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It’s probably about time I did a review on the grazing muzzles we purchased and have been using for some of the chubbier herd members.  The grazing muzzle we thought would work the best is Harmany Muzzle.
 
Here is part of the ad for Harmany Muzzles:

"The Harmany Muzzle is designed to be open and airy, allowing better ventilation for the horse while still slowing his forage intake. Instead of nylon webbing which can absorb moisture and then mold or mildew, the Harmany muzzle is a medical-grade plastic containing kevlar fibers: the plastic will not splinter or snap to produce sharp edges (though horses can eventually chew through it like a conventional muzzle — Dr. Harman is looking into solutions for that problem.) At the end of the day, the entire muzzle can be hosed down or washed with soap and water and easily dried: no more worries about your horse breathing in mold!”  

Here are some pictures of Blue & Sami with their muzzles when they were new a while ago:                                                                                                  
 

They don’t wear them everyday just mostly in the Spring or when it looks like a few less calories might be needed. Even though they are lighter and airier than the traditional nylon and rubber bucket-like muzzles, personally, I don’t think they work as well. 

We adjusted them correctly for each horse and they seem to be able to get out of them relatively easily.  A few weeks ago Blue came in and was sporting it underneath his chin, modeling the latest fashion in "muzzle wear." He somehow got it down so he could get his full share of the grass.  Rosie came in one day with it wedged between her upper lip and gums.  That was painful looking and interesting extricating her from it. Good thing she’s a calm mare and let me help her. Now for Sami, he rarely gets himself in trouble and is basically a gentle guy but he managed to come in with a broken muzzle too.

Now for the pictures:

I didn’t get one of Rosie because my first thought was to help her get this mess out of her mouth.

Sami’s I just hung on the door after getting it off him:

The one side completely cracked off this muzzle leaving sharp edges which I wasn't thrilled about.



However, I did get a few pictures of Blue as he was standing in the paddock shortly after I turned him out and giving me a look as if to say “ Do you see this piece of crap and what are you going to do about it!” 


" I can't believe this happened, it was my favorite!"

" Mr. Innocent"


Kevlar my A$$! It might stop a bullet but Blue is going to need something a lot tougher!
To be fair while I was lunging Rosie in the top ring I did spy him grinding it on the huge salt block we have in the paddock. I'll give it a slight benefit of the doubt maybe that might account for the breakage.  If he didn’t grind it on the block he would have figured something else out.  I have no idea how Sami's broke but I know he wasn't abusing it.  The point is that I don’t think they’re very sturdy and they're not cheap in price either. 




So for now it’s back to the bucket muzzles as I call them. Rosie looks thrilled doesn’t she.  We have to convince Sami every morning that it's a good idea to get his on. He doesn't agree but luckily his good buddy Hanz helps him take it off once in a while by pulling at the velcro fasteners and leaving it in the fields for the muzzle and fly mask search parties…

Quote for Today
Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less and smile a little more.
 
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' Rosie '

The vet was here Friday morning for the last round of vaccinations and I got the final test results for Rosie on her PSSM blood test.  It was negative.  So that’s 2 negatives after the first one was positive.  He said it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have it, he’s still suspicious that she might have it because of the first test.  The only way to be totally sure is to do a muscle biopsy, which I’m not going to do.  He suggested the best thing to do is to keep her on the PSSM diet and exercise regimen she’s on. So that’s what I’m going to do and see how it goes. 

Personally, I think her first test came back positive because of her Lyme’s.  I think it could have affected the test.  She’s almost done with her doses of doxycycline and I’ll see how she seems when she’s totally finished with the medication.  I’ve been longeing her lightly almost every day, just some easy walk and trot for a few minutes before she goes out.  Our herd goes out all day from around 7 a.m.-7p.m. or later some nights.  They travel back and forth from the front to back fields which cover around 30 acres up and down hills so she’s getting plenty of exercise during the day. She’s also sporting a grazing muzzle to cut down on her consumption of grass, which she resents when I put it on her in the morning.  Like I used to hate it when my mother told me “ It’s for your own good” I’m sure she doesn’t care one bit when I tell her the same thing.

Quote for Today
Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. 
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We’ve been very busy the past few months and I haven’t had the time or inclination to post.  Before I disappear completely from blog land I thought it was time to try and get back on track. So here goes.

All the horses have been getting their Spring vaccinations and since we do them in increments every two weeks we have one more round at the end of the month.  While the vet was here, I had them take a Lyme test on Rosie, Hanz, and Grady.  Rosie and Hanz came back positive and Grady was negative.  They’re on doxycycline for a month.  Hopefully, this will make Rosie not feel so reactive and touchy.  Rosie started to not want to be mounted and would start swinging her butt away from the mounting block whenever I put my foot in the stirrup.  So, after checking saddle fit and other guides to see if she was in pain, I thought it a good idea to have her checked. 
While here, the vet wanted to see her on the longe.  He also decided to take a test for PSSM.  She seemed very tight in her back end and slightly muscle bound.  We always attributed that to her previous training.  We’ve been working on having her lengthen her stride by longeing and she is tracking up much better than when we first got her.

The PSSM test also came back positive.  This all went on during her first round of vaccinations.  I should mention that Rosie doesn’t like her shots and reacts badly when anyone other than my daughter or myself goes into her stall.  I’m sure it must be from past experiences and she’s very suspicious of strangers.  Then again, who wouldn’t get a tad nervous if a strange man barged into our bedroom with a needle?

Long story short, the next round of vaccinations the vet took another PSSM test because this time she was more relaxed and not having a melt down.  This time, the PSSM test came back negative.  So, just to be on the safe side he had me longe Rosie the night before and the morning he was due to come back and do the next round of vaccinations to see if the condition might be exercise induced.  He took another PSSM test Thursday and I will find out the results in a few days.  Fingers crossed it’s negative again and she doesn’t have it.  If she does, it’s manageable with diet and exercise.  So, that’s what’s been going on with the horses.

Quote for Today
Horses can't talk, but they can speak if you listen.
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All I Needed to Learn about Life I learned from the
' Easter (Bunny )Horse'!
 


Don’t put all your grain in one bucket.

Walk softly and carry a big carrot.
There is no such thing as too many treats.

All work and no play can make you a basket case.
A cute little tail attracts a lot of attention.
Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

Some body parts should be floppy.
Everyone is entitled to a bad hair/hare day.
Let happy thoughts multiply like apples on trees.
Keep our hooves off others treats.


Good things come in small packages.
The grass is always greener in someone else' s paddock.
An Easter bonnet can cover the wildest mane.
To show your true colors you have to come out of the stall.
The best things in life are still sweet and gooey... molasses flavored stud muffins.
' Happy Easter '
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Rosie & Blue on one of the warmer days without blankets
It’s February 1stand there’s not a whole lot happening at the farm with the horses.  They continue to have lots of warm mashes because of the cold weather we’ve been having and basically hanging around the hay baskets chowing down all day. We haven't been riding or working them at all, it's just too cold.  The indoor feels like walking into a meat locker!

"Ginger" in her favorite spot at the end of the day

Ginger had four seizures within 24 hours at the end of January.  She seems to have them every 28-30 days.  Her vet suggested I take her to a neurologist. Yes, there are actually doggie neurologists. I was surprised too. After her evaluation he prescribed an additional medication. So it will be wait and see how she does this month.  Fingers crossed she won’t have any more.
"Big Red" staring me down through the window

His friends watching the show. Don't let the blue sky fool you, it's -2.

I don’t know if you remember back to December but the cardinal that has been tapping my windows is still here.  He’s actually tapping the window now and it’s very annoying.  Seems every time I turn my chair back to the desk he flies into the window and gives it a tap with his beak.  There is plenty of food outside and he knows where it is.  I don’t know if he wants to come in or what his agenda is.  He’s even brought some friends with him on occasion. Or maybe they’re just watching the show he puts on or are waiting for someone to come with a net. Personally, I think he might be a little bit “special”.

Our weather has been beyond ridiculous.  Temperatures below freezing, an ice storm, swirling snow squalls with very windy conditions and a few inches of snow once in a while.  I feel sorry for the folks in the parts of the country that are experiencing dangerously cold temperatures.  We have family and friends in Chicago and they say it is brutal. 

Got this in an email today...A sign from God?

Stay safe and warm. 

Quote for Today
 "The problem with winter sports is that--follow me closely here--they generally take place in winter."
--Dave Barry
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/winter
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/winter

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/winter
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When the sun shines the trees look like they're covered in sparking crystals,very pretty ,if you like that sort of thing...
The last few days have really been cold and miserable.  We’ve had a little snow, which is fine because that’s just the way it goes in January.  The part I don’t like is the wind and the ice storm that we were graced with a few days ago and the below zero temperatures. 

Yesterday we thought it would be nice for the horses to go out a little later than usual because it was -5 and windy.  Did they appreciate the thought? Apparently not, getting to the barn at 8 instead of 6:30 they were slightly annoyed to say the least. Blue and Grady had grabbed everything on their doors, halters, lead ropes etc. and threw them in the aisle to show their displeasure.  The service from their humans left a much to be desired. They were fed and let out.  By the end of the day they had consumed three bales of hay and practically rushed the gate to be brought in.  Sometimes the humans do know best!

It seems to be warming up a little though.  This morning when I brought the dogs to the groomers it was way up to 9 degrees.  Honestly, I can’t wait for the rain and warmer temps tomorrow.

Quote for Today
You never get the pleasure of owning a horse; you only have the pleasure of being its slave.
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We’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!  I’m sure the coming New Year is full of promise, with us having goals to fulfill for our horses and ourselves. That’s all good but I think the most important thing to remember is to have fun along the way.  So many of us get caught up in just reaching goals that we forget to enjoy the journey.  I think if you can enjoy the ride you’ll have no regrets at the end of the year.  The old adage still rings true: it’s not the things you doin life that you regret—it’s the things you don’t do.  So don’t forget to laugh, smile and have a good time with your family, friends and critters!

Quote for Today
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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"MERRY CHRISTMAS"
From Our Barn To Yours

  
 Christmas Long Ago
 
A Christmas Poem by Jo Geis

 
Frosty days and ice-still nights,
Fir trees trimmed with tiny lights,
Sound of sleigh bells in the snow,
That was Christmas long ago.

Tykes on sleds and shouts of glee,
Icy-window filigree,
Sugarplums and candle glow,
Part of Christmas long ago.

Footsteps stealthy on the stair,
Sweet-voiced carols in the air,
Stocking hanging in a row,
Tell of Christmas long ago.

Starry nights so still and blue,
Good friends calling out to you,
Life, so fact, will always slow...
For dreams of Christmas long ago.

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 I’ll start with Rosie and what we’ve been doing.  Rosie hasn’t been ridden since the end of September. Through no fault of her own. I haven’t been able to ride because I’ve either got sciatica going on from my lower back down through my calf or another herniated disc.  There was no way I could swing my leg over to mount her or ride. It seems to be getting better now which I’m grateful for, I’m tired of the pain and limping around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. We’ve managed to longe a bit and I’ve incorporated cavalletti into her repertoire.  I have her doing trot circles over them, she’s smart and gets it.  Maybe a little too much because she figured out that jumping two poles was easier than trotting over them, so I’ve added a third pole and fixed that situation.  That said I’m hoping to be back in the saddle soon.


Rosie and Hanz have become grazing buddies and she seems to have gotten over her nastiness towards him.  She still looks to Blue as the leader but prefers to stay with Hanz most of the time. Blue just ignores everyone as usual and doesn’t care. Hanz is doing well and is a pleasure for my daughter to ride.  He’s a very sweet and talented boy.
 
Hanz getting an after ride treat and Rosie checking him out
"Rosie, that's rude!"



"Tee, heh, heh,  I sniffed his butt!"

Ginger had two more seizures the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and has been to the vet.  Her blood test showed her Phenobarbital levels were perfect and she’s not on a high enough dose to affect her liver. So for now we’re just going to stick with the program and not change anything unless she has more seizures. Fingers crossed she’ll be okay with this medication and won’t need anything else.
Ginger relaxing in the leaves


The strangest thing has been happening around the house.  There is a red cardinal who insists on tapping on my windows.  He/she does this all day long and follows me from room to room. I have a bird stalker! It flies up vertically like a helicopter then taps with its beak on the windows.  I’ve gone out and fed it but it still persists. If he/she keeps it up I’m going to get it a little leather helmet for Christmas!
Just staring in the window at me

Sitting on the landscapers truck

 
Getting ready for another tactical assault on the window


Taking a break from window tapping



And the last piece of news. The other day on her way to work my daughter noticed a whole section of fence was down that borders the waterway in the back of our property.  So she went back and investigated.  Seems a hunter knocked down the fence and post (probably dragging a deer out that he shot) and left it like that.  She found a shotgun shell. This isn’t the first time a hunter has come on the property unauthorized, because we don’t allow hunting here and there are signs posted all over warning them off.  Last time someone left the gate open the herd got loose onto a neighbors property. If they had gotten out this time they would have surely been hit by a car or truck as we are on a busy two lane highway on that side. They just disregard the notices and do whatever they want.  They’re from the “good ole boys redneck club” and don’t need to listen to no stinkin' signs. After all they grew up around here and we are newcomers! So she called the sheriff and has a report on it and she’s going to call them every time they do this.  I really hope we can catch one in the act.  I don’t like strange men roaming around the property with guns at all hours.  How obnoxious!

Quote for Today  
Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.
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"Nikita"


Today is Nikita’s 3rd birthday.  She has been with us for about eight months now and has found a place in our family and our hearts.  For the first fourteen months of her life she was with a “puppy raiser” for the Guide Dogs of America foundation. Nikita was socialized with lots of other dogs and people and taken to so many different places for her training.  The ‘puppy raiser’ was kind enough to send me pictures of her life before I got her.  Nikita has been to restaurants, parks, Boy Scout troop meetings, children’s hospital, painting classes, doctors and dentists offices, movies, on a ferry ride, Santa Anita racetrack, Christmas parades and many more places too numerous to mention.  At the end of her training she was assessed by the foundation and sadly turned down because she didn’t have the right temperament to continue.  I was told she gets too distracted to be a good guide dog.  I could definitely see how that would be true. 

Nikita was raised with two female Labradors, so transitioning to one sister, Ginger, my Australian Shepherd, wasn’t very hard for her since she was always trained with her sisters and many other dogs too.  At first they got along great and then not so much as they both vied to become the dominant one.  Nikita won for a while but somehow Ginger is now dominating and Nikita follows her around and takes her lead.  She won’t even go out by herself unless Ginger goes first. So they’ve worked it out between them. They play and run together and have a good time all in all.

The only thing that Nikita has still to master is her unauthorized horse herding.  She will sometimes run into the paddock and bark and chase the horses.  They mostly ignore her but Rosie did give her a warning kick out with her back legs once.  She’s getting much better at behaving and sitting and staying during turnout and bring in times. 


Here are some pictures of her life so far:


"How cute am I"


"Valentine Puppy"

"I'm a Halloween Butterfly"



"It's Election Day, I voted for the candidate with the most treats!"
"Here I am at Santa Anita, I bet on the winner"


"Saying Goodbye to my friends was hard"



"Nikita in her new home with us"
"I'm in my new home now with my new sister Ginger"
" I don't know what this white stuff is but I like it!"

" Um, I never saw one of these before"



"It's my stick...no it's MY stick"

For a California girl she loves the snow

My Co-Pilot

Can't get in the Kubota without an assistant to help me drag the arena

"Soaking up some sun on the patio"
"No I'm not coming in, one more step and I'm outta here"
" I know nothing about how these flowers got crushed, I think it was Ginger"


" I heard it's my birthday, where's the treats!"


Quote for Today
 My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am








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