Thursday, June 16, 2016

Farm News

" Blue "

It’s been quiet around here lately with nothing much happening with riding.  Our vet was out last month for their Spring shots.  I had him evaluate Blue to see how he was doing and it seems he’s got sore hocks and arthritis.  We opted not to give him hock injections because he’s had them in the past and personally I don’t think they help him much.  He told me about a new treatment they have been using that seems to work better.  It’s a series of two OSPHOS shots a few weeks apart and should take about a month or two to work if they’re going to help him.  It's a treatment based on those given to humans to treat osteoporosis, and I think the idea is that it will slow degeneration of the arthritic areas and maybe even help remodel some of the damaged bone surfaces that are causing him discomfort. It's supposed to be the new wonder drug for a lot of arthritic conditions, so we thought it was worth a try for Blue. Anyway, it’s been almost a month and I’m hoping to maybe take him for a walk this weekend and see how he’s feeling.

Sami had a very mild flare up of laminitis and is wearing his grazing muzzle and Dusty’s SoftRide boots. He seems to be doing much better.  Except for the night he came in without his muzzle.  One of his friends (this means you Grady) must have helped him take it off.  The next day he was a little sore again, but he’s doing better now.

Everybody else is doing fine and had a five pound bag of carrots between them yesterday.  My grandchildren were visiting and the horses love to see them coming because they know there are lots of treats involved!

Until next time

Quote for Today

He knows when you're happy
He knows when you're comfortable
He knows when you're confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Great Story

Robert Borba jumped on his horse, Long John, and roped the fleeing man until cops could arrive and arrest him.

( Saw this in the Sunday papers today. I thought it was a great story and thought I'd share it with you. Hope you enjoy it!)

An Oregon cowboy came to the rescue of a damsel in distress — lassoing an alleged bike rustler in a Walmart parking lot.

Rancher Robert Borba was at the Eagle Point store loading dog food and a tent onto his truck Friday when he heard a woman yelling that someone was stealing her bike, the Medford Mail Tribune reported.

In the spur of the moment, he grabbed his horse, Long John, from his trailer and galloped after the bike thief.

“I seen this fella trying to get up to speed on a bicycle,” said Borba, 28. “I wasn’t going to catch him on foot. I just don’t run very fast.”

When the suspect ran off after struggling with the bike’s gears, Borba lassoed the man around his legs.

The varmint tumbled to the ground and was dragged to the end of the parking lot, where he grabbed a tree and tried to break free.

Undaunted, Borba and his bronco held on tight — leaving the suspect stunned by the Wild West corral.

“Do you have a badge to do this?” the man asked.

The cowpoke then called 911 and sat with the man for about 15 minutes until cops arrived.

Eagle Point Sgt. Darin May identified the alleged outlaw as Victorino Arellano-Sanchez, 22, from the Seattle area.

“We’ve never had anyone lassoed and held until we got there,” May told the paper.

Arellano-Sanchez was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge and thrown in the pokey on $3,000 bail.

Borba said he competed in rodeos while growing up, but left the circuit because his “heart wasn’t in it.”

“I use a rope every day, that’s how I make my living,” he said. “If it catches cattle pretty good, it catches a bandit pretty good.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bath Time

Over the weekend we took advantage of the 90+ degree temps to give everyone a bath and much needed sheath cleanings. Here are some pictures of the herd looking shiny and brand new but I'm sure it won't last long! There were no shenanigans in the wash stall so all were rewarded with Stud Muffins and carrots.

"Donnie" "Umm, I don't know what she was doing back there but it felt a little weird"

"Mellon" looking good for a guy who's almost 30 yrs. old

"Nate" patiently waiting for his friends to come out and play

"Sami" enjoying a few moments without his grazing muzzle, he's a little pudgy yet
"Mr. Blue" Very clean and shiny...for a few minutes anyway, we both know this won't last!

"O'Grady" Such a sweeheart
Quote for Today 
Life is good; a horse makes it better!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

 "Look back at our struggle for freedom Trace our present day's strength to it's source
 And you'll find that man's pathway to glory
 Is strewn with the bones of the horse.”

Monday, May 23, 2016

Something Different

The Cow Herd At Dusk

Over the weekend there was a little excitement.   After dinner, a knock came at my daughter's door and a passerby told her that "her" cows had gotten loose.  Well, she doesn't have any cows, so the news was a bit of a shock. But she thanked him all the same for letting her know and then she and her boyfriend ran outside to see what was up. The next-door neighbors breed cattle, and there was a good chance they had escaped from there. The back patio, which overlooks the neighbor’s hay field, gave the best vantage point. Lo and behold, there were a small herd of the neighbor’s cows rummaging around in the field, heading up toward the backyard. 

Now, there are no fences around the hay field and it's bordered by the road, so immediate action was called for.

They drove to the neighbor’s house and knocked on the door, but no one was home.  Then they went to the caretaker’s/manager’ house. And the barns.  No luck there either. Now it was up to them to figure out how to get the cows to safety. She hiked out into the hayfield where there were about 40-50 cows, calves, and steers.  Her boyfriend located the key to the padlock on our now-locked gate that borders the field.  She thought if she could somehow herd them into the lower pasture and contain them in until the owners could be located that might keep them out of trouble for the time being. 

First, though, she would have to move our herd out of that field and lock them in an adjoining pasture.  The horses were slightly excited with their proximity to the cows. They don't get a lot of four-legged visitors around the farm, and they were in a panic. She was able to lead Donnie to the gate, as he seemed the least upset by activities next door, but nobody would follow.  They decided synchronized prancing and snorting were a more appropriate response to their bovine visitors. Ultimately, she had to let Donnie rejoin his friends.  Back to the drawing board…

While over knocking on doors, she had noticed a gate was open to one of the fields. Maybe if she could just herd them towards it maybe that would work?  Easier said than done since she’d never worked with cows. But as luck would have it, with the horses snorting and flailing all over the field, and a strange person coming through the hay field behind them, they seem to have decided to head back toward home anyway. Luckily, just then the caretaker showed up in his pickup truck.  Thinking fast, he drove into the field and hit the sides of the truck with his hands--their version of ringing a dinner bell. That did the trick and the herd followed the truck through the gate where they could be locked safely away.  In the meantime the owners came home, too, and everything turned out all right.

I missed all the excitement. Having no experience with cows I’m actually glad I did.  My daughter lives in the house on the farm that borders the hay field.  I have a house on the corner adjoining the farm.  My view overlooks the pond, the indoor, garage, one paddock, the top-riding arena by the road, and the barn.  So I wouldn't have seen the hayfield or cows from my house.  In this case I’m glad I got the story second hand instead of first hand for once!

Until next time
Quote for Today
Cows are gentle, interesting animals.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A New Addition

Happy Mother's Day!

Meet “Ginger” the new addition to our family.  She’s a red tri - color Australian Shepherd and is 12 weeks old.  I got her last week and it has been very hectic dealing with puppy-hood again. Luckily, she’s (mostly) trained and is starting to get the idea that going outside to go potty is the right thing to do.  Unfortunately, morning potty time is around 5:30 and I’m not a 5:30 sort of person. But I’ll deal with it until she can hold it longer.  In the meantime she’s a lot of fun with lots of energy.  Right now she’s barking at the dog in the glass fireplace doors.
Here are a few pictures:
At the vets

At the office

"What? No good"

" Um, it wasn't me...really" 

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Challenge Continues

" Mr. Blue"

I’m way behind on my 100-day challenge but I hope to be able to catch up soon.  This past weekend was the first chance I was actually able to work with the horses. After their little adventure down the road I needed to wait for the farrier to come and replace Blue’s lost shoe and make sure his pastern was feeling better. 

Donnie and I worked on some clicker training and he did really well.  He’s a very smart horse and loves to interact with people.  The reward treats didn’t hurt his enthusiasm either.  We also started some basic longeing.  Nothing more than an easy walk, trot, and whoa on a big circle.  He hasn’t forgotten anything he’s learned over the years.  He’s got beautiful balanced movement and is impressive to watch.

I decided to ride Blue in the indoor because it was cold and windy and threatening rain.  When I positioned him at the mounting block and climbed the step ready to get on I had a sort of  “I can’t do this attack.”  I don’t know what it was – PTSD syndrome from all my trouble with Dusty at the mounting block, or flashbacks to the anxiety she caused with her mounting antics. Whatever it was, I couldn’t get more than my foot in the stirrup.  I finally gave up and hand walked Blue around the arena a few times giving myself a good talking to until I was ready to try again.

When I was in the saddle the plan was to have an easy day for both of us working at the walk to revisit basic rein aids, which are Blue’s biggest issue to be addressed before advancing to other gaits.  True to form, whenever I asked him to yield to the rein in one direction he would resist and counter bend in the other.  After years of riding many different horses, I know my aids can’t only be misleading him.  No, he's discovered an evasion which requires the least work while getting him out of the most work... At least in the short term. "Oh, you were going to ask me to canter around this arena for a while? Um, that sounds hard. Hang on, let me just pop my shoulder in here and walk very slowly kinda sideways so you can deal with this for the next five minutes instead. How would that be?" Frustrating, Blue, very frustrating... 

He has a tendency to be lazy--always has been, and I expect he always will be.  He's also very clever. Together they make working with Blue a challenge. Over the years I’ve tried to develop what I call “thinking in the saddle,” meaning that when something isn’t working I need to come up with an alternative plan. When Blue would counter bend, instead of fighting with him (which is never productive) I would simply ride him into the new bend and we continued working in that direction for a while.  This went on and on until Mr. Contrary finally gave up.  After some very nice circles and figure eights in both directions we called it a day and ended on a good note.

It’s hard to work with a lazy/stubborn horse and not get frustrated. Having lots of patience with a healthy sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. 

Quote for Today
No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.  ~Winston Churchill