Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Farewell Rip and Spunky (alternate title: What a f**ng awful week)

 I've had another spell of radio silence here.  This time for good reason.

On Wednesday, October 20th, I lost Rip to colic.  He had just turned 10 months old.

My friend called me around 10 am saying that Rip was off.  We called the vet and I rushed over to her farm.  The vet did an exam, gave meds and was guardedly optimistic that he would come out of it.

The next 4 hours were horrible. You are all horse people, so I know I don't need to explain.

By 4pm, we had the vet back and due to his condition, poor vitals and lack of gut motility, we made the decision to say goodbye.

To say that I am gutted and heartbroken is an understatement. He was my dream horse and I was looking forward to many years of showing him and having fun.  I was *thisclose* to shutting down the blog and quitting horses...

My most recent pic...

To make matters worse,  7 days after we lost Rip, we also said goodbye to my friend's gelding Spunky.  He had endless lameness issues that could no longer be managed.  He was only 10.

This horse was the barn clown, was so handsome and brought many people together over the years. In fact, he is how I met my friend 5 years ago...  He is the first halter horse I showed and generated a love for that discipline...  *sigh*

We joked that Spunky was "Uncle Spunky" to Rip.  The two of them got along quite well and Rip would spend his time outside sharing hay with Spunky and clowning around.

I hope they are running together somewhere, getting into trouble...  

I think I'll be back. My blog needs a rebrand - new name, something - not sure exactly what.  We'll see if inspiration strikes or not.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Foal Friday

 I'm going back in time for a bit to get caught up.  

These pics take me back to the day Rip and his dam came home from the fancy maternity barn.  We brought them home on Feb 27 (I think) despite there being a nasty snow storm in the morning.  We checked the weather and it looked like it was clearing out by the time we left with the trailer.  Luckily the plows were out in full force, so the highway was in decent shape.

Rip and Lucy loaded up no problem and then we were on our way back home. I have to tell you, I was super nervous having a foal in my barn. I've never handled a foal that much and now I was responsible for one!  Yikes!  Lol. I think that first night I went out every 4 hours to make sure Rip and Lucy were ok!

Night check the first night - everyone is fine!

The next morning, I was texting my friend to tell her they were fine.  I shared every detail important to a horse person: eating, pooping, drinking.

Rip wondering who the human is that is looking in his stall every 5 minutes 
And most importantly, Rip was nursing no problem.

My friend came out later on day 2 and we wrestled Rip into a dog blanket and a halter. Lol Why a dog blanket you ask?  Well, my friend owns a pet store and she had these dog blankets with velcro straps and no clips.  We did have an actual foal blanket, but it was too big and we didn't like the clips on the straps. The velcro on the dog blanket would let go easily if Rip got stuck.

Who are you people and why am I wearing this outfit? Rip, probably

The barn was a bit cold in March, but with these 2 and Spunky, it never went below freezing inside, so that was good.  After the first week, I was starting to relax and only go out to the barn 4x a day instead of every few hours.  Lol. 

We also put up a board to divide the two stalls, so Rip could go over to his side and pick at some foal starter grain/vitamins.  We did this to a) not have to deal with the creep feeder that his dam was licking the pellets from and b) it gave him much more room to move around.

Ok. One Foal Friday post ready! I can do this!  It is fun going back through my pictures too!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Horses here, there and everywhere!

 Wow - can you believe I've got another update here?   I've had the meat of the post ready for a while, but haven't had the pics to go with it.  I'm working on getting caught up and then hopefully I'll be able to stay current-ish with posts.

The last year has seen a lot of changes in my little herd. The collective herd is now NOT little, with 8 horses between my friend and I.  We co-own 3: Rip, Ivy and a new broodmare, Momma Mia.  I own Fred and Copper and she has Spunky and Lucy. My friend boards a mare for her sister, which makes 8! The reason I include all of these horses in “my” herd is that I help train and handle most of them! 

Ivy and Fred this spring. Fred looks teeny in this pic. Lol

My friend moved back to her childhood farm this May and by early June, all but Fred and Copper had moved to her place.  I am ok with just the two boys here for now, as I had a full house all winter, with horses inside, outside and Fred boarded to get some training.

We found a new broodmare this spring – I don’t want to say we “rescued” her, but we rehomed her for a very low price.  The lady that owned her had a big herd and was having some life issues and was downsizing.    We had a bit of vet work to do to get her back to what I consider the basics – teeth, vaccines, hoof trims, etc.   She is a registered QH with some decent older bloodlines.  She has good bone, great feet (despite a bit of neglect) and a fantastic temperament.

Ivy on the left, Mamma Mia on the right.

The mare is sweet as pie and has loved all the attention we’ve been giving her (and grain, let’s be honest!). Well, accept for the farrier… We had to use meds to sedate her so we could get her trimmed.   Her feet hadn’t been trimmed in over a year (!) so that was important to do.  The good thing is that despite not being up to date on vet/farrier work, she was in good shape. 

She approaches you cautiously, then comes in for scratches and attention.

We were able to get her all checked out and then we bred her in June to a nice local red roan QH stallion owned by an acquaintance.    We did the 45 day ultrasound and all looks good, so cross your fingers for a foal next May!

Momma Mia will stand here and quietly nicker until you give her a treat.

I boarded my friend’s sister’s mare, Tilly here for a couple of months this spring while my friend moved and settled in.  I put a few rides on the mare to see how broke she was.  Long story short: she is broke w/t/c and whoa. She doesn’t have any fancy buttons, but seems to be a solid equine citizen.  I’m still helping with this horse as her owner has major fear issues. 

Tilly is nice and quiet and should be good for my friend in time.  Tilly is a cute grey APHA mare and is not in foal, despite looking a bit round in the pic below!

Tilly - the grey (not in foal!!) mare
Ivy and Mamma Mia on the left

I don't have any pics of me riding, but I have been in the saddle a few times this summer.  I can't say that I'm loving riding at the moment (WEIRD!!) so not sure what is going on there. Something to unpack over the fall and winter maybe??

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Still here - long overdue catch up post!

I was hoping to be more regular with updates, but that small goal has clearly fallen by the wayside.


I have lots of fun pictures of Rip to post but will get to that over the next few weeks… I'm still trying to archive and edit photos, but work has been busy, so I don’t always feel like more screen time at the end of the day.

Rip was getting out in the round pen a fair bit, then graduated to the small paddock

Rip is at my friend's farm for now and it has been a bit harder to get out there as much as I'd like.  I've been so spoiled having horses at home, that I'm not used to driving to see my horse!!

Here is a quick catch up and I'll work on more detailed posts (hopefully!).

In good news:

  • I’ve had both vaccines, our vaccine rates are really high here and things are slowly reopening.

  • I got a promotion at work, so more $$ for horse stuff!

  • I am still working from home, with no word of going back full time

  • I got to visit my family (twice)!

  • A few western horse shows are starting up – not sure I’ll make it to one, but at least they are happening

  • I may have done a little “treat yo’ self” splurging this summer – more to come

  • My friend and I bought another broodmare this spring (see pic of Mia below) and she is confirmed in foal. Woohoo! More on this in another post…

  • Rip continues to grow and be adorable

  • Another friend has been helping me with Rip and it has been such a great thing as I need all the help I can get!  ;-)

  • Rip was getting turnout in the round pen, then graduated to the small paddock close to the barn

Rip loves his Uncle Spunky - they play and bite each other's faces. Boys.

Rip is learning to eat a bit of grass and to greet other horses. I think he is learning that the mares are a bit different from his Uncle Spunky.  Lol  It is nice that my friend's paddock set up allows him to meet the mares across a fence, so we minimize the risk of him getting kicked or something.
Rip meeting Mia - she has a wonderful sweet temperament, but not a fan of young geldings. lol

In not-so-great news:

  • Ivy was bred in April, confirmed in foal, then something happened and the pregnancy was absorbed. Boo to that. Very disappointing, but always a chance to learn to apply to next year.

More updates to come; I’m not ready to give up on the blog just yet!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Rip - Weeks 2-6

 Well, I was sort of getting caught up here, then things went south again. Lol   Well, to be fair, work was pretty rough last week.   Even though I'm still working from home, I pulled several late nights last week dealing with lots of things that made the news. Sigh.  In good news, things are slooowwwllly starting to open up here now that more people are getting vaccinated. I had my first shot a month ago, which is way ahead of what was predicted.

OK - on to foal pics!  I guess this is a better late than never sort of thing at this point?  Lol

This brings us back to late Jan/early Feb. Rip was born on Janurary 17 and stayed at the fancy maternity barn until the end of Feb, when he and his dam came to my place.

Cute little man!

Rip, like most foals grew (and still is growing) like a weed! Around the 3-4 week mark, a creep feeder was put in the stall to start giving him some foal starter pellets.  The only catch, is that his dam outsmarted all of us and was able to lick some of the pellets out of the feeder!  Lol

I will crack this puzzle.  Lucy, probably.

The barn owner also handled Rip for us as well, since we weren't able to get there that often. He haltered him, picked up his feet and led him around the barn a bit.  He also got some turnout in the arena when stalls were cleaned.

The cutest wee halter!
He got to meet some of his neighbours as well!
I think this guy is a half brother (same stud)

As the end of February approached, I started to get excited and nervous as Rip was due to come home.  I've never worked with a foal before, so I had a lot to learn.

Hopefully it won't take me so long for the next post! 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

An update on Copper and Sophie

I feel like Copper and my dog Sophie don’t get much attention on this blog. The cats and big horses tend to hog the spotlight. 

Copper is doing great and continues to be such a good boy. He is the barn favorite and everyone that visits falls in love with him. He has the temperament of a Labrador retriever, which certainly helps!
A friend who is nervous of big horses loves Copper

He has an old shoulder injury that has slowly affected the rest of his body over the years.  He is pasture sound only but that doesn't slow really him down at all.  That being said, I have my vet and chiro check him regularly and no one really has any tips to improve his lameness.  They have assessed that he isn't in much pain, but his injuries have forced his body to just not work properly, if that makes any sense. He has been on previcox as well with no real improvement. 

This winter I met a new equine body worker that really helped Fred, so I thought I’d have her out to check Copper.  She did a complete check and was able to help him unlock some stiffness. I’m not sure what kind of magic she worked, but he was walking better after a 30 minute treatment. He had a lot of stiffness in his SI joint and his spine. He will need more treatments and some exercises to build up strength, but I feel confident that this therapy can help him move more comfortably over time!
Copper - chief cookie tester. These homemade gingerbread cookies passed his inspection.  :-)

And on to Sophie... this poor dog is only six and she has a host of medical issues. It is a bit of a heartbreaker situation for sure. She has seizures and is on two different meds to keep that at bay. The meds work so that is good. They do affect her energy level and to top that off, she has also been limping on her front leg for about a year. I’ve had her to the vet, the chiro and a dog physio. None have been able to pinpoint the issue. 
A chicken collar and tootsie roll toy: one of the many perks of having a friend that owns a pet store!

On a whim, I asked the equine body worker if she happened to work on dogs as well. She said that she did, so I added Sophie to the list for treatment. 
Sad face expert

She found some soreness in her hind end and treated it with massage and then cold laser. I’m never sure if some of these therapies work or not, but within 24 hrs, Sophie’s limp was almost gone. Now, this treatment will need to be repeated to help with the pain and I may need to do a xray or something to help identify what might be causing the pain.  An old injury? Hip displaysia?  Hard to say...

It is now 72hrs later and Sophie is still not limping and has more energy than I’ve seen in a few months. I’m hopeful that this type of therapy helps her longer term and I can get my dog back to a more normal state!  

Needless to say, whatever treatments this lady is using have been making visible differences in the horses and the dog, so I'll keep going down this road for now.  

Monday, May 31, 2021

The big move and Rip gets weaned

I'm working on updates...I promise! I have a mountain of cute  foal pics to post, but I have to download and edit those, so I'll be jumping back and forth in time as I attempt to get caught up!

If you remember, my good friend (and Rip's co-owner) sold her farm and bought back her childhood farm.  The only catch with all of that, is that the closing dates for the two properties didn't line up.  She just moved into her new (old) farm three weeks ago, so her horses were at my place all winter.

She owns Spunky, the big halter gelding and Lucy, Rip's Mom.  After some renos were done on her new (old, built by her Dad who passed away a few years ago) barn, my friend was ready to take Spunky, Lucy and Rip home.

Following the trailer to the farm to help unload

I have to say I miss the horses, but don't miss the workload!  Her  gelding Spunky is on stall rest, so he was quite a bit of work.  Good thing he is so handsome though!  He and Rip enjoyed playing a bit when possible. Often, while cleaning stalls, I would let Rip wander around to get used to the barn and be away from his Mom a bit.  

Uncle Spunky playing with Rip.  Ignore the dirty floor - the farrier had just left and I was cleaning stalls!

All three horses trailered well and settled into their new spots.  Well, except Rip.  The poor guy got separated from his Mom that day!  He did settle though and within 72 hours was doing much, much better.

Mmmmoooommmmmmm???? Rip, probably.

I have had a friend helping me work with Rip the past couple of weeks to get him ready for weaning and to be better with having his feet picked up.  He is not a fan of having his feet touched.  He has been trimmed once by the farrier and was due again last week.  (Note: sorry for the blue faces - don't want to post other people here if I can help it). We were able to get his fronts trimmed this time, but there was a lot going on in the barn, so his hinds will get addressed next visit.

Fronts are better than the hinds - making progress though

He was also checked by vet and given his first vaccines.  She also confirmed that he is ready to be gelded, so we booked that for later in June.  Woohoo!  Lol  I'm sure Rip won't feel the same way.
Rip looks slightly concerned

It is cool and a teeny bit sad to see Rip grow up so fast!  I'm super excited to see how he looks as he grows up though, so it is mostly good!

Farewell Rip and Spunky (alternate title: What a f**ng awful week)

 I've had another spell of radio silence here.  This time for good reason. On Wednesday, October 20th, I lost Rip to colic.  He had just...