Sunday, June 30, 2013

Finding the Right Seating Arrangement

With the addition of Elvis to the herd at home we now have 3 horses.  After letting Elvis sniff noses over the fence with Bob and Prince for 24 hours, I placed them in a pasture together.

Didn't go well.  Bob not only ran Elvis away from his beloved Prince, he ran Elvis away from the stock tank and feed.  He even ran him for the heck of it.  Elvis could barely catch a bite of hay or a drink of water before Bob was flying towards him, ears back, teeth barred.  Hoping they'd settle down, I left them for another 24 hours, thinking things would get better.  They didn't.

I knew I needed to adjust the seating.  I kicked myself for not realizing that Elvis, a horse who had spent his entire adult life in a stall, had no idea about living in a herd.  I decided to place him with Prince, an older horse that would gently show him the ropes.

Bob, kicking and screaming, was removed to the adjoining pasture, his grazing space reduced by hot wire due to the lush spring grass.

And for the next few weeks while the green grass dried, things settled down.  As the weeks passed, Elvis and Bob could be seen smelling noses underneath the fence or grooming each other over the fence.  The day came when I decided to once again adjust the seating arrangement and place all the horses together in the summer pasture.

Things were a little bumpy but Elvis now seemed to understand that as long as he didn't get near Prince and gave Bob respectable distance that he didn't have to worry about death.

A week passed and all was quiet.  The only issue I had was having to walk all over three acres to put on/off fly masks or have any one-on-one with my horses.  Every single time a Rodeo erupted with horses flying all over the place like scattered leaves in the fall wind.

Eventually they settled down and Bob didn't (always) chase Elvis.  But there were still issues.  Elvis is a young horse and I need to spend time with him.  Rough summer weather left Elvis standing outside, banned from the loafing shed (and safety).  I didn't like the situation and decided to once again change the seating arrangement.

I moved Elvis back to the pasture where he'd gotten his "education" from Prince.  I was now able to spend quality time alone with Elvis.  It immediately started to pay off as I saw a bond return between us.

Bob and Prince remained in the summer pasture.  They came to me for their masks and allowed me time with them.  Everybody was safe in their rubber matted loafing sheds as multiple thunder and lightning storms arrived.  I wish it ended there but...

I'd noticed Prince had started to drop weight.  I'd also found countless cud balls in the loafing shed.  Not good.  I called the Vet out to give a round of shots and float both Elvis and Prince's teeth.

The Vet had started to float Prince's teeth and then shook his head.  He'd turned to me and told me that whoever used to own Prince had done him no favors.  I'd explained the condition Prince was in on the day I brought him home (above).  The Vet told me that Prince had very few teeth left and that three of them were loose and in need of being pulled.  

It was the Vet's opinion that Prince's teeth had never been floated.  It was also suspected that Prince had Cushings.  The Vet recommended a blood test and if positive, medication for treatment (the test confirmed Cushings).  He also recommended soft food so that Prince could get nutrition and regain weight.  The good news?  At the age of 24, Prince has very little arthritis and once the above needs were met he was good to gently ride.

I went out and purchased pellets for hay and beet pulp.  I got the prescription for the Cushings filled.  But in order to allow Prince to eat in peace I had to change the seating arrangement once again...

Today, Prince is in the pasture where Elvis was.  And surprises of surprises...

Bob and Prince are in the front pasture.

Where it is peaceful and serene!

So as the flowers wave in the summer heat, Prince is happy by himself.  I can tell that he's feeling (and looking better).  As for Bob and Elvis?  Happy campers!  They are both easy to approach and allow hands on for masks and bonding.  It took awhile but it looks like I finally found the right seating arrangement!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Going Camping

I was at the gas station earlier today when I saw these two guys riding along the side of the highway that leads to Mount Rainier - the forest starts a few miles down the road.

I wonder where they are by now? Have fun guys!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Opening Up A Can of Worms

Last week I had the Vet out.  It was time for Elvis's annual dental and Bob was due for shots.

As for Prince, I wasn't sure exactly what he needed.  His former "owner" told me he was up on his shots but I doubted her based on the condition Prince was in when I brought him home.  Fact is, what kind of credibility does someone like that have?

With lots of TLC and feed, Prince has come back from skinny and dull eyes to plump and wise eyes.  Here he is on a windy April day waiting to get new shoes.

But the fact is, Prince does display his age, estimated to be around 24.  It also appears Cushings has knocked on his door.

I've also found cud around the feeder and in the stock tank.  I know it's from Prince and not from his young roommate.

So I decided to give Prince the full meal deal.  On this day he'd receive a dental, full set of shots and blood test for Cushings.

When Prince opened his mouth for his dental, it also opened a can of worms.  Prince is missing most of his teeth and almost all of those left are loose.  The Vet doesn't believe Prince has ever had a dental and as he put it, "Whomever used to own this horse did him no favors."  Duh.

Prince's diet is going to have to change.  He's moving to beet pulp and soaked grass pellets.  This means the Logistics of feeding Prince is going to need to change so he gets his nutrition and other (very plump) horses who live here don't push him off of his new menu.

I have two choices.  Place him in a stall to eat twice a day, returning him to his current pasture and roommate in-between.  Or putting him in is own pasture/loafing shed and allowing him to eat at his own pace during the day.

I will choose option #2.  Who knows how long it will take Prince to eat his morning and evening meals.  And although it's also easier for us it's also a good long-term solution for when we are out of town and our awesome horse feeder takes over.

I need to schedule another Vet visit for Prince to have those loose teeth removed.  Prince had a rough time under sedation and he was also sore afterwards so I'll hold off a week or two so he can recover.

Bob is now due for a dental so I'll have that done at the same time.  Ugh...$$$$$$!!!!!  What a can of worms I've opened!  But I'd rather go through the pain of having that can opened and our horses healthy and happy vs suffering.  That being said, I hope to not see another can of worms for a long time!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Getting Ready for Summer

We spent the weekend catching up around home.  The rain stopped and skies finally cleared, giving J got a chance to cut the grass in the summer pasture.

Our grass is so rich in sugar, we must cut it and allow it to dry before turning the horses out on it.

It takes almost a full day on the tractor to get the pasture cut and shadows were getting long when J finally finished.

Two days later.  Hope to open this pasture up at the end of this month.