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.
SO I RAN IN MY JAMMIES DOWN TO THE FENCELINE!
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!
I HAD NO WHERE TO PUT HER… SO I LET HER LOOSE.
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.
Annie: Well, aren’t you going to shut it?
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.
And with that, she ran out the gate and put her head down to eat the green grass. She was calmed immediately.
WHAT COULD I TEACH HER WHILE SHE WAS OUT?
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.
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!
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.
I waited for her to finish and I took a few pics.
SHE’S COWHOCKED… IS SHE ALSO SICKLE HOCKED?
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.
SHE HAD A GREAT DAY AND BEGGED ME TO LET HER OUT TODAY…
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.