Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Sad Goodbye To An Old Friend

" Donnie "

We had to say goodbye to our sweet boy Donnie last Saturday.  Sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning, Donnie coliced.  When my daughter came in to feed that morning, the front door of the barn was slightly open, and he was not in his stall.  Somehow he'd slipped out under his stall guard. At first she thought maybe he'd just escaped, but then she saw the grooming stall where he'd pawed up some of the rubber pavers and urinated.  Something was very wrong. She went in search of him found him down the hill by the indoor arena in a sheltered area laying flat out on the grass.  He was in bad shape. His face was scraped and he was covered in sweat and mud, thought he mostly lay still and moaned by this point. 

With an ultrasound, the vets located a "surgical lesion" in his small intestine and they decided since it was in his small intestine he had a decent chance of surviving with a simple surgery.  The horse ambulance came and took him to the clinic.  The surgeon found two lipomas, one of which had strangled a large section of his intestine, killing it. We were offered the option of attempting a resection, with the understanding that there would be no guarantees, a long, hard recovery, and a possibility of chronic colic to follow.  Difficult as it was, we chose to let him go.  He was 19-20.

Donnie has been with us since he was about four. Even as a young horse, he was always a gentleman. But more than that, Donnie seemed to genuinely love everyone around him. He was everyone’s best friend--horse, dog, and human alike.  Donnie was the first one to nicker a friendly good morning to you each day.  He watched out for all his horse buddies, worried about them when they were upset, and tried to help whenever one of them was sick or in trouble.  Donnie did develop some issues and couldn’t be ridden, but he had lots of fun playing clicker games, longeing, and tangling burrs in his tail which would take hours of grooming to remove ;-)  He was the sort of horse that was eager to learn and tried hard to please. He was pleasant to work around, with perfect manners and a friendly disposition.  He was always up for a good scratch or an ear rub, and if you weren't paying attention he'd give you a (friendly) nip on the behind! It was impossible not to love Donnie.  His nature made him the sweetest, kindest and gentlest horse we’ve ever known.  Donnie loved affection and if you hugged his neck he would hug you back, wrapping his neck around you and squeezing.  Donegal will be missed by all of us, especially Sami, his best buddy.

Donnie had a good life with us and enjoyed his time with his friends, but it’s still never easy to say goodbye to such a special horse.  We are going to miss him being with us everyday. The barn seems especially empty without him, and quiet without his friendly nicker in the morning.

 A Slideshow of Donnie
"Wild Horses" by Ray La Montagne


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rosie’s First Week

Rosie taking a look around
Rosie arrived Thursday, (Nov.9th) and we let her take some time settling in.  Since this will be her forever home we want her to be comfortable with her surroundings and have a good experience with everything in the beginning.
Rosie & Sami

Friday we rotated one of the boys in with her at a time to let them get acquainted one on one.  Donnie was in love as usual with any mare.  We don’t call him Don Juan for nothing!  Unfortunately, she was in heat and he kept mounting her, which she didn’t seem to mind. But enough was enough after a while and we put Sami in with her.  They seemed to get along the best. Sami is very calm and not annoying so all was quiet between them.  Grady was next and it looked as if she didn’t really like him from the start and they sort of kicked out at each other for a while.  In all fairness to Grady she kinda started it.  Maybe it was too much action in one day for her.  So Blue didn’t get his turn because we brought them all in for the night.

Last Saturday Rosie went to her paddock and we introduced Blue to her.  That went very well for a while and they seemed to get along just fine.  Blue  got a little studly at times and acted like he might be stallion material (which he definitely is not)! When it looked as though she had had enough of him we switched her little buddy Sami in and all was peaceful.

For the remainder of the week, since she was still in heat, we put her and Sami in the small paddock.  Everyone could see each other across the driveway and get used to the idea of a new horse.  It seemed to work out well and the boys started to lose interest eventually. 

Today, Saturday, we decided it was time to put them all together to get acquainted up close and personal.  Sami and Rosie went out first and we let her explore her new surroundings for a while.  Then we turned Blue out and he didn’t seem too interested in anything but his hay basket.  Next in was Donnie then Grady. Donnie was very interested in making friends.  Grady…not so much, the hay basket was calling his name.  Once Blue noticed that Donnie and Sami were hanging around her by the run-in shed he decided to claim her for his own.  He chased Donnie and Sami off and he tried to herd her around, which she took exception to, and threw a few warning kicks in his direction.  After the initial meet and greet Rosie decided she might like to explore some other fields and had quite a conga line following her around.  She is curious and very sensible and calm. 
Adventuring out of the catch pen for greener pastures

Donnie, Sami & Rosie

The herd figuring out what to do next

Rosie checking out more things with her followers

This was Blue's basic position with her all day...what a pest

There was one time they all broke into a canter as a herd in the second field.  Rosie missed the exit ramp over the culvert and wound up in the corner.  The rest of the herd thundered through the culvert only to realize she was no longer with them.  This led to an impressive U-Turn by the herd as they went back to stalk reunite with her. 

So for the most part they’ve been grazing and Rosie has been exploring her new surroundings.  Blue has been right up her butt the whole day and I’m sure it’s getting on her nerves by now.  No girl likes to have a personal stalker!  But all in all the whole day went very well and in time they will all get used to one another. 

Quote for Today

The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.  ~Sharon Ralls Lemon

Saturday, November 11, 2017

And So...

 Well, I finally rode last Saturday.  In fact, I rode two horses.  My daughter and I took the ferry across Long Island Sound to visit an old friend of ours on Long Island, N.Y.  We’ve known her for over thirty years. She has a sale barn that she has owned and sold horses successfully from for decades. My daughter used to work for her in her teen years, helping to train the horses that came in, and over the years we've also found quite a few of our future herd members in her stable. Recently, I contacted her to see if she had anything that might suit my criteria: calm, not spooky, trained in the basics, solid at the mounting block, etc..

     It just so happened she had gotten a horse in off a lease that was perfect for me. A handsome warmblood/paint, he was a kind, well-trained, and quiet gentleman.  So I decided to go down and give him a look.  Our friend has an uncanny ability to match horse and rider with great success.  I saddled him and took a ride around the arena. This wonderful horse was everything she said he would be.  The only problem I had with him was that he was just a little bigger than I wanted.  Even though I used to ride a 17.2hh Dutch Warmblood for years, then a 16.2hh paint, I felt that at this time in my life I would be more comfortable with a smaller horse.  So sorry to say I had to pass on him, although I’m sure he would have been a good addition to our herd.

     There was another horse I had seen on her website that I liked, though I wasn't sure she'd be a good match.  An 11 year old chestnut quarter horse mare out of the Zippo Pine Bar line named Good Bar Rosita.  As long as we'd made the trip, we decided to tack her up and take a look. I took her to the mounting block where she stood like a statue, something I was impressed with after all of Dusty’s antics.  Once I easily mounted up and rode her around for a while I knew she was the one I wanted.  Comfortable, quiet, and listening to cues like a pro.  I fell in love with her.  She is smart, willing, and very sweet.  I decided to talk it over with my daughter on the way home instead of committing then and there as I wanted to get her opinion on Rosie before making the deal. My daughter is an experienced trainer with a good eye for conformation and great sense of a horse's general demeanor.  She thought she was a good match for me and that we fit well together.  I decided to go for it.

     Rosie arrived here at the farm Thursday.  She unloaded and walked to her new stall without a fuss and after taking a look around started chowing down on her hay.  After letting her settle in for a bit we took her out to the small paddock to let her graze for a while.  She could see the boys across the driveway over the fence.  After some requisite snorting and cantering she settled down for some grazing and a nice roll.  The boys were very interested in this new horse.  They are a quiet, well-behaved herd and mostly nickered a little and looked at her.  When they got bored they all left for the back fields and Rosie got a little silly, calling for them and running a bit.  We took her in and then got the boys in too since it was close to dark by then.  That was the first day and it seemed to go pretty well for all.

Quote for Today
A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words.  ~Beryl Markham

Here are some pictures of Rosie and her admirers:

"What do ya think Donnie?"  " Nice mover!"

Grady..." I'll just admire from afar"

Sami..." She looks nice right Donnie"

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It's A November Post

It’s hard to believe November is here and we are getting ready for the winter months ahead of us.  I think it’s also about time I gave a short update on what’s been happening here.  Don’t get excited there isn’t much to report.  Blue is doing much better with his hoof issue so I’m happy about that.  He was spotted cantering in the pasture the other day and so I will try and get him started in some limited work this weekend.  We will start with some walking and see how he does in the indoor.  The footing is much better there than in the outside arenas.  I’ll post how he does next week.

Yesterday was Halloween and instead of getting treats I seem to have been tricked…royally! I had just let the dogs in when we all heard this huge crash.  They started barking and I ran to the window to see what was going on.  A huge tree from my neighbor’s yard had toppled into my side yard and taken out the fence.  I’m relieved that the dogs weren’t still out because they play over there and they would have been squashed.  It was so odd because there was no wind or rain.  I guess it just couldn’t take the stress after the storms we had for the two days previous.  Mega amounts of rain and wind howling most of the day and all night must have undermined the roots. 

Here are some pictures:
The Tree
The "Inspectors"

" The Clean-Up Crew"

"There's enough sticks to go around, no need to carry one between you!"
All that hard work deserves a rest!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween


The ghosts of all things past parade,
Emerging from the mist and shade
That hid them from our gaze,
And, full of song and ringing mirth,
In one glad moment of rebirth,
And again they walk the ways of earth
As in the ancient days.

The beacon light shines on the hill,
The will-o'-wisps the forests fill
With flashes filched from noon;
And witches on their broomsticks spry
Speed here and yonder in the sky,
And lift their strident voices high
Unto the Hunter's Moon.

The air resounds with tuneful notes
From myriads of straining throats,
All hailing Folly Queen;
So join the swelling choral throng,
Forget your sorrow and your wrong,
In one glad hour of joyous song
To honor Hallowe'en!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

My Left Foot


Blue and Nikita...I know he's a little chunky but we're working on slimming down

Summer is officially over, although you certainly can’t tell by the weather we’ve been having.  It feels like August with high 80’s and some 90 degree days with the added bonus of high humidity. I’m waiting for autumn to kick in with some cooler temps.  In the meantime I’ll update on what’s been happening around the farm this summer.

Blue hasn’t been doing as well as I would like.  It all started when the farrier couldn’t make it for an extended period of time to shoe him. His toes got longer than they normally would. He was lame and favoring his left front because he had developed a painful abscess so we pulled his front shoes.  When the farrier did come we suggested he leave the shoes off all around and just trim him.  We put him in boots to help cushion his foot.  Eventually, the abscess blew out but was quickly followed by another abscess in the same spot.  The hoof cracked and broke off in pieces from the abscesses so there was no way his hoof could hold a shoe anyway. 
This is Blue's hoof initially

"How about a treat, my foot hurts ya know"

Some improvement

For a while he was on limited turnout wearing boots.  He got to wander around up by the barn, with access to his stall with hay and a fan plus a small paddock to graze and the lawn around the barn to explore but he was missing his friends. 

" Hey guys I'm over here"

When his foot seemed to not be bothering him too much we let him reunite with his buddies wearing his boots, which he promptly lost.  Luckily, we had another set so he wore those for a while until he lost them too.  I did search for them but couldn’t find them. Every time I spotted something black lying in the grass I’d drive over to it only to have my hopes dashed discovering it was a pile of manure.  So somewhere on forty acres are two sets of boots waiting to be found!  Blue loved his boots, some mornings he would refuse to leave his stall until his boots were put on. You’d think he would have taken better care of them. 
Blue showing off his new "kicks"

I had to buy another pair and this pair stayed on for the duration.  He’s not wearing boots and he’s not lame anymore, his hoof and sole are hardening and growing although he’s still walking slowly.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but Blue is sort of a big woosie when it comes to injuries.
This is where we are as of now, so much better but a ways to go yet

Needless to say I haven’t been able to ride all summer and that’s okay because I don’t get along with heat and humidity very well.  Blue should be able to be ridden for a limited time at the walk when he’s ready. So fingers crossed we will be able to enjoy some cool autumn weather in the saddle soon.

Quote for Today

Give a horse what he needs and he will give you his heart in return.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


I had this little one visit us the other day.  The dogs were outside and barking up a storm and when I went to investigate this little cutie was what had their tails in a twist.  Well, Ginger doesn’t have a tail but Nikita does. Ginger was being brave while she had back up and barking from atop the patio while Nikita was down close to the baby.  Neither one of them would get close so the baby just walked past them and jumped onto the patio.  Ginger ran under the bushes and Nikita barked from the steps.  I felt sorry for the deer, it didn’t know what to do but obviously wasn’t afraid of the dogs or me.  This little deer must have just been born because its legs were still wobbly.  I’m calling the deer “it” because I can’t tell if its male or female and I wasn’t looking underneath to find out.  The poor little thing was following me around the patio and crying, it was heartbreaking.  It was lost without its mom and just wanted comfort but I knew I couldn’t touch it and leave a human scent on it.  I was just hoping the mom would come back for it and wasn’t hit by a car.  It jumped down into the herb garden and went under the deck and after I put my two killers in the house I went out to look for it but it was gone. 

I found out from a neighbor who cuts our lawn that there are two babies the mother doe hid in our bushes at the back of the property.  One of them came out to run alongside the lawnmower so he stopped mowing.  He’s a hunter so he knows all about the habits of the deer around here.  He told me the mother hides the babies during the day to keep them from the coyotes since they have no scent yet and she does.  I also learned that it was a good thing I didn’t touch them and leave a human scent on them (although I really did want to pet it and comfort it).  Then the mama doe goes down to the swamp for the day or into one of the hay fields around here and comes back at night. So that was my wildlife lesson for the week. 

Here are a few pictures of Bambi:

"The Mighty Hunter"

"And you call yourself a ferocious German Shepherd.  Ha! I'm not scared of you!"