Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Back to playing with Lucky

After a week off to work on barns and fences, I started playing again with Lucky yesterday.

When I left off with Lucky 2 weeks ago, I felt uneasy. My goal in all my interactions with my horses is to have them trust and respect me, and also to respect them as thinking, feeling beings. They just think and feel differently than people do. I was getting some anger and resistance from Lucky, and wondered what he was saying to me. After reading The Tao of Equus and Riding Between The Worlds by Linda Kohanov (you can find these books here )I have had renewed hope for an equine partnership without force and with true communication. I know that with my horses' help, I am finding that partnership.

Yesterday I backed the intensity of our games down, as he became angry and resistant at one point during our last session. This time I focused on being fair and clear and positive. If I were speaking to someone who spoke a different language, I would not resort to raising my voice or force if I wasn't understood. I would focus on myself and making my communication more clear. Even though he has been ridden, even raced, I am not assuming he has learned all the cues and language. At one point he scared himself and began a panicked run around me. Instead of reprimanding him and demanding a halt, I just spoke and felt "peace, safety, calm, grace" over and over and he slowed, collected himself and finally stopped. So perhaps part of the key is being the change I am looking for.

I'm excited to experience the other lessons Lucky and I have for each other this week.

Until my next post, here is a link to Kim Walnes' The Way Of The Horse. Those of you who resonate with my journey with Lucky may appreciate her information.

Until my next post, be well!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Equine euthanasia

With the recent economic challenges, more and more horse owners are finding themselves unable to properly care for their horses and feel their choices are to either send the horse to auction or euthanize. Euthanasia can cost upwards of $500 for the vet and removal, and so the owners turn to auctions as the only affordable option.

A horse rescue out west came up with a humane, creative solution. They are offering a free euthanasia clinic for unadoptable horses.

While this may seem like a controversial or extreme option to many readers, the alternative may be horses left to starve, suffer, or packed onto trucks to be slaughtered in Mexico or Canada.

Perhaps this new option will catch on in other states...

Here are some links on the topic:


Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Really funny Fainting Goat Video !

Click on this for a great video set to music.

No training posts today. Still busy with winter barn projects. So far I finished another wall on the new barn and added a corral fence. Today I'm setting posts and adding gates to the goat pens. Busy, busy, busy....but very fun.

Lucky of course is checking out each project - all the tools and materials get a thorough sniffing and maybe a taste. Even stuck his nose in the post hole to smell what might be in there. Silly Arabian! It's a good thing Ben is more concerned with eating, as he has a reputation for picking up and taking or throwing tools, jackets, shoes, pitchforks...

Until next post, be well and stay warm!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Video - Dressage vs. Western equestrians

The Western rider is Dennis Schulz, the Dressage rider is Peter Gmoser, both from Austria.


PS - no Lucky posts this past week as I've been busy finishing up the winter building projects. Hope to have more to share by the end of this week.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Poco, Ben and Snowflake - my aged horses

I have 3 senior equines at home. Snowflake (pony-pony) is a mini of about 25 years. Poco is a chestnut QH/Appaloosa cross (maybe) and is at least 25. Ben is a 22 year old gray Arabian, turning 23 this year. I've had Poco since he was 6, and he has been an amazing teacher for me. We've tried all sorts of training techniques, done some dressage, a bit of jumping, walked through his healing from navicular, ringbone and sidebone and more. For those of you who follow holistic animal care, Poco's prepurchase exam and years later his first homeopathic care both came from Dr. Edgar Sheaffer at Clark Veterinary Clinic Poco is also the horse that got me back on the path of holistic health, after giving me a wonderful case of whiplash which led me to a very special chiropractor, who in turn led me to Dynamite and Dr. Regan Golob. Funny how life works!

Ben I've had since he was 12, and before that he was a racehorse, then a hack horse for hire, then he belonged to my best friend for years doing trail rides and a bit of hunt seat.

These days we trail ride together to stay in shape. Ben is in training to do competitive trail, as he really doesn't care for playing in the ring at all. Poco on the other hand prefers the ring to the trails, and is the guy I go to when I want to ride bareback/bridleless, work on my own techniques, or give rides to the kids.

Ben and Poco have some trouble chewing these days. Ben has lost several teeth, while all of Poco's molars are worn to the gumline. Both do just fine on Dynamite Pelleted Grain Ration and timothy hay pellets, soaked to mush. In the winter I add a handful of Dynamite HES for extra fat to their ration. They get all the Dynamite free choice minerals, DynaPro prebiotic, Excel, a biannual cleanse with Dynamite Herbal Tonic and yucca. I also give them Waiora Natural Cellular Defense at least twice yearly for any heavy metals they may pick up, especially mercury. You can find these products at:

Snowflake just hangs out and flirts with the big boys. She gets the same program as the big boys, but only a smidge of the Pelleted Grain Ration and no hay pellets, as her teeth are still in great shape.
Finally, just for inspiration, here is an article about Elmer Bandit, a 37 year old horse that just set a new mileage record.


Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lucky's progress

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Had 2 sessions planned for this week under saddle.

What we actually had was a session about "Yes, I really CAN catch you in the field". He saw me coming, flicked his tail, and took off at a gallop herding all the horses with him. So I spent some time sending him, until he decided to walk over and stand. Then I haltered him, petted him and turned him loose. Took one more round until he figured it out and decided not to walk away from me.

The next day we just did some TTouch bodywork and called it a day. Much to his suprise.
Tonight we did TTEAM bodywork and ground exercises. I had planned to ride, but the crisp fall weather had him really, really wound up so I decided to start with a bit of ground work. That little bit turned into a full session as we worked through some resistance and discovered what he could do really well. These shots are from that session. I alternated between TTEAM ground obstacles, some natural horsemanship work on yielding the front and hind and sidepassing along the fence, and TTEAM TTouch when he needed a break or was getting too wound up. He followed me at a jog through the TTEAM labyrinth, and I bet he would do it without any halter at all. Such a willing guy!

I can tell he is still making up his mind about our relationship, now that I am actually asking him to do things for me. I think he's going to become a great trail horse and friend.

It's all perfect.

Till next time,

Carrie & Lucky

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lucky - week 1

Week 1 - Our first rides
Our goals for our first week are:
Standing still for mounting from both sides.
Lowering the head.
Work on our transitions between walk, halt, back and trot. Especially the halt...
Work on yielding the head, the shoulders and the hindquarters.
TTEAM and TTouch to address his stiffness to the right, especially behind. TTouch is also teaching him that people can be fun to connect with. The TTEAM exercises a great for keeping his active Arabian mind challenged and interested. You can learn more about TTEAM and TTouch at
We are working in enclosed areas first.
So far he is learning very quickly. The biggest challenge is changing activities often enough to keep his attention. He is very flexible in the neck and front end, but stiff behind, especially to the right. When he was just hanging out in the pasture, he was very friendly and curious. Now that I'm asking him to do things, he is a bit uncertain about our friendship. He is still curious, but is challenging me occasionally in subtle ways. I really enjoyed watching him respond to TTouch, and learning which TTouches he likes the best. He dropped his head and gave a huge sigh when I did python lifts on his hind legs and he really likes tail work. Mouth touches are his least favorite, followed by neck exercises.
Carrie & Lucky

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Lucky the Arabian horse - his story continued

Background and prep work:

Back in March I introduced Lucky, the youngest and latest addition to our equine family. Lucky's real name is To Catch A Thief. A registered Arabian, Lucky was bred to race. A few years ago he bowed a tendon on the track. After pasture rest, I purchased him to train for endurance and whatever other activity he wanted to try. (Notice the human-looking eye. This comes from his great-grandfather Wicking and is common in his bloodline)

My goal is to get Lucky under saddle and on the trail over the winter, to start competing in rides next spring. I thought readers might enjoy following Lucky on his journey.
This past week, I got Lucky's tack set up. While I normally work with rope halters or a simple snaffle bridle for starting young horses or retraining, Lucky comes from the racetrack and is capable of extreme speed and sudden starts at a gallop. For safety a trainer suggested I use a low-port slotted kimberwick for stopping power in a crisis. The chin strap is loose to minimize the pressure and most of the leverage is at the crown/poll.

I ride with a very loose noseband, just tight enough to prevent the bit ends from sliding into his mouth. I don't like tight nosebands because they prevent chewing, which clenches the jaw and affects the entire spine down to his hindquarters. I also want to be able to see if something I am doing is causing him to evade the bit by opening his mouth, and a tight noseband hides this. (The bridle you see him in now is temporary until the biothane bridle arrives. You can see in the top photo that the throatlatch is a bit too tight, and the noseband, which was a flash noseband, doesn't sit at the correct height. Lucky accepted both, so I am confident they are not making him uncomfortable for now)

I worked with Prudence Heaney at to fit a saddle to Lucky. He has a lot of memories associated with tack, so my first couple rides I just slid on bareback. We'll be starting with the saddle this coming week.

I also touched up his trim, because hoof length is critical with old bowed tendons. There are some great links to trimming websites with good photos on my links page at I'm a particular fan of Pete Ramey's work.

Finally, I did a nose to tail body assessment to check his nutritional program and structure before getting started. There is more information about the bodywork and nutrition on my website on the horse page.
Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Horses poisoned by flouride in drinking water! Click here to watch a video about some horses in Colorado crippled and killed by community water that had been fluoridated!

If you are on a community water supply, you may want to check whether your water is fluoridated. If it is, you can purchase filtration systems for your household to remove the fluoride. There are also garden hose filters available at if you need to have a portable, removable filter for a boarding situation. I have dealt with Pure Water Products for several years and been very impressed with their products and customer service.

Some folks also like systems that neutralize toxins on an energetic level. is a good source of these systems. Please tell them I sent you.

Fluoride is very irritating to the gut. There is also some evidence that the fluoride mimics iodine in the body. If a body takes in fluoride, it is sometimes unable to take in iodine for healthy thyroid function. Fluoride also affect bone health. While I haven't cited the studies here, a quick internet search will show many pages of studies and data supporting these statements.

This is an excellent link citing various studies about fluoride effects on humans.

If you or your animals have already been exposed to fluoride, here are some ideas for supplements that may be helpful. First, think about soothing the gut: A good probiotic for you, Dynamite DynaPro for your animals. Dynamite Miracle Clay is also soothing to the gut and may help pull toxins from the body. Studies have shown that calcium supplements are important for recovering from fluoride poisoning. Think Dynamite TriMins Plus for people, and Dynamite 2-1 and 1-1 Free Choice minerals for your animals.

Be well, and check the water you and your animals are drinking!


Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Inspirational equestrian video clips

Here are some video clips that have been sent to me that I found particularly inspirational. Truly examples of how special the horse-human partnership can be. This video
is of Andreas Helgstrand and his 9 year-old mare, Matinee, at the World
Equestrian Games. It is the Musical Freestyle Dressage competition. Stacy Westfall and Roxy without bridle or saddle doing freestyle reining. There are more videos at her website


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Clearing emotional issues in horses

I'm often asked by clients what to do about old traumas. Many horses have come from abusive backgrounds, or had accidents, or even just the trauma of being ridden in badly-fitted tack. There are many things that can create emotional baggage in horses.

All of my horses have come out of circumstances that left emotional imprints behind. Here are some of the techniques and tools I have found useful.

Dynamite Relax spray used orally has helped my horses with old fears. It is not labeled for this use, but my experience has been that it helped my horses release their fears, and think rather than react in scary circumstances.

Dynamite Release spray used topically on the poll behind the ears where the crownpiece of the bridle sits.

I also use a lot of Linda Tellington-Jones TTouch and TTEAM for clearing out old behavior patterns and emotions. There is lots of great information on TTouch and TTEAM at TTouch can be used all over the body, and is especially helpful at the poll. The TTouch mouth work is also very helpful.

I have found that LifeWave Energy Patches placed on the poll, white patch on right and tan patch on left, are very calming for my horses. I had a spooky horse that quit spooking entirely on the trails wearing patches. Another horse of mine that normally was difficult about having his feet worked on settled completely wearing patches on his poll. While there is no information about using these patches on horses on the company website, you can read about the patch science at

I also use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) on my horses and myself to release emotional issues. There is a free manual describing human EFT at
Here is a page devoted to EFT for animals

I have also used flower essences and worked with a radionics practitioner on emotional issues.

I will add to this list as I work with other modalities that anyone can easily learn and use.

Until next post, be well!

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Supplements and diet for endurance & competetive trail horses

I have recently worked with several horse owners that compete in either endurance or competetive trail. I am also conditioning one of my older Arabian horses for competetive trail, and would like to compete in endurance with my young Arabian Lucky, once he is properly trained.
So, this seemed like a good time to write down my ideas on diet and nutrition for my own horses getting ready to compete.
I will be feeding as much grass hay as they can eat. Visit for good information about hay for horses. I may also add just a smidge of alfalfa, no more than 1 flake daily.
For grain, I am feeding Dynamite Pelleted Grain Ration. I have switched away from the plain corn/oats/barley mix, as so many grains these days aren't properly fertilized, have chemical residues and/or are genetically modified.
For extra energy, I add black oil sunflower seeds and Dynamite High Energy Supplement (HES). HES is made of whole cold extruded soybean, and is a great digestible fat source. I can carry HES with me in my saddlebags to feed along the trail for a snack.
I use the basic supplement program of regular Dynamite and 2-1, 1-1, izmine and NTM salt fed free choice. I also use DynaPro with every meal, and during competition.
I also make sure my horses at least do 30 days on Waiora Natural Cellular Defense every year, if not stay on a low maintenance dose. I believe heavy metals and other toxins are a problem for horses, and I know there is research that some heavy metals mimic important minerals and tie up the mineral receptor sites. has information about Natural Cellular Defense.
For joint support, I use either Dynamite Free & Easy joint supplement, or the new Dynamite OxEMega. The OxEMega does not have chondroitin or glucosamine, but really seems to improve joint health. Another joint support formula I have played with is a mixture of MSM, Yucca and Ester C (all Dynamite brand). Different horses do better on different supplements, so I play around to find the right one, or muscle test it. I will probably use the Free & Easy during the competition season, and OxEMega during the late fall/winter/early spring when there is no fresh grass.
I use the Dynamite DynaSpark electrolyte.
I am going to experiment with the Dynamite Pre-Race Pak fed for a few days prior to competition, as I've heard from other riders that it works really well . Beverly Gray (Hall of Fame Endurance Horse AA Omner), Potato Richardson (1998 and 2002 Tevis Cup Champion )and Kathy Richardson (2005 Tevis Cup Champion) all use it.
For hydration during a ride, I'm going to try soaking hay and also making sloppy timothy hay pellet mush, rather than using beet pulp. I'll also feed some HES soaked to make it sloppy.
I also will be using the LifeWave Energy Patches. as they help so much with blood oxygen levels and stamina. I use them on myself as well as my horses, and wouldn't be without them.
I will use Dynamite Miracle Clay orally before trailering to help with stomach acids and ulcers.
Last but not least, I make sure I have Dynamite Relax and Release sprays and carry them with me on the trail.
Note: Some folks question why I use so many Dynamite products. Well, I actually use several brands on my horses, my other animals, my family and my land. I go with whatever brand muscle tests well, and what works well when I use it. It just happens that Dynamite has an incredible product line, as well as admirable company ethics. I am very comfortable with their products, and trust that they don't offer anything with harmful ingredients or selfish motives. I know they won't poison my animals by outsourcing their processes or buying questionable ingredients from overseas. You can read more about the company at
Happy trails!

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Foster, ulcers in horses and dropped pasterns

Jim's horse Foster may be dealing with ulcers, according to my muscle testing. I have started him on a couple tablespoons of Dynamite Miracle Clay an hour before each meal. He refuses to be dosed by syringe, so I mix his clay with a handful of hay pellets and water and feed it to him as a mush. He is already much calmer and happier at meal time, and his stretching, pawing, kicking and bucket rattling has stopped. We'll see what happens over the next couple of weeks. I'm hoping this also helps him put on some weight.
Foster also came to us with dropped pasterns. His pasterns were parallel to the ground in back. He also had asymmetrical rear hooves. He had very vertical hoof walls on the inside quarters and extreme flairs on the outside quarters. I've been apply Dynamite Wound Balm to the calcium deposits on his rear fetlocks. The size of his fetlocks is shrinking, and his pasterns have risen. His hooves are also reshaping and getting more symmetrical walls.
Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

New members of the goat herd

We added a herd sire this spring. His name is Meadowinds Cocoa Puff (photo above). He is a polled (no horns) fainting goat buck.

We are also getting another doeling to cross with Oak Hill Dreamer. Her name is Goat Flower Farm Chocolate Truffle and she should be arriving this summer (photo above).


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Goat update week 6

Oak Hill Dreamer mugging for the camera above...
Oak Hill Anna's Carlotta in front, Mimosa and Guy behind...

Carlotta climbing high...Dreamer and Carlotta butting heads to win the high spot...
New video clips at

More posts later this week with updates on Ben's saddle fitting, the improvements Foster's arthritis and the story of Lady, my collie.

Until then, be well!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Goat baby update, week 4

The kids are now 4 weeks old. They are growing fast, nibbling grain and eating hay. Carlotta and Dreamer have both fainted, after jumping onto a slippery plastic lawnchair. Here are some new pictures:

Dreamer's first faint.

Yum, jacket! Let's see if I can take it off...

Who needs toys when you have mom to climb on...
Dreamer prefers climbing people...
How does that hat taste?

Hey, that's not a goat!

Hope you enjoyed the photos! Stay tuned for more serious posts...


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Introducing Lucky, Arabian horse

For a change of pace from goats, I thought I'd introduce another family member. This is Lucky. His registered name is To Catch a Thief. He is a 9 year old Arabian gelding, bred to race but retired from the track when he bowed (tore) a tendon. I used the basic Dynamite program with Lucky, and I have to look hard now to even find the old bow. He is sound now and very athletic. Last fall a local trainer (Teresa Parnham ) did some basic work with him, just to get him going again. We took the winter off from training, but with the weather warming up, I am starting to work with Lucky again. I had Prudence Heaney, a saddlefitter, come out and fit a new saddle to Lucky's back. He is very suspicious of saddles. Prudence did an excellent job, and was very patient with his suspicions. You can read more about Prudence's work at

I am using a combination of Clinton Anderson's techniques and TTEAM to help Lucky release his old feelings about riding and training, as well as fill in any gaps in his education. I am not sure what Lucky and I will ultimately do together. Maybe endurance, maybe dressage. I'm waiting for him to tell me what he enjoys most and is best at. I don't know yet how his old leg injury will hold up to jumping, or even if he will enjoy jumping.

This is a picture of Lucky being ridden by a friend when I first got him.

I have been using a natural horsemanship rope halter with Lucky, sometimes a regular halter with a TTEAM leadrope. I may switch to a bitless bridle for riding. My ultimate goal is to ride without any bridle at all. Speaking of bridleless riding, the ride posted at is amazing! I don't know anything about her training techniques or nutrition program, but the riding sure is inspirational.

Carrie for an interesting video on environmental toxins

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goat baby update, week 3

Well, it's not quite 3 weeks, but they are growing so fast I decided to post early.

Carlotta and Dreamer are eating hay now, as well as nursing. Carlotta is very athletic and agile, able to leap several feet while spinning and twisting in midair. She likes being softly scratched in her armpits.

Dreamer is a bit slower, and much bigger now. He likes having his throat scratched.

I may have found another buck to purchase as a consort for Mimosa and Carlotta. I am also starting to look around for a dehorned doeling for Dreamer.
I have put up a new website devoted to the goat business at

A note on dehorning: some find this practice very inhumane. There are arguements in the goat community in favor and against. I admit to being torn about the procedure myself. However, some shows require dehorning, and if I am selling kids as family pets I believe they have a better chance of staying happily with their family if there are no horns. Hopefully most of our kids will be polled and I won't have to put them through the procedure.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Goat baby update

The kids are now almost 2 weeks old!

They are growing fast. Jackie, the buckling (photo to right), has been renamed Dreamer. He is a cautious contemplative little buckling, and the action star name just didn't fit his energy level. His colors have darkened a bit, and no horn buds so he is polled. His eyes are hazel.

Carlotta, the doeling (photo below), is very different than her brother. She is very active, more shy, the first to try everything but less trusting of people. She is also much smaller. She has remained a true black with no horns (polled) and hazel eyes.

Both kids are still nursing but also eating timothy hay and just starting to become curious about mom's grain.

Guy has proved to be a tolerant "uncle" to the kids even playing a bit with them.

Mimosa is still getting the basic Dynamite program I outlined in previous posts. She also continues to get Waiora Natural Cellular Defense to neutralize any heavy metals or toxins before she passes them on in her milk. I have also started her on Dynamite Excel in the evenings.

Dreamer is hard to photograph, as he tries to jump in my lap for petting or nibbling my clothes as soon as I enter the pen. He is a real love, and enjoys petting, especially scratching under his chin and under his chest.

I've started researching goat training and handling, as I want to teach them both to lead and stand and maybe carry a pack. I found some interesting goat training sites.

I haven't tried the methods yet, so I can't comment on their effectiveness.
In my next post, I'll introduce one of the other animals.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Goat babies are here !!!

Here is Mimosa a couple days ago, looking very pregnant and uncomfortable. (the red tint is from the heat lamp)

Yesterday morning when I went out to feed, I found Mimosa licking two wet shivering babies.

She had a little girl (doeling), who is black except for 2 tiny white dots on her side. My niece has named her Carlotta, so her full name is Oak Hill Anna's Carlotta. We haven't figured out a knickname for her yet. She appears to be polled, which means she won't grow horns, and her eyes are golden brown.

There is also a little boy (buckling) named Jackie (after Jackie Chan). Jackie is also polled with brown eyes. We probably won't be keeping Jackie, as this is a breeding herd and we need a buck who isn't related to the does.

I have read that Fainting Goats start fainting at a young age, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they develop.
The red light in the pictures is from the heat lamp. Even with the lamp, the babies were shivering, so we made little sweaters for them based on the instruction at

I'll keep posting as the kids grow. Meanwhile, I posted a quick video of the new family at

(c) copyright 2016

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daisy and dog training, plus quick goat update

This is Daisy, my teacher, learning about couches. I call her my teacher as she has forced me to reevaluate everything I thought I knew about dog training.
I have had dogs, or they had me, from the time I was a child. As a teenager, I exhibited my Siberian Husky Tanya in conformation classes and junior showmanship. I took standard obedience classes with several of our huskies. As a young adult, I read many books and applied the training principles to my dogs, with varying degrees of success. Over the years I've worked with the huskies (Tasha, Tanya, Kim and Count), a black labrador retriever (Trail), a border collie (Fearless), a collie (Lady) and now Daisy, the golden retriever.
Daisy found us as an adult. Driving to work one morning, she darted out in the road in front of my car from an apple orchard. I live in a fairly rural area, and loose dogs aren't uncommon, so I greeted her, then headed on to work when a neighbor thought she knew where Daisy belonged. Coming up the hill to our house in the dark after work, Daisy again stepped into the road in front of my car. She had made her way more than a mile and a couple of turns to end up at the bottom of our driveway. A bowl of dog food later she had moved in under our house, and into our hearts. We suspect she is at least 2 years old, and probably a couple years older than that. While she has a sweet nature and enjoys people, her independence is stronger than her desire to please. She fights back against standard corrections. She becomes fearful and tunes out if faced with anger, or fights back with growls and nips. Positive reinforcement has been the only approach that is effective and safe for both of us.
I found Psychological Dog Training by C W Meisterfeld to be very helpful with understanding why Daisy didn't respond to traditional training methods.
However, I was still missing a piece of the puzzle and not getting through to Daisy. I finally started getting results when I found The Loved Dog by Tamar Geller . Tamar's website is Daisy is becoming enthusiastic about learning new things, and her house manners are improving. Our biggest hurdle now is to get her past her fear agression towards other dogs. More on that in another post.
Goat update: No goat babies yet. Mimosa is huge, and showing signs of getting ready for labor, so I'm hoping for kids in the next day or so.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Raw diet or BARF diet for dogs and cats

A reader recently emailed me and asked what I thought of the Bone and Raw Food (BARF) diet, and did I feed it? So, here are my thoughts on the BARF diet and my own dogs and cats.

I currently live with 4 large dogs. I have chosen not to feed the BARF diet because frankly, I just don't have the time to prepare it these days. For the dogs, I trust my favorite super premium food and I add an assortment of raw eggs, raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, raw beef bones and yogurt, depending on what is available that day. I have found that the dogs handle the raw vegetables more easily if they are finely ground or pureed. I also add prebiotics because the dogs aren't getting the raw enzymes from the processed food.

I also don't feed BARF to my cats. I have 14 barn cats, all of which just wandered their way to my place and decided to stay. As they live in the barn and hunt rodents, I haven't felt they need additional raw foods. I feed them dry kibble as well, and add my favorite cat vitamins and minerals. I haven't had any problems with parasites, hairballs or other common cat ailments.

I have heard the arguements against BARF such as the risk of bacteria and parasites, and the risk of intestinal perforation. I personally don't worry too much about bacteria or parasites, as I have found that healthy dogs and cats with proper stomach pH will be able to fight off the majority of bacteria and parasites. I also feed supplements with ingredients that inhibit parasites. As for perforation, I agree that it could potentially occur. It hasn't happened to my animals. Raw bones appear to be less risky as they are less brittle and therefore less likely to splinter as cooked bones. I will also add that when I was studying red wolves, and wolf scat (droppings) the wolves were eating large amounts of fur with their meals and the bones came out the other end well-padded with undigested animal hair. Bottom line: I would encourage every animal caretaker to do their own research and make their own decision.

I did a quick internet search and found these links for BARF:

There are many more sites out there. I would also suggest doing a search on "BARF problems" to see the other side of the debate.


(c) copyright 2016
Not reviewed by FDA or AVMA.  Not intended to diagnose, treat or cure.  Please consult your veterinarian for any changes to your cat's health program.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Introducing Ben, gray Arabian gelding

On the left are Ben and I back when I first met him, almost 16 years ago. On the right is Ben with his buddy Poco. Over the years he has lost his dark gray color and black stockings and become all white, sometimes with small rust-colored spots. His skin is still black though, under all that white fur.

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Yurtle and Testudo, the Red Eared Sliders (turtles)

We also share our home with 2 Red Eared Sliders (RES). Pictured on the left is Yurtle, the young male. This picture was taken when he was a baby. He is now reaching maturity, and hit puberty a few months ago. We know he hit puberty because he has been courting a large rock in his tank. He hides his face behind his long front claws, and rattles the claws back and forth then tickles the rock with them. Male RES also flash their reproductive organ at their romantic interests. This happens more often during puberty. As the male appendage is black with sail-like fins and as big as his shell, it was quite startling the first time he unfurled when I was around! As a baby his shell was only a couple inches long. Now he measures about 7 inches, and will finish growing at about 9 inches long. He is quite a begger and swims over looking for food when you approach his tank.

Testudo is the female. She is about 10 inches long at full growth, and about 10 years old. Testudo is more shy, and prefers to dive off her basking platform and sit on the bottom when approached. Sometimes she hides under her platform and peeks her head out to see if you are bringing food. She is a suprisingly good climber and very determined when she's looking for a place to lay her eggs. We added fencing around the top of her tank after we found her nesting in the laundry room. These turtles will live up to 40 years with proper care! As aquatic turtles they need to live in tanks. The rule of thumb is 10 gallons of water per inch of shell length. So, Testudo and Yurtle each have their own stock tank, 100 gallons and 70 gallons respectively. They also each have a basking light for warmth, a reptile light for the UVA and UVB light, a basking area to get dry, tank heaters to maintain the water at about 80 degrees F and powerful pond filters. Turtles are messy, and standard aquarium filters sized to the stock tanks won't keep the water clean enough, so they have pond filters and also homemade wet/dry filters. The bottoms of the tanks get vaccumed to pick up the large debris and they get regular partial water changes. We have somewhat acidic water here, so I add a pinch of baking soda to balance the water pH so their shells won't be damaged.

The turtles eat a combination of pond vegetation, fresh veggies like lettuce and carrot peelings, feeder minnows, live snails and turtle food. They also have a piece of cuttlefish bone (actually called cuttlefish pen) in each tank to chew on for extra calcium.

Testudo, being a mature lady, also has an area for egg laying. This is very important for females, as they may hold their eggs and become eggbound, which can kill them. Like a chicken, the eggs aren't fertile unless she has had a boyfriend. So she lays sterile eggs every year.
A great resource for turtle care information is the Happy Turtle Site. They have a fantastic forum at
Turtle Homes also has excellent information at

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Introducing Wyatt, our collie/husky

I thought I'd digress a bit from discussing Fainting Goats and introduce one of our dogs. Wyatt is a 3 year old collie/husky mix.

We adopted him as a puppy from a shelter in West Virginia.

Our biggest training challenge with him has been his husky drive to escape and run. He is quite the escape artist! If he manages to get out, his favorite activity is to roll in the goat manure. Yuck!

A couple years ago he opened his crate while we were away for Thanksgiving and redecorated the living room with our house plants. We had to clean the carpet with a leaf rake!

He is a cherished member of our family, and lots of fun.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why I chose Tennessee Fainting Goats

Goats are a new experience for me. I've always been a bit curious about them, and with my interest in heirloom and rare breeds, Tennessee Fainting goats were particularly intriguing. You can go to for more information on rare breed conservation and to and for information on Fainting goats. If you aren't familiar with heirloom breeds, pop over to the website. There are many domestic livestock breeds in danger of dying out, and with them goes their unique genes.
Fainting goats are very docile and much less likely to climb on things or escape. Additionally, the goats prefer to eat herbaceous plants (not grasses) including poison ivy, weeds, brush and multiflora rose. I'm hoping they won't compete with the horses for pasture and will keep the weeds from taking over. The picture above is Mimosa on the right with her boyfriend Sundance. We got Mimosa and Guy from Driftwood Farms, and Mimosa was bred to Sundance there before we picked her up.

(Above is Guy, the whether who keeps Mimosa company) 

The picture on the left is Mimosa as a baby

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.