Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter feeding

It’s a heat wave! We’ve had temperatures back to above zero and I am happy. It’s pretty sad when you think 18 is warm. Last weekend we had a high of -14 with wind chill making it -25, so you can see why I am happy to have it up to 18. I often giggle when I see people complain that its 32 degrees and they think it’s cold. When it hits 32 here you see people wearing shorts…no joke!

What sucks when it’s really cold is that I don’t want to be at the barn. I do chores 2-3 times a week so I need to be there but I think if I didn’t have to be there I wouldn’t be there. How horrible am I? But it is cold out there! Here is how my barn nights go. When I get to the barn I first have to have a 5 minute pep talk to myself that the sooner I get out of my toasty warm Dodge Ram the sooner I can go home. Then I shuffle into the barn and get to work. On my way through the tack/feed room I check cat food mountain and add if necessary, then slowly walk through the arena because it’s the warmest spot in the barn. Then I plug in the heated hoses because they take about 20 minutes to thaw. Then I giggle as I pass the arena mirrors because I look like a sumo wrestler with all my layers on. When I get to the barn door I pause, and take a deep breath…flip on the lights then head on in. I frown because the barn boys haven’t been sweethearts and brought in hay for me. As I pass each stall I hop in and move feed pans towards the front, also checking how gross the monsters managed to make their water buckets since I cleaned them the night before. I grab the hay wagon and off to the Quonset I go. Depending on the snowfall and if snow plow boy has been there is a big factor in getting hay. If snow plow boy has been there getting hay is easy…if not…its hell. Once I get to the Quonset I check the water of the devil ponies…I mean Icelandic’s. They scream and screech and make all kinds of blood curdling sounds until I throw them their hay. I know you shouldn’t reward them for that kind of behavior…but seriously…listen to them once and you will do whatever it takes to shut them up…Then I throw hay to the geldings that live in the Quonset and check their waters. Then climb up to the top of hay bale mountain and throw down some bales. Carry them out to the cart and drag them back to the main barn. A gelding almost always manages to pull a bale off as I pass by their paddock. SO I mumble some curse words and load it back up. Then start tossing hay to each of the 14 stalls, admiring at how awesomely clean they are. (New barn boy is an awesome stall cleaner!). Then it’s time to bring in the beasts.

First is the paddock with my monster. He’s the boss, and he loves me so he gives me no problems. Then is a horse I like to call Moose…because he looks like a moose and acts like a moose. He is then followed by the only ‘western’ horse in our barn.

After that I go to the bad boys paddock and bring them in. They are horses that don’t seem to know how to behave with any other horses other than themselves. Then it’s off to the barn owners geldings. They are easy to bring in in the winter, but they usually bring me to tears at least once in the summer. I leave the girls till last, because I don’t like mares. And they are witchy. And they can be mean and pushy, and evil. In the winter it’s not so bad but again in the summer...ugh.

Once they are all in I start filling buckets since the hose is finally thawed. And as I’m doing that I check to see if everyone has all their blanket straps in place and adjust as needed. When all the buckets are filled, and the disgusting poop/hay/yuck filled buckets have been scrubbed and filled and I’ve succesffully dumped at least one poop/hay/yuck filled bucket down my leg, I head off to the tack/feed room to start mixing grain.

I’m amazed that I’ve memorized each horses feed schedule. I can’t even remember what I learned in college but I can tell you everything that every horse I’ve ever met has eaten for supper. So I line up the buckets and start filling grain. Some of the “special needs” horses don’t get grain so I give them their “special needs” feeds. Then it’s on to the smartpaks…Love em!! Then add the other supplements that are in big tubs. Then load them up into my grain cart and away I go. When I get to the barn it’s like a zoo. Every horse is making some sort of noise. I dig out their feed pan that they’ve buried under their hay. When I’m done giving the monkeys their food I check their water one more time and top off any that need it.

When that is all done I rake the aisle and sweep the mat by the cross ties. And by then I’m pooped. Keep in mind this is done in sometimes -40 degree weather. Can you see why I’m in no mood to ride?

Our arena is heated, but only to about 42 degrees, any warmer and the horses could get sick, or something along those lines. I just get so exhausted in the winter that I don’t want to add the extra effort of going to the tack room and dragging out all of my tack. I would just hop on bareback but I have trouble getting up there all by myself.

I am not a very good horse mom…especially since 17 horses aren't really that many to take care of. There are plenty of barns with way more horses! I just don't like riding in the winter...

New phone

I got a new phone and I love it. Its an EVO. Its on the android operating system so of course i've downloaded a million apps. I think i've only recieved one call so far...

I wish they had some horse keeping apps.

Obviously I have the most fun with the camera apps. I just love the vintage-y feel to these pictures.

Piney is getting into the holiday spirt...

I love his blankie

Piney's home sweet home. I think he likes it better in the winter when the big garage door is open and he can look outside

the camera caught a picture of my breath

"Hi Mom! Got any treats?"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Piney's brothers and sister

Piney has two brothers and a sister that he’s never met. They live at my house with me and they are puppies. Well two are adult dogs and one is still a puppy.

Diesel is an outdoorsey fellow
(he's "pointing" and not actually missing a leg!)
 I’ll start with the oldest, my best boy Diesel. His full name is “Turbo Diesel Dullay” and he is a 4 year old black American Cocker Spaniel. I got him when I was living on a farm and he was a great farm dog. He LOVED his life of chasing bunnies, and birdies, and deer. I’d let him out in the morning and he’d come home around supper time exhausted. But things changed and we moved into town and he’s adapted well all though he does long for adventure. When we go visit hubby’s grandma’s farm he comes alive and spends his days exploring the farm and being a “wheat dolphin” swimming through the fields. Diesel is very smart and knows a lot of tricks, he hugs, shakes, gives high fives, kisses, and can balance treats on his nose. I love my best boy. But his experience with his old horse brother didn’t go so well. He met him when he was about 4 months old and promptly met the bottom of Yellow’s foot. Thank goodness Diesel tucked and rolled the way he did! I kept them separated from then on…

I just LOVE those "eyebrows"
Next is my little girl. She is a total mommys dog and follows me around where ever I go. She is a 3 year old parti colored American Cocker Spaniel named…Pooper. Yes Pooper…her full name is “Parti Pooper” and originally was named “Piper” but that name was just to sweet for such a terrible dog. She was bad! My mom nicknamed her “the dog from hell” because well she was. She ate shoes, and chewed on people, and once I found her with a $20 bill so when I took it she bit me. She was bad. She has become very sweet though and I just love her to bits. She likes to cuddle and is attached to my side any chance she gets. Diesel isn’t really a fan of her but when he is left alone he is a wreck. Sometimes I would catch them playing but as soon as he saw me looking, he’d stop. I really do love her but she isn’t a dog for everyone. She needs me and I need her.

Boston "Terror"
Last is the baby…Tucker aka “Tux” or “the world’s worst dog” he is a 5 month old Boston Terror…I mean Terrier. I’ve had no experience with terriers. Cocker spaniels run in my family. My dad had one growing up, and I had one growing up. Terriers are a different species. When any of the Sporting breed dogs looks up at you, there is Love and loyalty in their eyes. Even when Pooper was horrible she’d still look up at you and you’d see that she was completely loyal. This little monster…yikes…I see nothing but flames and lightning bolts when I look in his eyes. Hubby was laying on the coutch once and Tux randomly jumped up and bit him in the neck! I try not to turn my back on him I’m scared that he might kill me. I really do love that little monster though. He is a puppy and I understand that. He was a wedding present to my hubby who’s wanted one forever. And he is starting to learn things, he’s just a little firecracker full of life. I’m worried about how big he’ll be though…He’s already much bigger than my Spaniels were at his age…He’ll probably end up being a great dane!! Just kidding! I love that little monster!

Diesel Bear loves to swim...but can't so he has to wear a lifejacket or he'll sink to the joke!

Fluff ball

Trying to steal my soul by looking into my eyes...

LOVES to be outside!

Also loves to be long as I'm outside

I really DO love him!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter is here and Mother Nature had let us know that it’s here for a while. Yesterday we had a high of 10!! Ugh! I had to feed last night and I, like every cold day I feed, had to give myself a pep talk to get myself out of my toasty warm Dodge ram. When I finally got myself into the tack room I threw on my favorite purchase ever…my Carhartt overalls and jacket and bundled myself up. Once I’m bundled up I really don’t mind chores that much. I just hate that I seem to move slower and can’t see very well to the sides with my bomber hat on.

I was beyond thrilled though that Santa made an early trip to the barn and brought us two 100ft HEATED hoses!!
As soon as I saw them I seriously think I heard angels singing hallelujah. I don’t know what it’s like to live anywhere where it doesn’t get freakishly cold in the winter. (I’m talking -40 for a few weeks straight.) I’ve learned to deal as I’ve never known anything else! When it’s time to water horses here in the winter it’s the worst. I mean absolute worst thing ever. We deal with frozen faucets, frozen buckets, frozen hoses. NO FUN! So anything that can help us out a bit is magnificent! This hose is awesome. We don’t have to drain it, I don’t have to fumble with three shorter hoses (that I ALWAYS end up hooking to each other making one large circle), and if it freezes up we just plug it in for 20 minutes and she’s good to go! LOVE IT! They are super expensive though so I’m glad Santa’s little helper’s board at our barn and are so very generous this season!

Speaking of cold weather, I LOVE pinecone’s winter blanket. Santa brought it for me last year and it’s seriously the best present ever. It’s held up amazingly and I think it’s better made than some of the more expensive blankets that some of the horses are sporting at our barn. I haven’t had any rips, tears or snags yet either. Maybe it’s because Pinecone is the boss of his padock. :-)  Santa got my blanket from Greenhawk Tack its in Canada but they do ship to the US. My parents still live in Canada and the store isn’t too far from their house. I send them there for things every once in a while. BUT during December they have a new special each day. And they are usually pretty good deals, heck they have good deals all year long in their flyers. I recommend you check them out

ummm not the rack I was looking for...