HORSE STORIES and an UPDATE on the Starved Colt.






I can look at the amount of visits per post and it seems that Horse Stories are one of the most popular topics!  So, today I am going to tell a few of my own and then post others that made me smile.

First though, I wanted to give an update on the starved foal who was rescued by BHFHR on Saturday eve.  Here are a few photos.  He has a bad coat, is very skinny, his hocks are swollen, he has horrible rain rot and his belly wormy.  But, they are working around the clock to help him.  I’ll keep you posted.  To keep up to date or help, go to the website.

HEART IN THROAT
I had a few guys helping unload a large flatbed of hay.  The truck was backed up almost to the hay barn.  As usual, the guys have a system for unloading hay.  First they create a hay bale bridge from the truck to the hay barn.  Then, they stack the hay into the barn kinda like Leggos.  You see a stair-step pattern off of the truck and a stair-step pattern into the barn.

Well, on that day last Summer, it was too hot to continue so the boys came in for a cool drink.  I knew my Icy and my TWH filly were roaming loose.  But, I didn’t worry because they were grazing far away on fresh, green grass.  Famous last words…
As I walked outside to see the progress on the stacks, I noticed the Icy IN THE BACK OF THE TRUCK on the bale Leggo structure.  She was totally on the top of the pile, teetering.  I froze.  Where was the other one?!  I told myself to breathe deeply and stay calm.  OK, where is the other one????

I see her, on top of the Leggo mountain in the hay barn.  She was 20 feet up inside the barn.  They must have gotten onto the hay bridge, I’m sure egging each other onward,  and then each picked a different direction.  So here I had my Icy teetering in the back of the flatbed and my TWH filly standing on loose bales near the roof of the hay barn.  If either of them got scared, broken legs were sure to follow.

So, I gently approached, cooing as best I could.  “Awww, aren’t you smarty girls, getting into the hay… Are you having fun?  Wanna come down?  I have some treats… Be careful now, no rush…”  My heart was in my throat.

You see, they didn’t know they were in a pickle.  So, both of them just bounced down and out, as if they weren’t 20 feet in the air, surrounded by holes and loose hay.  Unbelievable.
Above is a pic of my TWH filly.  Can’t you just hear her, “What??!”

BUCKET GIRL

This is why I never use plastic buckets/bowls to feed anymore.   One night, I heard a horrible banging down at the barn.  Boooom bangity bang!  Bang booomer bang!
I was trying to stay asleep but no, it was really violent and I figured someone was trying to get my attention.

I put on my robe and boots (a good look for me) and went to the barn. There, looking really sheepish, was one of my Morgan mares.  “Uh, I don’t really know how this happened, but could you please remove this bucket from my ankle?”  The plastic was ripped and sharp, right around her arteries.  I told myself that she had probably been that way for hours and I needed to calm down. Luckily, she held her foot up and waited patiently for me to fix it.  (Pictured is Gwen, my bucket girl.)

DITCHED
Once, when I had my horses boarded, Damien decided to maneuver the fence to get to the much better grass on the other side.  Unfortunately, he got caught up in the wire and ended up on his back in a ditch, stuck, with one foot attached to the fence.  Like the smart boy I didn’t know he was, he just laid there for hours.  I found out from a neighbor that when the boarding facility found him, he just nickered, let them pour water in his upside-down mouth and waited for them to release him. Atta boy!

STORIES FROM OTHERS!  I found these on the internet and thought I’d share…

QUIT BUGGIN’
Every Sunday, I ride for 3 and a half hours. In Central New Brunswick on the best horses you could ever wish for. No kidding its true, but there is one in particular that I love the most. His name is Ebony Frostbite. Frosty (as we call him) is a registered Quarter Pony with the attitude of a 15 hand Arabian stallion, but yet… he has one weakness. BUGS! He gets an allergic reaction to bug bites and they puff up and are super irritating. To him it is the most annoying thing in the world. He kicks, bites, itches and rolls. Anything to itch those bites. These horses have run-out pastures. They can go outside at will whenever they like. Frosty realized this and also realized the bugs could also go in and out at will so he decided… “Why don’t I CLOSE the door” so he slams the door in everybody’s face and then backs up and puts his rump against it so it stays permanently closed. The woman who owns Frosty went outside so she could drop his hay by his usual feeding spot. She had opened his door, and when she came to close the door Frosty gave her a look of deepest disgust and smashed the door in her face. She told me it really meant, “Haven;t I told you a MILLION times to close the door when you leave??? The bugs will get in!!!” So in courtesy for Frosty everytime we open his closed door we close it when we’re done. We don’t want to be told off by a stubborn pony again. – Victoria Blair

FABRIC SOFTENER HEADRUSH
I’ve seen horses do alot of things, but a friend’s mare is one of the strangest. My friend would let her mare graze in the yard, when Shelby (the mare) would hear the clothes dryer come on, she would scurry to the dryer vent and inhale the hot air … we never could figure out if she liked the smell … ie Bounce Dryer Sheets, mountain fresh scent… or the hot air… (the air was already hot.. it was 95 degrees) .. or if she just was a silly mare. As long as the dryer was running, you knew exactly where to find her. – Karen Sue Taylor

HORSEY SENSE OF HUMOR
We had 3 horses at home in 1999 and one of them was a 2 year old Thoroughbred we called Lil buddy. His registered name was The Charminator because he charmed everyone he met. One afternoon my husband and I went to groom and ride our horses. We were grooming in the run in shed, my husband and his horse on the outside of the gate and me on the inside with my horse….and Lil Buddy. Lil Buddy was nuzzling my tshirt while I was grooming my horse and rubbing my back. I bent over to clean my horses hooves and Lil Buddy kept rubbing my back, pushed through my waistband and pulled up my underwear GIVING ME A WEDGIE! We laughed so hard I almost fell down until I looked at all 3 horses faces and they were all grinning! I never saw a horse actually grin before that day. -Bonnie Gerdes

WON’T CROSS WATER BUT WILL SWIM FOR CHICKS
My horse is possibly the Harry Houidini of the horse world .One day as I was cleaning stalls I went outside to dump my wheelbarrow full of you know what and I saw him he was swimming across the lake that partly encloses his pasture. To understand why he did this you have to understand two things: one, across from his pasture was where we kept my two mares and two, he is a pride cut gelding who thinks he is a stud.Woopsy. As he proceeded to get out of the water and shake off I stood like an idiot with my mouth open I mean this is my gelding that barely crosses creeks much less swims lakes suprise suprise. Then as I was standing there he ran up to the mares and started chasing the mares from one end of the pasture to the pasture to the other. I quickly regained my senses and caught him but to this day I can’t put him in the pasture, nor will he cross a creek. -kamie harrell

WHAT DID HE DO, NOW??

We own Peck’s Bad Horse. Chaos is his middle name. “Rat ‘Chaos’ Friedman”. I’ve been in my truck driving to the barn and met him coming down the road in the opposite direction. He’s spent days removing all of the bolts from the gutter on the shedrow barn at one farm. I’ve gotten daily calls from one farm manager that always started with, “You have GOT to get over here and see what your horse is doing!” He’s taken apart a western saddle and buried the pieces in the sand footing of the arena before he was caught. He’s found a whip and gotten the rest of the horses running in circles until they were exhausted. He’s spent an hour or so working his way into the middle of a coil of rusty barbed wire and backing out again, over and over and over . . .

Most recently he developed a grudge against a horse in the neighboring paddock. During the night (his most creative time) he took down the fence between them, crossed it, beat the bejeezus out of his erstwhile enemy, then quietly crossed back into his own paddock, where he was found grazing peacefully the next morning. All in a night’s work for our boy.

I’ve got a rider on my insurance policy that names him specifically with a disclaimer for whatever he might do that we haven’t thought of a way to prevent.

I could go on, but I get nervous when I think for too long about what he might be doing while I’m typing. I’ve just started sleeping through the night again since my daughter moved him a state away. Most folks dread the midnight phone call because they fear for the health of elderly relatives and errant children. I jump out of bed and start pulling my boots on before I’ve got the phone off the cradle because I know I’m going to hear, “Wait’ll you see what he’s done this time!”

And he’s only one of seven. Is it any wonder I tend to hunker in the corner humming show tunes and making farm animals out of duct tape and baling twine?
__________________
Joanne M. Friedman

THOSE are a few horse stories to enjoy!  Do you have any?


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Fly Mask Review. ‘Tis the Season!






I don’t generally write two tack thoughts in a row.  But, as the flowers bloomed and the flies buzzed today, I considered having one of my mares don her fly mask for the first time this Spring.  I went to retrieve it and noted that I had 8 different types of masks — all dirty.  Hmmmmm.  So, as I brought them into the house for washing (that’s always fun to de-tangle the velcro, eh?), I thought this was a timely topic.

Fitting a fly mask is like fitting a custom sink.  Oy.  One wrong measurement and you’re either cutting the counter or raising the cupboards.  If you have a varied herd of heads like I do, you’ll end up with an array of masks, or a few “custom jobs” if you know what I mean…  ;)   What fits my Morgan won’t fit my TWH.  My donkey wears the same as my Mustang (go figure) and the Shetlands are in-between a yearling and a pony size, no matter what.  What seems so simple, isn’t.  You’ve gotta look at the space between their ears, the sensitivity of the poll, the eye socket, the throat latch, the length of face, narrowness of nose, etc… —  or not.  There isn’t one fly mask that fits all horses.  So, I thought I would fill you in on all of my fly mask purchasing adventures.  Maybe it will help you.  Here is a link to a website that compares all the prices.  Pretty cool.

CASHEL QUIET RIDE
This is a cool new mask that I saw at the Horse Expo last year.  Have you seen this?  It fits over your bridle for trail or arena work.  My very spoiled horse, Aladdin, got one of these very soft, lovely items last year and he wore it as his fly mask, successfully, all season.  However, that isn’t their function — they are supposed to be worn gently.  But Aladdin isn’t a fly mask saboteur.  You know what I mean…  The horse that spends all day taking everyone’s fly masks off and stomping them into the ground, never to be seen again.  Sigh.  Anyway, this handy item is a very soft and gentle fly mask to wear over your bridle or over the kissy face of your favorite mount — as long as you know it might not last as a true fly mask.

OK, Let the true survey begin!

JUSTIN
Well, I wish I had something good to say here.  But, truth to tell, I bought a dozen of these and not ONE has any velcro left.  And, the destruction was almost instant.  I think they had a sleepy seamstress on the line last year or something…  I have no idea who they used as horsey testers, but it certainly wasn’t anyone from my herd!  Sad to say but I cannot recommend these masks.

FARNUM
I think we all have a pile of these old standbys.  Here is my pile (pre-wash).  Farnum  was the first in fly mask manufacturing and there is a lot to be said for having been around for a while.  Basically, the design fits most horses.  However, it is a random fit.  And, if there is a seed or burr anywhere within 10 feet of the mask, it will end up caught in the fleece border.  But, they are reasonably priced and come in many colors, which I like.  I never have to figure out which goes where.  I just color code.  Garanimals of fly masks.

DEFENDER LARGE, PLAID
OK, this mask fit is very large.  I bought Large and XL for my TWH and Draft horse.  The Large is swimming on my Draft…   I have no idea what Behemoth horse they fitted these monsters, but this mask would make Samson feel petite.  As far as structure, they have ear holes that are somewhat narrow for a regular horse.  The nose is very long and not much for eye darts.  They do have double velcro so it stays ON.  But, my horse who likes to rub has shredded the side of it.  I think this would be good for a large horse with a narrow face.

DEFENDER REGULAR, BLACK
This mask seemed like it would be great.  It has really nice eye socket pooches, the felt is smooth and it has a flap velcro closure.  Bummer that they shred/snag really easily and the poll to nose measurement is short.  I don’t know what kind of horse fits this except maybe a Cobb or an Arab.  I had to re-fashion these to fit my Walkers and Morgan.  I just cut a dart on each side for the ears.  But, after that, the velcro fell off.  Hmmmm.  Is it just me?

CASHELL
I really like this one.  It has a very smooth felt liner, nice narrowing at the nose, decent ear holes, a forelock hole, eye socket darts…   The length from poll to nose is somewhat shorter than others.  But, the Cashell is really nice and will probably last all season.  The only downside, really, is that it is kinda spendy.

CHARLIE BUG OFF
I bought this because of the cute packaging and it was an internet sale deal.  The manufacturer is Intrepid International.  Have you ever bought a medium T-shirt and when you got it home you realized it would only fit your Barbie?  ‘Nuff said.

WRANGLER
This could be my favorite of all.  It has the important things, eye socket darts, smooth felt, tapered nose, regular sized ear holes and a flap velcro closure.  The only thing I don’t like is the poll cover.  It says it is breathable but you’d have to ask the horse, eh?  Dunno.  This mask is reasonably priced but only comes in a few colors.  I do like this one although it may be a bit short for longer nosed horses.

HORSE SENSE
This mask fits my donkey, Norma, very well.  It has huge ear holes, no eye darts and a very loooooong nose.  But, Norma has a huge brow so the eye dart thing doesn’t really effect her.  If you have a horse that has a long face and big ears, this is the mask for you!  It has held up well considering she lives with the ponies…

DURVET DURA MASK
I really liked the look of these and they were a “show special” at the Horse Expo, so I purchased a dozen.  The material is very solid, the felt won’t hoover every fleck of dirt, it has eye socket room and a flap velcro closure.  They are built like the Farnum only sturdier, or so I thought… Yes, they fit several different shaped fuzzy noggins but out of 12 masks, only 6 still have their velcro.  I also noted that there is no brand on the mask.  This makes me think that the manufacturer makes these for a few distributors.  Not sure.  Anyway, I really like the 6 I have left… but they aren’t as hearty as I had hoped.

So, that is my missive on fly masks…  I hope this helps you in your decisions this fly season!


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