Saturday, January 24, 2009

end of the week shenanigans

Yesterday as the snow melted away, the day got started early when Redford decided to announce near and far that they did not have enough hay. My husband had given them their morning hay earlier than usual, and they'd finished it up before the normal breakfast tub time. He brayed until I came to the door, and when I realized why, I went out and set them all up again. It was still too early for breakfast tubs, and I like them to have a good amount of hay before I feed concentrates.

I decided to let Salina and the donkeys have the heart of the round bale, in the big barnyard, since that side was thawed out and not as mushy as the other areas. They were excited to get back over there - it's a favorite morning thing for them, but I don't allow it all the time, as it can get messy around the bales.

When I went out again to feed breakfast, the 65-or-so lb. heart of the round bale had been moved about 25 feet. It was still intact, but they had strewn hay in a semi-circle in the process of moving the core. I have no idea who did it, or how, but they were having a fine time, so much so that they didn't even care about breakfast tubs!

The geldings were supremely jealous, and came in to gaze over the fence at the big mess of hay lying hither and yonder.

After breakfast, I told Keil Bay to come back up to the barn in a while, as I was planning to ride. When I came back out dressed in breeches and boots, he marched up from the back field. He was ready for a nice long grooming and a quick hoof trim. He and I are both getting better at that. I feel more confident, and he understands that these are very little "mini-trims" that keep his hooves in shape, so he stands perfectly still and helps me out.

I saddled him up with a new "wither relief" saddle pad I bought just to try. It definitely keeps the pad off the withers. I want to ride in it a few more times before I decide for sure how much I like it. We also used H's loaned bitless bridle. The Big Bay was loose and supple, but there was something going on with his neck, which he wanted to stretch down. We did a lot of walking and some stretches, and a bit of trotting, and we tested out the bitless bridle. He was responsive, but I think did need some adjustment to the way it works. We'll try it again a few more times and see how it goes. Yesterday, everything was complicated by the fact that we have had a week or so off, he had a new pad, a new bridle, AND as it turned out when I dismounted, a sizeable lump on his neck. I had noticed some hair missing there when I groomed him, but didn't feel the lump with the brush - it was when I ran my hands over him after the ride that I felt it.

My daughter thinks he might have been bitten - one of those teeth-scraper bites they do sometimes in play. Whatever the cause, there is hair missing, and the lump. Interestingly, this is the same area he always seems to "do something to" - he has had two twigs embedded there the past two springs. After getting him untacked, I let him have the barnyard for awhile by himself while I put things away. He got three doses of Arnica and I'll see how the lump looks today. It didn't seem to be tender, but Keil Bay is stoic, so sometimes it's hard to tell. I have a good remedy for deep bruising that I can use next if needed.

While cleaning up the barn aisle, I found some animal poop that resembles deer droppings, rabbit droppings, and, as I discovered while researching animal scat last night, red-tail hawk droppings. It seems unbelievable to me that a deer was in the barn aisle, during the day, but I can imagine a bunny coming up to the edge of the manger to nibble some hay from underneath. It wouldn't surprise me if a hawk came in there either - it was right at the barn door, and a site that mice have used in the past to access the mangers.

This morning I was awakened by our new resident rooster, who happens to be a miniature donkey named Redford. He has taken on the task of alerting us to morning, the time for fresh hay and turn-out to the field. An important job for the youngest herd member to take on. He does it very well.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a very productive morning, it's a good thing Redford is taking his new job seriously and getting everyone up extra early! Hope the big bay's neck is nothing to worry about and the lump goes as quickly as it came. Have a great weekend.

billie said...

Thanks, Arlene. Today the lump is about half the size it was yesterday, although it seems a bit tender, which may be because we rode yesterday and it got sore.

I did a little bit of groundwork with him and then did a good grooming, ending with a dose of the remedy that should help with a deeper bruise.

Rising Rainbow said...

A donk playing fun1 I was wondering who the new kid was in the above post, I didn't remember a Redford. Now I know!! How does Rafer like his new buddy?

billie said...

MiKael, Redford had been due to come the weekend after Labor Day - and the Sunday BEFORE that was when Rafer Johnson broke his leg.

We postponed Redford's arrival on the vet's advice, since we wanted to keep him quiet and give him time to heal well.

Near the end of Rafer's convalescence, Salina went into heat, out of the blue, and Rafer was devastated when she went out to the field to be with Cody instead of staying up at the barn with him. So we called our wonderful donkey breeders and they brought Redford the very next morning. He and Rafer Johnson met over a lowered stall wall and basically they have been best buddies ever since. The two are very attached to Salina, and stay with her more than anyone else, but as you saw in the photo with Cody herding, they interact with all the equines, tolerate separation from Salina, and I have nothing but good things to say about these little donkeys.

Nachodonkey said...

I have been reading your blog for several months and very much enjoy your donkey and horse events as well as the fabulous pictures. We live in Ontario with the penguins and icebergs so am green with envy seeing the donkey herding with not an ice cube in sight.

There are three horses and one donkey at our place. Nacho was rescued with his mom a year ago. Our farrier kept his mom and Nacho has made his home with us. It took about six months to gain his confidence and even though he is still a little skeptical, he looks forward to treats and hugs.

One of the horses had "navicular" when he came to live with me last year. Our farrier (Nacho's rescuer)is a barefoot trim specialist and after eight months of her TLC he is sound. However, he does still have a problem with bruising and I have heard Arnica is a good rememdy. Is there any information you could share?

billie said...

Welcome, Nacho!

Now I would truly love to see the Big Bay's face if he came face to face with a penguin! :)

I'm happy to hear Nacho is settling into his new home and becoming braver and trusting with people.

And also glad that your navicular horse has done so well with the natural trim. I am a total convert to that approach and have experienced immediate results with two horses and more gradual results with the Big Bay's hooves over the past year of natural trimming.

One thing I'm learning is that diet, and specifically the balance of minerals such as copper and zinc, can have huge effects on hoof health. I highly recommend Eleanor Kellon's online classes if you're interested in getting very detailed in that way.

Homeopathically, I think arnica is a pretty solid remedy for bruising and injuries. My homeopath gave me another remedy for deeper bruising, but that one was specific to me and to the Big Bay, so I hesitate to recommend it for your horse.

I would try arnica first, and see if you see improvement. I tend to follow the classical approach - with the horses, I use either a tincture or the pellets - but generally with the pellets I put 2-3 in a small glass and add a tablespoon or so of distilled water. I let the pellets dissolve and then use a small syringe (sans needle, of course) to squirt it in the mouth. You're trying to spray the roof of the mouth, or the area around the gum line - it absorbs that way - not so much through the digestive tract.

Some practitioners recommend one dose only. My homeopathic vet usually has me do one dose and then follow up with a second if there is no change.

My personal homeopath has me do 3 doses - AM, PM, AM - or whatever sequence based on when you start.

I like the 3 dose approach with acute things, and the 1 dose approach with more chronic issues, but that's just me, based on my experience.

A next step is to get a consult with a homeopathic vet if you can - they can do an entire work-up for your horse and likely offer a remedy that will work well and much more precisely if arnica doesn't.

Joyce Harman in Virginia does consults via email and phone, and our local homeopathic vet has referred me to her at times for resources for the equines. If you google her, you'll find her website - which is a wealth of information on its own, even without a consult!

I so appreciate your kind words about the blog. I love writing about what goes on here each day or so, and we've made a lot of good friends in the process! I hope you'll visit often and comment lots. :)

Nachodonkey said...

Many thanks! I will certainly try Joyce Harman's website and also see if I can find a homeopathic vet in our area.

I will keep you posted on how the feet are progressing.

I look forward to reading about your critters' next adventures.

billie said...

Please do keep me posted on the feet. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the arnica helps.