Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Flying Solo

This was my Monday morning view.

I do think My Boy has become needy in the past few days. He stands by the gate more often now. He looks at me earnestly every time I walk out of the house, and to the fence. I was out scooping poop today and he was following me around. Not like he really wants me  to rub him (if I turn my back to him he will sniff and "love" on me in his own way.)

It's like he's wondering if I am going to bring Loretta back.

I feel bad for him. Sure, he has a variety of horses next door, but he can't physically visit with them over the fence. I know horses do get attached to their herd mates. I was happy that after flying solo for about 4 years, he was finally able to have a buddy to "horse around" with while in the pasture.

I'm not going to give up hope that he'll have another buddy again some day.........

Ranch Girl

Monday, April 23, 2012

Goodbye Lo Lo

Well, this past weekend was a sad one.

Loretta returned to her previous owner. To make a long story short, it was the best decision as I did not fully own Loretta yet and since she was not getting better, I had to let her go back to her previous owner. I could not continue to pay for Loretta and pay for the feed, treatment, and future vet care that Loretta might need to get better.

And sometimes, just a change in scenery, feed, and lifestyle can be huge to help horses with her issues get better. I know it will be stressful for her at first, but I am hopeful that after she settles in, she will continue to show improvement as she has the past week.

Sunday morning, as I made her mash for her one last time and carried it to her pasture, I began sobbing. You see, I had come to terms with this final decision and had the past week to live with it, and I had been okay. Regardless, I have done nothing but throw myself into taking care of this mare. I haven't wanted to leave town because feeding her is a bit complicated and I want to do it myself. I have watched and logged and tracked her every symptom. It had become my life. And although I am ready for her to go, at the same time it is letting go of your hopes and is still difficult. It will take a while to have closure. Honestly, it's almost worse than having her put down. Because that is what I would have done with her had she not gotten better in the next few months. Now, I really won't know what will happen to her if she does not get better, or gets worse. Those decisions will not be mine to make.

The horses nickered as the empty trailer rattled into the driveway. Riley knew that she was leaving when she got into the trailer. He knew the difference from when she is just walking down the road and would be returning.He whinnied and ran around quite a bit.  It only took her 10 minutes of coaxing to get her to jump in the trailer.

After she was gone, I let him into the upper (Loretta's) pasture. He ran around and sniffed all her poop, then found a good place to roll.

Don't fall in the ditch, silly boy!!

I knew when he jumped up he'd take off running, so I grabbed my phone and managed to get a decent shot.

Arthritic hocks, my hiney!!

After that, he settled down and nibbled, just whinnying once in a while.

They say when one (barn) door closes, another one opens. Right? I'm not giving up hope that I will find that perfect up and coming mare for me. I told my dad on the phone last night that I'm not going to go looking, rather, I'm waiting for the right horse to "find me."  So we'll see.......I'll keep you posted.

Ranch Girl

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Walking

I love to go walking. I'd rather be riding, but sometimes you notice things when walking that you don't on horseback.

I have convinced Ranch Boy to take some walks with me on the property. It has been fun to check out things wintered. Last month while walking he spotted an antler shed, which is quite a find! So we've been on the quest to find another as there are multiple herds of deer and elk that roam the property frequently.

First signs of spring. There is still snow up on the hill, but also a lot of marshy wet land and tiny yellow buttercups and these little purple flowers sprouting.

Sometimes while scanning the land ahead for sheds, you think you spot one.

Alas, it's only a sun bleached fallen branch.

We found some huge ant hills.

And this skull, perhaps a young deer?

I found this broken rock that was shaped like a heart, almost the size of my palm.


A pine cone stuck in a branch and Ranch Boy with all the garbage we found on the walk.

I just love taking walks like this....and with better weather finally starting to make an appearance, I hope to start hitting the trails on horseback, too!

Have a great weekend!

Ranch Girl

Monday, April 16, 2012

Little Stink's Big Escape

That is what I call Howdy, the "surprise" foal born on the ranch last July.

It's hard to believe he's weaned and will be turning one this summer! On Sunday, he escaped from the arena. We weaned him about a month or so ago. Now that the grass is growing, he's been leaning through and under the arena fence to get to it on the other side and somehow he got out.

Luckily he stayed out of the road and just ran towards the pasture with the herd (over 30 horses) in it....then he ended up at our house near Riley and Loretta's pasture. We were able to corner him and get him haltered.

Howdy getting walked by home by Ranch Boy and some the grass lane that runs between the county road and the herd's pasture. Look at all the oohs and ahhs and attention he's getting from the herd! See now why I call him Little Stinks? It's like they KNOW he's a little colt!

We moved him to the corral as the fencing is better there. I think he's lonely and I wish he had a youngster to spar with, he needs to be put in his place. I'm afraid he won't be very big. I'll be surprised if he makes it to 14 hands. But on the ranch, that is a great size for the kiddos that come and ride.


He is starting to shed out his winter baby coat and is getting darker around his eyes. I think he will be a lovely bay.  Notice that interesting whorl/cowlick smack dab in the center of his forehead!

Oh, he'll nip me for posting this one but this is his "cow" look shot.

To keep Howdy entertained in his corral I tossed in a large blue ball. Here is a video of him playing with it, he has quite the moves! He even scores a goal at the end (under the fence!)  Oh, and don't you think the Parelli's would be quite impressed with how I taught him to back up with the ball?

I just love watching him try to figure out where the ball went! I didn't get video of it this time around, but he will literally lay on top of the ball on his knees sometimes. It is quite odd. He also tries to bite it but can't get aahold of it. I think Howdy will be a lot of fun to start working with this summer.

After he's gelded.

Ranch Girl

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gettin 'Er Done While The Sun Shines

There is never a shortage of work to be done on the ranch in the spring. While feeding the other day we tighten some hot tape fencing.

We also raked up the dead apples and leaves in our yard, and all the "loose hay" that flies away when you feed.

I cleaned the dead flowers out of my old metal pots. I am going to just plant them with geraniums this year. They bloom all summer if you keep the blooms trimmed. Oh, and some basil. I love fresh basil for cooking! The pot on the far left has some lavender plant in it that kind of survived the winter. The pot with the "B" on it is an old fire bucket that I got an an antique store.


We've had a few fabulous sunny warm days, and I was able to bring Loretta out on her "good days" (non colonic distress days) and let her graze on the lawn for around 20 minutes. Since I've hardly been able to get a halter on her in the last month or so, this was a huge step in the right direction. I was even able to brush her lightly and put some fly spray on her.

We are still having random episodes of discomfort.......but I just took her completely off the hay she's been on today, so we'll see how she does without that for a week, with just pellets and beet pulp in her system. She's going to hate it, but I had already reduced her hay to just a small flake a.m. and p.m. so she was getting used to it. I have to try not feeding it to her at all. It's the one thing I haven't eliminated from her diet!

Also, I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop this weekend~ 15% off! See my sidebar for the link.

Have a fabulous weekend! Ours looks sunny so it will be more of the same....spring chores! Anything that brings me outside in nice weather I love, so bring it on!!

Ranch Girl

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Feed Truck

One of the jobs I frequently help Ranch Boy with is feeding his 30 plus some horses. I usually drive the old feed truck while he stands on the back and forks off the hay (my balance is awful so I hate standing on the back.....)


The dogs love to feed with us. They bark at the horses and think they are protecting the hay. They always load up as soon as Ranch Boy puts the bales on. 

I love driving the feed truck, but I have to scoot to the edge of the seat because I can hardly reach the pedals. It is hard to start when it's cold and it is full of baling twine and mouse poop (I know, toxic....) and the wipers don't work half the time..... but the 4wd sure does! It's the only thing that prevents us from getting stuck in the snow or spring mud.

Hobbs the Andalusian hangs out and guards the hay. He thinks he is king of the herd right now. He's been chasing the newbies away from the hay. It always bothers me to see that although I know it's normal as they all re-establish herd hierarchy for a week or so.


After we feed we halter up Socks. He has a small puncture on his cheek bone that we've been doctoring. Luckily he lets us catch him easily.

Well, it didn't hurt that I had some cookies in my pocket to feed Socks after his medicine.

Cookies? Did you say Cookies?

I really like Socks, I've ridden him a lot. He's a nice ranch horse although he can get a little jiggy on the trails when you're heading home.

While cleaning up Sock's wound we were been harassed by Oreo. The black and white paint is a pocket pony and always following us and nosing into our business!

Another day of feeding chores are done. Goodnight ponies, enjoy your dinner.

Oh wait! I've still got two ponies of my own to feed at home!

Ranch Girl

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Smart Pak Factory & Loretta's Diet

When they stay with gramma, Ranch Boy's 6 year old niece has a tradition of driving her and her little brother to get "cocoa milks" in the morning at their favorite mocha stand.

About a week ago, they saw me feeding my horses as they drove by my house so they pulled in to say good morning. Loretta was having an off morning, and I was talking to gramma about Loretta's issues (this is not new news to gramma, she has been observing this right along with me since the beginning.) The kiddos were listening from the back of the car.

A few days later Ranch Boy's mom handed me this piece of paper. Little niece had drawn Loretta's stomach!
Can you see the stomach and front and hind leg?

In the stomach she drew apples, oats, water, carrots, hay......she said she was doing her "research." I thought this was so adorable!


Above is a photo of my own personal "Smart Pak" factory. I measure out at least a week's worth of Loretta's powders and potions into small Ziploc bags so that I can just dump it into the pellet and beet pulp mash when I feed.

Some of you have asked what diet Loretta is on. I have her on a big mash twice a day (a.m. and p.m.) and alfalfa pellets two other times during the day. I am currently trying to wean her off the hay completely and just have her on alfalfa pellets to see if the hay could be contributing to her issue. I think it will feel very weird not to feed your horse hay.) Loretta has a little to nibble on in her pasture but not as much as I would like considering she will not be on hay. I am hoping to bring her out to hand graze but honestly while she is having her "episodes" I can't even get her haltered, she is in such distress/pain. So bringing her out is impossible.

Our latest thoughts are that she has ulcers in her colon. This is a completely different scenario then ulcers in her stomach. Brown Eyed Cowgirls is going to do a great post on colonic ulcers soon, but in a nutshell her is a bit of information for you which I found here:

Colonic Ulcers in Horses

"Gastric ulcers have been in the spotlight in recent years, thanks to well-known treatment and extensive research in this area. As a result, many people associate equine digestive health with stomach health. But truly understanding the horse’s digestive system means understanding the significance of the hindgut.
This attention to gastric ulceration (i.e. of the stomach) is ironic, if not downright detrimental. The stomach represents less than 10% of the total volume of the digestive tract. On the other hand, the hindgut (consisting of the cecum and colon) is huge and vital to the horse’s digestive process and overall health. Most importantly, it is the home of a huge bacterial environment that converts fiber to energy; the horse is known as a “hindgut fermenter,” meaning it obtains most of its energy by fermenting forage in its colon.

Because the hindgut plays such a critical role in digestion and health, it may also be the source of so many of the problems we are seeing."

You can click on the link to find out more. I also enjoyed this article which reminded me a bit of what Loretta is on.

Here is what she is getting:

  • beet pulp shreds (I am doing about a half 2 lb coffee can or so each feeding.) A great, vegetative source of sugar-free roughage and fiber!
  • Pure alfalfa pellets (by pound, I am working her up to the full equivalent to hay.)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (got in the health food section at Fred Meyer.)
  • 4 oz (1/4 cup) Aloe Vera juice (bought by the gallon at the GNC health food store.) Someone recommended this to me for treating ulcers, I've heard in humans it has been used to treat ulcers and cancers.
  • 1/2 cup ground Flax seed (also got at the GNC health food store.) Good source of Omega Fatty acids.
  • Probiotics~ gut flora is especially important in the hindgut!
  • orchard grass hay (small amount, going to take her off this completely at some point just to see what happens, as I have eliminated everything except the hay!)

I soak the beet pulp shreds and pellets first in warm water, then drain if there is too much water. Then I mix in the powders and aloe vera juice, stir well, and serve immediately.  I do this morning and night along with a light flake of grass hay, and then just dry pellets mid-day and sometimes again at dark.

Loretta had a great Easter Sunday! She seemed to be feeling a little better and after around 4 days of off and on tummy troubles, she seemed fairly normal. I actually scratched her chest and neck a bit (I was too afraid to touch her behind the whithers, she has NOT wanted to be touched back there.) I have a few more weeks to see how this diet is helping her before conferring with her previous owner again. Keep your fingers crossed!

Ranch Girl

Friday, April 6, 2012

Meet Flicka!

I loved hearing your guesses on the new horse! She is a registered 18 year old.......

Tennessee Walking Horse! I think she looks like a Morgan, too, though! This is not a great photo of her, it was when her previous owner was loading her into the horse trailer.

Ranch Boy's 6 year old niece really wanted to name a ranch horse Flicka, which is why we renamed her. Her previous name was not fitting for her beauty at all. She is very expressive and has a kind eye. I am excited to ride her later this spring.

I do not have Easter lilies (which I love!) but I finally planted the paper white bulbs my cousin gave me for Christmas a few weeks ago!! They are just now blooming and I love their scent in the kitchen.

We just decorated a name tag for our Easter baskets. Here is what Ranch Boy did for his:

Oh Lordy! That's my Ranch Boy, always a sense of humor.

I hope you all have a hoppy Easter weekend with your families!

Ranch Girl

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Newbies on The Ranch: Take A Guess!

We have two newbies on the ranch!! And they are both BLACK!

Here they are checking out the "pond" and eyeing the rest of the herd.


Here is the mare. I will show you her first. I took this photo from My Boy's pasture. Isn't she lovely? Jet black (with some sun bleaching) with a big white star.

What little girl didn't dream of having a black horse with a white star? She could be in the movies!

Okay, so here is your quiz for the week.

1) What breed do you think she is? (she is registered.)
2) What did we re-name her? (hint: it's a movie horse name.......)

I'll tell you more about the other horse another time.

Ranch Girl

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Big Project

Yes, those WERE wild horses in my last post! Cool! I only wish I could have seen them up close. But then again.....apparently there is not enough land or feed for the size of the that is a concern.

This is what we woke up to on Saturday morning:

By later that afternoon, this is what it looked like~

 Separated ponies.

Mother Nature is having a hard time letting go of winter! It melted off quickly but left the pasture soft and mushy.  I hate spring pastures before they dry out!
Speaking of pastures, my major project (after helping pick up two new horses for the ranch, which I will post about later) I separated My Boy and Loretta. My Boy went to the back pasture where he started out before we added the front pasture/run in shed. He won't have a shed but we don't get a lot of rain here, and I can blanket him if need be (I can't blanket Loretta.) Besides, they hardly use their shed anyway, much to Ranch Boy's chagrin!

I separated them to make feeding easier, as Loretta is on a new diet and My Boy doesn't need as much hay or grain as she does. It will also put less stress on her at feeding time, as My Boy is more dominant. I feed them in multiple piles so it isn't like he's chasing her from the hay, but sometimes he can be a little nasty with the evil eye and ears and I don't want her to feel any anxiety over it. They are still over the fence from each other and napped "over the fence" together today so they aren't experiencing any separation anxiety.

Let me tell you, My Boy was eager to hit the back 40 as there were little shoots of green grass in there for him! I hardly had the gate opened and he ran inside before Lo had a chance to figure out what was going on!

I got his trough filled and then set to cleaning out the winter muck from Loretta's.

The bottom was filled with dirt somehow. The few random warm days we'd had in the past couple of weeks also helped grow some nasty dark yellow slime which I scrubbed. Scrubbing the inside of a water trough is always a pain, I can never quite get a good angle with the brush! By the way, that black spot on the rim is where the trough heater burned a hole clear through back in January. Silly me didn't realize that when the water level sank and the heater got stuck on the ledge, that would happen (I have no defense, it mentions this hazard right on the box.)

Much better!!

My baby girl didn't feel good again yesterday. We'd had a stretch of decent days, but I could tell her tummy was off. She is on a new diet plan for colonic ulcers, thanks to our VERY knowledgeable horse friend over at Brown-Eyed Cowgirls, thank you thank you!!!

 Loretta often eats or stand with her hind end up under like this, to relieve pain and pressure in the hind gut. I can only imagine how this is going to make her back feel! I see chiro work in her future....

Due to her previous owner's busy schedule, I am keeping Loretta until mid-April. We will re-evaluate at that time whether the diet appears to be helping her and what the next steps will be.....

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Ranch Girl