Monday, March 22, 2010

trim notes for march 2010

B. wrote in great big letters across our trim note page this afternoon:


Entirely due to Eleanor Kellon's equine nutrition classes and my daughter's hoof care. I am so happy to see hoof health improve to this point.

B. also noted that everyone's hooves were in good balance today, which means daughter's bareback riding is (we already knew this!) balanced and correct, and that the horses are moving well and soundly.

I'd been looking at Salina's topline for the past week or so, thinking to myself that she actually HAS one again, which is a great thing for a 27-year old mare with arthritic knees who isn't being ridden. But I thought maybe I was seeing it because I want to see her doing well. However, B. saw her and said "she's getting her topline back!"

She's turning out with the entire herd again and moving a lot every day. Today for her trim she was quite spirited and although well-behaved, I could feel her energy circling.

All the horses and the donkeys were in the back field when B. arrived. My daughter went out to get the pony, and I got Keil Bay, but Cody galloped in, and Salina and the donkeys came in too. Rafer let himself through the fence and came into the barn aisle where he attached himself to B., laying his head softly on B's shoulder, standing as closely as he could without getting in the way, and when it was his turn for a trim, he stood with a lead rope laying over his neck and lifted each hoof w/o being asked.

It's always a pleasure having B. here to do trimming, but today was especially nice: sunshine, a breeze, spring evident all around us, and a wonderful "report card" at the end. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

As long as everyone got an A+ today there should be rewards for the humans and treats for the equines/burro brothers. How nice it is to have everyone doing so well and know you were a large part of it because of your caring and good practices.

billie said...

Arlene, B. gives all the equines an alfalfa cookie after their trims. I hate to say it, but Rafer Johnson got at least 3 by the end of the time b/c he was even more adorable than usual and stood by B. from beginning to end.

CharlieHorse said...

LOL - don't know where my head was, but I didn't connect the dots when I read the first two lines...I'm thinking "what kind of fairy tale is this? Imagine that line out of its real context ! GREAT FROGS ON EVERYBODY !" LOL - Love it !! Wonder how the name came about for that horse hoof part?
Did you manage to get a video? would dearly love to see the little guy Rafer cozying up to B - too cute :)
Happy report card - thanks for sharing. Our farrier appt is tomorrow - chilly and rain for today.

jme said...

great news! things like that always make my week :-) nice to see tangible results of all those subtle and sometimes invisible efforts.... i would have loved to see RJ during the whole thing. he's too cute!

billie said...

Well, Beth, if that line had YOU confused for a moment, I can only wonder what the non-horsey readers were thinking! :)

For anyone who doesn't know:

the frog is a part of the underside of the horse's hoof. It's supposed to be a slightly flexible piece of tissue, in order to absorb shock and aid in the circulatory system within the hoof - each time the hoof presses down into the ground, blood is pumped back up the leg.

The problem comes when this tissue becomes ridden with thrush (fungal) and/or yeast, and begins to deteriorate. Ideally the frog should be a triangular piece of solid tissue that stretches across the horse's heel and goes to a point near the front of the hoof.

So... to get a report card that frogs are great is a really good thing. Soft ground and rain can wreak havoc on frog health, and an unbalanced diet (specifically an imbalance in the trace minerals) can prevent proper hoof growth and health.

Anyway, more than most folks want to know, but there it is!

billie said...

j, I know. To get them all this good all at one time makes me really happy!

I have thought of making a video of Rafer and Redford greeting B. and then shadowing his every move, but hate to interrupt the lovely flow that happens when we're all just doing what we need to do, relaxed and happy.

B. told me yesterday that with most donkeys he can't get all the way down on the ground the way he does here - he stands and leans so he can get out of the way when the kick!

He said yesterday when I expressed surprise that so many donkeys kick that all our equines here are very special and in his opinion a direct result of how we keep them and care for them.

It made me think again how so many equine vices and behavioral issues are actually created by the things we do to these animals, many times not even out of cruelty but simply for our own convenience.

Rafer and Redford are special donkeys, but their home of origin is full of similarly behaved, happy, "special" donkeys - because the owners there treat them with love and respect from birth on, and they never have cause to become mistrustful of people.

It's sort of miraculous to me that more owners of equines don't realize how far true love and respect go in creating partners that are easy and pleasurable to live with.

Michelle said...

Great news! You are amazing with your intuition and the awesome care you provide for your horses! Glad everyone was so well behaved and doing so well.

billie said...

Michelle, not so sure about amazing, but I do tend to think about this stuff (and obsess about it) to the degree that my family members sometimes want to move me to the back forty, I'm sure. :)

CharlieHorse said...

LOL - my family would have me joining you on that back forty :)

I seriously suspect that we'd actually have quite a human horse enthusiast herd there - LOL !!

I love your attention to detail and observations - and your gift for sharing it - I do thank you.

billie said...

Thanks, Beth - you're right, we'd have a wonderful human herd of like-minded horse lovers!

ponymaid said...

Billie, I love to hear of all those happy, froggy feet! Our footman was here last week and he and the woman had virtually the same conversation you had with B. He always compliments us on our impeccable manners whilst being pedicured and says there are many donkeys who fight frantically when their hoofs are touched. They are donkeys who are dragged out of the field once a year and manhandled into the barn, where the footman is expected to tend to them. Needless to say, it's a bad experience for both sides. And completely unnecessary. We donkeys are sensible beings and with a minimum of interaction with humans can learn nearly anything in record time. Look at Rafer - he's the very model of a donkey who fully understands the program and participates like the scholar and gentleman that he is.

billie said...

Sheaffer, you are of course the original 'donkey ambassador' for impeccable manners!

There was a comment on my FB page last week about donkeys being dirty, pigpen-like animals who roll in disgusting things and the kick up their heels and laugh at you when you try to get them clean.

I was astonished - I have never met such a donkey!

It was all the more evident when B. was here and Rafer once again illustrated how absolutely charming and mannered a young donkey can be.

And I don't mean to leave out Redford, who also did a fantastic job.

I know we're lucky donkey owners... BUT... I also think donkeys are vastly misunderstood and driven to bad behavior by mishandling.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.