Saturday, November 21, 2020

O'Grady

 

O' Grady


This past Sunday we lost our beloved horse O'Grady.  He was my daughter’s horse and she rescued him from a previous owner about twelve years ago.  Grady had some medical problems when he came to her, mainly shivers.  But he was a trooper and never complained, even when he had a cancerous third eyelid removed, a bout of pasture stringhalt, or his bladder flushed out with a huge catheter. They were a good team and enjoyed some very nice rides over the years.

Recently Grady was having problems emptying his bladder normally and had constant leakage. Each night my daughter had to wash his legs and other areas.  She didn’t mind and I’m sure he was appreciative of her special care. He was also mysteriously losing weight and, a few weeks ago was diagnosed with lymphoma. The vets had given him a few months to a year with medical treatment. She was waiting to start his chemotherapy which she had to hold off on because Grady developed a fever last week and the vet had her giving him antibiotic injections for a possible bladder infection.  He went off his feed.  There were also multiple ultrasounds, blood tests, and examinations. His fever was gone by Saturday and he started eating again, so we thought he was feeling much better. 

Sunday morning, he ate some feed, snacked on apple pieces and a carrot, and was eating his hay and drinking.  He got his antibiotic injection, and we went in to have breakfast.  When we came out, his condition had suddenly worsened. We could tell he was in terrible pain, looking at his sides like colic, and he went down.  We called the vet and did all we could to ease his pain, but it all happened so fast the vet never had time to come. He had what looked like a seizure, and then he was gone. 

We knew this day was coming when Grady was diagnosed, but we never expected it to be so soon, or so sudden. It has been a shock. The vets have offered some theories about what might have been the cause, and all of them sound reasonable, but no one can really say for sure. So, it is sort of a mystery why he declined so fast. We hoped he would have more time. But most of all, we hope that he had a good life, and that he enjoyed his years with us. We certainly enjoyed our time with Grady and are grateful that he came to us. 

Grady was the sweetest, kindest horse in the barn. We called him our Gentle Giant. Because he was always a perfect gentleman, Grady was the only horse on the farm who was allowed to wander loose around the barn, and to let himself in and out of his stall (with detours past the feed shed for a snack while feeds were made up.) He was known to stop in at the tack room door to ask for a treat, or to raid the apple bucket when no one was looking, but it was impossible to spoil Grady because he was always so good. He was also a horse who cared about all his herd-mates. He would never leave anyone behind. If I was riding Rosie in the indoor, he’d climb the hill beside it and look in the window to see where she was.  If I rode her outside, he stayed by the arena until she was done.  Then he’d follow us in for an after-lesson snack. When my daughter would hike out to the back field at night to bring them in, all the others would run ahead home, but Grady would stay and walk home with her. Being a big guy, at over 18hh, he would outpace her for a few strides and then stop, turn his head, and wait for her until she caught up before he would continue on home. As I said, he left no one behind. 

The farm won't be the same without Grady. We are heartbroken and will miss his kindness, gentleness, and friendliness around the barn. 
 



















Goodbye Grady—you were the best.
 
Quote for Today
 

Nothing is more sacred as the bond between a horse and a rider.   No other creature can ever become so emotionally close to a human as a horse. When a horse dies, the memory lives on, because an enormous part of his owner's heart, soul, and the very existence dies also.
 
- Stephanie M Thorn

Thursday, November 5, 2020

We've Been Busy

So we've been busy getting ready for winter as I'm sure all of you have.  Below are just a few of the projects we've been working on and have finished.  There are still plenty of jobs waiting in the wings but for now I'm just happy these are done.

 

We dug out an area to put the dumpster in and lined it with giant blocks and gravel underneath. So instead of having a very large dumpster with ramps that were hard to navigate with the wheelbarrow and having to toss the manure up with a pitchfork to the rear, this is better.  Once the side is filled in (where the planters are) there will be a ramp to walk up and just dump the manure in over the top. Eventually, it will be planted with bushes.


Next we put down the flakes in the indoor to treat the footing.  It keeps the dust down and gives it a good consistency. Almost like beach sand.


Love this mounting block, its worked out really well

 
My daughter bought these wood plaques and attached wood letters and painted and stained them all so we have a set of dressage letters now affixed to the proper spots on the walls.
Then we painted the jumps that needed painting and set up the indoor with an easy course.  So far Rosie and I have just walked over the smaller ones.  It keeps the boredom at bay and gives her something to think about and keep her interested in working. She's fine with everything nothing seems to bother her. Which is a good thing.

                               We're not going over this stone wall anytime soon though

               Or this gate either, that's for Hanz and my daughter, Rosie just isn't ready yet

 
 We had a freak snowstorm last week so that was fun.  Today it's 62 degrees. Crazy weather.


We took down one stall wall so Grady could have a double stall. He wasn't lying down at night and since he's getting older and he's so huge, we thought this would help him with his arthritis and other ailments. So now he's got the Presidential Suite in the barn.

" Gracie" was exhausted and needed to take a nap in the sun after watching all this activity going on for days. She was giving me the 'stink eye' so I didn't disturb her and decided to unload the hay after lunch!

 

Quote for Today 

 I live in a house,  but my home is in the stable. 







Wednesday, September 30, 2020

It’s All Good

 



The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and Autumn seems to be tiptoeing in gradually up here in the northeast.  We’ve had some very cool nights and mornings with frost and then we had temps in the 80’s.  The bugs are not as bad as this past summer, although fly masks and grazing muzzles are still required for now.

 

Rosie and I have been working together fairly consistently.  This past weekend we saddled up and headed to the outside arena by the barn.  We’ve set up four cavelletti’s for her to walk over in a circuit that makes a circle.  She seems a little stiff in her hind end and neck so the cavelletti work should help her with that.  We also work on her bending on both sides.  The goal is to make her more flexible.  We’re getting there but everything takes time.  Carrot stretches are also on the agenda.

 

Rosie has always been fine longeing over cavelletti, but it must have been a different mindset for her when I was in the saddle.  Her first instinct is to just say no and stop and assess the situation. A little squeeze and off she goes over them.  She never puts up a fuss if you just ask her nicely to do what you want her to.  My daughter brought Hanz in to join us this day and she was very distracted by that.

 

Rosie “What’s HE doing in here, I thought I booked the arena for a private this morning!” 

Me “It’s okay Rosie he’s just here to keep you company.”

 Rosie “Humph, if I needed or wanted company, I’d ask for it” with a big tail swish.

She proceeded working but was very unfocused by what Hanz was doing and where he was.  So, after a while we ended on a good note and retired to the barn for after work treats.  That seemed to pacify her.

 

The next day we saddled up again and to say she was really not in the mood would be an understatement.  After mounting we walked up the long side and turned the corner, that was when she spooked at something in the woods. Now Rosie’s spook is one I’ll take any day after all the dangerously spooky horses I’ve ridden over the years.  She just stops in her tracks and looks at what’s scaring her.  If I don’t react, she doesn’t either.  I just tell her what a silly mare she’s being and there’s nothing to worry about. Then a little squeeze and she’s willing to go on.

 

We proceeded at the walk for a few times around the arena and I thought a nice little trot would be in order.  Well Rosie disagreed.  She eventually picked up a trot but had her ears pinned back.  This was new and something I’d never seen her do before.  Okay, let’s try the other direction.  Hmm, same ear pinning. There is nothing physically wrong with her and the saddle fit is fine. I think the problem was simply that she doesn’t like any contact with the bit. When you loop the reins like a wet noodle, she seems fine.  I’m guessing it’s a holdover from her western training, but I have no idea.  I do know that she is going to have to learn to accept some following contact with the bit eventually. We’ll work on this a little piece at a time and I’m sure she’ll be fine with it.  All horses are different, and it just takes patience and creativity to figure out what works with each horse’s personality and preferences.

 

That’s it for now. Stay well.

 

Quote for Today

When riding my horse, I no longer have my heart in my chest, but between my knees. 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Rosie & Grady

 
Over the weekend I began to work with Rosie again.  Basically, she’s been having the summer off because of our extremely hot and humid weather.  I’ve started by simple longeing in both directions to get her head back in the game so to speak. She looks really good and it seems her work ethic is still intact.  She’s such a good girl.


While I was longeing her all the other horses were turned out and beat feet to the back pasture.  Well, all except for Grady, who grazed outside the arena and waited for Rosie to be done. Grady's the guy who cares about the other horses in the herd and he didn’t want to leave her behind.  Which I was grateful for because it let Rosie focus on her work and not on everyone being out of sight. He’s probably the sweetest horse in the barn.

Here are a few pictures of the two of them together after her lesson:
Waiting for the "Treat Store" to open


" Please hurry, I worked hard for this treat and don't forget my buddy Grady, I'm buying this round"


Quote for Today
 He knows when you are happy.  He knows when you are proud. He also knows when you have a carrot.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

It Is What It Is



So, it’s almost the end of August and autumn can’t get here soon enough with cooler weather.  Our temps were basically in the 90’s with high humidity for the entire summer. There was almost no riding or schooling the horses; they were as miserable as we were. The good news is that it is starting to cool off now and we can start working with our horses again.

That said we’ve been busy caring for Sami and Blue’s medical issues.  Sami was diagnosed with a mild case of laminitis in July.  He had to spend a few weeks in his stall which was no picnic for him or us.  Every time the herd left his sight to graze in further pastures, he’d go a little crazy.  Luckily, my daughter was able to give him a little bit of Ace to calm him down.  After a few weeks he was allowed out into a pen we made for him in the “horse port” attached to the shed.  This worked out much better.  The change of scenery helped a lot.   The plus side to this was his best friend Hanz could come and keep him company.  When he wasn’t around Sami would call for him and he’d come trotting up to spend some time.  Hay nets were put on the outside of the pen for any friends who dropped by for a visit.  Grady and Rosie did say hello once in a while and were happy to share his complimentary hay.  In the past week he’s been allowed out with the herd wearing his new grazing muzzle, he’s much happier now and seems better.
Sami in the "horse-port"
  He even has a ceiling fan!
Blue on the other hand is still suffering with his abscessed hoof. It has been two weeks since he’s been a three-legged horse walking on the toe on his left hind.  He seemed to be in so much pain he could barely hop around in the beginning.  The vet took x-rays etc. The best we can do for him is soak it and then put Animalintex on it and wrap it for the day.  He seems to be getting around a little better in the past few days and we’re hopeful it will blow out soon.  Looks like there’s one on his heel and possibly another exit in front by the coronary band.  Fingers crossed it will let loose soon and he will feel better.  He doesn’t go out with the herd, but he’s got the option of staying in his stall or roaming around the fenced lawn area around the barn.  He doesn’t venture out much but when he does, he grazes for a while, lifting his leg every few minutes to take the painful pressure off. He gets a little Bute when he looks very sad.  In true Blue dramatic fashion he’s been known to lay in his stall moaning and sighing and made my daughter hold the bucket of feed for him for his breakfast. He’s a real drama queen and he is still my favorite character in the barn.
"Where have all my friends gone"
A little grazing time
Trying it without the bandaged hoof for a bit
We also had no working automatic waterers on the farm for a few weeks.  Called the plumber who diagnosed it as an underground leak somewhere.  Then he had to find it by digging up most of the yard around the barn to find it.  He did and repaired it.  The waterers work again, and we’ve filled in all the trenches and planted grass seed.  Filling buckets everyday was just one more brick on the load to deal with but we managed.

To add to all this nonsense my shoulder had been painful for months.  I finally got an appointment with an orthopedic shoulder doctor and had an MRI last week. He diagnosed a rotator cuff injury and I will most likely go to physical therapy. He doesn’t think surgery is indicated.  

Hopefully, all the drama will be over soon, and we can get back to a normal routine around the barn sooner than later.

Quote for Today
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Sad Goodbye

" Ginger"

We recently had to say goodbye to our girl Ginger.  She was only four years old but the last year and a half was very hard on her health.   At three years she started having seizures and was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy.  Over time as her seizures got worse and more frequent, the vets just kept prescribing more medication for her.  We tried everything in the hope it would help, even CBD oil, but nothing seemed to work for her in controlling her seizures.   Ginger was a fun-loving frisky girl before her illness started but as her seizures became more frequent her zest for living seemed to wane.  It didn't seem her quality of life was the way it should be for her.  So, with her last round of multiple violent seizures which were coming one right after the other, I made the decision to let her go and end her suffering.  

Ginger was a happy girl who loved her family and such a little sweetheart. Of course, we all miss her terribly.  She will never be forgotten for her antics and personality.

Here’s a short slideshow of her life:




         I know that you must miss me,
By the tears rolling down your face.
But believe me when I tell you that,
I'm in a very good place.
There are meadows here to run in,
And plenty of rabbits to chase.
There are other dogs to play with,
To frolic with and race.
So please don't worry about me,
My spirit feels light as can be.
There's no more pain to plague me,
I'm young again and free.
And I'll be watching over you still,
of that you can be sure.
I'm your canine guardian angel,
And my love for you remains pure.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

It’s Been A While



We have been busy around the farm getting ready for the warmer weather and hopefully more riding. There have been a lot of projects to keep us busy. We had a line of new fencing installed down one side of the farm. This particular side of the farm is on a well-traveled road and we just feel better that the horses are safer with an extra fence to shield them from the traffic.  In the past we have had people stop and feed them, which I don’t mind really, except I don’t want to have anyone get hurt. Having the extra fence also helps keep the garbage in one area. The slobs around here throw all kinds of cans and paper bags out their windows when they drive past the farm, which inevitably winds up in the pastures. Nice. Then we have to go out and pick it all up; it’s like being on a prison chain gang cleaning up the highways.

The double-fence also provides a wide alleyway that will let us ride without being harassed by the herd.  It has happened in the past and it’s not a lot of fun.  The alleyway now leads to a gate into the trails in the woods and another gate leads into the grass dressage arena under the trees on the hill.  By the time we walk up to the arena it’s has the added benefit of being a good warm up for us.  I like riding up there in the summer, as it’s a lot cooler.   We haven’t had a chance to ride there yet. As soon as the fence was up, we had a lot of rain and some hurricane force winds that knocked trees down which blocked the alleyway and took out two sections of the new fence…of course it did! Now we’re waiting for someone to actually show up and fix the fence and cut the trees off of it.

New fencing and ,yes, I have to power wash the old fence! That's on the list...

We replaced the split rail in this arena, seems there are a lot of resident beavers who like to snack on wood sometimes! They absolutely wrecked it.
They've got a tough life

As for the herd, during the month of May we started the horses back to work with a gradual training program.  They had not worked basically for the entire winter, so we felt it wasn’t fair to them to drag them out and just hop on and expect them to be fit and ready to go.  They’ve sort of been couch potatoes stuffing their faces with hay most of the winter. So, the plan was for all of them to have as many short longeing sessions as they needed before they were fit enough to ride.  Then we planned to saddle up and see what they’re ready for. 

" Blue"

Blue celebrated his 23rd birthday March 26th with carrots and Stud Muffins. He’s now officially the oldest guy in the barn.  Blue is still in very good condition and can benefit from some light work.  Saturday, I longed him at the walk in one direction and then we reversed directions. He went around twice then took himself into a trot then down to the walk, stopped and came in to tell me, “that’s a wrap for today, lady.”  You gotta love him. He probably thought I forgot to longe the trot in the first direction, so he’d have to do it for me. I think he figures I could use some advanced schooling and he’s just the guy to show me how!

I did take him for a walk around the arena and although he’s always good…well mostly good…he just didn’t seem to be into being ridden.  He’s got a bit of a stubborn streak and he put it to full use in counter bending and no steering.  I didn’t push it and we had a short ride.  I think he doesn’t mind longeing for a few minutes and he likes being groomed but he seems to want to punch his retirement card in my opinion.  We’ll have another discussion about it soon.
Blue & Rosie are inseparable, she's kind of a stalker, she won't leave his side

'Rosie"
Rosie has been doing very well with her get in shape program.  She’s been walking and trotting with energy and seems eager to get back to work.  She even took herself into a short canter on the longe. So I decided to ride her at the walk  a few times around the arena and she’s been a super star.  I’m also trying to get myself back in riding shape so I’ve been positioning myself in a half-seat at the walk before we even think about trotting again.  Rosie’s not the only one who could use a little conditioning after this winter!

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and we can all get back to not living in a bad “B” movie sooner than later. 

Quote For Today
Life is short.  Hug your horse.