Hark! It’s a Thundering Herd!

It’s always something with my equine buddies. Today was no exception. I’d been out for a while in the morning feeding Drew and Mabel (more on that later), so I was back at work concentrating on job aids, user guides, and the like. The dogs began to bark. What could it be? The letter carrier? The UPS driver? FedEx? The barking seemed a little different than usual.

I soon found out why. There was a thundering herd of six horses and one small, spotted donkey running across the front field, looking majestic AF. Oops. I fetched my non-computer glasses and my phone and ran out to see how that had happened.

Thundering herd

The photo you see here is them running after I came outside. I wish I’d had a camera when I first saw them. They looked all a-flutter. When I came out, they had started to settle down and get to the important work of finding new and different grass to eat. They paid Jim’s RV area a nice visit.

MMM, grassy.

Then they took off again, because they saw me and wanted to say HI. I invited them into their pen, but they had other plans.

I think there’s some grass over here. Yes, there is.

By the time I got the gate opened and fetched a tempting feed tub of deliciousness, they were back over by the RV, which appears to be where the best grass on the property can be found. I rattled the container of feed at them. You can imagine how I laughed when I saw how quickly Dusty’s head picked up. FOOD! He was headed my way before I was even able to pick up the phone to get a picture, with the others trooping along right behind him.

I see a food tub! Mabel, come on! T, let’s go! The rest of you slackers better get your heads out of the grass!

I’d barely gotten into the pen myself when Dusty’s head was poking at the tub. Soon, everyone was there. Even Fiona was faster than Drew, who I guess was more interested in that grass than any boring old senior horse feed. But, all I had to do was set the tub down, stand at the gate, and shut it (well). I saw that they’d managed to open one of the small gates out of the pens, which means I didn’t secure it well enough. I’ll get that lesson through my head one of these days.

I guess the adventure was fun, since it made Drew roll around with glee. Damn, he is a cute little feller. His mane is getting so full, it reminds me of Curly on the Three Stooges.

Whee!

I’m glad that excitement ended quickly. Earlier, on my morning feeding break. I realized that Mabel was patiently standing in one of the pens while Drew ate his morning calorie dump. I’d been planning to try to give Mabel extra food, too, once we had fewer horses to wrangle at feeding time, so I went and got her some alfalfa and coconut meal, wet down with a lot of water.

I got food!

Since she, like Drew, had choked before, I watched her like a hawk until she was finished eating. My goodness, she seemed happy to get the extra calories.

Look at that face. She has a Roman nose, for sure.

I’ve been noticing that she is filling out and even gaining some muscle since I started on a magnesium supplement and coconut powder (which I give all of the horses that aren’t mine, mainly so she can get it). Her tail, what little there is left of it after a horse bit off most of it, is even all shiny now. The best part, though, is that she is so much more relaxed and friendly. She now comes up for love and petting, which makes me so happy.

Kathleen and I have talked about plans for her, and I think she will at least have a chance at a useful life once we get her feet under control, worm her (and the rest) again, and get her weight a bit more normal. She’s going to be thin, we think, no matter what. She needs to show a little less rib, still.

Looking out toward the future.

I’ve also noticed the other horses have stopped pestering her so much. Maybe it’s because Drew is now competing to be the lowest ranking horse in the herd, but I think she is stronger and can put up more of a fight. I’m happy she is on the mend at last. We can dote on her and give her all our human love. That will make us feel better, too.

Scared, Worried, Relieved, Irritated: Twelve Hours in a Horse Owner’s Life

Yow! I’ve had a whirlwind of horse stuff since I got home from my Master Naturalist meeting last night! Everything is fine now, but there sure were a lot of emotional peaks and valleys.

My only morning moment of Zen.

Apache Drama

I got home from the meeting and shut the door to the chicken coop. I heard some noises from the horses, so I went upstairs and asked Lee if he’d let Apache and Fiona out from the pens like I’d asked him before I left. He said he’d forgotten, so I went out with the teeny tiny flashlight to take care of it. I hate going out at night, since our skunk friend is always out there, too. I could smell the evidence of that.

Fiona was letting me know she was trapped, quite vocally, so I let her out, but then I noticed a distinct lack of spotted horse in the other pen. It was clear that Apache had barged his way out, thanks to the pen he was in having a short chain that’s hard to fasten. He enjoys chains.

I appreciate all that love and kindness last night.

I thought that it would be fine to just let him out with the other horses overnight, since they have the same grass and hay as in his pasture. But, I kept hearing a noise. So, I reluctantly set across the poop minefield known as the pasture to look for the source of the sound. It was coughing, I was sure.

As I walked, the usual suspects came up to see what I was doing. The Buckskin Buddies always want to know. Neither of them liked the flashlight, however. They were not coughing. Mabel floated by in the distance. I was relieved that she was not sick (though she is finally putting on weight and looking better other than all the places she’s been nipped by the other horses).

Way near the back of the pasture I saw a ghostly shape and a pair of glowing eyes, so I knew where Apache and T were. I plodded toward them, all the while hearing a great deal of coughing. When I got there, T was guarding Apache, who was not only coughing but farting vigorously with each cough. If I hadn’t been so worried, I’d have laughed. There was evidence of a fresh and healthy bowel movement right behind him, which made me feel a little better. But he sure looked miserable.

I texted Sara to see if he’d ever done it before or if she had any ideas, but she was equally baffled. So, I decided to try to get him back to the pens where I could see marginally better before asking Tarrin the trainer questions at 9 pm. I was concerned that I’d have a hard time getting to go with him, but happily, all that training walking beside me at liberty came in handy. I clucked to him and held his neck for a moment, and Apache calmly followed me to the pens, stopping only to cough.

My heart was breaking. What a good, sick boy he was! When we got to the pens, I told him to get a drink of water, and he did. Or he just did it on his own. My thought was that maybe he had a piece of hay stuck in his throat. He drank for a while, then came over to be petted. I stood with him and stroked his neck for the next ten minutes.

I realized that he had not coughed since he had the water! I’m glad I brought him to the trough, because that seems to have done the trick. I heard no more coughing as I walked carefully back to the house, vowing to check on him as soon as I got up. I handled it myself with only ONE panicked text. Not bad!

And Now for the Rest of the Horses

This morning I got up and went out into the drizzle and cold to check on Apache. I did spot his spotted self in the pasture and breathed a sigh of relief.

That didn’t last long. I looked over at the chickens and lo and behold, there were four horses also looking at the chickens. They had exited the pasture.

Blondie says hi to her horse friends who make that nice poop she enjoys pecking at.

Argh. I saw that the small gate out of their pens was open. No doubt I’d forgotten to shut it after the Apache adventure last night, though I swear I remember doing it. Maybe I just didn’t latch it well in my worried state.

I had to go to a meeting, so Lee went out and parked the Tahoe at the end of the driveway just in case they headed over there and wanted to take a stroll. Our gate has stopped working again, so it is no help at all.

There was no need to worry about the horses heading out, because they were way too interested in the green grass near the garage and whatever is interesting to a horse inside the garage. When my meeting was over, they were all at the fence leading to the house, saying hi.

I think there may be some food in that barn for cars, says Remington. Suna wants to point out the nice, new tires on Tillie the Trailer, ready to go somewhere tomorrow.

They did seem very pleased with themselves. Luckily, I knew that one thing would make them go back into their area and that would be food. I went into the tack room and got a bucket of their feed. I waved it under the nose of Dusty, and that’s all it took. He wanted that food, and so did everyone else. They all followed me quite briskly over to the pen area. Mabel even glided over to get in front, but was thwarted. No food until inside!

Apache says he’d like some food, too, after all, he is convalescing.

They were thrilled to get an extra portion of food and I was happy to have only lost ten minutes of my day to horse wrangling. That was enough, though! I hope the rest of the day is less crazy.

I plan to be indoors working and watching the temperatures go down, down, down. I will wear many clothes to my outdoor event tomorrow.

Rainy Escapades

I know it’s October, because the rains are back. No pool guys today! But, that is just fine.

I went out this morning to feed Granny and the chickens, and heard a strange noise. What was it? Goldie. She had somehow gotten out and had joined me. I figured I’d determine what happened there later. I headed out to feed Granny, only to be met by four hungry faces.

All the other horses were out and wandering around. Huh. What in the world? I then ran the gauntlet of Apache, Remington, and Mabel, with Fiona trailing behind. I was impressed that I managed to get the food to Granny and not slip in the mud while doing so.

Gleeful escapees

Next, I walked toward the gate to Apache’s paddock. Apache and Fiona nicely followed me, so they were easy to get in. I saw that the gate had been pushed open. So, either one of them unlocked it or (more likely) I had it draped over and forgot to fasten it when I went back to the house yesterday.

Then I went to find the other two horses, which is when I took the photo above. They were just milling around, so it was easy for me to just lead them into the pens by holding their halters. They got lots of pats and love, too.

At least the baby chicks had not escaped, so I managed to keep one type of animal where it belonged! And when I took Goldie back inside, I went out and saw that she (or another dog) had managed to move the big gate that is leaning across the patio to keep the dogs away from the pool. I managed to give myself a couple of nice, sharp cuts trying to put it back (it’s heavy!), but for the rest of the day, so far, everyone’s been in their places.

Tiny cut, but was actually pretty deep. Hurt like heck.

It sure is nice to see the tanks/ponds starting to fill back up, even if it means pool delays!

I also wanted to share that I have a new friend right outside my window. She has a beautiful web, as orb weavers tend to have, but she seems drawn toward my hanging web decoration. I’ve had that thing since I lived in Champaign, Illinois! The rain isn’t bothering her, or her smaller friend who is up higher on the window, one bit.
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