On October 15 we brought the weaned steers down from the fields to put in the holding pasture overnight before selling them.

At daylight the next morning, we hauled them three miles to our neighbor's scale to weigh and ship to a feedlot in Colorado. We sold while the calf market was hitting a low ebb - just our luck - and got $69.5/cwt. The steers weighed fairly well, however, for range raised calves that had been weaned (on grass) for three weeks. The bunch averaged 592 lbs./hd.

A few weeks ago I had our veterinarian look at Rubbie, my 11-year-old grey mare and best cowhorse. The corner of her eye has looked rough and irritated this summer, and it wasn't getting any better. The vet confirmed my suspicion: squamous cell carcinoma - a common type of cancer that often affects light-colored or unpigmented skin.

We put an ointment into the eye for a few days to clear up the inflammation, then the vet removed most of the third eyelid.

We've been putting antibiotic ointment into the corner of her eye daily since the surgery. Rubbie is not happy with this treatment, so to keep her from jerking her head up to avoid the ointment, we are using a restraint called the Stableizer.

Developed by a man who grew up breaking horses on an Indian reservation in North Dakota, the Stableizer is an adaptation of the old Indian war bridle or sliptwitch, but it's more humane, more effective and more versatile. It is now being used by a growing number of veterinarians, farriers and horse trainers. It works better than lip chains, twitches or tranquilizers for nervous horses when giving medical treatments, trimming and shoeing, trailer loading, passing a nasal tube, etc.

The Stableizer slips over the head, behind the ears and under the top lip next to the gum, and is then tightened using the cord handle utilizing small pulleys. This placement stimulates the release of endorphins (natural narcotic-like substances produced by the body which block out pain) from pressure points behind the ears. The pressure point beneath the lip blocks the release of adrenaline and tends to relax the horse.

Rubbie stands calm and sleepy with it on, not protesting the eye treatment. This new restraint looks like it will be very handy for many purposes - making awkward tasks safer for us and kinder to the horse.