Saturday, July 25, 2009
Having just written about "catching" horses, I got to thinking about my horses' interest in their leader, Yours Truly.
I recalled Linda Parelli talking about it in one of those DVDs and she said, "you want them to come to you and say, 'Pick Me! Pick Me!'
8 times out of 10 it is not like that at my barn. They're interested and compliant but not bubbling over with enthusiasm. They'll be "caught" but might not jump into the boat.
Today, however, as I finished chores and sat for a spell, Shea hung around, sniffing me, etc.
I'm pretty sure, with all that attention she ladled on me, she was saying, "Pick Me!"
NickerNews readers may be familiar with the story of Ruby, a bay quarterhorse mare I adopted last fall. She was kept in a stall with several other horses for years until the state seized her. It's clear she had to fight for her food then.
It's been a challenge to assure her with constant training that she doesn't need to run me over when there's food involved.
And this week, we've had another breakthrough!
Given her aggression and anxiety at feed time, I've always opted to feed her last of my four horses, to show her that no matter how long she waits, she WILL get fed. I close her in her stall and deliver her grain.
This week, I've tried NOT closing her in.
A few months ago, that scenario would have created mayhem as Ruby would bully her buddies for best position.
But, this week, when she sees I'm about to set down grain. She heads to her stall, on her own and waits! Stall door open! She watches me feed the three others. When I come to her, she backs up in her stall, lets me set it down and waits for the OK to eat. Hooray!
Friday, July 24, 2009
I was so excited. In this summer of endless rain, my field was finally cut. In another half day, I would have 500 bales put away and my winter supply would be secured. Phew.
Mmmm, don’t think so.
My friend called that morning to say his baler had broken down.
A broken baler might not have been a huge deal, but rain was coming.
For 10 minutes, I was the hyper-optimistic thinker: 1. Magical fairies are going to deliver the baling part. The baler will spring to life and we’ll be good to go; and, 2. The rain is going to hold off until I get all my hay undercover.
Mmmm, don’t think so.
The thought of harvesting brown, rained-on hay was not appealing.
So I ditched the dream scheme and got real. And I got real frantic.
I hooked up my stock trailer, gathered the rakes and pitchforks and manpower (husband and teenage son).
We got onto the field and started raking up piles and tossing them into the trailer.
Within 30 minutes, we had it mostly filled.
But to get more hay, we would have to cross a wet, rutted section of the field. We didn’t think we’d make it with trailer in tow. And anyway, given the look of those clouds, we thought unloading the trailer would be wasting precious time.
So, my husband raced home and dropped the trailer while my son and I stayed on the field to rake up piles and prepare for his return.
As the clouds darkened, we piled the truck bed as high as we could with nice, dry hay. I think this is why they made pickups, isn’t it? ‘Cuz we sure couldn’t have managed with my old Suburban!
I felt a drop of rain on my nose.
We barreled home and flung the hay into the only available covered space, the garage. Bikes were packed into the shed. Trashcans were stashed outside. Camping gear was thrown into the attic.
We sweated over tossing and pushing the hay out of the bed and into the garage.
Then raced back to the field for more. And more.
The rain came in earnest about the same time my arms were ready to give out.
We got perhaps 15-20 percent of the field off and stored. A crummy way to store hay, I'd say. We're already sick of the mammoth pile of horse food dominating our garage.
But I should have something to feed my girls for a few months anyway. And it won’t be brown and rotten either!
Monday, July 20, 2009
I was chatting with Dr. Tom Judd as he was working on a horse's teeth the other day. We were talking about the difference in teeth wear in wild versus domestic horses.
When older wild horses lose teeth, they would probably starve to death. Our horses, on the other hand, can get soaked forage and added grains to keep them around and healthy for a lot longer.
Tom was filing down this horse's incisors just a bit. In the wild, he remarked, a mustang's incisors get all kinds of use because they are grazing as much as they can. Just about everything they eat has to be bitten off with its incisors.
Not so for domestic horses! They get grain and heck, they can use their lips to get hay into their mouths!
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Down at Brooks Farm and Feed in Brunswick, hay customers lurk like vultures, ready to dive into a carcass. And when a tractor trailer load of this year's hay shows up, it's gone within a day.
Brooks, and most other hay sellers are getting it from Canada. And of course, the price is going up.
I'm waiting for my field to be cut. It might be another two weeks before they can get on it. Beautiful timothy and clover. It'll all be sticks by the time it's cut.
My friend, Sonny, said the second cut will be growing up into the first cut.
Is there a silver lining in there?
I guess so. The sticks of gone by timothy and clover will have a smattering of good stuff.
I'm sure the horses will be thrilled.
Monday, July 06, 2009
That's Yours Truly, whining about the Registry requirement for so many equine competitions.
What's the point?
I know the point, of course -- Associations and Registries and Groups all have to make money and gain popularity and earn respect and create a value ranking.
But there are plenty of us out there who are unregistered and we get shown the door at many, many events.
Is the money and ranking that important? Wouldn't they attract more competitors if they let everyone in? Why the exclusivity?
Check for Coggins and Rabies, but leave the Registry papers at home! And let us in!
Friday, July 03, 2009
Yes, folks, it's true. The Striped Bass are in. They've come as far inland as my front pasture, er, estuary. Just put some fresh mackerel on a hook and take a cast. Sure 'nough, you'll have dinner on the other end of the line. It is recommended, though, to put the horses in the stalls whilst fishing.
Also in the news, the Maine Lobsterboat Races are adding a new venue to its series - the Town Green in downtown Brunswick. Most boats draw about 3-4 feet, so they should be all set. The Coast Guard has shifted resources for monitoring the drunks to the Brunswick Police Department.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
With all this rain, I've noticed my horses' perspectives on puddles can be different - depending on the circumstance.
1. If they're just hanging out in the pasture or paddock, they will walk through water. No big deal.
2. If they're being led on a line, they're more likely to hesitate and/or go around water.
3. If they're being ponied and must cross water, they will most often follow the leader across water.
4. If they're being ridden, the water seems to be of the most concern. For water-wary horses, it's like a wall!
Or at least it feels that way.
I don't know what leather is anymore.
I looked at my cowboy boots and Dansko clogs this morning and thought -- I think I wore those back in May for a few days...
Muck Boots and Bean Boots are reigning supreme at many barns these days.
It's not that I like rubber boots. I would much rather be in my cowboy boots. But fields, driveways, lawns, paddocks ALL have a foot of water on them. So what the heck!
One friend who's spent a lot of time out West remarked that his boots don't last anywhere near as long as they did when he was in Arizona.
The poor leather, in weather like this, it just rots!