Monday, March 25, 2013

Warm blankies

Snow? Really? REALLY?!  We've started shedding like mad and you throw THIS at us? Mother Nature, you have one heck of a sense of humor. We are not amused.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"Your horse is a jerk."

So, my husband calls me at work and the first thing he says, "Your horse is a jerk."

Uh oh. That is never a phrase you want to hear when you have horses and are an hour away from home!

"Ummm...why is he a jerk this time?" I ask cautiously, not quite sure I want to hear the answer, pretty sure he's managed to mangle himself in some obscure way.

"Well, all I have to say is this: He has no excuses any more. He can jump, don't ever let him convince you otherwise," he replied.

Well, that's kind of a cryptic answer. So, I pressed for the full story.

We have most of the property and driveway fenced so we can turn horses out into the yard (more grass/room, less wear and tear on the pastures). By fencing the "non-pasture" part of the property we gain several more acres of good grazing, and that means less for me to mow! The fence ends at the pond, but sometimes, when the pond is low, those brats walk around the fence, through the pond and "escape." We're pretty far from the road and they've never wandered to the road, but they do like to graze along the driveway and along the outside of the fence when they do manage to escape.  You know, the grass is always greener! Now that the pond is low and the mud frozen, we plan to extend the fence INTO the pond as far as we can (hello hip waders!) to prevent any future escapes.

Anyway, my husband went out to call the horses in so he could lock them up before leaving. They are allowed out into the yard, but only when someone is home to keep an eye on them just in case they do decide to go on an unauthorized adventure. They all come running when we call for them, and they came galloping down the driveway as expected and were rewarded with peppermints all around. They're spoiled that way.

All except Gabe.

Mr. Prissy Pants had escaped through the pond and was on the other side of the fence grazing along the driveway. He did not like being left behind by all his buddies. He apparently ran all the way down the pasture fenceline, figured out he couldn't get through, then ran all the way back to the driveway and JUMPED the freakin' fence! The fence is nearly five feet high. My husband said he didn't even hesitate, just soared right over it and kept on going, galloping down the driveway, tail straight in the air, to find all his buddies grazing in the arena.

We know the big guy can jump...he's always enjoyed it under saddle but I've kept the fences low. I believe in starting slow and low to build confidence and give them a good experience. Now, we know he has a little bit of scope, too, maybe I can bump the size of the fences up a couple of inches this spring when we start schooling over fences again. 

I would have loved to be there to see him clear it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nap time

Hey big guy?
Yeah, little man?

You sure make a comfy pillow.
I know. You're welcome.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weird horses are blow-hards

The big man was in a weird mood today.

The farrier was scheduled to do pedicures on everyone, so, I pulled them all out of their mud lots (can't really call them dry lots at this point in the season) so I could wash legs and give them a brushing before he arrived.

Everyone stood nicely and let me dunk their legs into warm buckets of water to rinse most of the sticky gunk off. Teddy freed himself four times (he's a master houdini and can untie just about any kind of knot!) and I had to go chasing after him. Gabe wanted to play face wars with Teddy at the hitching post (he can be an ass about it), Little Lou was completely content with scratching his face on the tie rail and Montana fell asleep at the post.

We had NO thrush in any feet and they all looked great, which surprised me considering the mud they've been standing in for months. I expected at least some thrush, but there was none. Yay!

Each horse (except Gabe, of course) stood beautifully for the farrier, as expected.

Gabe, he was weird. He's usually wiggly, not being bad, but wiggly. He doesn't like to stand still for long. He typically shoves his head against my chest and rests it there while the farrier works or tucks it beneath my armpit and grinds his teeth. He grinds when he stresses or worries, and having his feet done stresses him.

This time, all he wanted to do was shove his head between my arm and body or into my coat pocket and BLOW hard, you know like they do when they see something that gets them excited or worried. The harder he snorted into my arm, the more excited he got, and when I pushed him away, he was extremely insistent on getting his nose back where it was so he could "bugle" again. The more excited he got, the pushier he got, which is unusual. He can be nosy and in your space, but rarely adamantly and rudely pushy. It was weird. He's never behaved like that before and I can't quite decipher it.

But, his feet got done and his frogs are right at the shedding point, so things aren't beautiful, but better than they were. No thrush, no cracks, no worrisome anything.

Tomorrow, he's going on an "exciting" trip. Little does he know he's headed to the horse dentist. Poor guy needs some dental work. He has a cap that never fell all the way out and it's now looking swollen, sore and infected and I know his grinding habit has played hell on his molars and his canines need clipped. His been dribbling his food a bit more than usual and not holding his weight like I'd like to see. He's a normally sloppy eater, but the slop is bigger than usual. Typical Thoroughbred mess mouth, I'm sure. It was a mess the last time he was done, it'll be a mess again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A small change

I always get so excited when I see a new comment on a post, eager to find out what my online friends have to say. I value your words and the time you spend to read, comment, offer insight or suggestions.

But lately, more of the comments have been unintelligible spam, not words from actual readers. If the spam was articulate, interesting or even amusing, I wouldn't worry so much about it, but this spam is awful and obviously written by someone who has zero grasp of the concept on how to construct a sentence that makes any sense at all.

I used to have this blog set up to require word verification to post comments, but for some reason, the verification words blogger uses are generally impossible to read.

I won't do that to you guys. It's frustrating to have to go through three or four verification screens because you can't quite decipher what it says! And eventually, if you're like me, you just give up after the 3rd or 4th failed attempt and leave no comment at all.

So, instead, I have enabled comment moderation. I will check frequently to approve and publish comments as quickly as I can, but, it's the only thing I can think of to do to stop the really annoying spam.

Please bear with me as I try to keep up. If your comment doesn't show up within 24 hours after you post it, I'm probably out riding!

Or digging my horses out of the mud. :)

Happy Trails!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Splish splash! It's a mud bath!

Yeah. Apparently it doesn't matter if the rest of the pasture is mostly, kind of dry.

Gabe will find the wettest spot just to play. He has managed to dig a GIGANTIC hole over the years, which is why this part of the pasture now holds water forever.

I don't think he should have been born a gray. He should have been born mud-colored. 'Cause that's what he usually is!

Notice Teddy and Lou looking on with rapt attention. I doubt they'll be getting their little feetsie's wet...Gabe, on the other hand, has not yet met a puddle, creek, bog, swamp, or pond that he won't stick his feet in or play in.

What a goof.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The changing herd

There has been a shifting of herd dynamics that has been a bit surprising.

The herd has gone from six to four. I found a fabulous home for Chief and Calypso. Both are headed north to teach kids to ride at a church camp in Wisconsin. I researched the camp (it's been around longer than I've been alive and has an excellent reputation. The horse facilities are top notch from the pictures I saw.), talked to the woman tasked with finding suitable horses for the program and I truly believe it's a good place for them. They will be used, loved, and well-cared for, which is exactly what I was looking for for both of them. And, they got to stay together, which I was really hoping for. I hope they will be happy, I know they will be loved and get loved on by kids, which both horses live for. Both can take or leave adults, but they both adore and are incredibly gentle with kids.

My heart broke as I watched them load up on to the trailer and drive away, and I cried, but I know it's for the best for both of them. I could never, ever be a horse trader or actively buy and sell horses. I get too attached to them. My pasture still looks empty without them there.

In the meantime, I thought there would be a huge shakeup in the herd dynamics for the remaining four, but, not so much. They all went out in the big pasture together yesterday (the paddocks are a mucky, yucky, horrible mess. The pasture isn't much better, but, it is what it is. Next big investment? A small barn.) and without a mare influencing them and moving them around, they settled quickly into an unexpected pecking order. Gabe is number two man on the totem pole. Shocked! Teddy, number one. Not so shocked.

Gabe buddied up with Kahlua (the pony, aka Little Lou) most of the day. The two acted like children, running, playing, rearing up at each other and "boxing." Gabe likes to grab the top of Lou's neck in his mouth and just hold him. Lou, who is a midget, gets irritated, and, since he can't reach Gabe's neck (again, the midget thing), rears up. Pretty soon, they are rearing at each other, "hoof boxing," then spinning to kick/buck and tear off in opposite directions only to come back and do the same thing again. They graze near each other and doze standing/laying together. Teddy lingers near the two but is perfectly happy playing every now and then, sometimes squashing squabbles he doesn't approve of. Montana, (the paint) he's the bottom of the pecking order, which was completely unexpected. He'll hang out near everyone, but hasn't really shown any interest in mingling.

I thought for sure Gabe would be bottom of the herd! Things could change, but, in the next few months, there will be more upheaval in the herd as Teddy leaves for his new digs in Colorado and I actively market Montana for sale.

I'm hoping that by the time summer officially rolls around I'll be down to just Gabe and Lou, which is why it pleases me so much that the two get along so well and play together nicely.