Kim McDougall

Teeth & Sheath Day

Here’s an amusing horsey story for you. It’s not for the faint of heart, so read on with caution. Seriously, if you don’t want to know about the grittier parts of animals husbandry, this post is not for you.
Still with me? Ok. Here goes.

A couple of years ago, we bought a hobby farm and moved our horse, Booker, here. He’s boarding with our neighbor until we can get our barn and pasture ready. Booker is 18 and until now he has been boarded in riding stables, first in Pennsylvania and then north of Toronto. I mention this because, it’s important to understand that he has always had annual check-ups with the vet at these barns.

Fast-forward to this fall in his new, very rural home. There are no vets here. In fact, there is such a shortage of vets that it has become a problem for our area. So, as a new farmer, I have to learn to do many things a vet would normally do. One of those things is cleaning a horse’s sheath. 

Now let me explain. This means cleaning Booker’s…uh…boy parts and the big pocket of skin that he normally hides them in (the sheath). You might ask, “Why would you need to do such a thing? Surely horses in the wild manage this on their own?” Well, this is where it starts to get a little off-putting. Stallions in the wild have a natural way of cleansing their genitalia. Can you guess how? Yep. Sex. I suspect the lady horses weren’t consulted on that design model.

I can already hear your chorus of ewwwws! 

Just wait. It gets worse.

So cleaning a gelding (that’s a neutered male horse, btw) is a completely manmade problem, but I figured it was one I could deal with. I put on my big-girl farmer pants, watched a bunch of Youtube videos on the process (Google those at your own risk), then headed over to give Booker a good scrub. 

Here’s the thing—Booker is a gentleman. He doesn’t show off his magnificence like some common race horse. So, I had to go looking for it. As I stuck my (gloved) hand up his sheath to my elbow and floundered around in there looking for the goods, Booker side-eyed me with a most vexed expression. “Hey, lady, get your paws off my junk!” 

Now here’s where it gets really, really gross (I warned you). The horse’s whatsis gets covered not only in dirt, but in smegma (gosh, I’ve never had to use that word in a sentence before). In fact, they can get a “bean” of such debris clogging the tip of the penis. 

And I had to dig that out. 

I’ll let you rest with that thought for a moment. 

Unfortunately, Booker wasn’t letting me anywhere near his magnificence. He had it sucked up so far in the sheath, he could probably taste it. 

That’s when it occurred to me that on Booker’s yearly vet visits, he was sedated for this procedure because the vet did it at the same time as his dental check up. Seems unfair to me. How’s a simple farmer supposed to compete with the good drugs? 

After about a half hour of trying to cajole an increasing annoyed horse to drop his goods, I finally gave up on the cleaning and decide to wait for a vet.

But (I know you’re squirming in your seat already) later that day, my daughter gave him a good cantering workout. So guess what happened while we brushed him out? You got it. Booker relaxed and his magnificence poked out of his sheath to say hello.

So I grabbed it. 

Yep. I did that. My daughter screamed, “Don’t touch that!” Booker wasn’t impressed by this idea either. Thank god he’s not a kicker, but it was a near thing. On the upside, I managed to give it a quick scrub and out popped a bean! Yuck, but yay! 

Problem solved, yes? No. Booker still needed a proper cleaning, and after all my forwardness, he wasn’t about to go back to holding hands.

Lucky for us, a new vet moved into our area. He came to do “teeth and sheath” as it’s called. And yes, he sedated Booker. And yes, he got to see Booker in all his glory. After the cleaning, the vet suggested that I, um, fondle my horse regularly. That’s right. Every time I brush him or pick out his feet I’ve got to give Booker’s boy parts a good squeeze. And then he gets a cookie. This is suppose to help him get use to me fussing around down there. Will it work? Booker is 18. I’m not sure he’s going to learn any new tricks. But after I got the $500 vet bill, I’m willing to try. 

So as we continue to set up our hobby farm, there will be more animal antics. Do you want to read more farmyard tales in future newsletters? They won’t be all as funny/gross as this one. Some may even be sad. Take the poll below. You can reply right to this post or vote anonymously at the poll page here:

    •    Yes. I laughed so hard, I snorted (insert favorite beverage) from my nose.
    •    Maybe. This was amusing and I’d be okay with more critter stories.
    •    Um, no.
    •    I’m traumatized and will never read your blog/newsletter again.

Of course Kyra has to deal with all manner of animal issues as a pest-controller/rescuer in the Valkyrie Bestiary tales. For instance, in Dragons Don’t Eat Meat (Book 1) she has to sift through dragon scat to find a bloodstone that the little critter swallowed. Fun times. And in Book 8, she rescues a unicorn high on hoodoo. I’ll tell you more about the inspiration behind that character in a future newsletter. 

Don’t forget that Unicorns Don’t Cry is now pre-ordering at special pre-release prices. 

Valkyrie Bestiary Cage Fights

The battle for the Supreme Valkyrie Beast continues all month. Check out past winners the Cage Fights Page. This week's fight is between a satyr and a basilisk in the Light Weight Division. One of these contenders may take home the title Master of the Inbetween. And you get to decide. The fun is all happening on the Valkyrie Bestiary Discussion Group on Facebook. Join now to vote!

Book Fairs & Events

Apart from the online book fairs below, I'm participating in a few in-person local events this fall. You can view those and more online markets on the Book Fairs Page

Spotlight Books

Splintered Magic
Book #1
Jilleen Dolbeare

I love this series! Mr. Mittens is one of my favorite kitty characters of all time. Here's a blurb:

Brigid Donovan is down on her luck. Her husband dumped her for the biggest stereotype around, his secretary, and her family mansion is a decaying wreck. All she wants is to get it restored, enjoy the peace and quiet of living in eight hundred acres of primordial forest, and rebuild her life.

Fate seems to be against her. First, her cat starts to speak to her. And what does he say? He's not what he seems to be—seriously? Like a talking cat is normal. He does tell her that she's the great-granddaughter of a fae lord, and very powerful. Only, that doesn't seem right. Where's her magic? Why didn't her family tell her?

Things aren't as picture perfect as they seem in her hometown of Kilchis, Oregon. In fact, they haven't been for a long time. For one thing, her restoration team is a pack of werewolves, and her new bestie is a witch. What's going on? Brigid has to find out fast or she could lose it all—her mind, her magic, and her life.



Ghosts of the Catacombs
Parisian Ghosts Book #1
Janna Ruth

This series is on my TBR list. I can't wait to get into it. Here's a blurb:

I'm a ghost whisperer, not a catacomb crawler. But when you live in Paris, sometimes you end up being both.
Hi, I’m Alix. During the day, I’m a history student at the time-honoured Sorbonne University. After class, I hang out with the ghosts of the revolution, the many undead misunderstood Parisian artists, and adventurous scientists that glow in the dark. None of them are alive, but they come to me to solve their problems with the living.
When a recently deceased catacomb tour guide asks me to retrieve a mysterious personal item from the underground, things take a turn for the weird. Suddenly, I find myself in a city of ghosts, hunted by murderous cave crawlers, and stumbling across haunting secrets.
If I’m not careful now, I might end up a ghost myself.



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