Tick Tick Tick — Everyone’s Favorite Summer Hate

Whether you have pets or not, live in the city, suburbs, or rural, if you step outside your door-or even if you don’t but someone else comes in, you may be exposed to these little varmits. Being of an existential mindset, I believe that God has a purpose for everything in creation, but I’m going to have to have a chat with somebody about a few things and one of the subjects will be ticks. I just despise them. For one thing, they are in the spider family (count the legs-there are eight of them which makes them a part of the Arachnids) and they want to drink my blood. That’s creepy.

The other thing is-the little things spread some really nasty diseases that I really don’t want for me, my loved ones, or my pets to get. Most of the time, you won’t even KNOW you’ve had a tick bite until you’re sick or a characteristic rash develops. Sneaky little bastards. But they are just being what they are. So with that in mind, here is some information to help you-hopefully-better protect yourself and those you love.

What Are You Looking For?

Size as well as which one can help when you tell the doctor you were bitten by a tick. Here are some photos to help you givTe the doc an idea of what you are talking about.

The really dangerous ones are the ones on the LEFT-and more than likely,  you’ll sizes of ticksscratch that itch and the tick will fall off without you even knowing it was there. The only indication you’ll have that you had a tick bite will be that intense itch that is much more than any mosquito bite. My personal thing is-if something really itches, check it out closely. It’s probably a tick.

The other thing is-different ticks are more or less prone to carrying different diseases. Just because you get bitten by a tick in, say Georgia, does not mean that you won’t get Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It just means that you are more likely to get Lyme’s disease or Erlichiosis. But, like I say, these little guys can carry a whole bucket list of things, so sometimes the doctors are really throwing darts in the dark and hoping to hit something. Bear with them-the common ticksproblem is that wildlife of all kinds tote them around-birds, possums, coons, deer, coyotes, bear-you name it, ticks will hitch a ride. So if a bird picked up a tick in Maine and then migrated to Alabama, well, the tick and whatever it carried came along. Just the facts, ma’am. So let’s look at the types of ticks.

That photo is somewhat enlarged, by the way, to show identifying markings.

So what is that rash you’re talking about? 

Oh, that-it’s exactly what it sounds like. bulls eye rashIt doesn’t always happen, but if you see it, get thee to a doctor right away.  This is the ‘bull’s eye’ rash seen in most Lyme’s patients.

Removal of Ticks

The one thing to remember is-take your time.

You want to make certain to remove the jaws that are embedded into the skin-and I know some people just fainted on me right then. If you don’t remove that, the itch will continue and the risk of infection soars. So let’s do this right the first time.

People have come up with all kinds of ways of trying to remove ticks-some work, most don’t. Trying to smother a tick with oils or grease won’t faze a tick. The reason is simple-they are only there to get a blood meal and fall off anyway so they can lay their eggs. You really didn’t hasten anything along and you certainly didn’t kill it. They’re tough little hombres.

Some essential oils will repel ticks, but choose carefully. Some species of animals cannot take exposure to essential oils and will start vomiting (cats for example). People are frequently sensitive to them and have respiratory problems or may have skin allergy to them. Dogs may react as if you are burning them. Tick removal

People swear by spinning the tick to induce the tick to pull out. Sometimes it works, sometime it doesn’t. Maybe I don’t get the tick drunk enough?

There are various tick removal tools that you slide under the tick and either pry up or twirl. I’ve never tried one so can’t give a first person recommendation. If you don’t have tweezers, I suppose they’d be workable. Especially for those who hate the thought of actually touching a tick-which I’m not. I just wash my hands.

Good old-fashioned tweezers-can’t beat ’em if you can find where you last put them down. Just make sure to grab that bad boy as far down as you can-then twirl or yank straight up.

My recipe for keeping ticks off my horses

Regular fly spray with permethrin

1 capful of Avon Skin-So-Soft-original

2 TBSP of cold-pressed Neem oil

2 drops dishwashing liquid

mix thoroughly-the DW liquid just helps disperse the SSS and neem oil

Ticks, horse flies, and black face flies HATE the stuff. Won’t come near them. I should patent the recipe???

 

 

 

 

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Safety and Being a Spoil Sport-This Lady and I Have A Lot In Common

It’s time for the annual reminder that horses are not dirt bikes.

via Safety and Being a Spoil Sport. — Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

One of the reasons that I don’t board horses and almost completely refuse to teach is that I am a “Nazi” for safety for both horse and rider and insist on respect for the horses. Breach any of that and you will have some tart, sometimes cutting remarks made in your direction-with no apologies offered. I won’t apologize for caring about safety-yours or the horse’s. When it comes to respecting the horse, while I will demand that the horse respect my space, I will also demand that YOU respect HIS/HERS. There are no ‘stupid’, ‘dumb’, or anything horses. There are, however, inconsiderate, thick, and downright rock-headed people.

So this other writer’s blog sounded rather familar to me. She might even be on the same wavelength.

Missing & Presumed Stolen-Rare Heritage Marsh Tacky Horses

5217RiverYago

Link to River & Yago’s webpage

There are only about 400 of these horses in the world and somebody stole these two. That’s pretty low, folks. River and Yago are gentle and friendly-used for educational purposes, Civil War reenactments, and children’s mounts. Use the above link to go to their web page to download their flier to distribute to the public and hand out to those who don’t do social media. Put up fliers in public spots so people will see it and be aware of the search. Pass this information along to anyone you wish as long as you do not change the details. Help get River and Yago back home. Thank you.

You and Your Cranium

I admit that I am hopelessly and totally biased here-three months after getting the Sports Model Jackass, someone offered me a ride on another horse and I took it. I was 12 years old, naive as all heck, and gung-ho to get on anything with a whinny. She was a palomino with power steering and the girl who owned her had just gotten an English saddle. I’d never ridden the mare or in that kind of saddle. Mare was gentle as could be, it was in her pasture, and we were just having fun. What could it hurt, right?

Tessa saw the stump in the high grass and side-stepped it. Today, I would just go along with her. But that day-on that slick saddle-with no experience, I didn’t. I went off head first onto that stump. It is a million wonders that I didn’t break my neck because we were at a canter and there should have been enough force to do it. As it was, I was out like a burnout light bulb.

I don’t remember much from that afternoon at all. I remember vaguely being picked up from the ground, then being in the car going down their driveway. The next memory is of being at the hospital with very vague memories of xrays and exams. They sent me home with instructions to watch me. I had a concussion. That was in January 1964.

As a result of that concussion, I suffered short term memory loss, trouble with cognitive thinking and learning, anger issues, inattentiveness, and blinding headaches that would last for weeks. Now they call this Closed Head Trauma or Brain Injury. Then, they just said-she’s faking or she’ll get over it. I didn’t.

Kept riding horses though-worried my mother no end. She looked for helmets for me, but back then, helmets were just those black velveteen covered things for the English set that usually didn’t even have a decent chin strap on them. Problem there was-not only were they little to no protection, they sat on top of my head like a beanie cap. No way one was going to fit my skull.

Fast forward about 25 years-the horse world changed and manufacturers have ‘seen the light’. Helmets with true safety products are not only being produced for kids, but also for adults! They’re ugly as a mud fence and hotter than a pawn shop pistol, but you take what you can find. You look like you’ve stuck your head into a white bucket and strapped it on. Ridicule and finger pointing becomes a thing-you’re either a hopeless wimp for wearing one or a helmet safety nazi. Either way-you’re shunned in many circles.

Slowly, but ever so slowly, this has been changing. Prominent riders of all disciplines have had devastating head injuries that could have been prevented had they been wearing safety helmets. Now they are showing up in dressage arenas, cutting pens, practice areas, schooling barns, trail rides, Pony Club shows, Wagon trains, and many other events. People are recognizing what people like me have known for years-horses are wonderful creatures, but being around there creates the opportunity for brain injury.

Unfortunately, brain injury is something you cannot put vetrap on, ice soak, or use liniment. It is cummulative-meaning each knock on the head adds to the previous damage. It doesn’t go away-it gets worse. Any NFL or NHL pro or amateur player can tell you this. Professional boxers are notoriously addled by the time they retire-from brain injuries.

Don’t like the way helmets look? I’m not that fashion conscious-I know I’m going to look pretty awful until I hit the shower anyway, so I don’t care. But if it really means something to you, try these ideas from the Facebook group, Karen’s Hellhat Posse. You can DIY or find somebody to do them for you. (Warning: using glue or paint on a helmet within the first year will probably void the warranty from the manufacturer.)

There Be Boogers Out Here

horsekite

If you’ve been around horses for any appreciable length of time, you’ve dealt with something like this-the unexplainable-known only to the horse-but you’ve still got to cope with it BOOGER leap that they come up with. The height and prior warning can vary tremendously, and what follows can take on many forms-from simply standing and stamping all four feet in place with eyes bugged out to the vertical AND sideways leap combined with a 180 spin and sprint for a minimum of a half mile. (And, before you ask, yes, I’ve managed to ride and survive that maneuver. Do not ask how-I don’t know.)

Having seven horses in my pastures means that when the power company sent two MONSTER boom saw machines in to trim the tree limbs away from the lines, I got to see seven different versions of the ‘Booger’ reaction. (Can’t say that I blame them-those machines were impressive. Dually equipped wheels that are tractor sized front and back with a boom that must reach 80-90 feet, the driver sits in a cab that rotates to follow the boom. To a horse, that big noisy thing WAS a booger!)

We couldn’t decide which was more entertaining-watching the boom saw or the horses’ reaction to the intrusion. I do appreciate them giving those horses a great workout. I do have a couple of untrained mares-and got a glimpse of what I have in store for when I get them under saddle. Let’s just say it should be interesting. I hope they take care of me. I don’t bounce like I used to. Ground has gotten harder. Two more-then I am done training youngsters.