Monday, June 17, 2013

Real Life

This is what our horizon has looked like this past week.

This is what's is happening.

Black Forest, Colorado

2 lives and almost 500 homes lost.
This is what is left of  Lynn's house, my former student, client, trail buddy and these days, good  friend.

This is where Mort and I rode, trained, competed, and made friends of a lifetime.
This is where I spent many years as a trainer.

An area filled with livestock.

Many people barely had time to release their animals, they painted their phone numbers on them and wished them well.

Animals looking like this are finding their way out of the fire.

These are a few of our warriors.
One of my past students, Black Forest resident, and today, a firefighter. I am so proud to know her!
Tiffany, you rock! 


  1. Been watching the news and thinking of you. You've got my prayers.

  2. So scary. So sad. Thanks for ending with the happier story of Banjo. Take care of yourself and I send my wishes I for safety for all.

  3. This was us in Texas two years ago. Our prayers are with all of you.

  4. That last video should come with some kind of a warning. I hate getting up in the morning and immediately crying. You suck.

    I feel like Colorado can't catch a break. My heart goes out to you guys out there.

  5. I was driving through there Thursday afternoon on my way from Casper to AZ. I could see the smoke from the highway, I passed trailer after trailer on the road trying to get the heck out of there. It was pretty hard to see the road through blurry eyes. Yes I admit I cried a lot. I cannot even imagine having to just turn my animals loose and hope that they can get away. I realize that sometimes there is nothing else to do, but damn that sucks. Second only to losing your home and every thing in it. My heart absolutely breaks for the folks in CO. (and NM- as it is burning there too)

    I really have not had time to even turn on a television in over a week, so there is a lot about this story I do not know. Does anyone know if they have determined what started this fire?

  6. You just cried because you're afraid I have the same accent.

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  8. Like scenes from Hell. Been thinking of you & sending prayers your way.

  9. We went skiing up there and took the kids to The Royal Gorge. Got a pic the other day and it is gone. so very sad and my heart breaks for the animals but cudos to those who spray painted their numbers on their horses!!

  10. I wondered how close you were to the fire, and I remembered your mentions of the Black Forest in the Mort stories. The latest stories say they're getting it under control now. I hope your horses are safe.

  11. Ahaahaahaa! You know me so well. :)

  12. Been thinking of you and your family, hope everyone stays safe.

  13. Holy crap, Mugs. What an absolute nightmare. I'm so sorry to hear about this devastation. It's been a bad fire year here, too, but not nearly on the same scale. Here's hoping you guys stay safe.

  14. Hope the fire is under control and you're all safe.

  15. Man, so much for doing the dishes...
    I'm standing here teary eyed and a bit shell shocked in the kitchen.

    I hadn't checked in for a while and wow! I hope they get everything under control down there. I'll be wishing you some of our rain. That poor burnt mustang... Man I couldn't imagine turning the horses loose with a fire coming. Brilliant writing your phone number on them though. So glad Banjo found his cowboy.

    Then a Tally story to top it off.
    Take care Mugs, I hope everyone close to you is safe.

  16. I heard this on the news and thought "not Colorado again, I hope Mugwump and her horses are OK." In Australia we are all too familiar with this tragic scenario. Stay safe Mugs. (And your dogs and husband too, of course!)

  17. We had a close fire scare back in '98, but nothing like what you guys are enduring. Dry summers, lightning and careless people. Stay safe.

  18. What a tragedy! I grew up a horsie girl in CS and spent many, many a day riding, training, showing at Latigo Equestrian Center and through the trails of Black Forest. I am glad you and your horses are ok, and so very sad for those who took a direct blow. I'm following from afar and sending love and support.
    Once a Coloradan, always a Coloradan..


  19. Our 2700 acre farm was burnt out on the 8th January (Australia). All but 200 acres was burnt hard. We lost between 800 -1000 sheep. The cattle fared better and the horses were saved. Of 43 rams a quarter were either dead or culled, the other 30 odd were various stages of burnt.

    I had to leave the horses and hope they were OK – it’s a weird feeling. I took the ones I could get on a strange trailer in 100 km winds with thick smoke, the quiet ones. All horses were OK but mostly because the fire fighters helped them.

    We are still trying to put our lives and our farm back together and get some normal order going on.

    Our blog is rudimentary as a friend did most and I have not had time or energy to do much but here it is or BurntFarmBlog.

    We were saved by the generous people living around us and by friends. If you know someone whose place is burnt out, and particularly if they have stock to care for as well, and you want to help - just go there and offer to do whatever they ask you. They need you NOW. They will not be able to cope with so much going on - my friends helped save my stock as they were treating them when I was too busy still putting out fires, shooting burnt stock, trying to contain 280 head cattle with no fences left etc etc etc. What they will also need if they still have a house, is their phone answered and decent food cooked for them and basic domestics. Just offer to do anything they want, they need you.

    The govt vets came and helped us shoot burnt stock and they were a real help but were a bit too keen to shoot. When I went looking for information online to help me treat burnt sheep I could only find information on shooting them. We have now had 6 months case study in keeping these animals going , and even return to breeding. (after 3rd degree burns)

    The problem is that even if the animals are not burnt in the fire they can walk on hot ground and burn their hooves. Their hooves can come off and that often means the end of them. We have tips and case studies with photos over time.

    We think that there is a lot that can be done early to help the animals and keep their hooves viable so they don’t have to be shot. We have had to work out what medications and products are available in large quantities and cheap to treat them. There is bulk pain killing human burns spray that is also available in bulk for sheep in Australia that is top for treating burn wounds – that could be sent in the mail in just a few days to USA.

    I want to do my bit to help others as I was helped.

    What I would appreciate is if anyone has any idea where I can put this information online – what sort of format and how, to be findable for people in the rush post fire, to help them save their animals.

    Any ideas?


  20. Thanks mugs, in its final pretty form with all the photos it cant happen straight away as yet (too busy & still working on it) but Ill get the post to you as soon as I can. That is unless you know people around you now it would help - Ill get something that is not properly finalised to them now.

    What we did with sheep would relate directly also to goats, calves, alpacas and small cloven hoofed animals. I want to get in touch over time with people from Kingslake in Victoria where lots of horses were burnt and the experiences there.

    Here is our govt handout

    The quick advice is to maintain circulation in the damaged hoof, think of them like a horse with laminitis. Get them ASAP into a quiet place, with their flock or herd or a friend to reduce stress, out of the elements, with a soft floor, give them high quality food (not grain) like alphalpha, with anti-inflamatories and pain killers and antibiotics.

    Good high protein quality feed, quiet, and some anti-inflamatiores and drugs made the difference between life and death in our sheep.

    If people have large numbers, or even twenty or so injured animals to nurse, in the aftermath of a fire it is going to be too many for them to cope with and also do what they need to do to look after themselves and everything else. They need people to help them nurse those animals, and then they can save them. Mine got saved because a friend vet nurse turned out of the blue with drugs and looked after them for me while I was saving the healthy ones and hunting 2700 acres of still burning land for burnt humane cases to shoot.

    Here is a product available in Australia for mulsing sheep that was originally a treatment for human burns victims. It is great stuff and obviously ideal for burns on animals. In Australia it is $1500 for a few litres but that goes a long way. Pfizer make it so perhaps contact them direct.

    We have sheep we found 3 weeks after the fire whose hooves had fallen off. We kept them going as a case study so for the rams incase some of their feet came off (which they did not). They are still going now and we are seeing how, and how well their feet grow back. If someone really wants to keep a pet or a valuable cloven hoofed small animal going if their hooves come off they can – but it is going to take a LOT of money and a lot of time and the outcome may not be a sound animal.

    If you have an injured animal and want great support in keeping it going I suggest the following website. Dr David Jolly is a wonderful person and his site and support a great resource.

    I can be contacted via our blog on
    Burnt Farm Blog

    This is a very hurried response just to get something out there incase it helps someone.


  21. Sorry, that was Bayer (not Pfizer) for the Tri-Solfen topical pain killer.

    That is what happens when you rush


  22. Here is a website with some practical information on livestock and bush fires and some useful links.

    You might have better sites available in the USA. If so I would like to know about them.

  23. Hoping both your community & yourself are recovering from the fires, and that your animals are also having a speedy recovery. The road of recovery is an emotional one; we know only too well after surviving the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, Australia. We are also the owners of Tri-Solfen; the topical Pain Relief product mentioned by Ozhorse, which has been licensed to Bayer. Please don't hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help. On our website you will be able to read recent successful trials we have completed on horses. All the Best.