Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Saddles make me happy

I sold my donkey saddle about a week ago. It was hard to let go of, but I needed a saddle for Duncan, and I probably never will ride the donkeys again. (Now I'm thinking I need a cart and harness... Someday.) They are okay with just being pets.

Yesterday I found an amazing deal on a Crates saddle, so I drove all evening after work, on icy roads, and I got it.

Duncan doesn't seem to mind it at all. And I love how lightweight it is! I know lightweight means lower quality, but I'm cool with that. My back will thank me for it, especially when I throw it up there repeatedly for training.

Bella checked it out but she was muddy so I didn't try it on her. I'm guessing she's too wide for it.

I'm not ready to cinch it up yet, but he packed it around with a pad for a bit.

Scout was either just being a butt, or he didn't like it. That's ok, it's not for him.

It was too cold and windy to do much else outside today. I am eagerly looking forward to spring already.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Duncan, pick up your feet!

We made excellent progress yesterday on hoof handling! It was a very good feeling. I had forgotten the rather frustrating difference between a horse who doesn't know how to pick up its feet and a horse who knows how not to pick up his feet.
Pretty nice for only being trimmed once in 8 years

Supposedly his hinds have never been trimmed

He isn't mean about it, he just doesn't want to do it. He backs up, moves sideways, etc. When he first came here I couldn't even touch the top of his leg without him nervously sidling away. It didn't take long before he would stand still while I rubbed his legs. He wasn't getting the picking up part very well though, and I recently hurt my back, so it was time to bring out the rope.

He isn't panicky or even worried about the rope, even when I let it drag as he walks. After all, this has been done before. The last person to work with him said she would get him good, and then the next time she tried he would be back to square one. I trust that will not be the case this time, with consistent work & no punishment. Just polite insistence. :)

When we finished I was able to hold his hoof up, rub all over his leg, pick his hooves, and even rasp a tiny bit off his toes. I didn't work with his hinds yet, but I think he will be easier with those. He lets me rub them all over without any movement.

I love his big thick legs! He's even sturdier than my mustangs. And all his super soft curls! It's like petting a foal.

Today the weather is gross, but I have to work, so I wouldn't be playing with the horses anyway. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pedro in Pain

We had a huge windstorm last week with no major damage on our property, but the next day Pedro was lame. Really lame. Swollen left front leg, holding it out in front of him. Considering he's a donkey, I thought it was most likely to be an abscess, but those don't usually swell up into the leg and the hoof wasn't hot, so he could have injured himself in the storm.

I let him choose how much movement he wanted and started him on some Bute. When he was unwilling to take more than two steps, even with meds onboard, I knew it was really painful.

When he didn't improve much by Friday, I decided to take him to the vet on Saturday. I got an inexperienced vet, but then there aren't many who know donkeys well. This guy was very impressed with how docile and willing my Pedro is. :)
Pedro was a little scared

Of course he was much better at the vet, because that's how it works, right? He didn't find any pain in any of his hooves, so it must be in the leg. He told me to keep on with what I was doing, and start cold hosing. Which I wasn't excited about in freezing weather. Then I remembered I have ice boots! I love these things.

My wonderful husband got all the stored junk out of the barn, which has had half-sized stalls for quite a while now. I have my barn back! Pedro and Bob are totally loving their roomy stalls. They hardly go outside at all.

Kitty prints in frost:

Duncan and I have been going for walks around the property. He often feels overwhelmed, but he's getting more relaxed. Funny worried face:

He was somewhat challenging to catch at his last home. Not here. :)

Soft, soft curls:

Winston got to go for a hike with us yesterday. He doesn't love long hikes, but this one was just right:

I have big plans today. Sweep the floors, play with my horse, clean stalls, go for a hike, work outside a bit. Rough life, eh?

Monday, November 09, 2015

Bringing Together

I did a lot of rearranging yesterday. Scout got to join Bella and Duncan. It was a totally anti-climactic event.  Then I put the donkeys in the neighboring pasture so Duncan could get used to them.

Pedro is so handsome. Even when he sticks out his tongue.

Bob (in the back, below) is doing great so far this fall. He even trots and lopes sometimes. I worry, with the hard times to come (monetarily), what will happen if I can't afford to feed him any more. He can't eat hay, so he is expensive to feed. Hopefully it won't come to that.

The neighbor cows came for a visit too. The whole herd was there until I started walking over, then they left.

 Duncan still worries about those scary donkeys.

I love the little white diamond on his butt.
I contacted the breeder that he came from yesterday, and she was not my type. More concerned with the state of the horse industry than about what's going on with the colt she raised. I also got some info from the place he boarded after leaving the breeder, and nothing had been done with him in his first 8 months, and he looked a little rough. I think he's had a string of uninvolved owners. Not any more!

In the evening we walked together over a mile, staying on the property. We even went up to the donkeys and shared treats through the fence. He is gaining a lot of confidence already.

When we got back, Scout wanted a treat too. Look at those big nostrils! He can smell a treat from a mile away. As you can see, Scout and Duncan are pretty comfortable with each other already, although Duncan would like a little more personal space.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Togetherness and baby steps

Bella and Duncan are getting along splendidly. She bosses him a little & he does what she says, so it's prettly peaceful. I'm not sure I even want to throw Scout into the mix, but I'll have to at some point.

Duncan is so hard to take pictures of. He's always right with me, and if I manage to get far enough away, it'll be at a weird angle or with bad lighting, or he's blinking. He blinks a lot. I think it might be his way of trying to cope when he's worried.
 He is not broke to ride, although he has been ridden with a saddle at least once, and sat on bareback. I don't have a lot of history on him. I do know he doesn't pick up his feet, so we've been working on that with some good results. He will now stand still rather than trying to get away when I rub his legs. He'll pick them up pretty well with a rope around them, but we still have some work to do.
 I dewormed him yesterday and learned that he doesn't like his mouth messed with. He learned that I'm pretty persistent. :)

I was considering riding Bella again but we just went for a walk and did some groundwork instead. It was too cold and windy do much more than that.

We also had a lovely little hike yesterday, all four of us two-legged types. My daughter is visiting for the weekend. It is so nice to have everyone together.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Bad News, GOOD News

I'll start with the bad to get it behind us. My husband found out on Tuesday that he's being laid off. There is a severance package, so it's not quite time to panic yet. I'm glad I have my winter's supply of hay in the barn.

Two good newses are better than one bad news.

I rode Bella yesterday and she was sound! I love that mare. I'm going to keep cautiously building on that start.

Also, I got a new horse last weekend. He is amazing. I love working with him. I'm like a teenager with a new boyfriend.
Before I brought him home
He's an 8 year old curly horse with something special in his soul. Yeah, I may be crazy, but there you have it. He is something else. I hear that curlies are different, but this is really... Wow. Deepness. Reaching out. Connecting.

He came with the name Evander, after Evander Holyfield because he's missing part of his ear. I don't like when they're named after a bad experience or physical "flaw," so that of course had to go.

I made lists, looked up Native American words and names to honor his heritage. I considered Russian names but it turns out the curlies here aren't related to the Bashkir horses.

Wednesday while I was sitting on the mounting block watching him eat, it came to me. I said, "Duncan," and he took a step toward me, laid his head in my hand, and closed his eyes. It was profound.

So, Duncan is my new wonderful love. I'll write plenty more about him later. Right now I'm ready for bed.