Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I trimmed four critters today, and my back hurts, and my work with Joseph tonight doesn't seem to have been any good, and I'm cranky.  This too shall pass...

Bob's got these weird bulges in his front hooves.  One is worse than the other (the photos are of the worse one).  I worry about them.  I don't know if they're diet or trim related, or what...  Some locals have recommended a farrier but I have no faith in farriers.  I also don't know that I'm doing them justice so I don't know what I'm going to do.  Just something to think about.

Crappy, off-center photos.  Bob was pretty sure that having me crawling around on the ground in front of him was not kosher, and he wouldn't stay put.

Pedro's foundered front hooves are looking better, so that's good.  Scout's hooves are always the same.  Bella, on the other hand... she was very sore during her trim today.  It's not a hoof thing, it's that right stifle.  She could barely stand on that leg while I trimmed the other feet.  Then when I trimmed that one the leg popped a lot.   Poor girl.

The weather was cold and became pretty windy while I worked with Joseph in the round pen tonight.  I think we would have been better off if I'd left him in the pasture, but I couldn't have known that beforehand.  He was very tense.  Wore the big heavy, creaky saddle with the back cinch and breastcollar.  He just couldn't relax, no matter how much I simplified our activities back to levels he should be comfortable with.  Oh well, I guess they can't all be good days.

His ears always look so big in photos.  I swear he doesn't look like that in person.  Or does he and I just don't notice?  Hmmm...

Just Stuff

I was going to go riding today.  It's raining pretty steadily though so unless that changes real soon the ride will be a no-go.  I guess that's okay, I do have work to do around home.  A day in the woods would have been more fun though.

Yesterday I ground drove Joseph with the saddle on for the first time.  I put the light-weight saddle on him, and I really need to quit doing that.  It doesn't fit, and if there comes a time when it seems natural to mount up with the saddle, I won't be able to if I put that one on him.

I got rid of the driving lines and the saddle and we worked on coming up to the mounting block.  I'm going to have to fix the problem I started where he pushes into me and just about knocks me off the block.  He's trying SO hard to do the right thing that he's not listening well and we maybe just need to start over.  No worries there, though, it's not a big deal.

I climbed on and petted him for a long time, and we watched the neighbor plowing his field.  He offered several backward steps, and even gave me a forward step, so I got off and praised him a lot, then climbed back on.  Bob was standing right behind us outside the round pen, and I tried (halfheartedly) to talk him into turning toward Bob, but he was a little stressed about turning, and I'm not super brave about riding a tense horse bareback.  So I spent some more time scratching his itchy spots and then called it a day. 

Joseph was tense and jumpy when we started, but ended up happy and relaxed, so I'd definitely call that time well spent.  :)

A lovely sunset:

Sweet old Bob, waiting for attention (or maybe food?)

This here is a pretty big deal.  He was really enjoying an ear rubbing.
 When I got him, Bob didn't want his ears handled.  You could bridle him no problem, but he didn't want you rubbing or touching any more than necessary. I did work on it with him, and if I had to, I could handle them, but it was totally not a comfortable situation for him.  Especially his left ear, and even that side of his face was more shy.  I started to wonder if he had a pain issue, maybe a tumor somewhere out of sight.  But my biggest suspicion was that he'd been mishandled, and most likely been "eared down" to make him behave.  I can't imagine, those big sweet ears twisted.  People suck.  Since he's now sometimes enjoying ear rubs, I think it was a fear thing, not a pain thing, and I feel honored that he's comfortable enough to let me rub his ears.  :)

 Bob Tail - or - The Ass End.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

We went for a long hike yesterday and had a blast.  It was pretty tiring, a lot of up and down, and a lot of rock for the horses to walk on.  We went up and around Mineral Mountain at McCroskey State Park, and then back down, down, down, mostly on one long downhill stretch.  My knees were feeling it.  I wish I could do this every day, I'd be a lot more fit.

Huckleberry got to go with us because there are no cows to chase there.  He had to wear pretty pink flagging tape because I'm paranoid about hunters.
I took a lot of pictures of the beautiful views, but none of them are at all like the real thing.  You just don't get that 3D sense of looking down into a huge bowl.  I find I really like being up high looking into a valley.  Someday maybe I'll live in the mountains.

Joseph thought the dead bachelor's buttons were irresistible.

We saw tons of elderberries.  I love elderberries.  Mostly because they're beautiful, but I like their unique flavor too.  I didn't pick any, but I wouldn't mind going back and getting some to make something with.

Joseph is so handsome!  He's especially dashing with my jacket draped around his shoulders.  :)

Scout almost made John spit out his water.  I can't remember why, but it was funny.

The long, long, descent.

I liked the way the light was hitting Scout on this section of trail.

"Are we there yet?"

The home stretch, with Huckleberry Fluffbutt in the lead.

I love the peace and quiet of the forest.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A quick hello

Scout went to work with me on Thursday.

His one good eye was very, very watery, and I wasn't going to wait and see with something that important.  But by the time the doctor looked at it, it was totally fine.  So he just hung out all day, eating the nice green grass.  I thought he'd be upset because he was alone, but he was happy as a clam.

Today Pedro snuck out the gate while I was taking Joseph out, so he had to "work" too.  I just tied them to the trailer and loved on them for a while, removed bot-fly eggs, and groomed them.  Joseph also got some fly spray.  (The donkeys don't seem to need it.) Super hard work, poor boys.
I almost forgot to mention!  I also checked Joseph's height - he's a full 15 hands now!  Just about perfect, in my opinion.  He was 14.2 when I got him, and I wasn't sure if he'd grow more or not.

Bob was upset that he wasn't included in the fun.
He got lots of attention later though.  Liam sat on his back for about 30 seconds (uncomfortable) and then I sat on the ground and kissed his soft nose and looked at his teeth.  They need work, but they're not as bad as I'd feared.  I think the front molars are just about worn to the gum.  He's an old dude.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Lovely Hike

Doesn't Joseph look like he's about to deliver a very serious public service announcement?


He looks good in a hat.

Here he looks like he doesn't feel well.  I've caught him looking like this a few times lately.  I'll keep a close eye on him.  There may be pigeon fever in our area again.  Or maybe it's hoof pain, or a belly ache, or who knows what...  I probably just worry too much.

On the way home he trailered like a big boy!  No need to haul him loose anymore.

Horse Hiking

Joseph and I have been doing a little bit of ground driving in the round pen.  I must say I'd much rather be on his back.  I think the communication is clearer that way.  But I haven't been saddling him at all, so we need to work on that.

Sunday we went hiking instead.

Scout has Holstein hips.

These heifers looked totally shocked and scandalized when we popped up out of the creek to say hello.

Then they came in to say hi, and show off how they can pick their noses with their tongues.
 We walked through the middle of them, with them dashing about trying to figure out whether we were a 
threat, and I think I was more tense about it than Joseph was.

Something dead.  Calf, or fawn?  Small ribs, big vertebrae.  Could've been a baby moose or elk, too.  Joseph doesn't mind dead stuff unless it stinks really bad.  Me too.

Water is no problem.  We crossed this creek many times in different places.

Scout was a trooper too.

You can't tell from the picture, but this was the beginning of a a pretty hairy part of the "trail."  I don't think it was even a cow path.  Maybe a seldom used game trail.  It was steep, very thick with brush, and the dry grass and occasional piles of twigs were a slipping hazard.

We made it to the bottom and found ourselves at a very familiar creek crossing.  It was so hot, I wouldn't have been surprised if Joseph had wanted to have a lie down in the water, but he didn't.

I hid in the shade with a bottle of water while he had a tasty snack.

He took everything in stride, even on some really tough terrain.  There were places you definitely couldn't ride through, they were so grown in with branches, and there were places where I had to tell myself, "If I can do it, he can do it."  Of course he did it all more easily than I did on my two legs.  He wasn't bothered by any of it.

He only got worried once, and that was here:
John wanted to get in front of him, I was already sitting on the ground taking a breather since we'd just climbed a tough section of trail to get back to this road.  John and Scout had to squeeze between Joseph and the fence, and John touched his butt to let him know he was going through. Joseph got scared and did a tiny little scoot.  I was sitting in front of him and I'm glad he didn't run me over.  If we were less tired we humans could have handled that situation a little better.  I didn't know what John was doing or I would have moved my horse.  I should have thought about him wanting to get into the shade as well.  No worries, it wasn't a big deal.

Sweet horse, just about climbing in my lap looking for snacks.  :)

I took a picture of the barb wire gate so I can brag on my boy some more.  It's a pain in the butt to get unlatched and drag open, but Joseph isn't phased by any of it.  He waits patiently while I wrestle with it, walks calmly through, waits patiently for the next horse to pass, then stands nicely while I wrestle it closed.  Not a problem.  Not that it's a problem with any of my others, but they were all more worried about these gates at first than Joseph was.

And here we are, hot and exhausted, almost back to the trailer.
Today it is MUCH cooler, definitely fall weather.  I'm going to enjoy some horseplay and then go work with the equine dentist some more.  I worked with her yesterday, on another vet's horses and her new very wonderful mule.  It was fun. I'd love to ride with them sometime but I'm not sure we could keep up.

Oh!  Scout scared the crap out of me this morning!  I thought he was dead!  All the other horses came in, but he was laying flat out, way over by the pond.  Not normal at all.  And I'd heard the donkeys braying more in the night.  I couldn't think what could have killed him so suddenly, unless he got a bad cut (on what though?) and bled out, or a sudden terrible colic.  But I got halfway to him and called his name, his head popped up and he came running.  Silly me.  I worry too much.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I was just playing with a new photo editor on my phone.  PicsArt.  I like it, but it doesn't do much.  I added an artistic effect to this photo of Bella, then used my editor on my computer to lighten it up a bit.  I might have to consider having this one printed.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Odd jobs

Look at the hard work these boys had to do yesterday.  Pedro thinks standing still is much harder than it looks.  Actually, I think he thought someone was getting food and he wasn't. 

 Bob's winter groceries in a one-ton shopping bag:
I had already partially emptied it before thinking to take a pic.  We ended up with about half of the hay pellets transferred to more mouse-proof containers.  Only a thousand more pounds to go.  It was very satisfying starting Bob on his soaked feed again.  He'll come through the winter just fine, I think.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

No time

I was hoping to find time to write a decent Blog post, but it hasn't happened yet and it's not going to make it onto my list of priorities this coming week (or maybe two) either.  Tonight I'll share some pictures, and maybe I'll continue to just do picture posts for a while, so that I don't end up not blogging at all because I don't have time to write. (Sorry, some of the pictures are kind of large, haven't re-sized them yet.)





The Path Not Taken:




(First time with bit and long reins.)