Friday, March 20, 2009

week's end and the first day of spring!


Addendum for anyone who is interested, up top so you won't miss is:

The Ontario Dehy Timothy Balance cubes are indeed the equivalent of horse crack. In fact, if you're like me and are a total horse nutrition/food geek, they're probably better than human crack! (not that I know about that, but... sticking with the analogy here)

I wet them down in my mixing bowl in the feed room and the smell was heavenly. The color is beautiful. They 'melt down' really quickly and look, truly, like something I would eat.

I made up a bit too much for the donkeys and the pony this a.m. and the donkeys couldn't eat all theirs! So I stuck their little tubs out in the paddock so anyone who wanted to could lick them out as they headed out to pasture.

None of them made it to the pasture - there was a total logjam of horses right up near the barn, all wanting the cube mix. It got a bit scary as Keil Bay was protecting both the tubs, Cody was hovering to get what Keil didn't eat, and Salina was determined Cody needed to leave the area ASAP.

Whew! All I can say, is, big hit with the cubes, and don't make my mistake with leftovers!


Yesterday was another beautiful sunny day, and after doing the morning chores I went to the feed store to replenish some of my bins. I was excited to find that the feed store had gotten in my first bag of Ontario Dehy Timothy Balance cubes.

These are made from timothy hay, beet pulp, and have the correct mineral balance so that they are a complete feed if fed at the right % to body weight of the horse/donkey. They're often used for IR/Cushings' horses, but I'll be trying them with the pony and the donkey boys in an effort to simplify my feed routine and keep the easy keepers happy and healthy without high sugar/starch.

They do have to be soaked, and I'll add their loose salt, ground flax, and vit. E as needed, but otherwise, all the mineral work is done. (assuming nothing is really out of whack with hay/pasture analyses)

The bags are plain brown with the info printed on front and a lavender tag with the nutritional info. It reminded me of years ago when I worked in Perkins Library at Duke and the French shipments would come in brown paper lined with the most stunning lavender/purple paper. I used to ask for it and take it home, and for years all the gifts I gave were wrapped in that paper. Very understated and classic, but lovely.

So I was impressed when I saw this feed bag! The first thing I did when I got it in the bin in the feed room was open it up and check out the cubes. They are lovely too, very green and really, like something you'd pop into a pot of soup cooking on the stove. I'll be trying them out this morning, mixing a few into the existing mix to let the pony and the donkeys get used to them. I have read that they are like "horse crack" for many horses - we'll see.

After Salina had lunch, my daughter helped me get Cody cleaned up for a ride. He was a mud cake, again, and it took awhile! But then I had a lesson with my daughter as instructor, although it probably wouldn't be too far off base to refer to her as a drill sergeant.

She stood on the mounting block with my dressage whip and issued her commands while waving the whip about. Cody didn't mind, but it was very disorienting to ME. She tends to push me really hard in these lessons she gives, and I get a lot of feedback on my position.

Keep those heels bouncy. Fix your wrists. Stop pulling on his mouth. Don't use your leg every stride. Bigger trot!

And I thought I was doing pretty well!

She's a no-nonsense instructor.

At one point I balked at something she told me to do, saying I'd already done that, and she responded:

No talking back!

I finally had to inform her that my thighs were jelly and she would have to hop on and finish Cody's canter work. Which she did, but with a few comments about me pushing harder.

It was an interesting ride. We're doing a new protocol with Cody right now and are closely monitoring his movement. We're seeing a much more relaxed, swinging walk, and a bigger canter, but the trot is slower to change. Yesterday, I noticed that the canter was so big it almost felt like the early cantering I did on Keil Bay. I can usually sit Cody's canter easily, but yesterday found myself going up in the saddle and riding it in two-point the first few strides.

There were two sequences of trot where he got on the bit and really pushed from behind, and it felt just like it does when Keil Bay turns on his Big Powerful Trot. So I think we're on the right path.

I realized again about myself that daily riding is the secret to all good things. If I miss days my back gets what I call "the hinge" and I get the blahs (not mentally so much as physically) and my riding stamina decreases.

After sponging Cody down and letting him have some time in the barnyard, my daughter got the pony going for his ride, while I cleaned Cody's bridle and watched.

During the course of her ride, we went from sunshine to a very ominous deep blue/black sky, and the wind began to whip up. When she got off, we had to move quickly to get the barn set up for evening.

Especially touching was Keil Bay walking with me to the back field to get Salina's fly mask, and to close the back gate. The wind was really blowing, and there was a bit of lightning, but he had gone into protector mode and didn't want any of the herd wandering out.

Believe it or not, we had a rainstorm last night! The sun is back today, and I hope we haven't completely reverted to mud outside. Certain areas hadn't even dried out completely from the last rain spell.

Today, the first day of spring, is sunny and bright. I have two family members heading for the beach and the other one off to a sleepover/party. So by this evening I'll be celebrating the vernal equinox on my own.

The redbuds are blooming, I've pulled the first tick of the season off the Big Bay, and I received notice that the first batch of fly predators has been shipped. Spring really is here.


Grey Horse Matters said...

The hay cubes sound interesting, let us know how you and the herd like them.

I can certainly relate to a 'pushy, power drunk' instructor when it comes to daughters. I don't think I've ever had an instructor that was as strict as my daughter and I might add as picky. Sometimes I think she's just getting back at me for making her clean her room when she was a child!

billie said...

LOL, Arlene, I think you have something there! It's an interesting dynamic going on during these mother-daughter lessons!

Matthew said...

Glad they loved the hay cubes! They did look really appealing in a kind of horsey way. . .

billie said...

Watch out - they might appear as a side dish for dinner one night!