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2 Welsh pony skeletons

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  • Mary Mills <mynorvegicus@yahoo.com>
    Greetings all -- I have now definitely joined. I am not a vet. I m a police dispatcher. I have mostly Section A Welsh ponies which I drive: single, pair and
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 31, 2003
      Greetings all --

      I have now definitely joined. I am not a vet. I'm a police
      dispatcher. I have mostly Section A Welsh ponies which I drive:
      single, pair and sometimes 4-in-hand. I compete in American Driving
      Society competitions. I also trail ride on my big Section B Welsh.
      And I breed fancy rats and guinea pigs. (Plus we of course have the
      requisite dogs and cats, etc.)

      Anyway, about 5 years ago, we sort of "inherited" two elderly Welsh
      ponies from the stud where most of mine were bred (Merrie Mill, near
      Charlottesville, Virginia). I agreed to keep them as long as they
      had a quality of life, and then put them down (at the same time --
      they were inseparable).

      When the time approached, I talked with my vet about necropsying
      them, since I was not emotionally attached to them. I also told her
      I wanted to reconstruct their skeletons. (I collect skulls -- just a
      small collection of mammals and turtles so far.) We necropsied the
      gelding, which I videotaped. I still have not learned how to edit
      the tape and make copies of it. We were so tired after 8 hours in
      the July sun that we examined only the ramped/stepped teeth and one
      foundered foot of the mare. I did my best to wrap legs and tails in
      chicken wire for burial, to keep all those small bones somewhat
      attached to each other.

      The short story is this: after three years and five months, we
      attempted to exhume the skeletons. I was so excited -- it was almost
      like we were going to unearth some dinosaurs. The backhoe operator
      very carefully scraped the dirt, at the appropriate depth. In short,
      the belly of the non-eviscerated mare was STILL INTACT after all that
      time, in sandy soil even; the backhoe teeth punctured her and nasty
      pieces of gut splattered across the ground. It was unbelievably
      nasty, probably mostly because it was so shocking. We were utterly
      astounded.

      We threw some dirt back over the area (just enough to deter dogs),
      and my goal now is to keep a thin a layer of dirt, with plenty of
      lime and water, over the carcasses. When they are sufficiently ready
      to be exhumed, I will put the bones on top of my shedrow roof to get
      washed and bleached naturally as much as possible. The process of
      articulation will be very hard, but very interesting. I am a member
      of a skull collector group list, and there are some very good links
      to museums and universities reference articulations.

      I thought you guys would like to hear about the project as it
      progresses. We just couldn't get over the fact that in a hot climate
      (near Williamsburg, Virginia) and sandy soil, those carcasses did not
      rot sufficiently. I buried some small animals on top of the ponies,
      and they rotted sufficiently. For example, I put two cats into
      pantyhose. I have not put them on the roof yet or opened the fabric,
      but all indications are that the technique worked well; surely all
      the little bones will be contained. I may have a little trouble
      figuring out which bone is which though.

      My first attempt at skeleton collecting was a miniature horse
      stillborn, which was basically a disaster. After six months, she was
      down to bone -- except for those areas that had not ossified by
      parturition. From the withers back, her vertebrae were non-
      existent. The skull I have glued together (with difficulty -- my
      first attempt); it was in about 26 pieces, with gaps in the pre-
      maxilla area which I need to sculpt with modeling clay in order to
      attach the upper teeth. As my vet said, I definitely won't have lack
      of ossification problems with the old ponies! They even had bone
      where they shouldn't have!

      It probably sounds absurdly obvious, but even though the animal is
      in "one piece" when you plant it, by the time you exhume it, it is
      resting in multiple planes, and you dig and dig to find just one
      bone. Then you dig and scrape some more, and find another bone, in a
      different plane. With a stillborn foal not much larger than a cat, I
      worked very hard to find what I did (mostly ribs). I got a real
      taste of what it's like to hunt dinosaur bones. They certainly are
      not all laid out already displayed for you (well, actually some
      dinosaurs have been, but I think you know what I mean).

      I intend to put my mounted pony skeletons on dollies, encased in
      plexiglass for protection. They will be mobile that way. (I can see
      us now, transporting them in the trailer to some sort of exhibition
      or club clinic/demonstration!)

      Until later--

      Laura Crews
    • erik smith <smith2267@yahoo.com>
      If it were my project, I think I probably would have dissected the bones free as much as possible--then looked up some appropriate method of getting the last
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 1, 2003
        If it were my project, I think I probably would have dissected the
        bones free as much as possible--then looked up some appropriate
        method of getting the last bits of tissue off of them.
        Not everyone is as interested in anatomy as you are; be prepared for
        a few odd looks. :)
      • Barb Sinclair
        Dear Laura, What an absolutely interesting project you have taken on! As an Artist I can see and feel your excitement. Have you been taking photo s of your
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 1, 2003
          Dear Laura,

          What an absolutely interesting project you have taken on!
          As an Artist I can see and feel your excitement.

          Have you been taking photo's of your progress?
          Have you considered keeping a log and doing a
          web site?

          Do you have any schools near by or 4-H groups that
          would / could see what you are doing? If your work
          was happening in my area, I would request an interview.

          If you wish to learn about connecting the bones after
          excavation go see http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/home/

          This is a very interesting subject, please continue to
          share.

          Thank you very much.

          Barb
          Sinclair Stable
          Equine Fine Art
          Sask. Canada

          Message: 2
          Date: Sat, 01 Feb 2003 04:23:08 -0000
          From: "Mary Mills <mynorvegicus@...>" <mynorvegicus@...>
          Subject: 2 Welsh pony skeletons

          Greetings all --

          I have now definitely joined. I am not a vet. I'm a police
          dispatcher. I have mostly Section A Welsh ponies which I drive:
          single, pair and sometimes 4-in-hand. I compete in American Driving
          Society competitions. I also trail ride on my big Section B Welsh.
          And I breed fancy rats and guinea pigs. (Plus we of course have the
          requisite dogs and cats, etc.)

          Anyway, about 5 years ago, we sort of "inherited" two elderly Welsh
          ponies from the stud where most of mine were bred (Merrie Mill, near
          Charlottesville, Virginia). I agreed to keep them as long as they
          had a quality of life, and then put them down (at the same time --
          they were inseparable).

          When the time approached, I talked with my vet about necropsying
          them, since I was not emotionally attached to them. I also told her
          I wanted to reconstruct their skeletons. (I collect skulls -- just a
          small collection of mammals and turtles so far.) We necropsied the
          gelding, which I videotaped. I still have not learned how to edit
          the tape and make copies of it. We were so tired after 8 hours in
          the July sun that we examined only the ramped/stepped teeth and one
          foundered foot of the mare. I did my best to wrap legs and tails in
          chicken wire for burial, to keep all those small bones somewhat
          attached to each other.

          The short story is this: after three years and five months, we
          attempted to exhume the skeletons. I was so excited -- it was almost
          like we were going to unearth some dinosaurs. The backhoe operator
          very carefully scraped the dirt, at the appropriate depth. In short,
          the belly of the non-eviscerated mare was STILL INTACT after all that
          time, in sandy soil even; the backhoe teeth punctured her and nasty
          pieces of gut splattered across the ground. It was unbelievably
          nasty, probably mostly because it was so shocking. We were utterly
          astounded.

          We threw some dirt back over the area (just enough to deter dogs),
          and my goal now is to keep a thin a layer of dirt, with plenty of
          lime and water, over the carcasses. When they are sufficiently ready
          to be exhumed, I will put the bones on top of my shedrow roof to get
          washed and bleached naturally as much as possible. The process of
          articulation will be very hard, but very interesting. I am a member
          of a skull collector group list, and there are some very good links
          to museums and universities reference articulations.

          I thought you guys would like to hear about the project as it
          progresses. We just couldn't get over the fact that in a hot climate
          (near Williamsburg, Virginia) and sandy soil, those carcasses did not
          rot sufficiently. I buried some small animals on top of the ponies,
          and they rotted sufficiently. For example, I put two cats into
          pantyhose. I have not put them on the roof yet or opened the fabric,
          but all indications are that the technique worked well; surely all
          the little bones will be contained. I may have a little trouble
          figuring out which bone is which though.

          My first attempt at skeleton collecting was a miniature horse
          stillborn, which was basically a disaster. After six months, she was
          down to bone -- except for those areas that had not ossified by
          parturition. From the withers back, her vertebrae were non-
          existent. The skull I have glued together (with difficulty -- my
          first attempt); it was in about 26 pieces, with gaps in the pre-
          maxilla area which I need to sculpt with modeling clay in order to
          attach the upper teeth. As my vet said, I definitely won't have lack
          of ossification problems with the old ponies! They even had bone
          where they shouldn't have!

          It probably sounds absurdly obvious, but even though the animal is
          in "one piece" when you plant it, by the time you exhume it, it is
          resting in multiple planes, and you dig and dig to find just one
          bone. Then you dig and scrape some more, and find another bone, in a
          different plane. With a stillborn foal not much larger than a cat, I
          worked very hard to find what I did (mostly ribs). I got a real
          taste of what it's like to hunt dinosaur bones. They certainly are
          not all laid out already displayed for you (well, actually some
          dinosaurs have been, but I think you know what I mean).

          I intend to put my mounted pony skeletons on dollies, encased in
          plexiglass for protection. They will be mobile that way. (I can see
          us now, transporting them in the trailer to some sort of exhibition
          or club clinic/demonstration!)

          Until later--

          Laura Crews
        • Pam Hunt
          Although I have never attempted something large as a horse, I have collected bones from Whitetail deer and wild hogs by taking the skeleton/remains and finding
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 1, 2003

            Although I have never attempted something large as a horse, I have collected bones from Whitetail deer and wild hogs by taking the skeleton/remains and finding a large fire ant mound and letting nature take its course.  I made a cage type thing out of 1/2x1" wire to keep birds and coyotes off of it.  Turned out great in about 10-14 days.

            -Pam (not a vet...YET) 

             "Mary Mills <mynorvegicus@...>" <mynorvegicus@...> wrote:

            Greetings all --

            I have now definitely joined.  I am not a vet.  I'm a police
            dispatcher.  I have mostly Section A Welsh ponies which I drive: 
            single, pair and sometimes 4-in-hand.  I compete in American Driving
            Society competitions.  I also trail ride on my big Section B Welsh. 
            And I breed fancy rats and guinea pigs.  (Plus we of course have the
            requisite dogs and cats, etc.)

            Anyway, about 5 years ago, we sort of "inherited" two elderly Welsh
            ponies from the stud where most of mine were bred (Merrie Mill, near
            Charlottesville, Virginia).  I agreed to keep them as long as they
            had a quality of life, and then put them down (at the same time --
            they were inseparable).

            When the time approached, I talked with my vet about necropsying
            them, since I was not emotionally attached to them.  I also told her
            I wanted to reconstruct their skeletons.  (I collect skulls -- just a
            small collection of mammals and turtles so far.)  We necropsied the
            gelding, which I videotaped.  I still have not learned how to edit
            the tape and make copies of it.  We were so tired after 8 hours in
            the July sun that we examined only the ramped/stepped teeth and one
            foundered foot of the mare.  I did my best to wrap legs and tails in
            chicken wire for burial, to keep all those small bones somewhat
            attached to each other.

            The short story is this:  after three years and five months, we
            attempted to exhume the skeletons.  I was so excited -- it was almost
            like we were going to unearth some dinosaurs.  The backhoe operator
            very carefully scraped the dirt, at the appropriate depth.  In short,
            the belly of the non-eviscerated mare was STILL INTACT after all that
            time, in sandy soil even; the backhoe teeth punctured her and nasty
            pieces of gut splattered across the ground.  It was unbelievably
            nasty, probably mostly because it was so shocking.  We were utterly
            astounded. 

            We threw some dirt back over the area (just enough to deter dogs),
            and my goal now is to keep a thin a layer of dirt, with plenty of
            lime and water, over the carcasses.  When they are sufficiently ready
            to be exhumed, I will put the bones on top of my shedrow roof to get
            washed and bleached naturally as much as possible.  The process of
            articulation will be very hard, but very interesting.  I am a member
            of a skull collector group list, and there are some very good links
            to museums and universities reference articulations.

            I thought you guys would like to hear about the project as it
            progresses.  We just couldn't get over the fact that in a hot climate
            (near Williamsburg, Virginia) and sandy soil, those carcasses did not
            rot sufficiently.  I buried some small animals on top of the ponies,
            and they rotted sufficiently.  For example, I put two cats into
            pantyhose.  I have not put them on the roof yet or opened the fabric,
            but all indications are that the technique worked well; surely all
            the little bones will be contained.  I may have a little trouble
            figuring out which bone is which though.

            My first attempt at skeleton collecting was a miniature horse
            stillborn, which was basically a disaster.  After six months, she was
            down to bone -- except for those areas that had not ossified by
            parturition.  From the withers back, her vertebrae were non-
            existent.  The skull I have glued together (with difficulty -- my
            first attempt); it was in about 26 pieces, with gaps in the pre-
            maxilla area which I need to sculpt with modeling clay in order to
            attach the upper teeth.  As my vet said, I definitely won't have lack
            of ossification problems with the old ponies!  They even had bone
            where they shouldn't have!

            It probably sounds absurdly obvious, but even though the animal is
            in "one piece" when you plant it, by the time you exhume it, it is
            resting in multiple planes, and you dig and dig to find just one
            bone.  Then you dig and scrape some more, and find another bone, in a
            different plane.  With a stillborn foal not much larger than a cat, I
            worked very hard to find what I did (mostly ribs).  I got a real
            taste of what it's like to hunt dinosaur bones.  They certainly are
            not all laid out already displayed for you (well, actually some
            dinosaurs have been, but I think you know what I mean).

            I intend to put my mounted pony skeletons on dollies, encased in
            plexiglass for protection.  They will be mobile that way.  (I can see
            us now, transporting them in the trailer to some sort of exhibition
            or club clinic/demonstration!)

            Until later--

            Laura Crews 






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          • erik smith <smith2267@yahoo.com>
            BTW, when I suggest dissecting the pony, I am not blowing hot air. I and 2 other students dissected a pony for vet school equine anatomy class.
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 1, 2003
              BTW, when I suggest dissecting the pony, I am not blowing hot air. I
              and 2 other students dissected a pony for vet school equine anatomy
              class.
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.