Sunday, July 9, 2017

Hoof trims for Tess and Fifi's freedom

The bay roan filly's name is Tess.  She is doing great at my friends.  She has a completely different temperatment than Fifi though.  She is a bit flighty, less trusting of people, and more attached to my friend's other horses.  So much so that she actually ran into and bent a panel one day when the horses took off with exuberance for the pasture.  Even so, she is leading in the round pen, picking up all her feet, totally desensitized to the flag and ropes.  She's doing great.  Today I trimmed her feet and she also was led outside her round pen for the first time.

She also just would rather be left alone and seems to just be tolerating us (as compared to Fifi who is really getting attached to me).  She didn't really enjoy me hugging her as you can see in her face!

 I worked with Fifi in the round pen today, just getting her freed up and trotting out.  She was wonderful in the round pen.  Moved right out and turned in to me when I stepped in front of her drive line and asked for whoa.  It didn't take long at all to feel satisfied with her round penning skills.  Then I led her around the fence line and let her out into the pasture!

 I turned her out with Shimmer, Charlie and Catlow.  The others get too aggressive with new horses and Denny is interested in her because she's showing heat to him.  I don't want her bred!

Fifi had a great first afternoon in the pasture.  She didn't really care what the other horses were up to and followed me around.  She did test the fence and got a shock, so that was good.  I could walk up and halter her anytime without her thinking she wanted to leave me.  In fact, she'd approach me as I got close to her asking for me to rub her on the withers.  Apparently she's itchy.  She's now spending the night in the stall, but she'll go back out with the same horses tomorrow.  Then maybe after that I'll start adding horses back in so the whole herd can be together again.

Someone asked what made us choose these two.  Well, the bay roan was first pick because of her conformation.  It's hard to get a feel for what kind of a connection you might have with a horse in the pens duiring an adoption event.  The horses are stressed, ignoring the people gawking at them, and just eating hay and trying to pretend they aren't getting stared at.  And honestly, the sorrel filly was just an afterthought because we could adopt a buddy horse for $25.  She was one of the few left, and I am not crazy about her conformation, however, her temperament and sweet sweet nature totally make up for her looks!

Saturday, July 8, 2017


Fifi loves her grain.  She nickers eagerly to me when I come with it once a day.  She's already gaining weight and filling out in areas she was gaunt before.

Last week I was able to halter her and give her dewormer.  She'd only been dewormed once previously in November shortly after she was gathered from Nevada.  A couple days later I found SEVERAL piles of poop as full of roundworms as this pile.

 I have had several hula hoops scattered throughout Fifi's pen.  She pays them no mind.  They do not bother her at all.  She steps on them, and they rattle as they flip up and touch her leg.  Great desensitizing tools!

My daughter has been a great help in desensitizing her with her crazy antics.  My daughter is completely unafraid of Fifi having spent a lot of time around very nice horses.  It makes it hard for me trying to make sure she keeps herself safe around her, but it also is good for Fifi to have a crazy unpredictable soul around.

It's amazing how fast she is filling out.  I feed her pretty much free choice hay, but then also 1 lb beet pulp, 1.5 lbs alfalfa pellets, 1 lb rice bran, 1 lb Purina Enrich Plus, and a sprinkle of free choice mineral daily.

She is one of the least herd bound horses I have ever met.  She's interested in my horses, but is not worried about their coming and going.  They do not break her attentiveness to me.  Her main interests are food, and I think I might be second.  The other horses are definitely below me and food in her loves list.  I've never had one bond to me so fast and be this stead in nature.  She's so unspooky.

She was in need of a hoof trim, so last Wednesday, I made it a priority to get her feet done.  She'd been letting me pick her feet up in a relaxed manner.  It took some patience, but I finally convinced her to stand still (untied, we aren't tying yet) and let me trim all 4 hooves.  I was even able to put her foot on the stand and rasp them.

 After the trimming session, she was very relaxed, so I led her out of her pen for the first time.  I'd been leading her around the pen for the last week and she was starting to give to halter pressure from the side but wasn't leading up real because it was in a small pen.  There was no incentive to lead up. 

Outside the pen, she led up really well.  And she followed me out through the gate into my yard.  My chickens were very interesting, but she was unafraid.  She got to graze for a while, then I convinced her to come into my barn and into a stall.

So now Fifi is staying in my barn.  

I've been leading her out around the yard to graze and have leading lessons.  And again she is just unconcerned about the other horses.

Tonight was the 3rd time leading her out into the yard and tonight was the first time she really tested me.  She's been leading so well, but as we got out into the yard, she tried to bolt down to the area where the grazing is really good.  She wasn't able to pull away and led up really nice the rest of the time.  Then on the way back to the house, she decided she wasn't ready to leave the nice grassy area, so she tried to bolt and pull away from me several times.  The last time, she even let out a squeal as she tried to bolt away.  At that point I chased her backwards 15 ft.  After that she led up really well and didn't once try to bolt away again.  She wasn't bolting in fear at all.  She was testing her ability to make decisions and try to get her way.  She realized quickly that wasn't going to work and she'd best lead up with me.  Just another lesson!  Every day!

She is turning into a real sweety.  She loves to be groomed, she nickers at me every time she sees me walk into the barn, and she really seems to trust me.  I think someday this filly is going to make an excellent kids horse.  I did the cannon bone measurement test and I think she'll get to 14 hh.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Working with baby mustangs.

This was the night we brought them home.
My mustang pen has not been used for quite a while!  Well, it has occasionally held friend's new horses as a quarantine pen.  It was getting late when we brought them home the first night, so left them alone after feeding them.  They needed to just settle in.

Right from the start, the sorrel didn't seem as afraid as the bay roan.  The bay roan would hide behind the sorrel most of the time if we got too close, and was the first to move away, taking the sorrel with her.

When I arrived to see them the next morning after adoption, first they hung back.

Then the sorrel boldly approached me get a closer look.

I could get pretty close to them at the waterer.

And the sorrel actually touched my hand with her nose.

And they got their first taste of grain.  The sorrel really liked it, while the bay roan took a few nibbles before moving away.
We let them just hang out that day as well...

And Sunday morning I sat by them as they ate hay.  Both of them sniffed my back.  They have sweet eyes.

That evening, my friend stopped by to visit and we started their first official work session.  First I worked with the sorrel with the pole.  She didn't run at all and it didn't take long at all until I could touch her all over her whole body with the pole.  Her uncomfortable spot was her chest and front legs.  She attempted to rear and half-heartedly strike out.  But settled quickly.  I advanced quickly to touching her shoulder and rubbing her neck.  Her "good" side is her right side.  She prefers me on that side.  I was a bit pushy with her just because she let me touch her so quickly.  I attempted to rub her face, and she didn't like that very much, and attempted to pin her ears at me and threaten to strike.  So I just ended on a good note being able to rub her withers and back on both sides.

Then my friend worked with the bay roan.  This is her first time working with mustangs.  The bay roan is a bit flightier and needs a bit more work to gain trust, but really she's not bad.  And once my friend gains that trust, she's going to love the bond they build!

The bay roan's tendancy is to kick when the pole gets down by her tail and her sides...but after running at first, she settled quickly.  We didn't touch her today, but she is learning that she can be touched.

That evening, my friend took the bay roan to her house so that the two could be separated and it would be easier to work with them.

I was busy Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday I got a chance to work with the sorrel again.

As you can see from the pictures, things progressed rapidly!

She is the least spooky, calm mustang I've ever met!  She will be a fun one!  I anticipate having more trouble when we get to the making her move part.  Right now I'm encouraging her to stand and just let me touch her all over.  I can throw a rope over her back and she doesn't even move off!  She seems completely unconcerned.  I can swing it and bump her against her butt.  She makes me think maybe she's done this before?  But once I got to the halter part, she let me halter her, but if I put any pressure on the rope, she reacts like an unbroke horse...leans into the pressure.  We haven't done anything with leading yet, but I anticipate doing that this weekend.  I'm pretty positive that she's never done any of this before, but she is just so easy!  So laid back!  So calm!  She doesn't even seem upset that she's in her pen all by herself with no other horses around.  She's not going to be a very big horse and she's not the best put together horse I've ever seen, but with this temperament, she has a lot of potential.

And I ended the session by taking her tag off!  I unwound it through the holes (rather than cutting it off)...that's how chill she is.

Oh, and by the end of that session, after calling her Fifi the whole time (just as a cutesy pet name), Fifi began to stick, so her name is going to be Phoebe (Fifi for short).  It may change to Phoenix, but Phoebe fits her better.  We'll be calling her Fifi a lot!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mustang mania

So, this just happened:

There was an adoption event in Marshfield, WI June 16-17, and my friend and I brought home 2 yearlings!!!!  So excited to be working with wild ones again!  I have more to update.  For now I'll just say my friend is working with the bay roan, and I am working with the sorrel.  So far, the sorrel is the easiest mustang I've ever worked with!  Kind of a nice change from the last 2 I had (Kachina and Griffin).

Friday, May 26, 2017

Catch up

My babies Charlie and Denny both turned 2 years old this month and they've really grown!!!!  My appy pony Shimmer is 4 and is doing really well with riding.  Earlier this year I did radiographs on Chico's hocks and discovered why he has been so on and off lame over the last several years.  H.e has severe arthritis of his distal hock joints and it even has calcified the collateral ligaments.  Same in both hocks so it's likely just him, no injury.  He's been a pasture pet for the last several years anyway.  Now I guess he's permanently retired.  Cody, Catlow and Stormy are all doing well.

I just want to show some catchup pictures of this spring.  I can't believe how awesome my babies are turning out.  I'm so pleased with both of them. My human baby is growing a ton too!  She's six years old!
Catlow and her baby Denny (Cody photo bombing)

Charlie and her Momma Cody


Charlie and Cody

My new puppy Aladdin and Shimmer

Denny and sissy Charlie

Charlie and Denny




Stormy (my daughter leading her)

Stormy and my daughter

My dad riding Catlow on a trail ride

Cody and her spring dapples


Denny making baby face at Uncle Chico


Denny and my daughter

Denny and his momma Catlow

Charlie and her first trip away from home