Fun in the Sun with the Farrier

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.

Apache wore his “dress halter” for the occasion.

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.

Remi always likes attention, so he was good.

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!

I’m a fancy horse disguised as a sad, skinny mare.

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.

Also, I looked pretty. Like my tassels?

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.

Who, me? I need training?

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.

The sun did this cool lighting all by itself.

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.

Drew is a fan of speed.

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.

Happy ending to lesson

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).

A Horse Love Story with a Twist: The Whole Thing

[Somehow, most of this post got deleted when I went to publish it before. THIS is the real story!]

I’m excited to have permission to share this story! Yesterday I got to head out to a horse breeding and training facility in our area to visit Sara’s new love interest, a large Andalusian gelding named Aragorn. She met him last week and instantly bonded with him.

True love. (He has sweat marks from being ridden)

It’s a beautiful property, and we were surprised to see a beautiful colt on the road, prancing and dancing like a fairy animal. We said we bet he wasn’t supposed to be there. Sure enough, Glenn, the ranch owner, came running up to get the little guy. He was back in and coming into the barn to eat dinner by the time we got in.

That’s the culprit at right.

All the mares and foals just walk in and line up in stalls to be fed. All so well trained, and the foals were very friendly.

Dinner time!

Aragorn’s current owner bred him, so knows his history. Glenn told us lots about him and was very honest about why he is relatively affordable for a very well-bred European breed. He coughs when anxious, for example.

Getting ready to ride. These horses start our some other color, then turn gray. He looks like he was originally chestnut, like one of the colts above.

Once he got all saddled and we learned a lot about appropriate bits, Trixie showed up, and we watched Sara get a lesson in riding in the style Aragorn is used to. Sara is such a quick learner that I could tell Glenn was having fun telling her stuff and watching her figure out exactly what to do.

Teaching and learning

And, obviously, Sara had a blast as well. I got a lot of photos of the lesson that I’m going to send to her just to study her positioning and stuff, but my favorite pictures have to be the ones of Glenn gesturing, Sara working, and the two dogs who are exactly the color of the dirt, just sat and watched.

This may be my favorite

Just in case you are interested in what Aragorn can do, here are a few more pictures to click or ignore. To be honest, I just like looking at the beautiful setting of this ranch and its facilities. They are nice but not insanely fancy or anything. It’s “just right.”

Trixie has known Glenn a long time, but even she said she was learning some things watching him show Sara things, explaining the origin of the moves in Western dressage, and sharing history of equestrian sports. It was fascinating. And he is such a nice and generous man!

You can see the other geldings behind Sara. They were annoyed that their dinner was delayed.

The Amazing Part of the Story

After the “test drive” in Sara’s tack, we were just talking to Glenn. She asked if he did private lessons, and he said he hadn’t before, since he just retired from being an ER physician. Sara sat on Aragorn for a minute, thinking. Then she asked him, “Were you an ER physician in College Station 21 years ago?” He replied that he was.

When we were chatting (sorry for bad lighting)

She then asked if he remembered a blue roan paint colt named X that he trained. He didn’t quite remember, but said he could look it up. Sara said that was her colt she’d raised to work with before she married her children’s father. She mentioned her married name, and Glenn said that did sound familiar. So, we are pretty sure they met all that time ago when Sara had her precious colt that she had to later sell. Wow!

Back to Work

After we got over our surprise, Trixie got to work and adjusted the heck out of Aragorn. Just like with my horses, he ended up extremely relaxed. It’s always extra educational watching her work with a horse and diagnose where it has structural weaknesses and what could help it. Sara took a lot of notes.

Working on his neck

Meanwhile, I bonded with the dog and looked at all the other beautiful horses. I had no complaints whatsoever, and took lots of pictures of how they arranged their tack house, their tying mechanism and such, for reference when we get to setting up our new one.

Woof the guard dog has been busy guarding. He is very friendly to humans, though.

I knew Sara would like some “glamour shots,” so we went out and took some, even though Aragorn still had the sweat marks from her saddle pad. He is obviously fond of her already. They really had an instant bond, like he’d been waiting his whole life for her to show up.

At the end of the day, we all got to go take a look at the young stallion who was in the paddock next to Aragorn. He is most beautiful, like someone’s dream horse. They are hoping he will have a baby soon from a mare that was brought in to be bred.

I’m doing my trick. Where’s my food?

He’s been trained that he has to stand on that stump to get dinner, because he used to be pushy about his food. He was not thrilled that his food didn’t immediately show up, but he was gentle as a kitten, and apparently is a great riding horse. I’d love to see him in saddle!

The horsie gals.

We were pretty exhausted and sweaty by the time we were ready to go home, but had to take a selfie of us horse lovers in our unplanned coordinated shirts! We are a bit disheveled, but happy. I hope you enjoyed our love story with a nod to the past. I know you look forward to Aragorn coming home to Sara’s property and watching them progress in their skills.

Horse Improvement May Be Expensive

The good news, for sure, is that Apache is walking a lot better. The bad news is that between the vet yesterday and the farrier today, plus new medicine, he is one expensive pet. But, I knew going in that horses are not for the penniless.

Apache declares’s he’s worth it. That’s me, watching him on FaceTime.
This is NOT dignified.

Yesterday, while I was at the closing on the Ross house and helping stick colored glass in the floors at the Pope house, Dr. Amy came to the ranch to float teeth on all the equines and give them their shots. I was so sad to miss that, since I’ve never been there when their teeth were floated (that is when the veterinarian takes some sort of giant buzzing raspy thing and makes their teeth even, so they can chew more easily and won’t hurt their tongues on sharp teeth.

She ended up doing all of them, even poor Fiona. Of course, they said what a great donkey she is, etc. I felt sorry for her with the giant mouth-opening appliance in her. The good news is that they do sedate the animals for this undignified procedure.

I’m smiling, really, Fiona says.

Since I could not be there, Sara was kind enough to FaceTime me, so that I could see everything. That’s why my head is in most of the photos.

Apache was very good for his floating. I am sure it was easier to keep him still, because he wasn’t wanting to walk very much.

He made Dr. Amy laugh.
No fun for anyone.

He also showed that his feet weren’t TOO bad by picking each of them up so that Mark (Sara’s friend who used to train thoroughbreds) could paint some goop on his hooves. I think he thinks Apache is gonna croak at any moment, but we think he is already getting better.

Dr. Amy prescribed some powdered Bute, which I went and bought for $45. Of course, he hates it. ARGH. We agreed he needs to eat empty calories, and she prescribed some food that fits the bill (though his current beet pulp does, too), as well as a supplement with a lot of turmeric in it. I take it, and it helps ME!

I haven’t seen the bill for that yet, but I feel a lot better having him with all his shots up to date and with an actual doctor looking at him.

Today, Trixie came by to do the long-awaited adjustments on Spice that she’d been holding off on until she got her teeth floated. As always, that was fun to watch. She also did Lakota, but I missed that part, because I was at the other work. Anyway, she said Spice is incredibly stiff. She’s coming back in a few weeks to work on her again. On the other hand, Lakota is in such great shape she could not believe he is in his late twenties. She kept gushing about his conformation and how great shape all his joints are in.

Lakota is Mr. Popularity.

Fiona was declared fine, so she didn’t get any farrier work. YAY!

But, Trixie was fascinated by Apache’s feet. Like I’d noticed before, his hooves do not feel hot to the touch (usual for laminitis, which is his current diagnosis). She also said his hooves looked pretty normal, not like the hooves of a foundering horse. Hmm, that’s what I thought, too. Maybe we’ve caught the issue in time to get him better.

Your feet are fascinating, Patchy.

What she DID see was that the bony area in the middle of his foot, around the “frog” area was longer than the hoof. Now, that’s like walking on your nail bed. It would hurt like the dickens. She trimmed him all up (and again, he stood on three legs just about as well as he normally does), and we are waiting to see how he does. It’s a short trim (someone was concerned, so I am adding this), but will be fine and allow healthy hoof material to get to the end of his foot faster.

Being a good boy and holding his foot up.

I’m sure none of the horses feel all that great, with all those shots, scary dental appliances, and hoof trimming. To be kind, we have delayed worming, which would be a final indignity, until two weeks from now. Lucky guys.