Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Still Weaning...

We're trying the interval mehod of weaning, so now each day Ace get's seperated from Copy for a meal in his own stall. This amuses him less and less each time. Today he was a little bit angry. First he balked at the door when I asked him to go in. But that didn't last long. Again, he pretty much skipped lunch. And, he got a little more agressive with the stall walls. I just locked him up, gave him hay and grain, and went about my business in the barn. He doesn't cry constantly, but he doesn't eat much either. After about 45 minutes, I was ready to leave so I put them both back out together. Mom said she had a hard time getting him out of the stall herself yesterday. So I ("She who must be obeyed") worked out the routine. I snapped a rope to his halter, snubbed him to the door post, and put the chain over his nose. Good luck threading the needle if he isn't tied up! Then, with the chain on he led out of the stall in a organised fashion.

Really it hasn't been bad. We need to just shut the door and walk away. Many people advise to wean with the phases of the moon, choosing the days the horses will be least aggressive. Each year there is a convenient sticky note in the COTH breeding forum with all the dates. The October dates are this Friday and Saturday. Hang on Acey, your day is coming.

Monday, September 28, 2009

All Alone at the Lunch Table

Remember high school and the anxious moments as you tried to find a group of friends who ate at the same lunch period so you wouldn't have to sit alone...? Ace had one of those days.

Today we had a high wind warning making it unwise to ride outside, so it was an "Ace Day". Ace ate lunch in his own little stall today. Well, to say that he "ate" is overstating things a bit. He nibbled. Eating would have taken concentration, and his concentration was shot. We finally have an empty stall, and it's the cutest little stall... 8x9 with a south facing window, floor mats, and it's own little spill proof bean pot feeder. Saturday I replaced the door latch that had been yanked off awhile ago so it is "Ace Proof". Today when Ace and Copy came on for lunch, I stuck him in the strange stall all alone. He handled it pretty well. No body slamming or anything, but a lot of crying and stall walking. Copy, two doors down on the opposite side gave a few quiet reassuring nickers, and enjoyed her own lunch in peace and quiet. Like my Mom says, "Copy is as good a mother as she is a rotten mare." You couldn't ask for a better mother. As a mare, she can be a raving ding-bat.

Ace did get half of his lunch eaten. He also enjoyed the window. I turned my gelding out and he went to the pipe corral 2 feet from Ace's window and made monkey-shines so we had to lock him up so he wouldn't incite and encourage bad behavior. When Ace stopped crying and pacing, he tried his best to rearrange the stall mats, but I assure you, my husband has them locked in and it will take more than a whiny weanling to move them.

Prior to lunch time, Ace had a walk and whoa session, and was tied to the wall for grooming. He was very good, allowing me to pick out all for hooves, and handle his ears. He is still very very very ticklish on his flanks and legs. He will allow you to touch them, but he cannot stand still for it. He does not relocate or snatch the legs away, but he flinches and squats something awful. To his credit he has never kicked at nor aimed to kick at a human. When he is mad he bites. He doesn't bite people, but he rearranged the quick release knot in the rope to some unidentifiable Boy Scout Knot that I had to pry apart. All in all, it was a good Ace day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sept 21st progress report

Not much has been going on with Ace. He's growing, and behaving. Now and then I have to show up and play the enforcer, but for the most part, everything is running smoothly. He is shaping up to be very upheaded with nice length of neck, and pretty good hinge at the throat. That coupled with his handsome face is causing Mom and I to really look forward to his training in a few years.

He and Copy spend most of the day from breakfast 'til dark in the indoor round pen which opens out into a small pipe corral. Besides being a nice set up for exercise, this puts Ace front and center at the arena gate where he can see anything that goes on in the barn. Last week I had my Grey horse crosstied 6 feet from the arena gate and was rummaging around in the tack room. I heard sort of a start and a low snort from Grey, and looked out to find a paper feed bag lying on the floor at his feet. The culprit...

He just wanted someone to play with, and was offering Grey his toy.

Progress report on everything else...
Weaning: We now have an empty stall for him, and I need to fix the door latch and otherwise babyproof it.
Gelding: I felt for his testicles today, and the one that had dropped was nowhere to be found! **sigh**

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Great Escape

When I began to blog, I often wondered what on earth I would write about and would I eventually run out of material? But you know what? Stuff just keeps happening.

Mom's email from 11:51 pm last night...

At 10:30 Richard took Hunter (Rottweiler) out and came in saying "you have a horse loose" always a news item I can do without. He was in flip flops, I grabbed the flashlight and got into my boots fast. There Copy and Ace were, eating grass by the hitching rail. Richard was ahead of me and got the barn lights on, Ace ran for him and the barn. Copy went to Grey's window to flirt and let me catch her too. They had both insulators broken by Grey's stall and the web totally off and on the ground. Nobody hurt and all is well except Copy is coughing again tonight. Glad no one told Ace that when you get out you run like crazy everywhere you are never supposed to go.

The scene of the crime:

And their Accomplice:

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Showdown at the Not OK Corral

Over the summer, I spent two weeks take home pay on a used pipe round pen. Then, I spent about half that again to buy these rather ingenious Panel Caps to fill the joints and make it safe for Knucklehead who must always rear up and ride his mother around piggyback like a fool. I did all this so that Copy and Ace could have the benefit of grazing in the lush hayfield now that they have trampled down both of their run-ins. This gesture of kindness was pretty much wasted on the unappreciative horses. Well, at least on Copy.

Mom and I led Copy and Ace out to the hayfield. Acey was quite well behaved considering this was the longest walk away from the barn he's ever taken, and it was unknown territory. He sort of led me, but there was no biting, bolting, rearing or carrying on. He was as good as you can expect a young fella to be. Copy, on the other hand, shuffled through her deck of possible personalities and chose "Displeased Herd-Bound Crazymare". This was not helped by William P. who was so jealous seeing his two women walk off out of sight with other horses that he spent the entire time at his window calling for us all to come back.

Copy refused to settle in and graze. She ran the fence because she was suddenly way too far away from the barn, and her barnmates (who mostly don't like her anyway because of her persnickety attitude).

Ace, besides being influenced by Crazymare, was overjoyed at his new playpen with the wide open sky and wonderful view. He would have been running laps anyway.

I finally went in and caught Copy hoping that having her on a rope would settle her in and allow Ace to calm down. She did take a few bites, but told me that in her opinion, the grass here smelled funny. Ace, despite being excited about his new found freedom, and covered in flies since his mother's antics had stirred up and attracted every facefly for a mile, did do some grazing and explored his new "corral" and seemed to say it was OK by him.

After awhile Copy got impatient with me, and the funny smelling grass, and decided to get pushy, stomp around and paw. She did her best to express her opinion that this "corral" was beneath her dignity, not properly placed, and rather a waste of her valuable time. At this point, I was pretty fed up with Ms. Picky Pants. When I snapped her across the back with the lead rope to straighten her out, she threw her head way up and looked down her nose at me in her signature look of scandalised innocence which I find to be the single most entertaining expression I've ever seen on a horse. Even when I'm really really annoyed with her, which I really really was.

At least Ace enjoyed his romp.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mare Maintenance

Through all of this, we have not forgotten about our trusty broodmare Copy. In fact, this week the focus has been on Copy's diet. She is the pickiest eater EVER. She will not eat wet food. She will not eat supplements. She will not eat anything she believes has been tampered with. She doesn't finish her meal when she's in a bad mood, most national holidays, every other Tuesday, and days with the letter U in them. Sometimes she just won't eat. Period. She does like pelleted Trotter, but it has to be dry, plain and unmessedaroundwith. She also has to be hungry. Unfortunately, she has a couple of issues that can be helped through supplements.

Primarily, she is a hormonal floozy. I decided to try her on Mare Magic despite the fact that Mom looked at the ingredients and stated "but it's just raspberry leaves." Who cares what it is, it works. This is the week after her heat cycle, normally a wild roller coaster of emotions. She has been noticeably steady and "normal". Success. Of course it didn't come easy. At first she would not eat the Mare Magic. Mom mixed it with applesauce and shot it in with a syringe. After a couple of days she got used to the look and smell of the leaves and decided to eat them. There was no way to sort them out, and she must have forgotten that her breakfast had been tampered with because she began to eat it again.

Secondly, although we feed hay in a net in the arena where she runs in and out, the floor is sand so I got her some Sand Clear as a precaution. Mom sort of forgot about the Sand Clear this week, and made a tactical error. Day 1 she went and got the SmartPak of Sand Clear, opened it in the stall and poured it on Copy's breakfast while Copy was already eating. Remember, Copy does not eat food that has been tampered with. Cinnamon did not help. She knew the cinnamon had been put there to disguise the tampering and she turned up her nose. Then she decided to skip breakfast altogether. Day 2 Mom tried mixing it with applesauce and shooting it in with a syringe. Copy spat it out in a blob. Mom has rescued the blob and mixed with beet pulp trying to get it into a palatable form for Miss Picky Pants. Of course Miss Picky Pants does not like beet pulp. Maybe if it's dry and she's very hungry and isn't daydreaming about something else entirely.

Thirdly, Copy has hay allergies. What has been an occasional shallow cough over the past couple of years has developed into a persistent shallow cough. The humidity and high mold/pollen count this year has made it worse. So, she is having her hay wet down. I asked Mom if she would like me to order a supplement to help her. I could almost hear the weary sigh through the email... Mom isn't game for supplement number three. I asked "can't you just switch her to beet pulp and hide stuff in there?" Mom's reply... "You ARE naive aren't you? Copy won't eat beet pulp. Maybe if it's dry and she's in the mood for beet pulp"

I also ordered her some Cosequin to help her creaky hocks because I would like to start riding her again this fall. I'm pretty sure Mom hasn't even tried that and my gelding will end up getting it. I think we now have enough joint supplement to last us until Easter. So what will she eat? Grass. And Hay, which makes her cough. Oh, and carrots and apples, but they have to be cut into bite size pieces or you can just keep your carrots. **sigh** There are 5 other horses in the barn banging on the walls and begging their hearts out for food (with or without smelly stuff mixed in it) and here we are trying to force feed Miss Picky Pants who is happy to have her pre-foal figure back, and truly is the glossiest trimmest creature on the place.