Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dude...Deep Breathe

That's the email Mrs. Mom sent me last night. She cracks me up. Psssttt-no ammo shipments necessary.;-)

Yesterday, two of the horses that had gone without water for a few days looked really thin. So today, I brought them to town....

I was ballistic over the lack of water situation. Nothing enrages me more than pure and simple laziness. That was the only reason all those horses went without water for more than 24 hours after the sub-zero weather and blizzard conditions we had on Sunday. My brother swears he opened water and everything drank on Monday morning. I got to the ranch on Wednesday afternoon and everything was froze solid. So nothing had drank from Monday morning until late Wednesday afternoon. Dumb, dumb, dumb!!!

However, to alleviate a bit of the colic concern people stated. Horses that don't have access to open water and have no additional roughage supplied to them, almost never colic in the pasture. The simple reason is that they usually quit eating very much and try to lick snow to get moisture. That's where I get mad. When it is 10 to 20 degrees below zero and a horse won't eat, they lose weight fast. For the majority of our herd, this doesn't create a health issue if it is just for a day, but it is just not good animal husbandry practice. For horses that don't have the weight to spare, they get thin REALLY fast. As was the case with the two I brought to town.

The tanks do have float systems on them with aerators to help keep the water circulating. All my brother would have had to have done on Monday morning to keep the tanks working properly was to break the ice and make sure the float had the freedom to move up and down properly. Because he did not break all of the ice out of the tank(just drink holes)-the ice got thick enough in the middle to inhibit the float system. Once I cleaned all of the ice out of the tank and took the float off to chip the ice off of it-everything worked fine. It's not a difficult job...just one you have to do to keep things working like they should. Two winters ago, a blizzard hit and we had sub-zero weather for 10 days straight. I could not keep the floats from freezing, so I had to bucket water from the house to the horses, all 20 head, until the weather warmed up enough to keep things open. It's just what you do in these climates. It sucks, but it is just the way things are. If you are going to have livestock, you have to get out and take care of it in the worst of weather because that is when it counts the most.

Moon is a horse that just doesn't handle extremes too well. I took him to the ranch for a bit of pasture time(he really gets grouchy being cooped up) and specifically sat down and had a discussion with my brother..."Keep an eye on Moon. If he looks like he is losing any weight, CALL ME and I will come get him". Sounds pretty straight forward right?

Well, luckily once he got a good drink yesterday and this morning, he didn't look so bad...
Not great, but better than I thought yesterday. Rage has a way of making everything look worse. He'll get a chance to fill up on hay and has heated water to drink. I'll give him a week before I start adding grain to his diet.

My little bay mare, Okie is not going to fare as well. This is the responsible part of ownership that becomes shades of gray. Okie has always been lame in her left hind fetlock. We managed it and used her lightly until we moved back to South Dakota. Thinking that she would do fine as a pasture pet, I turned her out. From there her fetlock deteriorated to where I could tell it hurt her more often. I wanted to put her to sleep about 4 months ago, but my mom thought I was being premature on my decision and convinced me to see how she wintered. She's not! The frozen ground and snow and ice is difficult for her and her hip has dropped now to compensate for her foot. It's time!

And on a completely unrelated topic, look at the hawk Megan and I found in the road ditch today...
Full bird-frozen in this pose. It was directly under a high line wire. It looks to me like he was sitting on the wire and got a zap. I can't imagine that he would have sat there through the blizzard and froze to death...what do you guys think?

He is beautiful. I can't wait for him to thaw out so I can pull his tail feathers.
Actually, I will save everything. His wings will make beautiful fans, his head and claws dance sticks and the other body feathers and fluff also have ornamental use. What a lucky find!!

I don't know what kind of hawk he is, but I sure have been seeing a lot of them around lately. I wonder if they got pushed here by the arctic front?

**I suppose I should mention that I am a "card-carrying" Indian, I am allowed to have predatory birds and certain endangered animals without proof of how I got them, since they are a cultural item.


Mikey said...

oh yeah, I'm hearing you on this subject. I was going to comment on the one below, but got distracted.
I SO know how you feel. Going thru the same thing with my own mom right now and trying to change her "hoarding" ways. SO hard. And the water thing. OMG, I would have said the same things. We had two get left at the shop this past summer, 110 out, no shade, no food, NO WATER for 2 days. I thought they had water! Who leaves a horse w/no water? Had to bucket water and bring hay. I was BALLISTIC about it. Never did see the owner face to face, which was a good thing. Might have lost the temper.
Mrs. Mom is right. Breathe. I know it pisses you off. Me too. All you can do is do your best and either take a valium or carry a bottle in the glove box when you go see your mom.
Works for me anyway :)

MichelleSG said...

Oh woman, see now here's the point where you have to think of your family first. And I'm not talking about your mom and brothers, I'm talking about your hubby and daughter. Cut your losses and go with what is good for you. It took me too long to figure that one out (if my mom dropped dead tomorrow I'd throw a HUGE party) and sadly my family has scars to shoe for it. Even my dd knew there was something she didn't like about my mom by the time she was 6. You know there's something wrong when...

sue said...

Oh wow, my friend, you have certainly had a time of it... just wanted to send you some encouragement and let you know you are in my thoughts and prayers....

cdncowgirl said...

Mrs Mom... she's such a wise lady. She's right, when dealing with your mom you need to take a deep breath.
Of course you have to let that out somewhere so go ahead and rant here all you need to!

If Megan is fine with the two of you moving a bit earlier than planned go for it. There is only so much you can do for your family, especially if your help isn't always regarded as such.

As for parents and favorites. I think all parents have favorites. Its just how much or little they show it.
Contradictory to your situation, my sister is the favorite. She's the middle child and the *star*. She's always been the one who's the most social, best at everything... well at least compared to me and my brother.
I remember asking (practically begging) my mom to come watch at least ONE riding lesson. Nope. It would be boring.
However she made time to go watch my sister's drill (Army Cadets) even though everyone, even my sister, said that was boring.

Whoa, sorry guess I needed a little rant too!

Oh, and BTW how is Shooter's leg? ("the next great hope" that cracked me up!!)

Krystina said...

If one owns livestock one must tend to said livestock and provide for them what they require to survive. Both of which being food AND water. I feel for ya on this one! Laziness is a poor excuse. I hope Moon fairs good through this chilly weather. I am sorry to hear about Okies present situation. We have one that has gotten rather tender on the uneven frozen ground as well. (She has no lameness issues, she just decided to turn her paddock into a sloppy mud hole right before this cold snap) Love the Hawk! The feathers are lovely.

Leah Fry said...

More evidence of why I finally moved FAR FAR away from my family. I have four brothers and I always felt like I had to jump thru hoops of fire -- to no avail, mind you -- to be given an ounce of recognition. I was a perfect student, was recognized for my artistic and academic abilities, but it never seemed to be enough.

I am so with you on this issue. You have to do what's best for you and your family, because chances are good THEY will not.

kdwhorses said...

Girl I hear ya! Deep breaths are good at times! I'm on the fence about what to tell you. I know in my situation I miss my mother everyday, she died when I was 19. On the other hand I hear ya about the issues with her. My Dad is that way with me, meet the black sheep of my family, ME! Always has been, he loves my sister. We live less than 45 minutes from each other and we have seen each other maybe 2 times this past year! He is so involved in him! It is really sad and upsets me, if he doesn't want to see me what about his grandchild?? Anywho, I don't have any great advice since I don't have to deal with my mom in that way!

It is great to vent and we are here for ya girl! I hope you get everything worked out for ya! ((HUGS))

Vaquerogirl said...

Aren't families great! Don't worry- my family would make yours look sane...really! The stories I would tell would raise your hair! I find that it helps me to think that the neediest child gets the most attention.

Andrea said...

It sure does get cold there. And I think cold might be an understatement. I am glad you have Moon back and feeding him. It's funny because your version of skinny is super chunky!! I love it!! I sure do wish I could get some chunky horses like you have. I am glad that Moon is getting taken care of. Away from the slacker brother.

And what a fun find, that bird!! How neat that you can make and do so much wih it. And I had no idea that Indians had cards like that. That they could have exotic animals like that!! You learn something new everyday!!

Rising Rainbow said...

Now I understand the comment you made on my blog. You can move to my neck of the woods anytime.

My family is pretty dysfunctional too. I find I'm better off keeping to myself.....well, and my horses.

I agree with you about the lazy part.....or at least very very irresponsible. I would be foaming at the mouth if that had happened here.

As for the card carrying Indian, I think I figured that out a long time ago.....although I'm not sure it you came right out and said it like this or I just added thing up LOL

FishermansDaughter said...

Surfed over from "The Horseshoeing Housewife" and had to comment on how I couldn't agree more, if one is too lazy to care for animals PROPERLY, one should not have them! Period. Not to trumpet my own horn, but, we've just recovered from a 7 day power outage = no electric = no water pump. Had to commute an hour plus one way in freezing temps 2x's per day to deliver h2o to mine. Zero fun, but absolutely essential. I thought the same thing Andrea said when viewing the pic of your "thin" horse. Looks in good flesh to me, course the only real way to tell is run a hand over to see if they're ribby under that hair and since I can't very well do that through a picture... good find on the hawk and good on you for choosing to take care of you and yours FIRST.

Cheryl Ann said...

Families! I could write a book about mom had dementia, "wandered" off from the nursing home twice, went to live with my aunt, drove her crazy...Sometimes it is best to move far, far away from them and live your own life!