Hoxsies Star Gazer a.k.a. "Grady"

2004 National Champion Golden Age Pleasure Driving

I admired "Grady" for most of his life but only had the pleasure of owning this boy for a few short months. He took to the life of a show horse well and shined in Open Pleasure even though he was an aged stallion in his teens. Grady brought us home a National Championship at Nationals that year. He passed away a few months later.

Grady was a true example of a little horse with a big heart and is sorely missed by many.
Oatmeal Acres 2 Bucks Buzz N By Blue

Oatmeal Acres Unos Buckin Blue x Oatmeal Acres Blue Danube (AMHA/AMHR)

What a handsome boy this was, so hard to let this one go.
I met "Stormy" in 1986 while working at a miniature horse farm. He was always a proud boy but easy to drive. Full of himself but obedient to the rein he was the first mini I ever showed and I like to tell people one year in Hudsonville we beat Darrin Southwick in Pleasure Driving... of course, Darrin was just starting in minis but HEH still makes me feel good! Stormy was not just a show horse either, I took the 4H kids out to see the minis and they got to ride in a wagon he pulled around the farm and could take the reins if they wished! He went in the sesquicentennial wagon train travelling as much as twenty miles a day and pulling his miniature covered wagon down to the capitol in Lansing.

In 1991, I had the privilege of purchasing Stormy and brought him home to start Oatmeal Acre. We built him a private paddock under a huge Mulberry tree that shaded him all summer and kept him dry when it rained. He could see his girls in the adjoining pasture, could show off and impress them when they came up to drink.\

I showed him for the last time in an open show at the age of 24, he loved to show off and you could tell he thought everyone was there just to see him! He sired many beautiful babies including a National Champion Pleasure driving stallion and a great-grandson of his will be in the ring again in 2009. Many of his offspring became 4H horses because of the gentle, eager to please and intelligent nature he passed on to them. There will never be another like him. Go in peace, Stormy,
I will miss you until we meet again one day.
In Memory of Jodi and Kaynel, two great old girls I had to let go this week. I am sure they passed over the Rainbow Bridge together.

Kaynel mysteriously went blind a few years ago, she was terrified and alone. Jodi was already in her thirties but took it as her job to care for and guide Kaynel. With the passage of time they became very close, talking quietly to each other in their private pen. Jodi lost all her molars so both went on a liquid diet they shared out of the same bowl. Last winter was hard on them...Jodi crippled with a hoof deformity, Kaynel dealing with cushings and arthritis; then a few weeks ago Jodi started having frequent seizures. It was time. My vet came out on a pretty, sunshiny afternoon to lay the girls to rest. Jodi leading the way as always, then Kaynel with her nose on her buddy (Who I am sure was waiting at the base of the bridge) and a soft nicker passed quietly to their next life.I do miss you grand old girls...go in peace.
Oatmeal Acres Blue Celeste
(2010 - 2012)

You were my hearts dream my beautiful girl, the days are dark without you. You are free now, the pain left behind is mine to bear.
Binky’s Story

So I am hoping in posting the story of Binky’s short life perhaps there is some small portion, some bit of learning that will help someone in the future. Did we do the right thing by Binky? We sure tried but I often think it would have been better just to leave him sleeping that very first night. He taught us a lot about strength and will and joy, I only wished for him days running in the pasture with his momma watching over him….not such a big wish.

The first day I knew we were going to be in trouble with this foaling was when my farrier came out 2 months before Kendra was due. The woman who helps me, was brushing mares and checking them over as they were tied for trimming, she noticed Kendra was starting to bag up, took a photo and sent it to me. We brought her in the barn that day. She continued to bag up as would be normal for a mare over the next 10 days; I kept hoping I had somehow written down the wrong breeding dates as the mare had been hand bred for only one cycle. March 29th she started waxing, was dripping milk on the 30th then seemed to be just waiting……..her due date (340 days) was May 12th.

On Sunday, April 2nd the breeder alert went off around 1 am, did my fireman routine and was out to the barn within minutes…. Kendra was in the process of foaling a tiny dun colt….so tiny when he was out and I opened the bag I knew we were in trouble. He was not breathing….

I did chest compressions then picked him up and held him upside down to clear his airway….his coat was silky and short, he weighed about 12 – 14 lbs….he quickly started breathing but would not stay awake….I dried him, rubbing with a towel to stimulate him, treated his cord and blanketed him. He slept thru most of this. Mom would try to wake him and get him up but he would just raise his head a bit then fall back asleep.

I went up to the house and got a space heater and blankets….I wrapped him up and closed up the stall with the blankets and got the heater going. I milked the mare out and woke little Binky up to syringe feed him thinking that warm colostrum would get him going. Twice in the first hour I had to resuscitate him, he would go into a deep sleep and just stop breathing.

Binky had a great suck reflex and ate 10 to 20 mL of colostrum every half hour to hour thru the night. He could not get up on his own but got so he could stand if helped to his feet. He drank so well from the syringe, sucking hard and with enthusiasm but was narcoleptic and would suddenly fall down in a deep sleep. He did not wake on his own to eat but had to be stimulated repeatedly. Once fully awake he continued to eat very well and by the evening of Monday would latch on to his momma’s nipple for a short time when held in the right position. It was also clear by then Binky had a will to live but required more care then I could give alone. Monday evening we packed Binky into the truck cab and his dam into the trailer and headed for an equine hospital that could give him round the clock care.

The vet there was very straight with me, at 300 days gestation Binky had only a slim chance of making it but the good appetite was a big plus. His temperature after the long truck ride was just 95o so warming him up was the first goal….he was placed on blankets and wrapped up with some warming pads, by the time we left for home he had another meal in his belly and temp was up to 97.5o.

Progress was slow but steady the next few days. Binky won everyone over with his interest in the world and will to live. He ate steadily and very quickly could nurse from Mom with a little support. He would wake himself when hungry and by Wednesday was able to get up and take a few little steps though his tendons were very lax and his joints just could not keep him up long…so he ate and slept and enjoyed the attention and gained weight. On Thursday it looked like he would get to come home that weekend but things changed Friday morning.

Friday morning I got a call that Binky could no longer get up on his own. He was still nursing but had to be helped every hour and a half to get to his feet and nurse then would immediately collapse….with help would get up a few minutes later to pass stool and urinate. He now weighed 20 lbs. Was it his weight causing the problem or something else, no way to tell. Saturday, because of the intensity of his care, it was recommended he be moved to a foster were he could receive the intense care he needed. Sunday marked Binky’s 1 week birthday. He was now waking up on his own, interested in his environment, nursing with help to stand….but could not rise on his own, limb flexures of his right front leg was worse and hind quarter weakness was pronounced.

Through the next week Binky was helped to nurse every 1 ½ to 2 hours. His dam was incredibly tolerant and would come over every time he was set on his feet and position herself so he did not have to take more than a step or two. That was all little Binkster could manage. At this point we were all just trying to give him time for his brain to figure out how to coordinate his legs, for his limbs, bones and joints to strengthen…basically allowing him to continue to develop. By Friday (Good Friday) little had changed, a decision had to be made.

Saturday a friend and I drove down to see him (foster care was about 2 hours away). We talked with the vet and foster a long time about Binky, went to see him, he was so bright and interested, his will to live so strong we decided to take him to my friend’s house and try him on a bottle. With multiple people to care for him we hoped to give him just a little more time to develop. So again Binks moved. He seemed to enjoy the truck ride, watching out the window ….. the vet told us he had just a small rattle in his throat after nursing that would clear if he hung his head down and allowed it to drain.

This time he lived in the house, would spend time with his dam when the weather allowed. He refused formula or goats milk from a bottle or syringe so Mom was milked or he was brought to her to nurse. He had extensive therapy on his legs…walking with assistance, using a TENS device to stimulate his wasted muscles and slowly he began to improve…slowly getting to stand without assistance and take a few steps. He was fascinated with chickens and loved to be outside….but the rattle in his throat would return after he nursed and though his temperature remained normal it worried me….he would dream of running, his little legs going and he would whinny in his dreams…..

Easter Sunday was his 2 week Birthday and things went downhill again. Binks had a low grade fever and rapid respirations. Tried to get hold of the vet but holidays are never good for that….Monday he was coughing a little, temp still a little elevated, respirations too fast….got through to the vet and put him on oral antibiotics (Sulfatrim pediatric) hoping we had caught it in time.

Tuesday morning my friend sent the message that Binks was breathing very rough though still eating and interested in things. I came over and after seeing him, called the local vet knowing Binks was on the edge. At her recommendation we started him on a second antibiotic (Chloramphenicol) and kept him sternal to ease his breathing. When she came later in the day it was clear Binks was in serious trouble. Not only did he have pneumonia, he was dribbling urine from his umbilical cord, he had developed a patent urachus.

The hard part…….should we let him go? He had been through so much already ….. do we keep trying? He was still alert, eating, full of life, bright and interested….we decided to try 24 hours with the new antibiotic and oxygen therapy so little Binks went back to the hospital for treatment. The 24 hours turned into several days…..

While all this was going on Binks learned to walk, his front leg improved dramatically, he wanted to wander around and look at things. His lungs were a mess but his spirit was strong….in all ways but breathing he continued to improve with increased appetite, coordination and so enjoyed his walks outside…after some improvement to his breathing he took a turn downwards again…we added another antibiotic (Azithromycin) and steroids (Dexamethasone) and miraculously that Saturday Binks was breathing better, was brighter, seemed to have turned the corner finally! He went outside for a bit and though still not able to get up by himself he sure did try and with a little help was up and walking independently.

But it seems our Binky just could not keep ahead of disaster. Saturday night our little Binky coliced. Enemas and banamine could not ease him and for the first time through this entire story Binks lost his shining spirit…he quit, his joy was gone. He was peacefully released from this life Sunday morning; April 23rd….he was 3 weeks old.

Binky was not here long but he stole the hearts of so many. Such a tiny guy yet he left a big hole in a lot of lives on his passing. What message did he leave? Enjoy the small things in life, a gentle hand, a kind word…the sun on your back, the feel of green grass…….and chickens!!! First time I have ever hoped with all my heart there are chickens in heaven!