Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Never a dull moment…

If the past few days were beautiful yesterday was gorgeous.  I went down to feed as usual only there was nothing usual about it. As I went to feed the pasture horses, someone was outside the pasture. At first I thought it was Sere, and she jumped the fence only Sere was in the pasture, there was one horse too many. I looked again, then looked at Ser-Haat’s stall, and sure enough his gate was open. Great, catching him was going to be real fun. I tried coaxing him to walk without a halter, something I can do with most of our horses only he was too excited (wonder why), and wouldn’t walk with me more than a few steps. I fed the girls, and tried quietly chasing him to his stall. You can guess how that went over. He started to go over to his dad, and I thought great I can coax him into the round pen. Yeah right. Ok I gave up, and called April to come over to help. What to do, he kept going over to Ibn so I thought ok, I’ll put Ibn in his stall, move Santa Fe into the arena, and maybe just maybe I can get him to go into Ibn’s stall. It has a long wide gate, and he can see Ibn’s breakfast, and maybe he’ll go in there by himself.

First I moved Santa Fe (don’t want Ibn next to a mare) then moved Ibn into Ser-Haat’s stall. Naturally Ser-Haat came round to Ibn in his stall. He was not co-operating (did you really think he would?). I went to swoosh him, and he went to visit Santa Fe in the arena. I walked around, and by the time I got round to the other side he was in Ibn’s stall eating Ibn’s breakfast. Finally. Now Ibn’s run is over 150’ long, trying to corner Ser-Haat was going to be next to impossible. He doesn’t like to be caught in his much smaller paddock so this was definitely going to be interesting. About this time April shows up (thank you Lord). At least I’d have some help. I wanted April positioned behind me to keep him from going the length of the run. I could then work Ser-Haat, and try to get the lead rope around his neck. He won’t let me halter him, but I can make a halter with the lead rope, and he does just fine.  I asked April to take Ibn to the round pen so once I caught Ser-Haat I could lead him back to his own stall.

Getting the rope around Ser-Haat’s neck is a long process. First I have to get it on his back (several times), then lead him by his neck for a while, and finally make a loop to put on his nose to form a semi halter. I’ve done this with him numerous times. He doesn’t like the halter, but will work with a rope. It takes us a while mostly because he knows he can charge April, and get past her, which he does more than once. For some reason he won’t work with April. She says he just doesn’t like her. At any rate I finally get him working with the rope halter, and we walk him down to his stall. April opens both gates, but has to back off before he will go through them to his own stall. I really want him to work with someone other than myself, but it’s not going to be today. We get everyone back to where they belong, and I give Ibn more Alfalfa because someone ate all his. The good part of this is now Ser-Haat isn’t afraid to go through the gate.  He also knows that you can have fun if you leave your stall. I will use that to my advantage making it a reward for putting on his halter. 

April has to go home to help her mother get dressed. They need to take her to the doctor in Alamogordo, and from there most likely to the hospital. She’s been really sick, and has gotten very weak. She said she’d be back, but I don’t really think so, it’s going to be an all day affair. I get back to the house feed everyone else, and just as I’m getting ready to call Rudy he calls me. He was starting to get a bit worried because it was so late. I explain my morning, and his comment was as usual they’re just too smart for their own britches. Now I’m going to have to get another stud chain for Ser-Haat’s stall. I’ve run out of chains, as I have them on most of our gates. Those little noses are just too nimble.

We talk for a while, and then I begin the rest of my day. Since April won’t be over I decide to clean Santa Fe’s stall. My back feels prettygood (nice sunny weather does wonders for my back), and my arm isn’t hurting too much. Quarter horses are so different from Arabians. It’s almost a joy to be able to clean a stall without the antics of the rest of our kids. Even when she was sticking her nose in the back of the gator she’d move over for me to get through. After a while she simply went to her paddock, and took a nap in the warm sunshine. She actually took a nap, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I was just about done (only had about one, and a half loads to go), and I decided to take a break. The barn was calling me. Since Rudy used to do all this stuff he naturally had everything set up for him. Gradually I have been making changes. Some of the changes have been because I simply don’t have the strength that Rudy has (big surprise there). Some of the changes are due to the fact that even though I love my husband dearly, he doesn’t really have things organized. For him it’s fine, but you know how women are, they always have to be rearranging things. It’s in our genes.

I had talked to Rudy about moving some things, and as we talked I came up with the idea of moving stuff we never use into the back stall. It doesn’t have a paddock area, and it’s there in case we need to isolate a horse. Now it’s a storeroom. As I move things I sweep out about a ton of dust, and I can’t even get to some of it. Some of the stuff (like the door that Marina demolished, and Rudy still hasn’t fixed) is too heavy for me to move by myself, and will have to wait until April can help me. I make a good dent in it though then go back to finish cleaning Santa Fe’s stall. It’s about 3:00 so I quit for the day. April comes over to check up on me, and to let me know that they put her mom in the hospital. She has a bad case of influenza. They’ll keep her for a couple of days get fluids in her, and generally just build up her strength before they send her back home. She’s actually a year younger than I, but has more health issues. Thank God I have a strong constitution.

Yesterday was the last of our nice days for a while. We are actually going to have some winter weather for a few days. The wind wasn’t supposed to start until later today so I figured I could get some work done outside. Thankfully all the horses were where they were supposed to be when I fed, but man it was cold. You’d think it was winter or something. April comes over sporting a thermal T instead of the light short-sleeved T from yesterday, and her coat. I myself have a sweatshirt under my heavy coat. It’s breezy, but not really windy yet.  The weather is good enough to get some things done outside, but not good enough to get Stormy, and Angel under saddle. The wind always makes them more excitable, and that’s the last thing we need.  I want to get the barn finished so we tackle that instead of working horses. We move things around, and sweep up another ton of dust. It’s amazing how rearranging things opens up the barn making it look large again, instead of cluttered.

Since we couldn’t work the horses I asked April about doing Star’s feet. We’ll be out of the cold, and she really needed her feet done. Her left front was way too long, and the right front wasn’t much better. She couldn’t even stand properly but was toeing out something fierce. She asked if she had been trimmed before, and I had to say I didn’t know. Soon enough we found out that she hadn’t a clue what to do. You could pick up her front feet fine, but the back feet were a different story, but I’m getting ahead of myself. We took her out to the round pen to get he edge off (even though I let her out on Monday) only it wasn’t enough so I put her with Marina in the arena and chased them both. Marina is way too fat, and Star is actually a bit plump herself.

Now that the edge was off, we started with her front right. Well she wasn’t doing too well so I put her against the gate so she wouldn’t squirm, and she had the gate to help her keep her balance. That worked really well. I learned that from one of our farriers who did some of our youngsters. Now that she had some kind of idea as to what we were doing to her, Star did much better with her left front. That toe was not only long, but misshapen. We went back to her right front to do her heel, which was lopsided, and she just couldn’t figure that one out. Now April is only about 4’11”, I’m about 5’4” so I told her to let me try. My legs are much longer, and that made a big difference. I got the heel on the outside down some, but I just don’t have the shoulder strength I need so April took over. This time Star did much better, and April was able to get the heel rasped down. She rasped the front, and she picked up the back bringing the leg back then forward. Next time we will work on using the nippers on the front, and rasping the back. Star is still young, and there’s no sense in going fast, and making her think this is a bad thing. She got lots of praises, got brushed as a reward, and all in all felt good about herself. Next time she’ll understand a little better, and it will be easier.

Next we went to Sierra. When he was a baby I worked with his feet only he has totally forgotten all about that, and it’s too difficult for me to try picking up his feet by myself. I have done it, but not for very long. With the two of us we would make much better progress. Star was just about perfect compared to Sierra. He was a little pill even up against the fence. I finally came up with the idea of putting the lead rope in his mouth for him to chew on. That made a big difference. First of all he wasn’t trying to nip at me (boys), and it kept his mind off his feet, and what April was trying to do. He wasn’t too bad with his left back, but kept trying to cow kick when she worked on his right back. We did front, and back several times, and he was getting pretty good, when disaster struck. He wasn’t against the fence (big mistake), and when she picked up his front left one last time he lost his balance, leaned against April, knocked her down, then fell down himself. She fell against the fence while I pulled him up again. Thankfully she wasn’t hurt (though her knee will probably beg to differ), but it really startled Sierra. He didn’t understand how he fell down. We calmed him down, and April picked up his foot again. This time he stood stock-still. He wasn’t going to go through that again. He got lots of pets, and we called it a day.

By this time it was 3:30, and the wind was coming up stronger, and colder. Come Saturday the winds should be gone even though it will stay cold. Tomorrow is my day for going to town so I won’t be able to do much more. All in all it has been a good week, and I got a lot accomplished. Next week is supposed to be sunny, and maybe April will actually get on Angelo’s back, and we can get the saddle on Stormy all cinched up. Between the two of us we make one good person. If she can get the kids safe, I can get them green broke. God willing by summer’s end all the horses that can be will be under saddle. Ser-Haat I will send to a trainer. At least I will when I can scrape the money together, and I can get the groundwork done on him. April is going to lend me her rope halter to see if that will help him get over his halter fears. Once that is accomplished I can start working him in the round pen, and maybe get him trailer trained. That should be real fun. Right now I have to go to bed. I was a long (though very productive) day, and my body has had it. It wants to go to bed, and so I shall acquiesce to it’s demands, at least for tonight.