October 30, 2012

Headed Home

Headed home to the pony. She's been eating her meds and can't wait to be on pasture again! Vet said shes doing good.

Gonna miss my little nephew but it was a lot of fun meeting him!!!

October 27, 2012

Update on Dani's Leg

Steve went to see Dani today and texted me a picture. He said she has two meds, one icky tasting and another that is fine with her. He said she was fussing and trying to knock over the bucket with the icky meds, she didn't like the grain tasting icky.
I don't know if she's getting any turn out at all but he said she seems fiesty and was trying to trot off and see the other horses when he led her around.  I miss her and can't wait to see my poor injured baby!

October 26, 2012

Welcome to Horse Ownership....1st Injury Under my Watch. Uge

So I'm officially a horse owner, I've been Cristened.  Dani had her first injury.  I got a call on Wednesday, the night before I would leave for VA to see my first baby nephew.  The boarding facility said her left high leg was swollen.  When I got to the barn I noticed a patch of fur missing on her hip, like it had been shaved off.
There was another shaved off looking area on her leg and her fetlock was all muddy.  I hosed her leg to clean it and reduce the swelling.  The swelling went down and Dani was a very good girl in the cross ties, I've only had her cross tied once for any period of time.  Also since this was the first time I hosed her down I was impressed how good she was and trusting.  I love her!

So here's her wet leg with the "shaved" spot and a cut.  The gal at the boarding place said if it was her horse she would wait a little before calling a vet.  I agreed since she didn't seem lame or off.

My poor baby.  I left Thursday morning and received updates from the barn.  Later that day they said that she was still swollen and called the vet to come the next day.  Now it's Friday and he's been out.  He says Dani will be fine and that she was slightly lame on the leg at the trot.  She's on butte, antibiotics and has a pressure wrap.  He'll also come out on Monday to check on her. 

I fly home on Tuesday morning. Uge. I hate being away when she's hurt and having the people at the barn deal with her care. They are awesome though!! I'll be getting the bill later so I don't know what the damage is to my pocketbook but this is horse ownership. If it goes above 325 then my insurance policy will kick in. I'm happy to have that as a safety net in case something really bad happens.

Poor Dani is staying in a stall for now but the vet said a small turnout paddock would be good for her.  I told the farm so hopefully she'll get out some.  Colorado is having cold driving weather.  Since she's in the stall and is not clipped I didn't want her overheated with the blanket.  Certain weather will necessitate a blanket like snow, wind and really cold temps.  For the most part I don't think she'll need one as her coat grows in.

Poor Dani.  It's hard being away from her but I know she's in good hands and am glad that I chose this stable.  She was in the pasture but still got looked at closely, it validates my choice a bit.  I've heard that some pasture kept horses can often not receive the same care as a stabled horse.  Anyhow, Steve will be back late this evening so can check on her on Saturday and Sunday morning.  It would have been great if he'd been in the state while I was gone but at least she's doing fine and the vet doesn't think she'll be having issues once she's healed.  Oh the stress!  I was hoping to have a little more time before I had my first horse injury and vet call but alas it's baptism by fire!!!

October 24, 2012

Rambo Blanket

 Steve and I headed to the barn on a busy Saturday.  The barn was having a horse show.  The road leading up to it and the "parking lot" was packed with cars and trailers.  Horses were coming and going in all directions.  Steve and I peaked into the indoor to see the Halloween costume class.  Some cute costumes, nothing really to write home about but it was still lots of fun.  A unicorn and his princess were standing in the aisle way, not sure why they weren't in the class. 
We went to get Dani.  When we brought her into the barn she was obviously nervous at all the motion and people.  She is used to a very quiet setting.  We found an empty stall and I led her in, well I tried to.  She balked.  People were moving up and down the aisle and behind her...hmm, I bet this has to do with some of the past experiences with trailering and having people forcefully get her into that tight space.  I'm sure that was a flashback.  Perhaps not but each time I tried to get her in the stall she balked and even backed a little.  With all those people around I didn't want anyone hurt and didn't feel this was the best time to force this issue so I led her outside, had Steve bring her to a quieter area of the parking lot, had him turn her around to face the commotion and went to get the grooming bag really quick.

I tidied her up just a bit since we were going to have her sized for a blanket.  We got the goobers out of her eyes.  One eye had more crusted on her fur, I'll have to keep an eye on that.  Her eye seemed fine but it just seemed like more than your normal goober.  Once she was reasonably presentable Steve and I brought her to the Pinnacle Horseware stand.  I talked to the gal about her board situation, pasture with a run in and that she wouldn't be clipped.  We tried on a couple blankets, Dani was a good girl having a stranger throw on the blanket.  I also have to mention the clothes and bagged items blowing in the breeze making a bit of sound and a lot of motion.  Dani was perfectly fine.  She looked down at the bags with blankets that were plopped near her, obviously she was terrified!  LOL.

We settled on a nice Rambo Duo blanket at 20% off.  Dani will mainly just need the outer blanket but the inner blanket will be great for those really cold winter nights when we know we are getting snow and wind.  The didn't have a nice green color for her but the dark blue still looks stunning on her....and she just looks all adorable with her little coat!  My husband said he'd pay for the blanket, early Christmas gift, since he knew I was saving up for the saddle too. LOVE HIM! 

After the blanket we walked Dani around near the outdoor ring to see the action and people and also walked her around a flag.....future post to come on that.  After the excitement we had to head back to the city since Steve had a lot of errands to run.  We watched her walk out to her field and find a spot on which to graze that was closer than her norm.  All the horses were closer in though.  I love that cute little Dani butt!

Back home the blanket will get a couple tags put on it before bringing it back to the stable.  Armani, our tuxedo, cat has approved of the blanket as you can see!!

I think she looks pretty cute in her blanket even though Rambo didn't have the hunter green in this style (green is kinda Dani's color!).  She'll most likely just have to wear it on windy or wet days, I want her to grow out her full winter coat since nature makes the best warmth.  This week I'm thinking she'll need the blanket since her winter coat has not fully come in yet, that's the problem with fall in Colorado, nice warm days and temperatures can plummet in the night. 

I'm going away to see my nephew but it's so hard leaving my pony!  I know Steve will be here Saturday and part of Sunday but still there will be several days when she won't have someone to keep a close eye on her.  I know the boarding farm will keep an eye on her but still, she's my baby!  Anyhow, I won't be posting for a week or so since I will be in Virginia...I'll miss you guys!

October 23, 2012

The Horse Devouring Wash Rack

There are two wash racks in the barn for cross tying and tacking up your horse.  Some people use their stall but eventually Dani won't have that option since she'll be on pasture board full time.  I need to get her familiar with the wash rack and with the cross ties. So I'll just break it down into baby steps to keep her comfortable and able to learn that this is NOT a monster.

The first day, Tuesday, I showed her the wash rack, she balked at it.  Her head flew up and she backed into the aisle, pulling on the lead rope.  I stood calm and pulled on and off on the lead rope and then gave her all the slack in the world as soon as she took a step forward.

I stood there with the mare, her sniffing the entrance to the horse eating wash rack, the white hole of death, and me letting her take her time in learning what this new thing was.  She backed up again and I did the same thing with the lead rope, rewarding her with slack once her interest returned calmly to the area.  We then walked past it several times, going up onto the matt and off.  We stayed at the edge only.  I had her stand facing the wash rack, two feet barely in the area and calmly stood there rubbing her chest and talking softly.  My leg was cocked and I postured myself to convey the message "Ain't no thang".  She did good!

That was enough for the day.  She's still very excited about this new place and I don't want to put a lot of pressure and training work with her just yet, I want to make sure she is more settled.  In the evenings it gets quite loud, lots of people and horses coming and going.  It's good for her to get used to this atmosphere even though she'll be on pasture.  Already people are commenting that she's sooo cute and very talkative.  The daughter of the facilities owner said her boyfriend had seen Dani being hand walked by me and stated "That's the kind of horse I want".  LOL.  She's special that's for sure!

The next day when I visited her I walked her about the facility again and then out in the fields near the entrance.  She enjoyed watching horses working on combinations in the arena while we stood and she grazed.

Once we got back to the barn I walked her over to an open wash rack.  She sniffed and stepped in a little ways.  I stood there relaxed again, leg cocked.  Then I moved inwards one step.  The mare made two steps after me.  I stroked her and praised her.  Eventually her head was almost to the back wall.  She was sniffing and looking about.  I rubbed her and talked softly to her.  Then I turned her around and stopped her where she would stand for grooming eventually, praise and rubs....we just hung out for a few moments and then exited into the aisle again.  We did this a couple more times each time she seemed braver.  It was awesome!  I thought this would take more time to even get her in the wash rack but I'm still going to go slowly.  Cross ties are not something to take lightly, she needs to be trained properly and slowly. 

Thursday I had a great time with her in the wash rack.  She walked right in, I turned her around and stopped her.  We stood for a minute or so, I stroked her and we watched a group of people in a stall across the aisle and the groom sweeping the aisle way....there were also dogs wandering about.  It wasn't calm and quiet.  She was sooo good.  We walked out into the aisle, they into the other wash rack and stood again.  Lots of praise.  We walked out and back again, this time she balked slightly, just a slight raised head and resisted walking forward.  I kept the pressure on the rope and released it as soon as she moved forwards release the pressure.  She did fine after that and walked into the wash rack.  We did it several more times, each time I stood with her and praised her and rubbed her chest. 

A few times at later dates we've had some issues with her balking but with insistence and release of pressure she has eventually come into the wash rack.  I need to spend a good solid amount of time working on her with this issue.

At last a time has come up!  I went out Sunday later in the afternoon, the barn was mildly busy.  I groomed Dani and then worked with her in the wash racks.  We went in and out into the rack, I turned her around and had her stand.  I wiggled a lot of the implements that were in the area, banged the cross ties on the walls and played around with the hoses.  Dani stood calmly looking at me and cocking her ear.  I was quite happy.  There have been times before where she was obviously very nervous.  She still balked and planted her feet a couple times but with a little encouragement she moved into the stall with not much more coaxing.  After what I would say was 30 to 45 minutes we ended our little teaching.

Today I went up for a short time to see Dani and get her blanket adjusted, we have colder weather coming in and she may need it some nights coming up.  I've been home sick the past two days, trying to fend off a sore throat and stuffy nose etc.  I have a newborn nephew I'm trying to go fly and see the end of this week so it's been all Vitamin C and zinc lozenges for me.  So it was nice to see Dani, I've missed seeing her because of this cold thing and trying to get better. 

When I went to get Dani she was grazing next to one of the bay mares, not sure if it was the boss mare since the two bays look similar to me.  Dani had some weeds tangled in her mane but it wasn't too bad.  I brought her into the stable and then directly into the wash rack.  What a good girl she was.  I cross tied her and even when I walked away to get her blanket down the way she stood pretty well.  She moved to watch me but wasn't being silly or anything.  She bobbed her head a few times throughout the grooming and blanketing but she just seemed to be figuring out the cross ties.

Dani certainly needs more exposure to the wash rack and cross ties and of course to all the activity of the stable but each day I feel she learns more that this place is okay and that she will be okay.

October 22, 2012

The Flapping Flag

The process of moving a horse to a new location and being a new owner has been interesting.  The first week when I groomed Dani each day in her stall she neighed out loud and would move back and forth in the stall.  It was horrible in a way, I felt bad and dejected but I also felt compassion for her.  Dani's whole life as she knew it had just turned upside down.  As a word of advice to any future owner....give them time and give them a break.  Sure, don't let the new horse walk over you but have some empathy and take it one step at a time.

In the couple weeks I've owned her I've grown pretty close with her and this is just from some basic groundwork and daily grooming.  Dani has gotten to realize that I'm there for her, I won't let her get hurt.  We have a lot more to do in growing out relationship but I feel we've started down a good path.  Dani now stands still with me grooming her and has shown that she trusts me, she enters the wash rack and has stood calmly when the Bobcat was busy going up and down the aisle with bales of hay.

The day of the horse show at the stable Dani had some issues going into a stall but I have to understand that there were a million people in the aisle way and  behind her.  I'm sure the confined stall and the people milling about behind made her panic and think of the trailering experiences she has had.  I could have used the moment as a trainer moment but at times you just have to realize when you won't win.  It would have jeopardized the safety of the other people and would have most likely backfired with Dani.  Instead Steve and I gave it up and just groomed her up a little before getting her fit for a blanket by a vendor that came to the facility.  I'll be posting that a little later.

Today I want to post about the flag.  The people milling around, all through the stable and grounds was a good experience for Dani who is used to a very quiet environment.  After we had the blanket fit I walked Dani by the outdoor arena and then noticed a flag near the trailers.  Hmm.  I walked her around in slowly smaller circles by the flapping flag.  She did wonderfully and didn't show much upset if any.  The only time was when we got close enough and the flag touched her but she didn't freak out.  She took it all in stride.  I'm very happy with the progress I've made with her in just a couple of weeks.  We have more to go and I'm awaiting the Clinton Anderson DVD's to arrive but I feel we've already started down a good path.  I love her so much!

October 21, 2012

Serene Sunday

The Horse Eating, Hay Toting, Bobcat of Death!!!

I arrived on Friday to see Dani for a little bit before meeting friends.  The barn was buzzing since the following day was to be one of the quarterly horse shows.  Hay had been delivered and so the Bobcat was going up and down the aisle, getting each huge bale and taking it to the end of the aisle.  Nearly every horse would run out of their stall terrified as the beast drove past.
It was a scary thing!  It looked like a scorpion and then when it carried the hay bale through the stable the hay was lifted over the top of the Bobcat.  I can see that it is certainly a horse eating beast to those that don't know better!
I got Dani from the field and even after walking the long distance to her favorite grazing spot and bringing her all the way back the beast was still at work.  Today was not the day to do ANY work with the wash rack. I looked for an empty stall but was having issues.  One of the boarders said, "oh the wash rack is open".  I explained that "Dani was still freaked out about the wash rack and today would not improve that situation".  I headed to the outdoor round pen as a last resort but then the gal came up and said I could take stall 4 for now.  Awesome!  I thanked her. I figured the stall would be perfectly fine as it has been and perhaps this would be good for Dani to experience.  We went into the stall and I left the door open so she could fully see the beast as it noisily drove back and forth.
The first time it approached Dani turned her head to watch neighboring horses retreat in fear.  She appeared to look at me asking if she should be worried.  I stood near her, ready to jump out of the way if she did indeed freak, but just stood calmly and slowly stroked her withers and talked calmly to her.  She was SOOOOO GOOD!  By the fifth or sixth trip, I wasn't counting, she was totally ignoring the beast, only a cock of the ear indicated that she paid it any mind.  She sniffed at the floor of the stall looking for leftover grain that might have fallen from a neighboring stall.  I groomed her and loved on her.  I was delighted!  "What a good girl," I said to her as she sighed.

It was time to bring her back to her pasture, I was already late for my friends get together.  Time flies at the barn!  The mare pasture was opened up to the little dry pasture at the end of the stable.  The mares had received their hay.  I made sure to cluck at the bay boss mare and wave my lead rope at her a bit to move her from the gate.  One time while bringing Dani into the barn I brought her too close to the boss mare and she balked, giving me quite the rope burn.  Now I know I really need to move that mare, and any horse for that matter, a distance away in order to maneuver my mare.  It worked well this time.  I walked Dani into the paddock a good ways, turned her about and took off her halter.  I stood and watched for a few minutes as she approached the boss mare who immediately pinned her ears.  Dani skirted around her and settled on a hay pile that was an acceptable distance from the boss. 
I love watching horses interact.  Dani hasn't gotten beaten up but I have noticed some rump bites, really only ruffled hair and dried saliva so she has had some encounters but nothing that has caused harm.  Dani seemed content in the evening light, munching away on her hay.  The pictures a bit blurry but there's my cute girl!

October 20, 2012

Settling in

I know, I know.  I just got a pony and I should be posting everyday.  Well I haven't because I just got a pony!  LOL.  I've spent every day I can at the barn.  The first week I spent everyday grooming her and walking her around the property.  I let her sniff and graze (when she was only in her stall)
I often walked her along the main drive into the place, we would watch the jumpers in the outdoor arena and I'd work on having her stay out of my space and behind me while being led.  That's something she's needing to learn.

I walked her up and down the stable aisle and while she was in her own stall the first few days she got used to the comings and goings of people.  She moved around a lot while being tied up to groom in the stall and is still working on getting used to the wash rack where most people groom and tack up their horse.
But now Dani is out in the north pasture will the mares.  Grazing all day long and loving it.  One time when I let her out into the dry paddock that opens up to the big paddock she didn't notice right away that the gate was open to the big paddock.  I was standing off looking into the east paddock and Dani galloped off with joy into the big paddock to my left.  I watched her run way into the paddock, I'd have to say it's at least 10 acres.
The whole property is 80 acres with three large pastures.  There is the north mares, the middle (east paddock that has mostly geldings) and then the south paddock that one gal referred to as the "whoosy gelding" paddock.  She said her gelding was in there since he was a big baby. 
All the fields have run in sheds.  Below is Dani's.  Even on a rainy Saturday when my parents came out to meet Dani for the first time the mare was standing outside the shed with most of the mares.  She wasn't cold and didn't seem to mind being wet but looked like a drowned rat!

At least the run in shed is there if she needs it and I'll get her a blanket for the really icky days.  Most horses fair quite well with there natural winter coats out here and since temperatures can vary from 20s-50s in one day of Colorado winter it's best not to keep her blanketed.  Remember Willy with just his sheet and how I would find him sweating when I came to ride?

So Dani seems to be settling in quite well.  I'm saving up some money for a new saddle since the one I have does not fit her.  Needless to say I haven't ridden her yet because of that.  We have plenty of groundwork to do for now but I'll be getting that saddle VERY soon.

She's a sweet little girl and only once was I lucky enough that she was near the gate one day when I came to get her.  Wintertime could become irritating but we'll see how things go.

Most times she's out at the far end of the field where the grass is better!!  I call out, she looks up, neighs and goes back to eating!  That's okay I need the exercise!
I'll post more often, I promise!!

October 14, 2012

October 12, 2012

Shift in Eras: B.C. to A.D.

I'm sure everyone is familiar with B.C. and A.D. as far as time lines go.  Anno Domini (AD or A.D.) and Before Christ (BC or B.C.) are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars. This calendar era is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, with AD counting years after the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of the epoch.

Well I now have a personal B.C. and A.D.

Dani Girl!!!

B.C. means before Caballus (Equus caballus that is!).  In my life B.C. was a sad and lonely time (not really just being dramatic here!) years 32-1 B.C. marked the time in my life without a regular horse companion.  I spent some time with horses, lesson horses and lease horses that I could only see under an instructors tutelage or on set days.  I felt restricted and like I had to do things exactly how the owner or instructor did.  I didn't feel like it was okay to make a mistake.  No one made me feel this way I just often felt like a paramecium under a microscope, which sometimes I want to be so I can learn what I'm doing wrong.  But alas, I longed for the day when I could truly develop a relationship with my own horse that I could feel free to learn with and find what worked for me.  I dreamed of what my future horse would be like, I dreamed of Arabians always loving the Black Stallion story.


Of course now I am entering into the A.D. era, which means After Dani.  She's my beautiful Morgan mare, I don't think I could love her more even if she was an Arabian.  She's just right!  Now an official horse owner I am on my own, not really but kinda.  I can do what I want with my mare and take the steps at my own pace...learning a lot I'm sure as I go.  Of course I always want to seek professional guidance at times but I think being just Dani and me will allow me to learn more than the once a week lesson or lease horse ever could.  Linda said to me that I just need to ride regularly and go at my own pace.  She's right, perfection is not my goal, it'd be nice but I just need to get over my fears and be with my horse, never going too far too fast.  Yeah I'll make mistakes but I'll learn just like Dani will learn from her mistakes.  If I get overwhelmed I take a step back or work with my trainer.

Dani's stall placard until she's moved full time onto the
pasture board

A.D. is an exciting point in my personal history, so begins year 1 A.D.

October 11, 2012

Dani's Move to Her New Home

Dani's move happened rather quickly as my time table was an issue with a clinic at Lauries on Saturday the 13th and a visit to my new born nephew coming up later this month.  I wanted to get her moved this weekend if at all possible and not have to take another day off work since I needed my days for vacation etc.  I had to scramble Sunday evening because calls I was waiting for all weekend finally came in that evening. Uge! If it wasn’t for the last minute nothing would ever get done, right?  So I began the coordination for her move.

My friend Uschi was sick all weekend and then had plans for Monday so couldn’t help move Dani. Ushi has a nice trailer and truck. Darn. I called around to various people I knew, left messages for most. I even contacted a colleague who works for the Office of Emergency Management for the county since I knew her daughter has a boarding facility out past Calhan and she coordinates the County Animal Rescue Team….they have many volunteers that helped evacuate large animals during the recent Waldo Canyon Fire.

Anyways, the owner of Dani had a trailer but I knew they weren’t comfortable with me using their truck to haul it. I called a couple co-workers and those who had trucks. Rich was able to haul and after talking with the owner Laura found that it would work out fine with his truck.

Luckily when we arrived Monday morning the trailer was awesome. The trailer was nice, big and open; something very important for a difficult loader.

I got Dani groomed, just a quick brush over concentrating mainly on her legs. I wrapped her legs in polo wraps, the nice green ones I used for Willy. The green halter looked nice on her too. I was thinking I wanted to go blue with her but I think green really is her color!

Rich positioned the trailer where Laurie wanted to work the mare. She started with a sending exercise to get the mare in the frame of mind that she was to work and Laurie was the leader. She spent a total two hours with approach and retreat on the trailer. She brought the mare up to the trailer and let her sniff then she brought her away. Eventually she had the mare place a foot on it and then another. Slowly we got to the point that the mare was walking on perfectly. She didn’t stay on long but would back out and Laurie worked on her backing out slowly and methodically. For a trouble loader she was doing great!

Laurie had me close the door on the next turn but I didn’t know she wanted to tell me once she was in the trailer, she wanted to wait and then have me do it. So I closed it once they were on the trailer and Dani backed out quickly, bumping the door on the way out. I swung it open fast to get out of the way. Oops, communication is key! Oh well, Laurie did some more in and out with the mare and one time she flung her head as she backed out and bopped herself. She didn’t do it too hard, Laurie rubbed her head and she was fine. This was a setback so an hour worth of back and forth with the mare getting on and off we finally decided that she would turn Dani around as I closed the door so she could see that happening. Once the door was latched Dani moved around a lot and neighed like nobody’s business. Laurie got her tied to the front and then we were off.

I think all in all Dani did quite well and we set the ground work for loading. Still a lot more work to be done. Uschi has suggested we bring her trailer over a few times and work the mare. I don’t suggest a 2 hour long training session each time but little steps. Certainly when I get a trailer I will make sure it is very Dani friendly!

I lead the caravan, me in the lead, Rich with the trailer in the middle and Laurie as the end. We drove down 83 at a snail’s pace, I tried to keep Rich a decent distance behind me and match his speed. Approximately 10 miles down the road we arrived at Whispering Winds Farm, with a sigh of relief.

Dani unloaded calmly and then I led her to her new stall for the time being. Liz was there to greet me and answer questions. We got Dani situated and then care instructions written up. She told me to make a little placard for Dani that stated her feeding and turnout requirements. For now there is no turnout. She is next to a mare that is in during the night, her name is Breezy and she’s a sweet mare that Dani will eventually be turned out with.

 I cleaned out the trailer, introduced myself to the manure pile at the barn (LOL) and bid Laurie farewell with much thanks. I think the work she did was well worth the time and expense to get Dani here safely and the beginning training with the trailer will hopefully continue during her next lesson. I helped Rich drop of the trailer back at Laura’s. He headed home, I headed for lunch.

I came back later to groom Dani and then walk her about the property, allowing her to graze on some of the grasses. She was full of whinnies wondering where she was and where her two horse friends were. I felt bad and stroked her and talked with her. It will take some time to settle in but she’s here and she’s safe. Horse ownership starts NOW!