Friday, March 06, 2009

catching up

With all the rain last weekend, and then the snow, a lot of things got pushed aside to deal with the extra work of having horses and donkeys in the barn, so yesterday and today we're catching up.

I spent a lot of time with the horses and donkeys. After breakfast, I worked for half an hour getting all the tarps off the shavings pile and laying them out in the sun so they could dry. We've got a big load of shavings coming too so I wanted the remains of the pile to dry and be clear for the big truck.

It was much warmer yesterday, even in the morning, when I didn't need gloves or even a jacket. There was a little breeze, and as I began to lay the tarps out they ballooned up like parachutes. I got caught up in this and played a little, letting the tarps float up, listening to the billowing sounds.

The horses and donkeys were all in the back field, but within about a minute, Keil Bay, Salina, Rafer Johnson, and Redford all trekked back up to the paddock and lined up at the fence to watch. There's a big deal made about de-spooking horses to tarps, but what I have found is that they do it themselves if the tarps are used for practical purposes around the barn, which ours are, and the horses are allowed to graze/relax in the same space as the tarps.

All of our equines will walk on tarps, stick their heads under them, and otherwise mostly ignore them, but yesterday the Hanoverians and the donkeys seemed ready to play.

I briefly thought about letting the four interested equines into the barnyard with me, to explore the tarps laid out everywhere, but the possibility that the shavings truck might come made me think twice. So they watched over the fence while I flapped.

Around mid-day I gathered up all my de-wormer boxes (I do double-dose Ivermectin in February, but it got pushed back due to the cold weather) and my daughter grabbed a lead rope in case we needed it.

The herd had come up to the paddock again to see what was going on, so I opened two tubes and climbed through the fence.

Rafer Johnson is the king of de-worming. He has always been really cooperative with this, to the point of following me around and asking for more. The Ivermectin I use is not the flavored kind, so I can't imagine why he wants it, but it sure makes life easier.

He saw the tubes and marched right up. I let him smell the tube, he positioned his head, and I gave him the double dose for his weight, then went in search of Redford to finish off the tube.

Redford wanted to check things out longer, but he too offered his head and took his medicine with no fuss. I only needed the hand holding the de-wormer tube.

The intriguing thing about this is that the other horses see what's happening, and if they wanted, could head out to the field. But they never do. Their curiosity sometimes gets the better of them, and there have been times when I've been encircled by all of them, pushing their heads close for their own dose of de-wormer.

Yesterday they stayed where they were, within about ten feet of one another, and let me go to them one by one.

My daughter put the lead rope over Cody's neck, as he sometimes wants to walk away from tubes (especially after the foul-tasting digestive enzyme debacle awhile back). However, I tried the one-handed approach on him (he had to get two full tubes) and he too stood and took them without moving his head at all.

Keil Bay smelled the tube, raised his head high and lifted his upper lip, and then took his tubes with no fuss.

Salina has gotten over her hatred of tube syringes of all kinds. The key with her is to slide the syringe flat along the side of her face/cheek, and the insert the tip from the side. She doesn't like the tip going at her mouth, and now that we always do it the way she likes, she knows it's coming and takes it easily.

All done, and it took nothing but a dangling lead rope on one horse's neck. We piled the hay-barrow high with orchard grass hay and rolled it out to the field so they could munch.

Later in the afternoon while my daughter rode Cody I took a brush and currycomb to the back and spent an hour brushing donkeys and horses. The donkeys stood quietly and did their quiet happy snorts, and Salina closed her eyes and enjoyed the day.

Keil Bay likes to exercise his right to march around while being brushed, and the pony was not too happy initially but when I persisted, he relented and let me get the mud off his coat. It's time to bring out the grazing muzzle and I dread it. But he's gained a little weight already, and the muzzle is better than separating him from his herd.

It was nice brushing in the field while watching Cody move under saddle, calm and relaxed at the walk, trot, and canter. He is looking better and better, and my daughter showed off her sitting trot at the end of the ride. She really looks like she's part of the horse, with no bouncing, no artificial pumping with the pelvis, and no head/shoulder bobbing. It's a delight to watch.

By sunset I was exhausted and slept like a rock. Today I can finish catching up and hopefully get most of the office stuff incorporated into the household so we can roll into the weekend free and clear.


Grey Horse Matters said...

The entire herd were superstars taking their wormers. We generally have no trouble giving tube wormers either. Our only trouble comes with Blue - "I'll hold it in my mouth until you turn around and then spit it on the floor". But since we're ready for his tricks he rarely gets away with it. Glad to hear you're warming up and getting work done and playing with tarps in the process.The visual reminds me of what my granddaughter does at gymboree class with their parachute tarps. We're doing the same, it's almost time for the big winter clean-up of everything horse,barn and farm.

billie said...

Arlene, Blue sounds like a character. I did that myself when I was little!

I hope the warm-up remains, at least in a 50/30 split for highs/lows, as that spread seems very manageable and comfortable for the horses.

Having 80s in early March is a bit much, but presumably that's not where we'll stay!