I've been doing a little work with Beautiful every day--bending, leading, and a little trotting out in a circle. She really wants to please--and picks up everything fast. She's so young, we don't do much--maybe ten minutes total--real light.
It's interesting how poor hoof quality affects the whole skeletal system and musculature. She still moves a bit on her toes--which gives her that up and down look rather than a fluid forward motion. It's like she's learning to move again--teaching her body how to balance her weight in this new position.
Sometimes, when she starts to run around the round pen during her free play, she's trippy. So, I'm thinking of this stage of development/training as physical therapy.
I'm sure it will be a year before her feet are where we want them--after having been clubby for so long. That tendon above the heel will have to stretch and move fluidly. She'll have to slowly start to use the heel to toe motion. And, the muscles in the neck, shoulder, and hind will have to develop to support a body that is more level than giraffe--as it used to be.
It's a slow process, but looking at her, she appears to be coming together well.
It certainly doesn't take much food to keep the weight on her. When she first arrived she ate all the time, but that has finally slowed down. She's a little chubby, but not bad--nothing that would threaten her health.
Last night it got down to 27 degrees--the ground was completely covered in frost--and on the way out to the barn to feed, a flock of Canadian Geese flew by. There were probably 50 geese in formation and it was quite beautiful.
Trying to make sure the horses keep weight on, but don't get too fat, is always an exercise in educated guessing at this time of year.
We have them separated into individual stalls during feeding--which is GREAT for keeping them on individual diets.
For example: Shadow, the 18 year old herd leader who could "get fat on a freeway" as my farrier likes to say, he gets his hay, plus Senior Feed-- & salt block.
Red, the 28 or 29 year old gelding--who looks 13--gets more hay with alfalfa--and more senior feed--plus salt block.
Cowboy, the 13 year old paint who broke his P3 last year and perfectly sound today because of my excellent farrier--I worry about him developing arthritis in the coffin joint due to exostosis--so he gets Red's diet which is high in Glucosamine--and a bit of MSM in a joint supplement on the bad days--plus his salt block--which they all have in their troughs--so there's no need listing them.
The fillies, 4 year old Cowgirl, and 3 year old Cia, get a good deal of roughage in the form of grass and alfalfa--plus whole oats with a mix of supplements.
The Mustang, Beautiful--1 year old--gets less hay than the fillies and less grain because she was gaining weight too fast--plus Horse Guard supplements.
The pony, Jasmine, is fat--which is odd because I barely feed her anything. Obviously, she doesn't need much.
The next thing on my schedule for the horses is a wormer that gets the tapeworms--Quest or other. This is the time year, now that it's freezing, when they work best.
And blanketing is always a debate. I once used them, but then read that if it's cold and dry--the blanket pushes the hair down and keeps it from it's natural insulating capacity--apparently, it's supposed to stand up to get full affect. (I saw an illustration of this in Horse and Rider one time--I'll try to find something on the Internet that does the same.) Anyway, the horses have shelter to keep them dry--which would be a primary purpose for blankets--because a cold wet horse is going to be cold to the bone--and drop weight fast.
The heated, automatic waterers are working great. I check them every morning and evening--even putting my hand in there to check temps--and that water stays pretty warm. It's amazing and I highly recommend having at least one out in your pastures--if you pasture them together. Your life will be so much easier!!
I haven't mentioned my barn kitty in a long time. I think I last told you she moved into the house. Well, she's in her own room since my husband is allergic to cats. I take her out to the barn with me every day when I feed and clean. Believe it or not, she mouses while we're in there. She has caught a couple in front of us.
One night we were out working and she caught one leaving the goat pen. One of the goats, my sweet little "English" who wouldn't use her horns to save her life (we thought)--saw the cat with that mouse and came running at her and hit her with her horns--tossing her about two feet in the air.
The cat was stunned, but she jumped back up and got the mouse again. English went after her yet again and again until finally the cat was afraid to come out of hiding and when she finally did, couldn't find the mouse.
We've got crazy animals around here--makes you wonder what happens when you turn off the lights in the barn at night.