I wanted to share how pleasant it was today when Trixie came by to trim the horses’ hooves. When it was Apache’s turn, he was so relaxed that he kept leaning his big horse head on my shoulder. When I had to move, Fiona then showed up, and after a little fooling around, she let Apache rest his head on her. Such friendship.
I made him happy by letting Apache graze while Spice got looked at. At least he let me get a couple of pictures of his Arabian-esque profile and his newly slim physique.
We are considering letting Fiona become a mommy to a pony mule. Wouldn’t that be cute? Another buddy for the rest of my life!
Sorry for all the horse posts. Apache’s energy really helps me feel centered and grounded. Who can’t use that today? Plus, horses smell so good and let you brush their hair.
Apache is one of those horses who does better around his friends. He’s braver than he thinks, though. Today we walked around, and he happily investigated a truck and two giant tanks full time f a mystery liquid (probably fertilizer). He noshed on grass, since he’s grass deprived.
But, as soon as I walked over to the side of the property where Spice was, he remembered to be scared. I just had to laugh as he called to her, pranced, and was totally ignored.
I reminded him that Fiona and I were still there, and he settled down, eventually. Then, when I put him in his pen, he realized Fiona wasn’t there! Neigh, canter, tail swish!
They acted like star-crossed lovers when she came in with me. Then I got to hug each of them a lot. I sure love them.
Now that I’m all goal focused, becoming a better horseman is something I’ll focus on. Did I do great today? I give myself a C+. I didn’t get frustrated, though, and that helps.
Now that it’s getting near the end of the year, I guess we can look back and see what we’ve accomplished. I’m grateful that so many of us are still here, and sad to have lost others in this pandemic. But, in a more cheerful vein, I learned only today what my best accomplishment of 2020 has to be.
Happy Horse News
Yes, today at his farrier visit, Apache was declared to be in his best physical shape ever. Trixie kept repeating how good he looked. He also is in great mental shape, because she also remarked many times about how well behaved he was.
His feet look really great, and that’s a tribute to how carefully Sara and I have managed him since he got all lame after eating spring grass in the big pasture. I’ll be able to ride him now! I’m very grateful for all of Sara’s and Trixie’s help and advice (and everybody else’s, too), because apparently putting him in the little pasture with poor fodder and supplementing with last year’s hay was what he needed.
Not only did he lose the fat, but his coat is in much better shape now, too. Even his winter coat is shiny and soft. That may be the result of worming him sufficiently, for which I thank Sara very much. His mane and tail are growing back in well, too.
Best of all, now that he’s lost weight, Trixie can see what’s going on with his skeleton and musculature much better. This let her figure out what might have been causing his tail to veer to the left so significantly. So, she was able to don some gloves, put on some lotion, and manipulate some “intimate” areas to where they are looser, which loosened the tail.
We decided not to photograph exactly HOW happy the manipulation made him, but it was mighty impressive. We thought it might hurt, but apparently it was quite the opposite.
Through all the prodding, tail pulling, and leg stretching, Apache was a true gentleman gelding, albeit a happy one. In fact, when a leg stretch didn’t quite work, he cooperatively picked his foot up and angled it over to Trixie as if to say, “Try again, I’ll do better this time.” At a certain point, Trixie and I just stood there grinning at how great he was doing. She said that this is why she does what she does, seeing an animal with an improved quality of life like Apache has.
Not to be outdone, Fiona was quite a little lady as she got her tiny little feet trimmed. It had been twelve weeks, and all the little issues she’d had were also completely grown out. It amazes me how Trixie can sit on the ground and trim Fiona’s feet, with Fiona just standing there and picking up whatever foot is asked for. This is most un-donkey-like!
Even Fiona’s health seems better. Her normally pretty dull winter coat has shiny parts, too, though she’s still a bit plump. It just doesn’t take much to feed a donkey, even one as active as Fiona.
Trixie and I talked about getting her a little cart and sending her over to learn driving (cart, not car), if Trixie’s first donkey-cart training client goes well. I think that would be incredibly fun. However, we’re pretty sure Fiona won’t be thrilled at the idea of having to work for a living, having gotten by on cuteness for all these years.
I am SO proud of having the patience and receiving the good advice needed to help my horse friend back into good health. He’s back to cheerfully going wherever I lead him and doing whatever I ask him to. He and Fiona run happily together. And I get the benefit of the love my horse and donkey give me.
I’m baffled sometimes about how humans managed to connect so deeply with some other animals.
Fiona wanted to see my sister so badly this evening that she barged into the hay area just to be near her. Why? She’s full of love and wanted to share? I don’t know. But I do know equines sense our feelings.
And tonight, though I want to go to sleep, I can’t move, because two dogs are glued to me. They’ve done this all weekend, perhaps somehow sensing I could use some comfort.
Yep. There’s a real connection between humans and animals. Even the chickens! It’s made my life better.
I’m still laughing inside after a fun evening romp with our trusty steeds, even though there was some drama in the middle. And, um, my hand hurts.
We met at 7:30 to do our evening horse chores together, which we always enjoy. Everything went fine, and we paused afterwards to watch Spice and Lakota walking together like old friends, and to look at how beautiful the sunset made sone eastern storm clouds look.
Suddenly, we heard coughing, rather loud coughing. Exchanging a look, we hurried toward the sound. There was Apache, continuing to cough. He was a great example of how coughs spread droplets, as we could see spray going way out.
Where was that spray landing? Why, on the hay bales on the other side of the fence, the ones encased in green netting. Uh oh. We zipped into the paddock, where Sara opened his mouth. My job was to see if there was any green stuff. Like the non-horse person I am, I stuck my hand in, to feel.
That wasn’t smart. I discovered just how powerful horse jaws are and how sharp their teeth are. Its just a little chomp, but I have a feeling it will look worse tomorrow.
Sara gave Apache a treat, and he ate it just fine, so he dodged that bullet. I leaned on him to get the owie out of my hand and thank him for being okay. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement.
Fiona was done with all the drama, and decided to roll in her favorite dust patch. I was so glad I could get some pictures.
When she was done, she sat and rested for a while. We couldn’t stop laughing at her pose. She looked at us like we were crazy. Apache kept coming between us to make sure we were okay.
Then the wind came up, and we all ran around like kids. Me, Sara, Apache, Fiona. Just living for the moment. I’m still having fun!
It’s been a good day. Sending love to all. Back to icing my hand.
I think the long saga of me needing hay for Apache is over for a while, at least. It’s nice to have kind Master Naturalist friends to come to my rescue.
I thought I was getting square bales from Pamela, who lives nearby, but it turned out her baling guy would make no fewer than 200 bales (understandably). I just don’t have the funds for that.
So then my other Master Naturalist friend, Cindy, said she had some old hay for my preferred price (her new hay was too expensive, and besides, the older the better for Apache). That’s probably the best for us, anyway.
So, after work, Chris and I took a trailer down to Cindy’s place, which is even more beautiful than I imagined. It’s a Suna Dream Property. While I enjoyed her Tennessee Walking Horses, Chris loaded the hay with the help of another Master Naturalist, Sam, and another nice helper.
They’d already taken the hay out of the hayloft, so it went quickly.
We got to look around and chat, too, which was so nice. I miss my friends! It was worth sweating away in masks! It’s a fine bonus to getting the hay. Also, I was so busy looking around and chatting that I didn’t get many pictures.
I also didn’t get any pictures of unloading the hay. At least here’s a picture or two of the loaded hay.
I went to get Lee’s brother a burger, and the onion rings took so long that I totally missed unloading the hay! But the food was good, so yay. And I did get photos of the beautiful stacks Chris made.
Speaking of beautiful, I tried to get a gorgeous picture of Fiona and yet another fine sunset, but every time I stepped back to take a picture, she followed me. This is my best try!
By the way, my friends’ beautiful horse property is for sale. Want to bring your horses and come live near me?
Here’s another post high on imagery and low on content. Because I’ve been out as late as possible lately working with the horses, and because the dusty air has made for such pretty sunsets, I decided to do a fun exercise and take pictures of the barn residents and caretakers last night. Have fun with moody lighting and sweaty masked caretakers.
Excited about photo time.
Sunset and horse and donkey butts.
Very clean Fiona.
Suna unable to get the light adjusted. But cute sloth mask.
Big Red insisted on her own photo. So dramatic.
Socially distant Sara, with Spice and Lakota.
This is how you have fun in the hot Texas summer of 2020.
I’ve been being really careful with Apache since that day he couldn’t walk earlier this week. He’s rested and had some more pain meds.
This morning when I gave them their hay, I noticed him walking over to pester the chicken. Yes!
Tonight Chris and I went to feed the horses, and cows were getting moved, so I needed to take Apache and Fiona out. Apache walked like a normal horse and didn’t try to stop every three steps to eat. Whew.
He just seemed happy to be out with all of us humans (Ralph and Chris and Tyler were all talking about fencing). Honestly, just spending time with Fiona and Apache is good for my soul.
We did get an appointment with Trixie to come out Monday and try out a boot. After that, if he still needs more, we’ve had some great other veterinary suggestions to try, so we won’t stop our battle with navicular disease.
I hope all of you who celebrate Independence Day in The US have a safe and fun holiday. And now for the news update.
Guinea Drama Part 2
I went out to feed the birds yesterday, and lo and behold, there were only five guinea keats. I fed them and was confused. So when Chris got home, I asked if we weren’t supposed to have seven. He said yep. Crap.
I then looked more carefully at their cage. Since it got put in the chicken pen, it’s been on grass. That made what WERE small holes into bigger holes. Two of the little dickenses had escaped.
About that time, Alfred skipped by looking very happy. Well, there was one keat. We still haven’t found the other.
As we were standing around lamenting the loss of the guinea fowl, Lee asked when we could combine the two chicken groups. I said now, I guess. So everyone is together now.
The older ones definitely are the bosses, but they aren’t attacking or anything, other than Clarence, showing what a manly rooster he is. He and Bruce are okay.
This means we can add our new nesting boxes and expand the run some more. We’re working on that, and more shade, today.
How’s Apache, You Ask?
I’ve been walking him a little bit every day. Today Chris came over to observe his gait, and we are pleased to report he’s walking pretty normally.
So we let him and Fiona enjoy some green grass and loving for a while. They’re so good, just relaxing with us.
And you can sure tell Apache has lost weight. That’s one fine butt with no belly showing through!
And of course we need to end with the cutest thing ever.
No, this is not a report about a book I read in high school that’s eerily reminiscent of today. I’m just updating on the ranch animals.
We continue to monitor the heck out of him. He’s walking fairly normally, so we will slowly start exercising him. Yesterday Sara and I walked him around for about ten minutes. And yes, he stuffed as much green grass in himself as he could.
He’s on a different feed, new supplements and the Buteless herbs. And he gets his coronal band painted most days. Pampered!
As for Fiona, she loathes sunscreen. Sigh.
Today we’re going to get a lot of straw that we can leave out for them to chomp during the day, since Apache and Fiona are in the dry lot a while longer.
The Other Horses
Today I tried a real ride on Lakota, the dreamy palomino. It was interesting to ride such a well trained horse. He sure backed up well, and he trotted over obstacles!
The ride was helpful for me, because I was able to convince him eating grass was not on the agenda. And my use of the reins got better, thanks to Sara’s help. Making strides!
Spice is getting fungus medication and it’s making her look worse, so far. But that may be appropriate. She and Lakota are now eating down the grass in the small paddock, so it will be bad enough for poor Apache, eventually. Ugh.
The guinea keats are growing like crazy and starting to lose hair on their necks, as you can see here.
They’re still pretty ugly, but will be beautiful adults.
Clarence the rooster has finally been accepted by Bertie and Ginger. He’s usually out with them now. I just hope he starts fertilizing them soon. Poor Fancy Pants keeps brooding.
The others are developing personalities. Hedy seems to be the boss. I see her eating oyster shells, so I hope that means she’s a hen. Her tail is suspiciously attractive.
And Bruce never ceases to amuse me. He’s bossing like a boss and fluffing his crazy feather variety all the time. And trying to crow (no luck yet from either rooster).