Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Keil Bay's new thing

The gate latch on our backyard gate has been unreliable for the past year or so. At some point I put a bungee strap around the post to secure it so that Corgis would be safely contained inside the fence. As with a lot of farm chores, if you "fix" something even temporarily, it pushes that thing to the bottom of the list because there are always new things popping into the top spot. The bungee cord strap has been our gate latch for awhile now.

A few weeks ago my husband replaced the actual latch and removed the bungee cord. I haven't been truly comfortable with the new gate latch - it feels like it's too easy to open and we have lots of smart animals here. I was worried Bear Corgi might learn to stand up on his hind legs and somehow push the latch up and let he and Kyra out.

I think my husband and daughter have felt I was being overly cautious but this weekend we learned that, in fact, the gate latch is not secure.

And it's not because of the Corgis.

Keil Bay was spotted coming to the gate, putting his head over, and lifting the latch to let himself and Cody into the back yard. Where there is lush grass and the garden and - us.

And since he didn't see fit to close the gate behind him, the bungee cord is back.

Friday, May 22, 2015

update on Chaffhaye

We've been through 4-5 bags of the fermented alfalfa hay with the brand name Chaffhaye at this point. I'm feeding it 1-2x per day and giving Keil Bay (16.2, big-bodied Hanoverian, age 26) the largest amount, followed by Cody (15.2 big-bodied QH, age 12).

Keil is getting around 3 lbs. a day and Cody around 2 lbs. at this point. I'm using it for Keil Bay as a post-ride meal too, so on days that he gets ridden he gets more.

The pony and the donkey boys get a much smaller amount - 2-4 single handsful a day. 

I'm not seeing any real changes in their condition or demeanor, but these are healthy horses and donkeys who are all easy-keepers. There were no real "problems" I was trying to address, except that I liked the idea of feeding actual forage instead of alfalfa pellets, and the probiotic effect of the Chaffhaye sounded great.

What I can say: they love it. They nicker for it. They completely clean the feed tubs when I serve it and then carefully pick up any bits that were dropped around the feed tubs. I can see it being especially appreciated during winter months when the grass is gone.

I'm going through a bag about every 8-9 days at this point, under the recommended 10 days that the company suggests, especially during hotter and more humid weather. Thus far I've seen no issues and we've had some hot days - 90 degrees for several days running.

I store the bag in the feed room, in the open, folding the top down as they suggest after serviing.

Unless something changes, Chaffhaye is a new staple in our feed room! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

blast it - migraine troubles

We've had a week of unusually high temperatures for this time of year, to the degree that I decided not to even try to ride the Big Bay until the hot spell broke. He's still shedding and between heat and rain and his post-chiro days off, we haven't ridden at all since I got back from my writing retreat time.

Yesterday it was 90 and there was a heat haze over the entire farm, but last night the cold front moved in and it was wonderfully cool this morning. I had coffee and then went out to ride. Keil Bay came directly into the barn when I got out there, as I had told him last night we'd be riding this morning. He was clearly ready.

I did a good grooming and decided the flies are getting annoying enough to warrant putting on his Summer Whinnies. I'm out of practice getting them on and the first one was a bit of a struggle. The easiest way to do it is to use a small plastic bag over the hoof and slide the sock over, then remove the bag and adjust.

Keil Bay loves his Summer Whinnies. He knows from experience that they provide total comfort in fly season, and he actively participates in helping me get them on. I think in the midst of getting that first one on I must have strained really hard while my head was down, and worked up a sweat, and who knows what triggers migraines sometimes, but suddenly there it was, full blown. 

I knew I wasn't going to leave him with one Summer Whinny on and three legs bare, so I took a break and brushed him for a minute, then did the second one. On I went, one leg at a time, taking breaks between each as the migraine worsened. At one point I considered curling up in a stall! After the last one I gave him a peppermint, removed his halter, and told him I'd be back as soon as I could. He looked handsome with his four white socks and his freshly-groomed red bay self.

In the house now, having taken my homeopathic remedy Belladonna, with an ice pack on my neck. The Belladonna works almost instantly to take the severe pain away, and it works really well for the pre-migraine visual auras too. I'm down to a dull ache. 

This is the first time I've ever developed a migraine while in the barn, and I didn't like it one bit. Pondering what triggered it. Hormonal shifts, extreme changes in weather and barometric pressure, certain kinds of intense light, and oh, yes, I haven't eaten anything yet today. 


The worst thing at the moment is that I'm not out there riding! 

Tell me about what you do when something physical keeps you from riding. Misery loves company! :)


I went back out and rode and it was gorgeous. A light breeze, mid-sixties, and when I got Keil Bay tacked up and we sauntered out of the barn, I glanced back at him and I swear he was 5 years old again. Our combined age is 81 but we are forever young. :)  Horses are the best remedy ever.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

the view from the back deck, and a heart-full Pixie/Kyra tale

It's been lovely being home again and looking out to see this view. I don't think I ever get enough of seeing the horses so close to home and heart.

Another thing I've been seeing when I look out back is a 15-year old Corgi girl named Kyra who in many ways seems like she's having a renaissance. She is bossy and playful and eating like a - well, like a Corgi! - and she is happy.

Still, she sometimes wanders out to the corner of the back yard and for a little while it seems like she is lost in her own world. A little bit of a fog.

I call her and she doesn't seem to hear me.

Pixie (the calico kit-meow) has taken to going into the back yard with Kyra when she heads into this foggy place. Pixie rubs against her face and gently herds her back toward the house. Right now Pixie is sleeping beside my bed on one of Kyra's blankets, right beside Kyra, who is also taking her morning nap.

I'm so intrigued with this little friendship and with Pixie's care-taking behaviors. I have seen similar behaviors bloom between our cats and the Corgis, the horses and donkeys, and of course all of them within their own species.

When I see these friendships and loving behaviors it makes me wonder how anyone can hold out the theory that animals do not have feelings, emotions, or intentional friendships.

Those of us who live with animals see things every day that prove they do.

Friday, May 01, 2015


Today's the day I am supposed to get back to work on book stuff, and back in the saddle, but it has been raining most of the night and all morning and is now once again pouring down at a steady rate.

Good for book stuff, not so good for riding!

I think I might make a cup of tea and listen to the rain and get rolling with my book to do list. 

And hope the horses and the donkeys aren't too grumpy when hay and stall-cleaning time rolls around!

This kind of day makes me long for an indoor arena.