I Was Born to Run Lady

Chaco kicked me yesterday. Not on purpose, but it did happen. He reared up. and on the way down he got my forearm with the tip of his toe. Nothing is broken, just bruised, and I seem to have a little electrical activity surging into my hand. I’m not the only one that got clobbered. Poor Harley got bit on the nose so hard that I thought Chaco fractured it. Harley is fine luckily. They are separated by a fence right now, but Chaco is so tall he can easily reach over and nip or bite Harley. Harley is so short he can’t get him back.

Chaco tolerated all of this surgery stuff and the limitations afterwards quite well. He was a total gentleman at the surgeon’s so much so that they thanked me for letting them take care of him for a couple of days. After he got home, in the beginning he was on stall rest; all he could do was walk. He accepted this without complaint, because he knew and understood that he wasn’t 100%.

Now he is on small turn out, and he can only walk and trot. He has had it with this set up. Each day loud and clear he tells me he wants to run! Thursday he gets to be turned out with Harley. I think he is ahead of schedule with his healing since he came off bute three days early after coming home. Bute slows down the healing process a bit.

Being a little concerned about him going from small turnout to an all out rumble, I decided today to let him have an hour of turnout alone. I figured this way he can get out some energy, his leg can begin to adjust, and poor Harley can be spared the chaos. He also chews on his stomach a lot, which means he has lots of gas bubbles bothering his gut. He is one grumpy horse.

When the time came to turn him loose, I didn’t want to. I was scared that he would get hurt and become dead lame again. He didn’t want to leave me either. Ever since this started, we’ve pretty much been glued to one another, and we’ve walked all over the place with one another. As soon as I took off the lead rope I wanted to click it back on. I love being with him, and letting him go is hard.

I had to get my stick to move him away from me. He then went to the second being he’s been glued to since this all started; Harley. I walked over there and made him move off again.

Here is a video of him running free! I love how he is moving. We still have a lot of work to do on strengthening that right stifle and getting the symmetry I am shooting for, but the work we are doing is obviously paying off.

He was such a happy boy running around. This is what he is meant to do, and he expressed it with such passion and joy.

The great thing is after all of the running around, he wasn’t sore, didn’t drag his hoof, no heat, no swelling, and he had no point tenderness. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Tomorrow he and Harley will be back together again! We’ve come so far in a month and a half already with some bumps, one big one, but with regards to his leg the surgery really did what I was hoping and praying for. All of the work, the money, the getting up throughout the nights to check on him, walking him, hand grazing him, nursing him through the bad reaction, and getting kicked yesterday; all of it is worth it to see him this happy and moving so well.

After all of the running, when I put him back in his small turnout area, he put all of his weight on his operated leg while giving his left leg a break after his run. This made me cry. Before the surgery this wouldn’t have happened at all.


Later in the day we had the best walk down to the hay field. He didn’t rear up once or try to run off with me. He walked calmly beside me on a loose rein, giving my right arm a rest. In addition, my right arm isn’t four inches longer than my left!


Masterson That!

A week of rehab has gone by. It is filled with small challenges like how do you convince a racehorse he can’t run yet.

I am allowed to walk Chaco 15 minutes a day, but Chaco isn’t too thrilled with the limitations set by his surgeon. Usually, about 5 to 8 minutes into it he starts bumping my arm with his nose over and over again. 10 to 12 minutes into the walk, he tries to bust loose, because all he wants to do is run and play. After his little fit, he lets it all go, and we go back to walking enjoyably with one another.

As part of his rehab, I’m incorporating bodywork. The left side of his body is ridiculously stiff from compensating for his right stifle, and his neck and poll locked up from the bad reaction to the antibiotic shot.

The stiffness in the poll really bummed me out. All racehorses are locked in the poll. They don’t get all the softening work that other horses do in other disciplines. If you ever watch a horse race, when the horses run through the turn, their bodies are usually straight. They barely have any bend. When I brought Chaco home, he was so stiff through the poll, he could barely handle any work I did on it. After working with the Masterson method slowly on him, after a few months, I finally suppled his poll to where he could bend beautifully.
Now we’re back to square one.
Years ago I wanted to shift from being a human massage therapist to horse massage therapist. I apprenticed with a nice guy all over Western Colorado. I learned quite a bit from him, but there were things I didn’t like. I liked how he used acupressure points, but I hated the use of a wooden dowel to activate them. He would push in with all of his might into certain spots making the horse break out into a huge sweat before a release would happen. He said the release happened when endorphins were released. It did seem to work, and the horses did improve. All of the owners told me so, but I didn’t like the apparent distress the horses went into before they released. It made me wonder if the horses were simply blocking the pain, disconnecting from that portion of their body like humans tend to do.
I looked for another method, and I found Tellington Touch, which I absolutely love. I feel that TTouch is a great way to work with a nervous horse, one that has been abused, or one in distress. However, it didn’t give me the results I wanted for horses that had deep muscle issues.
This is when my friend Betsy told me about and taught me the Masterson Method. I loved it, because it uses the gentlest of touch to release those deep muscles. You would think it could never work, but I’ve witnessed amazing changes time and time again with my horses and on other horses that aren’t mine. Instead of pushing in with all of your might on certain points, you touch the horse with the lightest of pressure to bypass his fight or flight response. You are telling the nerves it is okay to relax and release, so the muscles can relax and release.
It starts out with me searching areas that cause the horse’s eyes to blink a lot. From there usually the lips begin twitching. With Chaco it usually goes from that to fidgeting a lot before he finally lets out a deep sigh, licks his lips, and shakes his head.

Most horses, like Harley for instance, prefer it if you step back and give them their space to relax. Shandoka liked it if I stepped back two steps, let him release, and then he would step forward and bury his head in my chest. Chaco likes me to stand next to him while he releases, and often he includes me in it by rubbing his head on me.

Releases can come in all shapes and forms. Here is a video of a minor release Chaco went through after I stretched his rear, right leg. I normally never tie him when I work on him, but I did for this video.

You can see in this picture how relaxed he gets as he processes one of the maneuvers.


Chaco had an amazing set of releases yesterday. Sometimes they consist of head shakes, yawns, sighs, and licking of the lips. However, they can be a lot more dramatic than that.

Yesterday after our fifteen minute walk, I began working on Chaco. I started off working on his poll where you lightly put your hand along the spine in the neck bringing the nose towards you laterally while gently wiggling the nose to move the vertebra through their range of motion. It is a simple maneuver with powerful results. He immediately began going through a release trying to move his temperomandibular joint around, which is a release for the poll. The muscles of the TMJ are connected with the Hyoid bone, which is the same bone that the muscles of the poll connect with. Thus, when he manipulates the TMJ, he is stretching out the poll. He began moving his head in all directions, which I let him do before bringing him back into the lateral position. Finally, he calmed down and went into a deep state of relaxation. He let out a deep sigh, shook his head, licked his lips, so I moved onto his right side. When I worked on his right side, he was calmer and didn’t seem to need much work on this side. I went to stretch out his front legs. I lifted his right leg towards me, and as I did, he leaned his butt backwards while keeping his hindlegs under him. He stretched both legs forward as if he were doing Downward Dog in Yoga except I was still holding his right hoof in my hands about four inches off the ground. I was worried if I put it down it could hurt him, so I continued holding it until he indicated he was ready to come forward. That has never happened to me!

After finishing working on his shoulders, I moved onto his poll again. I have to say I was happy about his left shoulder. This was the first time he really let it drop and relax easily, and I could shake his leg with ease. I went back to his poll, and in this exercise you put the horse’s chin on your upper arm or shoulder and you lift the head up and down while moving laterally to one side and straight ahead. I started moving him to the left while I lightly placed my fingers behind C2 on his neck. He immediately started releasing again. Lots of TMJ movement, getting fidgety, and then moving his head in different positions as he moved closer and closer to a deep state of relaxation. When he finally did, his entire body began undulating. This I did experience a lot with Shandoka, and this is a profound release. This is when a horse releases not only their poll but down their entire spine to their tail. When you soften the poll, you release the sacrum. When you release the sacrum, you release more of the poll. This maneuver, for whatever reason yesterday, released his entire back. After the undulation, he then raised his head up as high as he could tucking his chin into his chest while stretching out his left hindleg straight behind him. He then dropped into a deep state of relaxation where his head dropped to about a foot off the ground.

From there I worked down his withers, worked some other points and came to his lumbar/sacrum region. Working the hind end takes a lot of patience. The muscles down there are so thick, developed and usually hold an immense amount of tension. This is why patience is key here; it takes awhile for these muscles to let go. You have to move your hands around areas of certain points looking for blinks. When you find them, you hold. With Chaco, I use what Masterson calls “air gap” touch. I am barely touching the hairs of those areas. Again, you might think it doesn’t work, but boy does it work deeply. Chaco, if you’ve been followng, had a bad wreck on the track where he fractured his pelvis. This area, not only because of his stifle issue, holds a lot of tension also from that day. I believe it holds body memories of the wreck here as well. When I start working on his hind end, he starts swinging his hips towards me, because it makes him so nervous to let go. I make my touch lighter. We do this dance where I try to not get stepped on while keeping my hands lightly in contact with these areas until he finally releases. You never punish or correct a horse when you do this kind of work, because it is their way of communicating with you that you are onto something. When I put my hands on the Lumbar/Sacrum region with my hands, he definitely responds, and I tie this to the pelvic fracture. He backs up all over the place. I stay with him. His tail twitches, and I stay with him. His legs swing around, I stay with it until I begin to see the first signs of release, and this is when I felt his spine adjust. Each time we work on this area, he improves.

His stifles? Oh yeah, there is a lot of tension there, but it is all mainly in the left from compensating for the right for so long. When we first started working on this spot, his leg would swing out into me over and over. He isn’t trying to kick me at all, but he swings it out as if he is giving himself a good groin stretch. Yesterday, he kept alternating with picking up his hind legs bending them and then stretching them straight out behind him.

When we were done, he rolled a couple of times, which is a great sign that changes occurred. It helps him adjust and release even more. He was so happy afterwards that when I walked him down to the hay field, he was on the muscle so beautifully that all Dressage riders would have drooled. He also tried to convince me to go run around with him, which we did not do. Not for another month and a half buddy.

What about Harleyman? Harley was never really open to it, but after watching me work on Chaco all the time, he is letting me work on him. Yesterday, his neck adjusted, and he had some nice releases through his shoulders and poll. He also loves his hamstring stretches! Hopefully, he will let me work on him more and more, and he will be free of as much tension as I can release him from. Harley rolled too.

Chaco has had a lot of tension in his body for a long time, and I am determined to release it all one move at a time in search of symmetry. Since the antibiotic reaction and the surgery, he is getting softer each day. We have a lot more work to do, but we are getting there. I’m not only doing this with bodywork, but I am also doing this with targeted exercises, which I’ll talk about next week.

If you are interested in learning the Masterson Method, you are in luck. He has published two books and three DVD’s that you can purchase on,-line through his website at Masterson Method. I highly recommend it. He also has posted several short videos on YouTube.

One Month Traveled


Chaco and Harley down on the hay pasture


Today is the month anniversary since the surgery. The poor guy is sure nothing happened, and all he wants to do is break out into a run whenever he possibly can, which is not for another two weeks. This means he and I have several discussions where I am circling him, zig zagging, or backing him up to try and slow him down when I walk him.

For the first two weeks he was on stall rest and unlimited hand grazing. The hand grazing was an important part of his rehabilitation. It allowed him to walk, but since he was grazing, it was all start and stop. Grazing causes horses to shift their weight on all four legs differently. I watched him use his leg more and more, put more and more weight on that leg as he gave his left hind a chance to rest.

While grazing him, I read the book Secretariat to him. He seemed to like it often putting his nose on the top of the book listening to me while I read. We often argued as he wanted to eat the grass down to the dirt, and I didn’t want him to.


Two weeks after the surgery it was time to pull the stitches, and that day fell on Thanksgiving. Since he was still dealing with the reaction to the antibiotic, I didn’t want to give him anything to sedate him for fear of it aggravating his stomach more. Luckily, Chaco trusts me, and I was about to ask a lot of him. He had three portals for the surgery, which meant two of the sets of stitches were on the inside of his leg and the other set was on the outside. The skin on the inside is more sensitive, similar to the underside of  your arm. I decided to go with the stitches on the outside of his leg first, so he knew what was coming. The stitches were done so perfectly that they hadn’t loosened up even a little. Thus, when I pulled up on one of the knots, I could barely see the loop. I took the first snip, and out it came. After cutting the rest out, it was time to do the ones on the inside of his leg.


The problem was that I couldn’t see the loops at all unless I went underneath him, which my grandpa taught me to never do for good reason. However Gramps, I had no choice,. Since the skin is more sensitive there, I gently pulled up on the knots a few times to get him used to the sensations before I got on my knees directly underneath him. Slowly, I nipped the rest of the stitches out. He could have kicked me, stepped on me, walked over me, but he stood perfectly still even though he was nervous. I am so proud of him.

When the stitches came out, he got to go on small turn out, which he was happy about! He trotted and reared up and rolled in celebration.


This is when I began doing bodywork on him. Because of that shot, his neck and poll became very stiff. We are still working that out. I also began working on his hind end lightly this week, and we’ve found some tension. All of it is working out in a good way, and he is loving this part of his rehabilitation.

I recently moved some panels down to the hay field, and he can now graze in a very small area that he prohibits him from trotting. He and Harley are loving grazing down there. The grass is much tastier.

Now that we reached the one month mark, he can be walked for fifteen minutes twice a day. I think we both are loving this part! I may not be able to ride him, but at least we can do something together. He loved being able to move in a purposeful way. In a month, I can ride him for fifteen minutes a day, then we graduate to 20, and finally we work up to 25 minutes. After that, he gets an examination to determine if he is ready to trot and more. I will be including some calisthenics as he seems ready for it to bring equal strength to his hind end. We are moving along, and he is doing so well. Today while we walked for the 15 minutes, he didn’t drag his hoof once.

So far so good!




My sweet Harley is an 18yo quarterhorse that I brought home to be a companion for Shandoka. Talk about a love affair. Those two hated to be apart from one another. If I went for a trail ride without Harley, Shandoka would call for him constantly. If I left Harley alone, he would get so stressed he would begin to get colicy.

When I brought Chaco home, Harley resented him so much that he tried to attack him twice. Chaco was too fast for him though. I did a lot of work to bring those three together as a group, and when they did, it was awesome.

Harley is my rock. He got Chaco and I through this summer. When I need to, he lets me drape my body across his withers resting my head on his shoulder as he reaches around with his nose to hug me.

Every single night he sleeps next to Shandoka’s grave. He never slept there until Shandoka died.

When Chaco came up lame, even though they were separated, Harley stayed by him throughout it. When I took Chaco to the vet for his first exam, Harley went with us and nickered to him throughout the exam.

When it was time to take Chaco to Glenwood Springs for the surgery, I brought Harley. I did this for Chaco, but I also did it for Harley. Harley doesn’t do alone well. I wanted him to understand that Chaco wasn’t coming back with us. Harley doesn’t like to travel far either, and the poor guy had sweat up a storm on the way there, and on the way back.

When we got home, Bill and I dried him off, put a blanket on him, and we took turns spending time with him. He handled being alone pretty well. There were a couple of times during the night he woke me up with his nickers. I went out both times, and herds of deer were moving through our neighbor’s field; they made him nervous. I sat with him in the barn admiring the stars with him. He is a star gazer……honestly.

During the day of the surgery, he had the most difficult time without Chaco, and he had some bad moments. I spent a lot of time with him. In turn he helped me get through the long surgery and wait. My friend Andrea asked me if I had anyone with me when we were entering the third hour of no news. I told her I had Harley. When the surgery was over and he was out of Recovery, I ran outside to hug on Harley.

When I left the next morning to pick up Chaco, I decided to leave Harley at home. When I started to drive out, he galloped up to the fence. I hopped out of the truck, hugged on him. told him I was going to get him, and all would be good. He went back to grazing, and I kept an eye on him the whole time with the remote cameras linked to my phone.

When I drove back in with Chaco, he galloped up to us. They touched noses, and then Harley acted a little bit like, “So what you were gone. I’m cool. No big deal.”

However, when we went through this bad reaction to the antibiotic shot, he never left Chaco’s side. When I walked Chaco back from the pasture to his stall, Harley came running after us. Usually, he waits for me to get him, because he wants as much pasture time as possible. He did this again today, and it tells me how off Chaco was. Now I think these two finally bonded, and I don’t think I can leave either one behind. They are finally best friends; just took a year and six weeks.

Harley is my hero, my bff, my pain in the neck, and Bill refers to him as his horse. I let Bill think that, but he’s my lovable goofball.

So, Of Course There Was a Glitch!

Everything has been going just fine after the surgery. Chaco’s using his leg all the time, no soreness or lameness except for a bit on Saturday the day after he came home. He is a happy boy, and we go hand grazing throughout the day to keep him using that leg in a controlled, safe, and slow way.

Then yesterday happened…..

I was hand grazing Chaco when this developed:


I called the surgeon and sent an email with this picture. He told me to heat pack it and call my vet. My vet though is drowning in calls because the other vet is out of town for a week. My vet was out on vet calls, so I heat packed it, and it kept getting worse and worse and worse. I began to think there was an abscess, and my anxiety climbed to new heights.



After Shandoka died, I stopped trusting myself, trusting any gut instinct I have, and I started wondering if this was going to go bad on me quick. I kept thinking about my grandpa, because he knew how to do everything. He had the best instincts even though he could barely see. He was almost blind in both eyes by the time I hit my teens, but he could see problems in a horse better than anyone with perfect vision. I kept thinking about what he would do, and I went and made up some of his liniment. That stuff is so simple, and it is amazing at how well it works. I put his blanket on with his neck cover, and I rubbed his neck down with the liniment.

I went out two hours later, and the abscess went down to half the size of the picture above. By 4am in the morning it was a quarter of the size. I rubbed his neck down with more liniment, and by 8am it was gone.


However, there is this ridge and a golf ball sized sac of fluid at the base of his neck on the right.


I thought I was in the clear when Chaco developed really bad diarreah and a lot of it, which he never has. He is as regular as can be, so this to me meant something was going on.

My former vet, who I so love and adore, called me and told me it was a sterile abscess that seems to have resolved itself, and it was caused by an injection of something. I called my surgeon’s office, and after reviewing all of the pictures, my surgeon decided it was from the shot of antibiotics he gave him before I brought him home. He said he has only had one other horse in all of his years have a bad reaction, and I told him of course Chaco did since he is my horse….lol.

I put Chaco on Bio Sponge, and it seems like it has already slowed down the diarreah. I will continue to rub my sweet Grandpa’s liniment on his neck until this antibiotic is out of his system. I don’t have to worry about an infection, and all I have to say is thank goodness. I was so worried this was going to go bad on me, but my grandpa helped me through it even though he left me many years ago. I have great and wonderful vets, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of them.

He’s Home


When I got him home, he was so happy. Harley let out a big sigh of relief to not have to be here alone any longer. I’m pretty sure he thought he wasn’t coming back, and when he realized home is home, he couldn’t stop eating and nuzzling.

What amazed me was how well he was walking when I picked him up. I expected him to be slightly lame from the surgery, and he wasn’t at all. There was some swelling, which I expected, but otherwise he was walking better now than before the surgery.

When I loaded him up, they thanked me for letting him be there, because they all fell in love with him. He is such a sweetheart, and he loves all of life he comes across. I was happy he showed them how wonderful thoroughbreds are.

Driving home I knew that the easy part was over, and the tricky and challenging part was ahead of me. We need to rehab his leg and create equal strength. We won’t be able to start doing exercises for a month, and all of it is at the walk. It will be three months before we can trot under saddle. I also need to figure out a way that we can afford to reduce cartilage degradation. The hardest part is convincing him that we need to go slow. He doesn’t like doing anything slow. He is a calm horse, but when that switch goes on, watch out.

When we got home, Bill was waiting for us. I unloaded him, and he and Harley immediately said hello. Bill and I had a picnic beside the barn hanging out with him so happy that he was back.

The next day I noticed he was stiff. We had a chilly night, and his leg wasn’t too happy with it. I am allowed to do unlimited hand grazing with him for a month and a half, so I took him out to graze. Within five minutes the stiffness disappeared.


What are the immediate changes I’ve noticed after the surgery? He no longer drags his hoof. He used to drag it especially at the canter. There was an area that the synovial fluid was leaking into creating a sac that never went down; that is gone. Before the surgery when I stroked this area, all of his muscles would twitch, and now not even a little twitch. He does still stand with his leg behind him, but that is usually after he has been sleeping. Before he used to put it out to side and have his toe on the ground. Now it is directly behind him with his hoof completely on the ground. He also is putting full weight on his leg giving his left leg a break like a sound horse does.


Our day consists of me hand grazing him, giving him a break, hand grazing again, another break, and then we do some light bodywork. He’s a little tired of me hand grazing him, because he usually wants to break out into a run, or play with me by rearing up. Once he realizes I’m not letting him get away with it, he reluctantly grazes…lol.

He is eating and cleaning out his bucket each day, so his ulcers didn’t flare back up. Life is good right now.

Three Pebbles

Before the surgery I didn’t get a lot of support for my decision to have the chips removed behind the scenes I guess you could say. A couple of  people thought that I should retire him to pasture and avoid the surgery. A couple of others thought I should go with injections, and someone else believed I should blister Chaco.

I researched everything with every spare moment I had. I lost sleep researching all of these different options. Injections would not prevent further damage to the cartilage, and the cortisone could cause too many health problems. Injecting hyaluronic acid was another suggestion to dissolve the chips. I couldn’t find much information on this, but what I did find for chips to be reasorbed by the body was that the chips needed to be small (his were anything but small), and the injury needed to be new (his injury was over 2 years old). Blistering for chips nobody recommended, I couldn’t find any literature to support it, and there was no evidence of loose ligaments/tendons or an upright patella, which blistering could benefit. However, everyone said blistering should always be a last resort and to do targeted exercises first to try and correct any problems. Nobody found any evidence that Chaco has loose ligaments or an upright patella.

He told me that the surgery would probably be an hour long, and he would take an hour to an hour and a half to get out of Recovery. I could visit with him around noon the next day after the surgery.

Great. I took Harley home, and for the first night in awhile I slept.

The next morning I kept myself busy with chores, the dogs, and brushing Harley. I called at 10:30 to see if the surgery was over. Instead of starting at 9am as expected, there was a vet emergency, so it began at 10am. It was going well, Chaco was doing great, and the surgery should be over soon enough. I went back outside and hung a camera in the barn, so I could keep a close eye on him at night. I also put three pebbles in my shoe, and I walked around on them for an hour. All I can say is I don’t know how Chaco did it. At the end of the hour I could barely take it anymore, and I had bruises on the bottom of my foot along with some very raw skin from where they rubbed. Why he didn’t buck anyone off is amazing to me, and it shows what an amazing heart he has.

At noon, still no word. At 1pm still no word.  I was beginning to panic thinking that something was going very wrong. at 1:30pm I called again, and I was told he just went into Recovery. Finally, around 2:30pm I got a phone call telling me that he was out of Recovery, and he got all three chips out. Due to the time, and it takes 2.5 hours to get there, I wouldn’t be able to see him.

Dr. Everett said that it took so long, because the last one was really hard to find and get to. He told me that there was a lot of cartilage damage, and on a scale of 1-10 he was a 6. He said if I would have left the chips in there, all of the cartilage would have been eaten away.

Two of the chips are as big as human teeth, and one chip is bigger than a human tooth:


I’m not sure what kind of work Chaco will be able to do considering the cartilage damage. I have some decisions to make as how to progress with rehabbing him and protecting the cartilage that remains. What I do know is that this was the right thing to do without a doubt. None of the other suggestions would have done him a bit of good. I am grateful for all of the suggestions, because it made me research everything to the point where I knew there really was only one option to move forward on; this surgery.

I want everyone to know that supported this surgery that we are so grateful to you for your help. We are also grateful to everyone that didn’t support my choice, because your doubts helped us reaffirm our choice. Chaco’s healing is everyone’s achievement. This surgery was the most holistic choice I could have made. All I know is he doesn’t have to walk on three pebbles anymore, and that makes me so happy for him.

Here We Go


Chaco had his surgery rescheduled twice. After the second time, which was due to everyone being sick with the cold, I felt panic. I’ve driven to Glenwood Springs on a treacherous I-70 before, and storms were rolling through each week. I worried that the later this surgery happened the less of a chance I would have to get there.

I decided to keep the surgery date to myself and Bill. I grew up in horse racing, and when you do, you become superstitious. I was sure that by announcing the date online twice, I jinxed us. Keeping it quiet was the way to go to make this surgery happen I convinced myself, however this made my stress go through the roof.

I busied myself preparing for the surgery. I got cedar shavings for the barn, I removed anything that he could rub on that may pull out his stitches, and I installed a camera into the barn. I trained him with the neck cradle in case he starts trying to pull the stitches out, designed his restricted turnout area, and I prayed a lot. I went over to Shandoka’s grave asking him to be with him through the whole thing.

The day before we left for Glendwood, Chaco was trotting around like a happy horse does when he took he a few bad steps. He came up to me, and he held his leg out to the side resting his hoof on his toe. I ran my finger over the area where the chips were, and his muscles twitched all over. He turned to look at me, and he and I both knew there was no other way to go but surgery. I rested my head on his shoulder crying a little scared for him, but mainly I was sad that he was even in this spot. I was sad that he had been hurting for over two years. I was sad that I didn’t know about the chips until he became lame. I was sad that nobody took these chips out after they happened.

I watched the race he went down in. I forced myself, because my grandpa told me to properly train a horse you needed to know about the good and the bad; especially the bad. You need to learn about the bad, so you can help them overcome any fears they may have. I noticed on our rides he got a bit nervous anytime we went through tight spots. I watched every single one of Chaco’s races on Equibase. He was a horse that liked to go on the outside, but this day he was brought up on the inside.  He clipped heels, went down, and another horse went over him. I believe he got kicked in the stifle as the other horse went over him creating these chips. I was told they believed he also broke his pelvis that day.

I felt so sad for him as he rested his leg. I could have gotten on him, and he would do anything I asked of him even though it hurt. It was time for me to do whatever I could for him; he deserved someone being willing to go all out for him. Later I went out to say goodnight to him. He likes to kiss me. I put my lips on his upper lip kissing him, and he moves his upper lip as if he is trying to kiss me back. While we were doing this, I looked between his ears, and Pleiades floated between them. A good sign I thought.

I woke up at 3:30am, waited until 4:30am, and then I got up and started doing all of my chores. After getting everyone fed, I let the horses go on the pasture for a couple of hours before loading them in the trailer. I decided to bring Harley as a companion for Chaco. I wanted to bring someone with me, but I decided to continue to keep it all quiet until I got home. At 11:15am we were on the road heading towards Glenwood. We made it there in two and a half hours. As I pulled into the parking lot, the song I used to sing to Shandoka on our rides came on the radio.

Chaco was such a good boy. He was calm even though he constantly was moving around looking at everything. The vet really liked him, which made me feel good. He took a set of x-rays, and it looked like the chips moved from his last x-ray. He told me the surgery would probably take an hour, and he would be in recovery by noon the next day. I planned on being there.

I reluctantly put Chaco in his stall along with his jollyball and a tshirt that smelled like me, Harley, Bella and Chewy. I whispered to Shandoka to please stay with him and help him through this. I didn’t want to leave him; my grandpa taught me to stay with a horse when they’re in trouble. Leaving him behind went against every bone in my body. Reluctantly I left, and as I walked away, he watched me.

I hugged on Harley for a bit, got into my truck, and we drove off. I turned on the radio, and the song I sing to Chaco on our rides came on the radio.

Arte for Chaco

Hi Everyone, we have raised $900 of the $2,900 to get Chaco his surgery. To find out more about what Chaco is facing and why, please read my blog post Chaco’s Journey. I was going to post a few original paintings, but they are all in Norwood right now. My dog Sedona is not doing so well, and removing a painting from a frame takes time and is tricky. Instead I decided to sell some prints for right now instead. They are $50, and that includes the price of shipping in the United States by Priority Mail. If  you live outside of the country, let me know, and I will try to figure out what the shipping cost is. Each print is a giclee, metallic print. They are 8X10 that are matted out to 11X14 inches. Most of the mats are black. If anything is in a different color, I will post the color of the matt. They are signed by me, and they are in a protective plastic, sealed bag. If you are a local, I can refund the shipping portion to you if you don’t want it shipped, and we can figure out how to meet up. I will be adding more prints tomorrow on 10/10/2018

In addition to the prints, I am offering commissions of  pencil sketches of your animals. I am working on one of three right now, and I think I can get four more done before Christmas. These would be done on 8X10 inch paper that has a weight of 100lb, which means nice, heavy, thick paper. I have two buttons below for if you care if they are done before Christmas, and another button if you aren’t worried about it being done before Christmas. If you would like to see some samples of my sketches, please click on the Contact link. The watermarks in the corner of the pictures below are not on the prints. I am presently working on three commissions, so this is why I can only take on four more to make it by Christmas.

Panda Momma (there are two of these left)


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 Sacred White Buffalo (Only one available at this time)


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Blue Woman and the Ancient ones (2 Left)


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Spirit Messenger (1 available) Unfortunately, I can’t find the studio picture I took of this, so this is a pic through the plastic bag with my cellphone. I apologize.


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Seeds of Life (1 Available)


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Ami (2 available. One is in dark blue matting and the other is in black. Please specify in your order which one you want.)


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Commissions of Dogs, Cats, or Horses

If you care about it being done before Christmas (there are only four slots)

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If you don’t mind them being done after Christmas’

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Chaco’s Journey

This is the post excerpt.

Follow Chaco’s journey as we work towards removing three bone chips from his stifle region from a two year old injury.

When I picked him up at Albuquerque Downs racetrack a year ago, I felt unsure about my decision to take on another horse, but then I saw him. I walked up to him, put my hands to his nose, and he took a big whiff. I lowered my head towards his, and all the nervousness and doubts vanished; I fell in love.


I asked about his previous injuries, and I was told he had hurt a fetlock and broken a rib in a fall during a race; however, he is fine now. To be honest with you, I would have taken him home no matter what. I looked into his eyes, and I could see that he needed something different. I could give that to him back home where he could be a horse, live like a horse, graze like a horse, and play like a horse. For the past year he has done all of the above with gusto. Around here we call him Chaco.

Last week on our year anniversary, I walked him to the paddock when he suddenly took an off step. Three more steps later he couldn’t walk on all four legs. Panic went through every ounce of my being. I recently lost my beloved thoroughbred Shandoka, so seeing Chaco like this, made my heart come to an abrupt halt. Slowly, we limped back to the barn (it took us about 15 minutes to walk 30 feet), where I put him in a small run. By the end of the day, he could walk a bit better.

A few days later we went to the vet where he was diagnosed with three bone chips in his stifle. It is an old injury, because the bone that these chips came off of healed. We can’t tell where they came from, and they migrated away from the bone. Back in 2016, Chaco was brought up along the inside during a horse race. His other races showed he preferred to go on the outside away from any trouble and traffic, but this day he was on the inside where he ran into trouble. Heels clipped and he went straight down with a horse falling over him. Initially, I was told he had a broken rib, but after finding out about the chips, I learned they suspected he also broke his pelvis that day. My theory is a horse kicked him in his stifle before falling over him creating these chips.

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One of my options is to let him go on like this, get injections and put him on bute. I am passionately against injections, and the last thing I want him on is bute. Bute is an anti-inflammatory that masks pain. It is the reason why a lot of horses will keep running with a broken leg on the racetrack. It also causes ulcers, and it causes colic. I just lost a horse to colic, and I will do everything I can to not watch another horse die that way. Chaco, I believe, had ulcers, which at least 90% of racehorses have from being kept in a stall for 22 to 23 hours a day. When I brought him home, I treated the ulcers herbally, and he now cleans his bucket every day. Recently, he put on seventy five pounds. Bute will bring the ulcers back, the weight will come off, and he will be in pain in a whole other way all the time.

Joint injections can cost $65 to $250 per joint monthly. Joint injections can cause a deterioration of articular cartilage, joint infections, joint inflammation, corticosteroid induced laminitis (life threatening condition), and it may not even work! You can see why injections do not thrill me at all as an option.

What gets me every time I think about this is that he raced for a full year with these chips, and he worked a year with me never complaining. He gives 150% during our trail rides and training sessions each and every time. A friend of mine who competes in show jumping asked me if he’s real bucky or balks at doing work. He never has. Never. I think he’s hurt this entire time, but he put my desires and safety ahead of his pain out of concern for me. He wants to please me, so he ignored his pain, which the thought of breaks my heart.

I’ve thought about not getting the surgery, doing the injections, but what if we are on the trail ten miles or even one mile out, and he goes dead lame again? Trying to get him back to the trailer could be next to impossible. I could let him be a pasture horse for the rest of his life not doing injections or anything, but he went this lame after being on the pasture. My mind wanders to the day it started to rain, and we galloped lap after lap in it. His stride was long and strong, his breath was rhythmic. Our bodies moved together going from steps to suspension where we flew threw the air. When we finished, we were both soaked, but together we were on Cloud 9. I can’t take that away from him.

When the swelling is gone, you can see where the chips are, and yes, the swelling goes up and down every day.


This is how he stands most of the day to find comfort and relieve the pain.


Now it’s time to put his well-being ahead of everything and get him sound and healthy. The other option for him is arthroscopic surgery to remove the bone chips. He will be completely sound, 100% in two to three months after the surgery. He won’t need bute or injections. He will be able to play and run with Harley (his buddy), go out on the trail, and gallop with me in the rain pain free. He deserves this, because he loves all of these things.

Problem is Bill and I can’t afford it right now. We recently had to fix something on our home that turned out to be a bigger problem than originally expected. We can pay for all of the post-surgery exams, but paying for the surgery as well is simply more than we can do right now. I want to be transparent on everything. The cost of the surgery will be $2500. The reason why I am asking for $2,900 in donations is to cover the costs of what Paypal will take out. I chose Paypal instead of GoFundMe, because more of your money will go towards the surgery. Also, you do not have to have a paypal account to donate. You can use your credit card or debit card. Every day I will update how close to our goal we are here on this blog and also on Facebook. Also, in a few days, I hope to figure out how to raffle a painting of mine, and sell some giclee prints and another original painting of mine on this site. I will make an announcement when I get that set up, and all the funds for those sales, except for shipping costs, will go towards the surgery.

If you choose to donate, I promise to continue the transparency by posting regularly on this blog. I will share with you everything we go through, so you can see how every single dollar is going to his health, healing and well-being.

I promise you he will never end up on the track again. He will live out the rest of his days with me. A friend said I should post my goals for him post surgery. Here they are:

  1. Love him forever
  2. Maintain his happiness, health, and well being
  3. Go out on the trail, and let him see the world.
  4. Hopefully develop him into an ambassador on the Western Slope of Colorado for Off Track Thoroughbreds. Over 10,000 thoroughbreds are sent to the slaughterhouses in Canada from the United States each year. He can show people how versatile OTTB’s can be, so maybe we can save some lives.
  5. Enter into some competitive trail riding competitions, pole competitions, and maybe some equitation work to show how smart and talented thoroughbreds are.
  6. Possibly work with kids as a therapy horse
  7. Let him run and play

If you have any questions about the surgery, please feel free to email me at Contact. I will be more than happy to answer anything. I know that I’m asking for a lot, but I wouldn’t ask if he didn’t need this. He has given his heart to all of the humans in his life. Lots of times horses with this type of pain can get mean. When he hurts, all he wants me to do is hold his head and love on him. He wants to play when he feels better, and he is missing going out and working together. I want to give back to him, if at all possible, what he has given to me. If you wish to donate to the cost of his surgery, please click on the Paypal button below, and donate whatever you wish. Bill, Chaco, Harley, our five dogs, and myself thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of Chaco’s Journey.

10/8/18 Between this and my FB charity, we raised $275. Tomorrow thanks to everyone, I’m calling to get the pre-op appointment scheduled.

As of today, 10/9, we have raised $900. As of 10/15, we’ve raised $1,100. We also scheduled the surgery for 10/23. Thank you from all of my heart.

“You don’t throw a whole life away just because he’s banged up a little.”

Tom Smith, trainer for Seabiscuit

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