The stall floors were not the only issues here. I worried the horses weren't getting turned out as often as they could. If that was true, bored horses can do serious damage to wooden walls and doors. I could only imagine what my barn looked like....and as it turned they looked exactly as I feared.
Then there was the problem with the fence charger. I had bought a top quality solar unit when we moved here. With only two new batteries it had given me my money's worth but it chose this time to finally die.
With no deterrent to keep the horses off the fencing they were leaning across it to reach the grass on the other side. This behavior not only stretched my 2 by 4 non climb horse fencing out of shape but the over saturated ground allowed the fence posts to lay over from the added weight. My farm was a wreck which turned out to be one more thing used against me to exploit my vulnerability.
There was something else that summer that affected the drama that was yet to unfold. That was something normally pretty innocuous, the coming of the new season's hay.
Because I raise young horses that can be adversely affected by high protein levels, I choose not to feed the usual choices of eastern Washington grasses or alfalfa after discovering protein levels double that recommended for horses.
Feeding good quality local grass hay is much safer considering there have been growth issues in GS Khochise get. The trick is finding good quality local hay especially for a herd the size of mine.
To assure the hay I buy fits that criteria, I have it tested. When I find a good field I contract with the farmer for his entire crop. Still I test that hay each year to assure it is staying within the standards I need for my growing horses. I have been buying from the same farmers for a dozen years and their hay always tests up to the standards necessary for happy, healthy horses.
With all the confusion surrounding my illness, the new season's hay had been brought into the barn. Testing it is not something Dave has ever had to do so it didn't occur to him and it sure didn't occur to me.
By the time I came home from the hospital, the horses had been on the new hay for about a month. I was relying on Dave's observations to know the horses were doing okay and new hay never crossed my mind. My only concerns about feed were the usual ups and downs that can happen with horses, let alone a herd of this size.
As much as I wanted to spend time with my horses and to see for myself how they were doing, I had to be content to hear the horses as they played outside or for brief glimpses I got of them as we went to and from my many appointments. It was literally weeks before I had enough strength to walk out to the first barn.
Occasionally I would notice a horse that I thought needed some weight. It was nothing scary, just the usual ups and downs that can happen with the youngsters and sometimes the old mare. When I saw this I would advise Dave and Lindsay of the necessary adjustments to get everyone on track. Other than the fact I was sick, it seemed to be the usual stuff.
Regardless, I laid there in the house and worried about my horses. Every little aspect of what night happen went through my mind. With my high standards I couldn't help but worry.
Would I know if it was time to make the tough decisions? I prayed that I would but I worried that maybe I should have made them a long time ago. The stage was set for an exploitation I could never have imagined.
To be continued....