Monday, December 20, 2010

Possible Colic in Horses- Change in Disposition or Behavior- Lathargic H...

"Colic" is a general term that usually has to do with stomach upset.  Horses have very sensitive digestive systems, and colic is a very common killer of horses.  Recognizing it early can save a horse's life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ed Dabney - Stall vs Pasture Board

Ed Dabney - Stall vs Pasture Board :

I strongly feel horses are happier and healthier mentally, physically and emotionally if they are allowed to live the way God designed them - out in the open, not in a box. Horses are not like us. They don't like small cozy places. As prey animals, they like to be out in the open so they can move and see all around.

Horses who live out in a pasture 24/7 are usually healthier than stall boarded horses who live in a hot, musty barn full of urine and manure odors. Walk into most full boarding barns at 6:00 in the morning when the barn has been closed up all night and the ammonia smell from the night's urine will knock you down. I feel sorry for the horses having to stand in there and breathe that all night. No wonder they develop respiratory problems.

I understand that not everyone has the option of pasture or paddock boarding and must board their horse in a stall with little or no turn-out. I also understand that stall boarding is sometimes necessary for some stallions, horses recuperating from certain injuries or for upper level show or performance horses that need the protection of a stall to prevent injury or coat fading.

In Wyoming my horses lived in the pasture and had a run in shed available to them but they never used it. They were happy to stand out in 15 below zero weather in a blizzard munching hay. They would grow a heavy winter coat and snow would pile up on their backs. As long as they had plenty of good quality hay their body would generate enough heat to keep them comfortable. (Note: if they were losing body heat the snow on their backs would melt.)

Observing my own horses in Wyoming indicates to me they obviously prefer to live outdoors. Certainly we prefer to be indoors on a cold or rainy day cuddled up by the fire in a warm blanket drinking a cup of hot chocolate, however my opinion is, we should allow horses to live in the way they prefer rather than try to force our human characteristics on them. Let them be horses and live outdoors!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Raising Country Kids: Bovine Racism

Raising Country Kids: Bovine Racism

Here is an interesting bit on a blog about cows unfairly ostracizing the odd-colored cows in the herd.

Farm Dog Disease on the Rise - Hobby Farms

Farm Dog Disease on the Rise - Hobby Farms

This is an important article for those with rural dogs, regarding the rise of Leptospirosis cases. Dogs contract the disease when they come into contact with the urine of wild animals. (This is easier than you might imagine, considering the urine can be in creeks or streams, or on the grass that dogs might lick or eat.)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rejoneo Bullfighting on Horseback

Rejoneo Bullfighting on Horseback

I love this photo because of the horse's expression as he's trying to bite the bull.  These horses have to be aggressive.

This is a pretty neat website that goes into the history of "Rejoneo", or bullfighting horses.  A bit down the page the author mentions that reining, dressage, and what we would call cutting horse training were all intertwined in the training of these horses.

Amazing Horse video

This is pretty incredible... the bull fighting horses are so responsive and agile. This is one of the reasons I fell in love with Andalusians when I was in spain. The training is called "Doma Vaquera" in Spanish.

The Hay Fairy Came!

My hay guy texted me yesterday, and he said he'd be bringing me a load of hay late last night.  When I got home, I wasn't sure if he'd been by or not, so I went to look in the barn, and happily saw it stuffed full of hay.

I always get a feeling a little like Christmas morning when I see that.  That's one of the things I love about my hay guy... I just leave the key in the tractor, and he will unload it all (round bales) and stack it in the barn for me.  Not even have to be present is SOOO much more convenient than trying to work around both our schedules.  And it's so nice to leave for work with an empty barn, and come back to find it full of new hay... it's like magic.  Thanks, Hay Fairy!

I Slaughtered a Chicken for the First Time (With a Little Lot of Help from My Friends)

(This is from a blog I follow... click on the title to go there)

I Slaughtered a Chicken for the First Time (With a Little Lot of Help from My Friends): "

WARNING: This post contains material that may not be suitable for some readers.

I really like to eat chicken. Becky likes it too. However, we’ve gone almost completely off industrially produced chicken. The cost of organic chicken is about twice as expensive as the regular variety here, and those aren’t inexpensive.

Since we’re going to be eating our chickens, I needed to learn how to kill, pluck and dress them. Becky has a friend who’s husband also needed to learn these skills. This friend of Becky’s has a mum and dad who have been raising and eating their own chickens for decades. So, on an absolutely fine Saturday, we all converged on a nearby farmlet for a delicious lunch… and a hands on lesson in the skill of slaughtering chickens.

From the reading I’ve done, I knew that there were a lot of ways to kill a chicken. This time, we would be breaking the chickens’ necks (See: How to Kill a Chicken, or How to kill, pluck and dress a chicken).

The small children were removed from the area and Garth and I were each handed an Orpington rooster. The method of how to break the neck was explained. I was up to go first. As I stood there, preparing to kill the chicken with my bare hands, I wondered: How is it that, at the age of 38, and having consumed some unthinkable number of chickens in my life, this will be the first time that I’ve personally killed a chicken? The answers to that question are far more disturbing than the act of killing the chicken.

(To read more, go to the blog)

Bullet proof???

From Horsetopia Forums:
Bullet proof???: "
Found this today in a local paper. . . too funny!

" Wanted good trail horse and show, nothing under 8 years old, good with kids and BULLETPROOF"
Guess they must ride in some pretty rough neighborhoods!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

"I dont suggest anyone own a horse"

"I dont suggest anyone own a horse": "
From Horsetopia: 
"I do not own a horse however I have been working with / riding them my whole life.Last night I was at my riding lesson and my trainer and I got on the subject of me owning my first horse. He said " I do not suggest that anyone own a horse." He said I should lease first. I disagree however he did have some good points. "What are you doing with your horse when you go to College? Will you wake up christmas morning to take care of it?"

It has been a dream of mine to own a horse so I really dont mind getting up on Holidays to take care of it.

Do you agree with him, lease first? :confused:"

This is a very good point. Many people who start leasing with me quickly discover that they don't have the time to spend after all. Frequently they rode when they were younger and would love to get back into it. However, when you consider the time it takes to go get the horse, groom the horse, tack up, ride, cool down, untack, groom, and put the horse away, it can be rather involved.
Not only that, but if anything at all happens, such as a financial hardship, job loss, chronic illness, so on and so forth, you are now stuck. A horse costs money every day you own it, whether you are riding or not. You still have to pay board, or buy feed and hay. Which is why many people wind up having to give their horses away when disaster strikes. Which can be very sad, because many of those horses that have to find new homes quickly are taken to auction, and many wind up slaughtered for meat. (Very inhumanely, I might add, as it's no longer legal in the U.S., so many horses are shipped to Mexico, where there are no standards of humane slaughter).
I fully agree, leasing first is the way to go... if you have the time, dedication, and finances, then you can think about buying a horse!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Yesterday evening I fed the horses. Teddy was tied to the hitching post to eat while I took Magnum down to the round pen. When I came back with Magnum, Teddy hadn't finished his food and was looking unhappy and making funny little whinny noises. I put him in a closed section of the field, and he promptly coughed up thick mucous mixed with grain, then lay down as if to roll, but got back up.

I watched him for a little while, and he coughed up more mucous and saliva mixed with food... he also had it dripping out his nose. So I took him up to the front field with Magnum and called the vet. She said it sounded like "choke", when they swallow food without properly chewing, or try to whinny with their mouth full and food gets stuck in the esophagus. She said to call her back if it hadn't cleared in another 30 minutes and she'd come out. As I waited, he kicked at his belly and lay down again. He let me sit on the ground with him and rub his ears, and he just looked miserable. He got back up, coughed some more, but I could see he was hurting. So I called the vet back, and out she came.

The remedy is to sedate the horse and put a tube down the esophagus, pumping water down to soften any lodged food until the tube can be passed all the way down to the stomach. Teddy was sedated, and she started to snake the tube down through his nostril. She did warn me that sometimes they get nosebleeds from this, and I'm glad she did, because he promptly started gushing blood from his nostrils. Thank God Lisa was at the farm at the time, and she offered to help, which I happily accepted since I was having a really hard time looking at the nasty food / mucous mix coming from the tube along with the growing pool of blood in the stall. I was starting to feel ill, and didn't want to look at everything coming from his nostrils... I'm usually not that queasy, but as the vet said, "It's different when it's your own horse".

It took over an hour to finally clear the blockage, and involved several removals and re-insertions of the tube. Lisa handled it like a pro.... after a little while, Teddy started to fight, and would back up, then rear and plunge and thrash around the stall. Lisa quickly developed a technique of holding his halter firmly and letting him plunge and spin around her while the vet and I cleared the stall. I was really impressed at how she stood firm and controlled him without letting him toss her around. Of course, after each of these episodes we'd have to remove the tube and start over. There was also blood everywhere from this.... as Greg put it, "Lisa looked like she just walked out of the ER."

So the blockage was finally cleared, and it seems the culprit was partly the brand new bag of alfalfa pellets I bought... since it hadn't been opened, the pellets hadn't absorbed any moisture from the air and were hard as rock. When Teddy gulped them down, (or possibly tried to whinny to Magnum with his mouth full) he couldn't produce sufficient saliva to moisten them enough to swallow. Unfortunately, the trials and tribulations of treating him left him with a horrible raspy breathing issue, partially due to inflammation from the irritation of the tube, and possibly because he could have inhaled some bloody goop during his thrashing. So now he is to be on a 10-day course of antibiotic injections twice a day to hopefully prevent any pneumonia developing, as well as Banamine paste for the pain and swelling in his throat.

Poor boy looks miserable! I put Magnum in the stall with him overnight to keep him company and console him a little bit. Hopefully his breathing will be improved by morning. Of course, this all totalled about a $600 vet bill, because what horse would ever have an emergency during business hours?! But I've very glad I did call, as I'm sure he couldn't have swallowed or coughed up the lump on his own. Just a note of caution to horse owners... it's always safer to soak hay pellets!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Teddy on a Pedestal

This was when I went to pick him up from the trainers… it was the first time he got up on it with both feet. He doesn't seem too concerned.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anna & Teddy Riding for the first time

Yippee!! I'm so excited to have him back and ready to go! He is such a good boy, and they did a FABULOUS job with him! Many many thanks to Lorrie and her daughter Natasha!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Teddy's First time under saddle

To back up a little, this was his first time under saddle ridden free.  You can really see his annoyance at having someone telling him what to do and where to go!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Teddy started under saddle

Teddy's third time under saddle.  He's been sent away for training, and we'll have lots of riding to do when he gets back.  I'm so excited!  Click the link for the trainer's web page:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cowboy Greg

A photo from last summer of the cowboy in my kitchen... wondering why those pants fit so tight!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Paddock Paradise

    I think this is a great concept, and I have been experimenting with it in one of my 
    groups of horses. (I have 2 separate pastures / groups - one with 3 horses, and one
    with 4 horses).  "Paddock Paradise" is a book by Jaime Jackson that describes a
    new "natural horsekeeping" method. To paraphrase from the back cover of the book
    (my notes are in red):

     "...Paddock Paradise is a revolutionary model for safe, natural horsekeeping, hoof
     care, and the healing and rehabilitation of lame horses. The premise of Paddock
     Paradise is to stimulate horses to behave and move naturally according to their
     instincts... This unique and unprecedented model is adaptable to virtually all size
     horse properties, regardless of climate, and fits all equine breeds regardless of how
     they are used.
                                      Consider some of the following benefits for creating a Paddock Paradise for your 

- Encourages constant movement, as nature intended

- Greater movement means natural hoof wear with fewer bills (If you provide gravel or other proper footing)
- Protects horses from dangerous founder-prone pastures (I've never had this problem, but I suppse it makes sense)
- Minimizes the need for warm-up exercise time before riding (keeping my horses at field 24/7 seems to do the same thing)
- Helps address neurotic behavior by providing natural outlets (again, see above... full time out at pasture means no neurotic behavior.)
- Provides an effective means for diet and weight management

Saturday, January 02, 2010

How an Electric Fence Works (or, as I prefer to call it, "Fun with Fools")

Brainiac - Electric fence
This is a great video explaining exactly how an electric fence works.  Many people don't really understand.... hence, why they may leave the electric gate laying on the ground, or allow objects to touch the fence (such as haning halters, rakes, etc).

Baseball Hay Nets - Paddock Paradise Wiki

Baseball Hay Nets - Paddock Paradise Wiki

This is an interesting idea to set up hay nets for horses that they can't destroy. It makes for less wasted hay (they can't pull out huge gobs which then get strewn around), and you can set up a few around the paddock to keep the horses busy and entertained.