Wednesday, November 04, 2015

more rain and hoof trims all around

We're in another stretch of rainy days here. The horses and donkeys are hanging out in stalls most of the day and night so it's an ongoing effort to keep the barn clean. The longer they're in the messier they get, strowing hay, dropping manure all over the place. Relationships were straining: Keil Bay and Little Man pinning ears over the stall door at one another, Rafer Johnson nipping at Redford. 

I had the trimmer coming in an hour and needed to tidy the barn, clear the barn aisle, and get the herd settled in some new configuration that would hopefully improve their moods.

Over the years I have learned that they like to be surprised, within a range of options. They like switching from one side of the barn aisle to the other; mostly with a few exceptions they enjoy having a new "barn mate" to hang out with. Alternating between hay on the stall mats to hay in nets to hay under the shelter keeps them happiest on these long rainy days. Apples or carrots in feed tubs make them happy, as do peppermints.

It was noon so time for Keil Bay's mid-day meal. I quickly cleaned a stall - not the one he was standing in - and moved him in with his meal, a fresh bucket of water, and a closed door. The rest of the boys were upset - they wanted meals too - so I gave them each a very small snack of Chaffhaye which gave me time to get another stall cleaned and set up for Cody. I closed him in too. When free to come and go 24/7 Keil and Cody seem to enjoy being closed in from time to time. The pony and donkeys had been on the near side of the barn all morning, so they went on the other side - with one stall open to the shelter and the arena open in case they wanted to take a stroll in wet but non-muddy footing.

Once I got them all situated with fresh water and Chaffhaye I served up their hay. 

Our barn is never really dark during the daytime but I put all the lights on, including the twinkle lights in the feed room, and turned on NPR. Suddenly it was cheerful and like a big living room. Everyone was munching, no ears were pinning, moods had improved dramatically.

By the time the trimmer arrived I had the barn aisle clean and horses groomed. The pony - well, his elves took the night off and he was simply a lost cause. The donkeys don't roll in the mud so they were nice and clean and fluffy already.

All mine enjoy the attention they get from our wonderful hoof trimmer. She is attuned to them as she works, gives lots of praise, and yesterday offered a "Peace and Calm" blend of essential oils to all of us. The rain was falling outside the barn and it was a dreary day with flies and mosquitoes (yes, in November - the curse of a temperate climate) but everyone got a turn and everyone ended up licking and chewing and enjoying the new scent.

It looks like Cody is okay to ride, carefully, with an eye on his abscessed hoof as the opening grows out, and if we can get to the end of this rainy spell, I'll be aiming to get he and Keil Bay on a schedule I can keep up with. Cody is feeling terrific - cantering and galloping around and tossing his head - so I think he'll enjoy some time in the saddle again. His break has been longer than Keil Bay's! I'll have lots to report as I bring him back into work.

I went to the barn at noon yesterday and came in at 5:15. Barn time, as most of us know, doesn't follow the clock. I came in damp and, once I took my boots off inside, realized my feet were tired from standing for so long. But I was also deeply relaxed, content, and restored. Peace and calm. 

And here's the pony last rain spell we had, the morning after. His grooming elves not only cleaned him up, they awarded him a gold star!!


Matthew said...

Wow, what a nice clean pony! He deserves the star.

billie said...

His elves are good groomers! And yes, he is a gold star pony for sure.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like playing musical stalls helped relieve tension and boredom brought on by the rain. That is one handsome and clean little guy! His grooming elves did themselves proud.

billie said...

Arlene, does Blue go from mud-king to snowy white overnight? I swear - no one had touched the Little Man with a grooming tool of any kind before this photo was taken. And the day before it, he was coated in mud.