Why I Gotta Trot - Page 332 - The Horse Forum
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post #3311 of 3350 Old 03-05-2020, 08:58 AM
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The General was much like that. He hated lights, and it was hard to work around. We start a large majority of our work days in the dark. I think my dad used the word “twitterpated,” although I thought that meant “in love” to describe how he acted. Now that word has two definitions. Lol

Anyways, I tried to avoid lights with him, which was easy enough for me because I see pretty well in the dark. Yet, I couldn’t control other people’s lights. Even when they drove in with the trailer the headlights would cause him to throw a fit.

I particularly remember one morning with him. General was 3. My grandpa was still riding then, and it had rained heavy. We couldn’t take the trailers in, so we trotted the last several miles in to where we needed to be for work. We had to get there in the dark, so it was pitch black with no helping stars from the storm. Horses were slipping on the mud, and grandpa’s mare went down. It was so scary. General was slipping, and grandpa had a flashlight. He constantly turned around to check on us behind him and he would shine that stupid light right at me.

It was quick, the way he’d turn and turn back, and General wanted to blow up every time! Grandpa didn’t know, and because no one hears well in my family by that age I didn’t try any tell him. General would take one jump and then slip down on the road. I was ready to throw that **** light into the mud by the time we got there!
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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post #3312 of 3350 Old 03-08-2020, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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It's a little sad, Nala and Nickel's owner is putting Nickel up for sale. I'm not sure of all the reasons...I think she was looking for a horse that was not as hot so she could put other riders on, and maybe her barn on her new property has not gone up as quickly as expected and she has been paying to board two horses. Anyway, I've had a great time riding him. She offered him to me, but for me putting Amore "out to pasture" is not an option, I feel at her age she will need more watching and frequent checks rather than less. In my experience, as horses age they get more expensive, not less.

I was trying to think back to remember if Hero has learned more language and is more expressive now, or if I just could not read him as well. Today when I went to see him after being away for several days, he was giving me some very pleased facial expressions as I was scratching him. Either in the past he had not learned pleasant facial expressions, or he was always feeling grumpy, or I was unable to read them. But I think after all they have changed some, because I don't think I would have ever misinterpreted his face today, with ears flopping to the side, soft eyes and lips flapping and teeth chomping.

Even so, I have learned to differentiate between his variations of chomping his teeth. He will begin to present his head and act bitey when he is feeling playful, anxious/nervous/upset, angry, or happy and calm. It's one of his main ways of expressing himself. There is a difference, though, because if he is nervous and anxious his head bobs or swings and the chomping makes his teeth click. If he is angry he just looks tense with ears back, and bares the teeth, but doesn't click them. When he is goofy or playful, he'll also swing his head toward you and he opens his mouth like he's going to bite, but doesn't close it. And when he is just showing reciprocal affection he chomps or chews with his mouth mostly closed, and a happy face.

It's a different thing with Hero, because for a lot of horses you wouldn't want to reward or would reprimand an open mouth or chomping teeth, but he has learned he is not supposed to lay the teeth into a person, and sometimes he is being happy and playful, so I do scratch him and tell him pleasant things even when his chompers are showing.
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I had an interesting trip down the coast this week. We are looking into some of the towns down south and visited one that did not seem very interesting but had a very nice horse boarding facility. The first impression was so great, it made me wonder if somehow I could ignore everything else that was negative about the area just because I'd like to board at a facility like that.

After we left, I thought more about it all and realized it probably would have turned out to be a terrible place to keep the horses. What was great: it was secluded, off a quiet rural road, then up a driveway that was about a half mile long. The entire 200 acres or so were fenced, and the driveway gated. Then each individual huge pasture was also fenced with 6 foot tall board fencing plus small mesh wire. Even small critters would have had a difficult time getting into the pastures.

The pastures only had 3 horses each, and the barn was immaculate. There were only 11 horses on the property. Every large stall had a large outdoor run. There was a huge indoor arena with great footing, and a huge outdoor arena with great footing, a round pen, and trails all around the property. It also was only about 5 miles from the beach and a person could actually ride over the mountain trails to the beach if they wished. They had top quality orchard grass hay.

Sounds great, right? Except I think it would not have been a relaxing place for me. Horses were not allowed to be turned loose in the indoor or outdoor arena, because they were not allowed to roll. I'm pretty sure that would be impossible for me to comply with, because you simply cannot stop Hero from rolling when he wants to. This rule was so important that they did not put a gate on the arenas, to ensure that horses were not loose. To me that seems a little extreme.

There were other signs that things had to be perfect. The barn aisles did not have any spots at all, which I can understand they were blown out and swept but it made me wonder if they actually washed them. Every halter was hung the same way, every blanket also. The arena footing was as smooth as glass, even to the edges. I like things nice and clean, but it made me wonder if boarders were allowed to actually use the place.

The other thing was that there were open pastures, and the horses were rotated around, so there was lush grass everywhere. Great, but also the horses were fed outdoors in feeders, flakes of that fine orchard hay twice daily. As you might have guessed, all the horses looked very fat, coming out of winter.

So in the end, I don't think I am missing out after all, not being able to board there...
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post #3313 of 3350 Old 03-08-2020, 12:49 PM
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You probably are not missing out. A little bit of mess goes towards a lot of fun. Lol. I like things tidy enough, but I worked once at an Arabian ranch. It had passed its heyday, but it was still the place for some spectacular horses and beautiful scenery.

I truly loved it, but the obsessiveness was draining. The grass was mowed in a pattern, there was not a piece of poop to be seen, and everything was repainted yearly. The tack was done weekly and so was all black in color from so much oil. One Sunday I did not pick up the poop from my dog (in my own yard mind you), because I was going out after completing the daily chores. I was in so much trouble!

It is best to be somewhere with a little leeway.
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Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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post #3314 of 3350 Old 03-09-2020, 09:19 AM
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These places sound like they are designed around a human's idea of horses...good thing Gotta looks at them from her horses' needs.

That said, my gelding is kinda a neat freak as well. He is always! clean. He must search out the driest place to roll, because I've never seen him plastered with mud in seven years. The horses in with him come in muddy, but he prances in clean. His stall is always the neatest, poop piled in the far corner. And if there's poop in the arena, he will leap sideways to avoid stepping in it.
These places would love him.
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post #3315 of 3350 Old 03-09-2020, 09:27 AM
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I often wonder how many people it requires to keep a horse farm completely free of poo. Like you see in pictures of the beautiful Thoroughbred stud farms in Kentucky. It must require a small army. I am mildly obsessed with poo picking right now because the spring melt has taken the snow away and re-exposed the layer of pure ice that is holding about a month worth of poo in place. It is disgusting to look at, but short of going out with a blow torch to melt it, I just have to wait for it to unfreeze to clean it up. I'm imagining a farm where someone is sitting in the pasture in a folding chair, reading a book and waiting for a horse to go to the bathroom to immediately whisk away the mess...
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post #3316 of 3350 Old 03-09-2020, 09:51 AM
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Lol @egrogan ! Actually we only cleaned poop once a day in the pastures, but because they were large pastures each with two horses, once daily left it seeming sparkling clean. In wintertime we took bars with us, and we barred the frozen poop off the ground.

My boss and I got along wonderfully, so we would visit as we broke poop and were great friends. It definitely took a couple hours each morning of poop collection before we rode. If we had horses in the stalls it took longer. That was cleaned twice a day and the arena cleaned by use. Alleyways and the like were cleaned immediately.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaam’s Donkey
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post #3317 of 3350 Old 03-12-2020, 04:28 AM
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I'm so glad we have dung beetles! I never pick up manure in the pastures unless I want it for compost or sheet mulching, or if it's in a particularly bad spot. Because there's so much area and there's the dung beetles most of summer, manure has not been a problem for pasture management etc. And I'm thinking of all the books I get to read because I don't have OCD!

Diogenes had the right idea - living in a barrel and reading his books!



That is a very cute mini youngster, @gottatrot !
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SueC is time travelling.
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post #3318 of 3350 Old 03-14-2020, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Having dung beetles must be nice.

Had to go help my sister put together some more quail cages this week. Once her hatched quail hit maturity it turned out she had 10 out of 15 that were male...bummer. The second they become mature, the males immediately begin trying to kill each other. So she had to have 10 separate cages in order to keep them from getting beat up.

The good news is that her Highland cows have fattened up nicely and are getting very tame. They stand at the fence and stick their tongues out, which means you are supposed to go and feed them a sleeve of saltine crackers. They also follow people around in the field begging to be brushed.

We are getting serious about moving to a less congested area, which means I will need to put off getting a horse trailer. I'm a bit nervous about finding new horse boarding. So far it seems I will have to drive an hour from the town we are moving to in order to find quality boarding. My guess is there are private people I may get to know after living in the area, but inquiries to the horse groups online have not brought up anything yet. Seeing the horses only two or three times a week may be a sacrifice I have to make, at least temporarily. In my opinion it might be better having them in a nicer place and seeing them less vs having them in a crummy place and checking on them more.

I realized something this week, quite amazing. When I took Hero out, groomed him and worked him, I realized: If I went to go see Hero right now, as a potential horse to buy, I think I actually would buy him. That might sound strange, but I remember very well going to look at him with Nala's owner and he had obvious reasons why I would not have purchased him. As a free horse for her boyfriend, he seemed an acceptable risk. The vet said he would be OK for trail riding. He had his hunter's bump, uneven hooves, dragged his hind legs at the walk, a skinny throatlatch, and turned out right front. He did not look like he had much athletic potential.

Yesterday when I was lunging Hero, he was springing off his hind legs at the trot, and I could not have seen that he touched down his hind toes without knowing when and where to stare. I am certain I would not have been able to pick it up if looking at a new horse for sale. He didn't drag his hinds at the walk at all. Riding him around a field, he had a couple small spooks, but I would not have guessed he bucked and reared sometimes. His hunter's bump is buried under rump muscle, there is no way to know about his past stifle issues, his hooves have straightened out, the turn on the right front is so slight you can barely see it and his neck has thickened.
All in all, I would have thought him a valid purchase, if I looked at him yesterday and did not know all of his past.

Not only that, he's getting more and more forward, sometimes just self-lunging himself rather than needing to be coaxed to move. I'll just stand in the middle and he'll trot prance and snort and arch his neck for five minutes. I'm beginning to think he may turn into a real athlete yet. I have cut him down to only half a pain pill (Equioxx), and may take him off it soon. It appears the amino acid supplement (Equinety) may be pushing him even farther along in muscle development, helping him feel even better.
Love this guy, it has been worth the effort so far.
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post #3319 of 3350 Old 03-14-2020, 04:13 PM
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As Hondo and I rested under a small tree while riding the North fence line.........


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post #3320 of 3350 Old 03-20-2020, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Here is a video from several days ago featuring Hero being lunged and ridden a bit.
I think he is moving well.

@SueC, Amore pops up here and there and hopefully you can see how her winter coat looks and her topline, general weight and such.


A couple of things about Covid: I saw a very old man being escorted out of the grocery store because he was coughing. I just hoped they made sure he got everything he needed first.

People seem to be afraid of nurses. Apparently a nurse went to the store on her way to work wearing her scrubs and someone hit her because they were afraid she had the virus. My uncle who is a nurse, thought maybe I shouldn't visit my parents in case I had been exposed. My hands will be clean and I will not be coughing or sneezing on my parents, or standing near them while speaking loudly enough to spray saliva. So it is a moot point.
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