Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Horse Care’ Category

Time Out for Routine Maintenance

Last week was weirdly full of appointments for horse & human. All routine. Dentist. Farrier. Eye doc. Vet. Everyone’s fine. Between house rules (day off for shoes), travel time (dentist & eye doc) and recovery time (eye doc & vet), not much got done.

That’s okay.

Rodney’s one tiny jump [!] will carry me for a while. The Coggins tests [Names] means that now, finally, we have all the pieces to move forward with Milton.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Names

Vet has come. Blood has been drawn. Names have been chosen.

Registered Name: Major Conn [Real Name]
Stable Name: Milton
Show Name: Monochrome Rainbow

Registered Name: none
Stable Name: Rodney
Show Name: Double Solitaire

Despite my love of data, I am not doing a retrospective of Rodney’s aborted show names over the years. I am looking forward. This is will be the one that matters, the one that gets used. Onwards.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Sand Colic?

We continue to pursue the shadowy NQR in Milton.

Our latest effort is a week-long treatment for sand colic. We don’t have sand or even sandy soil. OTOH, Milton is big on picking up every last iota of feed. I have no doubt he ingests a lot of dirt. Perhaps there is a component that he did not meet in Canada. Maybe he is allergic to Alabama.

How’s it going? Over the weekend he had a subdued hissy fit while lunging. He carried on bucking and hopping and cantering, yet stayed on the circle. The lunge line has a 25-lb breakaway. Better to have them run around the pasture than tangle their legs, we figure. He never came close to challenging it.

It was one of the odder things I’ve seen a horse do. He was clearly in PAIN, or UPSET, or SOMETHING, but the cause was not at all obvious. Perhaps the psyllium husks were doing their job and the gunk was shifting around in his gut. (We checked for colic, etc.)

Or he could have been reacting to the weather …

… or a different bit, or Swat on his zipper (although that usually makes them feel better), or the newest batch of hay…

… or he had a Thoroughbred moment and the rest of it is on our heads.

That’s the problem with NQR. It’s only obvious in retrospect.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Life Choices

Spotted in the sleet. Note ice-encased leaf in the bottom right corner.

Spotted in the sleet. Note ice-encased leaf in the bottom right corner.

Last Saturday, we went to Stepping Stone Farm to feed breakfast after the ice storm. We live close by and the Fiat [Stocking] is a reliable, front-wheel-drive star in bad conditions [On Account of Snow, Snow Day Montage]. Laugh at the South for freaking out at a snowflake, but ice-coated roads are a nightmare anywhere.

As I have said before [Motivating], my stint as a working student was not the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on. However, one positive thing came from the experience. I realized that I had no interest in being a professional. I have never had cause to regret that decision.

Feed and care for my own horses? Fine. Feed and care for other people’s horses once in a blue moon (every 32 months (derivation, blue moon calculator)) as an adventure? Sure thing. Feed and care for other people’s horses twice a day, every day? No, thank you. Be responsible for ensuring that someone else feeds and cares for other people’s horses twice a day, every day? Not that either.

I did enjoy the sound of a barn full of horses contentedly chewing their hay. Peaceful.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Spotted on the windshield.

Spotted on the windshield.

Looking Back, Rodney 2016

Sigh. What can I say that I didn’t say 3 years ago [Zeno’s Horse Training]? Rodney makes progress, but gets nowhere.

As I said earlier this month [Meanwhile], Rodney has been working on long-lining and field walks. Both slowly improve. He’s stands quietly, playing couch, while Milton works. He’s wearing a bit instead of a hackamore [Or Not]. I can use the reins without having him curl his neck up like a shrimp, at least at the walk.

And yet.

We not an inch closer to any of my competition goals than we were at the beginning of the year.

On The Upside
It’s not all bad news. As pasture decoration, Rodney is outstanding (not just out. standing.). He’s pretty to look at. He’s gorgeous when he moves. He’s low maintenance: lives out, doesn’t wear a blanket, gets 2 front keg shoes. For a 17-hand horse with Thoroughbred feet, two simple front shoes count as low maintenance.

He’s a kind horse. He likes to be with his people, and appreciates when we minister to his various – thankfully minor – ailments.

He has a huge personality. He provides us with endless amusement. I often sit at the barn simply to watch and listen.

Plus, the feed change has been good for Rodney as well as for Milton [Feed Adventures]. Rodney has always been good about putting on weight. Now he’s filling out over the ribs as well. He has abundant energy without having it bubble out his ears.

So that was 2016. As far as Rodney Progess goes, not much different from 2015, or 2014, or … nevermind. Onwards!

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Barn Rule, Halters and Leadropes

Each horse shall have a dedicated halter & lead, untangled, on its own hook, ready to be grabbed in haste.

What are your barn rules?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Feed Adventures, Part 2 of 2

What do you do when it’s the Monday before Thanksgiving and you are on your last bag of feed? You panic and call every feed store in central Alabama.

My bad. I let the supply get low. In my defense, we went through it faster than we had initially calculated and the store that promised to order more did not. They are dead to us.

As my calls went further and further afield, the feed stores had less and less variety. Until I arrived at one store that had no stock. They ordered as needed. Half of the places I called offered to order for us. Yes, fine. I have an order in at the local co-op. It arrives a week from Friday. That doesn’t help me NOW.

Stop. Regroup. I need to be heading toward population centers rather than away. Unfortunately, the towns likely to carry interesting feeds are at least a two-hour drive.

If I’m gonna spend all day driving to get feed (and grateful to have that option), why don’t we combine the car drive with a driving lesson? Plus, Franklin, TN, is the type of horsey area that would stock yuppy feed.

I was right. Of the two feed stores in town, one had 4 bags, the other had 11. Coach Kate kindly offered to buy it for us. In fact, I was halfway through my song and dance when she said, “You’re working up to ask me to go get some.” Yes, Ma’am.

Was she free over the weekend for a lesson? Well, no. She was busy Friday through Sunday. They didn’t have plans for Thanksgiving. Why didn’t we come up Thursday? That’ll work. We don’t generally make holiday plans and the horses had enough excess on board that they could handle tight rations for a few days.

So that’s what we did. We drove up to Franklin, had a lesson, ate lunch with friends, and came home with a backseat full of feed. (Thank you!) On our 20th wedding anniversary, we did a 40-mile bike around NYC. Playing with horses on Thanksgiving was positively normal. For us.

Props also to the nice man from Triple Crown. While I worked the local angle, Greg called the company directly. The sales rep was able to find two bags headed to one of the stores I had already called. We could pick up them on Saturday. Fine by us. Better feast than famine.

A beautiful sight.

A beautiful sight.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott