Monday, April 21, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Arabian Horse Breeder - Daffodil Week

Besides figuring out the dilemma of which direction I am going, I still have the daily things to deal with on this Arabian horse farm. For me those are the usual things like monitoring the pregnant mare, wormings, the farrier visits and the six horses I am currently training. As much as I try to keep those things organized and running smoothly, it seems like something is always causing a bump in the road and a shift in the schedule.

Today the plan was to ride five of the six horses at the boarding barn and teaching the sixth horse to longe. My daughter, Colleen, had the day off so she could help me with the horses that are just getting started under saddle. Since my accident I have backed off with them a bit and am just now getting back into the saddle. They didn't have enough time on them to really pick up where we left off, so I am using Colleen as my safety net on the ground.

Before I left for the barn, I grabbed bags of oats to take with me and checked out the pregnant mare, Lucy. She is due to foal the 18th of May and is not bagging up as yet. However, the mare has a bad case of edema. Despite the snow and sleet today I turned her outside for much needed exercise to help get that swelling down. Then I headed for the barn.

I met Colleen at the barn ok. I actually rode Vee before she even arrived. The mare is finally getting her balance figured out to the right but still struggling a bit with the left. I won't even begin to work on asking for any kind of collection until she has all of these issues with balance worked out. I was pleased today that she did not fall in on her shoulder in the lope either direction. That in itself was a big improvement.

Next I worked on teaching Louie how to longe. He is a 4 year old gelding who was moved to the barn yesterday in Reflection's place. Louie hasn't much experience being away from home. He's a bit stressed in the new surroundings but handling it well. He has been free longed a lot but never longed on a line before so he was a bit confused about the process but did reasonably well with it. I was very pleased with his behavior. I'm hoping by the end of the week the horse will be wearing tack and longing.

Then I saddled up Storm and longed him to get the kinks out. The stallion hadn't been worked in two days and had plenty of kinks and zip. He ripped around the arena like the devil himself was chasing him. I think my grandson, Chris, was surprised I was going to climb on a horse behaving like that.

In the middle of the wild longing, my phone rang. I thought it was my husband calling but instead it turned out to be the farrier calling to let me know that he was running a half hour late. That was a surprise to me since I had forgotten he was coming at all. That meant my plans for the day were taking a dramatic shift.

Done with the longing it was time to get on Storm. I'm leaving the horse's halter on and putting the bridle over the top so Colleen can "lead" him next to me. Actually I do the cues and steering and Colleen just helps if the horse isn't listening. Getting on him today, the horse started off a little pushy but making him start and stop repeatedly slowed down his thinking and got him listening to me.

We walked a couple of laps around the arena in both directions. Then I had Colleen get the longe line and we put the horse on that. I worked him in a circle around her at the walk and the trot both ways. Storm was very good and I think he much prefers the trot to the walk. He was soft and responsive and I'm thinking it's probably time to be cut loose and ride the horse on my own. We'll see if I still feel this brave tomorrow.

By the time I had Storm unsaddled and put away, the farrier had arrived to resent Legs's shoes. The Daffodil Spring Arabian Horse Show is this weekend and I had scheduled this appointment to coincide with the show. I just wish I had remembered because I would have worked Legs first.

Even though Legs hadn't been worked in two days either, he was "good" for the farrier. He had a couple of little things he got in trouble for and we yelled at him like they were big things. But that's why he is so good because we don't let him get away with anything. Even thinking he might be naughty is off limits.

By the time the farrier was done with Legs, Rachel was home from school. This was to be her first lesson on Dandy since he was taken away early winter. She still had to read him her letter of apology and then get him tacked up. Then I rode the horse and got him sufficiently warmed up for her lesson.

Rachel and Dandy will be going to the Daffodil Show as well. Even though she hasn't been riding, I have been working the horse. He is fit and ready to show and she had a great lesson today despite her time off.

She's still working on thinking his lope is too fast when it really is nice and slow. His lope to the right could be better but probably won't get there until he gets back on Adequan. It's amazing the difference those treatments do for this horse. All in all Dandy and Rachel are better today than they were at the show last fall so I called and reserved a stall and will post enter the show.

Yes, for those of you wondering about how Dandy is feeling. The bloating seems to be gone but we're still giving him the bran mash and the probios until the end of the week. The horse was really happy to have the kid back in the saddle. It was obvious from the minute she climbed aboard, you could almost see the horse smiling, I swear.

By this time, I had to get home because Dave needed his car to go to work. I have been driving the car to the barn whenever I can to save on fuel. The only bad thing about that is if I get off schedule I am stuck leaving before I get all of the horses worked. That's exactly how it went today.

I didn't even get time to run the grain and supplements to Reflection. He was moved yesterday(which is how Louie got to take over his stall) to a trainer's who is going to "fix" the problem that we had early last winter. She doesn't mind getting bounced around and doesn't seem to be the least intimidated by the problem. Since I'd just as soon not hit the dirt again this is the perfect solution for me. The plan is for her to get the bucks and stunts out and the horse going forward. She'll not teach him anything about collection. I will pick that up once the horse is safe. I'll keep you updated on his progress.

I did get four of the six horses worked. Three of them were ridden and the young one longed. Tomorrow I will be planning to work all six again. Rachel won't be having a lesson because I have a doctor's appointment. This time she will have to be missed instead of the horses.

Then I have an odd thing I want to throw into this post. Last week I had trims done at the barn and Storm had a bruised foot. I've never seen a bruise in a hoof like that before. I thought others might not have seen it either so I'm including a picture of that bruised piece of trimmed hoof. It is, after all, another one of those parts of a "regular" (if there is such a thing) day for me.

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  1. What a very busy day you had!

    And full of surprises, too.

    That is one perfectly trimmed hoof. And I had no idea that a hoof could get bruised. Did it affect how he walked, too?

  2. twinville, No, it didn't affect him at all. He hasn't taken a lame step. I have been watching closely to see if it might abcess but everthing seems to be just fine.

  3. I have to ask a stupid question. How come you line up the farrier for the week before the show? My friends and I always try to do it a good 2 weeks before we show in case the horse gets foot sore, looses the shoe, and also just so they can have time to get used to there new feet. Is there something else that we are missing by getting them done so far away? And 4/6 isn't too bad, if you do that every day think of all the work the horses would get. Good luckk this weekend!

  4. we had the farrier out yesterday, I was asking questions about angles and such so he was showing me what he found. One was a bruise near the heel of a front foot. Wish I had thought to get a photo of that! Good job MiKael!

  5. MiKael, I hope you'll post sometime about the process of a young (4-5 year old) horse finding balance and learning to use his/her body efficiently.

    We're working on that with our young QH and I'm keenly interested in all exercises and techniques that can help with this process.

    That is a beautiful hoof paring!

  6. Wow, A very busy day, but inspite of what think, that was alot accomplished! That was a decent bruise and he didn't act sore? Wow! Good thing, Misty has had a bruise here and there in the past, but nothing recently.

  7. I give you a lot of credit, I don't think I could work that many horses in one day. Whew, you must sleep good at night.

  8. onethebit, I started to put that information in this post but then thought no one would really care so I didn't. Your question just goes to show I should have listened to that voice that tells me what to write. lol

    The horse is "ideal" in hoof length, angle etc at the time it is first trimmed. Since the way the hoof is shaped etc affect how the horse moves, theoretically, you should get the best from your horse right after his feet have been done.

    At the show you want the horse to be at its optimum performance so most big show barns I know try to make those farrier trips as close to the show as possible. Horses who might have problems with tenderness usually have pads along with their shows to prevent that soreness they might experience.

    As you can tell from Storm's reaction to that bruise (none) I have horses who tend to have pretty tough feet. The only time I have ever had sore or tender horses was a farrier who screwed up.

    Six is the minimum number I need to be working a day. My goal is to be riding nine. And when my round pen dries out, I will be free lunging another nine here. Getting the horses fit up for my annual open house.

    holly, funny how it happens sometimes that bloggers lives seems to run on parallel plains. I don't always remember taking pictures but I sure did this time.

    billie, I hadn't really thought about posting about the horse finding balance. Vee has really struggled with it, so maybe I should. I will scan my memory banks and see if I can recall all of my process with her.

    Normally, my horses have a lot of innate balance. Vee has been the exception.

    Darry does a good job. All four hoof parings looked like perfect little prints of Storm's feet. Of course, it helps when the horse stands still and doesn't fuss.

    callie, I feel fortunate I have never even seen a bruise before. We "grow" rocks on our place and seems like I can spend a lot of time "harvesting" the suckers. But, knock on wood, I rarely see an abcess or bruise.

  9. That's a lot of work. I'd love to have an arena to work in, instead I have to wait until the mud dries up to work anyone. All they get is basic manners reminders all winter until the footing is better.

    As for the bruising like that on the hoof. I've seen it, but only on horses who's hooves were severly long (like inches long) if there was no abcess. That's a very good picture, I tried taking one last summer to show everyone but my picture did not turn out.

  10. lady of chaos, it's been a blessing to have access to an arena this year. Colleen is footing the bill or I would be in the same boat as you.

    As for the "picture" of the hoof, it is a scan, I cheated. Of course it dried and shrivelled some on it's way home from the barn so I soaked it to restore it to it's original shape. You should have seen the looks I got for soaking a hoof in my kitchen sink so I could post it on my blog. They think I've gone over the top......and maybe I have.......who knows. lol

  11. My first thought would of been, the farrier might of clipped too much off.. especially if you only see bruising on that side of the clipped hoof, and not the other side. How many years experience does your farrier have? is he fairly new to trimming? or?. And then my second thought, would of been that he stepped on a lemon sized rock and bruised it.

    Anyway, let me know you think of my thoughts.

    Also, the only time I have seen pink on the goats hooves, or clipped hooves, is on Prince, when I trimmed him last, and I don't trim him very often, because he wears them good on the tree bark, so it could be a combination of getting trimmed like once a year, and climbing on that tree. And then there is Sweet Pea and Butter Cup, and I have never seen hooves like theirs before... they just grow so fast, so I try to trim as much as I can without clipping too much off. And most of the time, I cant just clip the hoof wall, I have to clip a inch or two off, especially the front hooves, because the back hooves are actually looking like they are going back to normal. YAY.

  12. What is the texture of a hoof like?

    Is the texture of the bruised it different?

  13. MiKael-OMG-riding NINE? and lunging NINE. Where on earth do you find the time. I have been struggling to fit the 2 broke horses I have here at the house into a regular schedule. I haven't even been able to get any rides on the 4 broke geldings at my mom's much less start on the 3 that still need broke.

  14. kim, nope it wasn't Darry who did this. I'm pretty fussy about who works on my horses in any way including farriers. He is one of the best. Storm must have really whacked it on a rock out in his paddock. His paddock seems to grow the things just like my fields at home seem to grow them. My guess is he was challenging Reflection (who is turned out next to him) and probably reared and came down hard on one of those rocks.

    Kalhess, the best way to describe it would be like a very, very tough fingernail except that there are filaments (called laminae) and it cam absorb moisture.

    The texture of the bruised portion is exactly the same. The hoof absorbed the blood that is the bruising.

    browneyed cowgirls, yup, nine! But the ones that are lunged I will free lunge and some I will be able to do in pairs so that cuts the time down a bit. Keep in mind when I work that many horses, I don't do much else. I die when I hit the house!

  15. MiKael at least you are making forward progress. I am glad to hear that you are getting help on Reflection, it is sometimes just not worth risking yourself when you have so many other animals depending on you.

    I have heard of the bruising of the hoof, a piece of granite or rock being stood on could cause it. It is more the sole between the hoof wall and frog.

    I have had two cases where the farrier has trimmed so short that the hooves start to bleed!!!! This was a surprise as I wasnt aware that the blood supply runs in the hoof too. So if you let them get too long then you run the risk of cutting the "quick", then of course because the soles have been trimmed out and frogs cleaned up they are quite tender on their feet for a few days especially if you havent put shoes on them.

    I am so glad that Rachel and Dandy have got back together at last, I think the break has done them both the world of good. Looking forward to the Daffodil show.

    I know you will make all the right decisions, just think of it as a year to take a step back take a deep breath and get everythhing back into perspective, it can only get bettdr from there.

    Always in my thoughts ((((Hugs)))))


  16. Wow, you were busy! You did get alot accoplished though!
    That was some bruise! Great farriers are worth there weight in gold.

  17. Which classes are you entered in on Saturday? I hope to watch you with Legs and Dandy!

  18. It was interesting hearing about all the horses you need to work with in one day. Thanks for posting the picture of that bruised hoof. When I thought of taking pictures of my hoof trimmings, I procrastinated telling myself I'd do it later. I had forgotten how quickly they shrivel. Fortunately, I got a break and was able to get out there and take pictures about an hour after the trimming. You did a good job by cheating and soaking it in water.

  19. lori, that word perspective.....sometimes it's a haunting thing. lol

    kris, I'm with you about good farriers. I've been lucky in my twenty plus years that most of the farriers I've dealt with have been great. I had two that were not so good, each one was only here once and both of them cost me dearly.

    dj, I have one class with Legs on Saturday. That is class #99 in the morning session. I haven't even looked at the schedule to see what I might ride Dandy in. Rachel will be in #85 and #118. The first is Saturday morning and the second in the afternoon. Then we both have two championships on Sunday.

  20. Dear Mikael
    As I sit here in the rain in Massachusetts. I look out and feel so blessed. that is not used lightly. To have you both in Wash. and our great fortune to have met you and to have Rhythm in our lives is a blessing in any life and any country. You are a credit to all Americans that keep going when most would have stopped long ago. Thank you so much....For the great horse, but more for your great friendship.
    Rich and Brittany Baker