Friday, April 26, 2019

100% Success

(He rears no more.)

Oh, horses.  Sometimes, it looks so bleak.  You have this rearing up little stud colt, and you wonder if you can solve the issue.  You can.  After the first day of moving his feet, the rearing up stopped--completely and totally.  You can still see him, at times, building up inside with the excitement of a baby horse who wants to run and buck, but short, daily reminders have kept all that in check.

Last night, I went to bring him in from pasture, and he came running to me. Just all out running to see me.  So, it has also improved our relationship.  He stood still while I haltered him, and walked with his manners past the other horses and back to his stall.

My vet called, and I told him my plan to bring him in and have him sedated, palpated, and possibly ultra-sounded--and if the testes are easy to get to--gelded.  If not, we'll talk about options--like Laparoscopic surgery, which he does perform, or waiting until October.  My vet whole-heartedly agreed with my plan and said that he is a good candidate for the surgery, should I decide to go that route.


As the weather has improved, my husband and I have tackled a few projects.  One, was making an indoor/outdoor enclosure for our house cats.  We tried to let them out last year, but they decided to takeover the barn from the barn cats--our sweet barn cats who were born here and lived here for 7 years.  That wasn't going to happen, so they got locked up inside--as there are too many predators around our house, and inside/outside house cats do not survive.  

You can see the fully enclosed wire with a little door for us to enter through.

This cat enclosure was easy to  make because we used our existing deck, which was pretty much dead space.  We leave one window open from the sun-room for them to go back and forth.  They LOVE it. It will keep them safe.  There are ferns, hydrangea, and birch log/branches to lay on--as well as an outside cat tree.  Their kitty litter boxes are also outside now.  Win/win.

We're planting flowers in all our little gardens and around the barn, something we haven't been as good at the last few years because of our busy schedule.  Now that things have slowed down, we are working to bring them back to their original "glory."  So much of my time is spent at the barn, I am happy to have a little beauty there.  The barn cats like it, too.

I love seeing flowers again!

Saturday, the farrier is coming to put shoes on Cowboy, Leah, and Cowgirl.  I do hope to ride Cowboy a lot this year.  I have him on Cosequin ASU, and even though he's 25, he is more sound at all gaits than Leah.  Leah is good for walking and a little trotting, but she has pain in her hips that we are always working around.  I like to keep her moving, but she will not be a good long-term alternative to Cowboy.  That is why I have Tumbleweed.  In the meantime, Leah is pretty good for easy trail rides--as is Cowboy--and that's all I really need.  I also plan to ride Foxy and Cowgirl more--and Penny is the horse my friends ride when they don't want to trailer their own.  Keeping them all as busy as I can.

Which brings me to BG. I think a lot about Beautiful Girl and what I'm going to do with her this spring/summer/fall.  I don't plan anything more than groundwork right now.  She is certainly happy with her life just being a horse in a stable herd.  She has her role, the enforcer, and she has deep bonds with them all.  But she still needs to be handled and given jobs because it bonds her to me, too.  And since she lives in a human world--our family--she needs to remain a vital part.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tumbleweed and Stallion Brain

Rearing. My least favorite thing in horsey world, but I am learning quite a bit about it.  The photo above is actually not Tumbleweed rearing, although  he has done it a few times this week as we lead to pasture, and it is the reason why I spent yesterday working on moving his feet.  The picture above is actually me  having asked him for a "REVERSE," he kept going, I blocked his path with the whip, and he is looking like it's going to kill him, but really he's just being overly dramatic and pissed.

Having never had a stallion--because that is what I will now call him, rather than stud colt, which implies a baby, I didn't realize how important it is to stay a few steps ahead of him EVERY DAY.  He is feeling the love--of mares--spring--testosterone--and that is making him feel pretty tough, too.

But it's so completely solvable--easily.  And, I wanted to write this post to help others who might be in the same situation with a little stallion who is starting to rear.  It's not as scary as it looks--and it's easy to fix.

Rearing is them saying, "NO, I'm not going where you tell me.  And if  you insist, I may even strike you while I'm up here, because I have these two free hooves that are flailing around for balance anyway."  It can be accompanied by biting--another form of dominance.

I had been out of town last week, so Tumbleweed hadn't had his daily input of correction--and he reverted.  Now, when you're in a breezeway, these things are tough to correct, so I made sure to take  him straight to the arena yesterday and have a come to Jesus on who is boss.

What does that mean?

First, I made sure to carry an arm's length whip in my left hand.  I did this so that if he balked at all--which he has to do to rear--I could swat him on the behind and keep him moving forward.  I also wiggled it back there quite a bit just to keep his attention on moving forward.  To be honest, that alone could have solved the rearing issue.

But I also wanted to solve the dominance question. So, I put him on a line and asked him to walk/trot out, then change direction, and change direction, and change direction.  "Reverse."

He went from yanking my arm off, at first, to a very well behaved young gentleman.  We were able to do front and hind yields and bridge work.  I had his feet.  No biting.  No rearing.  No balking.  He was like a sweet baby again.  My plan is to do this every day before turnout.

Also, at this point, I don't allow him to come into my bubble unrequested.  He has stallion brain, so it's best to keep him at a distance and remind him he's a second-class citizen around here until otherwise posted.

Today, I went out to see what stuck--and it all stuck.  He did try to change a direction once, but was quickly brought around.  As soon as he showed me he was behaved, I took him out to pasture.  That cut our session from 20 minutes (yesterday) to 5 (today).  And that's about how it's going to go from now on.  I won't work him more than necessary, but I also won't work him less than necessary to stay safe and remind him he's not the boss around here.

As for the gelding, we're almost to fly season, so I have to make a decision about surgery.  I'm leaning toward just getting it done now, but his testicles haven't dropped.  I'm calling my vet again today.

Update: My vet is busy and can't call me back until tonight, but I did schedule an appointment for May 3rd to have Tumbleweed examined (sedated, palpated, ultrasound) and gelded if the testes are easy to get to.  Maybe by then they'll have come down and saved us a lot of work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tumbleweed is Growing up to be Quite the Looker

Tumbleweed is maturing into the most beautiful horse.

He is eager for the world and adventure--so much so, he has a hard time containing himself.

Did I mention he can fly?

He's Cowboy's little buddy.

He loves to herd Cowboy around, and start trouble.

Cowboy does, actually, love him.  If I take Tumbleweed away, Cowboy follows.  They whinny for each other.  They mutual groom and gelding play.  In fact, all the horses love him.  I thought one of them would "put him in his place"-because that's what I've always seen happen, but in his case, they seem to enjoy him and they put up with a lot. 

He loves them all.  As I've said, he's a horse's horse--if I haul one away, he'll whinny and whinny.  He pays attention to their every move and need.  You can see that he would have made an excellent stallion and leader.  He has a confidence and a heart for his herd. They all have a heart, and an eye, for him.

He never ceases to amaze me, and crack us all up!  But he's maturing.  When I walk him from stall to turnout you can see that he wants to explode into the old monster on a rope, but he seems to have a conversation with himself, and tries to hold it, contain his energy, until he's released.  That's all I can ask.

I wormed him with Zimecterin Gold last week, then read some scary reviews about the product.  I had a hard time sleeping that night.  But he was just fine.  No reactions at all.  Have any of you experienced side effects from that particular wormer? 

He still isn't gelded, but we have several, separate pastures so that I can keep him away from the mares until he is.  They are divided by a fence, but it's easy for him to interact with them over it--without getting over it.


I've been able to haul horses with the new truck.

It pulls my trailer and horses great.  I've used it about three times to haul.

 Ride with friends.

Birthday ride with husband on my birthday.  I seem to dress identical in both--and the weather looks identical, too.

I'm heading out for another trail ride today. 

Hope you're all having fun with your herds!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A NEW Truck! And Some Trail Rides!

It's new truck day!  For a horsewoman, that is like saying the mother of all Christmas presents!!  I can haul my horses in luxury--and the peace of mind of knowing we won't be broken down on the freeway or out in the boondocks.  What price can you put on peace of mind like that?

But buying a truck isn't easy--there are so many--and they're not cheap.  So,  you do a checklist of your needs:

1. Enough towing power for 9,000 pounds of trailer and horses.
2. Comfort for the rider.
3. Safety features
4. Wow factor, to make me love it.
5. Utility as a second car (because we traded in our sedan.)
6. Oh, and a BACK UP CAMERA!!!  How many times have I jumped out and in and out in trying to get the ball to the hitch?!?!?  Too many!!

After looking at all the options, by serendipitous chance, ie. targeted Facebook ads, that caught me searching for new trucks and blasted me with every FOR SALE truck withing 1000 miles--I saw a 2014 beauty.  It was a brownish color Tundra with saddle brown, leather seats, and for some reason, it made my heart sing, like Wild Thing.

(This color is no longer available)

This is the color I now have--Mesquite.

Are you sensing a theme here?  Horses?  Ranch?  Well, that's because the Toyota 1794 Tundra is made in Texas, on the oldest ranch in the USA, founded in 1794.  They made this truck to be a luxury rig--and towing beast.  It has special breaks, shocks, axles, tires, towing controls--pretty loaded.

And the inside....oh my!!  Saddle brown leather throughout.  

My brother sells Toyotas, so I called him and asked him if he could find me a new one with everything I needed.  He did.  Within a day, he had delivered me this truck--with every available option--below price.

Voila! My new heart-truck.  It looks brown in this light, but it has speckles, and depending on the lighting, can look black, gray, purple, copper, or brown.  It has personality, baby!  Pizzazz!

But those god awfu decals.  Blah humbug!!  Those puppies are coming off!  They're easy to remove, I guess.

So, I did ride with that large group the other day, rather than just hauling and walking around, and Leah did AWESOME!  

Then, last night, I got a ride along the river with my dear, beloved Heart Horse, Cowboy!!

And, I released baby Tumbleweed and the boys into the pasture for the first time--where he promptly ran the fence line with Foxy until Little Joe could herd him back.  Then he escaped to Foxy.  Got herded back.  And on and on, all day.

He's a funny little shit, that's for sure.  He plays hard with the geldings--rearing up, biting them, but when they go to deliver his discipline, he instantly reverts to the baby mouth--"I'm just a baby, don't kill me!"  Quite funny how he uses that to get away with so much.  The boy is hilarious!!  And ALL the horses love him.