Hay nets are ubiquitous. We use them in our trailers, show stalls, and regular stall. Anywhere there's a horse, a hay net of some type is bound to be nearby. I used Freedom Feeder hay nets for quite a while, for both horses. When I moved to the ranch, I tossed the nets I had left - they were pretty worn out anyway, and went with the feeding containers at the ranch.
I am thinking of going back to a Freedom Feeder for Izzy, if it's okay with the ranch owner since she's the one who feeds. Izzy eats primarily grass hay which would be easy to load. My hope would be that less would get shoved out of his feeder onto the ground. He scatters the grass hay as he looks for the tiny bit of alfalfa that he gets. He's also bit of a pig so he poops practically in his feeder which means the whole area gets a bit nasty.
I've had a hay net tied to the little trailer where I tack up, and both boys really enjoy grazing from it while they wait. I load the hay net with a flake of alfalfa for Izzy and grass hay for Speedy. Both horses have learned how to push the net around until the "flavor" they like is in front of them. This net is a little big though so it stretches nearly to the ground. The hay also gets wedge in so tightly that it makes eating a slower process than is ideal.
In an effort to make eating a bit easier, I untied the hay net and tossed it on the ground. Both horses took to it immediately. Speedy seems to appreciate munching while spending time with me - sometimes that much adoration can get annoying, but whatever. I've also found that Izzy is WAY more relaxed eating this way than when the net is hanging. I am sure it has something to do with the whole head down equals relaxation thing. And no worries about entanglement; I'm puttering close by so neither horse is actually unattended. I also hang the net back up when I am done.
And of course, nothing gets done without first getting Speedy's approval. Given his recent attitude - more on that in another post, he may be getting a Freedom Feeder, too. They keep us thinking all the time, don't they?
A day or so ago, I got this text from the ranch owner ...
Speedy can be a gigantic pain in the butt. He's a total diva, constantly demanding that each and every individual quirk become the world's priority. But then I get a message like this one, and my heart melts. For all of his bravado, Speedy is quite the tender heart.
I got to the ranch too late to ride yesterday afternoon; I had a doctor's appointment. Totally off topic, but after more than a year, the neurologist has just about eliminated my migraines. (If you're a new or casual visitor, I rode through last summer's show season with migraines so severe that I couldn't tell one lead from the other.) I recently started taking a monthly injection in an attempt to prevent ANY headaches from occurring. So far, I am down to just a few a month. This is a huge improvement over having a migraine nearly every day of the week.
Since I didn't have quite enough time to ride, I puttered around the barn instead. The first thing I did was grab Speedy and turn him loose out in the yard. He was thrilled to hang out with his girl as he grazed on all the new winter grass. She happily tagged along with him as he nibbled the grass along her fence line.
While Speedy visited with his lady friend, I swept out the feed room, unloaded my monthly supply of LMF Senior, and prepped both boys' evening buckets. I love to putter; it clears out the mental cobwebs. You all know what I mean. It's like cleaning stalls, each fork-full eliminates one more pile of mental garbage. The broom does the same thing.
Since Speedy has taken up residence at his gate, and I mean literally at the gate, his field has had a good soaking from the rain. The intermittent storms have been followed with bright sunshine that has encouraged some lovely new grass to sprout. Since Speedy hasn't left the gate in the past month, he had no idea what deliciousness was just steps away.
After feeding both boys, I walked out into Speedy's field knowing that he would follow me. In no time at all he noticed the grass and helped himself to a few mouthfuls. I don't know that he'll feel comfortable wandering down there on his own, but at least he knows the walk will be worth it.
We'll both be glad when the Red Mare moves back in. I think the ranch owner was right; Speedy seems a bit lonely. This is a three-day weekend for me, so I plan to spend as much time as I can letting him visit with his lady friend. Riding will help him feel better too.
Thank goodness for Fridays.
The speedy pony has not made much of an appearance here of late. There hadn't been much to report. Speedy had a hole in his foot, and all I could do was check daily for lameness and see how much progress had been made in the closure of said hole. Finally, there's something to report.
While the hole hasn't filled in entirely, Speedy is 100% sound on it. For the past several weeks, my soundness checks have progressed from can he walk a few steps?, can he walk down the grass?, can he trot on the grass?, can he walk down the driveway?, until finally, I asked him if he could trot in the arena. Last week, he finally trotted out sound in the arena on a circle going both directions. Progress!
When I felt confident that he was sound, I added my tack and a lunge line and asked for walk/trot transitions. When that looked good, I added some cavaletti poles which he thought was the most fun he'd had in months, which it was actually. And when I asked him to canter the cavaletti poles, he about died and went to heaven. Yesterday, I rode him for the first time, and his good mood evaporated. Oh, yeah, this is work. We finished up by trotting the poles which reminded him that he is (almost) a Third Level horse.
A lot has happened in Speedy's world recently, which bothers him immensely. He really doesn't do well with change. Besides suffering from multiple abscesses, that would wreck anybody's mood, his pasture mate, Willy, moved away which left Speedy alone in his large dry pasture. While he loves the 24/7 turnout, he hates the alone part.
He's not actually alone. A lovely mare lives in the large sandy pasture adjacent to his. Changes though. Her side of things are being worked on. Freshly composted dirt has been added with an updated sprinkler system. Grass should begin growing shortly. In the meantime, she has moved to the neighboring small pasture that has grass. Speedy can see her, but he can't touch her. He thinks he's going to die.
Of course, adjacent to her pasture are two more friends, Winaro and the mule. While Speedy can't touch them either, they're all within chatting distance. And let's not forget that Izzy lives across from him in his own large dry pasture (although not so dry right now).
Speedy doesn't care how many horses live in his neighborhood. He wants someone to live with him, and if that's not possible, then someone, preferably a hottie like red mare, should at least live where he can breathe on her. Since none of that is happening, he has decided to live at the gate. And by at the gate, I mean RIGHT NEXT TO THE GATE.
His decision to confine himself to this small space has driven everyone at the ranch nuts. We've had to move his feeder here, but the most annoying part is that he is now standing in mud. He has a HUGE area to roam, but since he only stands HERE, the ground is getting all mucked up.
Living at the gate has caused one last problem. As he paces and whirls, he has carved a substantial pit. In its farthest corner, the hole is more than a foot deep. As this is the gate used for the tractor, this has made things a bit awkward for Reggie who takes care of dragging and spreading manure. If Speedy doesn't quit being such a jerk, he's going to get us all kicked out. Just kidding. I think.
So now we're all caught up on Speedy's life. Hopefully we can get back on a riding schedule and tackle those flying changes again. As I look out my window this morning - it's still dark, I see rain. What's one more day?
Not for long, of course, but the few autumnal days we get sure are pretty. We just finished a very hot, six-month long summer. After 179 days of dry weather, heavy clouds laden with rain descended on our state. The air sparkled, free of dust and smoke. Overnight, the leaves changed to fiery reds and golden oranges and yellows.
I had a very long last week that limited my barn visits to the predawn and early evenings. The only time I saw the sun's light was while at work.
Afternoon rain was predicted on Saturday, so even though I was sluggish and unmotivated, I headed out to the barn in the early morning. My effort was rewarded with dazzling sunshine gleaming through the clean air and blue skies.
Even though it was barely 50 degrees, I hosed the mud from Speedy's legs and hooves. He stood quietly, basking in the warmth of the California sun. Even in fall, its rays are warm.
I think both Speedy and Izzy are enjoying the cooler, wet weather. Speedy's been standing in the rain while Izzy's been hanging out beneath the trees in the shade. My vet joked recently that a horse's best weather day is 47 degrees. My horses seem to agree with him.
More rain is predicted this week. The skies will once again be cloudy and dull, but we won't complain. We need every drop of rain we can get since summer is right around the corner.
If you've been reading about Izzy for any length of time, you might remember that he loves his toys, there was the big ball - which didn't last very long, and the barrel - which he still has. Those things provide(d) some entertainment, but his true love is digging.
There doesn't seem to be a reason for the digging other than boredom. He lives on nearly a quarter of an acre with various toys scattered around, and he gets ridden 4 - 6 days a week. That's about all of the entertainment that I can provide. The digging was a problem at the last place we boarded, but at the ranch, it's no big deal.
Reggie works at the ranch and takes care of things that need fixing. Unfortunately, Izzy is constantly finding things to break which then need fixing. I hope Reggie sees it as job security.
One time, Izzy dug so far down that he uncovered a water line. I am sure Reggie was thrilled by that one because it was instantly decided that the water line had to be relocated for Izzy's safety. All eyes immediately turned to Reggie as he's the fixer of all things. I made myself scarce that day as I didn't want anyone remembering that it was my incorrigible horse causing all of the trouble.
While I rode, Reggie brought in the tractor and filled in the holes. Afterwards, he dragged things smooth again, hiding where the holes had been. Before he started working, we had joked about how long it would take Izzy to remember where his holes should be.
Our running joke is that Izzy's either looking for a way to escape or simply hunting buried treasure. Reggie and I have agreed to split whatever he uncovers. If Izzy doesn't find something fast, I'm going to have to get Reggie a case of beer to thank him for all of his hard work!
A friend of mine, a southern California dressage rider and eventer, works for the Riverside County Probation Department. Not only is she an excellent rider, but she is a badass at work. She also happens to be one of my favorite people.
I mean really ... how many of us carry a gun, deal with dirt bags, and then spend our free time doing this? Like I said, she's my favorite Badass.
Over the weekend, her best friend shared the Riverside County Probation Department's answer to the #lipsync challenge.
The Riverside County Probation Department is proud to release our Lip Sync Challenge video! Staff had a great time and raised over $2,000 in donations to benefit local fire victims through the United Way of the Inland Valleys Holy Fire Fund in the process. The video features Wild Wild West by Will Smith. Special thanks to The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team Equestrian Drill Team, Water Wheel Saloon, March Field Air Museum and Mt. Rubidoux. You can still donate to the fund by clicking the donation card int he video. Learn more at https://support.google.com/youtube/?p...
The video is great, but what I love the most is that my friend is in the video riding her best friend's horse, Penny (with the windmills in back). But wait, there's more to this story. My friend is also married to a Marine who is actively serving. This weekend they attended a ball celebrating the 243rd birthday of the Marine Corp. Dog Nitro, a retired canine Marine, went in full dress.
My friend writes:
These two marines, Danny and Nitro, had a great time celebrating the 243rd Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Nitro had many fans and many people wanting to take his picture and pet him. He was most happy hanging out with his dad and visiting with the other marines. It was apparent the Marines were in good spirits with the anticipation of their upcoming deployment, as the “hoorahs” were shouted out about every 5 seconds.
While we honor our veterans today, I think we should also keep in mind those who serve to protect us here at home. Families like my friend's, who serve both abroad and here at home, deserve a special thank you.
It is so fantastic to see a woman out there serving our community and doing it in style. I am honored to call her my friend.
You rock, girlfriend!
Well, not yet anyway, although I am not feeling so perky this morning - darn bug! If I had to pick who had to feel crummy, me or the boys, I'd pick me every time. It's a lot cheaper and easier when something's wrong with me than with them. Am I right?
So even though I wasn't feeling great, I headed out to the barn yesterday afternoon to see how bad things were. The day before, Izzy's leg had poofed up to twice its size with no apparent cause, and Speedy was still a bit off on the right front. Let me tell you, two broken horses is enough to depress even the Pope.
While Izzy's leg was still poofy, it was much improved over the day before. One of my cure-alls is a long walk. It's surprising how many ailments can be fixed with a stroll. Even though Izzy lives on a quarter acre, I thought a tour around the property might do some good.
Speedy was already loose, free grazing, so I knew he would follow along. Unfortunately, he made things quite exciting as he would zoom up to us, causing Izzy to think monsters were chasing us. Speedy was having fun though, and that is also the purpose of a walk.
We circled around the ranch with Speedy flipping his tail over his back and prancing by. With all of that adrenaline coursing through his veins, he looked quite sound. And actually, when we got back to their pens, I trotted him out on the grass, and he looked perfectly sound. It was only on the hard packed road that I could see a bit of unevenness in his stride. He'll be good to go in another day or so.
By the time we finished, Izzy's leg was nearly as tight and clean as always. Whatever caused it to poof up has to be minor, and it's nothing I feel I need to worry about. Speedy looked quite good, so I was able to head home looking the worst of the three of us.
Now, if I can just kick this cold quickly, everything will be right in my little corner of the world, especially since it's Friday of a three day weekend.
Izzy's water intake has definitely fallen over the past week. I had been adding a lot of water to his trough each afternoon, but the past few days, the water level hasn't dropped much. I am not worried about it, but I like to know what's normal.
Since Izzy has really mellowed over the past year, he can now be trusted to stand tied at the trailer alone. The trailer has never moved in all the time I've been at the ranch, so it's a convenient place to tack up. As a bonus, it's pretty weathered, so I don't worry about him banging into it or scratching the paint.
Now that he isn't anxiously pawing or flinging himself about, I can hang a filled hay net as well as leave a rubber feed pan. I've also started leaving a freshly filled two gallon bucket of water for when I am done riding.
After he eats his LMF Senior, he always drinks down the bucket of water and waits for me to bring him more. This was something I taught my endurance horses: fresh feed and water were always within reach. Speedy simply expects there to be hay and water along with treats when he's tied up anywhere. I make sure to be consistent about it because they then start to eat and drink out of habit.
It's sort of a Pavlovian thing. Maybe you can lead a horse to water and teach him to drink?
Or, I was last week. What I forgot to mention was how I scored an awesome feed scale completely free.
Teachers are notorious for saving every box, container, or random thing that might prove useful for a lesson someday in the far future. I admit that I am especially guilty of this as I teach a lot of hands on science that requires ... stuff. My classroom drawers are filled with things like Q-Tips, popcorn, and even chopsticks - don't judge. Someday those chopsticks will be just what I need.
Now and then, one of my colleagues will take an honest look at what is in her maybe someday cupboard. She will realize that someday is really never. The worthless items will then get deposited in the teachers' lounge for some other "resourceful" teacher to carry back to her own classroom. With a frequency that I am loathe to admit, I am more than occasionally that crazy somebody.
What the original owner did not realize was that the scale has a uniquely awesome purpose to the right somebody - me, and that that purpose has nothing to do with the classroom. Too late now, my dear colleague. No take backs! The second I saw this beauty sitting on the table, I scooped it up knowing that it was headed straight to the barn. Classroom be damned!
And that is how I came be to the proud owner of this awesome feed scale!
I've been watching Izzy's coat change and darken for the past several weeks. His winter coat is easy to spot as it comes in nearly black while his summer coat is an unattractive faux buckskin color.
Speedy's winter coat is very hard to see because it's actually whiter than his silvery summer coat. It's so white that the majority of his fleabites (the reddish brown freckles that many grey Arabs sport) will disappear until next spring.
I am sure it didn't actually happen over-night even though it feels as though it did, but Speedy's winter coat made an appearance this weekend. As soon as I rubbed the jelly scrubber over his coat, his summer hair simply let loose. Where he had had a smooth thin coat last weekend, this weekend he started to show signs of his polar bear winter look.
While I'll miss the ease of caring for their summer coats, I won't miss the heat of summer. I am ready for some cooler afternoons. What's it like where you live?