Sunday, January 31, 2010

@#*! Part Deux

I foolishly interpreted the horses' shedding as a portent of Spring. Mother Nature is not without a sense of humor. We had more than 3" of rain, freezing drizzle, and a dusting of snow. Temps have been in the mid 20s to mid 30s, with wind chills in the teens.

When I got home Friday, Poco practically jumped into his blanket.

We had Jaz built up to most of the day without the grazing muzzle, then I'd put it on him after dinner until the morning. I was concerned about restricting my fair-weather pony's access to hay during the foul weather. In ideal conditions, I would have continued to gradually ease him out of it, but I decided to let him out of the muzzle the night before the bad weather set in. Mr. Fry was home the next day and could keep an eye on him, and I could have run him back up to the farm if I had to. Fortunately, that has not been necessary.

The precip stopped, the wind picked up, and it was bitter yesterday. I glanced out the laundry room window, and to my horror, saw the horses standing at the frozen water trough. Unnoticed by me, my spouse had removed the heater. I ran out with wet hair and no coat to break through the ice for them. I dug around in the garage until I found the heater and the extension cord. I gave both Boyz a bucket of warm Gatorade, which they enjoyed with gusto. It took hours for that water to heat up.

I could not let this go. I asked Mr. Fry, who was at work, what the heck he was thinking. His response indicated that he thought the only reason I was upset was because I was "inconvenienced." No! I was upset because Jaz doesn't drink enough on a good day, and certainly not when the water is ice cold. I tried to explain that I had just spent close to $2,000 on vet bills related to (strongyle induced) colic, and that not having access to water is an open invitation for colic, in any case. Mr. Fry asked if I had actually seen the horses attempting to drink, as if everything was fine as long as I hadn't actually witnessed them trying to get water. Say what?

When he got home, I tried to explain again to Mr. Fry the importance of the horses always having an ample supply of water, but he just wasn't getting it.
I can only chalk it up to sleep deprivation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

@#*!

It's raining HARD. They're saying we could get as much as 3.5" of rain. It hovered in the 50s most of the day, but started cooling quickly around 5pm. It's supposed to turn to freezing rain sometime tonight. The wind has picked up out of the north. Because of the weather, it was already completely dark.

As soon as I got home, I suited up to blanket the Boyz, Jaz, of course, being my biggest concern. I always have to halter him; I have no idea why he won't stand to get his blanket on. He was shivering a little, but not too bad. I toweled him off and got the job done.

Poco went off somewhere. I called him and he came back. Normally, once he sees the blanket, he'll cooperate. He likes being toasty. Not this time. Every time I stepped toward him, he stepped back. We did this dance for probably close to a minute. Meanwhile, water was running down my boots, and I couldn't feel my fingers anymore. I tried one last time before becoming frustrated. I stomped my foot, and yelled at him. He turned, bucked in my direction, spattering me with mud, before taking off with Jaz toward the man cave in the cedar trees.

Silly beast. See if I care if you turn into a pony popsicle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Settling In Sunday


The sun hadn't peeked over the horizon yet
this morning when I went out to check on Jaz.
He was perfectly fine,
so I removed the muzzle for
a few hours.

It was gorgeous as the sun rose.

I could hear Jaz's gut sounds
from where I stood.

The rye grass is happy with
rain and cool temps.

Red river sandy loam —
why my lil grey horse is sometimes orange.

Say, you two clean up real good!
Pokey is finding it hard to stay awake.

Then it was time to put the muzzle back on.
At least he can drink.

Mama, please take it off.

FINE then,
I'm leaving.
I'll go pretend I'm
eating on that round bale.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Déjà Vu All Over Again

"Mother pus bucket!"
— Peter Venkman (Bill Murray)
Ghostbusters (1984)

It's a rainy, gray day,
with temps in the mid 60s.
I've been puttering, doing
some oft-procrastinated chores.

About 10:30 this morning,
I looked out the dining room window
and what do I see?

I see Jazu, head down,
backing around the pasture,
stopping every few feet to look
back at his belly.
Then he went over by the round bale,
dropped and rolled.

>sigh<
I feel like Sisyphus.

Suited up, armed with Banamine,
my stethoscope, and my phone.
Brought him to the hitching post
just as the heavens opened up.

Yeah.

He was not shivering.
Gut sounds were a tad faint,
but not alarming.
Poked around his back to see if
maybe he was sore from yesterday.
Nope, but he was a little tender just
behind the last rib on his left side.

The most pathetic thing wasn't Jaz.
It was Poco.
He stood right next to his buddy,
with that big ole head across Jaz's back,
brows wrinkled.
I had to push him away to get to Jaz's right side.
As soon as I'd move, he was right back against Jaz.
Anyone who doesn't think horses have emotions
can kiss my tattooed butt.

Gave Jaz some Banamine and we walked.
Good, normal-looking poop
in less than 5 minutes.
Fantastic gut sounds.

Heather and I were periodically
talking on the phone
as all this was happening.

What would cause him to be fine at the farm,
but every time he comes back here,
he tries to colic?

We think we figured it out.

Up there, he's kept in a pen with no grazing,
a tiny portion of grain once a day,
and a portion of hay twice a day.

Here, grazing is pretty paltry right now,
but it's more than he gets up there
AND
he has free access to a round bale.

We think the little piggy is overindulging;
too much, too fast.

-- SO --

We'll ease him back into
the life of plenty at
Casa Fry,
a few hours a day
at a time.

Maybe if I stick my head
all the way in the hay bale.
I'll try flinging it, too.

I see the hay.
I smell the hay.
I feel the hay.
WHY CAN'T I EAT THE HAY?

Poco, HELP!

Bummer, dude.
If I had opposable thumbs,
I'd get you out.
Guess you'll have to wait until
that Bucket Woman
takes it off.

Woe is me.
Mom always liked you best.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Homecoming

Scorch & his BFF
loaded like champs
and enjoyed the flake
of alfalfa in the hay bag.

Jaz smelled his buddy
and called as soon as we pulled in.

Poco is looking over at Jaz.
Scorch is prancing for the ladies.

Oh yeah, the testosterone kicked in BIG TIME
when he got a whiff of those mares.
At one point he got a bit amorous with Poco.
Poco kicked him squarely in the butt.
I can't describe how it sounded,
but it was loud.
Unassuaged, Scorch tried again.
Poco grabbed him and
body-slammed him into the dirt.
Scorch went to the other half of the pen
to cool his jets.
Heather and I were highly amused.

I rode Jaz for 20-30 minutes
at a walk only.
This is his first time being ridden
since the strongyles episode.
It had been a long time
before that since he was ridden anyway,
because that spot on his back
(that ended up being related to the strongyles)
had been tender for quite awhile.

I really tuckered him out.

And then it was this guy's turn.

Heather wanted to mess with Scorch,
so I suggested she saddle him
for the first time
and walk him in the arena while
I rode Poco.

Poco behaves better with another horse
and I feel better when someone
else is with me.

At least there's someone there
to pick me up if he dumps me.

But he didn't.
There was the normal amount
of Appy-tude
but overall I was
pleased with him today.

After that, I loaded
Pokey & Jazu and
headed home.

I was going to leave Jaz til Spring,
but I missed him so much.
And, if I can believe what
the horses have been telling me,
we're done with frigid temps.
They're already dropping
their winter coats.

There wasn't the exuberant buck fest I was expecting.
It was more like, "Hey! I remember this place."

At feeding time, he stood politely by his bowl,
as if he had never left.
He couldn't get enough
of the mineral block.

Welcome home, Little Man.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Helpful Tip

To keep any grain-based food,
human or equine,
from spawning those little bitty bugs,
put bay leaves in the container.

For horse treats and stuff like oatmeal,
or a canister of flour,
tape them to inside of the lid.
For grain, bran, sunflower seeds, etc.,
throw them in loose or
tape them to the inside of the bag.
I am always careful not to
scoop any out into the
horses' bowls accidentally,
since I couldn't find
out if it is safe for horses to
eat laurel leaves.

Monday, January 18, 2010

And Remarkably ...

... it fits the other one, too!
I don't think he looks quite as handsome as Jaz
in the lighter leather, but not bad.
I used a thinner pad than the one
I used for Jaz.

I watched him move in the round pen,
then hopped on.
It's not as muddy here as at the farm,
and the round pen drains well.
I've never seen Poco carry his head
as low as he did today.
I think he likes it.

I took him out the gate,
walked down the road
a few hundred yards,
and hopped on again
to ride back.
Besides just being Poco,
he did pretty well.

I think we're off to a
great start with the new saddle.

Oh, and my little tank is
a BRICK.
All that running around and
playing with Scorch
has muscled him up.
Look at his chest.
He is solid.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

If the Saddle Fits ...

I was going to say, "If the saddle fits, RIDE!"

The saddle does fit,
and better than I dared hope
considering Jaz's high withers.

It took me almost an hour to
get my orange horse
(Red River sandy loam)
clean enough to saddle.

It was so muddy, I had to change
out of my muck boots to jump on.
Heather checked the fit
while Jason led Jaz.
My little monkey boy is back —
he was full of himself.

It was too boot-sucking muddy to ride.
I left Jaz saddled
while I hand grazed him
on some high ground
so I could watch his movement.

I can't wait!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Queen of Denial Comes Clean

Have you ever bought something that seemed to be exactly what you wanted, only to realize (or admit) much later — way too late to return it — it wasn't working at all?

You stumble on an incredible deal on a big-ticket item you've wanted — nay, needed — for a long time. You jump on it, thrilled beyond measure. At last, it's yours!

But from the first time you use it, it's not
quite right. Now, you just spent a hefty chunk of change, so you think, 'It must be me. It will be okay. I just need time to get used to it.' It should be said here that there is nothing wrong with the thing itself. In fact, there is absolutely no reason it should not be perfect. But time passes, and it's not, although you can't put your finger on why. You try all sorts of ways to make it work, but just when you think you have the answer, you don't. Again. Eventually, you start finding excuses not to use it. Every time you think about it, it makes you feel a little sick, so you try not to think about it.

Until one day, you're talking to a friend who is raving about her thing. As she goes on and on about how great her thing is, your mind checks out of the conversation, and for the first time you affirm THE TRUTH in your heretofore in-denial brain: your thing is not cuttin' it, and won't no matter what you do.

That, friends, is the story of my year-long experience with my gorgeous, well-made Tucker 260 High Plains trail saddle.

It's also the story of a truck I once owned, and an ex-husband, but, I digress.


I bought the saddle specifically for Poco, knowing full well it was much too big for Jaz. At that time, my pie-in-the-sky plan was that Poco would be my primary ride. My denial about him is a whole 'nother story. (Maybe someday, maybe not.) Anyway, Pokey hated that saddle from Day One. Yeah yeah, this many fingers space here, a hands breadth there — it fit by the numbers. Tell him that. I bought a new pad and a shim, but in the end, none of that mattered. It should have been his second skin, but it wasn't.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I didn't like it either. It never felt ... well, right. I tried, I really did. It took a conversation with my new friend, Kristen, for the clouds to part, the angels to sing, and for me to allow myself to admit that this was never going to be okay. I weighed my options and formulated a plan.

I can count on both hands the number of times that saddle has been used. It has been conditioned faithfully (the fenders and stirrups were supple and perfectly formed), and kept covered in the house. We're talking pristine condition for a saddle I've owned a year. I threw the saddle, the matching breast collar and canteen into the truck and headed to Paul Taylor.

To make a long story not quite so long, I traded my saddle. Sarah (PT employee extraordinaire who knows freakin' everything) pulled saddles for me and took the time to help me find one that cradles my body in a way I didn't know was lacking. Thank God I'm teachable. I checked out trail saddles, reiners, ropers, and barrel saddles — you name it. Although I sat in a couple of Billy Cooks, the one I liked best is Paul Taylor's store brand, made by a local saddle maker. It has a smaller seat, but a deeper pocket than the Tucker. I was so happy with how it felt, I didn't really give a thought to how it looked.

But I like it, and Martha approves.


I like the barbed wire tooling.

Bit-o-bling

I'm very anxious to try it on the horses this weekend. Honestly, I'm more concerned about how it fits Jaz than Poco, since I plan on spending much more time riding Jaz this year.

If Poco doesn't like it, FINE, he can wear the cheezy one that came with him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Scorchology

Heather and I met online in Fall 2006.
By the time foals began arriving
in early spring 2007,
I was a frequent visitor to the farm.

I was excited at
possibly seeing the birth of a foal.
Scorch was the first
(and so far, the only)
one for which I was present.
I missed Rico and Tori by a few hours.

Scorch's dam is a beautiful bay
Clydesdale mare named Hex.
Funny mare wanted an audience.
She seemed agitated if one of us walked away.

She didn't care that we were in her stall.

Scorch has been handled constantly
from the moment of his birth.

Scorch's sire is Spot, Heather's fewspot Appy. We were hoping for color, but when he popped out much later than expected and jet black, we joked that he had been left in the oven too long and all the spots burned off. He has some App characteristics: white sclera, mottling around his eyes and muzzle, mottled genitalia. He does not have striped hooves. His coat is now a rich seal bay. He may roan out; I don't know if he has the roaning gene. He is in the Tiger Horse Registry as Rohrschachs Slow Burn.

Rico (Rohrschachs Hexstatic), his full brother, got the loud color. He is every bit as even-tempered as Scorch.

Spring 2009, as a 2-year old,
the day I banded his mane.

video
Poco and Scorch at play. The quality of this video, taken Christmas Eve 2009, isn't great because it was taken through a rainy window, but you can see how Scorch moves.

Scorch will be 3 in April, so he hasn't had his "debut," as it were. He's caused quite the buzz in Tiger Horse circles already, so his dance card should start filling up. You couldn't ask for a sweeter, more level-headed, easier to handle stallion.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

They Can't Stay In Forever

We had rain, snow,
and mixtures of the two
3 times between Christmas and New Year's.

I considered hosting mud wrestling
at our place.

Turns out, the farm would be a better
mud wrestling venue.
This is what most of the pens look like
up there.

It was cold, and I thought I'd
visit Jaz in his stall.

But they can't stay in forever
or they'll tear the barn down,
especially the youngsters.

This is where I found my Little Man.

From left to right: Rico (Scorch's full brother), Crash,
Zire (fewspot), and Jazu, back there in his filthy green blankey.

They were up to their pasterns in mud,
but thoroughly enjoying their turnout.

It was so cold and I didn't want to remove Jaz's blanket.
The footing was just plain gross.
Any attempt at grooming would have been pointless.

I gave him a couple apples
and called it good.

It was a much better day to be indoors.

Geez, Mom.
We coulda told you that.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Scorch's First Walkabout

Today was farrier day at Casa Fry.
Scorch, whose feet are even bigger
than Poco's salad plates,
was overdue for a trim.
He was a very good boy for Jon.

At home, Scorch is kept in
a pen with young geldings
and soon-to-be's.
A couple horse trailers are parked in there,
left open so the youngsters can
climb in and out at will.
The trip from the farm to Casa Fry
was Scorch's first actual trailer ride.

I am Scorch's Aunt Leah.
I was present at his birth.
I named him.
I was the first person to sit on him.
He's not mine,
but I have a vested interest in him.
It delights me to
expose him to new things.

After his trim, I took him for his
first walk outside the fence,
or any fence, for that matter.

We walked down to where
the crazy Labs live
(they weren't out)
and back.

He was a bit worried when
cars went whizzing past
— THANK YOU, STUPID, THOUGHTLESS PEOPLE —
but he only spooked in place,
and only once.

He was skittish when we went past
the home under construction next door.
It smelled like they may have been
staining hardwood floors or cabinets,
and he didn't like that smell at all.

He wanted to be a little too close to me,
but was calm and steady.
I brought a crop, just in case,
but had no cause to use it.

Mmm, clover.

The mother lode!
Long, lush, moist winter grasses
on an undeveloped property.

I should have gotten a photo of Scorch
looking over the top of this big dirt mound
(yes, that's the real angle, not just
a wonky camera shot),
at his fretting buddy
just across the road.

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