(LOL - that title sounds like it could be a Radiohead song to me)
Tesla went to join Porsche at Barn #2 - she healed up nicely from her scrape (no permanent damage), and was able to finally settle down next to Porsche, without being eaten alive by river bugs and stressed out by hot tape paddock fencing.
While there were a lot of little things that I wasn't 100% OK with at Barn #2, the girls were happy, calm, and well-fed, so I figured I could make some of the other things work by being extra careful, avoiding things I felt were unsafe, and generally trying to avoid the Barn Owner: who was always telling me off about something I was doing wrong....
Summer turnout started, which meant that instead of breakfast, Owner P. would turn horses out on pasture. I opted out for Tesla because (a) I didn't want the B.O. handling her, and (b) they had an established alpha in the group and did no introductions.. Porsche, who gets along well in herds, participated in turnout, but when I noticed she started to look a little ribby, I asked for an extra flake (the barn agreement includes feeding - we can specify the weight of food, my understanding was with no limits) and I got a HUGE pushback.
I was told that 10% of bodyweight was fine for horses X, Y, and Z - and that they weighed Porsche on their walk-on wooden floating platform farm scale (without my permission) and that she weighed 1050 off pasture with a belly full of food. They told me we could try a feed increase until the end of the month and then reassess, and that we would "find out what is wrong with Porsche". There is nothing wrong with this horse. Her coat is shiny. She is up to date on everything, and receives a supplement of rice bran & a high quality vit/min supplement. She honestly was probably busy socializing during summer breakfasts and just needed a few more groceries at dinner time...
Getting skimpy on food is definitely a red flag.
Handling a horse without permission is also a red flag. The open platform scale at this barn is really old school, the platform isn't solid under their feet: if a horse spooked, it could definitely harm itself and or others...
Recently, this showed up in the arena:
I honestly thought some plumbing work was being done, but now I think it is some sort of obstacle? Looks like a leg breaker to me, especially since horses get free turn-out in this area (not mine!) ...
and speaking of riding arenas, this is ours:
These folks are old school, and think manure = footing, but this was definitely not what it looked like when I moved the girls here, and has gotten progressively worse over the summer...there are now huge sharp wood chunks in there as well..I can't remember the last time it was groomed...
The covered arena is now the turn-out for Owner P's personal horse, which makes the only safe riding in the sand round pen, or off-property.
The scale (pun intended) is starting to tip from "make it work" to "deal-breaker" ....
So I'm looking at several barns this week....the options are slim, and a drive, but...hopefully I can find something safe (and sane!).
Tesla's old flymask was rubbing in odd places, and making her eyes water - so I bit the bullet and ordered her the "spaceship" one:
I did like that this one kept way off her eyes and the ears were long enough that it wasn't rubbing the tips of those either...but, the extra weight of the eye brim caused the mask to flop, and Tesla ended up with rubs behind her ears and under her chin. I'm pretty sure it is because her head is in-between sizes: I couldn't tighten it enough on her: so I have one up for grabs in a full if anyone would like to try it!
The Trainer at Tesla's barn sent me this photo today.
I went out as soon as I finished meetings at work: she definitely skinned herself, it is super tender (I tried my best to gingerly clean it out and apply a thick layer of fly cream), and she is definitely favoring that leg....It is right where the hip bone protrudes, but I'll keep a watchful eye to make sure it isn't something more sinister!
Looking at the paddock, my guess would be that Tesla caught herself on the metal corner edging that Trainer A's husband installed on the fence posts "to prevent cribbing". Tesla has never cribbed a day in her life. I ran my hands over it, and there are raised bolts....the electric fence has been placed between the structural poles of the lean-to roof, so Tesla has a lone pole in the middle of her run..
The only other suspect would've been the electrical tape itself, but I didn't see any other lacerations on her legs, etc. so pretty sure the culprit is the metal wrapped post (Trainer A. agreed).
I had been seriously thinking about my experience at this barn. I put Tesla there thinking it was a better option, but some serious shortcomings have arisen the longer I have stayed....I have been paying for the use of a covered arena with lights (the footing has yet to be put in, and there are no lights for evening riding/grooming/etc....). There is only 1 cross-tie area in which to safely tie/groom/tack/bathe/etc. a horse and this has led to some real traffic jams (not to mention some unsafe moments)...the round pen is un-electrified tape (this has always given me pause and Tesla did have an accidental tangle with it)...several times I have come out in the evenings to find the water troughs nearly empty...the mosquitos and gnats at this particular barn are beyond horrendous, even with feed-thru supplements and spray.. (Thanks for everyone's wonderful suggestions on the best way to combat these pests!!)
A spot opened up at Barn 2 where Porsche is boarded - so I'm moving Tesla there tomorrow. Boarding at home is off the table for now, as the home I was looking at fell through when repairs couldn't be made in time for closing. So I gotta make Barn B. work - cause I am quickly running out of options....
The barn that Tesla is boarded at is close to a river, and the owner had mentioned something about bugs months ago when things were covered with snow.
I got a text yesterday asking about flyspray, and when I went out to the barn to check on Tess after traveling all week for work: she was a miserable mess.
Her belly was so puffy - I swear, if I didn't know better, I would've thought she was a gelding (!!). She was completely chewed up, with hives behind her elbows, her belly/udder/upper legs, all under her chin and chest, and even where the girth goes. I was horrified.
I ran to the local feed store and picked up some of the super heavy duty spray:
and some supplements:
This garlic based product got mixed reviews: it really depends on your horses' body chemistry - but I thought it would be worth a try: it will take ~ 2weeks to see if it works. (fingers crossed!) I had some pink medicated lotion, to I smeared that all over her raw spots.
One of the other barn girls asked what was wrong with Tess, so I elaborated:- "That's what you get for having a black" she told me.
Luckily the weather turned today, with a bit of wind (and a good dose of the spray the night before) she looked much improved.
Trainer A. has found that the flysheets don't deter this particular nasty biting mosquito...and prefers to apply spray in the evenings: apparently Tesla hasn't appreciated her spray (not sure why cause she will let me - to be fair she doesn't like her face sprayed so I spray the flymask instead)
What are your favourite mosquito repellant tricks/tips?
I give my own vaccinations (except for rabies - and I'm 100% OK with that: this Radiolab Episode will put a healthy dose of terror into you!). I took a vet tech class in college and it is something I can do myself, so I do.
At Tesla's barn, the gals were setting up a barn visit from a local vet, and I opted out with a quick email "Took a vet tech class in college so I give my own vaccinations :)"....
Little did I suspect I would get a novel in response (forwarded to all the other barn girls as well):
"As a former veterinary technician I am capable of giving my own vaccines, but I choose to support competent and skilled local practitioners so that my horse(s) may benefit in the long run by having access to their skill and knowledge as needed. My veterinarian in another state will still provide consult to me because I chose to support her business and treated her with respect. I'm not at all saying that choosing to vaccinate your horse is lacking in a way, just that it is extremely difficult to find local quality veterinary care in the area for sport horses and I feel it is money well spent. I'm hoping that Dr. X is that provider, based on my knowledge of his past practice and my experience with him thus far. "
I guess I better keep it under wraps that I do my own trims/Masterson method at this barn ;)
Porsche could learn a little something from Steve....
A Porsche's new barn, she was put next to a yearling filly, as well as two 8mo. olds (who are allowed to freely roam the center arena). and apparently, they ALL like to hang out with her.
When I went out to check up on her this past weekend, she is looking great, good weight, and her summer coat is coming in nice and shiny! She was happy to see me and happy to come out, and once we got to the barn, she couldn't see baby Lily, who started crying and Porsche went into Momma Bear mode. She quickly turned into a screaming, pawing, sweaty mess...
Barn floor looked like it had been finger-painted (with poo!)
Lily was also throwing a gigantic tantrum in her pen...
I took Porsche into the round pen, and worked her until she settled down, then brought her back into the barn. The BO's SO (Barn Owner's Significant Other) was there and we discussed Porsche's behaviour (apparently she had charged the fence at the horse on her left: protecting her baby, I suspect) and that we should move Porsche away from Lily to another paddock, so everyone could take the drama down several notches.
When I put Porsche back into her paddock, she was nickering like crazy - so she definitely is convinced that roan baby is hers. Good to know she will be a good future babysitter - but gotta watch that she doesn't turn into a kidnapper, lol.
At Tesla's barn, a "soft touch" equine chiro was coming for a barn visit on Friday. The girls all raved about her magic touch so I decided to go ahead and schedule Tesla for a session. Tess had seen a chiro at the old barn and was absolute putty in the choir's hands by the end, so as I am bringing her back into work, I wanted to start everything out on the best possible hoof ;)
The gal ran her hands over Tesla's back and told me: "Saddle fit is a huge problem here" and I flatly told her nope, a saddle hadn''t touched her back for ~6 months with my move and snowmageddon so that was not what was going on....
She kept suggesting things: residual saddle issues, the long trailer ride, the snow, (to be honest, it kinda started to feel like talking with a psychic...)
About 5 minutes in, I realized I was actually paying for a Masterson Method session (which is OK - but something I can do myself, so, I probably won't be using that particular chiropractor again).
The bodyworker finished up, and when Trainer A. came over, the two proceeded to talk about how Tesla was out all over, and saddle fit problems... awkward...I felt a bit like a kid when adults talk about you when you are still in the room...
so overall, I didn't have super high expectations for my TTouch lesson on the following Saturday morning.
BUT, it was amazing and just what Tesla needed. I've known that Tess has struggled with body awareness, but wasn't sure how to help her....and Trainer A. suggested TTouch.
Trainer A. first had me work on getting Tesla to transfer her knowledge of head lowering to poll pressure to head lowering to lead rope pressure. I had been taught to lead horses from the shoulder - but Trainer A. highly recommended leading at the head from her experience of working with unbroken colts (so I needed some retraining too LOL). Then we wrapped her up in the TTouch bands and put her through some exercises to help with body awareness. We both remarked how Tesla had no idea where her hind legs were and the Labyrinth exercise was really making her slow down and think it through and was mentally HARD for her.
We only used 1/2 of this exercise (we will need to work up to the full thing ;)
I moved Porsche to the new facility on Sunday. She was super great, hopped right in the trailer and happily rode over to the new facility (which some folks may remember as Barn #2). I was lucky to get the last spot open at this facility, and Porsche is next to a 2yr blue roan filly named Lily.
I popped out on Wednesday to see her, let her zip around in the arena (LOL - she was practically running the barrel pattern set up, maybe she is trying to tell me something?) The B.O. came out with some comments and I got some messages the next morning about my sweeping skills...(I promise you I can sweep, lol). Only temporary is my new mantra.
I didn't realize when moving to this area that it would prove to be such a challenge to board horses (and actually dogs - I think I found the ONLY AirBnB in the area where I could have Chevelle - (apparently shepherds are a restricted breed?) I remember asking when I interviewed and getting vague answers like "Oh, yeah boarding is weird here.."
Tesla has healed up nicely from her tangle with the wire round-pen. I worked her on Monday on the longe in the arena (we did big circles moving throughout so to be respectful of the footing). After a week off, I literally observed levitation, and when I used a Natural horsemanship method of shaking the longe line to correct her she got super offended. We worked it through, and Tuesday she was much better behaved, and didn't care at all about longe line shaking, lol. I have a lesson next week to learn some T-touch techniques and a labyrinth to help Tesla with body awareness - can't wait!!