she’s graveled..

am feeding in the early a.m…cold..still dark..black sky..few stars still out..
in the darkness notice Jade the beautiful jet black appy cross standing way back from the herd..
can barely make her out..that’s odd..
she’s always by her herd mates at feeding time..
throwing hay to the rest to keep them from milling around and possibly moving her if she’s injured..
then walking to where she’s standing it’s clear something’s not right..
she just looks at me..
not moving to hay in the morning..not good..
it’s getting lighter now and can get a better look at her..
no swelling..no cuts..no nothing..
slowly she offers to move..slowly a hobble sort of walk..
had her shots the day before..could it be a reaction?..
seems to be hind right leg..
would think a shot reaction would be systemic..all over..no it’s the leg..
she toe hobbles over to her hay pile.. got kicked?..
stepped wrong?..kicked something?..but she’s not usually a kicker..
will stay with her and see what she says..
during the day it appears to get more painful..
she’s eating..drinking..moving around then laying down..getting the weight off..
had called the vet earlier..waiting to hear..it’s thanksgiving week..
busy busy schedules..
not an emergency but definitely needs attention..
while waiting for the call a ranch friend drops by..
had been chatting earlier about the hay they got and had mentioned Jade’s predicament..
”how’s the mare?..ok to have a looksee?”..sure..he looks..we look..
she looks at us looking..
i’d place my money on graveled..she’s graveled”..
“graveled some people call it..graveling others say..
hoof abcess most common name ..
infection inside the hoof wall or under the sole when bacteria gets in sensitive parts of the foot..
bacterium enters the hoof wall by a crack or opening..
abscess forms from infection..like a boil in a person..like walking on a boil..
extremely uncomfortable till it passes..
well there’s the bet..he’s seen hundreds of horses many hundreds..
that was my guess too but have only seen a dozen or so..
and we don’t know but we guess..passing the wait for the vet call back time..
and here’s horses..
while vet waiting Jade’s horse buddy decides to graze out of sight a few feet away behind a bush..
she calls to him..hobble walks quickly wanting to go with him..
in the few seconds it takes to bring him back she puts pressure on the sore foot.. half hobble trots two steps..
the pressure apparently bursts what we guessed was there..the abcess..
and it was at the coronary band..where the hoof meets the hair..
had it been on the bottom..on the sole it wouldn’t have been noticeable..
and as luck would have it ..as it’s draining..pics being taken..the vet office calls..
now we really have details to give them..they say hose it off..don’t get kicked..
Jade is immediately better.. offering to walk..pressure appears to be gone..
pain appears to be almost totally gone..
she asks to go with her buddies..we let her go..she walks off..
barely a sign of the can barely can walk mare from before..
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the herd sleeps..

it’s different on different nights..how the herd sleeps..
in watching have noticed their various patterns..
when no bugs are out..they sleep separately..twenty feet or more apart..
some stand..some lay down..curl up in the soft sand of the arena..
when no bugs are out they come up to have flymasks removed..
not sure if it’s temperature or humidity or moonlight
that decides what bugs do..
but when bugs are out they sleep together..this herd anyway..
very close together..standing..side by side..touching..
even ones that don’t get along too well opt to sleep close ..
and opt to keep flymasks on..tails swish occasionally..send bugs away..
they chose a sleep spot near a light.. bugs gravitate to the light..
less around the horses..
on closer inspection..can see the four rescues still in a clump..
side by side..touching..
and looking closer yet..notice Sally the smallest sleeping with her nose touching her friend Bella’s side..
guess that let’s her know when her security blanket moves away..
gives new meaning to the phrase “sleep tight and don’t let the bugs bite”
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they’re always teaching me..

they’re always teaching me..

when the four rescues arrived last Thanksgiving thin and unsure

one of the first things noticed was all four ate off the same flake of hay..

every meal..every time..heads touching..quietly sharing..

maybe that’s all they had where they were..one flake for the four..

maybe over time they would learn to spread out..

learn from the horses already here..that there’s plenty for everyone..

learn to find their own flake..find their own pile..enjoy nuzzling the hay..

it was surprising to see that wasn’t the case..that wasn’t what happened at all..

there’s always plenty of food and plenty of room ..

but in watching something else took place..in fact the opposite happened..

the rescues taught the others to eat with them on their one flake of hay..

and when the flake is gone everyone moves on to the next one..

at first their were four heads..then five on one flake and then six and now more..

then the group moves to the next pile..and the next..

once again..a herd lesson..an observation..how they decide to do things..

for today anyway..

 
 
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did Bella see red?

it’s many months since the rescues left their small cramped quarters filled with twine..garden hose and who knows what..

it’s interesting to watch them expand their boundaries.. at first they went everywhere together..”a cluster of grapes” moving around..exploring..
over time they splintered off.. then back together..then dividing into pairs Bella and Sally..Sampson and Jade..
then going alone and with other herd members but always back to four at feeding..all eating off the same flake of hay.
.no matter how much food or how big an area.. lately they’ve gone alone in separate directions..
so thinking this might be a good time to pull one out without anyone getting emotional or upset or making themselves sick
Sally was gathered up and brought to a front pasture..the reasons..she remains so aloof and needs to be with people and is off by herself a lot anyway..
so Sally comes up to the pasture by the house to interact with people instead of being off in the trees in Sally land..
she does great.. people visiting and working around..Sampson could care less.. Jade also..they have each other..
Bella though ..voices her opinion..she calls to everyone in an “ok where is everyone” call and they answer back..
she’s content to just know where they are..that they are each in a different pasture..gates open if they want to re-connect..
she doesn’t go look but listens for their answers to her calls.. later in the day though Bella becomes extremely alert..extremely agitated..
but she’s looking in the opposite direction of the other horses..she runs to the fence a hundred yards away..
   
calls to whatever it is that has her attention..calls..looks ..like dog on the point.. looking in the direction of her gaze I see what it might be..
someone walking in the street half a mile away.. a person with a bright red jacket on.. all we see is the bright red jacket bobbing along..
and I wonder..they say horses don’t see color..but this jacket is the same exact color as Sallys red flymask.
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it’s a person not a horse..but Bella is insistent..calling..”hey..it’s me!..i’m here!” ..look over here!..
when the red jacket bobs out of sight she goes trotting back to the herd..did she think it was Sally in her flymask bobbing along?..only she knows..
but in seeing how much Bella missed her friend, Sally is gathered up and led back so they can all share dinner with the rest that have gathered for food..
same thing again..same flake with the other three..four heads on one flake and a friend joining in to boot.. ..
so we’ll  do it again tomorrow..Sally learning people and Bella learning it’s ok to be farther away..baby steps..end on a good note..success over speed..
studying horse behavior over instant results..like the cowboy said..”sometimes the slower ya go the faster ya get there”..
   
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a long awaited ride..

again a magical time.. between the rain .. the dust storms..comes a beautiful morning..
Bella the line back dun/paint cross mare has been ridden bareback every day..
ridden around the property..on the trail course..in the trees..arena..round pen..
getting ready for a rider ..for a Dennis ride..
after getting an idea of what she knows and teaching a little more each day..it’s time..
so Sunday Dennis is ready from riding Cheyenne ..the teacher..the lesson horse teacher..
and Bella is ready from being ridden every day ..
it’s time ..time to put the two together..
are we going slow..sure..does anyone care..no..
Bella steps up to the yellow barrel..Dennis steps up too..
standing on the overturned big yellow plastic barrel he gets ready..
taking the reins..talking to Bella ..easing a leg over her back..
sliding on..the moment we’ve been waiting for..
they step out.. re-assure each other.. enjoy each other..
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and Sampson comes up..me too..and Jade..me too..
so it’s ride Bella .. pony another..like kids..my turn..my turn..
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they’re polite..patient..asking kindly..
now Deb’s on Cheyenne and Jess gets on Jade..
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everyone’s happy..so it’s time for a pic..
“smile everyone”..and on seeing the pic
in looking close..can’t believe my eyes..
Bella..is smiling too..
  
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it’s a happy tail…

When the four rescue horses arrived so many months ago

one couldn’t help but notice

Sampson the only gelding limping and very thin

and that the two black horses Sampson and Jade.. 

the two that always stayed together even more than the four did ..had no tails..

well not no tails really

but tails cropped as far up as they could be without hitting bone..

the dock of the tail..now over time those tails are growing more and more ..

becoming thick ..beautiful..expressive..very expressive..

when the tails were short they were quiet..

hanging down close to the body..nothing to say..

now the tails are longer..fuller..shiny and the tails have a lot to say..

a little attitude in a happy way..

watching Sampson walk he flings his tail back and forth..

swishes flies..tells other horses what for..

tells them by swatting at one as he or she walks by..

he even seems to enjoy just flipping it around in a circle to feel it on his backside..

so his limp is gone ..his weight is up.. his tail is talking.. 

life is good in Sampson’s tail world..

and in watching..it’s the same with Jade’s tail world..

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just magical that’s all..

 
Sunday was magical..that’s all..just magical..with no agenda and wanting to work in the shade it was let things unfold..Jade has been ridden every day..bareback..gentle riding ..riding in the park..in the arena..in the shade..in the hills..Bella had been favoring her back right and had two weeks off from riding..in watching her move daily the improvement was obvious it was time to let her tell us for sure if she could handle a light rider or not..she said yes by standing firmly and often on the previously sore back right..Sampson as usual wants to be included in anything..included in the area but not really in the actual event..he wants to stand in the middle while the others ride around him..so he does for awhile and then is always invited to join in.. to do what he can and what he can do if usually a little more than he thinks he can..the horrible limp that he arrived with now barely there..hardly there..his weight great  and his confidence growing..becoming more the “gentle protector” than the “needing to be protected”..Sally..aloof and pretending to not know anything is now Sally that knows more than she lets on..it’s trust for her..if they can’t catch me they can’t hurt me..she’s trusting more and more..so Sunday Jess gets on Jade to share how Jade makes the most riding progress..to show Kelly for best results..she slides off and hands the black soft round roping reins to Kelly who steps up on the big overturned yellow barrel to slide on Jade’s back..and the nice observation is her “slide on” is quite different that Jess’s..faster and farther back..new for Jade.. it goes perfectly..no problem..no scoot forward..no fuss.. nice progress showing Jade different people get on differently..
then Jess gets Bella.. using split reins to have something different for the horse..Bella’s probably used to it but in learning the horses am using something different each time..split reins..round reins..mount in different area..from various places..barrel..fence..mounting block..Bella is brought to the big yellow barrel and stands with most of her weight on the back right..good sign..Jess slides on Bella walks out..it’s all good..in wanting to have a personal best for both horse and rider each time Jess and Kelly pony Sampson and Sally..Jade gladly ponies Sampson
     
but is not happy when asked to pony Sally..Jade pins her ears back speeds up and lets it be known this isn’t working..so next time that’s where we’ll work..help her get thru it ..but for today it’s keep it on a good note..so there was riding..ponying..laughing..learning..
with Sally learning that ”buddy” the riding dummy still doesn’t have great balance..
   
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