We had a strange day today at Poudre River Stables, with a raccoon spending more than an hour sitting on the lane fence headed toward the barn, and at times nearly falling off of the fence. Animal control responded and while slow when left alone, the raccoon perked up enough to scuttle away when the officer tried to catch it. Just then, another client yelled from across the field that “the” raccoon now sat under a fence about 200 feet east, in the opposite direction of the one that got away. In hindsight, we think a second raccoon showed up.
Odd behavior in raccoons can mean disease
With odd raccoon behavior, we worry about disease, usually distemper. I told everybody distemper is the same as “strangles” in horses. Not quite true because my daughter remembered from her 4-H Horse Bowl days that horses cannot catch canine distemper, the kind usually found in sick raccoons. Our veterinarian, Dr. Allen Landes, of Equine Medical Services, confirmed this in a quick text and offered a link for more clarification about whether distemper can be transmitted from raccoons to horses, cats and humans: http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Research/WildlifeHealth/CanineDistemper.pdf#search=raccoons
Bottom line: The second raccoon escaped into the top of a very tall tree. Two very strange raccoons remain at large and we are keeping our dogs contained, even though properly vaccinated. Our property borders the Poudre River bike trail, where hundreds pass by every day, and we hope those on the trail heed the warning signs and have their dogs vaccinated as well.
We’re just calling it the Golden Girls, Take #2. When we picked up KRK Stardust from her foster home in April, we left somebody behind, Dia H Sandy. The girls cried for each other as the trailer pulled away, and I cried for the first 20 minutes of our return trip. Sandy haunted us for a couple of weeks, and we decided we had to retriever her.
Golden Girls travel the pen
The two are shown here May 6, after Sandy completed our mandatory two-week quarantine. They had already discovered each other from their respective pens. This is their first time together. Stardust herded Sandy around while Hobbes followed along, trying to make friends. Everything became a lot more relaxed at our place once Stardust and Sandy were reunited.
In a moment of lunacy, I tried jumping up and lying over Sandy’s back a couple of weeks ago. She promptly launched me and luckily, I landed on my feet. Since then, we have been working the golden girls on ponying off of another horse, picking up their feet, and wearing a bareback pad. Sunday, May 14, my daughter Kalinda saddled up Sandy and asked her to carry the saddle while being led. Stardust, whose closeup you will see below, and who is being ponied off of Hobbes while I shoot the video clip from my phone, is not convinced that humans on top of horses are a good idea.
Something really good happened this weekend. Our forever home found a new friend when we arrived with Stardust. She is age 12, a rescued Morgan, we think never trained to saddle. After a nine-hour trailer haul, we gave Stardust the day to settle in and rest in the roundpen where we offloaded her last night at dusk. Stardust looks rough right now because she doesn’t like being caught, and needs brushing. However, Cindy, one of our clients, discovered Stardust really likes Gala apple wedges and will pick them up off of the ground. By mid-afternoon, Stardust would walk up to us in exchange for an apple bite. We plan to move Stardust to her real two-week quarantine spot once she accepts catching and haltering. After she develops a little more trust, we’ll get Stardust’s teeth floated, which should help in the body score department. Check out her long stride and graceful walk in the video. I love the way she keeps track of me with her ears. Stay tuned as this little blonde and I embark on a journey of discovery. – Karin
Late this afternoon we discovered on this windy day that this fire did not spread, but instead snuffed itself out. Many thanks to the Poudre Fire Authority for their quick response in coming to investigate. We think the tank heater melted the Rubbermaid tank, and the melted plastic ignited, spreading to the post. These heaters will no longer be permitted on the property.
The buck in the background is going “camo” behind the tree branches with his horns. The doe, center front, has had a frozen hind leg for a long, long time, we’re guessing from a car hit. The tank in the foreground is a rusty water trough turned planter.