Sunday, January 11, 2009

More Flooding Repairs and Their Effects on Trouble

We began the final stages of barn clean-up today. The last stalls that needed to be tended to were those of My Arabian horse twins, Trouble and Surprise. Their stalls had the worst issues after the waters receded.

Several years back I purchased eight hours of bulldozer work and eight hours of back hoe work from a silent auction for the Daffodil Arabian Horse Association. It was my plan to use that work to fix my problems with water during heavy rains. I wanted french drains in front of my barn as well as a drain from the pond directly to the creek.

However, the man in charge of the work was convinced that I didn't need French drains. Instead he would use his laser equipment to determine where to place a drain that he then channeled into the pond. Dave was convinced that this guy knew what he was talking about and the job was done their way and not mine.

At the first heavy rain it was clear this drain was useless. If it has siphoned any water off, we've never seen evidence of it from the outlet into the pond. Well, that is until this current episode. For the first time ever we saw water flooded around that drain and flowing as fast as the pipe would allow into the pond. It definitely saved us from heavier flooding this time around.

Because it didn't work in lesser circumstances, Dave had to put in the French drains that I'd wanted in the first place. Again he didn't do it totally my way using smaller pipe than I thought necessary. Now, it's clear that the larger pipe is necessary as well, so Dave will be re-doing yet another job. But it was a good thing we had both drains for this bad storm. With Dave's use of the smaller pipe, even with the now functioning second drain, we had very soggy stalls. Just moving around them, the water would ooze up over the mats although there was not measurable standing water.

I wonder if the reason the twins' stalls were worse than the others is because they are past the location of that original drain. The ground slops off down a bit on the twins' side of that drain. I think it may have cause the water that was too much for the French drain to handle to go into their stalls. The result was not only that their stalls got much wetter but their mats also shifted. I think from some floating at the height of the water.

While releveling the ground, relaying the mats and drying things out is a pain and time consuming, it doesn't bother me nearly as much as the trauma to the horses. Surprise seemed to not be too flustered once the standing water departed. But poor Trouble is a wreck!

When I tried to remove Trouble from his stall today so we could do this work, the poor gelding refused. He was too frightened to take even one step out the door. His eyes darted about as he tried to avoid my direction. The horse clearly thought the ground was going to swallow him up. He wouldn't cross the threshold with any part of him.

At first I went back to the basics I'd used in teaching him how to lead. I just asked for one step at a time and rewarded any forward movement, even a thought. That did not work this time. Trouble knew the drill but was just too scared to make any forward movement.

I could move him from side to side and even turn him around but no form of trickery to get just that one step worked. I even brought Surprise in and out several times to show him that there was nothing to fear but Trouble would not budge. The fear just stayed there in his eyes.

I eventually had to up the stakes and use the whip. I hate to do that but at the same time I don't think it's safe to leave the horse in a stall with mats all weird and sticking up and the whole thing a soggy mess for one more night. The last thing I want is a sick horse so I resorted to the whip with Trouble..

I learned from the start with the twins that they could not be persuaded by kindness and a soothing voice when they have made up their mind. The only thing that works with either of them is being able to be a bigger bully. It seems to be a trait of twins that are born equal size. It accounts for them trying to be dominant and Surprise getting the crap kicked out of her because she wouldn't give in to the bigger horses. It is a difficult trait to deal with, that's for sure.

I hate it.....and I have hated it from the very beginning. But thankfully, they are very smart. Once they know you WILL be a bully if you have to, they will USUALLY quit fighting.

That's not what Trouble did today. He didn't care that I had the whip at all. He didn't even care when I tapped him with it. His continued resistance only told me how truly scared he was. It was clear I was going to have to take drastic action.

I created a frenzy behind him with the whip, slapping the mats feverishly. Trouble decided that commotion behind him was scarier than the fear in front of him and leapt out of the stall over the walkway onto the french drain and into the field.

We tried to take him back onto that walkway but he again refused. This time just showing the horse the whip was enough for him to move although he didn't get comfortable with the walkway, he did behave so Dave took him between the barns and out to the field.

He had to lead him down that aisle way a few times too. The horse was just plain scared of the area around the barn. Once he was really listening, they were able to continue their journey to the field.

We really should have taken the time to put him in and out of that stall until he got past his fear. Since the daylight hours were fast leaving, we opted to deal with that tomorrow and get the stalls fixed today. I imagine I'll have a difficult time getting him into his stall tonight. Poor Trouble...............

This video is Trouble at the open house.

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  1. Oh my! What a mess! Hopefully Trouble will be better when the stall is drained out.

  2. In situations like that is where I call in the big guns... Hubby lol. He's so big that the horses fear him more when he starts in with the 'racket'.

    So far it's worked. Poor Trouble, he's such a cute little guy, almost breaks my heart to hear he was scared.

  3. Glad you guys are "digging out" ok. Although, sounds like you have a lot of work both behind and ahead of you.

  4. Yuk, sounds like my barn at the moment, I have to get it completely stripped too and we are expecting an arctic freeze with minimum at about -7F on Friday.

    Horses are so funny, mine are the same, they will notice the smallest thing and react, even down to my neighbor with a car in a different position, the snorting starts and tail goes up and eyes pop out LOL.

    Look after yourself.

  5. Oh my gosh, Mikael! I have been getting caught up on your last few posts and had no idea all this was going on! I'm glad you are on the other side of it now and that it didn't get any worse then it did. My heart goes out to the folks that got hit even worse, it will be a long time digging out.

    Loved the video of Trouble! He is just gorgeous!!! So sorry that he was so scared to come out of his stall after the flooding. I hope he forgets about all of it soon.

    That was so good of you to try to help out the people that had to take their horses to the park. You are a true horse woman Mikael with a big heart!

    Take care of yourself, it hasn't been that long since your surgery.

  6. I hope Trouple has calmed down a bit. What a mess, and I am so sorry you all are having to deal with the flooding. Water can be so destructive. I hope you guys can get back to normal soon!

  7. I'm sorry for your situation. I hope it all worked out.