October 25, 2015
October 19, 2015
Dani has been alone on our property since she arrived at the end of September. Luckily the one pasture is near other horses but when I moved her to another pasture she got so upset and worked up a sweat pacing and neighing of the horses that were too far away. We needed to do something to find her a buddy. I contacted several people locally that had a horse for sale and even thought about a free lease on this older unrideable companion horse. Nothing really appealed to me since I wanted a permanent friend and also a useful horse for Steve and I. We have just under 4 acres so we'd be limited to how many horses we can keep here.
I went onto a local, well two hours west of us, horse rescue. They had several horses in the rescue and then many others that individual owners listed to rehome. One in particular stood out to me. His name was Chance. He was a handsome little Arabian, 17 years old and well trained. He was ridden on trails a lot and sounded like a great minded horse.
His owner had a smaller property with a little donkey and a younger horse, she needed to rehome Chance since she was planning on doing more intense riding with her young horse and also the two horses didn't quite get along as well as she'd hoped so Chance was in a neighboring paddock. I drove 2 hours to the Winston-Salem area to meet him. The whole time I was nervous....what if he's too much, what if he's spooky....what if he's like Arabians I test rode before? But then the thought kept coming back. What if he turns out to be amazing like Willy?
When I met Chance there was something so soft in his eye, something soft but also intelligent. His owner cared for him so much and told me all about rides she has done with him and how he's reacted to many new situations. She studies Parelli and he was very responsive to her. We trailered over to a friends home where there was a small arena. She worked him on the ground and he was certainly feeling his beans but a good thing was there was not the redheaded mare attitude I'm often confronted with when my horse is fresh.
She rode him and then it was my turn. I worked him on a ground for a few minutes and found him very willing and supple in his movements. Not so much the ton of bricks I have to move when working Dani sometimes, LOL. I was unsure and definitely nervous to mount up but I took it slow and rode him at the walk doing serpentines and many turns. He seemed to sense the nervousness but he just hesitantly moved onward. As we both grew more comfortable we got in sync and he moved off better with my cues. I was pleased he wasn't going to react and run off with me, he was just calming awaiting leadership and not running off in terror. That is a good thing in a horse for someone with fear issues. I know being a leader is the most important thing but it's good to have a horse that is secure in themselves when their human has a little bit of nerves from time to time.
I slept on it and then emailed the lady that we would love to give Chance a home. We agreed on the following Saturday as a good day for her to bring him over. We worked out a contract and the day of signed and paid the rescue agency for his adoption. All was very smooth. Even the horses meeting was smooth. I kept Chance in the small stable yard while Dani was in the pasture. The two could meet over the fence at first. Dani did her usual sniffing of nostrils and then her mare squeal. Then, the two just chilled together. We opened the gate about half an hour later and there was another couple squeals but then the two went on to grazing. As they moved around the pasture Dani pinned her ears to move her little gelding around the fence line and then the two would settle into a new location for grazing.
With only a couple days of having the two together they seem inseparable. If I move one out of the field first and into a stall for feeding there is a little upset until they can see each other again, if Steve is hear we try to move them together. I want to get into a routine where I can just open a gate at feeding time and the two will go into "their" stall for their grain/supplement. Chance seemed unsure at first but he is now starting to understand it's okay to go into the stall since that is where his food will be and that he's not going to stay in there forever. Chance has a senior feed he is on so he receives more at each feeding. I want to keep them apart so he gets all his food and Dani doesn't try to steal it. We'll see how this works and if we need to try another system for feeding we can do that.
I'm so happy though, Dani seems very content to have a pasture mate and now we can put the horses in the other pastures without any upset. She doesn't need to see the horses across the way since she has her very own that she can boss around. It will be awesome getting to know Chance and seeing his personality and learning how to work with him. I'm also excited that Steve will have a pony of his own to ride!
October 18, 2015
October 16, 2015
October 14, 2015
Fixing something is never simple. I used the cross ties one evening and Dani was more restless than she's ever while tied. It's been a while since we had access to cross ties but she shouldn't have been that agitated. I noticed that the ties were set pretty high and pulling upwards on her head. Also I'd have to be on my tippy toes to reach the quick release snap if I ever needed to untie a panicked horse. So this task was put on the list of something I needed to fix...a never ending list when one first moves to a new home.
The next day I set to work unscrewing the ring holders. Several of the screws were stripped so it made a simple job that much more difficult. I find that often I can use a flat head screw driver to get the stripped Phillips heads moving. If they are really bad you often have to drill out the screw with a smaller bit. I finally got all the screws out of both rings (much grunting and some cursing occurred in the process). Then I measured for the height at which I wanted to install them. Typically you have them around eye level for the horse or about 6 inches higher than the horse stands at the withers.
I ended up adjusting the rings about a foot or so down from their original position! You can sort of see in the picture below. The cross tie on the left is the original height and the one on the right is the adjusted height. Much better and I can reach the release if I ever have a panicking horse. That is very important!
Once you snap the cross ties onto the ring you check the length by having the ties themselves touch in the middle as I've demonstrated above. Of course you can adjust to give your horse a little less pull on the halter depending on how they act in the cross ties. I have to do some more work with Dani on cross tie manners and remind her how to chill while tied. At least now they are set properly for her and we can move on to another project.
October 11, 2015
October 09, 2015
The wooden fences on the property are older and many boards need replacing. Dani leaned against a couple where she stands and neighs at other horses, those weaker boards broke. I plan on running a hot wire along the top to prevent that but until then I'm fixing the loose boards.
The boards were nailed in place so a little difficult to remove since the heads were all rust out. Past "repairs" were done with duct tape? LOL. I guess it works in a pinch. We'll get the fencing up to par. We also have a short on the electric fence which is weird since it worked earlier and now it keeps tripping the plug even when it's not plugged into the fence charger. Steve will take a look at that this Saturday.
It was a drizzly day and I was sick and coughing at lot so it wasn't too fun but it needed to be done. I have several more areas to attend to but I got the broken boards out and new ones installed. My pony is contained....for now! Fence maintenance is an ongoing thing but a hot wire on the top will increase the longevity of this wooden fencing.
October 08, 2015
October 03, 2015
October 02, 2015
The barn yard has some drainage issues we will have to work on. It didn't take long for the area to turn into a mucky mess.
Standing water in the storage shed leanto will most likely be where we install a french drain to get the water moving away. The out buildings all need gutters too. I'm also researching gravel, sand and grids that can help with drainage in heavy traffic areas.
The east has had a lot of rain lately and more to come with the hurricane out in the ocean. At least it's showing our problems early so we can get a hold of them before icky winter weather comes in with ice storms.
I've been letting Dani on the pastures since they have good drainage at least and are dryer than the barnyard. Once this truly become a sacrifice area it will be good to let her hooves dry out when it's icky like this. The stalls are staying pretty dry at least but she doesn't want to stay in one for too long.
One of the fence posts had little yellow fungus growing. Oh the joy of being back on the east coast where there is more moisture. We'll get the situations solved and I'm keeping an eye on Dani's hooves. There isn't much we can do at this point since the rain just keeps coming. At least it's only one problem area thus far. The rest of the property seems to drain quite well.