Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Just Relax!

Today’s Tip: Check for pain as a cause for problems. If that’s not it, it’s probably you!

I’ve said that I was concerned about Pretty’s teeth. I’ve also said she hasn’t been doing much of a walk this spring. Her teeth have been fixed. She was happier, but still not doing even a nice, forward, “working” walk (not quite a flat walk, but more than a dog walk) without pacing. Today I figured it out. After a few trips up and down the driveway (I’m REALLY eager for the mud to dry up!), she wasn’t quite so jumpy. I let up on the reins a little just to see what she would do if it I didn’t try to “hold her in.” Yep, that fixed it. Sure, her head was lower and her nose farther out. No, I don’t think she’d do a full out running walk, or even a flat walk, in that frame (no collection, she’d be all-over-sloppy). But I got to enjoy her walk again! I have some church events the next couple of nights, so I’m afraid I can’t ride again until Thursday. I’m hoping we can then go for a REAL ride down the road.

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We’re Hydrated

Today’s Tip: This should be obvious, but do what you have to in order to ensure you know your horses are drinking enough. That’s a down-side to automatic waterers, but you can also offer buckets of water from time-to-time, do hydration tests, etc.

Just wanted to let everyone know that the girls are allowed at the waterer now. Not sure that it’s on their terms, but they are allowed to drink. The funniest part is that I give them hay far away from my three. In an expression of control, Classy brings his mares in to move in on the new girls’ hay. They stand off for a while, then they move in on Classy’s herd’s hay, which is near the waterer. Yes Classy. Real smart. You now have hay for two instead of three and no water. Brilliant…

My Good Samaritan Day

Today’s Tip: Be thankful for every moment you can rest and relax and feel at least moderately confident that your horses and family are safe.

I’ve been complaining too much lately. I always do, but especially lately, amidst all the mud and yuck. For the last 24 hours, though, I have been giving thanks for all I have.

Last night I received an email about a couple of horses that needed to be moved immediately. The owner had received threats from her neighbors that they would shoot the horses. Despite annoying neighbors from time-to-time, facilities that I wish I could improve, and all the other concerns I harbor for my equine family members, I always feel confident that no one is out to hurt them. I have some great neighbors that are not only good citizens, but also help out with chores when we’re out of town and are helpful in other neighborly ways. It’s an incredible comfort, and one that I will be saying more prayers of thanksgiving for.

Despite a lot of calls, emails, and Facebook messages, I haven’t found a good place for them, especially since their owner can’t afford “going rate, boarding barn” fees. So they’re living with me now. This isn’t the situation I really wanted to be in. I don’t have shelter for any more horses (walls yes, no roof). I’m really hoping for some decent weather for just one more week. Then the fjords will go home and we’ll sort this out.

The two “new girls” are learning to fit in with my three. The fjords are hanging out on their side and it seemed, for a number of reasons, that they would be best off with my guys. Classy is doing a little male posturing. I put him out with them first because I knew how he would try to separate “his” girls, so I thought he should show off for the new kids it town without involving anyone else. He and Evee were happy to hang out in their half of the paddock and eat hay and give them nasty looks. Pretty, however, wanted to go make nice. There was a little more running and squealing and sorting things out. As long as everyone stays in their corners, life will be fine. Only problem is my three have the corner with the water. I’m assuming it will be sorted out by tomorrow, but I better go carry some water to them just to make sure.

Please keep the girls’ owner and her daughter in your thoughts and prayers. They’re searching hard for a new place for them and their furry family members to live.

Seriously March? Did You Have To?

Really? Winter is back? Ugh….

So yesterday’s rant was about rain. Today’s is about snow!

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. At least there’s less standing water than there was last night and the ground is a little more firm. Thankfully it’s not too cold, so the ground isn’t hard. Frozen hoofprint-laden mud is the worst thing. I’m sure I’ll twist an ankle and the horses prefer not to move.

I’m particularly sorry for Pretty. I told myself if it was at least 40*, I’d take the blanket off. Poor darling lost about half her hair to the clippers the other day, so I don’t like leaving her naked in any kind of March weather. Below freezing temps are even less favorable for her. However, it’s too cold at night for the blanket to come off even if she’s inside. It’s too cold and windy during the day, when it should be warmest, for it to come off then. It was even too cold for it to be off when she was inside during the day! 😦 I’m hoping it can come off for a while tomorrow afternoon. I’m not a fan of leaving anything, particularly blankets, on 24 hours a day.

Here’s hoping for more amenable weather on my free-evening-day (that’s tomorrow)!

Rain Is Everywhere!

Today’s Tip: Look for the silver lining in all circumstances. This rain will thaw the frost and bring spring growth. It will. It has to.

Photo by michaelaw

It’s actually only been raining since early this morning, but I am thoroughly sick of it! It was wet already with all the melting rain and too much frost in the ground for it to sink in. Some have said that this rain is good as it will warm the ground and allow all the moisture to be absorbed by the now-frozen soil. At 34*, I doubt it will get very far very fast.

Signs that we’ve had too much rain:

In trying to clean up the barn this morning, I swept up all the horse hair and loose hay chaff from the aisle. Once the aisle was all nice and clean, though wet, I could see it: water was actually flowing into the barn. It was raining rather heavily at that time, and I noticed that it did let up once the rain did. However, it was a little disheartening the that the pull of gravity and the river below was strong enough to cause water to actually flow through a building.

The vet came today. While I was sure he’d have good rubber boots on, I felt guilty making him trudge through over-the-ankle mud to get into the barn. I went out to find some pieces of plywood and laid them down so there was some relief from the gate to the barn door. It wasn’t pretty, but it did cut down on the splashing.

The horses came in last night. It wasn’t raining then, but it was cold (30’s) and quite windy with a forecast for rain during the night. I heard rain and thunder in the early morning hours. It had let up by the time I went out for the morning feeding, so they went out while I cleaned their stalls. It was still cold and windy and the rain had started back up when I finished, so back in they came. While I was cleaning up the hail started. It was only little ice pellets, nothing dangerous, but yet another joy to add to the list.

It wasn’t raining when the vet left, but Pretty had been sedated to have her teeth floated, so I didn’t want her out or to put the others out and risk having her upset when she still wasn’t steady on her feet. An hour later I put them out only  until the rain started yet another hour later. They may be in for a whole day more and two nights – tonight and tomorrow. Then I get to put three frisky equines out into knee-deep mud…like that’s not asking for a leg injury.

And then. The cherry on top. Not an hour ago I heard a sound that sounded like the dog scratching an itch. Only she was sitting right next to me, sound asleep. I went into the kitchen. It was a drip. A drip from the ceiling near the old chimney. There had been a leak there years before we bought the house, but it had been fixed. According to the inspector, it was adequately fixed. This is not what I felt like dealing with tomorrow.

On a drier note – I did body clip the other day. Touch ups still need to be done. Full story and photos to come.

Awesome Day :-)

Today’s Tip: There’s always a reason for a problem. Take the time to figure it, out and the problem may actually be fixed, not just masked.

Today was a great day.

People say things like this all the time. Other people. Not me. Not to say that good things don’t happen to me, but it’s not often that I look back and just feel everything went my way for a whole day. I’m a fan!

It was a gray, cloudy Monday, but I can get over that. I walked into the office this morning to the smell of freshly toasted homemade English muffins. Great smell!

I got our work email working again after almost two weeks without it working at all. Though the problem’s not entirely fixed, it’s functional and it’s a huge load off my shoulders.

I got a work project done more or less on time when it has been a week or more late every month for the last several months.

Then I got home! As I said, it was kind of dreary, but it was nice enough to spend some quality time outside. I finally got the Christmas wreath and tree into the compost pile. The wreath had been sitting, turning fried and brown for months and I just never got around to it! The tree, a real one, got stuck in a snowbank after Christmas. It was too dry (and too Christmasy!) to leave in the house long after Christmas, but it was still pretty great. For a while it looked quite nice in its snowbank, but lately the snowbank has run off to the river, but the tree, in all its brown and crispy glory, was left laying in the mud. Those things just make me feel great!

I also am starting to figure out Pretty’s problems. I’m actually embarrassed and ashamed to admit the biggest one. The other day I mentioned that she wasn’t right and there were a number of possible physical explanations. Teeth was one of them. Last night I noticed she had whole oats in her manure. That’s not like her. I’m pretty sure her teeth are not right. The part that makes me ashamed is that I have owned her for three years and never had her teeth checked. I never asked, but assumed they had been when she had her spring vet appointment. Then I just forgot to have them checked the last two years. Today I semi-confirmed my suspicion. We went for a short ride, but just bareback and with some clip-on reins attached to a rope halter. She had a little bit of head tossing, but it seemed like it was related to the, “What is this strange get-up she’s riding me in?” than pain. She just didn’t know how to react to it as well as her bridle. Not a bad lesson!

Another one of Pretty’s problems, I think, is that her gait is messed up because she’s trying to prance through the puddles! I think she’s afraid if she steps normally she’ll get too wet, so she’s short stepping and messing up her gait. It’s silly, but it’s not worth worrying about! Just another reason to hope the mud dries up – but not too dry – soon 🙂

I’m also about to sit down to a “real” dinner – meatloaf, sweet potatoes, and green beans – for the first time in a while. It may be almost 10 p.m. by the time I eat, but I cooked, my husband’s home for dinner, and I actually accomplished something besides deleting something from the DVR today!

Pretty/Ugly

Today’s Tip: Do your best to determine the source of the behavior rather than simply try to correct it.

I should have known that today wasn’t destined for the greatness I had hoped when it started with being awakened by a phone call from my boss. I don’t get calls at home for work related things often, so it’s not something I expect, nor do I mind much since it doesn’t happen often. Turned out it was a question about email. We’ve been down now for 12 days thanks to changing web hosts and moving our Google Apps account. HUGE headache, we’re totally at a loss for solving it…yadayadayada… (BTW if you know someone on Google Apps support please let me know.)

Anyway, it was a glorious day out. Sunshine. Moderately warm temps preceded by below-freezing temps at night (I like that, it seems to temper the melting/muck a little and I can keep my horses out since I don’t like them standing in muck 24/7). I also had more energy than I have on a Saturday in a while.

After breakfast, the dog and I went for a walk. She was thrilled. And muddy. I tried to decompress from work stress.

Then it was pony time! This weekend its Pretty’s extreme makeover weekend. We didn’t get too far today (that’s planned for tomorrow), but I did get the terrible tangles out of her mane and brushed her up a little. She still looks like a woolly mammoth in a manure swamp, but we’ll get there…eventually. They’ll probably all be inside tomorrow since it’s supposed to rain (40’s & rain don’t mix), so she’ll get deep-cleaned and body clipped then!

Once she was de-scuzified, we went for a ride. I was so excited because all the snow and ice is gone from the road and it’s no longer sloppy-mucky. We were going to go down the road and just have a lovely afternoon. We did some groundwork in the driveway and some stretches. That’s real progress for me! I kind of lack patience for that kind of stuff…it’s a problem. With the saddle pad I’m using right now, it’s supposed to warm up a little before you can fully tighten the girth (some gel stuff that has to conform), so it’s a good way to “force” myself to do it. Then we got on and she stood well. It was going to be a good ride.

It wasn’t. We got halfway down the driveway and she spun and kind of cantered/rocked/bucked back to the end of the driveway by the barn. This went on for about 20 minutes. And I hated it all the more because I wasn’t really sure of the cause. Pretty does have an attitude. If she doesn’t want to, she doesn’t. However, I did find some white hairs all along one side where a saddle panel would be, so something didn’t fit her well last year. I don’t THINK it was the saddle I was using, but it could have been or it could have aggravated something that was already sore. The bridle I had on her doesn’t fit her all that well, but I thought I adjusted everything so that it wouldn’t pinch her poor little ears. And I tucked her abnormally fluffy forelock out of the way (she doesn’t like it hitting her ears). I have only ridden her on gravel this year and been lax about picking feet (they’re always muddy…eeeewww!), so she could have had sore feet. I also mean to have the vet check teeth in a couple of weeks, so she could have a problem in there. I have no reason to rule out any kind of pain.

The general rule of thumb is to check all physical possibilities before blaming the horse. I do plan to work to rule things out. However, the fact still remains that I believe she was acting out of attitude. Evee, she’s my drama queen. She’ll convince you she has a broken leg and she’ll be legitimately acting out of pain. Over-acting, but she really does hurt. If Pretty hurt, she was just using it as an excuse to get out of what she didn’t want to do, not the instinctive reaction of pain. I’m fairly certain of this partly from a “vibe” (which isn’t a good indicator, but I believe it!) and because if we were near the barn, she didn’t react the same way. She was still kind of agitated, but not acting like a crazy horse.

We did spend about 40 minutes riding. This was not the kind of behavior she could be put away on, even if it was pain. But I did my best to minimize what I asked of her so as to not cause more pain (if that was a player in this game of rodeo horse).

My dreams of a casual spring ride down the road were trampled in the slushy snow drift that remains on the side of the driveway, but we still accomplished a goal for the day. The goal was to just get out the driveway without stopping and freaking out, turn on my terms, and return at a relatively relaxed walk. We did that and we called it a day. Here’s hoping the next ride has nothing to do with today’s attitude…