Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Slop and playing horses!!!

I got off work today at 1:30 and was home by 2:00. I have to be at my gramma's by 6:00, but I figured I muck a couple of stalls first. Squirrel's and Thai's were REALLY sloppy. So I turned Squirrel into the arena and took three wheelbarrow loads of poop soup out of her 12 X 12 stall. I think a LOT of it is run-off from the snow melt. It just seeped in there. But also, it's so sloppy in her run, she decided she wanted to go in the barn. (Dirty, rotten, nasty horse!!!)

She was DEFINITELY needing some turn out time! She bucked and struck and played! SO FUNNY!!! I had to backfill her stall with clean dirt which came from the buildup around the arena rails. It was damp, but much drier than the stall was before!

I didn't have time nor the energy to do Thai's stall, it's just as bad or worse than Squirrel's, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow or Saturday.

Jazzy's stall had packed poop, but no urine, so I turned her out and clean her stall. Same thing!!! Bucking and farting and having a blast! At least with her stall, I didn't have to backfill it.

Saturday, everyone gets turned out for an hour or so each to burn off some excess energy.

Since I was in the barn, the horses were, of course, dying of starvation, so I grained them all. Honey's pen doesn't have a place for me to hang a bucket, so I use a big rubber feed pan. She was done eating about the time I headed back to house, and I looked over, and there she was pushing to pan under the fence! Such a good girl! I'd been wondering what the deal was...I kept finding it outside the fence and I though that Mike was maybe grabbing it when he went out to feed. NOPE!! My Funny Honey was giving it back to me!

We are down to 5 bales of hay so tomorrow, we are off to the farm to load up 2 tons. I wish it was MY farm, but no. They have WONDERFUL hay! Even first cutting was decent, though a little sun bleached. I'm going to strike a deal with her - create an account. Pay like $100 a month, in advance, so it's not such a big hit all at once when we go get hay. And during the summer, when we don't feed so much hay anyway, we have her owing us! Sound like a good idea?? Yeah, I know, I'm a frickin' genious!

The weather has been pretty good to us since the weekend. It was breezy today, but at least above freezing. And the rain and snow showers expected for yesterday swung south of us. Every time I get the urge to move, I remember what winters are like here...and read about what they are like elsewhere. I think I'll stay here.

Enjoy your New Year's Eve Festivities and don't drive drunk! Stay safe! And..hug your horses and give them a carrot or two from me and Mike and the rest of the gang here at the Funny Farm!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sloppy, soggy mess!

Since 9:00 am yesterday, it's been 40 degrees or above. The south wind brought us a Chinook Wind, and everything is mostly melted off.

THAT means, the horses are walking in slop. All except Honey, who's pen is on high ground. Thank God we put in a ditch 2 years ago, about 20 feet from the barn. The water collect there, rather than running into the stalls.

Thai has the nasty habit of pooping and peeing in her stall, so even though I cleaned it yesterday, it's a mucky mess. Luckily, the ground under the mat is higher, so at least I have a dry place to throw her hay.

I cleared a channel this morning, so the ditch will drain, but I have a feeling that my neighbor is going to be pissed at me. The gunky water all drains to her back pasture. Oh well, liquid fertilizer, right?

Thai's leg is still swollen, and every couple of day breaks open and oozes gunk. But she is fattening up nicely, and is feeling good. I thouht briefly about turning them out on the pasture but with there still being snow out there, I figure someone will either fall and hurt themselves, or they'll tear the pasture up. Beside, there's nothing exposed for them to even nibble on.

So, everyone is stuck in the slop. Hopefully, we'll have a week or so of warmer weather and things will dry out some before it freezes again.

Thai and Angel's waterer is thawing, but not enough for us to work on. So I still haul water.

For your enjoyment pleasure, I find this video pretty fun to watch. Here's the Romanian version with words. And here's the English version.

ENJOY!

Friday, December 26, 2008

SMACK THE PENGUIN

Too cold to do anything other than haul water, feed horses, and shovel snow.

So, have some fun and Smack the Penguin!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Needing to do some personal bragging...

I know I'm not the only one who got hit with the brutal wind and cold. We didn't get a whole lot of snow, but it's been cold.

My husband, Mike, usually doesn't do much out in the barn nor is he very involved with the feeding.

He didn't drain the hose so it froze, and I had to carry buckets, and it was SO COLD!!

On Monday, he came home early from work and pulled the hose into the garage to thaw, and used the compressor to blow out the ice. Then he hauled the hose out to top off water. He hauled buckets of water to Angel and Thai.

Starting on Wednesday, he hauled water in the mornings and has fed the horses for me. When I get up, I just have to go out, double check, then come back in. It totally cuts down on the time it takes me in the mornings.

Thursday night, it felt warm (or at least warmer than it has been) and I cleaned three stalls. He was the one that pushed the wheelbarrow through the snow to dump it.

This morning, he let me sleep until 8 am. I've been fighting a cold and have been feeling like crap. So he let me sleep in, fed and watered the horses, AND went next door to feed the neighbor's horses while she's out of town.

One of the automatic waterers has frozen, apparently the heater in it isn't working. He called and ordered new heaters and they're here, but the dang thing is frozen almost completely solid so we can't install it until it thaws out a little. Hopefully, it will be before spring. We just need a couple days above freezing, please?

He's just been so good to me this week! I always joke that "Sometimes he's great to have around, and sometimes I just don't have the energy to dig the grave." It's still true, but this week, he's great to have around!

I love you Mike!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ah HA~A clue!!!

The other night I was out hauling water and I noticed what looked like blood dribbled down the outside of Thai's bum leg. Upon close inspection, I found this.

This is a new development. I didn't feel any bumps or scabs when Thai first got here. Her leg is still swollen, though not as bad, but it's not back to normal yet. I squeezed above and below the boo-boo, but no puss came out.

And through the whole thing, Thai stood like a lady and watched me out of the corner of her eye. She didn't move a muscle.

Last night when I went out to recheck, it had scabbed over. So I gave her some scratches on her throat, just above her chest. She's got some small scabs there under the fuzz. This sweet little thing is a contortionist!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hauling water...

I have automatic waterers that have heaters in them. It is SO COLD that one was mostly fozen over and the other was COMPLETELY frozen.

So, I got to haul water. Luckily, I have frost-free spigots at the barn that still work. So I fill a bucket out there, then hauled a bucket of straight hot out to the barn. I mixed some of the hot water with the water in the bucket and gave it to Angel and Thai. They were thirsty, but not as much as I thought they would be, seeing how they have ZERO water!

I broke the ice off the other waterer and dumped the rest of the hot water in to thaw it some.

I'll be back out at the barn a couple times before I go to bed to make sure the girls aren't thirsty.

It's supposed to be like this all week. Guess I'll be getting my exercise hauling water and making trips to and from the house.

Time to move south for the winter...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

WINTER is here....

It's 18 degrees with 10 mph wind out of the north! Not so bad if you're not out in it, but my oh my, walking in the wind is brutal! So far, everyone is dealing with the temperature with no problems! In fact, they are all out on the "napping" grounds in the weather. I think they'll live!

Thai update - Thai played a little yesterday, VERY LITTLE. A three strided lope and a half-hearted buck. That's it.

Her leg is now "leg shaped", rather than round shaped. (Thank you very much Oregonsunshine for pointing out that "round" is also a shape.) It is still a little swollen, but the size has reduced to "puffy", rather than "monstrous"! Make sense?

I am SO glad that I got the poop picked up yesterday! Now I can relax until the thaw! (Or until next weekend...)

Stay warm and hug your horses.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Pigs and The Priss

I told myself that I wasn't going to do any terd herding this weekend, due to the fact that the weather was supposed to be horrible. (And THANK YOU Candice for the term "Terd Herding" - LOVE IT!!!)

But I got bored. So out I went and got busy and picked up a LOT of POOP! And I noticed that all the horses are PIGS, except Angel. I mean dirty, rotten, poop in their stalls PIGS! Apparently that is my punishment for locking them off the pasture. It's as if their thoughts are "If I can have pasture, you have to clean stalls."

Except for Angel, my little Priss! She walk 20 feet out of the barn to poop. Further than that to pee. She doesn't lay down to nap unless the dirt is VERY dry. Her white socks are even WHITE. She stretches out so far to pee and poop it's amazing how she stays standing up. If she were human, she'd be the popular little blonde girl with big boobs, manicured nails, hair "just so", wearing clothes that are the height of fashion, who prances rather than runs. She squeals at the boys and tosses her hair, umm, tail too. Such a priss!

But the chores are done, the horses are back in their "beds" napping, I have a full belly (Mike made turkey sammiches and Bean N Bacon soup - YUM!), the blog is updated and I'm off to the shower.

*sigh* Life is good!

God Bless and hug your horses!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Computer Nazis are on to me....

The computer nazis at work are on to me and have blocked all blogger.com sites. So I can't read or post ANYTHING for my blog, FHoTD, VLC, or anything else.


RAWR!!!

So what that means is that I can only reply to comments from home. AND...I probably won't be able to post any pictures because for whatever reason, my home computer won't upload them into blogger.

I will have them in my photobucket and post links to them.

Stupid, dirty, rotten, control freak, computer nazis!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thai Grrrr - Too Cute!

Thai continues to gain weight at an astounding rate. It’s amazing what decent feed and lack of competition for it will do for a sweet mare.

I received pictures from Kerrie, who provided the transportation for Thai. They were taken in October, before Thai started dropping weight. From what I can tell, Thai has gained back all that she lost in the two months between October and when she arrived at my place.

Her leg is still terribly swollen, but I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly where or why. I’m guessing that it is on the inside of the gaskin, just above the hock. Cathy is not panicking, so I’m trying not to either. She gimps on it, off and on, but doesn’t seem to be in a lot of pain. She was on bute for three days, and now gets a double dose of B-L Solution AM and PM for any discomfort.

She is still eating EVERYTHING I put in front of her, though she doesn’t care for the Teff hay so much. She is becoming quite the little Princess, in that she can pick and choose what she wants to eat and if she doesn’t like the hay, it become her bedding while she stands watching the back door and nickering pitifully.

She is very polite, moving her nose to one corner of the feeder while I dump in her Strategy and Amplify. She’ll nibble delicately at the feed until I walk away, then she dives into it, stuffing her face with the yummy breakfast. If I open the feed window and drop in her hay, she’ll keep her head up and allow me to pet or cuddle all I want. She never pulls away and is never aloof. When I walk into her stall, she will turn and face me, then stand while I do whatever it is that I’m going to do. She loves carrots!

When I was giving her the bute, all I had to do was stand on the off side, take her nose with my left hand and pull it around and push the gunk into her mouth. No drama. No tight lips, No tossing her head. She didn’t even do the yuk-face-try-to-spit-it-out thing until AFTER I’d left her stall. She did the same thing with the dewormer.

When I haltered her to shave her leg, she dropped her nose, “looking” for the halter. The way she faces me and moves when I’m working with her, you’d almost think she was a halter horse. She pivots on the back end and faces me, without invading my space or being pushy. She’s just being polite.

Below is one of Thai’s babies – Snort’s Sport.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Letter to My Horse

Dear Horse,
I love you very much, and I truly cherish your presence in my life. I would never wish to criticize you in any way. However, there are a few trivial details regarding our relationship that I think might bear your consideration.

First of all, I am already aware that horses can run faster than I can. I do not need you to demonstrate that fact each time I come to get you in the pasture. Please remember that I work long and hard to earn the money to keep you in the style to which you have become accustomed. In return, I think you should at least pretend to be glad to see me, even when I'm carrying a bridle instead of a bucket of oats.
It should be fairly obvious to you that I am a human being who walks on only two legs. I do not resemble a scratching post. Do not think that, when you rub your head against me with 1,000 pounds of force behind it, I believe that it wasn't your intention to send me flying. I am also aware that stomping on my toes while you are pushing me around is nothing but adding injury to insult.

I understand I cannot expect you to cover your nose when you sneeze, but it would be appreciated if you did not inhale large amounts of dirt and manure prior to aiming your sneezes at my face and shirt.

Also, if you have recently filled your mouth with water you do not intend to drink, please let it all dribble from your mouth BEFORE you put your head on my shoulder.
In addition, while I know you despise your deworming medication, my intentions in giving it to you are good, and I really do not think I should be rewarded by having you spit half of it back out onto my shirt.

Sometimes, I get the feeling that you are confused about the appropriate roles you should play in various situations. One small bit of advice: Your stone-wall imitation should be used when I am mounting and your speed-walker imitation when I suggest that we proceed on our way, not vice versa.

Please also understand that jumping is meant to be a mutual endeavor. By “mutual”, I mean that we are supposed to go over the jump together. You were purchased to be a mount, not a catapult. I know the world is a scary place when your eyes are on the sides of your head, but I did spend a significant amount of money to buy you, and I have every intention of protecting that investment.

Therefore, please consider the following when you are choosing the appropriate behavior for a particular situation: - When I put your halter on you, attach one end of a lead rope to the halter, and tie the other end of the lead rope to a post or rail or whatever, I am indicating a desire for you to remain in that locale. I would also like the halter, lead rope, post, etc., to remain intact. While I admit that things like sudden loud noises can be startling, I do not consider them to be acceptable excuses for repeatedly snapping expensive new lead ropes (or halters or posts) so that you can run madly around the barn area creating havoc in your wake. Such behavior is not conducive to achieving that important goal that I know we both share --- decreasing the number of times the veterinarian comes out to visit you.
By the same token, the barn aisle was not designed for the running of the Kentucky Derby and is not meant to serve as a racetrack. Dragging me down the aisle in leaps and bounds is not how "leading" is supposed to work, even if someone happens to drop a saddle on the floor as we're passing. Pulling loose and running off is also discouraged (although I admit it does allow you to run faster).

I assure you that blowing pieces of paper do not eat horses. While I realize you are very athletic, I do not need a demonstration of your ability to jump 25 feet sideways from a standing start while swapping ends in midair, nor am I interested in your ability to emulate both a racehorse and a bucking bronco while escaping said piece of paper. Also, if the paper were truly a danger, it would be the height of unkindness to dump me on the ground in front of it as a sacrificial offering to expedite your escape.

When I ask you to cross a small stream, you may safely assume that said stream does not contain crocodiles, sharks, or piranhas, nor will it be likely to drown you. (I have actually seen horses swimming, so I know it can be done.) I expect you to be prepared to comply with the occasional request to wade across some small body of water. Since I would like to be dry when we reach the other side of the stream, deciding to roll when we're halfway across is not encouraged behavior.
I give you my solemn oath that the trailer is nothing but an alternate means of transportation for distances too long for walking. It is not a lion's den or a dragon's maw, nor will it magically transform into such. It is made for horses, and I promise you that you will indeed fit into your assigned space. Please also bear in mind that I generally operate on a schedule, and wherever we're going, I would really like to get there today.

For the last time, I do not intend to abandon you to a barren, friendless existence. If I put you in a turn-out pen, I promise that no predators will eat you, and I will come back in due time to return you to your stall. It is not necessary to run in circles, whinny pathetically, threaten to jump the fence, or paw at the gate. Neither your stall mates nor I will have left the premises. The other horses standing peacefully in adjacent pens amply demonstrate that it is possible to enjoy being turned out for exercise.

In order to reassure you, my dear horse, I have posted the following message on your stall door: "Notice to People Who Complain About My Horse"
1. I like my horse a lot better than I like people who complain about her.
2. To you, she's an animal; to me, she's a big, hairy, four-legged daughter --- and you know what they say about coming between a mother and her children.
3. This stall is her castle, and you are expected to treat her as the queen she thinks she is.
4. If you don't want her to steal your carrots, don't walk by her with the carrots sticking out of your pockets.
5. Horses are better than husbands or kids. They eat grass, don't smoke or drink, don't expect an allowance, don't voluntarily get their body parts pierced, don't hog the remote, don't waste the whole weekend watching football with their friends, don't talk back to you, don't compare you unfavorably with their friends' owners, don't keep you awake with their snoring --- and no horse ever left the toilet seat up after going to the bathroom.
Finally, in closing, my strong and gentle companion, I would like to point out that, whatever might happen between horses and their people, we humans will always love you. In fact, our bonds with you help create new bonds among ourselves, even with total strangers. Wherever there are horses, there will be "horse people", and for the blessings you bestow upon us, we thank you. Most sincerely yours, Your Owner

Friday, December 5, 2008

Poor baby....


I posted that Thai had a swollen leg, but that she wasn't lame on it...right?

WRONG!!! Last night, she was three legged lame! The leg is super puffed up from the hock down, and there is heat in front on the long bone between the hock and the ankle. (What the heck is that bone called anyway???) There is a scab about the size of a quarter, but it looks to be more than a week old. It was definitely NOT fresh when she stepped out of the trailer.

So, my chore in the lovely 30 degree weather, is to shave off the woolly fuzz on her leg and see if I can figure out what the heck is going on with the leg. I'll try to do that today, but if I don't get to it before dark, it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Thai is the SWEETEST darling mare! I gave her bute last night by going into her stall, pulling her nose around, sticking it in her mouth and pushing the plunger. She didn't pull, toss her head, or anything. Just took her medicine, made a face, and ate it down without drama or theatrics!

This sweet girl is so tough, Cathy should call her "Thai Grrr"!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A NEW PROJECT!!! But first....

I'll get to the new project, but first, an update about me...

I didn't realise so many people read my blog. (blushing) Ok, not blushing, but still, I'm surprised.

Last week, my gramma (who is 94 years old) fell and broke her hip. She had surgery the day before Thanksgiving and was very relieved that we all had the "family thing" to do away from the hospital so she could finally get some rest. She was moved to the rehabilitation home on Saturday and is doing well.

Mike and I left Monday morning for the Oregon Coast. Newport, OR to be exact. We had three day of nothing to do and all day to do it. It was very relaxing! We actually made it to the beach to get sand on our shoes on our way home.

Ok...so not much of an update, oh well


NOW <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Cathy rescued a horse that was abandoned by it owner at a breeding farm. The whole story is kind of wierd, but that's for her to decifer.

So Cathy asks me Friday night (via e-mail) "Do you want a boarder for a month or so?" I said "Sure". Sunday morning, Kerrie arrived with "Thai's My Mama" (Or something like that.) A 23 yr old sorrel mare with the SWEETEST little face, who has been eating NON-STOP since she got here. "Mama" is SKINNY! In the pictures I got, (and that Cathy got) she didn't look too bad. When she arrived, she'd lost weight....like 200 pounds. (That's my guess, it might not be that much) Mama's left hind leg is also PUFFY - looks like she's wearing a fuzzy leg warmer, though she isn't lame on it.



UPDATE - I swiped the photo from Cathy, because she had one and I didn't. She is THE sweetest thing and has the most darling face! Cathy is going with "Thai", cuz this mare is done being a "mama"

So anyway...there you have it...a quick update and word about Thai!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why is it....?

I ALWAYS feel so much better when the barn and runs are clean?

They really weren't all THAT dirty, but as I was putting the electric tapes back up and closing stall doors, I looked out across the runs and felt a HUGE sense of accomplishment....

FROM PICKING UP HORSE POOP!!!!

Dobbs and Millie were turned out together in the first run. Dobbs is the "Ladies Man", not really caring who he's turned out with, though he likes sorrels best. Millie spent a few minutes playing and running with Angel, who was in the next run.

It was pretty short lived because both were STARVING and set to finding grass right away. Dobbs just rolled his eyes and started grazing straight off!

Squirrel is on the other side of Angel and I think she ran down and then back and that was enough! Time to eat!

Jazzy and Honey were is the last run. These two girls entertained me for most of the time I was out raking and shoveling. I'd hear the thuder of their hoof beats and have to stop and watch. They spent almost an hour playing! Then they stood up by the gate and did the mutual wither scratching thing that horses do.

I came into the house and ate a late lunch (who knew it would take me almost 4 hours!) and took a shower. The "kids" all had their late lunch before me and are now taking their afternoon naps.

**SIGH** It's been a GREAT day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feeding the Hard Keeper

This subject has come up a LOT lately on various discussion boards, especially going into winter. There are as many theories as there are replies, but I would like to share mine. It’s really pretty simple, depending on what you are feeding for.

The Hard Keeper – First, I try to figure out WHY a horse is a hard keeper. Teeth? Nerves? Picky? Over-worked? Under fed?

Teeth – Even without an exam, you can tell if it’s the teeth. Just look at the poop. (I know…eeeewwww) But really, what does it look like? Are the “apples” tight smooth balls? Or does it look like someone tried to press wet grass clippings into a ball? If it’s the later, there’s a good chance that you need some dental work done. This can range anywhere to $150 to $400 and up. I know I don’t have that kind of cash laying around, especially if I just acquired the horse. So I save up and try different feeding methods to get the weight on and keep it there until I can’t get them to an equine dentist.

Nerves – Joy was a classic case. This mare paced and fretted and paces some more ALL DAY LONG. She never laid down to rest or sleep EVER. It was constant motion with her. She most likely also had an ulcer, for which she was treated. She gained the most weight and was the most relaxed when she was turned out with two other TB mare to boss around.

Picky Eater – I don’t have one of these, but my neighbor does. He has to have everything “just so” or he’ll drop weight. Since he is a barrel racer and needs to stay up to weight and in condition, she accommodates him.

Over-worked – as the amount of exercise and work increase, so should the quantity of feed. Pretty much a no brainer here.

Under-fed – another no-brainer! If you double the chow and the horse gains weight, here’s your sign… You weren’t feeding enough!

Feeding a horse up – So, for whatever reason, you’ve got a horse that is under weight and it’s now late-November. Winter is here. You do NOT have 2 or 3 months to get weight on the horse! You need to pack the weight on NOW!

So what do I do?

First – Double the hay rations, am and pm. If the horse is wasting the hay, either he’s a messy pig, he can’t chew it, or he’s picky. This is always my first course of action.

Second – Add a complete feed. I prefer Purina Strategy. It provide 250 calories more per pound than Equine Senior. They have a formula for Grass hay or alfalfa hay, to prevent inverting the calcium/phosphorus ratio. It soaks and crumbles very easily – which is a benefit for horses with teeth problems. I will start a thin/skinny horse on 6 pound per day, 3 pounds in the morning, 3 pounds in the evening.

Third – I buy and feed Purina Amplify. I just found this product this year and I LOVE IT!!!! It has 30% soluble fat content and will pack weight on a horse faster than ANYTHING I know of! I start the horses on 2 pound per day, split between AM and PM feedings. For horses that are “a little ribby”, a week is all they need, then they can be cut back. For horses in worse shape, I’ll feed it longer and will adjust the amount according to how they are gaining weight. (It doesn’t take very long…TRUST ME!)

Fourth – Alfalfa pellet. They soak easily and are “pre-chewed” for the teeth problems.

Fifth – Beet pulp. I like to soak it. I can add all the other pellets and feeds into it. If the horse is of the opinion that I’m trying to poison it, I’ll add apple sauce to make it more palatable.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)– Do your research. There are anti-inflammatory benefits, it’ll flush the kidneys, AND it will mask the flavor of those “yucky” things that we add to make the horse healthy that they are sure is poison. I pour Distilled ACV in the waterers and tubs twice a week. For the horses that I haul, the ACV will mask the taste of the water in a new place.

I DO NOT add corn oil or rice bran. Though some people swear by them, they have a high glycemic index (high carb/sugar). The best oil to add is Flaxseed Oil (marketed as Linseed Oil) or Canola Oil. But with oil, you’re adding fat, right? This is where I LOVE the Amplify.

Lastly, free access to loose minerals and a salt block with selenium (because I live in the selenium deficient Pacific Northwest)

I have used Necessity with Glucosamine and MSM and I LOVE it! I just can’t afford it at $110 per gallon.

I just ordered a new supplement called Seabuck. I’ll take before pictures of Squirrel and Dobbs and post them here. In 30 days, I’ll take another photo. Then again in another 30 days. What better test that to see a “change” in winter?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Exercise in Futility

Sometimes, horse owners really piss me off!

I have always been totally upfront and honest about horses I have for sale. I tell the good, the bad, and the ugly. There have been MANY times that prospective buyers have walked away, but hey, at least they had all the facts up front!

I just got back from a three day trip to the Seattle area. A gal over there had a nice, BROKE, paint gelding that she wanted to trade for Jazzy. This gelding was dead broke, easy, blah, blah, blah…

So I load this mare that has been rarely hauled, is nervous in the trailer, for a 5 hour drive on day one, 2 two hour drives on day two, and 5 hours back home on day three. The mare was stressed, but for the most part, she did very well for a rarely hauled, green broke 7 yr old.

So I get to work with this BROKE gelding. I dropped his halter to put on his bridle and he steps into me and over me, heading God knows where. I squawked at him, got him stopped, and then got the bridle on him. She says, “What happened?” I told her and she says, “He’s never done that.”

So now he’s got the bridle on. The bit is a Myler, level one, 3 piece snaffle with 3 inch shank. Very soft. The gelding is still trying to walk off, so I stop him. He hauls back and rears like I just hauled back on his mouth. I yelled, “HEY!” She says, “What happened?” I told her and she says, “He’s never done that.” Hmmm….seems like a pattern starting here.

So I climb on him. He’s not nearly as broke in the face as I expected for a 16 yr old BROKE ex-showhorse, but hey, he’s been laid off for a few weeks. (In my opinion, he shouldn’t be THAT rusty.) Anyway, he’s got a decent headset, arched his neck and was SLOW… and off. He felt off, but I couldn’t tell where. It took a LOT of motion and action in the saddle to get him moving into a trot. It was slow, but it felt funny.

But he didn’t do anything bad, so I had Mike get on him and trot him. He LOOKED off, but I couldn’t tell where. The more we rode him, the more resistant to trotting he became. She says, “What’s going on?” I told her “He’s off”, and she says, “He’s never been off before.” After an hour, this horse was hard to get into a WALK. Either she doesn’t know what a lame horse looks like, or she doesn’t know what the TRUTH is…

She offered to give me spurs. We declined. Neither Mike nor I own spurs, have never used spurs, and it would have been a disaster in the making for us to put them on. I opted instead for a little “poppy stick” that I use sometimes for motivation. I tapped him, which he ignored. I got more insistent, which he ignored. I popped him a good one, which he kicked out at and pinned his ears. At this point, I got off and led him back to the trailer and stripped my tack.

She came riding over on Jazzy. She says, “What happened?” I told her and she says, “He’s never done that.”

I’m thinking “Of course not.” But I said instead, “We’re going to pass. There is something wrong with him. He needs to see a lameness vet.”

She said, “He’s just lazy.”

I’ve been on a lazy horse before. He was LAZY! I was exhaust after 30 minutes. BUT…he was consistently lazy. This guy… he started out lazy but willing, and got progressively more resistant as time passed. Probably because the bute was wearing off… I mean after all, we got lost and were over an hour late.

We came away with a very bad taste in our mouths. We were angry that she thought we were stupid and tried to shuck a lame horse over onto us. I still don’t know what is wrong with this gelding. But I do know that he is in pain. And his owner is an ASSHAT!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NO HOOF, NO HORSE (Updated)

Today’s blog is in response to questions posed by a reader. The response got so long, I gave it it’s own topic.

Overall, a lot of foot problems are directly related to nutrition problems. The horse is not getting something that they need to grow a strong hoof. And true some of it is genetic. (Not unlike humans – my fingernails are thin and brittle)

Angel

Angel is an Appaloosa with 4 white feet. Her feet are made out of some nasty material that vaguely resembles hooves. I have ALWAYS had problems with her feet. Last summer was the worst. My farrier was at my house every other day for three weeks. On time, I stepped on the side of her hoof and my weight alone pulled the shoes off. Lots of glue and nails later, we were FINALLY able to keep the shoes on her. However, there was NO WAY that I could ride her. I just couldn’t take the chance.

Also, Angel’s front right hoof was “clubby”. It was oblong, rather than being more “rounded” and grew threw the heel, rather than the toe. At it’s worst, it was contracting with the walls almost vertical.

What did I do? My farrier suggested Biotin. He warned me that it would make her feet grow faster, but if I could get STRONGER, I was cool with that.

I started looking around for biotin supplements. There are a BAZILLION products out there. I chose HorseGuard Biotin X2. It has 32 mg of biotin per ounce. This is important to note. There were some out there that said 64 mg per SERVING, which ended up being a cup or more. The HorseGuard gave me the best concentrated dose that I could find, and the horse loved it. It’s in a corn meal base, comes with a one ounce scoop and it’s easy to feed. AND….IT WORKS!!

Six weeks later, when the farrier came to trim, we both noticed that the newest growth below the coronary band was thicker than the hoof wall. The clubby hoof’s new growth seemed to be more flared. Another, totally unexpected side effect of the biotin – HER TAIL GREW 6 INCHES!!!!!! She has always had the classic appy broomtail that never reached her hocks. It’s not a whole lot thicker, but it IS longer.

When I started Angel on the biotin, I was giving her 2 ounces every day, am and pm. I did this for 6 months. Then I cut her back to one ounce for 6 months. In May 2008, there was a discussion on a barrel racing board that I frequent about feet. A gal who also has cutting horses said that they feed all their horses dry milk because in their competition, they have to have feet.

So I added the dry milk to help the wall grow even thicker. It is working, but the thicker part hasn’t reach the bottom, so it hasn’t been trimmed off yet.

There is also a product from Silver Lining Herbs for Hoof and Feet. It increases the circulation and helps the hoof grow healthy. They say it is also good for treating navicular and founder. I have not used this product, but I HAVE used other of their products and have noticed a difference each time with each horse I used them on. I can go into this more in another post if you would like to know my experiences.

So, biotin for QUICK, dry milk for THICK.

UPDATE - Su-per Sole Formula aka - Sole Solution (On the bottle it says "The Sole Solution" That's why I was confused, sorry)– it’s this stinky brown liquid that comes in a little squeezey bottle. When the farrier trims out the sole, he takes off the callus that develops over time. This “opens” the sole. It’s like trying to grow out your fingernails, then cutting them back. Your fingertips are sore for a couple of days, right? Same with a horse. More so if he’s had shoes on, and now is going barefoot. A real short pre-winter trim compounds it.

Sole Solution “tightens” the sole. It cause the sole to contract and close itself off. It will work as a moisture block to a certain degree. I use it in conjunction with Tuf Stuff, which seals the cracks and nails holes, and hardens the hoof wall.

I’ve been told that it can take up to a full year to transition a horse from being shod to barefoot. I feel that barefoot is truly best for the horse. In the barefoot hoof, the sole flexes up and down to support the coffin bone, and the hoof walls which seem hard and rigid, flex also, though to a lesser degree. When you put a metal show on the hoof, the wall flexation stops, while the sole flexation continues. The hoof no longer works as nature intended it to.

Transition

I recently heard about the Easy Walker (aka Mare Jordans)

They are a synthetic shoe, can be reset up to 5 times, allow the sole to callus while allowing the hoof to flex. There are riders of all disciplines using these shoes. Talk to your farrier about them. They require a special tool and special nails, but I understand that it’s a fairly easy step from tradition shoes to the Easy Walkers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Trailering

This coming weekend involves a 5 hours drive to the other side of Washington State and two horses. So I thought I’d talk about a few things and the way that I do it. If you do things different, fine.

To Tie or Not To Tie

Four years ago, right after I bought my darling Angel (aka The Spotted Donkey), I loaded up to go to a lesson. I led her in, tied her with the tie strap, and as I stepped back to close the divider, she freaked out, sat down, and shook her head, rocking the trailer and raising a ruckus. The heavy duty snap on the tie strap failed at the trailer, swung around and hit me in the middle of my forehead, knocking me back, and 1100 pounds of frightened appaloosa rolled backward, over the top of me, and out of the trailer. Surprisingly, other than the monstrous goose egg that was under the split in my forehead, I was uninjured. I got very lucky that day. The horse was also uninjured, and 30 minutes later, loaded back into the trailer and we went to the lesson.

One of the gals at the lesson shared me a “DUH!” moment, though she didn’t come off that way. She said, “If you close the divider first, THEN tie her in, she has nothing to pull back against.

Hmm….OK… My trailer is a Circle J Outback, three-horse slant load. There’s a long low window on the butt side with plexiglass that slides out. On the head side, there are drop down window, with bar grills. There is no running board to step up on, on the wheel well, and it’s hard to reach the first slot. So it’s very cumbersome to load the horse, then go outside to tie the head up, especially if the horse has her head down either looking under the divider, or searching for the cookie that got dropped while loading.

So, when I trailer, I don’t tie the horses in. I tie the lead rope around their neck so that they look like those cavalry horses of old, minus the saddle. While trailer is stopped, the horses can drop their heads, clear their sinuses, whatever.

Shaving or Not

Normally, not. By normally, I mean short rides of an hour or less. Anything over that, yes, I’ll put some shavings on the butt side only. I won’t use pellets because they’re too slippery on a solid surface. Just the shaving, and then, not very much.

Windows Open or Not

DEFINITELY NOT! There is so much crap on the road that can so easily be flipped up and hit them in the face. I know there are screens that you can buy that will offer SOME protection, but in my opinion, not enough. The windows on my trailer have slider windows that are screened that only open 4 inches. A neighbor puts fly masks on her horses but runs everywhere with her windows open. Still not good enough for me. Besides, would YOU like air blowing in your face the whole trip? This means 5 hours of cold wind blowing in your face while only short stops (mom’s potty breaks).

Some people ask, “What about ventilation?” I have roof vents over every hole. The front one is opened to the front to catch the air. The other two are opened to the back to dispel the air. Also, I keep the buttside open (plexiglass removed). PLENTY of ventilation! Even so, when I picked up Honey and Heddy in January, they still were warm in the trailer, to the point where their wet hide was steaming when we stopped to fuel up.

Clean Out

After EVERY trip. And if they pee’d in there, it get hosed out and the underside sprayed down. Once a year, the floor boards are inspected at the dealership to ensure there isn’t any dry rot starting.

Other Safety

The pin - We have a locking pin that hold the stinger in the receiver. I’ve heard nightmare stories about idiots and a$$hole pulling the pin.

The chains – I twist the chains on themselves to shorten them, then cross them to attach. That way, if ever, God forbid, that the hitch comes off the ball, it will land in the cradle created by the chains.

The tires – On May 17, 2008, we had a tire on the trailer separate on the highway going 70 miles per hour. A 7 inch piece of rubber was flung AHEAD of us, hit out windshield, and landed in the bed of our truck. Luckily, we were empty, so we weren’t stranded on the highway with a horse. What we learn was that it costs about $600 to put 4 new tires on our trailer. We also learned that if the trailer is going to sit on the south side of the barn, we should probably put up some plywood to block the sun from beating directly on the tires. Out of the four original tires, all but one had separated. Only one had failed. We also found out that we still hadn’t bought a spare. So, one wheel and 4 new tires later, we were back in business.

Start and Stop - Slowly! Early! Gently! I totally recommend that you get someone to drive around while you stand in the back of your trailer. That’s what your horse goes through. Some people even have cameras that relay to a laptop so they can watch their horses throughout the ride.

Hug your horses and be safe!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All trimmed up and ready...wait...

The farrier came today to trim two of my six horses.

I had him pull the shoes on the front of Angel. She hasn't had shoes on the back and they seem to be doing fine. Last summer, her feet were mush. After a year of biotin (for quick growth) and dry powdered milk (for THICK growth) they seem to be holding together. So I pulled the shoes. I put a product called Sole Solution on the soles. It closes up the open sole, tightens it and firms it up. They use it on the track for horses that get foot sore from the pounding their feet take. I also use Tuf Stuf for the hoof wall. It smells like clear fingernail polish. It seals the nail holes and cracks, prevent further absorbtion of moisture and toughens the hoof wall.

Squirrel's feet looks AWESOME!!!! I was so excited. I'd actually get to ride her without worrying that I'd make her sore from having long toes. Then I noticed the swollen back ankle. *sigh* I figure she did it running into her stall (a game that she and Honey play at feeding time, ears pinned and making faces) and sliding into the mat. She has a BAD habit of peeing in the stall, rather than going outside, so her stall is always sloppy and gross! The farrier didn't think she was SORE, just swollen. So I ran some water on it and put her away.

Then the rain started. It was sunny and beautiful yesterday, but today, Veteran's Day, my day off. It's raining.

So I came in and cleaned the bathroom. I looked out and YEAH!!! the rain stopped.

Now we have wind.

I can't win for losing. I guess I'll just take a nap. After I vacuum.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Test

A month or so ago, my friend Barb Olivier gave be Millie the Fillie - Meritable Millie. She a year and half and has had "all the ground work done", sacked out, trailered, clipped, trimmed, bathed, etc. Barb did mention that she hadn't done too much by way of tying.

So in the rain and gloom today, I did some stall cleaning and I figured I could turn the horses out for play time while I clean.

Millie was first. She did some playing and some calling, but was at the gate waiting for me and was barely breathing heavy. She apparently didn't do a lot of playing!

I didn't want to fight her at the gate when I went in to dump the wheelbarrow, so I tied her inside the arena to one of the posts. I closed the gate behind me and dumped the poo in little piles not far from where she was tied. Then I toss the wheel barrow over with a "whump".

Millie's reaction?

Nothing. Not so much as a flinch. She stood there looking at me. So I left the arena. She whinnied. That was it. Nothing else.

She DID want a cookie when I went to untie her, but the whole thing was pretty anticlimactic.

Test passed.

UPDATE: Pudge is staying home with Sue

Sue has decided that she is not ready to give up on owning a baby. She is keeping Pudge.

I think this is a really good thing. She has spent a lot of time and money, and emotion on the little dude. She's just not ready to walk away.

Pudge is now at an amazing place, pastured with another foal who was recently weaned. Can you imagine? Two weanlings pastured and playing? Definitely something to sit at the window and watch!

Sue sat with the property owner and expressed her frustration. They had a long, involved discussion, and in the end, they both learned some things and at the end of the day, they came to an agreement on the best path forward.

While Pudge is most welcome here, (in truth I would LOVE to own him!) I'm very pleased that Sue isn't going to give up. Horse ownership can be both rewarding and heartbreaking.

But mostly rewarding!

Friday, November 7, 2008

To blanket or not to blanket….

This subject has come up on several different blogs and discussion boards, so I thought I’m throw out my two cents worth.

I have a neighbor, Pam, who will blanket all three of her horses when the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Pam rides every day if she can. The wind and cold of winter doesn’t bother her. Her horses stay fit year round. The only time she DOESN’T ride is if it’s raining or snowing, and that’s because she doesn’t want her tack to get wet. Well, ok, who DOES?

Her thought is that the horses’ coats stay smooth and they don’t get as sweaty, therefore, cool down times is shortened. I totally get what she’s doing and why she’s doing it.

But I don’t ride every day. I “might” ride once a week in winter. I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the wind.

So I don’t blanket. UNLESS…. I’m at a barrel race or open ride indoors somewhere, my horse is sweaty, and I’ve work her up to the closing time and can’t cool her out inside. I’ll cool down outside for as long as I can, then I’ll but on a blanket and let her dry out under the blanket. This might happen twice during winter.

The next afternoon, during the warmest part of the day, I’ll pull her blanket and within 20 minutes, she’s a big fluffy poofball again.

Even in the deep cold of winter, my horses don’t wear blankets. As long as they have shelter from the wind driven rain, sleet or snow, they’re fine. My stalls are open to runs, giving them free choice to stay in, or go out. Nine times out of ten, they choose OUT.

But the way that my horses live isn’t the way other horses live. They may be stalled and given turn out at some point during the day. Is this a heated barn? If not, the chances are pretty high that the INSIDE of the barn is colder than the OUTSIDE. I know that this is the case at one of the indoor arena that I barrel race in during the winter.

There really is no “RIGHT” answer. Each horse owner does what she/he feels is best for the horses in their care. My neighbor has said on more than one occasion that she blankets to make herself feel better, not because the horses need a blanket.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It’s Dark! grrrrrr

We rolled the clocks back. Now instead of feeding in the still dark morning and riding in the last 45 minutes of evening, I’m feeding in the dark and feeding in the dark. Riding is an option days off. I can’t even turn out because it’s too dark. Luckily, my horses have good sized runs.

So I thought I’d adjust my contact with the horses to just grooming at night. During the week, I can pull of the horses out, brush out manes and tails, body groom them, clip them up if necessary.

We’ve had rain almost everyday since we turned the clocks back. And of course, my delicate little darlings absolutely MUST stand out in it so they can watch the house, just in case I head for the back sliding door to come feed them, again… ROTTEN BRATS!!

Then there’s the two new horses that INSIST on peeing in their stall or on their plate. By plate, I mean the mats that I throw their hay on.

I know there are some people that would say “Welcome to my world” in regards to the rain. I don’t WANT your world. I want MY world. My world is the desert. Average yearly rainfall is like 7 inches…FOR THE YEAR! It’s DRY here. If this keeps up, we are going to be green and moldy and mossy by spring. The desert will have disappeared and we will have become a tropical forest, lush and green and MUDDY.

/end rant and grumble…heading off to pitch some Halloween candy from the gal down the hall….

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What do you do?

What do you do when you’re being bullied? This is a problem I feel is affecting a friend. She has a weanling I’ll call Pudge. “Sue” spent a LOT of money to buy Pudge, vet him, get his health papers, and ship him. She spent time reading voraciously to learn how to feed a foal, what to look for, “games” she could play with him that would ultimately train him and teach him trust. In all things, Sue has thought ONLY of Pudge and his well being.

In the past two months, she has moved Pudge to six (SIX!!) different boarding facilities. Not because he was being abused or anything, but because the barn owners wouldn’t feed according to Sue’s plan.

Sue has talked with a vet to lay out the best plan for Pudge. The whole program is really not that hard. Free access to quality hay (provided by Sue, staged and tarped for easy access) and Equine Junior, Northwest Supplement, and a joint supplement (to help this baby grow sound). How hard can that be?

Well the first barn owner didn’t turn Pudge out where he could REALLY run and stretch his legs. He was confined to a nice sized stall with a 15 X 12 runout. His only turnout was in an indoor “arena” (more like a round pen). He wasn’t even turned out in the large outdoor arena because the barn owners didn’t want to be hassled with trying to catch him.

Another place had barbed wire – so NOT going to happen.

Another place didn’t want to be hassle with feeding him his grain and supplement. Sue had pre-portioned the grain and supplement in ziplock bags, and placed them in a plastic garbage can outside Pudge’s pen. HOW HARD CAN IT BE???? All the barn owner would have to do is open the can, pull out a baggie of grain, and dump it in the bucket.

At another place, the barn owner ARGUED with Sue about how Pudge was going to be fed. Said barn owner had done a lot of research and she knew best. Apparently the point lost on this woman was the fact that SUE owned Pudge!

So, Sue has been moving Pudge around, looking for a place where Pudge would be safe, where he’d be fed as prescribed, and turned out for long periods for exercise. She hasn’t found it.

Sue called last night and offer to GIVE Pudge to me. It breaks my heart because I know that Sue loves Pudge and she only wants what is best for him. She would rather give him away than see him lacking in any part of his early development.

Things have not been finalized yet. Pudge will ABSOLUTLY have home with me if that is Sue’s final decision. I would LOVE to have him. And he will become a regular on this blog, so that Sue can keep tabs on him.

NOTE TO SUE: You have definitely been bullied and taken advantage of. It is absolutely WRONG that these people have nickled and dimed you, changed Pudge’s feed program, and pushed you to the point where you are so frustrated that you’re willing to give Pudge up.

He has a home with me if that is your decision. I told you I was full, but after talking to my other half (Who is actually still very much in love with the little monkey!), we can spend a day re-stringing hot tape to make a pen for him. He will be well cared for and with you, we have an open barn policy – you are most welcome to visit anytime you wish.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Boss Mare is so....BOSSY!

I did a little shuffling around today, moving horses around. I switched Jazzy and Squirrel. I switched Honey and Dobbs.

Then I opened the gates and turned everyone out. I have 6 stalls, and 4 pasture runs. Honey, while her ankle is still swollen, was bearing weight, so she and Dobbs were turned out.

Jazzy's new run is next to Millie's, and they share a pasture. Jazzy would NOT allow Millie out in the pasture. She would let Millie stand at the gate, but every time Millie walked out onto the grass, Jazzy would run her back.

At one point, Millie got brave and charged down the fence line to the other end of the pasture. I lost sight of them, then shortly, Millie came SCREAMING back to the barn and Jazzy stood at the gate with her ears pinned. The point was clearly understood, and Millie didn't leave the relative safety of the barn for the rest of the day.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Regret, and guilt...

I am feeling it this morning. If I had a three strand whip, I'd use it on myself.

I feel horrible! Guilty!

Honey is hurting. It's MY fault. And I can't do anything other than try (feebly, I might add) to make her a little comfortable.

When Honey came to me, she had an obviously, previously damaged back ankle. A result of her being on the track, or from wreck...I don't know. But she had it. She was mostly sound, and though it bothered her in deep ground, it didn't seem to ever bother her.

Sometime during her play yesterday, she did something to re-injure the ankle. A pull? A strain? A twist? I don't know. She didn't favor it walking back to her stall.

This morning, she could barely walk. She was limping badly, putting weight only on the toe of her back foot. Then ankle is swollen. Though it's always been large, it's worse now. I didn't however, feel any heat. Curious.

She got some bute with breakfast - which she tolerated reluctantly, by the way. She's always such a lady about these things.

It breaks my heart to know that I didn't this to her. Oh Honey...I'm so sorry.

I'm off to the feed store to get some B-L Solution. This will help protect her stomach from the caustic effects of long term bute use.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Raisin' a Ruckus!

I have been lax with turnout. In fact, I've been TERRIBLE!

My horses aren't in 12 X 12 stalls, but they are pretty much confined. Dobbs, Jazzy, Angel, and Millie have access to pasture, so they're getting some exercise.

But Squirrel and Honey do not. Last night, I turned out Squirrel. Tonight, was Honey's turn.

She is SO FUN to watch. She rips around my little arena/big round pen, squealing and squaling and just generally raising a ruckus. It only took about 20 minutes to get her into a lathered sweat! It just cracked me up!

Sometimes I worry that there is something very wrong with this mare. And then I see her run like this and wish I had time to grab my saddle and go for a ride!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Old Faithful

Sometimes, I just LOVE riding Angel. I've owned her the longest and I know exactly what I'm going to get. A frantic, manic, ADD-laced ride!

But Angel gives 100%, every time!

She is sentsitive and reactive and tries so hard to the right thing.

I'm never going to get a buck. I'm never going to get a rear.

The problem is, Angel is VERY smart! She has a brain between her ears and uses it, even if what she does is wrong, at least she's thinking...right? She anticipates what I'm going to ask. She is so sensitive she will react to the slightest of cues. I have a bad habit of over-cueing. Hmmm...

If ever I work her in my arena with the barrels on the pattern, she will expect to work the pattern. I learned that the hard way once while riding bareback.

I've been reading the Mugwump Chronicles(see link to the right) and it got me thinking "what if". What would happen if I turned her out to run the stink off (I love that phrase - borrowed from Mugwump), then got on and did a bunch of random maneuvers using only my seat and my legs?

I set my hand in the middle of the reins and rested my wrist on the saddle horn. She performed rollbacks, backed with just a tilt of my pelvis, pivoted on the front end and back end, circled, and whoa'd. At one point, she was reacting only to the tilt of my pelvis and the weight on a certain pocket.

I always know what I'm going to get... and I love it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeding them makes them feel better...Really?

Who knew?!?

I've had Squirrel for almost two weeks. I've ridden her twice. Due to a migraine on Saturday, and cold north wind on Sunday, I didn't ride. Meanwhile, I've been "feeding her up", trying to get some weight on her.

So tonight, I saddle her up and put my new bridle w/hackamore on her, thinking to have a nice quiet little ride around the arena. Mmmm....think again.

First of all, I seriously doubt she's ever worn a hackamore. She seemed really confused and being a little hot, got frustrated almost instantly. She tried to do what I asked, but....

She did this little rear thing, just enough to bring her front feet off the ground and when I got after her, she squealed and kicked out with one back foot.

Rather than tempt fate, I climbed off and took the reins off the hackamore and sent her around the arena. She took off squealing and bucking, well sort of..it was a pretty pitiful attempt at bucking.

She loped around for about 20 minutes, then I climbed on her again. She was still very confused about the hackamore, but she was calm enough to listen to me.

What I've Learned

1. Stick with what works. I have a nice little bit that Squirrel worked really well in. We'll go back to that.

2. When you're feeding them up and they're mostly standing around, they MIGHT need a few minutes to blow off some steam before you climb on them.

3. Pick you battles. I could have gotten after Squirrel and RODE her out of her little snit, but I chose to let her blow the stink off without my butt in the saddle.

4. I STILL really like this mare!

Shyanna Goes Home

Sunday morning, I trailered Shyanna to her new home. It’s about 12 miles from me in a rural area, but it’s a NICE set-up.

There are three pastures, Shyanna will have her own ¼ acre pasture. Her pen is 50 X 35, There are box stalls, but from what I saw they aren’t being used. The horses there either in a pen or out on pasture. The property owner grows his own hay, which looked really nice!

All the fences on the place are the same, whether for the pens or the pasture. It’s continuous smooth wire fencing, drawn tight and runs through large metal posts, and while not coated, there are 8 strands, placed 4 - 6 inches apart. The tops are welded pipe and painted white. A DOG would have trouble getting through it.

The driveway goes past the pens, then drops 20 feet onto the property. The berm protects the pens from the prevailing south wind.

I stood by and watched while the new owners unloaded all their goodies into their privae tack room. There was a garbage can and bag of feed, buckets, treats, feed scoop, a bucket of brushes, first aid supplies, tack, and a winter blanket.

I don’t like winter blankets unless the horse is really sweaty, it’s really cold, and there isn’t any shelter. A properly cooled out horse, even though still a little wet, won’t get chilled. They stay warmer with proper nutrition and poofed up winter jammies! That is just my opinion, but since I don’t own Shyanna, her new “mommy” can do as she wishes.

She was delivered with papers and a contract that states that if ever Mindy can no longer care for Shyanna, she will be returned to me for rehoming.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A nice little horse!

Shyanna

Mindy and the Mob came to the house today. I say "mob" because I'm not sure who they all were. Mindy, her daughter Shandi (who will be Shyanna's new owner), Mindy's son Shade, Mindy's boyfriend (can't remember his name) and some other young-ish guy that I was never introduced to.

They ALL rode Shyanna. She walked and trotted. She backed, reluctantly. I never saw any loping, but that's ok. Shyanna did everything she was asked to do. She's a nice little mare and really cute under saddle.

Bethany was a novice rider when she bought Shyanna. She is still a novice rider. She never reinforced anything. Shyanna was allowed to get away with whatever it was that she showed resistance against. Shyanna has become spoiled.

That will all change in the weeks and months to come. Mindy, while a little bit "hick", is patient, soft, and kind but will expect compliance and will not allow Shyanna to act spoiled anymore.

I will deliver Shyanna to her new home across the river on Sunday morning. She will go with the condition that if Mindy can not, or does not want her any more, Shyanna will be returned to me.


Squirrel
Click on her name to see crappy photos on my Photobucket page. My computer can't get Blogger to upload them at home.

She's starting to gain weight and is becoming more friendly. I noticed that Sunday, after my ride on her up at the barrel race, that she was acting foot sore. I think that she has a stone bruise. I think that because, well, I picked a rock out of her hoof. It was back near the heel, but into the sole of her foot. I'd like to keep her barefoot if I can. But I also don't want riding to be painful for her. Every time I go out to the barn, I stand and pet her through the feed door as she eat her grain. I REALLY like this mare!

oh yeah....the little darling is now in heat. Gotta love those mares....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shyanna has a new home.

Bethany was 14 yrs old when her mother bought Shyanna for her. Bethany has boarded and occasionally ridden, but only on trails. Bethany is responsible for the cost of owning the horse and is now planning her wedding and preparing to move to Camp Pendleton in southern California, where her fiancĂ© is stationed with the Marine Corps. She can’t keep the horse.

I listed the horse for sale over a month ago and have not gotten one response. There are just too many nice horses out there that she’s competing against. I talked with Bethany at length and her main concern is that the horse goes to a safe loving home. With papers.

I called Mindy, who in her younger years, exercise QHs on track for a living. Mindy used to be married to Larry. Larry is the guy that Bethany bought the horse from. Mindy’s daughter is wanting a horse and Mindy knows Shyanna and how she’s broke. Mindy is going to take Shyanna home this week. She’ll be well cared for and she’s such a sweet mare, she’ll make a nice horse for a 13 yr old.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"sighing with pleasure..."

There was a barrel race at the TRAC facility today, day 2 of a big weekend. I thought it would be good for Squirrel to get started seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and being exposed to the chaos of a barrel race.

Since the TRAC is only a mile from the house, it's really nothing for me to load up and haul in and ride around.

Squirrel loaded, finally, after I figured out that she's used to being led in, rather than being "self-loaded" like my Appy. She stood quietly while I brushed and saddled.

She walked quietly through the horse trailers, and past the stock pens.

She walked quietly into the outdoor warm-up pen.

She walked quietly around the warm-up area and was content to stop and watch all the other horses circling about.

She walked quietly in the holding pen inside the arena. There was one little balk when the horse on pattern was running home and straight at her. Then she continued on in.

For her second ride in five years, she behaved like a pro!

- NEEDS -

She needs to have her feet trimmed, shoeing won't be necessary.

She needs to have her teeth done.

She needs to be wormed.

She needs to gain weight.

She needs muscle tone.

If that's the worst of it, I'm thinking I'm a lucky girl and this is a NICE mare!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What An Amazing Little Mare

I went for a ride on Squirrel yesterday. What an amazing horse.

We went down the road, across traffic, and out on the trail. She was AWESOME!

She went quietly and willingly on a loose rein the entire time. When there was a "spook", if you can call it that, she merely tipped and ear and stepped around it. The things that she "spooked" at were the storm drains in the road, and a neighbor's irrigation pumphouse.

Walk, trot, lope - all on loose rein. She is smooth as silk! There is one area about 1/3 mile or more where we breeze the horses. She loped with a little speed and responded immediately when I asked for a "Whoa". When we had to stop and wait for traffic, she stood quietly whle the cars whizzed by.

Coming back, the two others that I was riding with decided to race down the "breezeway". She loped along behind them with no frantic whinnying. When the dust clear a little and we could see, I asked her for more speed and she gave it to me. And again, she dropped down immediately when I lowered my hand and sat.

Never in my wildest dreams have I ever dared to dream that she would be this nice. I knew she'd be broke, but this mare is amazing. She carries her head and neck nice and level, and gives to the bit when asked.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Turn Out is ALWAYS Fun!

I had to do some shuffling of horses today...trying to figure out who is going to "live" where. I decided that Shyanna and Dobbs get along really well, so they will live together in the biggest run. Honey will be moved to the pen behind the barn. And Squirrel will move into Dobb's old stall, between Millie and Angel.

I opened the gates to let them all out on pasture and WHOOPEE! Let the fun begin. Jazzy ripped a big old fart, then took off bucking. Angel and Millie joined her. Squirrel, Dobbs and Shyanna just watched in silence, maybe trotted a little. Honey did her little pasture prance, too refined to really let it rip!

Squirrel went to the beauty parlor and I was able to work the massive rats' nest out of her tail. She so reminds me of Heddy...

So now, I'm off to clean up poop...my weekend chore.

Update - It figures! The horses stand at the gate to the pasture as if BEGGING to go out. I take pity on them and turn them out. I watch them until them settle down and then get to work. It never fails...as soon as I go into their run with the wheel barrow, they come up to check it out, re-spread the poop I just raked into a pile, and generally get in the way. Sigh...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

SQUIRREL

Almost a week ago, Heddy died unexpectedly from a twisted gut associated with colic. We were shocked and saddened by this unexpected loss. ALL our animals are our babies. Although the horses are a passion of mine, my darling husband, Mike, supports my addiction and though not “horsey”, cares deeply about all that are included in my menagerie.

I’ve heard so many time “We have Arabs” or “We have Quarter Horses”…. we have “The Kids”. They all have a story and have touch us in many ways.

There’s Angel – Bright-Eyes Angel – 8 yr old appaloosa with ADHD, whose energy and “appytude” both frustrate me and make me smile. This horse, like no other, can frustrate me to tears, and just when I’m ready to throw up my hands and give up, she gifts me with moments of brilliance. Just when I think she will never “figure it out”, she delivers an effortless execution that makes the casual observer sit forward and say “That is an awesome horse. Where did she find her?” This is a mare I trust in all things. She will die in my arms when it’s her time.

There’s Jazzy – Leos Jazzy Music – 7 yr old QH mare whose dam was the subject of a neglect seizure and as a result, has no papers to prove her lineage. I can only go by what the owner of her sire told me. She was Parelli’s extensively as a youngster, but after a trailering accident left her with a blemish that required more care than her owner wanted to give, she ended up with a horse trader (who, of course, bred her as a 4 yr old), and ultimately, with us. Further, self-inflicted injuries has delayed her formal training, and now, at 7 yrs old, she remains green broke, and because of her Music Mount breeding, a little unpredictable.

Honey – Honey in the Money – 8 yr old Thoroughbred mare who was raced very successfully. After an accident on the track, her owners sought to make a broodmare out of her. Possibly due to the accident, she can not carry a foal to term. Also, it is very possible that she will never be sound to ride. (Finances prevent us from determining that at this time) Can’t be ridden – can’t be bred…that make her worth about $.30 per pound. Except to me. She is the most cuddly, snuggly mare in my barn. Sweet, sometimes silly, stunningly beautiful, graceful and elegant, it’s a lot like standing the presence of royalty. I’m just in awe every day that this beautiful mare belongs to me.

Dobbs – Big Cadillac Mac – 18 yr old Quarter Horse gelding. The horse trader owed me some money and had taken the “old man” in a trade. She didn’t tell me about his old stifle injury. She didn’t trim his feet. She didn’t worm him. But then, being a horse trader, I’m not surprised at that. What I am surprised about is the fact that he is such a perfect gentleman, kind, willing and solid in all things. He is so polite, always, even at feeding time. His chatter fills the barn as he sings for his supper, yet, he’ll pull his muzzle full of slobber out of the way so I can dump in his grain.

Millie – Meritable Millie – yearling Appendix Quarter Horse filly. Pushy, loud, obnoxious, sweet, curl up in your lap if she could, adorable little filly. She’s only been at the house since October 3, so I’m still figuring her out.
So with Heddy’s passing, I received a lot of sympathy, which I expected. What I did NOT expect were the offers of free horses.

My neighbor, Pam, and her guy friend were the ones that found Heddy and helped out until I got home. The guy, Jim, saw that I was really upset and told Pam about a friend of his that has a big ranch about 4 hours north of us and that they were giving away some broodmares, one was broke to ride and was nice and solid. So, Pam asked me if I wanted her to take a look at this mare and her papers for me. I said "Sure, as long as you're up there."

She called me yesterday to double check, “Did I still want her to go look at the mare”. I said “Yes”. She called me about an hour later and said "This is a NICE mare." Bear in mind, normally, Pam has ZERO use for mares. She is strictly a gelding girl. So, what that told me, is that the mare is REALLY NICE! She said that the mare looked a lot like Heddy, but with more QH stockiness.

She got home Wednesday night REALLY late (after 11:00 or so), so I didn't even see the mare until Thursday morning. Pam didn’t know where I wanted her, so she just kept her in a pen close to my barn. I went out to feed The Kids, I came out of the barn, the mare turned to look at me and my breath caught in my throat. She had almost IDENTICAL markings as Heddy, about the same size, etc. This mare's head is shorter and blockier that Heddy's, but she's the same color, size and shape. I couldn’t do anything but stand and stare.

I still don’t know how she’s bred, or what her registered name is, but sometime this morning, in the midst of my mental meaderings, the name “Squirrel” came to me.

UPDATE - Her registered name is JNJ Classy Poco Gal

I haven't ridden her, but somethings you just have a feeling about.

Welcome Home, Squirrel. (I’ll have pics up soon)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Turnout Time


It was a lazy day here, so I decided that the most ambitious thing I'd do is turn out each of the horses for an hour in the arena. It's really a BIG round pen, but it get the job done.

Shyanna was first. She bucked and farted for a couple minutes then stood and looked at the house as if to say, "I'm done."

Honey was next. This mare cracks me up. It's like on the track, the exerciser dude would pull her head around to the left and let her run than way. and boy, can this mare buck! Great bounding leaps and twists accompanied by explosive farting!

Then came Jazzy, the self-exerciser. She rolled, stood up and shook off, then began the exercise program that she has in her head. Shortly after turning her out, we left to run to the grocery store so we could make home-made chicken noodle soup. She was still trotting around, shiny with sweat, when we returned.

Angel, my fat little appy, was next on the list. She will sometimes raise a ruckus, but today, she merely walked around for an hour.

Dobbs, the old man, did pretty much the same thing. No acrobatics or excessive expenditure of energy, just pacing.

Millie was last out. Being that she is the new kid on the block, only a year and half, I figured she would lose it. I thought there'd be hysterics and theatrics, squalling, running, bucking, the works. I was wrong. She sniffed around. Push the barrels over and spooked when they fell over. But all in all, it was very anticlimactic.

So now, a 1:45 pm, everyone is back in their bed, happily snuffling through their early afternoon flake of hay.

All that is left is to wait for the soup to cook down, slather some butter on some fresh french bread, and stuff myself, all the while trying to save room for fresh, hot apple pie with some vanilla ice cream.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A very sad day, indeed.

Around noon today, I got a call from my neighbor that I had a horse down with colic.

I rush to the car and headed for home. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, she called again. They had the mare up but she was really weak and in bad shape. I hung up and called the vet.

We got to the house about the same time. It was Heddy and she was in really bad shape. She was covered in sweat, drooling, trembling.

I said, "Put her down." The vet said "I think that's the right choice. I don't think this is recoverable."

And so we put her down.

She gave me NO indication that there was a problem or that she was in distress. Morning feeding was normal.

I called and talked to Cathy and we both agreed, there was something wrong..something we couldn't see. Perhaps an ulcer or something else. She SHOULD have been gaining weight. She wasn't. If anything, she was declining.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Heddy. Thank you for the memories you gave me in the few short months you were here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This darling baby is PUSHY!!

Millie the Filly....hmmm...

Apparently, I've gotten spoiled with my older, well mannered horses.

Millie will try to walk over me. She has a bad habit of pooping in the barn. I know she hasn't really settled in yet, so I'm trying to be patient. I cleaned her stall last night and she tried to follow the wheel barrow out the front of her stall. I tried to gently push her back, but she didn't know what it meant. So she got popped. And she stood there, half in and half out of her stall. So I REALLY popped her. Relunctantly, she backed into her stall.

Millie will also snatch at her hay when I feed. She knocked it out of my arms. Made me mad! Anyway, now when she tried it, I shove the hay into her nose, poking her. I really need to work on getting that stopped.

I've been so busy since she got her that I haven't had time to really do anything with her. This weekend, if it's not raining or blowing, she's going to get haltered and messed with.

We really need to work on this manners thing though. Any ideas? Anyone? I really AM "baby stupid"!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

HORSE MADNESS

Why do I like horses? I reckon I must be mad.
My mother wasn't horsey And neither was my dad.

But the madness hit me early And it hit me like a curse.
And I've never gotten better In fact I've gotten worse.

My stables are immaculate. My house is like a hovel.
Last year for my birthday I got a brand new shovel.

I hardly read a paper But I know who's sold their horse
And I wouldn't watch the news If Mr. Ed was on, of course.

One eye's always on the heavens But my washing waves in vain
As I rush to get the horses in In case it's gonna rain.

And though they're wearing 15 rugs, The best that you can get,
I bring them in to keep them dry While I get soaking wet.

I spend up every cent I've got On horsey stuff for sure.
I buy fancy tack and fancy rugs, And then I buy some more.

I should have had that hair cut Or bought that nice blue shirt
At least it wouldn't be now Ripped to shreds and in the dirt.

I can't make a bloody sponge cake I don't even try
But I can back a car and trailer In the twinkling of an eye.

It's jeans and Ariat boots That I live in night and day
And that smell of sweaty horses Just doesn't wash away.

Once every… now and then I can dress up for a ball.
Make up and a hairdo With high heel shoes and all.

I ache from long forgotten falls. My knees have got no skin.
My toes have gone a funny shape. From being squashed again.

But late at night, when all is still And I've gone to give them hay,
I touch their velvet softness And my worries float away.

They give a gentle nicker And they nuzzle through my hair
And I know it's where my heart is More than anywhere

Monday, October 6, 2008

As one life ends, one begins....


Meritable Millie, a one and half year old filly, has come to live with me. She was a gift from my friend Barb and is a half sister (by the same sire) as her good barrel horse.

Millie's future will be in barrel racing. She is very friendly and in-your-pocket. I will be hauling her with me to races and ponying her off my mare, Angel.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Finally at Peace...

Joy is finally at peace.

This morning, I had to load Honey first, because Joy refused to leave her friends. Once Honey was in place, Joy walked right it.

It was a short drive, just a few miles.

Once there, she walked right out of the trailer like a pro, confirming our belief that Joy had vision problems, especially at night. She followed me quietly to the holding pen. I had some hay in the trailer, which I put down for her, a 5 pound bag of carrots, and six apples. One last breakfast, stuffing her face with apples and carrots.

I stood with her until the treats were gone and she started in on the sweet alfalfa.

Then the truck arrived. He was early. I had hoped that I would be able to let the clinic staff hold Joy and I wouldn’t have to be there. But since the truck was early, I stayed.

She went quietly, sinking to the ground and sighing, as if FINALLY, she could lay down and rest. With a soft sigh, she laid over and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

FINALLY…

She can rest without pain.

FINALLY…

She can run and buck with the rest of the herd.

FINALLY…

She can eat sweet, fresh grass all day under a sun that brings warmth, but doesn’t scorch or burn.

FINALLY…

She isn’t bothered by flies and allergies.

FINALLY…

She can see every sweet face of the horses that arrived before her.

FINALLY…

She is the beauty she was born to be, before the greed and ugliness of human beings robbed her of it.

FINALLY…

Joy is free, leaving behind only memories and hoof prints across my heart..


Rest in peace sweet girl. I will never forget you.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who's the Boss??

I took hay out to the girls for their pm feeding.

I put one pile down, and Joy got to it first. I walked about 15 feet away and Heddy came up and pushed Joy off the first pile, so naturally she walked over to the second pile.

I walked anoth 20 feet or so and put down the third pile. Honey Bunny Boo Boo Bear (ack - I know...sorry) met me there and stood munching while I pet her and looked her over.

When I walk back to the gate, she followed me and pushed Heddy off pile #1.

Heddy went and pushed Joy off pile #2.











Joy went and pushed Honey off pile #1.












Honey pushed Heddy off pile #2.

Heddy went and pushed Joy off pile #1 (with a little nip to the back side, I might add)

Joy went and pushed Honey off pile #2. At this point, Honey said "screw it" and went over to pile #3.











That where they were when I left them, and despite all the round and round hay pile switching, I still don't know who's the boss.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back to pasture....

Everyone has been locked off pasture and to honest, they have been hating it! They don't get to eat whenever they want, they have to wait impatiently for mom to get to them, they don't get a whole lot of exercise, and it has pretty much just sucked!

Remember...I had drug the pasture and spread the poop. I wanted it to water in for a couple of days...

Anyway, last night, I took Honey and Heddy out to the neighbor's pasture. Of course since it was 5:00 pm, they were DYING of starvation! I put the halter on honey and led her out. Heddy followed only as far as the haystack (like 6 feet). I decided that I didn't want a replay of the run-around-the-house show, so I returned to the barn door with Honey and called to Heddy. After a couple minutes, she called for Honey and I heard her trotting in my general direction. After that, she followed right along and they were turned out together.

Then I went back in to get Joy. No problems. The girls were happy to all be together again and ambled off in search of grass.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Herd

Honey


ANGEL


DOBBS


Jazzy


Heddy

Sunday, September 21, 2008

FLY!! We're free!!!!

Saturday morning we brought all the horses back to the barn so that we could fertilize the pastures.

NORMALLY...when I put a halter on Honey or Heddy and lead them somewhere, the other one follow right behind. I mean, we don't have far to go, maybe 50 feet.

Mike was taking him time, so I put the halter on Honey and let Heddy and Joy out to come along with her. It went fine for about 30 seconds.

Joy, with her limited eye sight, walked past the barn. I didn't worry, because she would realize that she was alone and turn back, right? WRONG!

Heddy followed as far as the hay stacked inside the big door, but after grabbing a bite or two, she follow Honey to the stall, right? WRONG!

Joy contiued away from the barn, and Heddy, instead of following Honey, decided to join Joy. They went over to my neighbor barn, pooped in her driveway, and started eating her hay.

I ran them out of the barn, and they trotted back to my barn, right on target! They'll go into the barn, stand outside the stall and desperately want to be let in. Right? WRONG!!!

By this time Honey is screaming and hollering and racing up and down the pasture. Not good, because if they tried to get to her, it would take them to the road. All the other horses joined in the fracas and were running and squalling too!

About the time the mare rounded the house for the second time, Mike decided that I might need some help. We took down tapes, opened gates, and between the two of us, ran them in to one of the pastures. Then we locked them off the pasture and put them into their stalls.

We took no chances with Shyanna and Dobbs, put halters on them both and Mike helped me lead them into the barn.

We got to work on the pastures and when we came around, there stood my neightbor with Shyanna. We'd forgotten to put the tapes back up and close the gates.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

...and then there were seven


Kaci, my hunter/jumper rescue, has a new home with Kimberly Hogue in Yelm, Washington.

I came to own Kaci's Friend when I responded to a dreamhorse.com add for a free TB gelding. His owner had a new horse, and Kaci needed to go. He had been taken from the show barn where he'd live for almost 7 years and taken out to the owner's ranch in the middle of nowhere. This sensitive show baby had his shoes pulled and was turned out on 160 acres of tick infested sagebrush.

I picked him up on May 17 - my birthday! He was skinny, clingy, depressed, insecure, and cover in tick and old tick bites. He was a MESS!

Over the last 4 months, he's eaten his fill of grass in his very own pasture, next to his favorite mare. He's gained weight and confidence. He's healed mentally and physically. He now needed to go back to work. But I am not the person to put him to work. His training, and my style of riding, didn't match and never would.

He need a kid to teach. I told Cathy, who told Shelley, who knew that Kimberly was looking for a horse to show and jump. After weeks of e-mails, phone calls and questions, I decided that Kimberly would be a good fit.

So yesterday, we loaded Kaci and drove to Yelm. He was a complete gentleman, calm and "old pro". Kimberly fell in love with him. I left with a little bit of money, to cover my gas, and a sad but quiet heart. I'd gotten attached to this "tossed away" horse and had nursed him back to health. It's now up to Kimberly to put him back to work. He will be well cared for in his new home and I anxiously await photos of Kaci and Kimberly.

The Herd

We brought the other horses back home to the barn today. Honey and Heddy are sharing a stall/run. Joy is in the small pen at the back of the barn, sheltered from the wind. Dobbs and Shyanna are side by side, in their own stalls.

The countdown to good-bye for Joy continues.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Passing of the crown..

Joy is no longer the herd boss. That title now goes to Heddy. Initially, when I turned the girls out with her, she squealed and postured, and raise her back foot to kick. Now she acts like she's content to be with the girls. She gets a lot more exercise than she did because they are always moving around the pasture. She looks wonderful, and though they got to playing yesterday, she was walking normally this morning. She's totally digging her life as a pasture puff!

I don't know when it happened, but it did. One day, Joy is top hoss, bossing the girls around. Yesterday, when I tossed out some hay, there was some milling around, jostling for the best pile. I mean sheesh!, there were three piles.

I returned to the barn to check waters, and finish the morning chores. When I came back outside, Heddy was at the middle pile, and she was running Joy back to the pile where Honey was eating. Thus saving TWO piles for herself. She wouldn't let either of the other two walk around her to the free pile. It was HERS!

Mike and I went out to the pump area to clean out the filter. The sprinklers had been off for almost a week over there and we couldn't figure out what was happening. It was clogged. BIG TIME! Little miss Heddy was the leader, coming to check on us.

Heddy has always been a little difficult to get a halter on. She walks away, won't stop and stand while you put it on, unless you get the nose band on and give her a tug. She also hasn't been overly friendly, mostly standoff-ish. She came and stood while Mike cleared the filter so I could give her some love. It was a "WOW" moment for me.

The horses are putting on their winter jammies. Joy is no exception. It's cool overnight, but warms during the day. A migraine yesterday prevented me from doing any riding. I hate migraines! I lose an entire day every time! If I'm going to spend the day in bed, could it at LEAST be on a work day???

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ah...the change in weather...

When I was out in the pasture last night, visiting the "kids", fly spray bottle in hand, I made some observations.

FLIES - they are different. These aren't the barn flies, they're the little nasty biting ones, tormenting my horses and leaving scabs on their bellies. The BEST repellent I've found so far is a marigold based all natural spray. Get 'em off and keeps 'em off. It sort of smells like candy!

Winter Fuzz - It's coming on! Their bellies are no longer sleek and smooth. They are laying on the winter jammies! And it's only September 10th! That tells me that it's going to be a cold winter. Whoopee. I have heated tubs for six horses. There are currently eight horses at my place. There will be seven through the winter. sigh..

HAY!!! - Or is it "HEY!!" The horses are all out on pasture full time, and have been for the last three weeks. Its getting to the point now though, that the grass doesn't interest them as much. If I toss a flake out in the pasture, they'll leave off the grazing and fight over the hay.

As a rule, I don't blanket my horses in winter. I have a neighbor who puts blankets on when the over night low hits 45 degrees. She DOES ride most every day in winter, but still... Her horses never have a winter coat. The ONLY time I will blanket is in January and IF someone got sweaty. But the next morning, the blanket comes off, the winter coat poofs out, and it's business as usual!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Those lazy days....

Joy is still the herd boss and is attached to “The Girls” – Honey and Heddy. When I brought The Girls to the barn to have their feet trimmed, Joy paced and called until they were returned to the pasture. Then they all got to running around. I so love to watch horses run in the pasture. Joy doesn't really “gallop” she more like “hops” short choppy strides. She is always so sore after play time.

Honey was a living dream about getting her feet done. She stood quietly and politely, offering all four feet. Heddy, on the other hand, acted like a mule-eared donkey and actually got popped on the chest.

Dobbs, the sorrel Smooth Town gelding, is not nearly as stiff as he was the last time the farrier worked on him. He actually had so problem standing with his sore leg up to be trimmed.

Jazzy and Angel were their usual selves, but on good behavior.

Kaci drools like a Labrador at Thanksgiving! I had to laugh, but the farrier, who wore some of the slobber down the back of his neck, didn't think it was as funny as I did.

The weather remains very pleasant. It’s been in the 50s at night and lower 80s for the high in the afternoon. Joy is usually with The Girls out grazing and at nap time, they all stand under a tree in the shade. There is currently no rush to euthanize Joy since the weather is so nice. Once the frost comes though, her pain and stiffness will be much harder to manage. Until then, she is enjoying just being a horse, grazing to her hearts content, and living these last weeks in horse heaven.