...I laughed at how having horses stalled at night is not the end of the world! Here's some bright spots:
*How therapeutic I find the job. It seems all my senses open up when I'm working out or around the barn. The sounds of the breeze, birds, horses, etc., are like a chorus of joy to my soul. I always walk back into the house feeling good. I find I enjoy doing this task first thing in the morning, before coffee or breakfast. It's a great way to start a day.
*We've had an unusual number of wind storms and heavy rains. It's a good feeling to know "The Boys" are tucked into the barn at night when the rain is going sideways and/or the wind is howling. Knowing they are safe and sound (and quiet) gives us a sense of peace (and makes sleeping easier).
*Turning them out in the AM and bringing them in at PM gives J (the AM Guy) and me (the PM Gal) more opportunity to interact with them as opposed to when they were turned out full time in the large summer pasture. They are now "automated" to walking (quietly) out or into their stalls. No drama, lead ropes or halters. This has also given us an opportunity to get to know more about Gal whom we haven't done much with (yet). It's apparent that someone loved this horse and spent time with him. He's an easy going guy and comes with a great set of ground manners. I'm thinking those attributes will be handy when we start to ride him.
*J tells of his arrival to the barn in the AM. He opens the door and calls out "Good Morning"! Initially he would arrive to find what appeared to be empty stalls. But when he peered inside he found both horses down on their sides, sound to sleep (and snoring). These days as he calls out he's met with bumps and thumps as two sleepy-eyed horses covered from head to toe in shavings pop up from their beds.
*We are in deep winter and darkness comes around 4 PM. I'm currently not riding like I did last year and although I take one or two walks each day; I find my upper body muscles have been losing their tone. My new morning routine has firmed me back up. I not only clean the stalls but prep them for the evening return, leaving grain as the only task left to be done at night. This makes evenings, when dinner is cooking and time is more limited, quick and simple.
*Speaking of bringing them in. As the days have passed with their new routine of being stalled at night, they now bring themselves in. Last night I got out a little late to find Elvis already standing inside his stall with a look of "where's my grain"? Gal was standing in the loafing shed outside his entrance to the barn; he knocked on the door to be let in.
So let the shavings fall where they may, because work is part of having horses. Speaking of that, it's about time to head out to the barn for the evening shift. Looking forward to seeing and handling My Boys!
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
As fall arrived I felt confident in Elvis wintering here. There was more for Elvis to learn and I knew I could depend on Bob to teach him how to break ice in the stock tank for a drink when it was frozen, negotiate on frozen ground, etc.
Sigh - my plans came crashing down when we suddenly lost Bob from a kidney stone.
As the weather deteriorated so did their relationship. I couldn't get my hands on Elvis because Gal would run him away from me. Gal also proved to not be an "old campaigner".
He obviously doesn't know much more than Elvis about living outside in the elements. When it rains he stays out in the middle of the pasture, soaked to the skin. He doesn't appear to care for the large, insulated loafing sheds, in fact I don't think he likes them one bit.
Elvis, being the monkey see/monkey do horse he is, also now avoided the loafing sheds, can't blame him because if he did go into them Gal would chase him back out onto the pasture. I worried about Elvis picking up some of the aggressive habits Gal presented to him.
As the ground became muddy and slick, I had to make the hard decision to put them in separate pastures for Elvis's protection. Gone in a flash were my seasonal rotated pastures that have served us so well.
After three sleepless nights of this I had to go to the next level of care, one I hated to do.
Each morning I now start my day by cleaning two stalls. The stalls are empty as "The Boys" are already outside in their own personal pastures compliments of J who goes out earlier in the AM and turns them out.
Each evening as dusk arrives, I now bring them back in - Gal to his stall and Elvis to the foaling stall and paddock area (closing the gate that leads out to his pasture).
We've had to invest in heated water buckets so the water doesn't freeze in the stalls at night as well as shavings...shavings...and more shavings.
I've had to break out blankets to keep the darlings warm when our temps have dropped into the teens, whereas I rarely blanketed our easy keepers who sided up next to each other in an insulated loafing shed and remained cozy.
As much as I love our Complicated Keepers, I sure miss the days of our Easy Keepers!
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
Don't mind the high winds but don't like the possible (probable) power outages. We seem to always be the first in the area to lose power and the last to get it back. It's bad enough to not have lights but no power at our place also means no water since we are on a well.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I was going to write a Post about the end of the summer/fall season and share some pics of the day early winter arrived but decided to share how things are going with Galileo.
"The boys" are usually not far apart.
They share the water trough. But there is an issue at the feeder in the loafing shed. Galileo doesn't play nice and won't allow Elvis near the hay.
When Galileo arrived there were no issues. For the first four days the two horses stood next to each other munching hay which we always offer in addition to free grazing.
On Saturday I decided to dole out some grain. Call it a stupid gesture with Elvis already plump and Galileo filling in nicely. I separated the buckets quite a distance to allow the horses to keep to their own food, which worked out fine.
It was after that when Galileo started chasing Elvis out of the loafer via barred teeth or turning his rear at him and trying to kick him should he get too close to the hay.
Poor Elvis. He's a lover, not a fighter and yes, Galileo is the dominant horse. Elvis was perplexed about all of this behavior and stood outside the loafer looking forlornly at me whenever I was outside.
It was apparent that Elvis wasn't getting any hay so I started carrying a flake out into the field for him. Initially Galileo chased Elvis from that flake and also the loafer. Elvis would wait until Galileo went back into the loafing shed and then sneak back to his pile of hay.
A few days later our beautiful summer/fall season came to a close and the wind and rains moved in. I went out to check on the boys and was relieved to find that Galileo had backed off on his aggression and allowed Elvis in the loafer (as long as Elvis is facing outside with his back to the feeder).
So far the rains have come after Elvis has had a chance to eat the hay I leave out for him. However, it's only a short time now before I'm putting a flake of hay out in pouring down rain and I don't want to start having to feed my horses out in the rain.
I'm hoping things are settling down and I can keep to my plan of wintering the boys in the loafing sheds in peace. Our loafing sheds are all huge with rubber mats. We've always used them to winter our horses in the past. It's my hopes Galileo will realize there's no threat of going hungry, relax and allow Elvis back to sharing the feeder as he initially did.
If not I guess I'll have to use our stalls this winter - something I don't want to do as I think it's better to keep them outside not to mention that means cleaning stalls daily and spending $ for lots of shavings.
Hoping this is a short-term issue. Last night I observed them sharing Elvis's hay in the field. Maybe Galileo will play nice once again.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
A friend of Lisa's raised Galileo and used him for Dressage, trails and competitive trail events. When the friend had a baby she lost interest in Galileo as well as his care. Lisa had known and liked this horse since he was a baby and stepped in to relieve her friend and save Galileo.
At a recent Cowgirl Pal potluck I stood in line with Lisa and when I shared that Elvis was lonely and J was looking for a riding horse, she offered Galileo to us on the spot saying she knew he would have a good home and be loved.
We went home to "think" about it. A text message from my Frainer a few days later after putting a few rides on Galileo said that this would be a perfect horse for J. Calm, well trained, good manners and just a sweet guy.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Elvis can't see any other horses from our place. Our neighbors have a horse but it's behind their place. A few weeks ago Elvis caught a brief glimpse of it and went into a full tizzy, flying around the pasture until he was exhausted and soaking wet. I stood watching helplessly, worried about the large rocks that pop up from the ground due to living at the feet of a dormant volcano.
Once Elvis ran out of steam I haltered him up and led him to the barn where I hosed him down, paying extra attention to his legs. No harm done but...that behavior answered my questions - and I don't like the answer.
This was to be his first winter at home, with savvy Bob to show him the ropes and keep him company. How is Elvis going to handle being here alone when the winds are roaring at 60 mph and the rain is sideways - or when the temps hit single digits?
Board Elvis? Don't want to do that. It would result in having zero horses at home. It's hard enough to look out the window and see one horse. I can't imagine looking out and seeing none.
Have someone board here? Don't want the hassles of additional insurance or lack of privacy.
Get a cow/goat? Not for us.
So what option is left?
As we enter into a new chapter of our lives without children at home, Hubby and I have discussed another horse for him to ride. Not a rescue horse or another yard ornament (and we've surely hosted many) but a steady, anybody can get on, low-key Gelding.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I find myself questioning getting more horses. There is a cost to having a little herd of horses (duh). I've budgeted and planned in order to have (purchased and rescued) horses - making sure their health, feed and living conditions were always the best that I could provide.
But in doing so I've had to pass on other items here that need attention - like replacing old furniture, carpet, etc. I guess it comes down to what one's priorities are and I guess right now as I approach my 61st birthday, I'm revisiting mine.
The fact is, I'm the only one in the family who rides and I have come to realize that I don't ride as often as I used to.
I called my friends, "Come ride with me!" I was surprised to find everybody was busy doing something else. Nobody was interested in joining me. Nobody ever came out to experience a great ride on Sweet Poco.
I asked my family. Same situation. Although they enjoy the horses, neither of them was interested in joining me on a ride.
But these days I find myself not willing to ride at home alone, not enjoying riding in 80+ temps (which we've had a lot of), not wanting to expend the resources to join in some of the Cowgirl games that I have in the past. These days I find myself busy and choosing other priorities besides riding.
My husband has mentioned "down the road" he might like to ride again and has also talked about taking some lessons. If that should happen I'm thinking lessons on Elvis would be a good way to start for him. But I don't think this constitutes getting another horse right now. We can share Elvis and if husband decides he wants to pursue riding further, we can re-visit another horse at that time.
What do you do to keep motivated? I'd sure love to hear from you on this subject.