With all these skinny new horses, we have to keep an eye on their health. Kathleen was getting worried about some cuts on poor Mabel’s legs, and we both thought she seemed sad. We weren’t sure if she was sick or what.
So today they took her to yet another equine facility, and Kathleen liked them a lot. Mabel got all bandaged up so she can heal from what are apparently rope burns from being tied, from a previous owner. That makes us all even more glad she is here now. Other than her weight, though, she’s okay. Her sadness is just her taking time to adjust to her new surroundings, which makes sense.
I think she already feels better, because while confined to the mini-pen we discovered can be made from our flexible gates, she actually came up to me and asked to be rubbed on. What a good sign!
Meanwhile, my little pony Andrew (not really a pony) is also feeling better. Today’s the first day his eye hasn’t been all goopy in a week! I’m sure he’s glad people aren’t messing with his eyelids anymore!
Today Lee had to take his car in for recalls in Rockdale, so I followed him and took the opportunity to get horse supplies from Tractor Supply. The highlight, for my steeds, was new hanging feed bowls for them, like Kathleen’s horses have. These hang on the fence and give them a chance to eat at a different height, which I read is good for them.
I also got a different girth for Drew, the kind the nephew recommended, and wormer for Fiona. She will love THAT. Plus, I got new treats. No sugar, low carb ones for a certain tubby paint horse. He ate one, so I guess they’re ok!
Don’t worry, dog lovers, my next blog will feature them!
Here we are at mid week, and things have calmed down at least a little. We’re getting into a routine with all the new horses and our very workable facility. While there will be improvements, like more roof and the tack room, what we have now feels quite luxurious!
It is so nice to have the round pen right there to warm up horses and to work with Drew. I’m happy to say that he is a lot better on the lunge line and now walks and trots more than trotting and cantering. Plus, he is starting to figure out that I am asking him to transition. He is also being a much better citizen when walking on a lead, and only crowds me in crowded spots. There’s work to do, but also progress. On the other hand, I have not found his “back” button.
I’ve been riding Apache as often as possible. Yesterday, he acted like his right back hoof hurt and did not want to trot in the round pen, so I’m watching for another abscess. Yet, we went for a very long trail ride all over the cow pasture, front yard, and such, and he did just great. There’s a lot of progress with him, too, and I’m relaxing my feet more in the Western stirrups.
The new horses of Kathleen’s are enjoying their lives very much. She’s been riding Dusty for hours every day, and they also are making huge progress. It’s fun to watch them. She walks all the horses daily and does tons of grooming. She’s the horsiest!
Mabel has been looking sort of droopy, though, so she’s going to the vet ahead of schedule, just to be sure she is all right.
As for me, I know I am not equipped to train a young horse myself, so I have been talking to a local trainer whose philosophy and ideas agree with mine about getting him started the right way. She’s the woman who was the judge at the Working Equitation show we went to a while back. Starting in October, Drew will spend some time learning manners and skills, and I will also learn how to work with him the way he’s been trained.
In the meantime, I’m going to start going to lessons with Apache, to help the two of us get more in tune and refine my riding and his horsing. I really look forward to finally getting some real lessons in horsemanship, after all these years of not doing it. It’s an investment into my future retirement fun. I can’t wait for Apache to get more balanced, so I can ride him at a trot and canter and maybe help get some of that weight off.
I lied. The sun was not fun, and I got pretty overheated, but it was another day out with the horses. Around mid-afternoon, Trixie showed up to finish working on the horses, which she couldn’t do last week because of the rain. Sara came over to join the fun, so it was a day of friends, too.
The buckskin buddies did very well getting trimmed. They knew what was going on, and handled it great. I know they’ll feel better with more even feet.
Trixie looked over the two new horses, and that provided some surprises. She estimated Mabel to be around 9 years old, younger than we were told, but she thought Amaretto was WAY older than we heard, like late twenties! Kathleen was absolutely right to call her “Grandma,” so she may have a new barn name! Both horses need to eat, which we knew, and she agreed that Mabel is probably a gaited horse, from her looks. Her guess was a Tennessee Walking Horse. That would be okay with us!
Mabel is not very friendly, though she’s compliant and calm. I hope she comes out of her shell when she realizes she has a home and is safe now. Anyway, Apache and Fiona’s trims were calm and normal. They sure are good guys.
Drew was a whole ‘nother story. It’s a good thing he didn’t need a trim, because he needs work on picking up his back feet. Trixie showed us a technique for practicing that without risking getting kicked, which I was really grateful for. I’m thinking our Andrew needs to get some training by someone who knows what they are doing.
Wait, what’s that you see Drew and Trixie in? Is that a round pen? It is! While Trixie was working, the panels that we aren’t using as cattle fencing magically turned into their actual purpose, a portable round pen! All it needed was the spare gate, and boom, it was set up. It will most definitely work for now, and make me feel a lot better working with Drew.
Trixie was kind enough to bring her lunging/long-line training equipment to show me how to use it with Drew (after a debacle in trying to catch him again after I let him go). I was a little relieved to see he was as hard to get started gracefully for her as he was for me, though she got better and better results from him.
He did walk a few paces, and she got him to slow down a couple of times, which was good progress. Still, he mainly trotted at top speed and cantered as he traveled around and around. The way Trixie was doing it, he could only go one direction at a time, because of how the long lead was attached to his special Tractor Supply halter. He was not pleased to not be able to turn around. That is where the special very long training whip came in handy. She could direct him without getting on top of his teenage jumpy self.
The best thing, though, was that she got him to stop on her instructions twice. Slowing down was not of interest to him, so that was hard. She ended the lesson at the above state, with him stopped a respectful distance away and paying attention to her, not his ideas. This was a great way to end.
Drew isn’t ready for fancier lunging (or however you spell this; I am confused), but I do know what equipment I need to get, and I do now have a round pen. He will be a lot of work, but I hope it will be worth it in the long run! And of course, I also have to work with Apache and get some running in with him!
So happy to have had the lesson and to have our pens all ready to use. It’s fun feeding the horses now (Kathleen loves doing it, so she mostly handles it…she’s very good).
As I was out there riding and sweating today (and really sweating as I worked with Drew on the long lead), the real gates on the horse stalls got installed. It’s so great to be able to put them in their own feeding areas with the sand, the water troughs, and their washing station.
These aren’t necessarily the final gates, but building them will take a while. My two horses both like to knock down things and try to open gates, so that’s been getting tedious really fast.
Even Lee got into the gate installation. He had fun, I think.
We can now arrange the pens in lots of creative ways, depending on how many horses there are and what they need. Makes me so happy.
And yes, I rode Drew today. He’s such a different horse than he was last week! Why? Well, he’s already at a better weight. He eats and eats, just like the teen boy he is.
He also is building muscle like crazy. He now can run and run, bother the other horses, and be a young horse. All this means he isn’t the calm little guy he was before. So, he needs to be exercised a lot. A lot.
So, I taught him to do circles on the ground while wearing my new saddle. It flopped and made noise, which may have contributed to the fact that there was no walking involved. He trotted, cantered, and even galloped. I held on and worked with him on starting and stopping.
Once the rope slipped out of my hands and he keeps going. He does run pretty. But I got him back! Only after a lot of that exciting action did I try to mount him. Mostly I rode while he was led from the ground. That was good, because he wasn’t stopping well. Obviously we have a lot to work on. But we have time!
Speaking of working on things, my feet have been cramping all night. I think I was gripping the stirrups on the new saddle so hard. I have years to learn that, too.
(Sorry no pictures of Drew running dramatically and me looking competent, but we were all busy concentrating.)
I have to admire Trixie. She came over and trudged through the scary clay mud to take a look at the new horses. It was obvious she couldn’t do their feet, but she wanted to take a look at Remington, especially.
He immediately took to her and started showing her where he hurt. It was so endearing. She is concerned about his old head injury and his limited vision in his right eye. But she said he’d learned to compensate.
Nonetheless, Trixie doesn’t want to do much with Remi’s neck until she sees the x-rays Kathleen has. But she did a few things for him, and at the end he yawned and yawned. He obviously felt better.
Dusty was fine, other than having an oddly shaped butt and needing to gain a couple hundred pounds. That was good to know. Trixie recommended supplements.
Then it was Drew’s turn. Trixie thought he may be younger than three, but I think his owner was right; he’s barely 3. Other than being thin, she said he was in good shape, EXCEPT his eye was all goopy. What the heck?
While Trixie was looking Drew over, perhaps the sweetest thing I’ve seen in YEARS occurred. Goldie, who had already herded loose cattle today, came up to us. She sniffed all over Drew as if to figure out he was in pain. Then she licked his face!
Then my heart melted. Drew must have spent ten minutes being kind to Goldie. He licked and licked her back, licked her sore area where she is in heat, and carefully nipped her all over.
They spent a whole lot of time calmly standing nose to nose. It was so dear. I could not love these two animals more. The both are so full of love and gratitude for their nice new lives.
Because of the eye issue, as soon as Trixie left, we loaded poor Drew into the trailer AGAIN and rushed him to Dr. Kildore in Rosebud. They were great to let us in. The vet found he had a lot of debris in his eye, so he numbed it, flushed it, and got everything out. His cornea is not scratched. Whew. He needs ointment in his eye for a few days, then should be okay.
We still had trouble getting Drew out of the trailer. I wonder what has caused it? Once he was out, though, he held no grudges. He is such a wonderful soul.
I’d been waiting a long time to get Apache and Fiona on our property, so I can hang out with them more. What with the three new horses this week and all the work getting things ready, it’s been busy around here, but today topped them all! Everyone agrees this was the busiest day we remember. Lucky for us, there was also fun.
Before I could go get my guys, a few things had to be finished, so I got drafted from my heat recovery reverie to finish mowing Apache’s grazing area as far down as possible. I do believe that was my first riding lawnmower work, but I did good, and apparently the tractor made me look sexy (musical reference).
Finally, recharged with Gatorade, I walked over one last time to the other horse pens. Speaking of exercise, I got over 16,000 steps today. Six miles, not counting horseback. Anyway, we loaded Apache with his hay net and lead rope, and put Fiona’s halter on so she could carry it. Sara tied it up real well.
I rode Apache and Fiona followed, in her own fashion. Sara opened the gate for us and waved farewell. Sniff. She promised to keep feeding Big Red for me. But, now the paddock can rest and recover, so it’s all good.
I was proud of how Apache did fine passing a lawn mower, barking dogs, and hidden scary objects, but one thing concerned him. There’s something near the mailbox for the cabin that reflected brightly and made him stare. But, eventually we made it to our property and I turned them out.
After eating a bit, Drew called to them, so they went over to meet him. It was a very successful meet and greet.
Meanwhile, Remington and Dusty were getting saddled up, so I guess everyone wasn’t too tired to ride. (I was, but I wasn’t about to miss any fun!) Drew did not like being in his pen, and got all worked up. He knocked down his temporary gate and went charging around. Luckily, I’d just decided to close the exit gate, just in case.
So, while Kathleen rode around happily on Dusty, I held on the Remington while we made the executive decision to put Drew in with Apache and Fiona. I have no photos, but they got along okay, once Apache kicked Drew to establish his dominance. Still, Drew ran and ran. You know, why not? The poor guy hadn’t had many opportunities to run around before.
When Kathleen got off, she said I ought to ride Dusty. So, I clambered into the Western saddle, grabbed the split reins, and walked and trotted around, mostly watching Remington, who had some issues.
Dusty was fine, and eventually we had a nice time out looking at stuff with Remington, who had learned his lesson. He will be lots better after the chiropractic work on Monday.
By the time we were done with riding and putting things away, everyone was tired, even Lee, who helped a lot in the frantic preparations.
Kathleen and I both took soothing baths tonight. We both got a lot of sun. I will be ok, I did have sunscreen on. She’s really red, but is a good tanner. Whatever, I bet we are out again tomorrow, even if we are sore.
What a day of fun and new things! When I checked the horses in the evening, all four plus Fiona were peacefully grazing. No one was running around!
Here’s the surprise I’ve hinted at. After I got Andrew, Kathleen went to a horse rescue place and came home with two fine buckskin gentlemen, Remington (7) and Dusty (13).
When they got back with the new guys (who have all their shots and were checked out by a vet), they all said “hay” to each other and were fine. When they were let out together the next day, nothing but friendship ensued (and gentle nips). That was a good surprise.
Remington is a perfect quarter horse type. He’s really beautiful. He needs work on his neck, so Trixie is looking at him Monday. (She will look at them all.) but whoa, he can do stuff, potentially.
Dusty is older, very gentle, and will be a great guest horse. He used to be an elderly man’s horse, and was well loved. He loves carrots, and used to have the nickname Bunny. Aww. He likes to chew, too.
We’ve spent most of today with these three, walking, learning, and having nice baths. That was fun!
Much of the rest of the day we got the stalls and pasture ready for Apache. I even had to mow. I meant I got to mow.
Now Apache will have little grass just like he needs. Whew. We were outside all day!
I think Drew, my new colt, is annoyed with me. He had to go to the vet today, and I don’t think it was his favorite experience so far. He is really glad to be home.
It took us forever to get to the vet, who was in Waco, because we were behind a wind turbine propeller. Wow, it was slow. Thankfully, it stopped for a minute and we got past it.
The vet place was nice, an all-equine practice. I was too busy paying attention and hoping Drew wouldn’t be too traumatized to take pictures, but I took a lot of notes! Here’s what I learned:
Drew is 14.1 hands high. That’s short, but he should end up about 15 hands, which is just fine. (A hand is 4 inches, and height is measured from the top of their shoulder, not their head.)
He is right at 3 years old, so I decided his birthday will be July 1.
Drew is not a red roan. He will be gray at adulthood. It will be so fun to watch him change!
He needs high-protein feed.
His facial features are a star on his forehead and a snip on his nose.
He is healthy as a…you know what.
He has a great face.
The people at the vet place were all so nice. A friendly old vet and a really helpful technician who gave me lots of helpful information. I sure appreciated it! Drew did not appreciate three shots, one nasal spray, and oral wormer. That’s why he’s pissed off.
I enjoyed talking to some folks when I checked out, then we headed back, making better time. We had a fun stop at the Rosebud Feed and Seed. It’s a cute place and has its own brand of feed! We also found the brand of high-protein feed the vet tech recommended there, too.
By the time we got home, we were all wiped out. Poor Drew didn’t want to leave the trailer until Chris cowboyed him out. Now he is very happy with both grass and space to run.
What about my other precious beloved equines? Well, now that Andrew is vaccinated and wormed, I can bring Apache and Fiona here! That excitement should commence tomorrow. Sara sure is glad, so the paddock can rest until Aragorn arrives.
This has fulfilled a prediction both Kathleen and I had made. You may remember that when Kathleen found out about Goldie, she was told Goldie was infertile, so of no use to the previous owners, who’d wanted to breed her. We don’t need puppies, so we were happy to take on a giant sweetie pie.
Yesterday, I saw blood on the floor and thought yet another dog had cut itself on some random ranch hazard. But, later, Lee texted that “Goldie had started her period.” Oh my! She’s not infertile, she was just slow to mature, like a giant dog tends to be. That’s why we are giving her puppy food! It might also be that she was too thin to go into heat; who knows?
No more photos of blood! We’ve got it all under control, though, and we can get her spayed when this is over with (no, we do not want any giant hybrid puppies and are glad we know no intact make dogs). She’s being very clean, and all the other dogs are quite respectful of her.
In other news, it just keeps raining. We’re supposed to take Drew to the vet in Waco today, so I sure hope it calms down soon. Mud is being produced! The weather has been great for mushrooms, though!
At least yesterday wasn’t too rainy, so I got to spend good time with Drew. We walked around the field, and of course he pooped on the driveway. Ah horses. He matched my every step, so I tried running a bit, and he trotted daintily along beside me. His trot is so pretty. It was a really happy time for me.
And in other good news, we should be able to bring Apache and Fiona over to where Andrew is, so they can make friends and try out the stalls. I’m very excited about that. Crossing my fingers about the rain issue, but hey, the rain brings out a lot of cool insects, like giant walking sticks!
Hoping you have a fun day, and that you like surprises. We may have more over here at the Hermits’ Rest!
Hungry. That’s how he is. Poor Andrew must have felt like he was in Heaven when he realized he was in a pen full of grass. As you can see in the photo below, he definitely mowed his pen quickly (photo was at 8:30 am).
A second makeshift pen was quickly created for him, so now he has more grass to nosh on. I’m gonna bring him a bale of hay in a bit, just in case he needs it.
He’s got to grow, so he needs food! He has his veterinarian appointment tomorrow, so we will ask them what kind of food would be best for him, and I’m sure Trixie will have some ideas, too, when she sees him next week.
I had an hour between meetings, and since he’s right near the house, I was able to groom him a little. I got the mud off his mane and tail, and most of his legs, using extra tools we had at Sara’s (and I told her all about Drew when we met this morning to move Apache and feed him). Grooming was more difficult than it could have been because of his new best friend, Goldie.
Goldie just thinks it’s cool to know a dog even bigger than herself, I think, and Drew is fine with her (he grew up with dogs). It’s just hard to groom with the dog running around.
So, we are all having fun and getting acclimated. Meanwhile, Barbara the hen is still sticking with us, and getting around pretty well. The other chickens seem fine with each other, too, so maybe I’ll have more eggs soon!
Have a good day, and remember to focus on what’s good in your life; that often lets you handle your challenges with much more grace.
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
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