Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pony pics

My mare was on straight alfalfa and I soon found that in Houston, it isn't as readily available as it was in Aridzona. There it was anywhere from $10-$15 a bale. Bales were 3 strings and around 100-110lbs. In Houston it was $17 at the feed stores for a 2 string bale that weighs around 60-65lbs. If you can find the 3 string 100-110lb bales, they are typically shipped in from Az and anywhere from $23-$27 a bale. *Cough*

At the barn, everyone kept telling me that feeding my mare straight alfalfa was not a good idea. She wasn't gaining any weight though. In fact watching her, it seemed as if she might actually be dropping a little more. After some poorly timed drama at the barn we were at and the upcoming trip to Az looming, I moved the horses to a new barn. Sure it is a little further away, but it is a nicer facility, Zero Drama and although my mare had begun to settle down, at the new barn she was back to her normal chill self. Since I would be driving to Az and coming back empty, I looked up alfalfa on CL, found a place selling it nearby where I was staying and loaded up the bed of the truck with 8 beautiful bales before heading home to Houston.

I am a big fan of the slow feed nets. I have 5 of them although I have loaned/given them to the one girl that I know at the barn. She had major drama at the previous barn and moved her horses a few days before I did. She rides and has minis that she drives so we have clicked pretty well. Since the barns are both self care, we had made an agreement on a feeding schedule. I fed hers in the mornings and she was feeding my horses at night. One weekend a month I would feed and one weekend she fed. That allowed us each a weekend we could sleep in or take off and go somewhere without worrying about the horses.

The coastal hay is similar to bermuda hay in Az. Not a lot of protien in it and it wasn't going to colic my two or fatten them up any either. Kat has actually slimmed down to where he should be but my mare looked like shit and riding her wasn't going to happen for a while. Since I was now well stocked with alfalfa and armed with slow feed nets, my mare was loaded up with hay in front of her at all times. She had 2 nets in her stall with healthy sized flakes in each. Once again I heard a.l.l.l.l.l. about how I could not, Should Not feed my mare straight alfalfa.... yet I know my horse. I've had her 12 years now, I damn well SHOULD know my horse by then, right?

So the alfalfa lasted me a couple months and my mare had started to gain some weight back. She looked better but not good and was certainly far from looking great.

Ribs - check.
Hip bones - check
Withers - Omg YES, check
*sigh*, eyeroll, shake my head and swear a little

Since there was another court hearing the day before thanksgiving, I drove out again for the week to take care of some things and hopefully getting to spend a few days with my girls. Again, since I was there and had the truck, I grabbed a few bags of alfalfa pellets, the kind my mare was used to eating before and brought them back with me. I had started her on Senior feed and I had also doubled what she was getting since that was more in line with how much she was getting before. She was starting to really put weight back on and coming around. Once again, I heard all about how I should not, could not possibly expect my mare to gain any weight or do well at all on these pellets because of this that and every other reason in the world since the nutritional breakdown is on the back of the bag in big, bold numbers and letters. Too much protien, not enough fat, too high this, is there any that? Where's the ____? All of a sudden it's everybody's business and they are all suddenly an expert on my horse. I let them have their say and while some things did have their merit, at the end of the day- my horse, my money, my feed and essentially-> my choice.

The other night I was able to turn her out and get a few pics. I love this one of her.

This one isn't great but it shows the fact she still has a little more gaining to do....

Of course I can't leave out the little man

My mare has turned the corner and has put on the much needed weight. I can still see and feel her ribs but her hip bones are not protruding anymore and she has put weight on up by her spine and withers again. She's getting there at least and hopefully I will be back to riding her again soon. For all the nay-sayers and their advice, for not being able to or their opinions of what I should and shouldn't do, thanks but she is doing well and still gaining. Looks like I will be driving to Austin every so often to pick up feed since its a lot closer than making the trip back to Az every couple weeks.

Better, but still room for improvement.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Who really knows?

I know I haven't posted much lately on either blog about riding, driving or even the horses in general. Why is that? Well there are a number of reasons, one of which being time. Time to post, not much time to ride or drive and recently because a lot of things (life!) has been "a hot, sticky mess" (and not in a good way) that I haven't exactly wanted to share with the world. I just don't necessarily get into the whole idea of this being a blog about everything that happens in my life and all of the things wrong in the world or at least my little corner of it. No pity party or riding the whhhaaambulance here.

To be honest, when the girls and I moved to Houston back in February, horse and pony included, my mare didn't handle the trip all that well. Sure she was bred in Washington state and had traveled down to AZ to start her life as a race horse and after that didn't work out, she left the track to live with a new owner (K) who later sold her to (L) and she traveled from the Scottsdale/ Rio Verde area across town to Queen Creek to spend time there before I bought her. She made the short trip home with me 12 years ago this month, and pretty much never left. I did take her to a couple of schooling shows and had hauled her with Kat for those, but it was a short 20 minute trip on the road, 1 or 2 classes in hand and back home again. Nothing major, no big deal. For the most part she never left the property and she was comfortable there.

When traveling long distances, sometimes horses will go off their feed, they won't drink and they are on edge because they are stressed out about things. This was my mare. In the trailer, she didn't eat much and didn't drink at all the first day. I'm not sure if or how much she drank at the barn where I overnighted them, but it wasn't until late in the afternoon the following day on the road, that she finally began to drink again. By that point between not drinking, not eating and being stressed, she had dropped weight. I'm not going to guess how much, but it was enough that when we arrived and I got her off the trailer, her ribs were showing and it was pretty obvious.

We had gotten in late and after getting everything situated for the night, I fed and watered them one last time and went inside to bed myself. My mare tore up the grass in the back yard pretty good where she was obviously bouncing around quite a bit during the night. This didn't help with the weight loss either.

The next few months being at a new barn, my mare was quite wound to put it mildly. She paced in the stall and taking her out to lunge her or do anything really, she acted as if she had no respect for anything or anyone. Walking out to the grass area where I worked her, she tried to blow past me, circle around me, was constantly moving and never really quiet or relaxed.

She also had become Very attached to the pony. If I took him out, she literally wrecked the stall and screamed her head off the whole time he was out. If I took her out, she was constantly trying to look back to the stalls, get back to the stalls and screaming her head off the whole time. That shit gets old really fast. Even moving Kat to a different stall didn't help. He didn't care, but she never would settle down.

I had brought feed with me to hold them over long enough that I could not only find a feed store, but also to help transition the horses over to whatever new feed I found. I had a couple bales of alfalfa and several bags of alfalfa pellets. Finding a comparable and compatable feed to use- boy was I in for a surprise...