Drinking

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Summer is the season for cleaning water troughs.

two horses drinking

When it was really hot, we froze a bunch of cut up apples and put them in the trough for the horses to bob for.

nya bobbing for apples

It wasn’t easy for them to get.

nyssa drinking

But it encouraged lots of water drinking.

major getting apple

And it was fun to watch.

nevada drinking

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A Little Riding

I rarely ride.  I’m a beginner in any arena, but since I had an extra day off on the July 4th weekend, my daughter and her boyfriend decided to ride, so I went along.

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I really did ride, but when  I was done I let Major have some grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Major and Junior saying hello.

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When we were done, Princess and Belle were waiting up by the barn.

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Some of the herd taking advantage of the shade.

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Sasha eating around the weeds.

sasha finding the right bite

Face pics

belles face

 

remi over the fence

 

jr thru fence

Misty from underneath

misty down under

misty

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Grass and Bugs and Summer Lovin

The flys are out in full force these days.bugs

Here is an evening sun shot of Remi finding some tasty clover.evening sun on your back

Major is a master at finding that perfect bite.  Course it seems to be on the other side of the fence so much of the time.  Bummer.major finding just the right bite

Junior loves thistle, especially in the fall when it’s brown and sticks to everything (on him).  He many times has a crown of thistle all in his mane and forelock.  This time of year it’s green and the horses don’t seem to eat it too much, though here Junior is checking it out.

nose in the grass

Again, fences are always in the way.jr in tall grass

Liberty and Misty, their love knows no bounds or stall walls.  Or maybe I should say – unbridled love!

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Stay cool, everybody.  And tic free.

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Summer on the Farm

This week:DSCF6394It’s summer and there are hot days.  Days when it’s nice to spend a little time in the barn away from the heat of the sun, but also with some breezes blowing through.

jr in stall

Then again, sometimes the horses are done being in the barn and want out.

 

jr playing with sunlight

Junior playing with the sun.  Or just giving me the evil eye that says, let me out.

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Belle taking a drink of water after fresh water was just added.  We put a cinder block in there in case squirrels fall in.  They have a place to jump off of so they don’t drown.

belle drinking close up

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Standing together helping to keep the flys off one another.

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We hang buckets on the pasture fence of a loose salt/mineral mixture called Dr. Dan’s Red Cal.  Princess just got done eating some and has it all over her nose.

DSCF6502Flash playing with the electrified rope of the fence which apparently isn’t working.

Hope you are all keeping cool.

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The Swish of a Tail

It’s  summer and on horse farms all around the country that means one thing – Bugs.  And it feels like horses attract them all.  Or a good majority of them anyway.

That’s why horses are so proud of their tails.  Or at least they’re glad they have one.  The longer the better.  Manes and forelocks help too.   So, it’s tail swishing season. Take a look at this video I took the other day.

This is princess and Belle swishing tails.

princess and belles tail

Belle is very good at the tail movement thing.She does it any time she can.  Including when I’m back there trying to groom her.  Boom- tail swat in the face or arm.  I try not to take it personally, but you know??

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Look at that – tail and mane synchronized.

major and mini backsideThis is Major (long tail) and Mini (docked tail).  Mini apparently was supposed to be a carriage horse at one time or another so they docked her tail which is done many times to carriage horses.  It’s too bad cause now Mini can’t protect herself as well from the attack of bugs.  And she never has pulled a carriage.

 

flash tail

Flash fanning his white tail.

majors braided tailThis braided tail on Major looks cool – to humans anyway.  Not so sure horses like it, especially if it makes it hard for them to swatch flys with.  Cause in bug season – that’s what tails do best.

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Princess in the Spring

princess 2In past posts, I’ve written about our horse Princess who is a Morgan/Saddlebred and is Laminitic.  She is laminitic because she is Insulin Resistant.  Every vet we have ever talked to has told us to keep her off grass.  We have struggled with that though because,

First – we believe that horses should be free and grazing all the time.

And second  –  the farm where we board only has grass pastures.  So, it’s very hard to find a place without grass in the Spring, Summer and Fall.  Winter’s easy because we live in northern Illinois and the grass is dead.

Last year, we muzzled her during the day and brought her into a small, dirt paddock at night.  It really didn’t work out so well.  She was sore for most of the year.

This year, we decided to muzzle her 24 hours a day and keep her out on the grass pasture with the herd.  So, far, she is doing amazing.  She isn’t sore.  She runs around and is her old, feisty self.

princess muzzleWe also have her on Chinese Herbs for laminitic horses, Dr. Dan’s Just Add Oats nutritional supplement, A Magnesium Cookie and lately I’ve been adding two Tbsp of Braggs apple cider vinegar which is supposed to help the body metabolize sugar slower.

Our farrior also talked us into trying rubber shoes.  We are usually against shoes, but these

princess shoe bottom

are rubber, so they flex more than steel ones to allow her hoofs to still have air flow.  They are screwed in from the top also.  When I saw him do this, I cringed, but Princess had her eyes half closed and was napping the whole time, so it didn’t hurt her at all.

princess hoof screws

The lamina is the substance inside the hoof wall that connects the protective outer layering of the hoof – the hoof wall – to the internal structures of the hoof.  When a horse has laminitis the lamina gets inflamed and the hoof wall is compromised, so the shoe is helping keep her hoof wall connected to the laminae as she heals.

We really don’t know what is helping her – all of it?  But I think that movement is key in the success we’ve had this year.  And getting limited grass because of the muzzle.  We do let her freely graze for an hour or two also, when we come each day.  But movement.  It is so important for a horse’s health, both mentally and physically.

princess 3

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Fence Fixing

chute from other sideLast summer we created a chute that went through a section of woods from one pasture to another.  Come Spring, however, the horses decided they wanted to be on the other side of the fence.  Grass is always greener, yah know.  So, they unhooked the electric, and broke down the rope.  When we jerry-rigged that, some of them jumped the fence.  Or otherwise, magically appeared on the other side of the fence – no evidence of how they got there?  This last weekend we mended the fence or actually tore the whole thing down and started over.

We bought wooden posts – 8 feet long by 5.

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And cable wire. (bought a roll of it from Horse Fence Direct)

We rented an auger for the day at Home Depot.

We bought a very long drill bit.

We dug the holes, put in the posts, drilled five holes in each post (measured a foot apart), strung the cable and created a beautiful, new fence.

fence side

Lessons Learned:

  • Bring a battery back-up for your drill and a way to recharge it in your truck.
  • Use a separate post to pound down the dirt around the posts you have just inserted in hole.
  • If you drive your vehicle into the pasture, your horses will want to help you.
  • horses and van (2)horses and truck

 

  • Horses like to play with windshield wipers. (who knew?)

Right now there is no electric, but we plan to add that as time allows.  So far the horses have left the fence alone, but come Fall as the grass starts to die in the pasture, I’m pretty sure what’s on the other side of this new, much taller, much more sturdy fence will look too good to ignore and the horses will find a way to get around it.  They are magic that way.

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