Monday, November 17, 2008

updates on the hill

Monday morning dawned COLD here, and it looks like we have at least four more nights of below freezing temps to look forward to. I spent some time this a.m. doing a chore that almost inevitably means "cold weather." Taking the butt straps off horse blankets and rinsing them off so they can dry before blankets go back on tonight! Fun, fun. Oddly enough, the pony's butt strap always stays clean. It's the entire rest of his blanket that gets muddy!

The sudden shift from warmer temps to much colder ones left Salina with a slightly swollen left knee yesterday. I had put some of her "Buff B" powder in with breakfast, because these sudden changes to cold often mess with arthritic joints. The Buff B mix is a wonderful, buffered, apple-flavored powder our vet offers for horses who might need more than just the occasional dose of Bute. I don't use it daily by any means, but for Salina, I use it the night before and the morning of her hoof trims, and also when we have these crazy weather changes.

After I'd given the Bute, I realized her knee was a bit swollen and I wished I'd given Banamine instead. This morning I let her eat breakfast and then some more hay, water, etc., and then I gave her the dose of Banamine. She followed me into the stall after taking the Banamine, and I came inside worrying a bit about her. We barely made it in the house before my daughter told me to go look at Salina, who had walked back out to the paddock, taken a nice roll, and jumped up into a beautiful trot. As if to say - no need to fret. I'm fine.

I have her homeopathic remedy mixed up and will give that this afternoon and at bedtime.

The donkeys are fine. The only issue with the donkeys is that they are so cute it is almost too much to bear! Rafer is moving well, continuing to use his leg and rest it as needed. We have begun to re-introduce the concept of "halter does not mean vet" and "touching your leg only means hoof picking." He is a bit tentative about the opposite hind being held up for picking, which is understandable. Redford continues to be in the pocket of all of us. He trots around like a little dressage star. I don't know how in the world we got so lucky to find two lovable, handsome, sweetheart donkeys, but we did. This is what they're up to, right this moment:

The pony is currently in the paddock because he is insufferable with his grazing muzzle on. He goes after Keil Bay and will NOT let up. A certain amount of this roughhousing is fine, but at some point the Big Bay deserves to graze without the rubber muzzle of a pony being thrust into his face. So the Little Man was led into the dirt paddock and there he will stay until lunchtime.

Keil Bay and Cody are both doing well. It's Adequan injection day for the Big Bay, and Cody is having his supplements AM and PM. If my daughter and I can brave the chill outside, we'll be riding the two boys in a bit, practicing the Training 1 dressage test. I have got to find some riding gloves! I know there are a pair around here somewhere.

Meanwhile, I'm keeping the woodstove going and thinking already how warm today will seem once we get to tomorrow, when the high doesn't make it out of the 40s.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Those donkeys are the cutest things ever. Everyone else seems to be handling the change in weather just fine. Glad Salina is feeling good, I know personally how arthritis and cold weather affect joints. We've got a few days of the cold here too. Hope you find your gloves, I'm about to look for my regular gloves as I won't be riding anytime soon. Stay warm!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

It's so wonderful to read about the goings-on around November Hill. Sounds like everyone is transitioning well into the late stages of Fall and preparing for winter.
We've been having a wonderful warm spell here with temps close to 70. Sunny and warm. So lovely!

Rafer and Redford are just the cutest little donkeys. I bet you can never get enough of being around them and watching their adorable antics.

I'm not too familiar with dressage, except the basics, so I looked up the dressage test and am now curious. Do you have aspirations in competition and goals for reaching Fourth Level?

How exciting! I hope you'll post more about it. I'm looking forward to reading more about this one day. :)

New Mexico

billie said...

Arlene, I never did find the gloves, but rode anyway. It wasn't that chilly today with the sun and no wind, as it turned out. Tomorrow is a different story - looks like the high will be 40 and winds up to 30 mph! If that is truly what comes tomorrow, I'm leaving the blankets on!

I'm not quite ready for this kind of weather!

billie said...

Lisa, I would love to make it to 4th level. I am not sure if I will! Keil Bay is a solid second level horse, who has some skills from 3rd level (flying changes) and I've seen him on more than one occasion free lunge down center line doing one tempi changes, so I feel like someone sometime must have taught him that.

My personal goal with Keil Bay is to learn as much as he knows while he can still do it comfortably. I will never inject his joints to keep him in work, though.

Salina is a third level horse, and I have ridden a few flying changes on her. She is incredibly sensitive to the aids and always moves "correctly" when under saddle. However, she is retired now. I wish I could have ridden her when she was younger and didn't have the arthritic knees. I'm sure she was amazing.

My hope is that if/when I get through second level and maybe higher with Keil Bay, I can get a dressage-trained horse who is younger to go up the levels with. I have no aspirations to show or compete, but it would be wonderful to keep learning and growing w/in the discipline.

I have some issues with the dressage showing rules - I have no desire to wear spurs, for example, or use a double bridle. As it is, I barely want to use the double-jointed snaffle bit! But I love the partnership, harmony, and athleticism that (in my opinion) should be hand-in-hand with the higher level movements.

The women locally who I have worked with believe that it takes years to train a horse to the upper levels, and even longer for a rider. So I figure I have something to work on for the rest of my life. :)