Sunday, 18 May 2014

TICKS ON YOUR HORSE - MOST EFFECTIVE, NATURAL AND CHEAP WAY OF KEEPING THEM AWAY

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During the spring and summer months, in warm climates, ticks are a menace to our horses and literally sap the blood and energy out of our beautiful animals.  

There are many products out there on the market that claim to eliminate and keep at bay these awful little parasites, or blood suckers as I like to call them.   The only problem is that if you look at the ingredients on the labels of these tick killers, they are really quite toxic.  

Obviously in order to deal with the ticks they have to be quite toxic because these blood suckers are quite resilient. but they could also potentially be toxic to your horse, and where possible, it is always best to avoid administering toxic chemicals to your horse either externally or internally.

So here is what has worked really well for me.  All you need is to buy a bottle of Johnson's baby oil which contains Aloe Vera, and a small bottle of Tea Tree Oil.  Johnson's baby oil is relatively cheap at €3 a bottle, while Tea Tree Oil is not so cheap at €15 for a very small bottle, although a little goes a long way.

Simply empty about a quarter of the bottle of Johnson's baby oil (down the sink or into a jar) to allow room for the smaller bottle of Tea Tree Oil to be added.  Shake the bottle well so that both oils mix together, and you now have your anti-tick lotion ready to use.

And incidentally, this mixture will last at least a month for one horse.

Pour some of this mixed oil onto the palm of your hand and begin by rubbing it all around the four fetlocks of your horse, because this is where most ticks are most likely to climb up onto your horse.

Now if a tick does manage to get up onto your horse, they always seem to head for the genital and rectal area.  So, lift your horse's tail and smother some oil onto the underside of his tail.  Next, smother some more oil into the creases that form between his hind legs, and next the creases that form under his armpits so to speak.

Do this every other day throughout the spring and summer season, and while you may not deter all ticks, you will certainly reduce the numbers to only one or two that manage to latch on and start sucking from your horse.

The reason this lotion works is firstly that ticks hate the smell of Tea Tree Oil and will avoid it wherever possible.  And secondly the oil makes it slippery for them to be able to get a good grasp to dig their teeth into the horse's skin.

This lotion has the added factor that, if you horse has already been bitten by a tick or two, and has been left with scar tissue or a scab, the Aloe Vera is a fantastic healing lotion and will quicken the healing period immensely.





  

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE POOR

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I suddenly thought, as my life seems to be whizzing by, that most of my time has been preoccupied with worrying about finances. 

Every night the thoughts that go through my head, and I'm sure through many other people, are such like these:


  • Tomorrow I have to pay the electricity.
  • I have to set aside some money for the car insurance.
  • I'll have to forget about getting my missing tooth replaced as other bills take precedence.
  • Medical check-ups - forget about them, as if I don't pay the taxes and get thrown into prison, it won't matter much whether I have health or not.
  • What shall we eat tomorrow? Well I've got some potatoes and I'll cook them with tomatoes and onions.
  • How can I save more on the electricity bills? We're already going around with torches at night and wearing a double layer of clothing.
  • Holidays? That's something that we can have in our dreams at least.       
This is what it's like not to be rich. Instead of enjoying life, we who are not rich spend half our time simply worrying about how we can get by.

The singer Sting once said, that having money gave you the luxury of not having to worry about money. How true. How I would love not to have to think about money any more, but unfortunately this is my lot.

Having said that, I do have enough to eat some food. I do have enough to just about pay for some electricity and I have a bed and a roof over my head.

When I think that a third of the world don't have the basics that I have, I feel guilty for even complaining about my financial problems. A third of the world don't even have financial problems because they don't have any finances at all. Not a single coin to their name. 

They sleep out in the open, or in some kind of hut that they've managed to build. They have to hunt animals or search for berries as their form of food, and water has to be found by walking many miles.

I never forget seeing a programme where some children from Africa were invited to spend a a month's holiday with a family in Europe. When they were about to leave and go back to their home town they were asked what they would like to take with them. Can you imagine that their answer was 'a tap'. To them, simply to turn a tap and to have fresh, clean water gushing out of it, was a luxury above all luxuries.

So I suppose I had better not complain any more. I'm not rich, but I'm so much richer than many other people out there and I feel very sorry for them. If I were to become rich ever one day, I would certainly donate some of my money to those who were not even as lucky as me!!!!

Friday, 2 May 2014

BEST WAY TO REPAIR DAMAGED HAIR AT HOME

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As most of us women usually resort to hair dyes when we get to a certain age when those horrible grey, or even worse white hairs, start showing through, we also find that after a few years of this harsh treatment our hair starts to suffer as well.

Admittedly there are now dyes on the market which claim to contain no harsh chemicals that could damage your hair but never the less your hair still takes a bit of a battering and after several years of tinting one's hair you will start to see a deterioration.

If on top of tinting your hair, you also have an outdoor life where you are more exposed to the sun and the wind than most people, your hair will have no doubt suffered even more.

I myself, in the good all days before the financial crisis and when I was a bit richer, underwent various salon treatments that cost a bomb, and while I came out looking good the very next day my hair went back to normal. Well normal is not really the right description as my hair was far from normal, it was damaged, burnt from the sun and the wind and the worst is that it felt really coarse and not nice to touch and basically I wasn't at all happy with it.

So as I couldn't afford any more treatments and besides as I have just said I don't really think that they are value for money as the results barely last a day, I decided to try my own cheap home treatment.

It really is quite simple and of course very, very cheap. All you have to do is to look for the best hair mask that claims to repair damaged hair. There are so many on the market and I actually opted for the one of the cheapest ones that was from a chain of supermarkets called Lidl and cost less than €5.

In the evening before going to bed I just smothered the hair mask all over my dry hair making sure that I worked it right through from the roots to the ends. I then tied it up in a pony tail and placed a towel over my pillow and went to sleep.

All these conditioners and hair masks state that you should keep them on for three or five minutes before rinsing off, but my hunch was that if you kept it on for a whole night it would really have much more time to penetrate your hair and be more beneficial.

When you wake up in the morning you rinse out the mask thoroughly and then let your hair ALMOST dry naturally. This is important so that you don't apply more heat from the hair dryer than you absolutely have to.

With your hair just slightly damp you can now style it with the hair dryer and of course the time spent blowing your hair with the hair dryer will be much less - another benefit.

Afterwards, apply a few drops of sweet almond oil to your hands and run your fingers through your hair. You will find that the oil will smooth down any fly away or split ends and it will be absorbed quite quickly without leaving a greasy or heavy feel behind.

If you do this once a week I can assure you that you will see a difference in your hair within less than a month. I have been doing this for two months now and my hair has become much softer and I actually like to touch it again and don't feel that I have a head of straw any more!!!!






Thursday, 3 April 2014

HAIR THAT IS MIDDLE AGED AND HOW TO HELP IT

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Hair like any other part of the body of a woman tends to age with time and more so when it has had years of abuse from harsh dyes and blonde streaks. It tends to get coarser, dryer and frizzier and lose all its shine. So what can one do about it?

Well I am a woman of 61 years of age that has gone through all the phases through styling tongs, blonde streaks, harsh dyes to excessive use of the hair dryer at the hottest heat!!! 

The day I realized that I had come to a point in my life when I had to do something about it was when my horse tried to eat some of my hair because he quite innocently thought that my hair looked just like dry hay!

So what did I do and what can you do? Well I will just tell you what I tried to do and maybe it might help you as well.

For a start when us women saw our first white hairs we thought that the best way to disguise these was by going blonde and while it is correct that the line between white hairs and blonde hairs is harder to see than the line between white hairs and brown hairs it has to be remembered that the lighter the dye the harsher the effect on the hair.

Any blonde dye has a lot more hydrogen peroxide (in other words bleach) than any of the other darker colors and when your hair has gone through many years of having it dyed using so much hydrogen peroxide there is no way that it can still maintain its healthy shine and silkiness.

So my advice, and you needn't follow it if you don't want to, but if you want to give your hair a new lease of life I don't think it would hurt you to follow this little piece of advice which is the following:

Forget the idea about being blonde and forget the idea that blonde hair makes you look younger. It maybe worked okay when you were not that old, but when you get just that little bit older like nearing 60, being blonde actually ages you more and makes your face look washed out.

Opt for a very light brown shade, with a tint of amber, which will reflect warmth towards your face and be a dye that is much less harsh on your hair. If you can't bear the idea of not having streaks any more, come to a compromise and just opt for one streak on either side of your face in a honey color. When you think of it, steaks are meant to highlight your face so you don't need a whole lot of streaks around the rest of your head that only dry your hair more but do nothing to highlight your face as they are not near your face!

Just in changing to these darker colors from your usual blonde dye you are already resting your hair from the harsh ingredients that are included in blonde dyes, namely hydrogen peroxide. And you can go even one step further which is to choose dyes that do not contain any hydrogen peroxide at all.

Once you have changed the way you dye your hair, the next step is to try and replenish all the moisture and sheen that has been lost over the years.

On a day that it is raining outside, maybe a Sunday, when you don't plan on leaving your house for anything, decide to give your hair a little boost. Grab a large jar of mayonnaise, an old towel and lean over your bath tub. This is a bit of a messy job but you have the plus that the mayonnaise will also moisturize your hands and make them feel softer.

Pour the jar of mayonnaise all over your hair and massage it well in, especially at the ends. Comb your hair, while still bending your head over the bath tub, so that all the strands are well impregnated with the mayonnaise. 

Now wrap your hair up in a turban with the towel and just relax a few hours. You can watch a good film on the TV, read a book or whatever you like to do when you want to relax. Just let the oil within the mayonnaise really soak into your hair for a good few hours, the longer the better.

When the time is up, shampoo your hair at least twice to make sure you get rid of any residue of oil and then use a good conditioner and finish off with applying some argan oil.


Make sure to dry your hair with a hair dryer on a medium setting rather than the hottest setting using a rounded brush and I can guarantee that you will see a difference. It won't be a fantastic difference because this needs to be done once a week but I am sure that after about four Sundays of doing this you will see a real difference in the texture of your hair.










Tuesday, 25 March 2014

LUNGING A DIFFICULT HORSE

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Apache


I thought that I would share my experience with any of you horse owners out there that have had difficulty lunging a new horse that simply doesn't want to work and considers lunging to be work!!!

Our horse was completely wild when we got him a year ago and wouldn't even accept a head collar let alone come to you. He was 8 years old and had been castrated only two years prior which meant that he still had a lot of stallion like behaviors which made things even more complicated. He was very clever or maybe streetwise is a better word and he made it quite clear to us that he had been doing his own thing for 8 years and so why did he have to listen to any human now.

My husband had had a stroke last year and buying this horse was my idea of a good kind of therapy for him (and me) as bringing on a horse is always quite a challenge and as we have both always been with horses throughout our lives we more or less know the basics!!!

Unfortunately we also realised quite soon that this horse had been hit or beaten, I can't really say which as we were not present when it happened and our horse can't tell us the details but he told us enough by showing us that he was terrified of the whip.

So with this whole picture of how the horse was we decided that there was no rush at all to ride him but more just take our time in getting him to trust and respect us, two very important things when it comes to bonding with a horse.

We spent the first six months just letting him get used to us. Every day we would spend the afternoon with him, obviously taking a few carrots so that he started to want to come to us for his treats. Then he would follow us around the paddock every now and then and especially when we fixed a fence or cleaned out his water trough he just had to come and investigate to see what we were doing. We realised that when we gave him his evening feed of alfalfa he would be very relaxed while eating and so this is when we started to be able to groom him. At first he would move away a little but soon he stayed perfectly still and eventually I was able to put a head collar on him. 

I have also been able to stroke him lightly with the handle of the whip which took quite a long time for him to accept and although he still is not too happy about it he will stay quite still while I do it.

During these six months we have taught him to back up, lift each leg just by lightly tapping the leg we want, accept the saddle, girth, bitless bridle and me slumped over his back but as of yet I still haven't swung my right leg over. I'm 61 years old now and I have to go much more cautiously than when I was 16 as I don't think my bones are as rubbery any more!!!


He neighs whenever we arrive at the paddock and I think he has gotten to be fond of us and trusts us but I think the respect part still needs to be worked on a bit more. All this is quite an improvement from when we got him but now when we tried to get to the next stage of lunging is when we came across his stubborn streak. 

Some people told us that if your horse doesn't want to lunge well then don't lunge him but I have always felt that lunging is quite important as it's where you can start to get more respect out of your horse. You are making his feet move where you want them to and if he obeys then he is at last beginning to listen to you and respect you plus the fact that our horse is not being ridden yet and so lunging is a way of keeping him in trim and muscled up rather than fat and flabby.


He would face you directly square on and of course if you tried to move the lunging whip close to his rear in order for him to move forward he would pull right back, rip the rope from your hands and go galloping off. 


Each time we calmly walked to where he was, picked up the rope and brought him back to try again and again without making any fuss or getting annoyed with him. But in the end we found that the best way of dealing with this was to have the two of us lunging him.

My husband stands in the middle of the paddock holding the lunging rein and I follow the rear of our horse at a reasonable distance with the lunging whip held low to the ground so as not to appear menacing. Whenever the horse stops to face my husband I just move in a little closer behind his rear so as to make him move off again. 

We have been doing this for the last week and today was the first day that he just plodded around dutifully and didn't stop to face my husband. We even managed to get him to do four laps at the trot and when we ask him to stop I just drop the whip to the ground and we both go up to him and make a big fuss of him. He then gets taken to his reward which is a lovely grassy field where we let him munch away to his heart's content for an hour.

I think or hope that we will soon get to the stage where he just treats his 15 minutes of lunging as part of his daily routine and will realise that if he doesn't protest and go running off it will all be over much quicker and he will also get to his grass much quicker as well!!!

Monday, 24 March 2014

ADOLFO SUAREZ DIES the man who no longer remembered that he had once been the Prime Minister of Spain

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The charismatic Adolfo Suarez Gonzalez, 1st Duke of Suarez born in Avila, Spain on 25 September 1932 has died in Madrid on 23 March 2014.


During years as Prime Minister


He was one of the most honorable and honest politicians that Spain has ever had and will always be remembered as the Prime Minister that transitioned Spain into a democracy after having endured nearly four decades of dictatorship under Franco.

He was put in power by King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1976, who was his great friend right till the end but then in 1981 he voluntarily stepped down and it was during the 90's when the first signs of Alzheimer began to set in. By 2003 the disease was so advanced that Suarez no longer remembered that he had once been Prime Minister of Spain.


King Juan Carlos puts his arm around his friend during one of his visits




During the early stages of his illness, which he knew he had, he tried to make light of his forgetfulness so as not to upset his family but during the last ten years of his life he no longer remembered anything or anyone and could no longer talk. He was however always very happy and responsive to signs of affection from friends and family and especially from his grandchildren. He was cared for constantly and lovingly by all his family but above all by his daughter Laura.



He was a real family man who loved his 5 children and adored his wife Amparo Illana and it was to be a big blow to him when in 2001 he lost his wife to cancer and then in 2004 his daughter Marian as well, although by the time of his daughter's death he was no longer aware of much. 


One of his last photos
He is to have a state funeral in Spain and the remains of his wife Amparo have been moved from their original burial ground so as to be placed beside Adolfo Suarez in the Cathedral of Avila.

As one of the tributes to him the Spanish government has announced that the main airport of Madrid currently known as Madrid Barajas Airport is to be changed to the name of 'Adolfo Suarez Airport'.

Friday, 7 March 2014

BRAS THAT PINCH YOU

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One of the most annoying things is to have the clasp of your bra pinching your back all day long.


Powder puff
Powder puff with strap



So a quick, easy and cheap solution is to buy a few of those old fashioned powder puffs, the ones that have a strap across them like in the photo.


They cost about 25 cents each, are round discs of foam covered in a velvet material usually in a pale pink or beige colour. This feels lovely and soft against your skin and maintains the metal parts of the bra clasp well away from your skin.


Slip the powder puff onto the bra clasp, fasten your bra and then just make sure to slide the powder puff exactly over the area of the clasp, obviously with the strap of the powder puff towards you and the velvet disc near your skin.


One can sometimes find special devices for solving this problem in lingerie shops but they are very hard to come by while powder puffs can be found in nearly every single make-up store.


Unless you are wearing a see-through top no one can tell you are using these powder puffs and they make such a difference to your every day life not to have to feel a bra clasp digging into you all the time!!!