Archive for the 'Horses' Category
It’s been far too long since I shared photos of Rosie. She is such a sweet little girl. She adores the kids that come to visit her and she is very quiet. Today I heard her bray, but that was the first time in 2 months. Normally I get the quiet donkey noise (like a very quiet bray almost).
Would you believe she’s still losing her Winter coat? Most of it is gone now. More important than that though, she is finally losing weight.
She’s so friendly it can be difficult to get a photo of her. You have to be quick and snap the photo before she’s in your lap OR you can let her eat.
This is the far end of her dry lot. Recently, I partitioned off this section of the paddock paradise track (a track that goes around the outside of the pasture) and gave it over to Rose. To feed her, I split her soaked hay between 2 slow feed hay bags, hanging one in each stall that she has access to. Then she gets 4 or 5 small handfuls of hay along her track. Anything I can do to encourage movement!
To keep her happy she gets to munch on the stemmy hay that Blondie leaves behind or she can go out on the pasture with her grazing muzzle on. It is equine nature that they want to graze all day, so in her case, the more I can slow her down the more time she can be allowed to graze (this is also the purpose of the slow feed hay bags).
Her ‘grain’ is a tiny handful of soaked timothy pellets (literally less than a dozen pellets). The only reason I give her these is to deliver her magnesium supplement which is a powder that I sprinkle on top of the pellets.
See the shadow line in the white part of her coat, midway down her side? And a shadow line near her hip, also in the white hair of her coat. This is where I can see that she is losing weight. The fat pad over her hip is quite large, but around the edges of it now it’s sinking in and the ridge along her belly is also sinking in.
She’s looking a little bit narrower width-wise too!
Next up I have some new photos of Blondie.
My amazing husband spent his weekend working on Rosie’s permanent shelter. Of course I was out there helping him the whole time, with the exception of the last hour on Sunday when I stopped to scrub water buckets and pick manure.
This is a good shot of Rosie’s temporary quarters.
The new stall will be 9 x 12. Eventually it will have a stall door that goes to the interior of the barn for ease of feeding and caring for horses in bad weather.
Who knew that I had the most entertaining horse toys already in the barn for free? Blondie and Zi spent about an hour chewing on the blue baling twine that is securing Rosie’s shelter.
We had just wrapped up work for the day. This was as close as Zi would get to the new structure. However, shortly after we went in the house I had to run back down to the barn for something – I couldn’t see any horses anywhere. They were both right up against this gate, checking things out.
We got a lot done, but there is another good day of work to make it usable. The roof needs to be finished, the enclosures on both ends need to be finished, the floor backfilled with gravel, leveled, and matted. That will make it safe and dry. Later on we will add a light, cut a doorway from the inside of the barn out to the new space, add trimwork, and paint.
The weather is supposed to be nice again this weekend so you know what we’ll be doing!
Meet Rosie! She is a miniature spotted donkey, 18 years old. She is an absolute sweetheart. She loves attention whether you are giving her scratches or whether she is visiting with kids. Little kids (under 50 pounds) can even be given lead line rides on her.
Two weeks ago today I went to meet her and one week ago my mom and I brought her home. Poor girl was scared during the trailer ride, but perked right up when she saw her new horsey companions. She is so smart – she watched us set up her temporary shelter and paddock. When we were done, she marched right in and settled in. She has been laying down to sleep (judging by the shavings all over her body) since the first night. On the 4th day she figured out when breakfast is and let out a bray right on time. 🙂
For now she has her own pen to keep her safe and control her food intake. As the week progressed I let Blondie have supervised free time with Rosie, but I’ve kept Zi on a lead rope. Blondie is calm and patient. She hangs back and watches. Zi on the other hand has been obsessed with Rosie. Both girls keep her company, staying right near her paddock most of the day, but Zi sniffs noses and then squeals. Finally the squealing seems to have stopped and I’ve allowed her to approach Rosie. Just yesterday I supervised while they were all loose together. As you can see, Zi is an ever-present shadow in every picture.
See what I mean? Zi 10-15 feet behind Rosie, Blondie hanging around behind her.
Speaking of Zi…check out this photo of her teeth! Maybe this is why she was so grumpy a few weeks ago.
Going forward, the idea is that I’ll be able to take Zi away for training and leave Rosie and Blondie at home. This is going to be quite a change for Zi as she’s going to have to learn to be dependent on me. The first few times I take her away from home by herself I’m sure there will be temper tantrums. However, I’m really looking forward to being able to focus on her when we haul out to local shows or to visit friends, or even just to walk around the neighborhood.
The snow started falling on Saturday, December 15th when we got 3 inches. Sunday it snowed like crazy; at the end of the day we had 7 inches. Monday or Tuesday (I don’t recall which) we added a fresh 1.5 inches. Then Wednesday – what a day – after snowing all morning, raining around lunch time, and then snowing all afternoon into early evening we had 17 inches. That’s 2 inches taller than my winter muck boots.
A week later and it’s finally starting to melt. This morning is the first time I’ve seen mud in the pasture and I see that a significant amount has melted off the patio table. It’s going to be a mess as it melts away, but I still want it gone.
Zi makes the most of it:
I call this one, “where’s the hose again?”. The snow must be 3 feet deep here where it has slid off the barn roof. I’ll be lucky to unearth this hose by the end of January.
Not sure how I managed to not get mowed down in this one!
Nevermind, I don’t need to walk through this doorway anyway. Must remember this for the next barn we build – put a dormer over every doorway to direct the snow AWAY.
Thank goodness for heated water troughs!
I had a good time with this series. Blondie had an itch and wanted to roll. Zi’s blasting around in the background, just waiting for her moment to go after Blondie.
Finally starting to melt, but still about 12 inches deep in this photo.
As much as I want to reminisce about our cruise and the gorgeous weather it’s time to face reality. A rainy reality that is slapping me in the face. Slogging around in the rain and mud, heaving sopping piles of poo into the wheelbarrow. Ugh.
Our nearest weather station was above 14 inches of rain for the month of November. December will be more of the same.
My cuddly horse – she doesn’t mind self portraits at all.
Then there’s Blondie. She wants to know why Zi is eager to be close to me, but getting a self portrait with her takes work as she really doesn’t like to be loved on (unless it’s by R). Here she’s giving me a dirty look since I’ve prevented her from taking her face away from me.
There actually are 2 bucks hanging out together in our neighborhood. These two photos may be of the same one – I can’t tell them apart or catch them in a single photo together.
We had a heat wave last weekend. Temps in the 90’s which is WAY too hot for us. Blondie looks like she’s ready for a nap, not a ride.
Does this look like a bratty 3 year old face? It does to me. She is a true 15 hands now, an inch taller than Blondie. This is a good thing. Everyone tells me she should make 15.2 which would be wonderful.
Munching grass above the garden. The nice thing about our pasture is that the horses have shade somewhere all day long.
My rock graveyard. This area is going to get a makeover soon.
Sometimes taking care of horses feels a whole lot more like work than fun…
Before work: feed horses, discover and dispose of dead wild rabbit. Thankfully the dead rabbit situation is extremely rare.
At lunch: pickup 11 bales of hay for $200. Thankfully this hay plus the few bales I still had will last a couple months. Contemplate whether I will be able to unload and stack 110 pound bales of hay by myself.
After work: let horses out to eat on the lawn. Unload hay. Clean up hay mess. Dispose of decomposing mouse (right after I was just telling coworkers that I had only caught one mouse in the barn). Pick up manure. This one happens at least every couple of days. Two horses nearly fill a wheelbarrow everyday in poo. Feed horses so they can produce more poo.
Finally time to fix my own dinner and then sit down to knit!
These last 3 photos are from 4th of July. The girls adjusted to the noisemakers well (including multiple cannons in our neighborhood), but they hated the sparkles overhead. We stayed outside with them for an hour and a half, waiting for 2 neighbors to run out of fireworks. At 10 pm Blondie was done trying to get away from them. She parked in one spot and didn’t move. Zi still wanted to run around so I haltered her and put a stop to that. She was fine at that point.
And, with that said….it’s been ONE YEAR since they came home and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I guess you all can see what I’ve been up to since this is my third post in a row about taking my horses somewhere. This weekend was our 2nd play day horse show that I hauled myself and the horses to. Just as I knew it would be, it was much easier than the first time. I’m getting more comfortable hauling the trailer, pretty darn good at backing it up, and the horses are loading, unloading, and hauling very quietly.
Both girls were much calmer at the show. Blondie only called to Zi a couple of times. Of course, I still had to keep her within sight of Zi, but her behavior was a huge improvement over last time. Zi still had some airs above the ground. I lunged her in the main arena (totally amped up) and then lunged her in the warm up arena where I got very good behavior. During the lunch break Paul took Blondie and I led Zi and we walked a couple loops of the main arena. This was really good for Zi so she could have a calm, confidence building few minutes in that arena.
And that was it. I didn’t do any classes. All I needed was behavior improvement and that was enough for me. We had intermittent rain shows most of the day so I packed it up and headed home early afternoon.
Every weekend since the play day horse show on May 19th I’ve taken my horse girls up to their former boarding stable. So even though we’ve been going to the same place, we’ve been somewhere EVERY weekend. The first weekend I had some hyper horses on my hands, but after that I’ve had pretty good behavior. The first weekend both girls just hung out at separate ends of the property. Blondie got to stay with JJ, her best buddy. Zi stayed in the extra little pasture by herself. The second weekend we went on a trail ride. I ponied Zi. The third weekend I rode Blondie in the arena and then worked with Zi afterwards. Last weekend I rode Blondie in the arena again and Zi had a lesson in being tied.
These are from our second weekend. What’s Zi so interested in? Not the enormous
…it’s his donkey companion that has caught her attention. She was actually a little bit afraid of him at first.
Blondie on the other hand was enamored with him.
Donk was kind of shy. Or maybe it’s just that he knows his job well – he is companion and protector of the big guy.