Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Showered, Steamed and Dried

How the horses have been spending their time
 That is how I would describe the month of June. We have dealt with rain, humidity and hot temperatures. All have caused a decrease in work, but everyone worked at least once. May was bad too but that was do to Roscoe trip prep. Can we go back to April?

April ride record
June ride record
Here's hoping July is somewhat better. Of course I say that after receiving a text from Lisa saying Roscoe's turnout got cut short by storms. We normally get their weather a day or so later, sooo... no comment. On the positive side, she said so far so good. Which means the last two mares still have not come back into heat. I asked if Roscoe was turning into a butterball since he has had a couple weeks of no breeding, but a third more food. It seems that instead of growing wider, he has gotten taller. My baby is growing up. His sire is about 15h and Rosemary is about 14h and I would be happy with him ending up right in the middle.
Day 10 of work is tomorrow and then I finally get a couple days off before working the holiday.

Friday, June 26, 2015

"I Could Fit Through That Door"

This has been a tough week and there is not relief in sight. My office, all two of us, has been helping relocate one of the smaller stores. The old store location is in a secure building and we have to be escorted. Then we haul the merchandise to the new location through halls and into elevators. It is probably a half mile loop, if not more. The new back stock area is on another floor with a loading dock nearby, but the door is not wide enough to get a pallet through. That means we have to unpack inside the truck and hand carry inside. Overall we are doing a lot of work, but not getting much done. Tomorrow will be our 6th day of moving and hopefully we will make a dent. At least the new location is looking ready for business.

A Life without Limits

In addition to the store move, my office is on call for helping at the Warrior Games. These are sporting events for wounded warriors from the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, SOCOM and the British Armed Forces. I asked Larry when riding would join the sport line up for the games. Probably never. Anyway we have to monitor the food line and collect meal tickets. Have you ever stood between a bunch of athletes and their food, yeah real fun. So my 7th day of work will be dealing with the two meals planned for the closing day of the games.
Once the games are done, the base has to do a quick take down of the tents so the fields are ready for the holiday. My office again has to work that event, so next week we have to do the prep for our part. As well as completing our normal tasks before the holiday. On top of it all, I applied for a higher position in my office when a coworker left. That means I get to interview which includes a test.

Two for One Deal

With all that happening, I needed a ride. Yesterday was actually decent compared to the super hot and humid we have had recently. I hopped on Rosemary for a therapy ride. Even though she decided she would rather travel with her hind end on the inner track, it felt great to ride. Larry, who did the evening mucking and made it possible for me to ride, watched us work. Then he walked with us out on trail. If he got too far behind, Rosemary would stop and wait for him to catch up. She absolutely loves Larry and is always mooching.

Serious Contemplation

When we got back to the house, Larry was headed inside. Rosemary stood watching him go to the door. I called for her to follow me to the barn. She looked at me, then back at Larry in the doorway. He shut the door, but she still looked. I walked over to the barn to undo the rope and could just see her thinking "I could fit through that door." Larry opened the door again and we both laughed at her. I told her that was not happening. Eventually she followed me to the barn. I made it up to her with a cookie. Seemed to help :)
I know that nose

And I got an update from Lisa. Roscoe is living the easy life...because so far 3 of the mares have not come back into heat. So far so good. 2 more left. Lisa called to him and he came right over so she could take the above picture. That's my boy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Scary Realization

Sometimes things you see or read bring about scary realizations. I have been trimming hooves for almost nine years. It is an awesome thing to see changes come about from work you have done. You learn about each horse you work on and figure out their own quirks. During that time I have seen some weird hoof sights, but while some have worried me, only one has SCARED me.
Seven weeks ago I went to the old barn to trim Jenna, the appy mare, on a fairly warm day. Even after years of working on her hooves, I still feel like she is not where I would like her to be. Unfortunately, I have to battle her bad health and an owner who still feeds her sweet feed. Jenna has already had a laminitis episode and should be living on dry lot. Now that we are not living at that barn, I don't know how often she is out on grass, but since Winston foundered while wearing a muzzle, I think even a little time is too much. So I went about her trim like normal and soon became wary.
Her front feet soles were not a normal color. They were peachy once the dead sole was removed. I did not like it at all. That right there scared me. I had no idea why they were like that, but I had a feeling it was nothing good. I finished the trim and felt her feet. To me they seemed warm. So not good. I left a note telling her owner that she may want to keep her off the grass and watch her closely.

Not long after I saw this picture on Facebook.

Can you guess what came to mind? Yep Jenna. Her sole look like that on one front foot and has always bothered me. Add in the coloring and it hits all the points. Subclinical Laminitis, sounds about right.

I went back last weekend and hoped to see an improvement. I guess her owner kept her off grass for three weeks and now only lets her out with a muzzle once a week. I held my breath as I picked up her hoof... and found the coloring was more normal. Her sole is still a bit dropped, but that is something she has had for a while. I think she dealt with some pain, because she grew a fair amount on her back feet, which means she puts her weight back a lot. This is not a horse being ridden and working off her back end and she does not normally grow that much hoof in the back. So although her hooves were better, the signs of a continuing issue are still there. I told her owner to continue to restrict her grass time. If only she would stop feeding her the sweet feed, that would help so much. That is a battle I fought before and could not break through her archaic thoughts about feeding. This is the point where I have to do what I can and let God watch over her the rest of the time.

And to break the serious mode, so far one mare still has not come back into heat. Over the next week, two more will be due to come in and we will see what happens. Roscoe gets to have a break and just watch over the mares.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday Roscoe!!!

Roscoe is spending his first birthday since he was born without us :( So we gave him his gift early when we visited. I knew what that gift would be when we dropped him off in May.

Fluffy pine sawdust,  simple but just what he wanted. Lisa uses the pelleted kind of bedding, which works for bedding, but has little volume. We try to make sure our stalls have at least 3 inches of sawdust. When we moved to Peggy's, we corrupted her with stall thoughts. The horses really enjoy a cushy bed. Roscoe especially appreciates it on wet days, when he can roll around to dry off.

After buying 4 bags of sawdust, Lisa looked at us like we had lost our minds. Then she saw Roscoe's reaction and understood. As I opened the first bag, he came over and used his muzzle to push sawdust out of the bag. When I dumped it he pawed and rolled right on the little pile. He was so happy. That was probably the best $20 we ever spent. Roscoe also appreciated the fact that he did not splash when he peed. The next day he had sawdust on his butt and in his mane.

Four years ago Roscoe was born on Father's Day and now he is well on his way to being a father himself. Plus he shares his birthday with his own sire, who turned 8 today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Friday we made the uneventful drive to Indiana to visit Roscoe and deliver his next batch of food. Plus there was the new foal to play with. As we pulled into the driveway, my boy was on his way to the turnout. A month at boot camp definitely made him more obedient and manageable. He must be hard to catch, because she leaves a halter on him. I guess the girls keep his attention.
Girl Watching

Once Roscoe was out, Lisa let out the mares and foals. That was fun to watch the foals run around. At one point the filly actually touched noses with Roscoe. He was really sweet and quiet with her. To bad it was too dark to take a picture.
The next morning, we stayed in the house and let Lisa do things in her normal routine. When it looked like Roscoe was out for a bit of turn out, I went to trim his feet. Other than moving a bit more than normal, he was good for his trim. He has lost some weight from the constant breeding, but overall he looks great. He was a bit tense, worried about doing things right, but gradually he relaxed. We played with him, doing stretches and tricks. He was happy to know the right answer. For Roscoe not being able to give Lisa the right answers during a breeding session is hard. He gets so frustrated and unfortunately takes it out on the mare. One time was long and hard, leaving him with chain rub and a sore nose. Roscoe says breeding is not all its cracked up to be. I think he will be ready to go home when his job is complete. He is tapping his hooves saying "there is no place like home."

My Handsome Boy :)

After his trim, Mom worked him in hand. He had to be told to focus and listen. This little session showed what we will have when we get him home. And that seems do able after watching him. He pushed and at one point by the mares got crazy, but Mom got him to back away. Backing has a great effect on him, getting him focused. She backed him and then moved him forward by the mares. If he focused on them, she backed him up and got his eyes back on her. He was super. He even stood and dropped his head asking for a cookie right outside one of the mares stalls. Mom ended by backing him into the stall with a mare right next to him. There was a little excitement, but he listened.
It was tough to see him acting like a new boot camp graduate, but aspects of my baby was still shining at times. He almost seemed to distance himself, to make it easier on himself. The morning we left he was ignoring us. Mom and I had to follow him around just to give him a treat. At the last moment he walked up to Peggy and touched her arm with his nose. As much as he wanted to be distant he had to say good bye to us all. Okay enough about Roscoe, I am teary eyed just typing this. He will be home as soon as the mares are confirmed in foal to the best of Lisa's knowledge.
In addition to the mares and foals, we were able to visit Tuscani Dundee (Comrade, Connor and Gavin's sire plus a bunch of others) the senior stallion at Castleberry Welsh Cobs. He is retired and spending time at the other property while Roscoe visits.
Love the copper color of him

Enjoying Cookies

This is the first time we saw him as a horse and not a stallion. I don't know if that makes any sense, but stallions seem to have two sides. When we saw him at a distance 5 years ago, he was the STUD. This time he was the awesome horse that could interact with us. Dundee is so shiny and has some cool markings. He also has knee feathers!!!
Kinda Cool, but Coarse

Of course I totally had to take a picture and swore to Lisa I would only share it on my blog. They are definitely different and definitely something even I would shave off. I guess even the super Cob Stallion Cardi grows them. I will say that I hope Roscoe does not develop them. Fetlock feathers, yes. Knee feathers, oh no.
So here are some pictures I took while I was there. I wished for my big camera, but made do with my medium one.
Ebony with Rebecca and Ffion
Photo bombed

The older foals

Lisa and the Ebony's colt

What should have been a great photo... darn baby

Showing off

Two hopefully expectant mares: Ebony and Ffion

Three hopefully expectant mares: Rosina, Rosalee and Dyma Hi

Fingers crossed the mares all took. Dyma Hi, far right, was the first one and so far she has not come back into heat. She is Comrade and Connor's full sister, so that will be a cool cross to see. Rosalee is one of my favorites and related to both Comrade and Rosemary. And yes that means this is line breeding on Rosemary's dam's line. She has the flaxen mane like Roscoe and the blaze too. Rosina is related to Comrade through Dundee and the second black mare. Unlike Ebony she is not homozygous black, so the foal color will be a surprise. Ffion is Roscoe's great Grandmother so another line breeding. There is one more mare, Rebecca, Lisa may use if she comes into heat again which would be another line breeding since she is Rosemary's sister. The last mare that could have been bred, decided she wanted nothing to do with him. Since she could really hurt Roscoe that breeding probably won't happen. So that is skinny on the breeding front. It will be a long year until we can see the foals.
Front view of the three mares taken by Lisa

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Birthday Cheer With A Dash Of Fear

Last year my birthday brought the news of Addie's death, so waking up this year to no bad news was already better. I spent the day before making Roscoe's 38 days worth of food clearing the next day for more fun stuff.
50 gal blanket box with 38 days of food
Well my brother asked to bring my nieces and I could not say no since they are moving away soon. He did not give me any specific time though. When Peggy asked if she could take me to lunch, I said sure. Turned out the girls were not behaving and he decided to bring them on Monday. Great we were clear for the day.
So not Normal...

As I fed the horses and finished chores, I noticed Winston acting weird. He ate his food, then he laid down in the stall. I chatted to him and when I walked by later he was up and out of the stall. Then I noticed him come back to a stall, circle around, walk out, poop and then go lay down in another stall. In the back of my head I was thinking he pooped, that's good, but worry tugged. I looked in the stall and noticed his flared nostrils. I went into the stall and rubbed his head trying to get a read. Up close I could see his labored breathing. He was not rolling around, but he was definitely not comfortable. I checked his feet, no heat. Winston decided to get up and go out into the sacrifice area, only to lay down out there. Now fear kicked in. That was so not normal. Out in the sunlight, I could see his chest and shoulder were covered in sweat. It was a slightly humid day, but not too hot. I decided at that point to get him up and move him to the big stall away from the other horses. Peggy came out ready for lunch and saw me working. She asked if we had a problem, and I was quick to say "YES."
In the big stall, Winston dropped another pile of poop. We turned on the fan and took off his fly sheet. Both of us pressed our ears to his belly and neither of us heard the squeaks and gurgles we would have liked. Colic...not good. I kept him standing while Peggy went to get a thermometer. The digital one showed a temp of 97.7. What??? She tried again, but that one was not working, so she got an old mercury one. Winston was not thrilled to have all this stuck in his butt.  That thermometer again showed 97.7. One more time with another one did not yield any better results. I put a call into Mom at work and we tried to get some Pro bi into him. At the start of tummy issues, they recommend giving 30cc.
By time Mom called back, Winston's breathing had settled and he was nibbling hay scraps. He seemed to have worked through whatever was happening. I checked his belly again. This time I heard squeaks and gurgles. Cue a breath of relief. We ended up leaving him in the big stall, under the fan nibbling hay and Pro Bi doctored hay cubes while we went to lunch.
Both of us were emotionally shot since the episode brought back everything with Addie. The day turned for the better though when I looked on Facebook to see Lisa had posted pictures of Roscoe on my page. Totally made my day.
My PONY!!!

She messaged me during the drive to the restaurant to say Roscoe was not cooperative for the photo shoot, normal for him, and she was lucky to get those pictures. And for comedic relief, she mentioned she had to photo shop his wiener out of the pictures, also normal for him to be hanging out. So Peggy and I looked at foal pictures, mare pictures, Roscoe's sire pictures and video while enjoying a great lunch.
Roscoe's Sire, Ffame

We were both anxious to get back to the barn and check on Winston. He was just fine with Larry checking on him occasionally. He was not 100% but headed in the right direction. I headed home to have dinner with my family and get some great gifts.

Now I just have to get through working two more days before I get to go see Roscoe :) This trip will be so much better than the last time.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rain,Rain, New Foal, Rain, Twizzler Fun

Okay I think the title sums it up. Now you know why I have not posted for five days. We have had rain everyday and mud now, so riding is not happening.
Lisa keeps me updated on Roscoe's progress which is improving, but he still thinks he has to rush forward. 7 more days until we get to see him again. I have to make his food up this weekend and increase the amounts since he is working so much.
She also kept me updated about the last mare she had left to foal. Fortunately unlike the mare that foaled while we were there, this mare was progressing more normally and developing an udder. We worried since she was exposed to the same hay as the other mare and lost a foal a couple years ago. But all went well, expect the spider that tried to weave a web over the camera Lisa had pointed on her for foal watch. Comrade had a new black nephew with a very cute blaze. My first thought when I saw it was that his star had slipped and left a trail behind. Another more creative person looked at it and saw a Dr. Seuss character from the Grinch. Either way it is an unique marking. Now Lisa has to think of an "E" name. That should be fun.

Ebony and Colt

And in case you were wondering, this is the mare that I would like a Roscoe baby from. Mostly because she is homozygous black and provides the chance for a color other than chestnut, but also because she is an awesome example of a Cob. Now let us hope she can put up with Roscoe's theatrics during breeding next month. I have already started thinking about names. So long to wait though...

Traffic was really bad one day and I decided to go home via the barn. Longer but lets me visit the ponies for a few minutes. Peggy brought out a package of Twizzlers, cherry/lemon filled, and said we could have them. Well Rosemary decided that she was interested in them and proceeded to twist her head and be very cute. Of course we shared, how could  we not. Here is a video of her antics. And can I just say she is completely dry, the shine is all her coat. Even dirty she is so shiny and Dottie is showing her dapples again.