Posts Tagged ‘barn’

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.

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Never Assume…

Today’s Tip: Never assume that your fence, or really any facilities, are in sound working order. Read on to find out how some unexpected damage occurred.

Today was I was getting on a horse no matter what! It helped that we got out of work on time and I didn’t have any other seriously pressing stuff that had to be done.

Of course Jack Frost thought it would be SUPER funny if today was in the 30’s, so it was a little chilly for my taste. Had I not been so darn stubborn, it probably wouldn’t have been so bad. Choosing to just wear jeans with no other layers, my legs were a little numb (yes, I’m a little bit of a wuss…). Oh well, that’s what horse people do!

Today was the day to shake the dust off Pretty and get her moving. I love that horse. I’m used to horses that are pretty good, but do little things like take a few steps forward when you get on, sidestep at the scary pine trees, get distracted about being alone, spook at the…well…I don’t know what. Pretty did have some issues when we got down almost to the river (the very back of the pasture), but mostly she just went where she was told, when she was told to go there. I didn’t think I’d ever have one of those!

We do have our own challenges. Pretty has a weak neck. It’s long and thin, but not very muscled. A long mane also makes her look kind of droopy if she doesn’t hold it well. So our first goal is to try and build some muscle in that neck. Classy needs the same work, but he doesn’t have as far to go. She also lacks, as many Tennessee Walking Horses do, a foundation for actually getting on the bit and truly collecting. It doesn’t help that she’d naturally rather be strung out, she’s just long and loose like that, but we’ll get there! She did pretty well for a first time out.

You know when I mentioned we were almost down to the river? Yeah…that’s because I noticed that the lowest wire of the electric fence was loose. I followed the fence down the long end to the back of the pasture and it was drooping the whole way, even down to the ground in some places. Why? Not really sure. I think the snow might have just weighted it down too much. I don’t know why it didn’t in the past.

As much as I trust my fence to hold my horses in where they belong, I’m constantly reminded that it’s not going to stay dependable on its own. I’m glad I was out there today to notice. Better get it fixed before the horses go back out on pasture in the summer!

This same concept also applies to other stuff in the barn and pasture. I’ve found nail heads sticking out that my horses never found, but a guest horse did. Found things sticking out in weird angles on doorways that were causing strange cuts on lower legs. A friend recently mentioned finding some “stray” sticks left in the pasture after a tree clean-up that were causing scratches when her horse rolled on top of them.

Just be sure to check your pasture. Want to multitask? Take a ride around the pasture, go for a walk and get some exercise of your own, or do whatever else makes sense where you are! Even if you don’t own your horse’s home – that doorway story, that was where I was boarding. Check your horse’s space there too!

Down & Dirty

Today’s Tip: Sometimes there are horse care tasks that are far less fun than riding, but they must take precedence because they ensure the health and comfort of our horses. Read on for what fun tasks I got to do today.

They drive me crazy. Those people who think that horses are glamorous. They either think that people who ride are snobby rich girls or  that horses are some kind of magical creatures that poop out pansies or something like that. Those people should have hung out with me today.

I was busy during the day, so I didn’t really get to it until about 5 p.m. (yea daylight savings time! I love having sun in the evening again!). Then I cleaned the barn, the paddock, and a mane.

If I could change one thing about my horse setup, it would be my barn. There are a number of flaws to it, but one is that it has a smooth concrete floor and the horses have to step up into the barn. That means that in the winter, especially when it has just snowed, the floor is pretty slippery for them. You know those days when the snow packs and balls up in their feet? Now imagine a horse on smooth concrete. It’s kind of like reverse ice skating. Not pretty. My solution is to toss wet shavings on the floor, especially where they step in, so that they freeze to the floor and provide a non-slip area to step onto. Pretty, no; functional, yes.

That said, when everything thaws and then I just have a layer of wet shavings on my barn floor, it’s neither pretty nor functional. So time to clean it up!

ManureThen I took my steel rake out to the paddock. Keeping paddocks clean of manure is admirable. I wish I kept up with it better than I do. However, it is seriously impossible in a Minnesota winter. Most of the time, it freezes to the ground basically the moment it hits the ice-coated ground. Poopsicles. Not clean-up-able. Which leaves Manure Mountain come spring. Short of heavy equipment, which I don’t own, my solution is to rake it out, spread it out, and hope it decomposes faster that way. Thankfully I don’t have so much that I don’t have “clean” places to feed hay!

My only hands-on time with the horses was attacking Pretty’s mane. Pretty has her name for a reason, and part of it is her Friesian-like hair. As beautiful as it can be, it can also be a complete disaster. That’s what it has been for the last few months. She rolls and so does her hair. I should have taken a picture so you could understand the horridness of it. Good news/bad news is that I only got about a third done with the nasty part of it. Bad, obviously, because I have lots more to do. Good because maybe I can grab a picture tomorrow!

Horse owners know what I’m talking about. They know that this “down and dirty” stuff is what it means to own a horse and for the serious ones, it’s also part of what we love. For those who think horses are glamorous – I got a mountain side home for you to come visit, right next to Manure Mountain!