Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Shoes

The horses had a visit from their second favorite guy today...... the Farrier! (David.) Their first favorite guy is the VET! (Paul.)
Jazz, Jett, and Gunny got new shoes. My horses get more expensive shoes than me, and more often, also.
Montana had his racing shoes pulled off and will go barefoot for a few days to see how he is.
Spencer had his abscess opened so it drains better. Luckily it is not as bad a the one Gunny had earlier this summer when he was so ill from it. Spencer will go barefoot also; as he is going to another owner shortly.
I decided to try an expirament with Major and leave his shoes off also to see if he gets lame as the others tend to. He seems to be a little tougher than the rest and so I think he might be ok.


All the horses are growing their winter coats and getting fuzzy. Except Jett. he never grows much winter coat. I am dreading cold weather and blanketing all the time. Oh well. I must endure.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Ain't Misbehavin' ?


This is Princess. She is NOT one of my TBs, obviously, because she is a Paint. And a princess. A diva.


I've had "Prinny" about three years now. She originally belonged to one of my students, who then grew up, moved on to college, and her Dad called me and gave me the horse. They had paid a LOT of money for her.


But she was now older, and they knew I would give her an excellent home and everything. So I became her owner. Generally, she is a nice horse; she doesn't get along with other horses at horse shows or trail rides very well and can show her diva side at these public events.


In these pictures, I am using her to give my student a lesson - her first lesson ever.

Ok - so the point of all this is to tell what she did today. Rotten............
This same student came over for her lesson, but we decided to go on a trail instead. My student has been showing real progress and has been looking forward to graduating to riding outside the arena. So I put her on Jett and I saddled Prinny for myself.
Off we go onto the trail; which goes right past the pasture, with the remaining three horses not in the barn.
Dow the hill to us the come, galloping and making a fuss!
Princess freaked - freaked - getting all riled about our little "red-haired snipett" QH "Quarter Pony". (For Sale.) First she acted like she was going to buck. Then rear. Then buck. I pulled her head around to my knee, and she started backing up into the high tensile fence; bounced off of it, and tried hopping around again, all in an attempt to get me off.
Finally, she threw herself down to her knees with a huge lurch, seemingly to toss me off the front! I have never -!
So I decided to quit fighting with her (My student was behind me on Jett, trying to stay calm as Jett tried to scramble out of the way in the ruckus.)
Off I jumped, just missing getting tangled in my stirrups and reins as she got up and I got off.
She knows better so I whacked her once or twice and hollered at her.
She straightened up, but I had to lead her until we got out of sight into the woods away from our little Red Haired Snipett's (Millie is her name, turd) screeching, dancing, galloping, and general "alpha mare gone bonkers because horses from her herd left the pasture without her" type of behaviour.

The rest of our trail ride was relaxing and fun, with no incidents. I had to explain about punishing horses and how I rarely have to do it, and that it makes me feel terrible, but that when a seasoned trail/lesson horse throws a fit and KNOWS BETTER, or does anything dangerous and generally BAD, a little punishment is in order.
I also explained that I always "make up with" my horses after punishing them. I always end on a loving, positive note.

I hate it when these things happen. I really do. I think the thing is, I have been working so hard in the arena, and neglecting their trail riding excursions and so they all got freaked when we went out. Anyways. So once again I narrowly avoid falling off and busting my butt for the umpteenth time. Yippe.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Raising Money for the Horses

Here are a few of the kids in my county's 4-H group at my barn, making a poster to sell raffle tickets to raise money for the NC Equine Rescue League. We're raffling off a Russel Watlington framed print, and a Mary Kay gift basket plus some cool horsey T-Shirts. If you live in NC (or not)and want to contribute, contact me. Tickets are $1 each, or $5 for 6 tickets.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Note To Self.......

In the future, do not turn out horses in the barnyard, no matter how elderly and feeble they may be!



Before I explain, let me just say that one of the reasons I love the horse world and horses so much is because you always have something to learn no matter how long you've had horses or been riding or teaching or managing a barn...... something always happens that you don't expect that keeps you from ever "arriving". It's great! Keeps you humble, and keeps you spontaneous.

Ok, now for the explanation - Our barn is entirely fenced in, with two smallish paddocks to the left and right of it; with immediate acess by gate into the barnyard. Our two larger fields are further off from the barn. We use the paddocks for quarantine for the thoroughbreds and other new horses; or for sacrifice areas when we're trying to grow grass in the pastures. Right now I have Major and Jazz in one, while the pasture is rested; and the two new TBs we brought down last week in the other. (One of those TBs is scheduled to go to another owner this week.) The other horses are turned out down in the big pasture along the creek.

So I have been turning Cisco, my re-rescued rescue I picked up a couple of weeks ago, into the barnyard at night. I am hesitant to turn him out with the younger, feistey, playful TBs. He is a little feeble with his arthritis, and just needs to take it easy, and gain weight. I shut all the stall doors, tack, feed, and bathroom doors and let him wander around, eat his hay, munch grass, and come and go as he pleases. So far, so good.

Until this morning.

Each of our paddocks and pastures has it's own hydrant for water. Each paddock has it's own water tank, also. There is also a hydrant in front of the barn. This morning, as I walked up to the barn entry, I saw the hydrant had been yanked up out of the ground and water was pouring out like a geyser, and there was a resulting lake and waterfall flowing down through Jazz and Major's paddock. They were standing there, staring at it.

I stopped. I looked at Cisco. Cisco looked at me. "What happened last night, Cisco?" (I don't know why, but I always have these one sided conversations with my horses.)

I imagined Cisco saying back to me: "Don't look at me, Mom. I didn't do it! Look at me, half crippled with arthritis. Do I look like I could do that?"

Cisco and I walked to the feed room, where he watches me fix his breakfast and dinner every day, and then I called Kevin; who rushed right over.

There is no way to deny, Cisco had to have done it. The hydarant was broken at the water main several feet underground. So we shut off the water and will have to get to fixing it later after we deal with baleing our hayfield today........

After concluding that Cisco had to have done it, of course we checked him over for cuts or whatever on his head. He must have gotten his halter stuck on it and yanked it out. Even though he is elderly, and slowed down from the arthritis, he has been gaining lots of weight and getting his strength back. And, he is a very big horse, being appendix QH; and 16 hands. I usually don't turn horses out wearing halters, as they tend to loose them, break them, and it can be dangerous. I just opened Cisco's stall last night before I left and didn't remove his halter. Geesh.

Yep, that's my "kids". Keeping me on my toes, and keeping me wondering what is going to happen next. Fun times!
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Friday, September 11, 2009

There and back....... again.

This week Kevin and I had to take a "lay-up" (recovering from a surgery or other injury) back up to PA to his trainer. We picked up "Song of the West" and he stayed in our barn for the afternoon before continuing up to PA Wednesday night.
It was a little nerve racking to know he is insured for one million dollars; and I was hyper vigilant about making sure things were quiet and peaceful so he didn't get injured, banged up, or stressed out. He was a little (actually HUGE - almost 18 hands) angel and transported easily and was delivered to his owner/trainer in fine condition.
We stayed up at the track for a few hours; poking around the place. I snuck up trackside and took some pics of the horses being exercised there.


The trainer told us the resurfaced the track in August and the new surface was making many of the horses sore.


We grabbed some breakfy in the track kitchen, and watched as "West" had a procedure done to a lump on his neck where he got some injections with "dirty" needles during his surgery a few months ago. He's going to be fine.


Here is the beauty we brought back - "Secret Time." I think we're going to call him "Montana"; but I am also thinking about "Senator" or "Honor." Something noble and strong. Because that is his demeanor - noble and strong. He will be re-homed once I school him a little bit and see what he is going to do. Someone needs to stop me before I really go overboard with horses, here.................

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Saturday, September 5, 2009


This is Cisco and me. I got Cisco out of a bad situation about 2 years ago. He's in his upper 20's. I sold him last December to a lady with a young son.


She called me a few weeks ago and said she didn't want him anymore, she couldn't "deal" with it. I went and picked him up and found him much altered and very unhappy. He was so eager to go he loaded himself into our trailer and was totally elated when we arrived home with him.


He was thin, his coat in grody condition, and quite lame in one of his front legs; I knew he had a little arthritis but this was much worse than it was when I sold him.

I put an ad on craigslist to see if I could find another slower, retirement type home for him and the only response I got was "why don't you put it down already....." I confess I sent back a not so thankful email to that person.

Looks like Cisco will stay with me indefinitely, and we'll move him to my parent's big field with their draft mare and Pony Butt.

How could I even think of putting him down only because he inconveniences me?

Just look at that face.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Surprise in the Hay

If you live near or around Virginia, you may have see this magazine before: (The Virginia Horse Journal.)
Last year, I submitted a story for it, and they published it, and paid me 50 whole dollars.
Here is the story for your enjoyment: A Surprise in the Hay.

It was a hot summer afternoon at the farm where I work, taking care of a group of mares and young horses. As I was making my rounds, I noticed the hay barn door was open. I peered into the dark interior, where 200 bales of freshly cut hay had been stacked a few days before. I saw the bales had fallen down, and many were broken and falling apart. Irritated, I started to shut the door when a movement caught my eye. I saw a dark shape, a groundhog, perhaps, move in the hay.
I looked closer and realised the dark shape was Tallie, a little filly. She was upside down on her back under the pile of hay.
Frantically, I began lugging the bales of hay off of her, staying clear of her legs. I carefully checked her over for fractures and other injuries, and hauled her over onto her side. Apparently, she was quite stunned and did not budge an inch for about 30 minutes.
I figured she climbed up the stack of hay and fell with most of it coming down on top of her. When she finally stepped out of the barn, I hosed her off, and watched her walk around and eat before leaving.
Needless to say, the barn door got a better latch, and Tallie has been nowhere near the inside of the hay barn since!

Yep; I got paid $50 for that. I do indeed work taking care of a group of Tennessee Walkers on a farm near mine; and Tallie is one of my favorites. She has the most wonderful, loving, people-friendly personalities ever! She is all grown up now, five years old, (I think) and just as pretty as she can be. This was her little bit of fame.
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