Monday, July 13, 2009

Jazzin' it Up

I turned Jazz out for the first time a few days ago - and it became obvious that she'd never been turned out a day in her life. Now, I don't know that for a fact; all I know is, she flipped out and I was afraid of what she would do to herself.
First, she looked around and bolted - running meaninglessly all around the paddock. When she encountered the fence, she pulled up short, nearly smashing head-first into the boards. Then she thought she could try climbing over the fence; to go where, I don't know.
Then she decided to try kicking at the fence, which can shatter it (and her, too).
By this time she had been out maybe ten minutes and was drenched, lathered, and you could see veins under every inch of her skin. She was breathing too hard, as if she were hyperventilating, wild-eyed, and confused.
I decided I had better step in before she injured herself, so I grabbed a lead line and stepped into the paddock. She ran up to me, begging to go back to her stall.
First we hosed her off with cool water and then we stalled her, and she settled down.
I've never had one freak out about turnout like this. But then, Gunny and Major had each other, and she is "all alone."
Of course, she has us, but we're strangers to her.
So we're taking her for walks, and giving her about 5-10 minutes of supervised turnout. She is eating better than my others did at this stage; she nibbles her high-fat feed throughout the day, nibbles her hay, and nibbles the grass. For a couple of weeks, at first, my geldings ate hardly anything. That was scary.
The trainer told us he doesn't feed his race horses baled hay; only hay cubes or chopped hays. So making the switch is a big harry deal. So I got her some alfalfa cubes and I soak them in water, and she eats that too.
She seems to be a little better every day, with a few minutes more each day of paddock time.
She can't stand to be alone in the barn, either, so when I turnout the geldings for the night, one of my mares, Princess, has to come in and babysit Jazz for the night. Princess has quite an attitude about this, and doesn't care two cents about Jazz, only her boyfriend, Jett! Mares..................
The geldings don't seem to think she is such a big deal. I turned Major out in to an adjoining paddock, but had to walk him over to sniff her. He sniffed her, and then turned around and walked away, as if to say, "yeah, so?" Jett did give
her a warning nip and squeal. Jazz met Gunny in the barn (see above) and he just had a sniff for her, too. Then he just laid his ears back a little.
Maybe that is what is making her nuts in the paddock; being virtually ignored. Maybe she's just looking for attention from the others, and mad because they wouldn't give it! Hah!
Nevertheless, we know she'll settle in and be just fine.
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