Sunday, April 13, 2008

Update from Washington

Finally got the pics uploaded, so enjoy :>)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Leaving Utila

Saturday morning – day of departure. Wow, can’t believe it’s time to go back to the states. It’s truly a different world down here, though the islands are very different from the mainland so I’m told. I guess at one time the number of Utilians (English speaking residents) greatly outnumbered those from the mainland that had come here to work. Now there are more Spanish speaking folks from the mainland that have moved here. Marina and I have to make one last trip to town together. I have to return my bicycle and Marina has to drop off her golf cart to have the brakes repaired. There are quite a few good sized hills here believe it or not. There is one on the way back to the Eco Lodge that I have to get off and walk the bicycle up. It’s great going into town as its all downhill and I can get there in no time. It was about a 10 minute ride to see my friends staying out at Slumberland and Round House, but about 25 minutes to come back just because of the uphill walk. Anyway, we’ll walk back and I should have someone picking me and my luggage up on the way to the airport later today around noon – one o’clockish.

Right now just having some coffee and sharing some of my instrumental music with Marina. So I reckon I’ll close for now.

Same day – Saturday – but I’m on the plane now from Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras to Houston, Texas. Susan, Dirk and Cody (Their son who turned 13 yrs old on the island), and Dr. Cathy King and Mike, her anesthesiologist boyfriend, and Daniel the pre-vet student from Portland are all on the same flight. While they all have a long layover in Houston, long enough to warrant a motel room, I’m flying on to Dallas/Ft. Worth where I have my long layover from 10PM tonight to 7AM tomorrow morning. Not really long enough to worry about a motel room. I packed my self-inflating CampRest pad that I’ll just roll out behind the podium at my gate I’ll be leaving out of. I’ll get caught up on this blog and get it posted, complete with pics and hopefully grab a few Z’s. Interestingly enough I’ll hook back up with everyone except Daniel in Seattle for our flight to Spokane.

It was hard leaving Marina and the island today. I just can’t say enough about how Marina made this trip so successful for me. By now I hope she’s found a little surprise gift I left for her in my room. We were in this little Guatemalan shop and she fell in love with a throw pillow cover made in deep chocolate burgundies and similar muted tones. Woven into it was the Honduran bird. Can’t remember what it is, but maybe some sort of parrot. Anyway, Marina I hope you truly enjoy it :>)

My flight back to Roatan was awesome. Troy Bodden, a very wealthy but humble and kind man on the island who I trimmed for arranged for me to fly with his pilot of their Cessna 206 back to Roatan where he would be picking up new guests for the Laguna Beach Resort and Utila Aggressor. How cool was that! Here’s a pick of the pilot and I in route, and also the plane. I took pics all the way to Roatan AND I had my sunglasses this time! How beautiful the water was and you could actually see the Honduran mainland from the air this time. I didn’t realize just how mountainous it was. I’d really love to see the Mayan Ruins some day.

Now on my suitcase I have the World Vets luggage tag that Dr. Cathy gave me. While I was in line at the airport to get checked in, this lady came up to speak with me. We talked about the Spay/Neuter blitz on Utila and my role with Natural Hoof Care while on Utila and who I trimmed for. This same lady came and sat down to speak with me while I was having a Pepsi and some pineapple cake and we discussed horses hoof care further. I happened to have the HighSpeed Barefoot footage DVD in my laptop and took a minute to show her the difference in concussion on the horse with barefoot vs. shod. I did this because she mentioned that he horses we often ridden on concrete pavement. She said there are lots of horses on Roatan; more so than Utila. Roatan is a much larger island too. So.. it looks like maybe Roatan is in my future. Who know where this will take me next. I saw this lady one more time just as I was going through security to go to my gate. She handed me a copy of the “Bay Islands Voice” magazine and commented that I might see someone I know in it. Intrigued, I looked thru the magazine as soon as I could and found an article on just who this lady was that I was visiting with. Her name is Deine Wood Etches, 53 yrs old, and ambassador of the West End (of the island of Roatan), a Roatan island native. Also a 5th generation islander and descendant of one of the first governors of the Bay Islands (Oscar Bodden), there’s that Bodden name again. The article refers to her as West End Pundit, Philosopher and Caregiver. Got to look up what a Pundit is. :>)
Later in the airport I was getting caught up with Dr. Cathy. They got to Roatan much earlier this morning and took a taxi ride around the island. They visited the local vet clinic housing the only vet on the entire island. He would welcome a volunteer group to come down and do a Spay/Neuter blitz. It would be entirely realistic that the group could spay and neuter 200-300 dogs and cats. Looks like Roatan is on the World Vets radar now too. I shared with Dr. Cathy the contact that I’d just made regarding the equine end of things. Trips like these take money though and it’s not inexpensive to get to the Bay Islands. I’ll be attending Cheryl’s Advanced Hoof Care School in July this year, which has to be my focus for the near future.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Wrapping up

Friday – Another good day. Sterlin picked me up at 7:30am and we headed to the stable. I’ll be working with Hector (doesn’t speak English) and Ron who is an owner. Sterlin has to deliver water all day. There is a huge well on the property that Ron owns and a large supplier of water on the island. It doesn’t need to be purified I guess either. Ron is a character, as are lots of the folks on this island. Anyway, we (Hector and I) trimmed up some more of the horses. I had two that I treated for “rain rot” on their backs and rumps. I happened to bring some Tea Tree Oil and Tea Tree soap with me and it seemed to do the trick. One horse cleaned up well, while the other one will most likely need a couple more shampoos. Hector is doing very well with his trimming. I’d sure like to see Pete Ramey have his DVD series dubbed into Spanish for distribution in Central and South America. The owners of these horses down here all have Spanish speaking workers taking care of them. I worked a bit on the yearly colt too. I wasn’t able to work with him this week like I wanted to. I really stayed busy trimming and training.

Around 11:00 Marina came to get me as her neighbor Shelby McNabb was ready for me to come work with his horses and workers. You should really see the looks I get from the Spanish guys as a female trimming and training. Women just don’t do this :>) Once they get past that, they do learn and have fun doing it. Shelby’s stallion hadn’t been messed with much either. He wasn’t nearly as good for me as he was Walter, the local that takes care of him. The horse was pretty pushy and disrespectful of our human space. He just needs some work . The hooves again were in fairly decent shape. He gets a lot of movement and the ground here is actually very abrasive. Everyone really appreciated the tools I brought down. It worked out well as there were three horses owners. I had 3 pair of nippers and 6 new rasps and two sets of knives. Juan Antonio’s knives were pretty good and Shelby had none, so I opted to leave the F.Dick knives with Shelby. It turns out I didn’t need to use any EasyBoots other than the two XL soakers I brought and will be leaving. I used them quite a bit.

I was done around 1 o’clock and Shelby gave me a lift in his golf cart back to Marina’s. I got a shower, again, and Marina had a nice BLT waiting for me, actually make that two plus a bowl of fresh papaya. I was really hungry. I had my first opportunity to ride if I wanted to, but I was so hot and tired I opted to head for the beach, take a dip and relax in the sand. This is only the second time I got to do that too. Got back to the Eco Lodge around 5:15, jumped in ANOTHER shower and got ready to go the bar-b-q a the Laguna Beach Resort that Troy Bodden had invited us too. Before we boarded the boat to take us there, Troy gave Marina and me a tour of the Utila Aggressor, a very large, powerful dive boat. There are staterooms in the lower level that we didn’t get to see since there were quests on board. There’s a nice galley, though Troy called it something else that I can’t remember. There was a lovely deck up top with a hot tub and lounge chairs. On the main level was the hub of the diving. Tanks, wetsuits, etc. This boat is used for week long charters that you live on and just travel around diving, to the tune of 5 dives per day. This is some serious diving folks. So after the tour, we all loaded up on another of Troy’s boats and headed to dinner. The lights of Utila were beautiful looking back from the boat to the shore on a dark night. You couldn’t see as much of the resort in the dark but we had a VERY nice meal of bar-b-q'd chicken, shrimp and chorizo, salad, beans and dessert. It was fun talking to the divers and hearing the things they got to see underwater, like the Seahorse breeding ground. I’d forgotten that the male sea horses actually carry the pregnancy! I really do want to come back down here with my husband. I’ve met so many nice people and got to know them, unlike when you just visit somewhere on vacation.

After a nice meal, we headed back to town and back to the Eco Lodge. It’s Friday night at Bar in the Bush and futile to try to sleep until the music quits at 3AM! I got everything packed and now just sitting here in the bed writing this blog. The music is SO load you just as well be there. At least on Friday nights it’s more of a reggae flavor; unlike Wednesday night Techno night.

I just haven’t been able to find time to spend in an internet café to update the blog. As soon as I land in Houston tomorrow, I’ll be uploading for sure. I know there is a hotspot there. I would think DFW has wireless access too. I’ll be stuck in that airport for about 9 hours overnight. I have my CampRest pad with me though and plan to just crash behind the podium at the gate. It’s a long trip back but I’ll welcome the cool weather. It’s hot and humid here, ergo the 2-3 showers per day I’m taking :>)

This is an easy place to like once you get to see the island, meet the people and not just the main streets. I’d sure like to come back in a year or so and see how the horses are doing and maybe even get Scuba certified and do some diving. It’s supposed to be some of the best diving around.
OK – its 1AM now. Only 2 more hours of loud music to endure. Think I’ll try my headphones and some nice relaxing acoustic guitar music and see if it drowns out that reggae/reggae rap.
Oh yeah, I get to fly back to Roatan to catch my international flight home on one of Troy Bodden's private business planes, a Cessna 206 6 seater. It will be bringing new guests from Roatan to Utila so I’ll be able to catch a ride back to Roatan with the pilot on an empty plane. How cool is that! Thank you so much Troy!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Way better day :>)

Thursday – Had a MUCH better day today. Marina contacted a man named Troy who was born and raised here in Utila. Seems he was free today to take me to his horses and get to work with his stable hand Juan Antonio. Marina dropped me off in her golf cart at Troy’s house on the coast, where I transferred over to ride on the back of his 4-wheeler. Off to where he keeps his horses in a beautiful inner area of the island. These horses were a bit larger than the horses at the Red Ridge Stable. Troy owns about 12 head of horses, including Peruvian Paso’s. These horses are for his and his family’s personal use as well as for the guests of the Laguna Beach Resort, but not the general public for trail rides. The first horse I worked on was his stallion Ventarone “The wind”. A beautiful Peruvian with the longest mane I’d ever seen. He had soft kind eyes and was very easy to work on. Quite a gentleman with his feet. Dr. Bowker stated in his presentation that I saw that the condition of horse’s hooves is directly related to the value of the horse. This was quite true with Ventarone. He had thrush in all four hooves. I had no White Lightning, nor Lysol. The only Lysol I’ve been able to find on the island is Lysol Toilet Bowl cleaner:>( Troy had some providone iodine so I mixed up a bit of that to soak the hooves in. Man, I wish I had WL. It cleaned the hooves up a bit at least and let me get all the gunk cleaned out. I had brought “Ramey Goo” ingredients with me fortunately and mixed it up and spread it all along the collateral grooves and central sulcus. It’d have to do. I told Troy to have Juan Antonio pick the hooves clean every day and put the goo on for at least a week to ten days. I also expressed how important movement was to the horse. Ventarone was only getting 45 minutes of exercise 3 times per week. The rest of the time he spends in a large stall covered but no walls. A very nice clean stall, but a stall never the less. I shared the Paddock Paradise theories with Troy and encouraged him to get Ventarone much more exercise into his routine. I’m going to get a copy of Paddock Paradise and mail to Troy when I get home along with some White Lightning.

By the time we finished with Ventarone, it was lunch time. I was treated to the buffet lunch served at the Laguna Beach Resort which was only accessible by taking a boat across the lagoon. Troy is majority owner in this resort and called to have someone pick us up. Lunch wasn’t quite being served yet so I got a tour of the resort, including the whale shark shaped swimming pool. This is an absolutely beautiful place. Because of having to cross the canal into the lagoon, the resort isn’t easily accessible by locals and is private. It’s like another world, more like what us Americans are accustom to :>) They have individual cottages with air-conditioning, offer scuba lessons and diving, sport fishing, or just hangin’ around the pool or on the sandy beach. Truly a tropical paradise. Here's the link if you want to see more pics of this truly beautiful resort: So we ate lunch and then headed back to the barn where I continued sharing the natural trim method with Juan. We worked on the mare brought in specifically for Ventarone to breed. Unfortunately after 3 breedings, she still is not “knocked up”. By the way, this phrase is used quite frequently when speaking of pregnancy here. Anyway, Diamontina was a bit high strung and on the nervous side. She was due for a trimming so was a good candidate to train on. The fronts went well, but before we could get to the hinds, Juan Antonio and his father had to get 5 horses ready and saddled up for some guests of the resort to ride, so I was left to finish trimming the hinds. Now Diamontina was not real thrilled to have her hind hooves messed with, so along comes my stick and the Tellington Touch method of connecting the brain to the foot. This method worked on her as well, but took much longer than other horses that I’ve used it on. I just took my time and was eventually able to begin touching the legs with my hand and eventually safely pick up her hooves to work on them. The right hind was the only one I found with some serious thrush. Again, wishing I’d tried to get some White Lighting thru TSA and customs. I just knew it’d get confiscated though. So I cleaned up the frog as best I could and actually found a fairly nice frog underneath the black gunk and rotten outer frog layer, and smeared it with Ramey Goo. She also lives in a stall across the aisle from Ventarone and needs more turnout and exercise as well. The stalls were immaculate but it just proves that exercise and movement are so important. At this point we ran out of time and I didn’t get to look at the other horse’s hooves. I only saw them from the top in the pasture but most looked pretty good from that view. A few typical high heels, but overall not too bad. I’d like to try to get back out there before I leave, but time is running short now. I have to get back to Red Ridge tomorrow morning early. I want to supervise some more trimming by Hector and Sterlin, work with a yearling and hopefully trim him and also treat one horse for thrush and rain rot down his back and rump. Shelby, the man who helped me out in the bank, has just a few horses that I’ll see around noon.

I am so wishing that I had, and regretting that I didn’t start learning Spanish before I came here. While most everyone speaks English, NONE of the guys that actually take care of the horses speak English, so I always have to have a translator. Barbara Sierra, if you’re reading this, I’m going to start Rosetta Stone for Spanish when I get home! We’ll practice speaking to each other and drive Hector crazy:>)

On another note and not just horse related, I’ve met some really nice people here, from all parts of the world. There has been a young couple staying here at the Eco Lodge in the cottage across from me named Chris and Veronica. They are from the UK and live in western England. Chris is British and Veronica is Serbian. They both have the most wonderful accents and are very kind and lovely people. My host Marina is Yugoslavian. Then there was Martin who joined us at the Bundu Café for dinner the other nite to see Evie sing. He is from Germany. And then there is Jennie who takes care of “Donkey” and the horse. She is from Washington :>) It seems to be a melting pot of folks from all around the world.

OK – so I best get to sleep soon. I’ve got a big day tomorrow. After trimming and training most of the day, Marina and I have been invited to a bar-b-q at the Laguna Beach Resort in the evening. She is quite excited as she’s been wanting to see the place. Without Marina, the work I’ve been able to do here would not have been possible. She knows everyone and has been able to put me in touch with the folks and horses that needed my help.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not so good a day today

Wednesday –The agenda for me today is to go up the stable again and supervise Hector and Sterlin trim a couple more of the 14 horses. Then we get to see “Dōnkey” (you know, like Shrek?). He is a little jack with a colorful story. More on that shortly. He has one very long hoof on the right hind that we have to trim very similar to the foundered mule that Pete Ramey trims on his “Under the Horse” DVD series. I have those DVDs here on the island so I reviewed several things in preparation. Because of the excess growth, I picked up a hacksaw at the local hardware store to get the bulk off and make it manageable to work with. Wish me luck. The vets will just be right down the path in case I need tranquilizer for the little guy:>) I hope not, but I’d sure rather do that then “throw” him. This little donkey was obtained in a trade by two Canadian guys long ago that drove from Canada to Honduras. Their car broke down in route and they ended up trading for two donkeys. One since died but this little guy is still hangin’.

As it turned out I was not able to trim him today. He wanted to bite me and absolutely wouldn’t hold still at all. I even tried snubbing him to a tree. It is quite amazing how strong these little guys can be. Jenny, who feeds and takes care of the horse and donkey was there and called the vets for me to come and tranquilize him. They never showed up after 3 hours. I caught a ride with a local heading to the clinic and then walked back to my cottage, very disappointed that no one came to help me. I hope to get to trim this donkey before I leave as he really really needs trimming.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Scuba Day - Not for me :>)

Tuesday – almost everyone went scuba diving. I was signed up for Scuba Tune-up but bailed. I’d been certified way back in ’76 and hadn’t dived since :>) There were to be around 20 people Marina walking ahead as we pop out on the beachon the boat and I just felt that was way too many. So instead, Marina took me on a lovely hike to the north shore of the island by Pumpkin Hill, the highest point on the island. It was about a 30 minute walk and I got to see lots of the countryside that can’t be seen from the main roads. These are wide paths that we were on and you could tell that in the rainy season it got quite muddy and full of ruts. Lots of areas the ground reminds me of the red dirt clay back in Alabama and Georgia. We saw lots of lizards and a few Iguanas along the way. The shore was beautiful but not really any sandy beaches. Mostly just hard sharp corral rock. There are only a couple of nice beaches on the island. Later Marina made us some homemade burritos. For dinner most of our group, Marina, my new neighbors Chris and Veronica from the UK, and Martin from Germany went to a place called the Bundu Café. Evie, a very talented guitar player singer from Spain sang for us accompanied by a bongo drum player. She opened with What’s Goin On by Four Non Blondes. Her set even included a Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash song! When she took a break and guy from Minnesota borrowed her guitar and sang for us and his style reminded me a lot of David Wilcox from the northwest. Then came a belly dancer who performed during a drum solo, followed by yet another gal that got up and belly danced for us. Evie then performed some more and then one of the local dive shop managers sang. All Spanish and kind of rappish.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Honduras Way

Sunday - was a free day for everyone followed by a nice bar-b-q at Dr. Loretta Potts house on the east end of the island. Dr. Loretta is the local vet. She does free spay and neuter and other pet services at her clinic on the island 1 day a week.

Monday – back to work. I made arrangements to be at the stable at 8AM. There are 4 young horses and one brood mare that haven’t had their hooves trimmed in a while, and because they are not ridden they don’t have the benefit of natural wear. By now I’ve got Hector and Sterlin trimming while I supervise. They do ok with the actual trimming, it’s the fear of getting kicked that’s getting in their way. Down here in Latin America they don’t hesitate to throw a horse to trim their feet if they give them the least bit of trouble. There was a 3 year old filly that hadn’t had much done with her hooves. The first 3 feet went pretty well. The last foot was another story. She continued to try to kick and just not want that foot to be messed with. So we gave her some time off in a stall and trimmed another horse instead. When we came back to her, she wasn’t any better. I’m no trainer by any means and only trim horses back home that have been handled already. This was all new to me and just didn’t know how to proceed. Well, the owner partner was there and gave the guys the go ahead to “throw her”. I never want to see that ever again in my life. The owner partner had never seen a horse thrown and was regretting it as soon as it started. The hoof got trimmed somewhat – the best a person can do when the hoof is laying straight out on the ground. While on the ground one of the gals in our group performed Animal Talk on her and again later before we left. This is something new I’m learning about. Her name is Natalie Morrow and she lives in Missoula, MT. If you want to learn more, as I do, there is a website called

Next up was a yearling that was still sucking on her mamma. We discussed with the man that owns that stable that it was time for him to be weaned. This little guy had not had anything done with him but a halter put on and learned to tie. His hooves had never been trimmed, but didn’t look too bad. Rather than jumping right in an attempting to trim this horse, I opted to just go into his corral and touch him all over and down his legs. I actually was able to pick up all four feet a couple times each, but I kept it short and let him have them back right away. I’ll do that every day if I can while I’m here and hope to trim him up by the end of the week. I’d really hate to see this little guy thrown for the first time to have his hooves trimmed. I’d think they’d have to do it that way every time after that. Needless to say, it’s a very different world down here. Good news is that both Hector and Sterlin are willing to learn a different way. I’ve showed them that by staying closer to the horse, they have a better chance of not getting hammered. They both tend to stand way away and grab the foot. Then the horse fights them. I can come along behind them on the very same foot, staying close to the horse and pick up the foot with no problems. They could really use some natural horsemanship training down here for sure. I showed them a method that I learned from the Tellington Touch world that I use quite often in my practice. Sometimes when a horse isn’t use to having their feet picked up they’ll tend to pull away immediately or even kick at what’s touching them. This is where a long stick comes in handy. The horse needs to know that their foot is connected to the body. I begin by running the stick along the back, to the rump and down the leg. The first few times the horse will pick up his leg and maybe even kick out at it. Eventually, they will stop. Then I use my hand and do the same thing, rubbing the leg all the way down. When I feel ok about things and see the horse licking and chewing, I will then attempt to pick up the foot. 99% of the time I then have no problems with them. But these guys would just reach and grab and not give the horse a chance to adjust. That was a sentence to be thrown to be trimmed.

This was also the first day of the others doing spay/neuter so we met up later in the afternoon and had some dinner and drinks together and swapped stories about how our days went.