Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Arabian Breeder - Coping

Since Lindsay is normally my stall cleaner and feeds and waters the Arabian horses, the whole routine here has been thrown upside with her injury. Because we are on small acreage, the horses live in stalls and go out for exercise during the day but with Lindsay laid up and my time spent mostly watching over her, that's made for a change in their regular routine.

There's no way I can feed, water, clean stalls and turnout all those horses and keep watch over Lindsay as well. So to deal with the situation, I've turned all of the horses out around the clock except for the yearling colt, Andy, who is on stall rest and the mare and foal. Since we are in the territory of a mountain lion, the foal is safer in her stall at night.

With this arrangement I can go out, feed and water horses in the early morning, then head back into the house to take care of Lindsay's medications and get her breakfast. I stay with her long enough to cool down since our temps have been in the 80s and then head back out and work on the yard.

I work on the yard until I heat up again. Then head back to the house to check how Lindsay is doing and see if I can go anything for her. That's pretty much how the day goes. I switch off between working in the yard and in the barns, checking on Lindsay and doing laundry etc.

By the time you add in the stuff that happens when you have this many horses, I need to be three people. It's been something of a soap opera out there in my fields.

I'm still trying to get through the stalls for the first go round since Lindsay's accident. Granted I've been taking advantage of my time cleaning to fix all the mats that have been pushed up with accrued shavings underneath and doing minor repairs but I still can't believe it's taking me this long.

Them there's the problem with having the horses turned out 24/7 that comes mostly with feeding them in a herd situation. They are not really used to competing for their food since they're normally feed in their stalls. That's caused some problems and a number of horses are now sporting bites and other scrapes acquired in squabbling over food. So part of my time is spent checking for injuries and tending to the ones that need care.

I actually gave up on poor Patriot getting a far share of food. The yearling colt dropped so much weight in just a couple of days that he's now back in the barn for meals. He's one of Lindsay's favorites (because he's Aana's) and she wouldn't be pleased if she saw how he looks right now. I know I'm not!

Then there's Suede who just couldn't resist the band of Legs's daughters living in the field next to him. The other boys he was turned out with wouldn't let him anywhere near the fence if there was a mare around. So Suede took things into his own hooves. The two year old colt got down on his belly and crawled under the fence in the now dry creek bed. I found him running amongst the girls when I went to feed that evening.

Now I have to figure out if he managed to breed any of them. There was no evidence that he attempted to breed any of them. Usually the first timers can get excited and jump on the wrong parts leaving traces of semen on sides, shoulder, hips and necks. None of the mares that are in heat (three of the eight) had any such smudges but that doesn't mean anything.

When I found Suede, the mares were keeping him on the fringes of the herd. The colt looked pretty submissive but also didn't want to be caught. It took me a few minutes and some help from Dave to get him to turn and face me. Once he did that haltering him was a breeze. But with this incident Suede now is also living in the barn.

I'm going to have to call the vet and see what our course of action will be with the mares. I sure hate to have to ultra sound all of them and frankly I'm not positive which three I saw showing signs of heat. I'm pretty sure about Faith.......or was sit Rose and then Dancer or was it Rhapsody.......from there I don't have a clue. What I know for sure is I don't want any unexpected pregnancies because this darn colt figured out how to go under the fence. Who a thunk??

At this rate, I'm worried about what tomorrow might bring. And not getting to ride is making me crabby!

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  1. I've only just caught up on the news of Lindsay's accident, having been offline for a couple of weeks. I hope she continues to recover from her accident well. It just shows how important it is to insist on good manners, however good-natured your horse is.

  2. It sure sounds like you've got your work cut out for you. I wish there was someone who could give you a hand there.
    I can't believe that boy crawled under the fence, that's motivation! Good luck on having no surprises from him.

  3. Three of you?!!!! There needs to be 10 of you!!!!

  4. Poor MiKael! Every time you turn around there is something more!

  5. Your one hell of a person taking all of this on, I'm not sure I could be as strong or as brave as you are being. Chin up, and don't be afraid to accept help when it's offered.

  6. You're definitely keeping busy! Good luck through it. Best wishes for your daughter's recovery. And here's hoping there's been no seeds planted (for you). I've got my fingers crossed that my mare IS preggers. The irony of it all. Hopefully, your colt didn't get hurt at all in his escapade?

  7. Oh MiKael, poor you! You need help - it's time for friends and family to come pitch in. Who can you can ask? Lindsay needs you to be healthy and in a good frame of mind so she can get better faster. I personally hate to ask for help, but I'm always surprised when I do at how happy people are to jump in - They actually feel good that they're needed. Please take care of yourself.

  8. Take care of yourself too eh.

  9. Hi there,

    Sorry you have deal with all that all at once.
    I'd totally give you a hand if you were up in my neighborhood - my ponies are at the trainers so I have the time too....

    I admire you for being strong enough do it all...

  10. Oh my! I hope Lindsay heals quickly. What a week you have had.

  11. MiKael, I wish there was a way we could do some cyber stall mucking for you!

    Take care and don't run yourself ragged, as my mother would say...!

  12. A mountain lion??! Wow - that's something I don't envy you for. That sounds like an awful lot to deal with, but I'm sure you are strong enough to cope. I hope Lindsay gets better soon.

  13. MiKael your situation sounds very much like mine, I have every horse I can out in the pastures (there is no grazing but they are out!) 24 7 except the TB we board and Taxes, and then BB the blue roan was losing so much weight because she is a very slow eater I had to start putting the three fillies from that field in stalls to eat their hay and grain and then turn them out again. Like Patriot she looked dreadful!

    One thing we can't say is that our lives are boring LOL!!!

    Glad to hear Lindsay is getting better every day and hope that Suede didnt get to any of the mares.

  14. I too hope that Lindsay continues to heal well. Hopefully the horses adjust to the new schedule as well! And I'll be sending no pregnancy vibes in addition to stress reducing vibes while you deal with doing everything...I hope you get to ride soon, I know I'd be a lot less crabby if *I* could.

  15. LOL, What a determined little colt, to belly under the fence!

  16. Darn... if only we were neighbors... I'd come help out and do barn chores for Lindsay and you, and when Lindsay got better I'd probably still want to come do barn chores with Lindsay and chit chat lol. Sounds like you could use some good help around... if I were you, I would see if you could find some one who'd like to do the chores just to spend time with horses, or even pay someone $10 dollars an hour for barn help even if that is spending like $30 dollars a day, if that'd prevent vet checks and prevent pregnant mares by the colts!

  17. Sheesh, bad Suede! I hope he didn't do anything, and I hope the horses are good and quiet during the next few weeks! I know how much time it take me just separating two horses for meals, so 20+ would definitely be a job. Tell Lindsay to keep feeling better.

  18. Those darn colts! Hopefully the mares lined little Suede out and kept him at a distance. It happens! My dad used to turn the young studs in with older mares, who were NOT in heat. They tuned those guys up quick! I have my fingers crossed that you found him in time.

    Glad to hear Lindsay is home and it sounds like she is doing better. Bless her heart...and yours.