Saturday, November 27, 2010

Having Horses - It's a Love/Hate Thing

For as long as I can remember, I have loved horses. In the years before I turned 9, we lived in the middle of a HUGE Quarter Horse Ranch outside of Salem, Oregon. The Gath Brothers has 100 broodmares, several stallions, a couple hundred head of Hereford cattle, turkeys, and pigs on a over 500 acres. We lived just off Gath Road, which was named for the family.

We lived on the corner of Witzel and Gath Roads. My grandparents lived up the hill, at the other end of the 15 acres that my grand-parents owned. There were broodmares in a huge pasture next to them. There were broodmare across the road from our house. On the north side of the property, there were broodmares. The stallion barn was across from my grand-parents house. They were all around me! And I loved them all!!

I was a wild child and was always disappearing over the fence made of no-climb with two strands of barbed wire on the top. It didn't even slow me down. I was small enough to climb the fences, squeeze through gates, or climb trees to get to the horses. More than once, one of the Gath Brothers arrived to check on the water and found me sound asleep, flat on my back, surrounded by sweet old broodies. I'm sure the first time he saw me laying there he about had a heart-attack. He would admonish me that the horses could hurt me, but none ever did and I wasn't afraid. More than once he dropped me off at home, late for dinner, in trouble, and then would call my folks to tell them where he'd found me.

I say "he" because they were both ancient (to my young eyes) and I could never tell them apart.

So here I am, some 40 years later, and I have horses of my own. I love every single one of them! I even have other peoples' horses here, and I love them too.

The hate part comes with some of the extras! I hate it when they come up to the barn with a new nick or cut that I have to doctor. Can't they just get along? Angel has a swollen back leg - from the hock to the pastern. I don't know why. No new mark. Hasn't done anything strenuous. No heat. Not lame. Just swollen. And I don't know what to do.

I hate that I provide NICE corner feeder for grain and one cribber decided to remove it from where lag bolts mounted it to the wall

I hate having skinny horses that I have to put blankets on. But the weather was so brutally cold, I had to. Perhaps tomorrow it'll warm up enough for me to pull them off, if not permanently, at least for most of the day.

I hate having a gorgeous, true-black mare with a darling blaze and 4 white socks I can't touch unless she's cornered in a stall. I would love to cuddle with her, or just brush her while she eats, but she will have no part of me. I can't even give her a parting pat and I drop her feed and head back to the barn. It hurts my feelings.

And I hate having a new 100 gallon water tank with a sinking heater that attracts a horse's butt.... to the point where she poops in it. I'm not sure if it's the water level, the water temperature, or the concentration of slobber that is the trigger, but roughly once a week, Foxy backs up to the tank and dumps the whole load in it.

This time, I found it after dark, with a dead battery in the flashlight. I got lucky... I had left the heater unplugged and I used the little fishnet to skim the top of the tank to see if there was any ice. Nope...just poop! So I had to drain it and refill. Again.

This love/hate thing is definitely more love, than hate.I wouldn't change a thing! (Except maybe the poop part!)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It is 6:00 pm and the temperature has dropped to 12 degrees. There is JUST ENOUGH of a breeze to make the windchill ZERO DEGREES!!!

I fed out 4 bales of hay and 30 pounds (wet) of alfalfa pellets, beet pulp, and aflafl cubes. I think the kids will have plenty of fuel to make them warm through the night.

It's supposed to be around 24 degrees tomorrow...

Monday, November 22, 2010


There I was... warm... fat... and happy! Talking about how the storm...wasn't. I shoulda shut the heck up because it is a full-blown blizzard out there now!

The wind is out of the north at 10 mph, the temperature has dropped to 20 degrees... I don't want to do the math but it must be like.. -40 out there!

Kaci and Foxy have blankets on. The rest have snow blankets. ALL of them are standing out in it!

We were released early from work... I left at 3:00 pm and didn't get home until 5:30 pm. I fed the horses, shoveled snow, hooked up the heated water tub, shoveled snow, and shoveled snow. I'm exhausted and ready for a hot bath and bed!

Below is my back porch. I can't remember the last time it snowed on my COVERED back porch... Must be Karma - getting back at me for poking fun at my Canadian friend...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dodging The Bullet...So Far!

While the wind is only 5 mph, it makes being outside FRIGID!! I think the high temperature so far is only 34 degrees.

Earlier I saw snow flakes, but by the time someone got to the window to verify, it had stopped. All around us, folks are getting snow. Walla Walla, 60 miles to the east, has a couple of inches on the ground. We have none!

I left the blankets on the kids (Kaci and Foxy) because I just don't know what the weather is going to do. We were supposed to have nasty cold wind out of the north - never showed, and snow flurries - 10 flakes don't count.

So the kids stay bundled up. When I warms up a later this week, I'll pull the blankets. Until then, the scrawny oldsters can use the blankets to stay warm and maybe add a few pounds.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Calm Before The Storm

Rumor has it that we are supposed to get a chance of snow this weekend. So I took the day to clean up, get water heaters plugged in, and etc. Bullwinkle helped... kind of... Mostly he just slobbered the handles.

I also wanted to do Foxy's blanket fit before it got cold. She was a little unsure, but was calm and patient. Once I was done, she just stood there with her eyes closed as if she was happy to finally be warm. Then She decided that the grain would be ok to eat while all bundled up.
I REALLY love this mare. She is the sweetest horse ever. Better even than Thai! It is my hope that Cathy leaves her here! I just adore her!

It was a little chilly this morning, but the afternoon was GORGEOUS!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crazy November Weather

My friend in Minnesota got the first snowfall of winter over the weekend. She sent me this picture.

It was 65 degrees today and sunny! It's cooling off fast now that the sun has gone down, but GEEZ!! These are pictures I sent back to her...

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's a Thoroughbred thing...apparently!

All summer, the Thoroughbreds were hog fat and in great condition! (Kaci, Texas Chili, and Lucy) They were on full-time pasture, supplemented with grain and grass hay. They looked great!


Now, they locked off the pasture and on grass hay full time. While of good weight, their top-lines have gone to hell, and they are growing pot bellies. I couldn't figure it out! The other horses look great! Fat and Fuzzy!

I talked to Leslie with The Exceller Fund and a light came on.

THOROUGHBREDS NEED ALFALFA! (At least, they need the protein that alfalfa provides)

WHO KNEW!! Apparently every thoroughbred owner out there!

So I'm going to put in some alfalfa and feed the TBs differently than the air-puff QHs and the appy. UGH! Nothing like walking around looking like an idiot!