Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Herd Update

" Mellon"
We’d like to thank everyone for your heartfelt sympathies on our loss of Mellon.  Your comments and thoughts meant a lot.  It’s still hard to believe Mellon is gone, we were so used to having him with us for twenty-seven years.  The barn seems very empty now without his presence.  The herd is definitely lost without him.  No one has emerged as leader to tell them what to do.  Blue is capable of being a leader except for the fact that he is kind of lazy and he is just not motivated enough.  Neither Donnie nor Grady are natural leaders. Sami is trying to get them to follow him but they simply ignore the little guy.  Poor Sami.

Mellon used to lead them up for water or hay nets at certain times of the day and just take care of them all in general.  In the first few days my daughter actually had to go out and bring them up for a water break.  At least that part has gotten better and they’ve figured it out for themselves now.  If only Nate or Dusty were still with us we’re certain one of them would have emerged as leader.  As it stands for now leadership is up for grabs.  

"Blue" (still not happy but dealing with it)

Blue and Sami have been wearing their Harmany Grazing Muzzles and seem to be having no problems with them at all.  Some slight adjustments were made so they had more of a custom fit to their faces in the beginning. I think the horses prefer these to the heavy nylon ones with the rubber bottom we used previously.  They are lighter and clean off easily.  The only potential problem I worried about initially is whether they would get stuck in the bowl of the automatic waterers outside but they fit just fine and there hasn’t been a problem. What I didn’t like about the other ones was, when they got wet and muddy they got very heavy. It seems these are working out really well and we’re happy with the purchase. Blue has been known to trash his grazing muzzles in the past in record time but he hasn’t been able to disassemble this one yet.  So I’m hopeful it will last the season.

Until next time

Quote for Today
 Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less and smile a little more.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Remembering Mellon


" Mellon "

We had to say goodbye to my daughter’s horse Mellon.  He colicked Friday night and there were no treatment options that would save his life.  Mellon was 30 years old and my daughter had him since he was 3 years old.  She and Mellon had a special relationship for the past 27 years.

A little bit about Mellon’s life:

The woman who my daughter worked for in her teen years was a horse dealer.  One time while in Canada picking up a horse she noticed Mellon in a paddock enduring blizzard conditions.  He was starving and uncared for by the man who was in charge of him.  She purchased Mellon, a 3 yr. old Trahkener gelding, and brought him home.  After rehabbing him, he was sold to a woman who transferred him to the barn where we were boarding at the time.  She had named him "Melonkampf," which she said meant “head battle.” This woman couldn't ride him; he bucked her off every time she tried.  This led to her abandoning the horse and never being heard from again.  Mellon became a lesson horse and all the “macho” guys wanted their chance to break him and triumph over his attitude.  He bucked every one of them off, no matter how much they spurred him or hit him with a crop, or whatever gear they put in his mouth and Mellon always came out the winner.  Mellon got his show name “Mission: Impossible” from one of these guys after the umpteenth time Mellon dumped him.  Mellon was also ridden by many of the adult women students and trainers.  True to “ Mellon” form they all took a turn in the dirt.

During this time my daughter was observing Mellon and how he was treated.  He was in the stall next to her horse, Lifeguard.  She formed a bond with him over time, and when she did finally ride him, they got along just fine. We eventually bought Mellon for her.  Mellon had obviously picked her to be his person.  I believe the reason he chose her is because she treated him kindly and with respect.  All the others treated him as their enemy; a horse to be broken.  He'd always been called "Melon" around the barn (from Melonkampf), and the first thing she did was make one small change in his name to "Mellon," the elvish word for "friend" from Lord of the Rings. In the story, while trying to unlock a stone gate, one of the characters says: "It's a riddle. Speak, friend, and enter." The answer that unlocked the impossible gate was the word for friend itself: Mellon.

That’s not to say that riding him was always a bouquet of roses; he did have his moments.  He was the only horse I’ve ever seen who would stop in the middle of a ride/lesson and put his foot down if there was something he didn’t want to do.  On the other hand there were numerous times when she got to a wrong distance at a jump and he’d take it anyway and saved her bacon.  He wasn’t the perfect horse but he certainly taught us all a lot and made life with him memorable. 
" Saratoga, N.Y. Horse Show"

" Sussex County, N.J. Horse Show"

Shortly after we purchased Mellon we purchased my Dutch Warmblood Erik who was also a 3 year old.  He and Mellon were inseparable for 15 years until Erik colicked and died about ten years ago. After Erik died Mellon was really never the same, it seemed he never got over the grief of losing his best friend.  I always thought there was sadness in his eyes.   I’m sure Mellon and Erik are together again along with their best friend Lifeguard.  These three were the original herd and we called them “The Three Amigos.”
" Mellon, Lifeguard & Erik"

" Mellon & Erik"

Unforgettable Mellon Memories

·      Throughout his life, Mellon hated crossing water, getting his feet wet, and being bathed, like many horses do. But he loved to stick his face directly in the stream of the hose.
·      He would stomp on anything that scurried around his feet. This included the rats in his stall at one barn (which we found flattened every morning), and even the horseshoe crabs he encountered at the beach. He was lightning fast with those hooves!
·      He would set up shop in one of the sheds and one by one each of the horses would file in to be groomed by Mellon. We're not sure whether this was a salon (Mel was a particularly good groomer) or whether, as leader of the herd, he was holding court with his "subjects."
·      When the water trough got low, he would stand guard over it until it was refilled. When it was empty, he would stand over it and weave, and we'd always know there was a problem. Ditto w/ the hay nets. And the gate... And anything else that bothered him. He had a way of telling us what was up.
·      No one ever pulled even a hair from his mane if they wanted to live. It wasn't worth the MMA match that followed.
·      In the trailer, he fended off giant trucks with scary kicks and giant bucks. No truck-monster ever got him, so I guess it worked.
·      The time he ran down a flight of wide railroad tie and stone dust steps on a hunter pace.  They thought they were supposed to go down those and Mellon ran down them like they were nothing. When they got to the bottom, they saw the trail running beside them.
·      Mellon and daughter schooling at Hampton Classic as he did an impressive buck coming over a jump.  A reporter/photographer from the Daily News was there and asked her “can you do that again” to which she replied “I hope not!” They did get their picture in the newspaper. 
·      The time he stopped dead at a 5 foot jump the trainer threw together with flower boxes stacked on top of each other and then decided to take it from a standstill.
·      If one of the herd was still out, he never came in. He'd run back out to the field and round them up, or stay out with them so they weren't alone all night. He never abandoned his friends. This is probably why he was so upset when Lifeguard, Erik, and Dusty suddenly disappeared from his life. They just got on a trailer one day and never came back. Mellon believed it was his job to look after them, and when he couldn't find them, it must have worried him to no end, and broken his heart.
"Mellon, always the happiest when with his girl"

Mellon has been the leader of the herd for his entire time with us and he was a hard taskmaster. The entire herd always listened to him, no discussion.  We have no idea who will emerge as the leader now.

We will miss him terribly.  He was strong and opinionated yet sweet and kind. Mellon was a horse to be reckoned with and will be remembered always with love and a smile.
" The Three Amigos" walking into the sunset together again...
A video of 'Mellon Moments'
With his song: "I Saw You In The Wild" by 
The Great Lake Swimmers

Quotes for Today

There is something about the sight of a fallen horse that strikes one's heart in such a way, even for those who are not particularly a horse lover...the significance of something so sacred, powerful, beautiful, intoxicating as the horse...when a fallen horse is seen overcome by life's obstacles, fallen tears and a jolt to the heart and soul can never be prevented...
-Stephanie M Thorn

Somewhere in time’s own space

There must be some sweet pastured place

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow

Some paradise where horses go, 

For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
-Stanley Harrison

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Harmany Muzzle

"Sami" The Perfect Model"

" Does this make me look silly, are the guys going to make fun of me"

"Are you kidding me...what is this contraption anyway!"

We recently purchased the Harmany Muzzle to prevent Blue and Sami from ingesting too much grass while grazing.  They are the two horses here who need it most.  We attached them to their halters today to see how they would do with them and put them in the small grass paddock by the barn so we can keep an eye on them.  The one concern we had was that they wouldn’t fit into the automatic waterers but Blue tested his out first thing and it does fit in the bowl easily and doesn’t get caught on the bottom of the rim which sort of sticks out a little.
" We really need to talk about this"

I think we still have to make adjustments with the fit so it will be a learning curve.  The muzzles can be shaped by heating them with hot water.  We decided to try these particular muzzles because they seem more lightweight and more adjustable to give a more custom fit as needed.  Another plus is they can be cleaned at the end of the day by rinsing them off under water.  So we’ll see how it goes and I’ll let you know what we think of them after a few weeks.  I’m interested to see how they hold up.  Blue is notorious for trashing grazing muzzles.  I can only hope he’s met his match with this one.

Here is part of the ad for Harmany Muzzles:

"The Harmany Muzzle is designed to be open and airy, allowing better ventilation for the horse while still slowing his forage intake. Instead of nylon webbing which can absorb moisture and then mold or mildew, the Harmany muzzle is a medical-grade plastic containing kevlar fibers: the plastic will not splinter or snap to produce sharp edges (though horses can eventually chew through it like a conventional muzzle — Dr. Harman is looking into solutions for that problem.) At the end of the day, the entire muzzle can be hosed down or washed with soap and water and easily dried: no more worries about your horse breathing in mold!" 
If you want to check it out for yourself here’s the website: http://www.harmanymuzzle.com/

Until next time

Quote for Today

Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Turkeys vs. Dogs


Our yearly Spring visit of turkeys has arrived.  Every year the turkeys seem to like to hang around the yard. In a few weeks we will see the hens come back with their chicks.  Right now the Tom is trying to impress the hens with his fantail display. 

" I'm displaying an impressive fantail here ladies...umm, any takers"
"Looks like he's at it again Gertrude. Just ignore him Bertha, he's got to get over himself"
The dogs are running from room to room barking their heads off at the turkeys.  When I let them out this morning they didn’t run after them at all but simply stopped and looked at them.  Once the dogs did decide to move,  the turkeys went on the other side of the flags that mark the underground dog fence.  The dogs won’t cross it or they know they will get zapped.  I actually think the turkeys are smart enough to know this as they stayed just outside the wire seemingly taunting the dogs.  When one flew away the both dogs ran to the front step.  They are both a couple of chickens.  Inside though, they are very tough.  I’m finding all this very amusing. 

" Mmmm, they look tasty"
" I think they're dissing me"
"What da ya think Ginger, should we keep barking? I think we're scaring the hell out of them...

Until next time

Sunday, April 9, 2017

And The Winner Is...

"Donnie & Blue"


"Yeah! I win!"

Donnie gets the prize today for being the dirtiest horse of the day.  Grady and Blue were respectively the runner - ups in the “ How Dirty Can You Get Contest” that was apparently running today in the herd.  I actually watched Donnie roll in the mud first thing this morning when he hit turnout.  I was hoping most of the mud would dry and fall off during the day.  As you can see it didn’t.  There’s a lot of grooming coming his way tomorrow morning.  I was just too tired tonight to take care of this.

 I’m happy to report that Sami is doing much better.  His swelling is down and he’s not lame anymore.  He enjoyed some time outside in a small grass paddock with a buddy and seems to be less stressed now that he was able to go out instead of being stuck in his stall all day.  Our horses really aren’t used to being in a stall.  They are basically out from morning until night every day.

Until next time

Quote for Today
  Grooming: the process by which the dirt on the horse is transferred to the groom.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

One Of Those Days

" Sami"

Did you ever have one of those days where everything went wrong.  Well, that was my day today.  First thing this morning I went out to feed and turnout.  Sami wasn’t putting any weight on his left hind and I couldn’t get him to move so I could see what might be wrong.  Okay, let’s start by cleaning out his feet.  Nothing there and he didn’t seem bothered by it at all.  So probably not an abscess.  He looked uncomfortable and definitely in pain.  I called the vet who came within the hour and diagnosed a swollen suspensory.  I’m treating it with Surpass twice a day and Bute once a day. Sami will be on stall rest until he feels better and can only go out when he's not lame anymore in the catch pen until the vet rechecks him in seven days. He’s not too happy about that but his window is open so he can see his pals.  There has been some vocalization when they move out of site but he’s dealing with it.

Next I had to change the huge water bottle on the dispenser because it was empty.  Well, as I pulled it off it cracked me squarely in the nose. Ouch! It still hurts but I’ll live.

The rest of the day was spent going out to the barn to check on Sami.  It has been raining buckets on and off all day with high winds and some thunderstorms with lightening thrown in for good measure.  So running between the raindrops and dodging lightening bolts was a fun part of the day.

Then tonight as I was bringing the horses in I was treated to another thunderstorm and we all got totally soaked.  After I put Surpass on Sami’s leg and fed I headed into the tack room for their nightly carrot treat.  That’s when I heard the digital fence box beeping and blinking red.  Swell, it wasn’t working again, which is not a good thing since I’m training Nikita to not leave the property with her collar on and the underground fence as her boundary.  It wasn’t working a week ago and I had the guy come out and fix it.  I just sent off the check for two hundred dollars today so they’ll be getting a call tomorrow.

In the meantime I have to walk the two dogs on leashes to do their business. Ginger is good she’s an absolute machine.  Nikita, not so much, it takes her a good ten minutes to find just that perfect spot.  Of course, they both had to go out after dinner and it was still pouring.  

I’m hoping that since things seem to come in threes that’s about it for the day today.  Then again there’s always tomorrow!

Until next time

Quote for Today
Sometimes you’re the statue a sometimes you’re the pigeon!