When i got the request i immediately said yes. After The Races needed a foster home for a baby horse. A 3 year old mare who needed a few month living out with other horses. My two ladies are getting sick of just each other as only being the two of them at the farm is the smallest heard they’ve ever been in. So this was a good fit. A plan was made and a few days later Stutz was on her way to winter with Jezebel and Circe.
She was very excited for the first couple of days. I kept her in the first night since she arrived late in the day and let her meet the girls over the fence. The next day she went for a hand walk around the fence line then i turned her out. She was so calm and quiet that very shortly there after i turned them all out together. It took Stutz all of 3 minutes to feel comfortable enough with turn out and the ladies that she rolled her baby horse heart out. There was a little running and jumping as the pecking order was sorted out. (hint Jez is in charge) But all and all it was very uneventful. By day two they were three peas in a pod.
Feeding in the AM is a little more difficult as all 3 have different meals and i only have two stalls. Whoever the closest two are get put in a stall to eat and the leftover eats in the paddock. So far its working out. As soon as the rain lets up around here, its been three days then baby Stutz will start getting some special time where she will improve on her ground manners. Shes pretty easy to handle but babies like to rub their whole selves all over you, she is no acceptation.
My working student has been calling her Toots and i think thats fitting, she is a toots!. Shes a real doll baby and in three months i’ll be sad to see her go, but she will need to go back get reevaluated and then hopefully she can get placed into a forever home. In the mean time i’m going to enjoy the hell out of here. There is nothing my enduring then a baby off the track thoroughbred.
It’s been a full week so it was time for Jez’s recheck. Dr Engle came out since he was the vet on call when we had our injury. Hes stuck with us for this injury! The plan was to unwrap her, cut the dead skin flap and put her back into regular turn out and work. Best laid plans.. cuz when he took the bandages off Jez had other plans. She was reattaching the skin flap that should have died off and growing skin. That wasn’t supposed to happen because it was a downward facing flap. My Jezebel is a good little healer!! So new plan, bandage her up and wait another week. If shes not to crazy she can be turned out in the field and I have a powdered sulfa antibiotics for her.
Its going to be the last nice week of fall, temperatures in the high 60’s. I turned the girls out in the nice weather and the ladies decided not to be crazy. I’ll have to push Michelle another week because Jez still cant be put into regular work. Recheck next week and we will see what it looks like then and hopefully get back on a schedule. Horses are always a surprise and an adventure. My two ladies especially. I’ll just spend the week getting my barn ready for colder weather.
With this injury I kept the girls in the paddock for a week and it really showed me how muddy it can get, so im going to blue stone it. Its in the works and should be started any day now, I found a way to scrounge up the cost to get it done. It was money i was saving to replace some of the high tensile but instead we put some electric tape up on that section (and by we i mean my better half did it) and are crossing our fingers that gets us through till spring. That cash is now going to make proper paddock all weather footing.
All and all this isn’t such a bad situation, sure my training and riding is being put on hold for a couple weeks but all in all i’ll take that over something more serious.
It started like any other morning. 7:30 Am and i’m out at the barn to feed. There was a freeze over night and the grass was white. Damn it! My weather app didn’t say below freezing. Luckily my ponies are pretty fuzzy already. I threw some hay into the paddock and went to prepare their feed. Thats when I heard the noise. A deer had tried to jump over my the fence and got caught up in the high tensile. It made a terrible noise, I saw the deer get loose and run like her deer hair was caught on fire though my pasture all the way down to the trees at the end of the field. The horses heard it too and freaked out. They were running all over the field. Then I heard the noise again. Damn it again i was pretty sure the deer was stuck in the wire fence behind the trees! I ran down not knowing what I would do if there was a deer caught up in the fence. When I got there she was gone. Phew, crisis averted!
I started walking back to the paddock and the ladies were still very excited and were jumping and cantering around. When i got close enough i noticed it. Jezebel was bleeding… A lot! Right front inside it was a bloody mess. When i was able to catch her i could see, the cut was pretty bad and there was skin hanging. I was able to get her into her stall, i put some water in a bucket grabbed a brand new sponge and assessed what i was looking out. It looked terrible,knee to ankle, skin hanging and a bloody mess. I couldn’t tell how deep. I called the vet. The on call vet said he’d be there asap! I squirted it with betadine, dismantled a diaper to use as padding and loosely vet wrapped it and paced like a crazy lady until the vet got there.
When my vet showed up he had good news and bad news. The good news was it looked like she just skinned herself. The bad news it was a downward facing skin flap. That means shes gonna lose that flap. She will have a scar but maybe with some luck it wont be that bad. He used the hanging skin as a cover for the wound (it will die cuz theres no blood source and have to be clipped off at the follow up) He bandaged her up, gave her banamine for pain, gave me new Bute since mine was expired and then he gave her a shot of Excede, a long acting antibiotic. So no SMZs. My vet liked this better then the SMZs for preventing an infection. It has a risk of knots at the injections site so my vet split it and did half in each side of her neck. So far no knots.
Poor Jez has to be in her stall or the paddock for a week. So i’ll be throwing a lot of hay and theres still grass in my pasture, ugh! At the follow up hopefully she will be healed enough to get her bandage off, get that skin flap snipped off and go back out in the field. I’m to watch her for lameness, swelling, and cold feet. No riding until after her follow up next week. Which blows because I had been given some riding homework with Jez to do this week by Michelle so thats gonna have to be pushed back a week or so.
I’m so happy I decide to build that paddock. it was a stretch financially to do it but i’m so glad I sucked it up and found a way to rob Peter to pay Paul and make it happen cuz it is sure coming in handy now.
Welcome home ponies!
It’s beautiful at my farm… Fall is lovely and the trees turned in just a few days creating a beautifully colored landscape.
The girls have been home for a little over a week and all has been well. They seem to be settling in, i even saw Miss Jez taking a snooze in the sun in the field while The Circinator stood guard! Thats a very good sign they are feeling comfortable. Jezebels nerves are calming a bit and shes not as wild eyed as she was the first few days. Which makes me very happy. I haven’t asked too much of them just letting them settle into their new routine. This is the only time its been just the 2 of them, so separation anxiety is always a concern.
Both have spent some time in the barn on the cross ties. Circe went for a walk across the neighbors driveway. I would have taken her further cuz she was pretty calm but miss Jez started calling to her, so I kept it successful and short. Jez and i went for a short ride the other day and though she was a little confused as to why we were riding in the field and why was Circe locked up in the paddock and why where all those damn flies biting her, she did pretty good. Again keeping things short and successful. Thats our mantra for this month.
I have also acquired a helper, a neighbor who is wildly in love with the girls. I of course am inclined to further her love of the horses. She comes over almost every morning before school to help me feed and most evenings when she doesn’t have school activities she shows up to help with the evening chores. She has some horse experience and has taken some lessons in the past so shes not completely green but shes getting a crash course on horse handling. Shes a very fast learner! I’m happy to heave her around. Ive offered her a winter job helping me with stalls and general horse stuff. When winter rolls around the girls will be inside more and there will be more work. Though i’m happy to trade her horse time for work time, my ponies are a touch too advanced for saddle time for a beginner so shes going to get cash instead. In the meantime ill teach her how to lunge, ground work basics and some general horse care. All of which she is absorbing like a thirsty sponge!
Shes a good kid and I like her. Shes brave as all get out too, which is a great quality to have when you decide to spend your free time with your neighbors high spirited thoroughbred race horses!
I brought my horses home. At first I was only going to bring Circe home as she was once again having training issues and feet issue. Poor Circe cant catch a break. Eventually after much thought I decided to bring both of the girls home. I wanted to keep Jez in training to help her realize her upper level potential but not at the expense of my partnership with her growing. I think the best way to forge our bond is to have her home as well. They came home a few days ago. Loaded and unloaded easy and have been settling in. My better half and I spent 6 weeks gutting, cleaning out, leveling and matting the barn. I also had a paddock built, changed the fence line between two pastures, flagged the tensile portion of the fence for easy viewing by horses, bush-hogged the field and in general we worked our asses off fixing it up for the girls homecoming. Turning what I once thought I would have to tear down into a rather nice little barn. There was once a ring on the farm as well but it’s been long grassed over. I have a estimate on the cost to bring the ring back and lets just say its not cheap. So i’m saving my pennies.
Jez and Circe have made friends with all the neighbors as only two horses who love treats can. Apparently the neighbors have all been watching our progress on the barn and fields and were trying to figure out what kind of livestock we were going to bring in. Who ever said racehorses gets a cookie! The teen-aged girl who lives one field over has taken a special interest in the ponies and comes over every morning to help me feed and to see the girls before she has to catch the bus for school. I can tell shes been bitten by the horse bug. She calls the girls “my big friends” and though shes got some horse experience as she took lessons a couple years back i’m gonna be giving her a crash course in horses. She will be a expert on horse care in no time flat!
Its always been a dream of mine to have horses in my backyard and now its been realized. I still do a double take when I look out my kitchen window and see my horses grazing in the field. Its been a big year for me, getting married, buying a farm and now brining my horses home. The real adventure begins…
I was recently criticized for using the term “Barn Rat” I called myself (and others) barn rats in a blog post about about the woman who taught me to ride. I didn’t come from money, in fact I grew up rather poor. I got a job when it wasn’t even legal for me to work in order to buy a horse of my own. The barn rat route was what was available to me to learn everything I could about horses and maybe earn more ride time. I was kinda stumped at why offense would have been taken at the term barn rat and let me tell you LOTS of offense was taken. In an effort to educate those who might be clutching their pearls that one would deem to call themselves and others barn rats I give you Denny Emerson….If you don’t know who Denny is do yourself a favor and Google him. You can thank me later, hes awesome. Excerpt from Tamarack Hill Farms Facebook page:
Barn rats are the horse crazy kids who don`t want to be anywhere else. Not the mall, not the fast food joint, not even(sometimes) the Junior Prom, if there`s a horse show the next day.
Some barn rats get paid, but many trade work for the chance just to be in the general vicinity of horses. The parents of barn rats can`t be the obsessive kind who drag their kids from piano lessons to French lessons to figure skating lessons to soccer practice, because implicit in the definition of “barn rat” is is that they spend most free moments after school, on weekends, and on vacations, at the barn.
Barn rats are not the kids who arrive at the stable, take their lessons or ride their horses, get back in the car and disappear.
What barn rats get in return, although they may not put a name to the concept, is that they learn by osmosis. By spending so much time with horses, and not just on their horses backs, they gradually learn what makes horses tick. They learn what horses eat. They learn what constitutes a clean stall. They learn about turn out, blanketing, and how to do it without getting kicked, about grooming, braiding, hoof care, supplements, medicines, tack care, types of bits, helping the farrier, the vet, the myriad small and large details that make up “horsemanship.”
Theres more read the full post, its worth the effort. It is about the clearest dissertation on what being a barn rat is and means that I have come across. Denny hit the nail on the head. Yeah, I was a barn rat and proud of it. I still am in lots ways. I will hang out at the barn all hours holding horses for the vets and farriers, watching lessons and riders, asking questions when I see something new. Being a barn rat is in my blood. Its part of who I am and i’m well over the age of consent.
So i’ll take the whole barn rat thing and wear it like a badge of honer, I followed my passion, I wasn’t given anything i worked for what I had. I never had the best tack, the fancy horse trailer or breeches in every color but i had the passion to learn and learn i did… just like the barn rat i am.