Posts Tagged ‘horse care’

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!

My Love-Hate Relationship with Winter

Today’s Tip: Winder has it’s problems, but learn to love its beauty!

I have a confession. I like, nay, LOVE winter. That’s not something one here’s often. Especially not in Minnesota. Most especially not from horse people in Minnesota. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s icy. And it’s dark. But snow is one of the most magical substances in all of creation. It’s pristine and bright and fluffy. A bright, crisp-but-not-too-cold morning with hoar frost covering the trees and making the entire landscape shine with it’s white brilliance.

Despite my love for winter, though, winter screws up my plans. A week ago one of my automatic waterers froze. We’ve had problems with it for the last two years but thought it was finally fixed. Friday morning, 10 minutes after I was supposed to leave for work, I was trying in vain to thaw it and then dragging out the water tank, filling it, and setting up the tank heater. Monday night, after the temps went back up, I did get it thawed out, but not without winter throwing a big wrench in my life for four days first.

Since we went back to “standard time” in November, winter has also been wreaking havoc on my evening plans. As winter progressed, it also effected my mornings. I get up in the dark. Feed the horses in the dark. Come home after dark. Try to check on the horses and do evening chores in the dark. I don’t have outdoor lights, so there’s very little I can do, including ride, most weeknights. I also can’t check on the horses as thoroughly as I’d like to. I can’t drag myself out of bed in the dark morning hours. I get depressed from lack of sunshine. Boo to dark winters…

Tonight’s problem was manure management. The horses “wander” less in the paddock, so they poop in the same small areas, which is usually right by the barn because it’s out of the wind. Tonight was warm (23* or so) and humid, so it actually smells like manure now. I tried to clean some up, but it’s still frozen into a field of tiny poopcicles. There they will stay until spring when it turns into a muddy quagmire for the duration of spring.

Oh farm life…