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I don’t have to spend much energy on it here @egrogan. The tractor cleans the horse corral once or twice a year, and it’s never a problem.

I however spend a ton of time in Mama Pepper’s pen thinking about poop. Today, for example, the corral is a mess. I try to keep it perfect daily, but I had COVID, and I got behind, and then I was getting it back where it should be when the snow hit. Now, because I keep it so clean, it’s down to hard pan. So, the corral collects water and won’t drain. Mama is currently living in a puddle, excepting her barn which I had not caught up after Covid.

I’m hoping it drains out in the next few days. I can’t put her anywhere else, because Queen is horsing again and I have her in the calf pen and the calves in the extra corral.
 

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Discussion Starter · #566 ·
@TrainedByMares, it's true, once I pick up the last pile of poo I feel real a sense of satisfaction. When I'm cleaning up horse poo, I've sometimes thought about how all across the world, there is this crazy group of people who are doing the same thing.

That is funny how you all have clean mares and mine have always been messy. My friend has a gelding that she can put in a stall and he will keep all of his poop and pee in a tiny corner, even piling the poop into a tower. We wonder how he can pee in the corner. Somehow he aims over there. The same friend had a mare who dipped her hay in the water trough and made a green soup, and then dropped the mucky hay all over the shelter.

Amore used to poop in the water buckets, and Halla would usually leave at least one pile of poop mixed in with her hay (in the main hay pile, not the separate "special" pile she pulled aside to pee on). Amore would also sometimes poop on top of fence boards. Halla would poop in her grain pan too. Aria even sometimes pees in Hero's shelter, which seems despicable since he would never do that.
 

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I pick the paddocks and the heavily pooed portion of the big pasture. When its all clean, I feel like a victorious General looking out over the battlefield. What a feeling of accomplishment! Lol
I believe the horses appreciate it, @gottatrot . If I keep up with it, they poo in the same areas. If those areas fill up, they choose new areas, making the job much more difficult.
Sometimes while I am picking , they will walk a good distance to come over to where I am and drop another one perhaps to 'help me out'! 😄
 

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Discussion Starter · #569 ·
@TrainedByMares posted a pic of the fruits of hard labor...here's mine, LOL. I usually get two of these every three days.

Most people at my barn leave the manure in the fields, but if I did that my field would be muck instead of grass (like many of the other fields). In my opinion, less than an acre for two horses is just a paddock, and that means the manure has to be picked up.
But it's a lot of work, and I can see why some others just clean out their shelters and leave the fields.
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We were talking about riding on the roads on another thread, and I've thought sometimes it is helpful to have the horses boarded next to a road. The feed store next to us means there is a lot of traffic up and down this road, which I think is helpful for Aria. When I ride the horses down the road, they are simply seeing the cars and trucks that go regularly by their field, so it doesn't bother them. Sometimes Aria looks up at Hero, but since he was a track horse, vehicles don't get to him. So he is helping teach her that cars are no problem.

Hero used to react badly to headlights. A couple years ago when I was riding him at the beach one night, every time a car drove up to us with headlights in our face, he reared. Usually I don't care what observers think when I'm riding, but good grief. The barn owner drives down her driveway a lot at night, so I guess he has grown used to the lights now.

I did some ground driving with Aria last night, and then took the horses out for a short ride down the road. One of the boarders drove up behind us, and she wouldn't go around even though I waved my arm for her to go ahead. Hero just plodded forward, and I thought there was plenty of space, but I guess she was in no hurry. Finally there was a pull out area so I got the horses off the road, and then she went by.

Hero was tied to the shed while I worked with Aria nearby. When I went to saddle him up, I found that his lead rope was attached to the shed, and he was unclipped and grazing next to where he was supposed to be tied. Not sure how he managed that!

Although I miss having a fast ride, it's good for Hero that I can saddle him up, hop on and go out to explore. He was very interested in going out tonight, wanting to have a sight-seeing adventure. Aria was less eager, thinking that after her driving session she should just go in and eat some hay, but she got into the mood after a few blocks.
 

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We call a horse afraid of lights “twiterpated,” and General was the worst I’ve seen. One day we were trotting out to the cows before even that hint of sunrise, because the roads were too bad to get a trailer down. My grandpa kept shining a flashlight back behind him. I know he was trying to be kind and worried about everyone, but the road was soooo slick in mud, and we were trotting out fast, and my horse kept trying to buck every time he shined that damned light backwards. He didn’t know what was happening because he would see we were there and turn back around. General went down a couple of times in the mud because of it.

It was a very rare time that I was irritated with my grandfather. I was ready to shove that light somewhere else dark by the time we’d covered the miles we had to before the sun even rose and we started our job! Eventually, like Hero, General got over his hatred of lights, although he never did appreciate them.

My mom always shines a flashlight into a dark trailer for the horses to “see,” and since General it annoys the crap out of me. Lol

I can see Queen is going to hate lights too.

Hay trucks are always loading semi’s in our yard, and tractors in the summer, and I think it helps out too. Queen has a phobia of motorcycles, but that is because people have a tendency to run mustangs on motorcycles for fun, and I’m sure that’s something she’s experienced on the mountain. No other vehicles bother her yet, but we haven’t come across a helicopter either. I was afraid Cash would be frightened of them, but he could care less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #571 ·
@Knave, that's very interesting. It's funny that my "twitterpated" arabs didn't mind lights.

I think even though they herd the mustangs with helicopters, some horses end up desensitized to them. Kind of like how you can run a horse with a lunge whip, but the horse ends up not afraid of a lunge whip. An acquaintance took a mustang to the beach after only three rides, and a coast guard helicopter landed nearby on the beach. The mustang didn't care at all, he'd seen helicopters a lot and it didn't impress him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #573 ·
Reading about @egrogan's issues with Cushing's...it almost makes me feel guilty, but I know it's natural that I have a feeling of relief that I don't have to deal with the issues anymore.
Of course when I had Amore, I was happy to take care of everything. But occasionally it occurs to me when I'm cleaning healthy hooves and they aren't always trying to deteriorate, and when I think about not having to shed out a Cushing's horse in the spring, that it is nice to not have to deal with those things anymore.

I've felt the same after having an old, incontinent dog finally pass away. It's not just the work, but also the worries about how they are feeling, and if you'll be able to keep them comfortable. You love them and don't begrudge any of the hard work they cause, but it is still a relief when you are free from that.

Especially it is good to know that my old horse passed quickly over to the other side and I was able to keep her healthy and happy until the very last day. It's so much work, and it is worth it. And it's a big burden off your shoulders when that responsibility is over.

Between the thrush, the coat shedding difficulties, and Amore's sweet itch, she kept me busy. There was also her club hoof that had to be managed carefully. I ended up doing very well with that. Still, it was a lot.
I expect Hero will have issues in a few years as he ages, due to his anatomy and stifle problems. Plus his typical TB hooves. But for now we're all in fairly good health, and it's a nice reprieve. Don't tell "Murphy" I said that (I believe in Murphy's law).
 

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I understand. My old cat has felt that way. She was a mean thing by nature, but nice to me. The last few years she would poop and pee in someone’s dirty clothes if the did anything to offend her. She couldn’t attack them anymore, and it felt a relief to not continually be cleaning that up.
 

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Don't feel guilty @gottatrot. After my experience with Maggie, who is so difficult to manage because of the Cushings/IR, I am pretty sure I will never take on another horse that is showing a tendency to be cresty/overweight. I've never had a hard keeper, but I know I never want another truly "fat on air" type. The Cushings I feel like is sort of inevitable, at least in Morgans, when they get up into their late 20s. But the insulin resistance stuff, the constant obsessing about turnout and fat pockets and sore feet, I'm not up for that again once we no longer have Maggie. I have thought about a pair of donkeys as companions, and lovely husband would really like to get them, but I just can't knowingly take on another equine where I'm constantly worrying about restricting grass.
 

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I feel for those of you who face it. We’ve never owned a cushings horse, although I was beginning to wonder as the old paint horse hit his 30s. He was put down somewhere around 32 or 33, so it never became an issue worth forcing, as he was so old.

When I worked at the Arabian ranch there were two cushings horses. Both were in their 30s, and neither difficult to manage as your own. They were actually in very good shape. One was 33, and the boss’s step son rode him on littler rides, and he was as solid as they come. The other I never saw ridden, but she was also sound and happy. We had them vetted bi monthly, if I remember correctly, and they were easily managed.
 

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In a previous post @gottatrot you mention that you find horses interesting. That comment got me thinking, because I find them interesting as well. I asked myself, what do I find most interesting about horses? I find communicating with them to be the most fascinating. In the beginning of our time together, Nicki did not have an idea of what I was doing when I hugged and kissed her. Over time, she has learned that when I do that, I am telling her that I love her. I vocalize this as well. I know she has learned that this means what it means because she has reached the point where she will nuzzle me gently or lean into it gently in return (if she feels in a loving mood). We are communicating! There are many other examples but you get the idea. Communicating effectively and working as a team is pretty neat for a four-legger and a two-legger to learn. What do you find most interesting about horses?
 

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My mom always shines a flashlight into a dark trailer for the horses to “see,” and since General it annoys the crap out of me. Lol

I can see Queen is going to hate lights too.
I read in Equus Magazine that it takes 45 minutes for a horse's eyes to adjust to a change in light, whereas it takes people about 3 minutes to adjust. The article was about taking horses into indoor arenas where there is low level lighting. The riders need to be more aware that the horses' eyes have not adjusted. If this is true, I can see why you would hate lights shining and blinding the more sensitive horses.

What I find most interesting about horses is their varied personalities. I also like listening to them and pretending that they are communicating with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #579 ·
I love communicating with horses too, and I think many on the forum here do what many people don't do with horses, which is have a two way conversation. I think many people just "talk" at the horse but they don't listen to hear what the horse has to say. But horses have a lot of interesting things to tell us.

Like @knightrider, I also think horses have such unique personalities. I'm learning about who Aria is, and finally am understanding more about who Hero is. It takes time to really get to know a horse. But you really need to understand a horse's personality in order to figure out their motivations and what they enjoy doing or resent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #580 ·
Today was hoof trimming day.

Aria has about an inch left of the old, poorly connected/rippled hoof wall left to grow out. Everything above that is smooth and tight from having good nutrition and regular hoof care.

She had a lot of imbalances and flares when I got her, due to being ten years old and never having her hooves trimmed. This was the first trim where she was able to hold her hind legs up well for me. I think it is a combination of things. She is stronger, her opposite hoof feels better, she is starting to trust me, and she's figuring out how to balance weight on the other hind leg. It's funny how challenging it was for her.

She has good hooves now heading toward great. Hero's are always trying to get unbalanced due to his conformation and movement, so he needs frequent intervention.

Aria's hoof walls are 3× thicker than Hero's. I firmly believe bad TB hooves are largely due to genetics. Generations of breeding horses with bad hooves. I've looked at many old photos of famous TBs and the hooves were no consideration in breeding horses on, if they had speed. Even Man O War's right front was a lot taller than the left.

Hero's hooves are pretty good for a TB, don't get me wrong. Farriers I've known would say "great." But he would never be able to trot a half mile down a gravel road barefoot without flinching a bunch of times and probably getting a stone bruise and chips. Something most Arabs and Mustangs can do, and most TBs cannot.

I was thinking today about how nice it will be to have a trained driving horse. We were talking on another thread about how to get SOs on rides, and I was thinking about how it is much easier to have a less experienced person drive a horse. They don't have to be feeling particularly rested, or brave. It's not physical exertion like climbing into a saddle, riding, and no concerns of falling off.

Another great thing is that you can take people for a drive who don't know how to ride. You can take friends who are visiting and are only mildly interested in horses, a child, or a person not physically capable of riding.
 
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