Thursday, June 28, 2012

Girls update

Well, it's been a while since I've posted an update on the girls.

Mostly all is well.  To be honest, Chev has been just a pasture puff for the last 2 months.  I haven't had good access to an arena, and the pasture has been taking enough of a beating with just the regular walking back and forth.  Because of the drought, the grass has failed.  Luckily I was able to purchase a nice local 3x3x8 780 pound bale of grass/ they certainly haven't been suffering for want of forage.

Tiny is so wonderful.  She is easy, forgiving, and very smart.  And she is so--nice!  So friendly, she always wants to be right at my elbow, hoping for a scratch.

Unfortunately she has developed a dental cyst--or possibly an impacted tooth.  I had the local vet out to look at her, which I thought would entail sedation, a thorough dental exam, and then a plan.  Instead, the vet took literally one look at her and told me she needed surgery.  He tried to twitch her (which she was having NOTHING I know how they got her feet done before), was unsuccessful, felt the lump some more, and told me she'd have to go to CSU or up to Sheridan to a dental specialist.

To be honest...I was pretty flabbergasted.  So sedation, no dental exam, and I was looking suddenly at surgery.  I called a vet down at CSU and explained the situation, hoping for more information.  He was very nice, and said he didn't think it sounded serious.  He told me to make sure to get xrays before I took her ANYWHERE, and if I did he would be happy to look at them and consult with a surgeon on my behalf.  That made me feel a lot better.

I also emailed pictures and a detailed description to my vet back home, who I LOVE, and who has helped me with all of Chev's medical indiscretions--and he also said while it warranted a dental exam, he didn't feel it would be a big issue.  He couldn't guess why the local vet didn't just sedate her and look.

She is eating and drinking enthusiastically, has no temperature, no nasal drainage or drainage anywhere else, and the hard lump on her lower right mandible hasn't changed in the last week.  It isn't hot and she doesn't react to pressure on it.  I get no pain response whatsoever.  I hope it turns out to be benign.  And I really hope...

...that it won't need further treatment before I return to Oregon at the end of July!

Yes, that's right, I (along with my 2 cats and the horses, of course) will be moving back to home sweet home at the end of next month.

So, in a mixture of elation, excitement, stress, and extreme depression, since the SO will be staying here in Wyoming--I am planning the return of the prodigal daughter.

In other news, Tiny has gained almost 100 lbs in the last month.  She now weighs in at a hefty 860 pounds--and she's still a week of her second birthday!  Yikes!

I'm also happy to report that all my ebay items sold for what I hoped they would.  

Without further ado...

This is from today.  There are a lot of pictures of her with her head in the feeder because that's about all she does these days.  Look at that hay belly!

It's Chev's barn.

She got a slice on her hip--but it's all healed up now.

She is such a lovely redhead!

 And here's the blonde! an itch.

Look at those big booty girls!  Yeesh!

There's that pretty Tiny horse!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I have listed several nice tack items for sale on ebay...please check them out!  Please buy them!  Please please please!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Homesick post

I am feeling incredibly homesick.

I think what really started me off was missing Father's Day--for the second time in a row.

It's a daunting task to think about moving back, with moving costs approaching $3000 if I want to relocate my furniture, my car and the horses.

On the other hand, I've been entirely unsuccessful with landing a job here in Wyoming, so I don't have any disposable resources.

In a word, I feel stuck.

It is not a great feeling to have.

I miss my best friend, I miss my brother, and I miss my mom and dad.  Enormously.

Life just feels a little hard right now.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Big steps

Well, I've had this little yellow girl for a little more than 2 weeks now.

When she came she could:
- wear a halter
- be led with some hesitation and stopping
- trailer well/back out of a trailer (even if it was her first time ever in one)
- be caught in the pen after several minutes of round pen work

Now she:
- comes right up to be caught/doesn't move off in the pasture when approached, comes to meet you
- picks up all her feet, good for the farrier
- stands to be fly sprayed
- is easy to halter/un-halter
- leads everywhere
- yields to pressure
- does haunch turns
- does forehand turns
- steps onto the wash mats
- stands for brushing everywhere, no "touchy" areas

I am just floored by how smart she is & how quickly she picks up things.  This must be what everyone was telling me about these bloodlines.  I haven't ever worked with one of these horses before, and so far she is just easy, easy, easy.

We had our second ever lunge line session tonight.  Both horses got yesterday off while I went down to the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Collins.

The first attempt was two days ago.

It was decent.  She had never been on a lunge line, so there was some confusion.  We were also in the wide open pasture so there were plenty of places to run. 

I don't think before she arrived she had ever seen halter pressure as a direction--and aid--a request to move her body a certain way.  Her first reaction to pressure was to plant her feet, grow roots and brace against it. 

If that didn't work, she'd just turn tail and try to take off.

But after a few very obvious releases for baby steps in the right direction, she picked it up fast.

She much prefers to go to the left (like most horses).

The first day when she got confused she'd try to revert back to her more comfortable direction.  I'd put her back going right again.

We ended on a calmly walked half circle.

Today it was like she remembered everything she did right from last time, and threw away all the mistakes.

She was lovely.

No pulling.  No freakouts.  No bracing and taking off.  No hesitation with going forward.  It was like she had been practicing.

She went to the right without any issues.  Even trotted a little both directions without getting flustered.

And I even got her to trot alongside me (which before when I tried it, was the Most Terrifying Thing Ever).

I really like her because while she is reactive--if you take a loud step toward her she'll skitter away--she is very thoughtful.  She thinks things through.  And for a 2 year old with the attention span of a gnat, she retains information really well.

I have high hopes for this little one.  And it's so exciting to see how she's better and better every day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Pictures today, beautiful Chev.

And the lovely tiny horse, who is hard to photograph unless she is eating, because she spends all her time right by my elbow.

Summer weather... & a drought

It has been a terribly dry year here in Wyoming.  We haven't had hardly any rain, our snowpack is already gone and the grass has barely grown.  Hay prices are skyrocketing (for last year's hay), this year's hay is nowhere to be seen, and the growers down in Colorado stand to make a fortune.

When we arrived in Douglas last year at this time the grass was lush and calf-high already.  We're lucky if we have two inches of spindly, skinny, patchy grass this year.

I am really glad I only have 2 horses to feed.  About 3-4 flakes of grass/alfalfa hay, a pound of grain a day and the four acre pasture is keeping them in good weight.

I have been hearing rumors that ranchers are selling off their cows for fear of not being able to feed them through the summer and winter.  Lots of people around here have 30 head of horses or more, and while they look okay so far, it may be tough to keep them fed.

Anyway...for my PNW friends, we could sure use some of your rain out here!

Both the girls had their farrier appointment on Sunday.  Tiny horse was absolutely perfect for hers.  Got her front feet trimmed up.  I have been cleaning them a little with a rasp and evening them out.  My farrier isn't a barefoot trimmer and I think he's not as careful about balance as my old farrier was.  We didn't tackle the back feet yet, since I'm still getting her used to having those handled.  She's coming along great though.

Front feet post-trim, leaning away from the camera--still out of balance but much better!

Front right lateral view, lots of retained sole.

Front right solar view...there is some pinkish bruising near the toe, a lot of difference in thickness between the "inside" (right side) and "outside" (left side) hoof wall quality, probably because of the unevenness of the hooves--still, they are nice & round with a tight white line at the toe

 Front right, lateral view

 Front left, solar view.  The false/impacted sole is already starting to shed.

I am hopeful with time and frequent trimming her hooves will even up completely, and I think I have reason to be hopeful--they should wear much better now that she is out in a more natural environment with room to roam over sand, pebbles, rocks, and grass.  I don't think there's any sign of clubbing, which worried me before.  I think the distortion/concave outline in her hooves was mainly caused by trimming only the toe back very infrequently, while letting the heels grow way too long, combined with being in a soft paddock and her super hard hooves.  She has been a tiny bit tenderfooted as she gets used to her heels working again, but it's nothing I wasn't expecting.  She is moving better already.  And I was so proud of her perfect behavior.

Chev, on the other hand, was a raving lunatic for her trim, striking, rearing, and acting like a horse I didn't even recognize.  It was like someone replaced my sweet, docile 7 year old with a wild mustang.  The farrier wasn't able to do much with her.  We finally decided she had been stung by something, because she had a complete meltdown every time a bug buzzed over her way.

I also think that maybe...she doesn't care too much for my farrier.  He gave up, I dosed her with flyspray, turned her out, and she was completely back to normal by that night.  I filed her hooves down a little more evenly and called it a night.

I think I might have to learn how to do this trimming stuff myself.  I have great attention to detail, understand symmetry, and feel like I could be good at this.  I just need to get brave and start investing in a few tools, like a new rasp and a hoof knife.  I feel like I could do at least as good a job as my current farrier, with a little supervision every 8 weeks or so.

Do any of you trim your own horses?

In other news, I've got tiny horse up to 6 hours of pasture a day, and she is loving it.  She'll be out 8 hours today before she returns to her paddock for the night, and I've seen no adverse signs of grass overdose so far.

Ironically, Chev spends most of her time in the run-in stall in the shade.  She doesn't like this heat.  And I don't blame her!

Lady, I need a drink.

Too hot to do anything but stand around

I did get some pictures of the storm that rolled through the other night.  Five miles wide with a 30 mile leader cloud (the biggest I've ever seen on the radar) being sucked right into it.  Luckily it died down by the time it came our way.

 I took this right across from the house.