Saturday, January 31, 2009

Seven weeks left!!!

We are now down to seven weeks left. I have been cracking open my anatomy and husbandry textbooks, searching online and generally driving myself crazy getting ready for the big day. I am so convinced that she will pop while I am at the Chess State Championships. Oh, well. This is her third. She has never needed assistance. She should be fine.

According to one of my Textbooks (I left it at school, so I can't remember all the exact name, edition etc.) Outlaw should have a full coat of hair by day 300. That is in a few days. Pretty cool, I think.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Deer and other scary animals

Let me preface this entry by noting that we have had 12 inches of snow, below 0 F weather, and wind so strong that there is no more snow on my front lawn. Plently of frozen, packed snow on all walking and driving surfaces, though. The wind is howling and I can't sleep.

I don't have a problem with large dogs. I truly don't care for small ones. I despise poodles. FOR GOOD REASON!! When my mother was pregnant with me and my name was already picked out, my grandmother obtained a small white poodle. AND GAVE IT MY NAME!!! My uncles, aunts, cousins etc. loved to call my name and then tell me that they did not want me, they wanted the dog. I think that I am completely justified. I don't worry that I will be attacked by dogs on walks or the trail. My horse is big enough that one good kick, and the dog is toast. (ok, I am entirely over optimistic, but it has happened) I am also not concerned about being attacked on foot, either. It has happened. Akitas running in packs through South Salt Lake have no problem attacking pregant women pushing a stroller. The 3 month old rottweiler riding in the bottom of the stroller took one on at a time as I kicked and screamed. They finally left us alone. Carl had a good life protecting me and the kids from stray dogs, cats, and an occasional "Oops, wrong house!" in the middle of the night. (it was SSL, meth capitol of Utah)When Carl moved to Orem, the deer stopped coming into the yard that they had vistited every winter for millenia.

Carl has been dead for two years now.

This was taken days before he died.

When we moved to Wyoming we got another dog.

He is the anti-Carl. He is still great with kids, except when he steps on them, but he is terrified of cats, other dogs, bikes, cars, and deer. I live in Wyoming, we have deer. These deer are not afraid of anything. A big 6 X 6 roams around blocking doorways, attacking neighborhood dogs, cats etc. For Thanksgiving, I had this guy as a guest.
Shooter, the amazingly fraidy cat dog, hid in the garage. The cat, Puma, stalks the deer. I have never been able to actually get a shot of this occuring, but she has done it when the camera was not in hand.
This guy was not afraid at all. He gored the neighbor's dog.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Eight weeks left!!!

I still have not figured out where I left my camera. I actually have two digitals and I can't find either one. I am very good at losing things. This pic is from a year and a half ago. Kid 1 was telling Foxy, "Good Bye." She was supposed to be sold and be a girl's riding horse, but then the mom got up one her and wanted to run barrels, so that sale was cancelled. Foxy can't do barrels with an adult. At least and stay sound.

Belle is definitely improving with the new diet. The weather has been so crazy lately, warm, cold, rainy, snowy, etc. Both of the girls are shedding out bad. Kid 2 and I brushed them down really well today.
This is a pic from last year in Utah. Where it knows how to snow. I don't know what to call the crap that falls around here, but it does not behave like proper snow!

With all of the rain and snow today, I turned them out in the indoor arena to run. They shared the arena with another Paint, Cherokey. (I am going by the speeling on his dorr) The girls have been know to pick on him and get him all riled up, but everybody needed play time. Foxy chased him for a little while, but once Belle was done rolling, Foxy left him alone. Foxy rolled for a very long time today. Long enough that I was a little worried. Poor Outlaw/TinkerBelle must have thought that Mom was a rollercoaster. Baby was kicking and rolling around, too when we brushed them. I will need to record the acrobatic feats that this little guy does. It looks like an alien is going to break through the skin at any time. I am surprised that she has such good balance with the amount that the baby moves around. Foxy is so dark right now, that people think that she is piebald, rather than bay. I aways think of her as chocolate, but The mane and tail are black. I am just hoping that Outlaw/TinkerBelle has two brown eyes. With Foxy's dark face, the blue eye just makes her look psycho.

Which currently fits. She acts like she needs to be ridden for about two hours. If I would allow my kids to ride her right now, I would definitely be lunging her for a minimum of a half hour first; She is that high strung right now. I have increased her hay, but cut out her grain except what is needed to get her vitamins/supplement into her.

I am going to order Baby a blanket. I am worried that he/she will be getting cold with the bizarre weather that we have. Foxy doesn't want one, but Belle does seem to love hers. I just have to find one. The place that I like to order stuff only has purple in stock. I hated driving a purple carriage, there is no freaking way the outlaw will wear purple. I put up with purple on my little girl for too many years. I have convinced her that purple is of the devil and only psychos would wear it. (No offense to John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek, they are the exceptions) I am thinking Black (everybody needs a little black outfit in their wardrobe) or green to match Belle, or Burgundy to match Foxy's (even though Foxy thinks that blankets are of the devil, I just hope that she will allow Outlaw/TinkerBelle to wear one for those -20 F nights)

I have been stuck on the Outlaw/TinkerBelle names for so long, but if he really is born during the Chess tournament, I might have to make some sort of alteration. I once owned a dog named Makin's Dark Knight (Carl). Foxy's Outlaw Knight? Foxy's TinkerBelle Queen? Foxy's Painted Outlaw? Oops, that one slipped in. I am also considering Foxy's Sainted Outlaw. She has a grand sire with the name of The Saint. I just worry that it may appear a little sacrilegious. Being from Utah and all. I probably won't come up with the official name 'til foaling anyway.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Great Farriers are worth their weight in gold and other ramblings

Stacey from The Jumping Percheron got me thinking. I was going to respond to her blog, but after typing forever, I figured that I would just put it on my own blog.
First, riding someone else's horse is a huge responsibility. It is an awesome feeling when someone trusts enough to let you care for their horse. Pictured here is Foxy when we first started riding her. She was weaning her last foal and needed exercise. Who better than three little kids with a very watchful, paranoid mother? The kids learned the importance of lunging a stalled up horse prior to riding.

Second, I have not put shoes on Belle since I bought her. After wearing heavy carriage shoes her whole life, her feet are in remarkable shape. Her old farrier was awesome. He had no problem with her little quirks with her back feet. I told him that I wanted to put shoes on her last spring and he talked me out of it. He explained how good her feet were and that she really did not need them. I really liked him. People don't appreciate farriers enough. My farrier had another job and just did farrier work on the side, after work. Every once in a while, he would have to cancel, but he was really good about it. After he would trim Belle, he would schedule the next appointment. He did not want to leave his good clients hanging and that way he would guarantee another trim. He came recommended and was the first farrier that would not run screaming the other direction when I mentioned that Belle was a Clydesdale. He charged a little extra, but it was worth it. When he trimmed Foxy, it was no big deal. Foxy stood still, got her feet trimmed and behaved herself. He even put up with the constant questions from my kids as he trimmed. When I moved here, I just went with the barn farrier. He is good, but not the same. Belle won't stand for him. He could not get her back feet. In a way that was good, because it was the final straw in Belle's symptoms that finally lit the bulb above my head that Belle has EPSM. (Another shout out to Stacey for reminding me that Dr. Valentine is very good with Draft questions)
I had read the chapter about EPSM in the Draft Horse book, but until I put all of the symptoms together, it just did not click. I have been concerned about her weight fluctuations since I bought her. She went to the vet. (She hates getting her teeth floated) I seemed to be doing all of the right things, but this last episode sent me researching, and there it was in my library and on my computer. She had the right hay, the right type of grain, the right minerals are being supplemented, she just needs a lot more fat. I am hoping that the diet change will help. Adding oil to her diet has been easy because of the Senior feed that she was already receiving. I kept thinking that she needed some oil, but I was going to research it first and never got around to it.

Foxy is doing well. She is pleased with all of the extra outdoor arena time. It has been so warm and I am trying to make up for last week when I was working 10-12 hour days. With the ice melting, there are little rivers of mud around the barn. On the way out to the arena, I jumped over one. Foxy followed suit. I never have the camera ready when things like that happen. She may be really pregnant, but she can still move. She bucks and kicks and jumps. As soon as I figure out where I hid the camera this time, I will take more pics.

I wonder if I could convince the old farrier to visit Wyoming every 2-3 months.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Belle and Foxy BFF

Belle and Foxy have been best buds only since August. Before that, Foxy had her own little life running the herd, being lead mare. She pushed around the other mares and when the geldings were out, she pushed them around, too. They were in a big pasture and all of the horses were in a rotation so that injuries and bickering were at a bare minimum and the pasture did not get over grazed during the summer. When the horses did get hay, Foxy and Belle did not eat at the same feeder. Foxy would try and steal Belle's treats. After their long trip to Wyoming, everything changed. They are now inseparable.
Before Belle's bath

I bring this up again, because Belle is once again off her feed. She does this periodically to see if I am paying attention. She still had alot of hay five hours after feeding time. This is not normal. Today was the first warm, sunny day where I had the day off in weeks. I had planned a trail ride with the pup and kids. I had also planned to scrub Belle's legs to clean up her feather.

(sidenote -- why is the plural not feathers when referring to the long hair on horse's legs? It would make sense.)

There was no way that I felt OK with riding her, so out went Foxy and her nonenemy Ike

(Sidenote 2 -- Foxy only has one friend, Belle. Everyone else is the enemy or nonenemy, but not a Friend.)

I kept Belle in to clean her legs, since I don't know when the next nice sunny day might be. Foxy did not completely panic without Belle, but she wasn't happy. She did get alot of exercise, though. After scrubbing Belle's legs

(sidenote 3 -- When scrubbing a Clydesdale's legs, always be aware that at anytime they will lean on you. She really enjoys it because it scratches all of the itchy spots, but she really gets into it.)

After cleaning her legs with her medicated shampoo and rinsing thoroughly,

(sidenote 4 -- Rinsing thoroughly is not fun. I don't have a washing stall, so I use one leadrope to tie her to the running board on the side of my truck and another one to tie to the fifth wheel in the bed of my truck. This keeps her on one side of the truck as I hose off her legs. My white truck now needs a bath)

I then turned her out with Foxy. Now you may ask why I did not make sure that she was dry before turning her out.
1 --The wind was strong enough that she would dry quickly.
2 -- It was colder in the barn than outside.
3 -- The sun was out and she needed to be in the sun.
4 -- If I left her tied to my truck, she would splash in the mud.
5 -- If I left her tied to my truck she would dent it -- again.
6 -- Foxy was pacing the fence.
7 -- I wanted to see if I could get Belle to eat if she was with Foxy.

Of course, she rolled immediately, grinding her clean legs into the dirt. But as soon as the hay was over the fence, they both started to eat. Foxy only took a few mouthfuls, she wasn't really hungry. Belle started eating. As Belle ate, Foxy made sure that Ike did not get an opportunity to get any of the hay. It was really cute how Foxy stood guard. Another horse was put in with the girls, but Foxy just kept that one away, too, until Belle was done.

It's good to have a friend.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Foaling Date Confirmed

Foxy will be foaling March 21 around 6 am. How can I know this? First off, her due date is March 23. Her prior foals have been within two days of her due dates. My son's birthday is March 19, Foxy's birthday is March 20, and my birthday is March 22, so it all fits. But most importantly, I need to leave on the bus to take my chess team to Green River for the State Championships at 7:00 am, Saturday, March 21. It is ineviable that Foxy will be foaling when I check on her prior to leaving that day. So I have changed the countdown on my board at school to March 21 instead of March 23.

I had to just kind of laugh when I found all of this out. It has been a bad couple of weeks with not getting off work in time to get much done with the girls. They get out to run, their stalls are cleaned and they get fed, but with 4-H, scouts, church stuff, tutoring, and end of semester panicking from students, parents, teachers, and my own procrastinating middle schooler, I haven't had time for much else. I did find out that I am the wicked witch of the west and that I probably need more Cherry coke (just bought three cases!!!) Last weekend I ended up riding bareback just to relax. Belle has gotten it into her head that I need to find her yet another new bit. I think that a sidepull would work the best, because stopping is not the real problem, turning is. I use a liverpool. It's a driving bit. It does not work really well when she can get the shanks into her mouth. I need to change it or switch to a flash nose band, or something else to keep the bit properly in her mouth. I actually like using the sidepull, but I need to find one to fit her head.

The foal should be about 60-70 pounds right now, from what I have been researching. Some people still just think that she is fat, but I can see that it is baby fat, not just an over indulgence of grain and hay. I generally refer to the baby as Outlaw, but I don't want to be overly optimistic that it is a boy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I want my blankie and I want it NOW!

Let me preface this by saying that it is cold. -2 without counting windchill. with the windchill it is freaking cold. The pilot light went out in my boiler over night and I woke up to freezing temps in the house. We finally got that started, but I really need the boiler replaced so that we don't freeze to death or the gases do not asphyxiate us, or the boiler does not just explode, but it is a rental, so. . .
Anyway, we (me, kid 1 and kid 2) put on our carharts, hat, gloves, boots -- actually we looked a lot like the kid from Christmas story, and headed out to the barn. We weren't planning on riding because I feel like death and the kids freeze too quickly. Fortunately, the girls can exercise themselves by chasing each other and farting and kicking around. They also like to roll in the indoor arena. Something about the footing. So, we begin by cleaning stalls. I normally strip stalls on Saturday, but i didn't, so today was stall stripping day. I normally use an enzyme product that reduces ammonia build up, but it was frozen. My shipment of hay came in. Oh, great. It is in a huge pile, not stacked, but thrown in my general direction. Lovely. I will have to stack it tomorrow before those around me start to complain. Lovely. While I strip stalls, kid 2 is supposed to get shavings. Normally he can fill a wheelbarrow with fresh in about the time that I can with dirty. I had four wheel barrows dumped and four bales of hay brought in before I went in search. He was taking time out to warm up. I am not sure how he thought that he was warming up by stopping, but whatever. So, kid 1 was now assigned to help with shavings. Within 5 minutes kid 2 had whacked kid 1 in the head with a shovel, breaking her new stampede string on her new cowgirl hat. Death threats ensued. I walked away. They might be mine, but I don't want to hear it either. I dumped the first load of shavings into Belle's stall. Apparently, the wheelbarrow had not been empty when kid 2 began to fill it. I then cleaned the stall again. I let kid 2 dump that load. Kid 1 was sent to go get one of the girls. I should have been more specific. Belle needs to be brought in first. If she is left out, she throws her weight around. Literally. The panels are not designed to withstand a cranky Clydesdale that crashes into them. This photo shows the panel that Belle has thumped on a few times. She is not the only one though. But While I was out of town, she was pretty brutal to it.

Foxy went straight into her stall, took a mouthful of grain and then poked her head back out of her door, looking for Belle. I sent Kid 1 back and told her to just open the gate and let her out. (did I mention that I am not feeling well. I know that I should have gone down corrected Belle's behavior, but I didn't)
Belle came trotting down the aisle, no one else was there, and straight into her stall. Now, Belle loves grain. She knows that it is an important part of her diet and she loves it. I is also the only way that I can keep weight on her since she moved into a stall. Normally, she goes straight for the grain and if it is not in her stall she will try to get back out of the stall and kick her grain container until she gets it.
Today was different. I had taken her blanket off for her to roll and play.
I was holding the blanket but I was going to take her halter off first. Nope, she stood there and tossed her head around until I put the blanket on her, then she dove for her grain.
Like I said it is cold.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Ramblings

After reading the goals of the Jumping Percheron, I figured that I might want to set a few of my own. I kind of forgot about the whole resolution thing because we did not celebrate Christmas until today and I have been trying to finish presents before the kids made it home.

1> Work with kids and Belle so that they can pick her hooves (a requirement for 4-H)
2> Work on getting Foxy and Belle in better condition
a> Foxy in riding condition after the foal
b> Belle to build more muscle
3> Start Kid 1 on barrels
4> Get Kid 3 to have more confidence on horseback and on the ground
5> Keep Kid 2 having fun with horses
6> work with Foxy Jr. to have confidence in humans and good disposition
7> work on Belle's Scratches (nasty autoimmune infection on her legs, common in horses with feather, not bad right now but can flare up quickly)
8> Move into new house with horse property
Wow, that's a lot and I have not even mentioned nonhorsy goals.
Have you ever noticed that goals and gaols have the same letters and are easy to mistype? Are goals just a form of a prison(gaol)?
Just an observation.

This might be the last pic without snow. The snow from the last storm already blew away, but we should get pounded again tonight.