Didn’t We Used to Winter In Florida (or Cali?)

Or so Lucky and Tice say.  It’s cold and the snow that melted has turned to ice, and now the wind is back.  There’s not much to do beyond stand under the sheds and eat until it’s time to go back in, where Lucky again stands and eats and Tice eats and fusses.

In related news, Tice’s very own SmartPaks have arrived.  Yes, I drank the SmartPak Kool-Aid.  Or at least decided if I’m going to give them something it’s easier just to order it than keep going to the store.  He’ll be getting SmartCalm Ultra, to deal with Mr Fussy McFussypants, and U-Gard, as his piggishness and fussy behavior may be equally related to stomach issues as “stuck in the barn and unable to go past a walk when out.”  Today UPS left a big box at the side door and inside was the drawer full of his first month’s supply.

Christmas Is Coming: A Carol

Christmas is coming.

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The goats are getting fat.

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(So are the cats.)

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Take a guess which Corgi chewed a hole in my hat.

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(It was Tucker.)

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If you ever had a Thoroughbred no other breed will do.

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If you haven’t got a Thoroughbred then God bless you!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS! from the Home For Wayward Geldings, and all the other critters.

Old School Versus New School Horsemanship

Old School Versus New School Horsemanship.

Gunpowder Joins the In Crowd

Just in time for the first snowfall of the year and the first really cold temperatures, someone up there decided that the dog to cat ratio in my house is out of balance. Not to mention this whole equilibrium between males and females in the pet world could’t possibly be right. Their Royal Pickypantses have decided that We do not like Friskies canned food right now. We are even being picky about Fancy Feast. So the other morning I said “Fine, if you don’t like it, the cat next door will.” Cat next door is actually more backyard cat, as she likes to hide in my garage and hunt at my feeders. She technically belongs next door, and I know from speaking to them they found a dead kitten earlier this year and assumed she’d lost any she had. I put out the can, and left for my dance lesson. When I got back a few hours later, I saw her sneaking out along the far wall of the garage, and went to the back of my car to watch where she went.

Then I heard the meow behind me.

Oh hi.

Oh hi.

Apparently in yard cat’s world, one half-grown adolescent male kitten is a fair trade for 2/3 a can of Friskies mixed grill. He took only a little coaxing for petting, then once I picked him up he stuck his nose in my elbow and purred really loud. Now, this was my Friday (which is not everyone else’s Friday, because my workplace is 24/7/365 so we all have different weeks) and I was leaving in the morning for my parents’ to pick up the dogs, who’d been visiting while I was at Teslacon. So I did what any reasonable person would do: turned my mud room into a hastily-arranged kitty quarantine center and put him in. He was great until the dogs arrived, and then the surprise of having three boisterous canines come barging through the door sent him scaling up my cross-country ski bag. He had, however, also somehow killed a vole for me. How it got in the mud room, I’m not sure, but scratch one rodent. With more time, I set up the smaller but warmer hall bathroom as quarantine #2 until I could get him into the vet, where he was found to be perfectly healthy and about six months old. Apparently this explains the scratching noises in the garage the last few months. I thought it was more birds.

So far, Maggie is finding him interesting, especially as when he’s not surprised by them, he’s rather placid about dogs. Tucker and Puff like cats who ignore them. Sundae is still more upset about PUPPY!!!! than another cat, PC seems grudgingly accepting. Only Marcus is cranky, and he limits it to growling and marveling at how much food a cat who only weighs six pounds can put away. Gunpowder’s amazed at the magic food bowls that always seem to get refilled.

Why Gunpowder? It was November 5th.

Goings and Comings and Goings-On

Thanks for the well-wishes, prayers and jingles for Dad. He’s doing much better, though suggestions for good-tasting recipes that are low-sodium, low-fat, and don’t involve citrus would be nice. We’re also lucky to have great neighbors–Mr. R. and his son have been helping with barn-cleaning, and even installed overhead lights right in the stalls (yay, now I can see the mess in detail!), while Mr. R and Mr. L, one of the hunters who uses the front forty, worked on repairing the barn lean-to’s roof. The horses were heartbroken, heartbroken I say, at having to stand in their stalls eating hay all afternoon.

In the ‘goings’ category: I had the horrible shock of losing my big fat fluffy kitty, Jet, two weeks ago. front

Dr. W., the vet down here, said that large breeds and their crosses, which Jet clearly was, often have heart defects. Everyone at the vet’s was very nice. They’d already seen a lot of me–Jet and Marcus had just been in for their shots with Maggie in for her heartworm check, grown-up shots, and she was coming back for her spay, while Tucker had unexpected trips to the emergency room and was due in the next day to have staples removed. (Lesson learned: No matter how tough Corgis think they are, they cannot take three pit bulls but are far too dumb to back down. Though apparently an elderly cataract-afflicted skinny hard-of-hearing shepherd mix can leap into the fray and trot out without a scratch on him. I think there is some sort of reason other dogs respect Puff.) I had Jet privately cremated, so I could take him back to my parents’ house to bury him next to his littermate.

Some of you may be saying, “Wait…Maggie?”

That Maggie.

That Maggie.

Maggie was originally bought by my neighbor as a tinypuppy for his granddaughter. Pretty much since she was old enough to run, she has spent every moment she could get away in my yard. Case in point: I was digging up weeds in the garden and POW, Corgi to the back of the legs. I think at the point when they brought her over and put her on the line by the doghouse in my yard (the granddaughter tends to lose interest in puppies, and unfortunately my neighbor was in hospice care and his daughter simply couldn’t manage all the animals-speaking of which, now he’s passed, does anyone want a kid wether or a Saanen-cross nanny? I’m trying to sell them for her as she needs to downsize his animals), which lasted about as long as it took for me to flea-dip her, Maggie was thinking “I KNEW IT! I knew there was a mistake and I was delivered to the wrong house and I was supposed to be here all along!”

Tucker does not recall asking for a Mini-Me.  (No, they're not related. I know Maggie's breeder and he doesn't know where Tucker, whom I got from the county shelter, came from.)

Tucker does not recall asking for a Mini-Me. (No, they’re not related. I know Maggie’s breeder and he doesn’t know where Tucker, whom I got from the county shelter, came from.)

It didn’t take long for the situation to be permanent. That meant grown-up shots, spay, and a surgery to fix her umbilical hernia (the latter two much to her breeder’s relief. He was a friend of my neighbor’s and while he sold them Maggie, he wasn’t really thrilled with her being left to potentially breed.)

He’s also the person who kindly helped me get my fair goat home, and as you can see, Maggie and Tucker know their ancestral duty:

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As for the Home For Wayward Geldings?

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I’m debating whether or not they’re going to need turnout sheets for winter. They’re already growing in their fuzzy coats (Lucky always looks filthy once he grows in the fuzz, as if it has magic dirt-retention properties) and I generally don’t blanket as I don’t clip, but I always end up pondering.

Quick Notes

Not really much time/mood for a long post, and not a lot of photos as mom and I have been busy. Dad (as featured elsewhere in the blog) is in the hospital and is going to have heart surgery on a faulty valve tomorrow, so I am taking care of animals while Mom stays at the hospital until they’re done tomorrow. The dogs are confused, while the horses are surprisingly well-behaved. Hopefully they’re happy that I trucked a 10 cubic foot load of muck out as Mom couldn’t clean the barn for a couple days while they were sorting out where Dad would go for surgery.

Along for the ride Tuesday evening (my boss, the understanding Chef S., arranged a shift swap for me so I could start my “weekend” early) was Toby, aka Steamgoat. He’s currently spending the days staked out working on eating all the wood sorrel everywhere and spending the night in the Brenderup (we realized: covered, he can’t get out, warm, nothing can get in, easy to put in a haybag and buckets…Dad suggested using the little plastic mounting block so he could climb through the access door, too. It works!)

And the first night, walking him out there, we stopped in the barn to get hay. Mom held Toby while I fussed with the hay and horses, and we learned something: someone, somewhere, in a track barn in California or New Mexico, had a goat around, because fussy, attentive, typical TB Tice didn’t even look twice. “Yeah, that’s a goat. Where is my overnight hay? Faster, human slaves!” And no one in any of the barns Lucky occupied in Florida, Delaware, or New York had anything close, because Lucky was FASCINATED. He stared, he had to sniff noses, he was vastly more interested in Toby than in more hay. Probably because he still had some and he even deliberately crunched it by the stall bars so Tice (who is the equine vacuum cleaner and never has a scrap left after dinner) could hear.

No riding this week, and tomorrow I once again have to haul the canines and caprine back so I can get to work by 6pm. I swear, I need a bumper sticker that says “Yes, it’s a goat.” It would save people a lot of strange looks.

It Had To Happen at Some Point

"In my own defense, unexpected second piece of big farm equipment was very unexpected."

“In my own defense, unexpected second piece of big farm equipment was very unexpected.”

No, not to me, to my cousin, H. (Well, I think technically she’s my first cousin once removed as her mother is my first cousin but that’s all so confusing.) H. has the horse bug and BAD. Last summer she got to ride Lucky, and since then she’s managed to convince her mom to fit riding lessons into their insane schedule (H. has five brothers and sisters. They’re BUSY.) And I mean she works at the barn to get discounts on lessons and borrowed a braiding book from Mom, as Mom suggested that’s a great way to pick up some extra horse money. As a chronic unable-to-braider, I concur. So despite Lucky having had almost no work (see previous post) I hopped on, warmed him up, and let H. get aboard. MUCH improvement since last year-she was trotting, good diagonals, and enough leg to stick on when he got a bit quick coming down the hill and she lost a stirrup.

Not, unfortunately, enough to stick it when two big pieces of agricultural equipment went roaring by. She hung on when he jumped at the first one, but I really don’t think he expected the long rake that was coming right behind it. We live on a dirt road here and sometimes the drivers do come bombing along and with equipment, that does get loud. I can’t say for certain that I would have sat the spook, or kept it to a lower key, though I think I would, but I have umpteen years of riding experience on H. She made a valiant effort, but came off over his hind end. I think Lucky was actually more startled by his rider suddenly being on the ground than anything else, and he took off up the hill. After making sure H. was all right (a little shaken up but otherwise fine) I went looking. He was already coming back, looking a bit sheepish.

With a little adrenaline rush myself, I admit, I retrieved Lucky and got back on to make sure he hadn’t decided he’d come up with a nifty new way to get out of working. After a few turns around the corral, I think more to reassure me than him, I decided he was his usual sanguine self and H. got back on.

H. was fine  If anyone is wondering the white on Lucky's legs is the remains of poultice-it helps somewhat to keep the bugs off his legs.  And yes, I often ride in jeans.  It's a $200 PDN off eBay, I'm not overly worried about the leather.

H. was fine If anyone is wondering the white on Lucky’s legs is the remains of poultice-it helps somewhat to keep the bugs off his legs. And yes, I often ride in jeans. It’s a $200 PDN off eBay, I’m not overly worried about the leather.

She was back to trotting comfortably in no time. Her mother claims that she is not, absolutely not, buying a horse. Apparently my brother told his trainer this. His trainer laughed.

My ride today was once again plagued by bugs, and Lucky found himself in the middle of a fight he started and which I was not going to allow him to win. I think that, more than most horses, he has some issues with depth perception. The empty drainage ditch in the woods is not especially deep (no more than a foot down from ground level) and right now it’s dry. He’s been through before. Today he decided he was absolutely, no way, no how, going to go down that embankment. And unfortunately for him, I was not going to allow him to back off now and learn backing up and trying to spin was a way out. For my sake, I was also not going to get down and lead him on foot, though the thought had crossed my mind. Finally, I grabbed mane because he started to bunch up and I thought he might try to jump down it, but instead he skidded his way down and over. Obviously, I do not have a future eventer in the barn.

Oh, Tice? Still working on the whole concept of ground manners (he can be quite rude) and he also got a visit from a local personality:

He was fine.  And for a horse who won't stand still on a normal day in the cross-ties, this is how he behaves for the scary vet!

He was fine. And for a horse who won’t stand still on a normal day in the cross-ties, this is how he behaves for the scary vet!

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