Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Those Damn Flies!

Yesterday's shopping list:

Fly swatter
Fly traps
Fly strips
Fly spray
SWAT for horses
The young man ringing me up astutely pointed out, "You must have a fly problem!"

Well, EVERY fly is a problem.

(I don't have much luck with the bag of water fly traps.  Plus, they're kind of stinky and tough to see the dead flies, but I still put them up in the barn.)

 (The fly strips are my fave!  The flies love them and I actually get to see the body count.)

 (I couldn't live without SWAT.  This stuff WORKS!)

I also get monthly shipments of fly predators, but I started my order late this year and the predators don't eat adult flies.

We do have birds in our barn which help to keep the fly population down.  As do the spiders I've been hesitant to kill.  I'm usually like, "Big spider, KILL it!"  This year, I'm like, "Big spider, yay, eat more flies!!"

Do any of you deal with the fly on the belly issue?  That place where your horse's hoof or tail can't reach to swat flies?  At a barn I was at a long time ago (sounds like a fairy tale) I was told the flies had burrowed so deep into one horse's belly they  made it to the intestine.  Is that possible??

I use SWAT on those spots just as they begin and it clears them right up.  Also, it seems that some of my horses are more prone to the belly scabs than others.  My older horses, for example (less flexibility to reach back there with their feet?) 

What do you all do to combat flies? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bonding With A New Horse: Beginning the Journey

My heart horse is Cowboy, sweet, charming, neurotic Cowboy, my 20 year old Paint.  But you may not know this little tidbit--Cowboy was originally my husband's horse.  My husband chose him, tried him out, purchased him and brought him home.  By the end of the second week he was with us, he was MY horse and he has been ever since.  For the life of me, I can't remember how that switch occurred, but it did, and swiftly.

Somewhat recently, a couple of my good friends lost their heart-horses.  And, this week, each of them found a new partner.  Their searches were not easy.  Saying goodbye to their old friends, and choosing a new one to start a journey with, was not easy.

People outside of the horse world probably don't understand the depth of a horse-human relationship.  For one, it takes deep bonding, the kind of bonding that makes you want to run out to the barn every day and work through ground manners, communication, saddling, bridling, care-taking, and even risk-taking.  (Not to mention the amount of money you spend on purchasing, boarding, training and vet care.) 

But all that is the easy part.  The rest is year after year of learning each other's ways and falling in love through trail rides in winter, spring, summer and fall.  A horse can live over 30 years.  That's practically half of a human's life-time.  That's a lot of life and love between horse and human. 

When you lose your heart horse, you lose a major part of yourself because your identity is intertwined with your horse.  You've intertwined it, and those around you, who know you, have intertwined it. 

My journey with Cowboy has been filled with the things that make a dense and complex relationship--fear of loss of the relationship, exultation at miraculous health outcomes, days where we don't get along, days where we are perfectly in sync.  I am intertwined with him.

I got to watch one of my friends with her new horse yesterday--which is why I wanted to write about this today.  Seeing it unfold--a new horse, unsure of his surroundings, unsure of the human in front of him, but willing to trust--wanting to trust.  And, the human, still intertwined with the one she lost, but willing to trust--wanting to trust.  No two horses are alike.  What will their story be?  I can't wait to see it unfold. 

Cowboy was a horse with trust issues.  I spent the first months of our relationship building his trust in me and mine in him.  Sometimes I did that well, and other times, not so well, but it worked.  Something in him pulled me to him and it never subsided. 

The beginning of the journey is a fragile time in some ways, but there is so much to be gained...if it works out.  The "golden" horses, we call them, because we wouldn't trade them for all the gold in the world. 

I'm curious, if you have time, how did you bond with your heart-horses?  What was that special thing that sparked your journey together?