spit it out looking confused. I continued eating and eventually he’d get too curious and start nosing about again.

As I offered another bite, I warned him it was his last chance. He pushed it around my palm, then picked it up ever so delicately. As he chewed, he bobbed hid head vigorously (You could see the wheels turning) and then swallowed. After a few moments he snuffled for more.

And thus began his love affair with apples. At this point he drools like a Pavlovian dog when he thinks he’s gonna get some. And yes, I do buy him apples now and again. But mostly I get wind-fall apples from neighbors trees. Even after all these years, it’s pretty much the only treat food he’ll eat besides a grain ration. Well that and an occasional granola bar. But really all a granola bar is, is just a grain ration in stick form.

Raven painting

The gallery is still blessedly busy so I’ve no time to begin the Raven over. Hopefully tomorrow or the next day. I’ll post something when I get something done.

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The latest issue of Apples ‘n Oats is out in all it’s glossy horse magazine goodness. In this issue, I write about Chicory and the creation of the new Soul painting.

Oddly enough, a good part of my story came from blog posts. I’ve included an excerpt from my article. (pretty much the only part that hasn’t already been in a blog post.)

If you want to read the whole thing you’ll have to run out and pick up a copy or better still, visit the website and subscribe. (or wait and eventually it will get posted to my website.)

Knee Deep and Belly High
At the moment Chicory is a deeply contented horse. With the unusually high amount of rainfall we’ve had this spring and summer, his pasture is quite literally belly high. It was also freshly seeded last fall so the grasses are particularly tall and lush.

Chicory spends his days ambling about, nibbling the seed heads off the tops of the grasses, and thoroughly enjoying this new little delicacy.

I take great pleasure in watching him so deeply absorbed in his snacking. If he sees me watching he will pause, bob his head slightly and nicker. He then waits to see if I am planning on bringing him in for something. When he sees that I am not, he continues on. Nibble, chew, step. Nibble, chew, step.

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Watercolor Pencil on Suede Board
13 1/4 x 19 1/4

The above photo is a little more saturated than in real life. Somewhere between Photoshop and the blog it changes a little.

Okay I know that I had said that this painting was done before. But I was never completely happy with it so I kept picking away at it when i had a minute or got bored. But then my deadline for the Apples N’ Oats article is just around the corner and since this was my latest horse painting I figured I had better actually finish it if I were to be writing about it.

And so here it is. A rather dramatic difference from my last final completed shot. Way more hair in the forelock and much different color. I am fairly at peace with it at this point. It is always hard for me to say “Okay. . . NOW it’s done.” The tweaking stage can go on for an eternity. Well until it gets committed to print. That’s when I am truly done.

The article is also just at the tweaking stage. I cheated a little and used a blog post for part of it. So I’ll wrap both the article and the painting up and then move on finishing the Red Buffalo.

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Out To Pasture

Well I finally got my Fat Boy out on pasture. I’ve spent over 3 weeks waiting for the grass to age and getting his gut adjusted and today was the day.

I left my camera behind, because of last years lacking performance. Follow along as I take you back about 1 year. There I was, camera in hand, anxiously anticipating his full blown glee, with much galloping and bucking. Only to be disappointed as he sedately munched his way around without so much as a squeal of joy.

So of course this year with no camera to document it, he performed a perfect re-enactment of a wild mustang roundup. Complete with a full tilt gallop and ending with a charge accompanied by much snorting and tossing of his wind blown hair. (heavy sigh)

The above photo was a bit later and a good example of what I got last year.

The latest painting

As it is Sunday I came in to work on my latest cow painting. Make that start my latest cow painting. Turns out the fixative was not sufficient. It helped but still was inadequate. So I retraced my drawing over onto an older sheet of handmade paper. Alas I haven’t gotten very far with it and frankly I think I may have bitten off a little more than is humanly possible, since I leave for my first art fair of the season in a few short days. When I make some progress on it, I’ll post what I’ve done.

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"Soul" Horse Painting Completed

Well almost.
I’m down to the tweaking stage anyway.

Water soluble pencil on Suede Board
13″ x 19 1/2″

“It is not so much about whether horses have a soul, as it is that horses are soul.”

I’m still playing with the forelock but I’m getting close. The problem with Chicory is he is a different color at any given moment. He is officially (as in registered as) a red dun. His mane is made up of every color hair imaginable but overall will look black or chestnut or occasionally sorrel depending on the lighting. As a result my painting’s forelock has undergone all of those color transformations as well. I am not quite settled in my color yet.

The other big change from the last work in progress shot was I took an inch off the top of the painting. His eyes were just a little too close to center. I like the balance I got from cropping it.

Even though I am running out of time before my first art event of the season, (like in 2 weeks) I’m looking forward to starting something new. Probably an oil pastel and possibly something that goes “moo.”

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Horse Portrait WIP

It is another rainy Sunday, so I am spending it in the gallery. I am hoping to finish up Chicory’s portrait, Soul today. I don’t think it will happen, but I should get really quite close.

This photo is from my starting point today, meaning today’s progress will be shown tomorrow or shortly thereafter. He was getting a little orange looking so I burnished in some pewter color.

At the moment I am putting in the forelock (not shown here) which is resembling a bad toupee. It is an act of courage to cover up all the forehead that I spent so much time on. I imagine if I had planned out in advance where the forelock would fall I would avoid this. On the other hand, by working in this way, it lets me run hair over the finished head and helps prevent that cut and paste look that can happen so easily when working in sections.

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Horse Portrait Progress

Here is the progress so far. His face looks a little wonky as I have yet to fully sort out the highlights and shadows (especially on the left.) I have to put in the neck area before those decisions are made. Also I think his marking being off center throws it all a bit. We’ll see how it ends up in a day or so. (That’s my overly optimistic estimation of how long until I can complete this piece.)

I was unable to post yesterday due to thunderstorms rolling through the area. This has been pretty much a daily occurrence now for a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately all this rain and lightening is also slowing the progress of getting my pasture fence completed. Nothing says death wish more than walking through an open grassy expanse where the tallest object is me carrying an armload of metal poles in a thunderstorm.

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Moving Over To The Dark Side

Okay, I am such a sci-fi geek that I couldn’t resist.

I got a little anxious to work in some darker values so I slipped over to the shadow side of his face today. Though I currently have only the base coat in on this side, I am looking forward to the richer colors of the dark side.

I am chin deep in framing, I have my first art event in a couple of weeks and have yet to check my inventories and prepare for it. The gallery is in serious need of a complete cleaning. And I blissfully ignored it all today and just worked on my horse painting. Ahhhhh.

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