Thursday, August 28, 2014

On The Move Again

It's time to take Moon back to SD. I decided I might as well get Frosty and Jet up, get them back into work mode and take them with me as well. This will be a 'working' vacation for us. I told Shooter and LJ they had another couple of weeks reprieve before they had to go back to work.

Shooter had other plans...

I guess he's tired of vacation. He got in the middle of these two and was coming with. He's had enough of being a pasture ornament. LOL

For Frosty, even if I wasn't getting back into the swing of riding, it was time he came off of the pasture anyway. The season is beginning to change (cooler and wetter) and what little bits of grass is left in the pasture is over-grazed. Frosty hasn't had any IR problems over the summer, but now is the time when it could rear it's ugly head again.

I had no concerns about trying to salvage the few spots of grass left in the pasture because the whole thing needs to be re-farmed and re-planted anyway. The green you see in the picture isn't even grass, it's just weeds. I'm still trying to find someone who will re-do the south 9 acres for me and time is running out. If I don't have it redone very soon, I'll have to wait until next spring. :-/.

I don't know that any of my horses really like extended time off. They like a couple weeks off, here and there, but after that, they are bored, begin to miss the attention and definitely begin to miss their grain rations.

Frosty was very happy when I stuck him in a pen after our ride and immediately began to whinny for his evening grain. One those patterns have been established...They don't let you forget it. LOL.

Jet has changed a lot this summer. I wished I could say it was some magical training...or even contribute the change in him to simple maturity...but the truth is, I think the majority of it has to do with the fact his pain issues were resolved by the stifle and hock injections.

It's taken 2 rounds of injections and almost a full year, but the front leg that was twisting has straightened out, as have his hocks.

(All week I meant to get pictures and kept forgetting...You can see in the above picture that his left front leg is straight again)

He did blow a large splint on the left front leg and I can only surmise that the reason for that (since he has been on turnout all of this time) had to do with how twisted that leg had become and then the untwisting of it left the bone weakened. I admit, it sounds strange...but then again, I have never witnessed anything like what was happening to this horse before. Legs going all screwy and then straightening back up? It's craziness I tell ya!!

Jet will get an introduction to pasture riding while in SD. I have been needing to get this horse out and cover some country with him and I just can't seem to find anyone I trust to pony him those first few rides. Personally, I think after a couple of rides out in the open, he will be fine and we can just move along with getting him broke. But if he should get a little wonky out in the open, I need someone who knows how handle it....and my brother has ponied me on many a colt, back in the day, so hopefully he still has the touch. Most of the time, it's just keeping these horses moving. Even if they want to buck. There is something to be said for the old 'cowboy' style of breaking sometimes. When we were kids, my dad (and oldest brother) used to pony me on the colts the first few rides out in the open. Most of those colts only had 2-3 round pen rides on them. Dad wasn't a big believer in 'messing around' (Hahahaha). Nope, covering miles was the goal...and it worked. If a colt wanted to be broncy, the pony rider would just snub 'em up and we'd hit a long trot. You go up and over a few of those rolling SD hills, til those colts got a little tired and they'd quit all of that non-sense.

Megan and I got some rides like that in on Jet two winters ago in AZ and that is actually how I figured out there was really something wrong with this horse. He just traveled so 'off' and he didn't get better. That is NOT how it works, so I knew something wasn't right. But now that he is fixed up physically and his brain is engaged again...We are gonna try it again and see if we can't get over this hump. I know there is a nice horse in there...Or I would NEVER have put all of this effort into him...Now, it's just time to bring it to fruition.

Hey, one thing about it...If he breaks ME, instead of the other way around, at least I am home on the reservation, where I get free healthcare. LMAO!!! (Oh, come on...You KNOW that's kinda funny!!)




Thursday, August 21, 2014

Reboot

I know I have been terribly quiet on the blog this summer, but this has not been much of a 'horse' summer. I mentioned earlier that after retiring Moon, MH and I discussed the need to take the time to get caught up around the place. We also took the time to do some things t.o.g.e.t.h.e.r! A rare and wonderful opportunity for us.

We got quite some major projects done around the place, still have a few more to go, but the sense of feeling like we are playing catch-up is gone. A few other things are in the middle of being resolved, but all in all, everything is coming together and when it's all said and done, our lives will be a lot less spread-out.

So, for the vast majority of the summer, the horses have just been on vacation. It hasn't hurt a single one of them. LOL.

Even though Frosty has lost his condition, he has not gotten ridiculously fat again.

Shooter's injured leg is completely healed, no more flare-ups/soreness and the hitch he had in his hip from carrying that leg for so long is gone.

It took Little John awhile to adjust to living in a large area and a herd environment, but he did adjust and has matured mentally and physically this summer.

Jet has also calmed down mentally this summer and his legs have straightened back out. He did blow a large splint on the front leg that was twisted and it has not gone down much, but from what I understand about splints, it's not entirely a bad thing. They happen in spots where the bone is weak and as they calcify and remodel, it strengthens the bone.

Moon is bored out of his ever-loving mind. Retirement is not suiting him and I have not had the time to go practice roping like I thought I would, so I made other arrangements for Moon. He is going home to the ranch in SD and my brother is going to use him. It's actually the perfect situation for both of them. Moon is a fantastic ranch horse and my brother needs something 100% reliable. It was a tough decision for me, not because I am particularly worried about how it will work out, but because Moon has been my main man for over a decade, I will miss having Mr. Dependable as my go-to guy.

The two girls, Beretta and Belle are just hanging out in their own little pasture. Beretta is intent on 'baking' her baby and Belle is just growing up.

Frenchie and Flash are doing well. Frenchie has gotten over the majority of her crappy attitude and Flash is growing like a weed and is a total love-bug now. Boy, if I thought Shooter had the 'I'm-the-king-of-everything' attitude...I think Flash has him beat.

Probably the best news of all is that Miss is coming around. She finally got over her aversion to grass hay and is filling up again. The overhaul in her diet has improved her founder as well. She is no longer lame!! I haven't even changed her shoeing job yet. The next few months are still going to be important. It depends on how much improvement I can get on her before I will know if she will be able to winter in the pasture here with the rest of the mares, or if I will have to take her to Arizona with me and continue to babysit her through the winter.

I have not been good about taking pictures of the horses this summer. I had to remind myself to take some new ones of Flash, so this is about all I have right now...

But, the non-horse influences are winding down, the fall weather is setting in...beautiful, cool mornings and not-so-hot afternoons...It's time to get serious about getting horses back on track and ready for the winter season in AZ, so I'll have blog fodder in no time. :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Miss

So this is the new mare, Blue Silver Missile, aka Missile...Now shortened to Miss...


I keep wanting to call her Tiny, but that is probably because I referred to her as 'the Tiny Watch mare' for the first couple of months after I bought her because I didn't know her barn name. Miss is actually quite a suitable name for her as she is a complete sweetheart and although she is a 17y/o mare, she is still very dainty and lady-like.

As with almost all of the horses I buy, Miss has a bit of a history. She was a finished, money earning head and heel horse for the person who bred for and raised her and from what I understand, she is also trained for barrel racing. She was well-loved and well-taken care of until her owner died. Rather than sell her, the son of the owner simply moved Miss and her 1/2 sister to a back pen and there they sat, poorly cared for, for SEVEN years.

The people I bought Miss from, had went to look at the 1/2 sister as a potential broodmare for their program and upon seeing the condition of the mares, and being soft-hearted people, they not only took the 1/2 sister, but insisted on taking Miss as well. I doubt I could have left this sweet, sweet mare behind either. Both mares feet were in horrible shape and both mares were thin. These people did the best they knew to do and Miss's 1/2 sister came out fine. Miss?....She's still struggling with front feet issues, particularly her right front.

I ended up with Miss simply due to seeing a picture of a very nice foal. Upon seeing the bloodlines of that foal's dam, I had to ask if she was for sale. They said, 'No, that mare is not for sale, but we do have another one, a 1/2 sister to her' and the rest just happened. I bought Miss sight unseen. Literally. I agreed to buy her based on nothing more than her bloodlines. It was only afterward that I remembered to ask for a picture. I was aware that Miss was not sound, so I cannot fault the people who sold her to me in any way. I do think the reason they agreed to sell her and sell her for cheap is because she was not sound and they didn't really know what to do for her and I promised that I could and would do for her what I can and would be her final home.

Miss did produce a beautiful, little black filly for these people...

Sadly, that darling little filly developed joint ill and had to be put down. Miss was not bred back, and that, I also think was because of her front feet issues. They probably weren't sure that Miss would hold up, the way she was, through another pregnancy.

The minute I saw Miss for the first time, I knew she needed to see my farrier as soon as I could get her there...but alas...he was unavailable before we left for Hawaii. Miss was still the same, kinda lame, but not in trouble, when we got back, but I called and made an appointment with the farrier. It wasn't quite quick enough though because Miss went 3-legged lame a couple of days before the farrier got home. There wasn't much I could do for her, except wait.

The news from the farrier was not what I was hoping to hear. As soon as he got the sole cleaned out of that right front foot, he found that the sole was plumb mushy right in front of the frog. Right where the coffin bone sits. He put a full, hard pad on that foot to give it some protection and gave me two options; wait a week to see if the sole hardened up or get x-rays immediately.

Well, no sense in waiting. We need to see what is going on with Miss's coffin bone. If it was rotated, then the farrier said to call him and he would immediately re-do that shoeing job to provide Miss with some relief.

I left the farrier's, drove directly to the vet's and made an appointment. I also picked up some bute (having run out of my usual herbal anti-inflammatories). Besides a couple of grams of bute to help ease Miss's discomfort, I slapped a Back On Track sheet on her for a few hours to help ease her muscle tension...

The vet's office was good enough to get me in the very next day and x-rays were taken of Miss's right front. And the verdict is...

Not great!!

Old founder, from the years of neglect that Miss suffered have left her coffin bones very cupped, with disintegration at the point.

This is the left front and the better of the two feet...

Here is the right front, and obviously this is the foot that Miss is struggling with...

The poor girl has like, NO sole and there is significant disruption in her coffin bone.

Any thoughts I had about possibly bringing Miss back as a riding horse and seeing what she was capable of on the barrel pattern are over. However, now that my farrier knows what is going on, he believes that we can significantly improve Miss's situation and she can go ahead and be the broodmare that I bought her to be.

Part of me is sorely disappointed that Miss is not already in foal and yet part of me realizes that she was probably in too much discomfort to carry a foal this year anyway. Better to get her fixed up and comfortable, so that when she is bred next spring, she has better odds of carrying a full-term baby. At best, I realize that I may only get that one foal, or if I am lucky, maybe 2 out of her. After all, she will be 19 before she delivers the first one, but with a pedigree like this mare's...One is generally good enough.

So there is my latest project in a nutshell. In spite of the time frame, I still feel pretty darned lucky to have the opportunity to get even one foal out of a mare like this. Miss is not only royally bred, she is a joy to be around and her and Frenchie get along wonderfully, so maybe some of Miss's sweetness will rub off. ;-)