Sweet Honey Pony

April 10, 2013 at 11:35 am | Posted in Honey Pony, Horses, Kids | 7 Comments
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Well, this is a post I didn’t want to have to write so soon.

Our beloved pony, Honey, finally succumbed to the laminitis caused by the Cushing’s Disease, Lyme2011-07-27_16-17-23_828 Disease, and year and a half of neglect she had suffered. My goal when I adopted her was to give her the best retirement I possibly could and to ease any pain she had along the way. We did everything we could for her, but in the end her hoof and joint issues got the best of her and we simply couldn’t ask her to go on.

As every pet owner knows, this is the most difficult aspect of owning (do we really “own” them?) an animal. We almost always outlive them. And it leaves us with this awful responsibility and choice that we must make for our four-legged babies.

Honey was one of those really special ponies you don’t come across too often. Not only was she cute (never met a pony who wasn’t), she was incredibly sweet and willing (met a lot of ponies who weren’t). Oh, she had her moments… a warm summer day when she didn’t really feel like going for a walk and would plant her feet in the ground and let you tug on her head as if she were a 50-ton rock and you were an ant. But if you were patient and gentle and gave her time to think about it, she’d always decide to come with you.

She loved children and would get the sweetest look in her eye when they came around. Every single one of them seemed to fall in love with her, and the girls especially would spend hours braiding her super-thick mane and tail. If I had given them glitter and pink hair dye that pony would have been covered in it.

Roundpen StandingI loved how Honey would throw her scruffy-maned little head up at the sound of my voice or sight of me coming around the corner and shriek that sweet little pony whinny. I guess she had me pegged – carrots and scritches coming up.

So when she didn’t want to get up to eat anymore (although she would take her meal lying down if you put it in front of her) and I had to make the decision to let her go, it really was heart-wrenching. A friend who was trying to comfort me gave me some advice:

“What was Honey’s place in your life?” my friend asked,
“What doors did she open in your heart?
Think about why you two were brought together.”

I had never thought about losing an animal in this light before. Sometimes we think about why certain people come in and out of our lives, but seldom do we think about animals in those terms. Aren’t they just as important to us? Don’t they touch our hearts in the same way?

I thought about it… and I think Honey was brought into my life to remind me what it’s like to love unconditionally in difficult circumstances. Honey was sweet, but she wasn’t an easy pony to keep. She had numerous health issues and needed to be managed very carefully on a day-to-day basis. We were constantly checking and changing her supplement/vitamin/medication intake trying to find just the right balance. She had to be kept off grass and away from regular hay, and sometimes she would have mysterious stomach issues. I’d hoped she could be used as a regular mount for my children – especially Brady, who seemed to be much more grounded and relaxed when riding her. But that only proved to be possible for the first summer she was home. After that she was never consistently sound enough for regular riding. And of course I couldn’t ride her. I’ve always been the type that loves my horses but kind of wants to rush through all the custodial care and get to the riding. The only thing I could do with Honey was take care of her and love her. And somehow, she made this easy. She taught me a lot about patience, kindness and how to deal with chronic pain (I have a bit of that myself). She showed me that sometimes just being present is enough. And that a darling, damaged little body can hold a whole lot of love.

Honey 1So when it came time to let Honey go, I knelt in the thick bed of shavings next to her and put my forehead on hers. I thanked her for all she had done for me and my boys, and I told her the next place she would be going would be free of pain, free of limitations and free of fear. I know she heard me. I’m pretty sure she understood.

You touched everyone you met, little Honey-bear, and we will miss you very much. We’re all thankful for the gifts you gave us and the time we had with you. There will never be another one like you.


P.S. We have now found a way to immortalize Honey by telling her story in a series of children’s books. Go to www.HoneyPonyBooks.com or check out Honey’s FaceBook page.


Saffron Gets A Bad Rap

March 8, 2013 at 8:15 am | Posted in Beauty, Honey Pony, Horses, The Real Housewives | 4 Comments
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A dear friend from down south once told me that the following is a very “Yankee” exchange:photo

Friend: “Ooooo, I love those shoes!”
Me (the Yankee): “Thanks!
(hushed whisper) 9-West. Marden’s Factory Closeout Store. $19.99!!”

Apparently we frugal Yankees are extremely proud of a bargain and not only seek them out, but then proceed to tell everyone who will listen what a steal we got. Apparently this does not happen in other parts of the country. I did notice Lisa Vanderpump giving Kyle Richards the business about showing up to an event in identical shoes and insisting that Kyle must have gotten them “off the sale rack”. Kyle looked none too pleased about this accusation. I would have been like, “Yeah, I did, bitch. Are you really stupid enough to pay full price?” Yankee.

And recently, I read an article about spending habits that put forth the following hypothesis: One’s idea of “expensive” is directly related to the first thing they buy that day. So, if you go online and buy a $200 bathing suit (Ahem, Spanx with tummy control and lots of DD boob lift.), then you’ll think that the $180 pair of jeans they try to sell you at check-out (“People who bought this also bought…” The ultimate keeping-up-with-the-Kardashians/Joneses ploy.) is not really all that expensive after all. But if you pop into T.J. Maxx for a quick browse and stop first at the $5.99 tights rack, well, you might not drop $149.99 on that Michael Kors bag, even if you CAN compare it to the MSRP (that’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, for those of you who are not rabid bargain-hunters) of $289.00.

So all this got me thinking about my own spending habits and what I consider expensive. A little look into my spending psyche:

Beauty Bucks

– Getting talked into spending $60 on foundation that is not the right color or texture for your skin by the adorable and heart-breakingly hip make-up store girl with the perfect cats-eye eyeliner = face-too-dark-from-spray-tan-21396414[1]EXPENSIVE

– $20 self-tanners that leave giant brown stains on the couch in the precise shape of your bodacious booty = EXPENSIVE

– Spending just about any amount of money on anything (short of plastic surgery) that will make you look even 5 minutes younger = NOT EXPENSIVE


Travel Tariffs

– Spending $65 to have a car service meet you at the airport when you could easily grab a filthy, smelly cab complete with bullet-proof glass between you and the driver into town for $25 = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Thinking those leopard-print spandex pants the cocktail waitresses at the Jungle Bar in Miami Beach are wearing are super-duper cute and rushing right out the next day to buy yourself a pair = EXPENSIVE (I don’t care what they cost. You don’t look like she did in them and you will never, ever wear them out in public when you get home. Let’s just agree that you got caught up in the moment. And the mojitos.)

– Anything you buy at the hotel gift shop, mountainside ski shop, surfside cabana or in-room amenities bar = EXPENSIVE x2


Equine Expenses

– Spending $400 on fancy schmancy full-seat breeches that are just going to get dirty the second you put them on anyway (you know your horse is going to rub his snotty nose on them, right?) and probably won’t keep you in the saddle during your new green show mount’s inevitable spook/swerve/buck at the judge’s booth = EXPENSIVE11235[1]

– Spending $60 on a double-hot-pink halter with your cute-as-a-button pony’s name stitched on the nose when a $19.99 one would do the trick just fine = NOT EXPENSIVE

– $5.00/bag for pine shavings that sawmills otherwise consider trash = EXPENSIVE

– $150 for chiropractic work, $80 for acupuncture and a $50 massage (this is for the horse, not you!) so that Lightning won’t flip over on the crossties the next time you slap a saddle on his back = NOT EXPENSIVE


Food Fares

– Paying $45 for the most amazing piece of Kobe beef you’ve ever tasted in a charming and elegant restaurant setting without anyone climbing under the table and squirming into your booth because they “need to snuggle you” or standing on their seat to stare at the poor old lady sitting behind you = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Spending $8 on clearly pre-processed meatloaf in a place that is supposed to be making everything from scratch. At least they have microbrews to get you through the meal. But of course they’re out of the one you really like = EXPENSIVE

Best SaffronSo what is truly expensive, anyway? The first time I heard that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, I thought it must be really outrageous and who in their right mind would pay for it? Then I went to the Hannaford and there it was: $14.99 for a small jar of saffron threads. I mean, I suppose compared to the Cream of Tartar that’s a little steep, but I’m pretty sure it’s cheaper than an organic cucumber. I guess it’s all relative, especially if you’ve just been to the Dollar Store.

So the next time I’m feeling down and need a little treat, I think I’ll go splurge on some saffron and live like the rich people do. Care to join me?


Top 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Finish My Books

January 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Honey Pony, The Real Housewives, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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Last winter, I embarked on a potentially misguided journey to write and illustrate a series of Roundpen Standingchildren’s books about my pony, Honey. Before I adopted her, she had fallen into the wrong hands and suffered severe neglect. My idea was to create books for very young children that introduced the ideas of animal neglect and rescue in hopes that this would plant the seed for future adoptions of abused/shelter animals.

Well, this experience has left me frustrated, flummoxed, and (to quote Lisa Vanderpump) flabbergasted (say it with a British accent: “flah-buh-gahstud”). It’s not that it’s so hard to do, it’s just so hard to find the time to do it. My ideas flow like wine (but really, what doesn’t in this house?) and the words to three books are already written. But actually sitting down, pulling out the paints and creating – now that’s the hard part. It takes not only time, but creative energy. And I just don’t have much of that left after spending each day coming up with ever-more imaginative ways to keep two little boys entertained, enthralled and even-keeled.

So here, I humbly submit the Top 10 Reasons why I just can’t seem to finish illustrating even the first book in the series:

1)      I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

2)      The pony has chronic diarrhea.  (Just try dealing with this during a freezing-cold New England winter. Frozen tail poopsicles anyone?)

3)      I have to re-heat my cup of tea for the 450th time today.  (No, I don’t know where I left it last, either, so I have to find it first, ok?)

4)      I’m checking my blog stats. Again.

5)      Somebody’s butt needs wiping.

6)      FaceBook.

7)      There’s a Real Housewives of Anywhere-on-Earth-That’s-Better-Than-Where-You-Live-and-Don’t-You-Forget-It marathon on Bravo.  (I cannot help it, I’m addicted.)

8)      That text message from my newly divorced girlfriend about whether or not the guy she thinks is cute thinks she’s cute and if maybe he’ll pass her a note in Algebra today.

9)      I have to blowdry my hair. And you know what that means. It means I actually have to take a shower first.

10)   I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

Any suggestions on how I can get out of this funk and make these books happen would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone wants to come over and wipe the kids’/pony’s butt, that would be great, too. Thank you for your support.


Things I Love

June 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Things I love about my husband:

He leaves me a glass of wine when he takes the boys outside to play while I make dinner.

He looks sexy even in a t-shirt & jeans.

He cleans my car – of snow, dirt, kids’ debris – whatever.

He listens to and knows a lot about classical music.

He listens to and knows a lot about classic jazz.

He listens to and knows a lot about Pearl Jam.

He knows a lot about a lot of things (ok, this can be annoying sometimes).

He smells good.

He treats me like a princess.

Things I love about my boys:

They help me look at things in ways I haven’t before.

They encourage me to slow down and study the grass, bugs, flowers, car tires, sky, dirt, leaves and so much more.

They are creative and funny.

They find a construction site in a plate of food.

They find a plate of food in the sandbox.

They teach me something new nearly every day.

They are both just a little bit crazy.



Things I love about my horses:

The way they look.

The way they smell.

The way they sound.

The way they feel.



Things I love in general:

The softness of my cats.

The smell of the outdoors.

A fast car.

A slow meal.

That first cup of tea in the morning.

That last kiss on the cheeks of my two sleeping boys.

Oh, and gossip. Sweet, sweet gossip.


Every Woman Loves A Baby

May 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Honey Pony, Horses | Leave a comment
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Please don’t ask me why I adopted this pony. I can’t explain it. After all, if you heard of a pony with chronic Lyme Disease, Cushing’s Disease, laminitis and any other of a number of lameness and health issues, wouldn’t you just have to have her? It’s just that I have known her for years, and she is SUCH a wonderful pony. So sweet and great with kids and, let’s face it, completely adorable. As my mother-in-law so wisely put it regarding puppies and ponies, “Every woman loves a baby!” She is so, so right. Just look at her. And since I have sooooooo much time on my hands between runs back and forth to both kids’ schools, 4,000 loads of laundry per week, hunting down “that red car with the yellow flames and black wheels. No, not THAT one!!!!”, and conducting endless dissertations on such important subject matter as why cats have tails and we don’t, well, I just HAD to HAVE her!

And so, enter Honey Pony, queen of cuteness, princess of problems. It’s been an interesting road trying to contain her chronic conditions, but it seems like we are finally getting the best of them. My wonderful barn manager, Linda, and I have been researching the management of Cushing’s horses, and since we share a philosophy that tends away from drugs and toward the all-natural, it’s definitely been a foray into uncharted territory.

Of course we had to start with diet. Cushing’s horses and ponies need to be on a low-carb diet. That’s right, you heard me. A low-carb diet. For a HORSE. You know, the ones who live on carbs? Well it, turns out this actually can be done. We found a great chopped hay product – Equi-Safe – that has nutritional pellets added and very low sugar content. She gets that plus a half a flake a day of the coarsest hay we can find, which we soak first to remove even more of the glucose.

Because of her dietary restrictions, Honey gets no grain and very little access to grass. If the grass gets too long in her small turn-out, we have to resort to a grazing muzzle which, even though it is bright pink, is the saddest thing EVER! That pony just stands there staring at us, bravely wearing her muzzle, and makes us all sob just looking at her! So we try to keep her on sand or very very grazed- down grass, just to preserve our sanity.

Needless-to-say, these types of horses require a lot of time and management. Did I mention how cute she is?? Once we got the forage part right, it was time to think about supplements. Apparently you can’t give Cushing’s ponies just ANY vitamin/mineral supplement. They have special low-carb needs! Again, we found a great product called D-Carb Balance. Vitamins and minerals, check. Next, we tried to address the chronic diarrhea these little darlings seem to have. As if I don’t have enough poopy butts to wipe at home, now I was cleaning my pony’s hind end at least once a week! Priobiotics helped, but in the long run, soaking her hay has done the most good.

Then we started to get a little crazy. Linda told me about a blue-green algae product she had used on her horses to clear up allergies, help with chronic Lyme Disease and also address Equine Metabolic Syndrome. It’s called spirulina, and it really does work miracles. There’s so much information on it out there I just can’t go into all of it here, but suffice it to say that sweet Honey-Pie is now getting 4 teaspoons per day and really thriving. I still have to monitor her closely and some days she looks a little off, but overall she seems to be glowing with good health. And miracle of all miracles, this year she shed out her winter coat – something she has not done in two years!

When I brought Honey home a year ago, she was skinny, dun-colored (her coat was once the color of honey), on Pergolide (a drug to treat Cushing’s), on Previcox (an NSAID), and was limping with every other step. Today, she is off both medications and getting the right hay, vitamins, spirulina, and MSM (to help with joint pain/inflammation and the uptake of the antioxidant glutathione). Her coat color is back, her dandruff is gone, her feet are never warm, and she’s got a lot more energy! And while she still does take the occasional lame step, we’ve certainly come a long way. I’ll be posting more if we decide to try additional supplements and therapies. And please, do not start sending all of your hard-luck cases to me. I am a sucker, but not THAT much of one. Or perhaps I am. Just don’t do it, it will put me over the edge.


Morning Party

April 6, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Posted in Kids | 1 Comment
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Because I have time in the morning… I get to experience stuff like this:

And what I mean by “time in the morning” is not that I’m hanging around wondering what to do with myself, what with making spirulina smoothies for the family (more on that later), putting together Brady’s lunch, prepping breakfast, breaking up the occasional brother-fight, feeding the cats (and come summer the pony, too), and basically acting as referee and general manager for the 2 1/2 hours we are all up before we have to take Brady to school. What I mean is that I don’t have to get myself ready and out the door early to get to a real job. You know, one that would include grown-up talk and fingerprint-free computer screens and clean clothes. I gave that up so that I could enjoy perks such as this one:

This morning, the boys were cooking something up. They started by actually taking themselves upstairs after breakfast, something I usually have to coax them to do. But first, they both asked for bags of Cheerios to take with them. Strange, but I was just glad they were eating something, so I obliged. Then I made a third cup of tea and scooted up the stairs to take a 5-minute shower. I usually can’t manage this in the morning, but I REALLY had to wash my hair. So a shower it was.

That’s when I noticed that the door to the boys’ room was shut. Sometimes they do this when they’re playing “apartment”, so I let it go. Suddenly, the door bursts open and out pops 6-year-old Brady, looking for the cat. “Where’s Monty?” “I don’t know, probably on my bed.” Sure enough, our fat male cat is sprawled out on my bed, owning the comforter for the time-being. This cat is so, so gentle but SO, SO OCD and destructive, I generally vacillate between cloning him and feeding him to the local pack of coyotes. But for the purposes of today, he’s his sweet, gentle, patient self, especially with two rough and tumble little boys. Somehow Brady manages to corral him into his room, and shuts the door again.

5-minute shower complete, and suddenly 3-year-old Michael is in the bathroom. “Mom, do we have any cat food that tastes like cupcakes?” “Um, no.” “Oh, GREAT!” Michael sarcastically intones. “Brady!” he yells, running back to his room, “We don’t have any!” SLAM goes the door. I have told them A MILLION TIMES not to slam that door.

Door opens again. It’s Brady. “Mommy??!” “Whaaaat?” “Do we have any cat cookies?” “I don’t think so.” “Ok, we’ll just have to make some then.” Make some? “With what, Brady?” “Play-dough!” Oh no you don’t. I can’t handle that kind of mess first thing in the morning! So I put the kibosh on the Play-dough, but they still wanted all the Play-Dough kitchen accessories. FINE, just give me 5 minutes to dry my hair. And I still wasn’t sure what they were up to…

A few minutes go by, then another door opening and bare feet slapping down the hallway. Brady again. “Mom?” “Yeah?” “Do you have your make-up on yet?” “I’m working on it.” “Oh, well, you need to put it on, because we’re having a surprise birthday party for Monty, and you’re invited.” Aaaaahhhh, now I get it. A cat birthday party. So I got right to work on my Bare Minerals foundation (love that stuff) and some sparkly green eye shadow. Hey, I know it’s only Tuesday and I’m just going to school/gymnastics/playground/errands/home/school/karate/ ice cream, but I want to wear sparkly eye shadow and I’m going to!

Said make-up complete and bathrobe still on, I knock on the ‘apartment’ door. “Oh!” I hear from within. Door opens, “Hi, Mom! Welcome to Monty’s surprise birthday party! Would you like some cookies?” The room is a complete warzone, with partially deflated balloons from last week’s birthday party covering most of the floor and about a thousand play kitchen parts and pieces strewn about, flanked by the inevitable cars and trucks that infiltrate my everyday existence. And sure enough, in the middle of it all is Monty, sprawled out on Michael’s new big-boy bed just like the king of the world. I sit down on the floor in my bathrobe and sparkly green eye shadow and I am treated to rows and rows of Cheerios (‘cookies’) served on 2″x 2″ cooking trays straight from the Play-Dough oven. We munch each Cheerio individually, as is fitting for a ‘cat cookie’, Monty snores away, and I think, there’s no way I’m going back to work any time soon.


About Me

April 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Welcome – you’ve found Michelle Draghetti’s blog! This is the place where I’m going to write about my passions and pastimes: my kids (ok, maybe they’re not an actual “passion,” but they do take up most of my waking hours these days), horses (I have 3), beauty (to Botox or not to Botox?), eating and living healthier (if you take enough supplements, does that offset the pizza and martinis?), wildlife and animals in general, life in Maine (yes, including mud season) and, of course, Bravo TV’s “Real Housewives” franchise. Don’t pretend you’re not addicted to it, too. Oh, and most recently, my endeavor to write and self-publish a series of children’s books about my sweet, sweet pony’s ordeal through neglect and recovery and her new-found friend, a super-calm kitty named “Decaf Cat”.

I’m going to put it all out there, including my struggles with my oldest son’s anxiety and social issues, our good days and our bad days, and I’ll even tell you about the times I fall off of my horses instead of staying on. I’ve been riding for over 35 years and I still fall off the damn things. Some things never change…

I hope you’ll follow, enjoy, and laugh and cry with me. This is going to be fun 🙂


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