Saturday was an epic day for Annie!

It started with a very loud knocking on my door at 8am.


It was the neighborhood road crew who had volunteered to fill potholes and trim trees on our mutual private road.  The emissary was letting me know that they were starting to trim the trees in front of my home first.

Why my house first?  This made no sense to me until I realized that one of my neighbors was bent on making sure my trees were trimmed so that his motorhome wouldn’t get scraped anymore.  So that is why my house was first at 8am.

Anyway, so they started at my house and the ensuing din was enormous.  As I was learning this news on my porch, a cacophony erupted – chainsaws, tractors and men yelling instructions to very excited, screaming  youngsters RIGHT ALONG ANNIE’S FENCELINE.

No surprisingly, I noted that Annie was going ballistic.  She was running circles with her head trained on the interlopers.

As I watched, a kid jumped the fence.

“No, Nooo NOO… WWWAAIIIITTTT!!!,” I yelled from my doorstep – which nobody heard.

The neighborhood road crew was using chainsaws, tractors, screaming kids and fire right outside and INSIDE Annie's pasture. She was going crazy!

The neighborhood road crew was using chainsaws, tractors, screaming kids and fire right outside and INSIDE Annie’s pasture. She was going crazy!


When I reached the foreman for the day, who does not have horses, he immediately started to explaig to me what they were going to do – as Annie continued to throw herself around the paddock in spasms.  I nodded politely, hoping he would let me get a word in edgewise, and then I told him that it all needed to stop until I could move Annie.

He didn’t understand.  Aren’t all horses born used to this stuff?

By looking at the hysterical Annie, clearly not.

But what was I going to do with Annie while they worked outside and inside her paddock?

I needed to come up with a plan, fast!

So I let her loose to hang out with me!

So I let her loose to hang out with me!  She went one way…

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 10.07.46 AM

And then the other way…


Annie had yet to be in the barn and she didn’t get along with anyone besides the ponies and they shared the same fenceline… so I didn’t quite know what to do.

Oh yeah, and she doesn’t lead calmly yet, and I expect that today would be no exception.

So, I decided to let her into the grassy area by the house so she could roam all around and get away from the noise.

And that’s what I did.

I opened her gate, called to her and waited.

She RAN up to where she saw me and then stopped abruptly when she saw the open gate.

Annie:  The gate is open.

Me:  Yup.

Annie:  Well, aren’t you going to shut it?

Me:  Nope.

Annie:  Why not?  That is how it always is… shut.

Me:  Not today.  I want you to come out and be with me today while all this noise is going on.

Annie:  Be with you?

Me:  Yup.  All day.  We can hang out and do different things.  Maybe even go into the barn.

Annie:  What’s the barn?

Me:  Where the food lives.

Annie:  OK!

And with that, she ran out the gate and put her head down to eat the green grass.  She was calmed immediately.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 6.01.17 PM

I called for her and she came up to the house.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 10.07.09 AM

She came RIGHT UP to me. She is a very friendly horse.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 10.07.23 AM

Right then, a big waft of smoke from the fire came past us. She didn’t like it at all.


I wanted to use this opportunity as best I could, so first I opened the barn and the stalls.  I figured if she wandered in there, she could wander around and familiarize herself with stalls and aisleways.

Then, I got my grooming bucket and put it out near her.  She likes the grooming bucket so I considered it Home Base.  I put hay out near it so she had a safe place if needed.

Then I let her settle in.

I went inside and watched what she did.

Interestingly, she went up to the Stang Gang (who she usually fights with when they are loose and she is contained in her pasture), and they all ignored her.

Not one fight!

Then she went up to meet Finn and BG.

No issues.

Annie roamed around, went up to the arena, traveled behind the house, toured the garden, walked on the rocks and pretty much investigated the entire area – calmly.  Very, very calmly.

What a good, sensible girl!

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 6.01.41 PM

She walked right up to the feed room as i was making her mash. The barn did not intimidate her at all!

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 6.02.25 PM

So we learned about the foaling stall, too, just in case.


After a while, I went out to see if she would follow me – which she did.  By this time, there was a raging fire in her paddock (the crew burning the branched they had trimmed for motorhome passage) and I spent quite a bit of time finding hoses that fit together  – most of mine have bent ends – and that would reach down to the fire… I hate fires.

Anyway, while I was figuring out the hose situation, Annie disappeared.

When I was done with the hose situation, she reappeared.

I happened to go into the barn to find a spray valve for the end of the last hose, and noticed a manure pile IN THE STALL.  So… she had made herself at home.

I figured this was my chance to lock her in a stall, so I called her back in with a lovely mash.  She loves her mash… so in she came.

What is funny is that I am so used to MT or the ponies/Norma in the barn, I was taken aback at how LARGE Annie appeared in comparison.

Anyway, she went right into the stall and ate the mash I had prepared and set on the ground.

I shut the stall gate.

No response.

I waited for her to finish and I took a few pics.

I shut the stall door and she was fine.

I shut the stall door and she was fine. (Notice the cow hocks.)


I’ve always known that Annie does not have a stellar back end.  She doesn’t look balanced at the trot and I never see her run – or not often.

It occurred to me that she was cowhocked.  I looked it up and Google said that draft horses are often cow hocked.

But… I also think she is sickle hocked.


I need to get this diagnosed.  But, my hunch is that she might not make a riding horse, which would be sad because she is very beautiful and I’d like to ride her.

I've always felt that Annie was weak/wonky in the back end. I figured she was cowhocked but now I wonder if she is both cow and sickle hocked. I need to have that diagnosed. Thoughts?

I’ve always felt that Annie was weak/wonky in the back end. I figured she was cowhocked but now I wonder if she is both cow and sickle hocked. I need to have that diagnosed. Thoughts?  (Yes, she needs a trim.  She has no heels.  She is not OK with picking up her feet.  She slams them down.)

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 6.03.44 PM

Being cow and sickle hocked would not be good for riding… I think her lower leg comes too far forward.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 6.03.12 PM


So this morning, Annie banged on her gate, for the first time, ever (Thank you, Gwen, for teaching her that…).

She wanted to spend another day OUT.

I couldn’t blame her… but it wasn’t her turn.

But, I did tell her that from now on, she was part of the rotation.

This made her very happy indeed.

Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 10.06.57 AM


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

2 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    Hi Ina: This came up as a Google Search. I did the same search and came to the same conclusion.
    If it was an article, I didn’t see it. Thanks for caring!

  2. Ina M Ish

    Got interested so did some looking around, and found this:

    Hope you can open it, has some very good picturess of sickle hocks, and other hock conformation. Annie an be ridden, justnot hard I would say, and for sure no Dressage!

    My best,

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *