Saturday, October 30, 2010

Another Nice Day With AJ

I turned Lilly out this morning without issue...  I stepped inside the stall and she backed up away from the door like a perfect lady.  I haltered her and we walked outside.  After she was turned her out was when she turned into a wild pony.  The horses she thought were in the bottom pasture were not there and she was NOT happy about that! 

AJ and I went for another trail ride this morning with M and her mare.  He was extra brave and crossed the water without much issue this time.  Baby decided she had better follow and M didn't even have to get off this time! 

When we initially left, Lilly went crazy again and ran and ran and ran, trying to give me ulcers I think.  She did calm down once we got into the trails but as soon as we got back to the barn and rode around the outside of the pasture, she just HAD to be close to us.  She followed us, nickering the entire time.  She found herself potentially being separated from us, so instead of allowing such horrors to occur, she decided to walk through the very large ditch with the very large rocks and then JUMP up over the part where the rocks were submerged in water.  It is an area where the horses never go, and never should go.  Well, the horses who care about their moms don't go there.  I just had to cover my eyes until M said I could open them.  She's trying to kill herself.

M says, "Wow, she's BRAVE!  And very talented!"  I was thinking something completely different than brave and talented.

AJ seemed to really enjoy his ride, but we only rode for about 30 minutes, all walking, and I could tell he was getting tired.  When I turned him back out, he walked down the hill to get a drink and then was a bit slow to make it back up the hill to get to the hay pile and his cookies.  The nights are getting colder and I wonder if his hocks are bothering him a bit more these days...

I'm still pondering my boarding situation...  I did some math and if I decided to do co-op, for pasture board it would cost me around $100 more than what I'm paying now to have the BO cover all costs and feed.  Co-op stall board would cost me $75 more than that.  Hay is the killer where the finances are concerned.  We're paying around $7 for a bale of timothy around here that weighs about 55 pounds.  Those figures all change when the pasture comes up or when AJ gets back to a weight I'm happy with, but I figure they're a good ball park estimate.

So for a lot less hassle (buying all this hay and grain and feeding with the co-op) and about the same price, I can move the horses to a full service pasture board facility...  assuming I can find one.  Again, the facilities here are amazing and I would love to stay, but I'm still going to look around and see what I can find. 

M and I have become really good friends and she said today that she doesn't want me to leave.  We're planning on doing some showing together next year and I think it would be a lot of fun, but I also have to do what works best for me and my horses.

On another note, AJ's coat looks fabulous!  I noticed today that he was super shiny and he hasn't been that shiny in quite some time.  His coat has lost its luster over the past few years and I even had him on Super 14 for a while, but I didn't notice any difference.  That Weight Builder must be helping his coat if nothing else!  Maybe now that he's eating the appropriate portion he'll start gaining weight too.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bad Horsey?

I noticed yesterday that Lilly had a pretty nasty scrape on her hip...  it wasn't just your typical "hair came off" scrape.  It was so icky I had to bring her in and wash it off.  It looks pretty good today, but she acts as though it's pretty sore.  Nothing catastrophic, but yet another boo-boo to add to the list.

A number of days ago I emailed the BO about the hay and boarding situation.  I was waiting for him to respond but he hadn't emailed or called as I had requested.  (Shocker!)  This morning when I went to the barn I found AJ standing on a pile of hay!  The BO had put a round bale out in the pasture for him...  wasn't that nice?  I should be happy, right?  Well, I'm not.  I think he found the WORST round bale he had on the farm and dropped it out there.  AJ was eating some of it, but there wasn't a lot of good stuff to be found.  Most of it was wet and dirty, and some of it was molded.  That's why I hate round bales...  they sit out and get ruined in the weather.  I'm trying to decide if I should ask him to remove it...  the last thing I need is for one (or both) of my horses to colic.

For those of you who feed round bales, do they just eat around the crappy parts?  I've never boarded anywhere that used round bales before...

On top of that, he also included this in his email:  "Lilly has been very anxious to get out of her stall in the mornings. She almost runs over me and has caught her side on the door latch. Just wanted to let you know to be careful. I have had to ease her out of the barn step by step."

Really? 

I don't doubt she's rushing out of the stall, since I found the nasty scrape on her hip, but you have to walk her out step by step?  Funny how she's been on stall rest since the beginning of August and I've NEVER had a problem with her rushing out of the stall.  I took her out of that stall every day.  Sounds to me like someone has someone's number...

So I told him to quit turning her out in the morning and I'll let her out when I go in the afternoon.  I prefer it that way anyhow.  I'll take my lead shank with me to the stall just in case, but I'm willing to bet she walks right out like the sweet pony she is.  Monday she'll be going back out on pasture board with AJ anyway, so there's only a few more days of this.

I emailed another boarding place, but I haven't heard back.  I've actually seen this one already but when I visited she only had room for Lilly.  Her gelding pasture was full.  She has another ad on craigslist for pasture board, so I'll give it a shot.

One other place that's a little on the high side has an ad for limited pasture board, so I may give them a call as well and see what they have available.  The pictures look nice, so it has potential.

This is all so frustrating...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Boarding Has Become a Pain

I love my horses...  oh do I love them!  Unfortunately, I don't have my own farm with a nice barn and pastures.  I must board...  Here lately, I've been cursing boarding barns and wishing I didn't have to board, but that would mean giving up my horses.  So instead I suffer with boarding.

The barn I was at until June of this year was nice.  The horses were pretty well taken care of and the facilities were nice.  A few things transpired that I didn't like, and I thought the cost was a little high for the area.  So I moved to a less expensive place with less than adequate facilities.  AJ lost weight, and I didn't have a decent place to ride.  The water only worked half the time, but the people there were really nice.  I only stayed there until August after finding the the place I'm at now....  For reasons we are all well aware of, I find myself shopping around for board once again.

What they all have in common is none of them are perfect. Is there such a thing as a perfect barn?  Probably not, but I'd like to get pretty darn close!

I looked at another place today and wasn't impressed.  It was the place I had the highest hopes for, but it was a bit of a letdown.  The horses looked to be in good shape, the fences were decent, and one of my favorite trails, the American Tobacco Trail, is very close by and accessible near the property.  The owner was very nice and said the boarders get together often and trail ride on the ATT.  They'll also haul off the property on a Saturday or Sunday and ride at other nearby places.  It sounded like a lot of fun, without a lot of drama. 

There are two 4 acre pastures, (and they looked smaller than that to me) and she keeps 5 horses on each one.  It seemed a little crowded to me...  She does put out round bales to supplement the grass, but there wasn't much grass to speak of.  Her ad said "lush, green pastures".  Umm, not quite.  It isn't a big deal, though, since she puts hay out.  There's a lean-to attached to the barn for shelter, but no designated area for grooming or bathing.  I'd be fighting off the other horses in the pasture to groom or give Lilly a bath (in the mud along the fence line).  She said I had the option of putting the 3 stall board horses in the stalls, and putting AJ in a smaller enclosed area while I work with Lilly, but who wants to do that every time I want to groom or ride?

There's no arena, but I'm free to ride in the pasture after doing the same thing noted above...  or I can ride in the side yard.  She said she's having an arena put up, but the area she showed me is quite small, and from what I gathered, the horses will still have access to that area.  Nothing like what I have at my current place.

She does offer a multiple horse discount, so I would be paying the exact same amount as I'm paying now.  She doesn't charge for trailer parking either.  I told her I'd get back with her in the next couple of days and let her know, but about 3 hours after our meeting, she called to say she had another person who was interested. She can only take on 2 more horses so she wanted to know if I wanted her to hold 2 spots for me.  Well I haven't decided yet, so I told her to show the property and let me know if the spots were still available.

I want my current place to work out so bad I could scream!  The place itself is perfect and has potential to be the best boarding barn I've ever boarded with.  Unfortunately, the BO makes sure everyone is miserable, including the horses.

I was chatting with AJ's pasture buddy's mom today and she's not very happy either.  I believe she's looking for other boarding barns as well.  If we all stayed, she'd be part of the co-op we've been talking about, but there would still only be 3 of us (so far).  One of them would feed in the AM, and the other in the PM.  I'd earn my keep by doing random chores like cleaning stalls, getting feed ready, filling water buckets, etc.  I just don't know if I want to do co-op...  I love the idea of my horses actually being cared for and fed, but boarding is also about convenience.  Sometimes I can't make it to the barn, and other days I just don't feel like going.  Maybe I'm tired, maybe I'm sick, maybe I'm on vacation...  the joys of boarding is that someone else is watching over your horses for you, feeding them, watering them and making sure you don't have to go every day.  If I embarked on this co-op, I'd have to go every single day.

I've thought about bringing AJ in on the co-op too, but not stalling him.  I'd pay the co-op price but leave him outside and only bring him in when we have really bad weather.  But again, I'd still have to go every day.

I have emailed the BO to see what my options are as far as perhaps a pasture board situation where I buy the hay and grain.  That way, the horses will get what I want them to get without having to beg or pay extra.  AJ and Lilly could be pastured together down the hill and all would be rosy...  I would still need him to feed them, though.

So many options...  none of them being perfect.  Perfect would be me paying the agreed upon price, the BO providing the services we agreed on (hay twice per day), and watching over my horses.  You know, to include things like calling me when Lilly is lame... 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Herd Dynamics

There has been some mare drama going on with the four girls.  Snowflake, the little Arab, got kicked in her girly parts and needed to stay inside for a couple days.  It wasn't Lilly who kicked her, but she got kicked because of the rift Lilly put into the herd when we turned her out.  I feel just awful!  So now they have been split up into pairs:  Baby and Lilly in one pasture, Toots and Snowflake in another.

As it stands now, Lilly won't let Baby anywhere near her.  Baby has squealed and kicked at Lilly too many times, so if Baby walks over to Lilly, she spins around and threatens to kick.  If Baby leaves her alone, there's peace.

On Saturday, Toots will be moving to a different barn, so I'm not sure if the plan is to put the 3 mares in together or what.  It doesn't sound like a good idea to me.  Lilly and Baby can't seem to get along, and if Baby keeps trying to claim Snowflake as hers, things could get ugly between Lilly and Baby.

I had been contemplating keeping Lilly on stall board and doing co-op with 2 other ladies in the barn.  If Lilly has to be turned out with Baby and Snowflake, though, that might not work.  I don't want anyone's horse getting hurt, but especially mine!  Putting her back out with AJ is probably the safest bet for now.  I'm sick of Lenny pinning his ears at AJ anyway...  my two get along great together.

I've been wanting AJ to get some hay because I don't see him putting much weight on, but the BO doesn't start putting hay out until December-ish, when he thinks the pastures need supplementing.  Although, I found out he's only feeding AJ one scoop of Weight Builder even though I told him TWO, and the feed chart in the barn says TWO.  Geeze...  And I can't just pay him extra to feed AJ hay because Lenny will eat it all for sure.  So if I moved Lilly out there, I could buy some more hay and feed hay to both of my horses until he starts putting it out.

I'm still looking for other places to board, but a couple came by this weekend to look at the place and seemed really interested.  I'm waiting to see if they want to buy the place...  And I heard some not so good things about one of the other places I was looking at, so the number of possible places are slipping away.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Little Bit of Turnout

I called and talked to the BO about turnout for Lilly. I don't want her out all the time, but I did want her to get some turnout that lasts longer than the hour or so I'm at the barn. We decided she could go out in the big pasture with the other 3 mares. That way, it's easy for him to bring her in at night, and we don't have to mess with AJ's pasture right now.

He said he was worried about one of the mares being a bit bossy, but we both hoped there wouldn't be any real fireworks. One of the horses she was going to be out with was M's horse, Baby, so I figured if nothing else, Lilly could hang with her for the day. They are stall neighbors, so I figured they were friends by now.

Here's Lilly introducing herself to the mare the BO thought might be an issue. She's an OTTB named Toots. :) (These are iPhone pics, by the way)

They simply sniffed noses for a while, and then they both went about their business. Whew!

Then they all got together by the fence, and everything seemed to be going well. A little bit of sniffing, but everyone was staying quiet.

They even walked up towards the barn together. 4 happy little mares!

I felt things were going well enough that I could leave and go clean Lilly's stall. That way I could keep an eye on things for a while longer. Eventually the horses split up, and Baby was doing her own thing. Lilly was with the other 2 mares and they were all eating peacefully.

Then Lilly decided to go back over to Baby. She had to walk all the way across the pasture to get to her. They touched noses and Baby squealed and struck out with her front feet. I guess Lilly's feelings were hurt because she wheeled around and attempted to double barrel Baby about 6 times! The poor girl had to scramble to get away! Just for good measure, Lilly trotted back over to her, turned her butt again, and threatened with one hind hoof.

Lilly is such a good horse as far as turnout goes. You can put her out with just about anybody, mares or geldings, and as long as they don't get nasty with her, she's perfectly content. Baby wasn't playing nice, so Lilly let her have it!

PLEASE don't get hurt, and PLEASE don't hurt anyone else's horse!!

I called M to let her know what was going on and she said Lilly and Baby had a spat before when they were turned out together. Baby is also in heat, but she just doesn't seem to want to be friends with Lilly.

Toot's mom called me a little while ago to make sure it was ok that Lilly was turned out. (Yay! Thank you!) She said Baby is being very protective of the Arab (named Snowflake), and she's charging at people... LOL She said she brought Toots in and Baby wasn't letting Lilly anywhere near Snowflake. So maybe this isn't going to work with Lilly turned out in there. Sounds like she put a rift in the herd dynamics.

Unfortunately, Toots is leaving tomorrow so there will only be Snowflake and Baby left. It'll be interesting to see how that all works out.

The lady who owns AJ's pasture buddy, Lenny, is going to bring him in off pasture board and do stall board with him for the winter. The BO has been offering self care board for $200 and she's going to do that with Lenny. I've been thinking about maybe doing that with Lilly too, so she's not outside all the time. I'm wondering if perhaps it will help mitigate any more injuries...

With my schedule I can't do self care board by myself. I need a co-op type situation so my horses get fed dinner. M was saying between the 3 of us, we could definitely work something out. The two of them could feed and I could clean everyone's stall to contribute my fair share. The problem is, what then do I do with poor AJ? He won't have a buddy down in his pasture anymore. I think there's one other gelding that is on pasture board, so he could potentially be AJ's buddy, but I really like having Lilly with him because she doesn't beat him up and make ugly faces at him. I don't know much about this other horse. He's fairly new.

So perhaps the co-op/self care thing is in the works.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Freedom Feels Good!

Lilly is officially off stall rest but we're trying to ease her back into full turnout so she doesn't end up doing something silly. I would appreciate it very much if she could be on pasture board with NO injuries.

Yesterday it rained, so she didn't get turned out, but I went over there today to give her some free time in the small paddock attached to the barn. I snapped a few pictures of her leg for posterity's sake. Here's the inside...

And here is the outside. I swear the ultrasound machine works wonders on her 'bump' because for the first time in about 4 weeks it isn't bulging out nearly as much. I don't think my minute massages helped that much over the course of 3 days...

That little scrape on her leg happened when the vet was shaving her for the ultrasound. It bled and bled... Her skin is definitely more sensitive in the areas where it has been beat and battered over the past year or so. I'm wondering if I should wait until some of her hair grows back before putting her back out on pasture board.

After a little bit of grazing, she decided to lay down in the grass and roll. She has a habit of bucking when she gets up, and today was no different.

Only she didn't stop...


Even though she was given the 'all clear', I wanted her to take it easy and not run around too much. So I hollered at her to settle down. She stopped dead in her tracks and gave me this look:

What do you suppose she's thinking? LOL

After a brief pause, she started running around some more, and before long she had the whole farm running around with their tails up!

You'd swear she's been cooped up in a stall for 30 days or something. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Animal Communicator

I've had a few conversations recently about animal communicators, and SillyPony asked if there was a post about the ones I had done on Lilly and AJ.  I had those readings done before I started this blog for Lilly, so there's no post, but I think it would be fun to share the results now!

I believe it was early 2008, and a lot of my horsey friends were having their horses done.  Most of them were using animal communicators on their horses to resolve specific issues and they had great success.  So I scheduled an appointment too, but I should note that I was doing this just for fun and I didn't have any specific issues to inquire about.  I simply wanted to see what my horses had to 'say'.  It was $50 for a 20-30 minute session with each horse.

Some of my friends said I was wasting my money and that these people are scam artists.  I suppose she could guess a bunch of stuff about horses in general and have it apply to a large number of horses, but I wanted to give it a try. 

I called the lady from a parking lot during my lunch break.  If I were to do it again, I'd want to be at the barn to watch the horses and see if there were any signs they were being spoken to.  She seemed really nice but wasted no time getting down to business.  She asked for my horses' names, their ages, and what color they were.  I guess the color was so she could make sure she was talking to the right horse.

We started with AJ.

The first thing she does is 'go inside' their body to look for medical issues.  She said AJ's bladder and lungs were working hard but his other organs seemed relatively healthy.  She said his vision was changing in his right eye, which I suppose could be true, but I later found the cataract in his left eye.  She said she saw a lot of 'gristle' and inflammation when she got to his hocks.  AJ told her his left hock is most sore, but applying cold helps.  I assumed this was related to his arthritis, but it seems like cold would have the opposite effect.  She also said his right hind ankle was big and stiff.  It is thanks to Lilly...  she kicked him there once and it hasn't been the same since.  He also told her to ask me to check him for a bean, which I did, and found two of them in there.  Sorry AJ!!  She also suggested I make an appointment for him with the chiropractor, which is still on my list of things to do.  I want Lilly and AJ to have an adjustment done.

Once the medical stuff was over, she started talking to him and said he has a very high opinion of himself.  He kept showing himself to her as a younger horse rather than how he looks now.  She kept seeing him in his prime, when he was muscled and shiny and he wanted her to acknowledge how nice his hindquarters looked.  She kept calling him AJ and she said he finally corrected her and said his name is actually Joker.  He doesn't mind that I call him AJ, but he wanted us to know his real name.  She said he's a trickster, has a great sense of humor, and his energy is much younger than his actual age (so true!).  She said if she had to pick a celebrity he resembles, she would choose Robin Williams.

She said he seems very smart and AJ told her he can do it all.  He told her that he made me earn the ribbons we won, and when I put people on his back that don't know how to ride, he only does what they make him do.  He misses the quality time we used to have when we were showing and he wants me to spend more time making him look handsome.  He doesn't mind being retired and living outside, but likes it best when there aren't bugs.  He also likes his food on time and enjoys when I scratch his withers.  

He is very jealous of "the bitch", which she figured meant Lilly, but AJ refused to call her by any other name.

She only knew his name, his age, and his color, yet she knew about his hock problems and his large ankle.  She knew we used to show, and that he is a handful for people who don't know how to ride.  He does have a great sense of humor and is very young at heart.  Lucky guesses?  Perhaps, but I enjoyed hearing what 'Joker' had to say.  :)

Lilly was next (of course).

At the time of the reading, Lilly was with a trainer.  I was taking lessons from him and he was using her to work some of the horses he had in for training.  They were problem horses and he was riding her in the round pen with them.  We were hoping it would build her confidence.  She was quite healthy at the time and this was before we encountered all her recent medical problems.

The communicator said Lilly had a sore neck, a sore right front ankle, and some areas of her teeth that were uncomfortable.  She also said Lilly had an injury to her left stifle that happened many years ago that still bothered her on occasion.  You may remember me talking about how she gets 'stuck' sometimes.  I'm not sure if that's her left or right side, but she also has a scar on her left stifle from an accident she had with a stall door when she was a yearling.  She tried to jump over the door and her back legs got stuck.  Other than those few things, she said she was healthy.

Once they started talking, she laughed and said that Lilly thinks she's hot stuff.  She had a hard time reading her because all Lilly kept saying was, "don't you think I'm pretty? I'm so pretty! Mom tells me I'm pretty!"  Everyone always tells her she's a pretty girl, and I guess it has gone to her head.  She's a bit of a prima donna and thinks the world revolves around her.  She said Lilly is very sensitive and loves being spoiled.  She said Lilly is a bit immature and her maturity level is that of a 5 or 6 year old.

She said Lilly kept going on an on about the horse trailer.  She said she always has to brace on her right side and she doesn't see a reason why I even have a trailer.  (Guess I'm stopping too fast?)  She said Lilly loves going to the shows because all eyes are on her, but there's too much fuss and nonsense that goes into preparing for them.  She gets tired of going round and round in the arena.  She especially hates it when horses come up behind her.  She thinks that's very rude and disrespectful.

This next part was very interesting and I didn't know what to make of it at first.  Lilly told her that sliding stops were painful and she hates doing them.  I told the lady that Lilly doesn't do sliding stops and I wasn't sure what she meant by that.  She said she wasn't sure, but Lilly wanted her to tell me so she could stop doing them.

She said Lilly loves me very much and that I have been a great mom to her since our very first day together.  Awww...  :)  

A few days after the reading, I was visiting Lilly at the trainer's place.  He was riding her and I was watching some of the things he was doing with her.  He started talking about how he thought she would be a good reining horse and said that he'd been working with her on sliding stops..........

That made me a believer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good News!!

It's great to be able to share GOOD news with everyone for a change!

But first things first...

The BO was at the barn this morning and we were chatting. He mentioned that he would like to talk to me about "what happened the other day" (referring to the blow up I was fortunate enough to witness). He said emotions were running high and a bunch of issues had just piled up until they all boiled over between the two of them. I know there are two sides to every story and I won't air M's dirty laundry here, but regardless, he's a business owner and he conducted himself poorly. He apologized to me and hopes that I will continue to board with him.

My biggest issue isn't with him personally, though. It's with the care (or lack thereof) that my horses seem to be receiving. I got to the barn today at 9am for Lilly's ultrasound, for example, and he hadn't fed her breakfast yet. He was there, just out in the field with the skid steer. Skid steer work on his own property before the work I PAY HIM FOR? So I fed her myself and I think he only drove up because he saw me at the barn. Yeah, hearing him yell and curse at people is the least of my worries. At least he apologized, I guess.

Now on to the FUN stuff!!

When the vet arrived we took Lilly to the arena so Dr Elaine could see how she looked trotting. We gave her a smidge of Ace beforehand so she would trot like a nice little pony. She did really good and looked 100% sound. That's nothing new, though, since Lilly has been sound for nearly 30 days. But, I'm still glad nonetheless.

She wanted to do Lilly's teeth next so we could do the ultrasound while she was still groggy from the sedative. Her teeth were really bad... She was done last fall, but they got pretty bad between then and now.  They haven't been affecting her food consumption (fatty) but I'm glad the sharp edges are gone.  Now she'll have a happier mouth!

Next we started the ultrasound...  it took forever to get everything set up and then for them to shave and scrub her.  Then it took even longer when she finally started scanning.  Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and asked how it looked in there.  She said the ICL measured 9mm where last time it measured 12mm.  So there's been lots of progress!  She said it looked really good and she didn't see any inflammation. 

Just to compare, we measured the check on her other leg and it was 8mm.  Dr Elaine doesn't think it will decrease to 8mm, but will probably stay at 9mm and that will be 'normal' for her.  Lilly still has a pretty big bump on her leg so I asked about the cause of that and she thinks it's just tissue of some sort.  It might always be there or it may go down.  We'll just have to wait and see.

So, this means no shock wave therapy!  She doesn't even think Lilly 'reinjured' her leg like we thought originally.  She thinks it was just inflamed and the rest healed her right up.

Since I've already paid for stall board for the month, we'll start turning her out for short periods of time for the next two weeks and then on the first of the month she'll go back out in the pasture with AJ.  She wants her to rest in the pasture (no riding) for another 4 weeks and then I can start riding her at the walk for a week and then gradually add work until we're up to full FLAT work.  She stressed FLAT work...  lol

No jumping for us, I can guarantee that!

She also wants me to massage the puffy area gently for about 1 minute per day just to see if we can get the swelling down.  I expressed concern regarding the look of the leg and how it might affect us at shows, but we can cross that bridge later down the road if she's still puffy around the ligament.

I also asked if she thinks this will be a reoccurring theme for Lilly.  She doesn't think so because of how nice everything looked on the scan.  She said the left leg looks just as 'good' as the right leg, so once we're past this hurdle, we should be in the clear.  (Please knock on wood, pray, or sacrifice a goat to help us make sure it really happens this time!)

So in about 6 weeks, I can start riding her again!  YAY!  That's a far cry from 3-6 months of stall rest!  To say that I'm beyond happy is a huge understatement!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Trail Ride With AJ

M and I met at the barn this morning for a trail ride we planned yesterday. I got there at 9:45 and chatted with the BO for a few minutes about something that happened yesterday (he locked up AJ's feed barn and I couldn't get to my supplements). During our conversation I also found out that AJ hadn't been fed yet... 9:45 and he hasn't been fed yet?

It was a little chilly this morning so I wasn't sure how AJ would be, but he was a pretty good boy. The trails were wide and clean and we only ran across a couple obstacles, one of them being a little creek. M's mare didn't want to cross, so she had to get off and walk her through the water. I was determined NOT to walk through the water, but I did get off and walk AJ to the water so he'd at least see that it wasn't as scary as he thought. Then I hopped back on and he reluctantly walked through the water. Good boy!


(This is SO not a good picture of him... but I had to post it!)
We only rode for about 30 minutes, but I spent some time with AJ after the ride and he fell asleep in the sunshine. :)

The BO also mentioned there has been no real interest in his farm. He's had it for sale since June and there have been no offers up to this point. I think he can only drop the price so much, so his options are limited. He said he's thinking about leasing the house and running the farm only as a business, not being directly involved, and making his home somewhere else. He said he's tired of coming out to the barn before work, working a 12 hour day and then having to come back out to feed again later. (Gee, I never would have guessed!) So that would mean turning the place into a co-op.

If that happened, I think I would stay put. It would depend on the price and what type of management was being done by the co-op participants, but we'd be responsible for our own horses and I wouldn't have to depend on him to do things he no longer has an interest in doing. M and I could share responsibilities and I think it would work out quite well.

I'm thinking about typing up an email to see if I can do the co-op thing now, or see how much he wants for self care stall board. Lilly will be on stall rest for quite a few more months at least, so if I could take care of her myself and buy grain and hay on my own, I think I could save some money. With AJ I think I'd be ok with the BO still doing 'full care' since he's with another boarder's horse. That way they both get fed at the same time until (if) we go to co-op.

The BO really is the problem, so if he was out of the picture, I think it could be heaven there!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

State Fair and Other Random Thoughts

My parents left to go back to Michigan this morning, but I had a great visit with them over the past couple days. I sure wish they lived closer so I could see them on a more frequent basis. My Dad could bring his horse down and everything! :)

The State Fair Quarter Horse and Paint show was Tuesday and Wednesday. I couldn't show but I wanted to go up there and watch so I could see what I was missing. By the time we got there at 12:30 on Tuesday, all the halter and showmanship classes were over. There were a LOT of them so I'm guessing the turnout this year wasn't very good.

We ended up watching the western pleasure and horsemanship classes. Those classes were also quite small. I think the biggest class had 9 horses, but most of them had 4 or 5. There were some pretty nice movers for a change, but a lot of them still bobbed their heads up and down... up and down. I try to defend my breed, but the judges and exhibitors make it challenging at times.

After the western classes we stayed to watch a few reining patterns. I used to have a horse that loved reining and he was really good at it (for the 4-H level we were showing), but these horses were quite good. It was fun to watch some speed for a change after seeing horses pitter patter around for 4 hours. :)

The co-op had put me on hold while they discussed whether I would be a good fit for their barn. The coordinator called me today saying they'd love to have me and they were going to split the pastures like she mentioned to accommodate my mare. I almost expect to see them wrinkle up their noses when they say that word... lol I kindly declined telling them that I would rather my gelding be able to stay out 24/7, but thanked her for her time and told her I would keep her in mind if anything changed. I don't plan to board there at all, but I don't like to burn bridges. She mentioned another co-op place down the road from her that does pasture board and suggested I put AJ there and keep Lilly at their barn. Then she remembered Lilly was a mare and had to retract her statement. Sooo... if I had any doubts, they're gone. I mean, what happens if AJ gets sick or something and HE has to go on stall rest? Or God forbid something happens to him? Lilly can't go outside because the boys can't handle it? I need to find somewhere that is ok with mares.

T minus 5 days until the ultrasound. Depending on what the results are, I'm still seriously considering having the other veterinary practice come out and give me a second opinion. I don't know if it'll do me any good because the treatment options really are limited, but someone else might have a different perspective or another prognosis.

Things at the barn have been quiet. 'M' has been giving Lilly some hay in the early morning and I turn out her mare when I go in the late morning. We stay in touch via telephone and email, so I'm a little bit more comfortable with things for now. She doesn't check on AJ but he's much more hardy than Lilly and I always check on him when I'm there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Co-op?

I went to the check out the co-op on Sunday afternoon. My first impression was that the place was a bit run down. The grass wasn't mowed, the fences didn't look very sturdy, and the barn was nothing fancy. The stalls weren't matted, but the essentials were there, and they appeared to be safe. There would be plenty of room to store hay, grain, and tack, but compared to the place I'm in now, the facilities were far from impressive.

The 'arena' was a grass area that used to be a pasture, where I would also park my horse trailer. And, there are cows... I'm a bit worried about those cows. Lilly doesn't like cows, and she and AJ would be pastured next to them.

The coordinator was REALLY nice and I enjoyed talking to her. The farm has some silly rules even though she kept saying how it was all about taking care of your own horses and doing what you think is best for them... as long as it doesn't go against any of the many rules they have in place. A lot of the stuff is common sense and it's sad that they actually have to spell it out for some people.

Bottom line, I don't think it's worth it for the price. Having to supply all my hay, grain, and shavings would add quite a bit to my board bill, and I don't think I'd be happy with the facilities there. AJ would also be required to be in a stall when the other horses are in the stalls. I don't want him stalled that much.

Also, because I have 2 horses I'd have to do twice the feedings as those with one horse. And I'd be going over every day to clean my stalls.

My dad suggested I stay where I am and go over every day to check on Lilly since that's what I'd have to do at this new place anyway. Then I wouldn't have to rely on someone to tell me when my horse is hurt or sick. I do that now, but I would like to go on vacation at some point, and things could happen after I leave that no one would call me about. I still want to move my horses. I don't like what I saw and what has happened and I'd rather spend my money somewhere else. It's a shame because my current barn is so nice, but I have to think about my horses.

I have a few other places to check out, but I'm going to double check with the vet before I make any decisions. I might just make due for now and wait until Lilly is off stall rest. Maybe by then the place will have sold... Until then, the black and white Paint mare's owner and I have agreed to take care of each others horses like they're our own. It should help ease my mind.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ultrasound Scheduled

Lilly's ultrasound has been scheduled for the 19th. Please cross your fingers that it shows progress so I can continue to rest her and hopefully not have to put her through the shock wave therapy. She's scheduled for a teeth float that day also, but if there's no progress on the ligament, I think I'll wait until the first shock wave session since she'll already be sedated... save myself a few dollars on sedative.

I think the swelling has gone down since the original injury, but it hasn't changed for the past couple weeks. Hopefully that doesn't mean there hasn't been progress in the leg.

She loves her mare friends!

Intrigued, but too hungry to stop chewing.  :)
My parents are coming down today from Michigan for a visit. They'll be here until Thursday, and were originally coming down to watch me and Lilly at the State Fair.  Even though that plan withered and died, they decided they'd still come down. The boarder with the black and white Paint mare plans to show, so we'll be able to go watch her and get our horse show fix.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Co-op

I had a few email conversations with the owner of the co-op facility I've been looking at and she put me in touch with the 'coordinator'. This evening she gave me a brief rundown of how things work over there.

Boarders clean their own stall and purchase their own grain, hay, and shavings. I used to keep my horses at a self care facility and found this to be a tiny bit annoying. Mostly because I didn't have anywhere to put the stuff I purchased, but also because I had to worry about running out of feed. I'll have to see what their setup is like. She did mention that the boarders usually go in on hay and buy a lot at once, so that would help because I'd probably have to use my horse trailer to get enough hay to make it worth my while if I had to find it on my own.

She also said they usually don't take mares. What is up with people not taking mares? I've run across this quite a few times in my worldly travels. They obviously haven't met MY mare. She's as sweet as pie!

She said their reasoning for that is because they have a few geldings who get attitudes when they're around mares. Sounds to me like it's the geldings who have a problem. Discriminate against them instead! :)

Anyway, she said since Lilly and AJ could be pastured together, they would agree to take her and put "buffer" geldings between my pasture and the pasture with mare hating geldings. Also, since my two would be together they could wear hind shoes. Otherwise hind shoes are prohibited so "no one gets hurt if they're kicked in the pasture". I never really understood that either, but luckily it wouldn't apply to me.

She said the only problem she can foresee is that if Lilly is on stall rest, she'd be alone in the barn during the day. There are tenants upstairs and I guess they don't want to hear her whinny for the other horses all day. She does pretty well where she's at now, but I don't know how long it would take her to get used to things there.

She said my work schedule shouldn't be an issue so I'm going to go look at the place on Sunday afternoon.

Anyone ever done a co-op before?  Right now I feel like I have to go to the barn every day (and I do while Lilly is on stall rest anyway), but if I moved here I really would have to go to the barn every day because I'd have to clean Lilly and AJ's stalls.  It's a bit closer, only about 20 minutes away, but it would still require a daily visit.

And I'll ask my vet of course , but does anyone think it's a bad idea to trailer her and move her while she's supposed to be resting?  She will have had her ultrasound by then, so maybe I can make a decision about moving after we see how her ligament is doing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some Fun Photos

Because I know I could use a smile!





In barn related news, I got a call this morning from the mare owner (her mare is pictured above... lol) that got kicked off the property the other day. She said she and her husband went over to talk with the BO yesterday and smoothed things over a bit. I guess he's a better listener when there's a hubby around. Her mare was back in the stall today and I guess she gets to stay. She said she'll probably still look around for something else, but the barn is only about 3 miles from her home, so it's really convenient for her. I wouldn't want to give my money to someone who talks to me the way he spoke to her, and I'd still be worried about my horse, but it's of course up to her.

She's not sure if she was able to talk any sense into the BO or not. He just seems to think he knows best and he'll do what he wants even after she tried explaining to him that we PAY him to do what we say with our horses. He can do what he wants with his own, but not ours. Not if he wants to keep horses at his facility. I don't see him changing... especially since the place is for sale. At this point he really isn't invested in the business anymore.

For now we agreed to keep an eye on each other's horses. She said she'll call me if she sees Lilly with an injury since we can't depend on the BO. I'm helping her with her mare also... today I took her blanket off and turned her out. We figure maybe between the two of us we can make it work for now.

She told me he asked about me and wanted to know if I was leaving. She told him that he scared me but that she didn't know if I was going to stay or leave. She told him that his actions weren't the best way to keep clients in the barn. I sure hope he doesn't confront me before I get all my ducks in a row... I don't want to have to lie to him, but I also don't want to tip him off either.

I have two potential new places.

One is a co-op that only does stall board. The horses are out during the day and in at night. I don't like the idea of AJ being stalled even for a few hours because I'm afraid his arthritis will bother him. Since I work second shift I'm not sure how well that would work with the co-op situation either, but I'd still like to go visit the place and talk with her about options.

The other place sounds really nice, but she doesn't have any stalls available. She has pasture board, but the barn is full. She said we could probably set up a small area to keep Lilly confined until she's better, but I'm not sure I want to go that route. So maybe it'll be somewhere I can move them both once Lilly is cleared for turnout again. I don't want to have to wait that long, but I would really like to find a great place for both of my horses where we can stay for a long time. I plan to go check out that place too.

Hopefully I can see one or both Saturday morning before I go to work.

Regrets

I wanted to start out by showing you a cute picture of Lilly before I start complaining. At least that way I can say I posted something nice today.

Ahhh!
There's nothing quite like a good roll when you've been cooped up in a stall for 19 days! I just love how far she's stretching out that top lip of hers... that's how you know it's good stuff!

So I feel pretty safe speaking openly... I can't think of a way that any of this could get back to the BO, and I'm not posting anything that isn't true, so it really doesn't matter even if it does. And I need to vent, especially after what happened this weekend.

A few short months ago I was contemplating a move... I was trying to decide if I should move the horses to my current location or leave them where they were. I weighed the pros and cons and decided to go ahead and do it. I remember saying, "I hope I don't regret this..."

Well I do.

Everyone is well aware of what Lilly and I have been through over the past 2.5 months, but to summarize: Loose shoe, ripped hoof, abscess, cellulitis, and now a reinjury of her ligament. Aside from the pain and suffering Lilly has endured, I have spent large amounts of money nursing her back to health.

And let's not forget the sacrifice AJ made with his tail.

I moved her so I could ride on a frequent basis and enjoy all the amenities this barn had to offer. As it turns out, I have only been able to ride a handful of times and the only amenities I've been able to enjoy are the stalls and the wash rack. Lots of time spent in both of those places...

While I hate placing blame, and the 'what-ifs' and 'if onlys' don't do me any good now, I know my horse and I know what happened to start this giant snowball.

I requested that my horses be given 3 days to get used to the goats and despite my request, the goats were put in the pasture that night by the BO. Lilly ran around terrified of the goats, stepped on her shoe, ripped her hoof, developed an abscess, got cellulitis, and reinjured her ligament. It's all because my original request was ignored.

I'm a bit of a doormat... I don't like confrontation and I don't like to stir the pot. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and I hate thinking my request was deliberately ignored, but I don't know what else to call it. He agreed to my face and then went ahead and did what he wanted only a few hours later.

Lilly had been really lame for 3 days before the BO decided to tell me he thought she was lame. At that point, I was already treating her. He didn't call me when she developed cellulitis, so she stood around for an extra 24 hours without treatment until I saw her the next day. And now she hits her face hard enough on something to cause a softball sized area of swelling and I don't get a phone call. Each time something like this happens, I ask him to call me if he ever sees anything like this again. He never does.

I'm terrified of not going to the barn every, single day. I'm afraid of what I'll find when I get out there the next day. I find huge pieces of hoof missing, I find sloughing skin, and I find swollen faces.

Aside from those issues, I fought him tooth and nail about getting the goats out of AJ's pasture. It took AJ getting his tail chewed off (plus a few days after that even!) for him to agree to move the goats out of the pasture.

Lately I've been hearing gossip around the barn, but I've been trying not to take it too literally.

I heard rumors that sometimes the horses don't get breakfast... and I recall one day where Lilly seemed hungry. Her stall was a mess and she didn't have water. I never dreamed it was because she wasn't fed, but now I'm pretty sure that was the case.

I heard the BO does what he thinks regardless of what the owner wants done with his/her horse. Boarders have asked that their horses be kept in, but the BO decides it ok to put them out regardless. One horse ended up with a terrible sunburn on her nose that bled because the BO put her out despite the fact that her owner wanted her left in.

I've heard the BO thinks we baby our horses and we coddle them too much. "They're horses, not babies!" Perhaps that's why he doesn't bother to call any of us when our horses are injured? Perhaps he figures they'll be just fine. I don't know if he's seen mine lately, but she seems pretty dang fragile to me!

One boarder has already left, one gave notice, and yesterday when I was at the barn, all hell broke loose. The BO and a boarder had some type of special arrangement with her horse and each one claims the other didn't hold up their end of the bargain. Long story short, the mare went without food for the entire day and the conversation got really heated, really quickly. Between the yelling and screaming, the BO decided she was no longer welcome there and told her to essentially (in not so many kind words) "get her horse off his property by tomorrow morning". I'm not certain, but I think the 30 day notice thing works both ways, and the mare's owner said she wasn't going anywhere, that she paid board for the month and she can't just find a new barn in less than a day. The BO kicked her out of her stall and told her to put her horse out in the pasture (with a missing shoe) and to get her stuff out of the tack room.

It was bad, bad, bad...

I was trying to get my stuff done as quickly as possible and get the heck out of dodge. I was finishing up with Lilly when the BO stormed over to me and demanded I tell him what the mare's owner has been telling me. I was taken aback and a little fearful of what was transpiring and told him I didn't want to get involved. I gathered up my stuff, told the mare owner to call me if she needed anything, and left.

So yeah, now we come full circle with that whole regret thing.

Had I left my horses where they were, I'm confident I'd be taking Lilly to the State Fair next week and we'd be happy as clams. Instead, she's on stall rest and I'm feeling very anxious about where my horses are being kept.

There isn't anything I can do about what has happened thus far, but I can make sure nothing else happens in the future. I've decided to move my horses out of there.

The problem is, now I'm afraid to give my 30 day notice!! I'm afraid of what he'll say to me, or what he might do. I'm contemplating giving him my 30 day notice on the first of November and forfeiting my deposit as board for the month. That way I can give notice and get the hell out of there on the same day to avoid any conflict, but I don't know if that's a good idea or not...

This is assuming I can find another barn that will take a layup and a gelding that needs pasture board and 50 pounds.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yet Again

It was a busy weekend. Between baby showers, work, and football, I had to find a few hours to squeeze in my sweet Lilly. On Saturday something had to give and I wasn't able to get to the barn before work.

I should know better than to skip a day at the barn. When I don't go check up on Lilly, I find something horrendous the next day. The first time I didn't go was when Lilly had stepped on her shoe and ripped off a huge chunk of her hoof. The second time was when she was battling cellulitis. So what did I find this time? Oh, just this on her face:

I was actually much bigger (so I'm told) on Friday night and all day Saturday. I visited her on Sunday and found a giant area of swelling on the side of her face. It was so big that her halter barely fit... if I didn't know better, I'd say it looked like someone balled up a fist and punched her in the side of the face. It was about the size of a softball. I didn't have my camera with me then, and the swelling has gone down quite a bit today, thank goodness, so it isn't as noticeable. She must have whacked her face on the hay rack in her stall or something, but I was concerned that she might have broken a bone because it's right around the area of her sinus cavity.  Since the swelling was down quite a bit today, I think it's just a soft tissue injury.

She also had some fairly minor-ish scrapes on her back leg which caused her leg to swell up quite a bit. You can see them in this picture I took of her today.

Oh, and the whiteboard that's attached to her stall, that says, "Please call if there are any issues with Lilly (along with my cell phone number)" is still there, but strangely I never got a phone call.

It also says "No turnout" but I found out the BO has been letting her out to eat grass while he cleans her stall every morning. I shouldn't worry, though, because she just walks around...

Two very specific instructions, neither of which are followed. More on this later...

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Small Visitor

A few days ago, family of a close friend of mine was in town. I had been trying to find time for her sister to come meet my horses, since she is a horse person herself, but we haven't been able to sync up until now. The whole family decided to visit the barn to meet Lilly and AJ. My friend's son, Dashel, was the star of the show.

He has never seen a real horse up close before, but does a pretty good 'whinny' when prompted. :)

I thought he would be hesitant once he was face to face with Lilly, but he had no fear. He wanted to feed her cookies and even sit on her back.

Mmm!  Cookies!
Lilly was such a good girl. She has very little experience with children, but when they're around, she's very quiet. When Dashel sat up on her back, she stood like a statue, and didn't move until he was off. She was watching him the whole time, as you can see in the pictures.

Making sure Dad is ok with this.

He needs a cowboy hat!
He even agreed to give her kisses. It was so sweet, and I love the look on Lilly's face here. :)

Aww, giving Lilly kisses!
In ligament news, there still isn't any news... As Funder pointed out, no news is good news! Especially since any news where Lilly is concerned is usually bad. Our track record isn't so great here lately. She's still resting in the stall but we've had a lot of rain, so I haven't been able to hand graze her. Hopefully she's still relatively calm when I hand graze her tomorrow.