Suicide attempts are never funny… but they are more expensive when horses try it.

Weekends seem to be a great time for certain sorrel mares to think they want some time off from their overly stressful brooding teenage life.

 Here is the story of how our precious little Jellybean tried (unsuccessfully) to kill herself, again.

On a crisp, bright fall morning in Bryan, Tx a young couple wakes up to a friday morning full of potential.  Breakfast is hot and delicious and coffee seems to waft through the air ass they prepare to trundle off to the university to continue slogging away on their dissertation research.  everything is grand!  Off they go, driving to work, and wouldn’t you know… a phone rings.

“Hello?” says Amanda.
“murmur… murmur… murmur” from the cryptic voice on the phone.
“She did WHAT?!?!”  exclaims Amanda.
“murmur…. murmur… MURMUR” from the phone.
“OK (sigh), we are on our way…” says a resigned Amanda.

Never ask what happened after a call like that.  Just turn the steering wheel and point the car toward the stable.

As it turns out the barn owner was on the other end of the line and she had some wonderful news!  Jellybean had attempted to end her poor, miserable, angst ridden, mistreated life by….. sticking her leg through a fence…. Yes folks, the horse could not come up with a better attempt than simply sticking her leg through a hole in the fence.  This pony is dumb by the way.

********BE WARNED GRAPHIC VET PICTURES FOLLOW THIS BREAK*****

We got to the stable with very little expectation of the damage she had done to herself.  Thankfully it appeared to be only the removal of several square inches of her skin.

Jellybean hair on the ground

Bent fence

So, we loaded her up in a trailer and ran her of to the horsey hospital at Texas A&M.  Woooo!  I can already feel the money flying out of the bank account! Once we arrive the show really begins.  First they take Jellybean’s vitals.  Just to make sure the horse that walked in is not, in fact, dead yet.  Then we got our own little, semi-private exam room.

Jellybean in the stocks…  yes she is ashamed.

After they made sure she was still alive and worth saving the vet got REAL intimate with the injury.  She said it was to check the joint and make sure everything was still intact.  Even my vet skills tell me that if a horse WALKS in under its own power, not sedated, and puts full weight on the leg everything should be fine. But, here is the vet feeling Jelly”s knee from the inside.

Yes, finger IN the skin down onto the knee.  EWWW!!!

After a lot of poking and prodding the vet finally let the students have their day.  The students shaved her leg and began vigorously scrubbing with betadiene to clean up the wound.  I think they went through 4-5 stacks of gauze and a gallon of betadiene solution but, here you have it a nice clean jellybean leg ready for some sutures.

Look at those legs!  Dang sexy! Glad she shaved for this one.

Now we get to the fun stuff!  Stitches time Jellybean!   Oh, and for those of you that don’t read often, she is HEAVILY sedated here.  there is no way she would stand for this crap otherwise.

Student stitches

Vet Stitches
Almost done

All Sewn up!

Now we get to see how well Texas A&M packages a horse for shipment 🙂  They don’t want her to rip her stitches out so we begin the long and laborious process of wrapping up a Jelly leg.

First Protect the wound

Then protect the protection

Then protect the protection used to protect the wound

Add a splint (a.k.a. 2×4) to protect her from moving her knee

Hold it right there. I need to DUCT TAPE that sucker on!

BOOM!!!! perfectly safe, perfectly sutured, perfectly unhappy pony.

Just so you don’t think i am completely heartless, here is a video of Jellybean learning to walk with her new peg leg.

And finally, one of her happily eating grass in the sun outside the vet school while waiting for her limo to take her home.

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When Farriers Come to Call….

Sorry, it has been a while since you have had a visit from the comic relief contributor.  Here is my best effort at relating some fun facts about farriers, horses, and their not so dainty toenails.

Monday September 15 was a nice busy day.  I got the chance to run out to the barn and visit our lovely trio of horses in the middle of research, Aikido, and assorted other wonderful functions.  “The Big Trim” was supposed to start at 3pm and of course, I ran about 10 minutes late….

The farrier was a very understanding man and, was not upset in the least at my tardiness.  I quickly assured him that we needed him to trim the triple threat of ponies and I sauntered off to retrieve the first victim… I mean pony.

When I came back to the tie up area, I asked for a few minutes to wash and pick out hooves but, he said it was alright and just got to work.  Our First um…. patient…. was Jellybean.  Simply because she came running to the gate when I walked up to the paddock.  Funny thing, farriers remember problem ponies and, problem ponies remember farriers.  I had a dressage whip in hand just in case.  It turns out that Jellybean has a good memory.  She stood there and let the farrier cut, trim, and file her hooves with minimal fuss.  She did try to turn away at one point but a light tap reminded her to stay still.  EXCELLENT! One pony done two to go.

On the trot back to the paddock Jellybean must have told Knots and Gracie what was going on…. No one wanted to be next.  So, here come the tricks.  Knots is a little piggy and will eat almost anything, including air from an empty feed bucket.  How do you catch a piggy horse? I ask…  simply pick up the feed bucket and BOOM!  horse in hand.

Knots turns out to be a bit more naughty than Jellybean.  No kicking or mean spiritedness, just pulling feet away from the farrier and looking to get a nibble of hair when he was doing the front feet.  Don’t worry too much, Knots met the dressage whip and stood perfect after that.

Back out to the paddock for the last of the three…. Now, Gracie loves to eat but, she has a more discerning palette than Knots.  She requires some sustenance for trickery. Having no food or treats, I resort to the old school catching…. a.k.a. Chasing.   She finally has pity on my poor muddy shoes and lets me halter her and take her to get the dreaded trim.  No story here.  She stood quiet and nuzzled my shoulder the whole time.  BOOM! Done!  And back to the paddock.

Now we have three well manicured ponies ready to work their butts off.  Nope!  Farrier visits mean it is also worming time!!!   Amanda was kind enough to do Knots but I got the joy of medicating the other two.   Let’s start with Jellybean, again she was the most eager to be a “pocket pony”.  SLip on the halter to hold her head and bust out the little plastic syringe with yucky pasty goo inside.  Now, I can’t smell the nasty yucky gooey medicine but, apparently Jellybean could. As soon as I uncapped the syringe she started thrashing her head and swinging her butt around. This was unacceptable so I “forcibly corrected” her with my fist and she calmed down.  Only until I put that vile concoction up to her lips… More thrashing and butt swinging….  I had enough.  It was time to assert some dominance here.

DISCLAIMER:  This method only works if you are 6’9″ and 280 lbs.
As jellybean swung around between me and the fence… I decided to throw my shoulder into hers and pin her to the fence.  Again, this works because I am actually bigger than this horse…  She squirmed, she wriggled, she tried to back up, she tried to move forward.  NO GO JELLYBEAN!  Syringe went straight in and SQUEEZE!  I let go and got back… she stood there pouting with a little white goo hanging from her mouth.  But she was wormed.

Gracie must have witnessed this with some trepidation…. She was at the far end of the paddock giving me “the eye”.  When I called to her with an open halter she just glanced my way and continued to stare off into…. whatever it is horses stare off into.  Finally I slogged through the mud and muck and caught my poor little traumatized pony.  Somehow, she seemed resigned to her fate.  Gracie is older than Jellybean and has been wormed many times before so, this should be old hat for her.  Nope, even good old Gracie had to throw a minimal fuss.  Again, I thank God for my size.  In a good sense, all Gracie did to avoid the wormer was put her nose straight up in the air.  HA!  That doesn’t thwart me you silly horse!  I am the mighty 6’9″ boyfriend with an additional 3′ of arm length!  BOOM! Syringe in mouth and SQUEEZE!  Now hold the head up until you swallow… GOOD HORSE!  and she canters off to the water trough to wash her mouth out.  That gooey, yucky, white pasty stuff must be nasty.  hehehehe!  Good thing I ain’t no horse!

That concludes our stories for today.  Maybe soon one of the horses will dictate a post for me to provide for you all.

Hope you enjoyed the ramblings and crazy that is a horse husband without a ring.

So you thought I was kidding…and a long aside about rain boots

I can’t actually bring myself to take a picture of the flooding straight on, but I did take a couple of pictures yesterday. I had a few extra minutes, and some new boots to try and destroy, so I grabbed a shovel and started digging. A little back story: 

Rain boots used to be something silly I wore in college. When I didn’t want to get my jeans wet. Then I started going back out to the barn. And I started experiencing mud. Not the type of mud you see in the grocery store parking lot, but the kind that steals shoes and loves you enough to stay with you forever. So i took my college rain boots and brought them to the barn. And I sunk into the mud, but kept my shoes and didn’t feel the worse for wear. Until I went to goodwill one day.

I saw them on the shelf! Green rubber boots, with plaid (ie two weaknesses). I wanted them. Then I saw the size, and I just took them. I think they were 10 bucks. I donated my college boots to a friend who recently developed a hole in her boots. And I thought everything was great. 

And everything was great, until there was a tear in the rubber. Alas, no longer water proof, and useless against real mud. So I retired them to light wear in “sprinkle” conditions, and started searching for something that might last longer. And so we come to the country boot segment. Whew. Dubarrys are nice, but they are extrememly pricey. So I searched for something closer to my price range. Although, lets be real, I’m replacing $20 boots. How many $20 boots can I replace for the price of the Dubarrys?! I finally found some knockoffs that I liked, until I saw the calf width.

The struggle is real. I have athletic calves. They don’t fit in the “wide” boots. So I continued my search… and finally found some that were reasonable attractive and only one arm, instead of an arm AND a leg. And then I waited. And saved. And waited. And hoped they would go on sale. And waited for a coupon code. And nothing. So then I bought them. 

When I got them, my first concern was to see how well they would hold up. They are still a little snug in the calf, but they are wearable, and I hope they will stretch eventually so I can wear jeans with them. With the rain storm, I have been walking through every puddle and pushing them to show me that they are a waste. And they have held up. No wet feet, spray right off. Magical.

So this long story, to show you one picture. Basically I ventured into the “mud” and shoveled out a drain for the mini-lake that formed in the paddock. And Jellybean decided to help. She stood right in the middle of my ditch. And wanted to be scratched and petted. How cute. Luckily (I don’t think this is the right word…) she didn’t bite me, and just nibbled on the shovel. This story has a mostly happy ending, since the lake drained substantially, at least until the next rain comes. Rumor on the street is we will be moving this weekend, cross your fingers!

I’m helping!

Did I mention this horse doesn’t like water???

In search of a round bale feeder…

Well. The rain came. We got about five inches of rain yesterday, and lets just say the paddock didn’t come out on top. Its definitely below the water line… and lets just say the round bale has been decimated. Its more of a flat spot in the pen… the horses were trying to find something to eat, but there isn’t anything there that isn’t covered in mud.

So here we are, searching for another solution. I have been looking up round bale feeders, but they are pretty expensive. I looked up some homemade solutions, and they seem to be challenging at best. I posted some ideas I found, and asked for a quote from a couple sites, but let me know if you have any ideas, because I’d really like to stop wasting money.

Homemade:
http://generationfarmkikos.blogspot.com/2011/01/hay-feeder-part-deux.html

Purchases:
http://www.klenepipe.com/store.asp?pid=20998

And the classic design:
http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/countylinereg%3B-galvanized-horse-bale-feeder

CountyLine® Galvanized Horse Bale Feeder

Comment below with some of your ideas!

The Barn After Dark

Just a couple of pictures from last nights lessons etc. The grey ponies were getting washed off after riding, and the pony needed to be put back in the paddock. Don’t worry, Robert only sat on him a very short distance, and it was mostly for the picture. Seeing a 6’9″ man on a 13h pony is slightly humorous. Photo Creds to Maggie 🙂

A short update

Well the semester is in full swing. I teach recitation sections on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and riding lessons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Needless to say, there is not a lot of time spent at the barn riding or otherwise. 

I did have a couple of good rides on Knots this past week. We have been working on establishing a better rhythm at the trot and canter. He has gotten into the habit of sucking back and working in a very compressed, inverted frame. I have been working on adjustability and contact. He is having trouble trotting out, he just wants to move into a canter. 

Maggie has decided to take Gracie to the horse trials in December, which is great news! She has been riding Gracie in the mornings and taking dressage lessons with her. Gracie has been learning all about a relaxed rhythm, since she tends to rush and then trip over herself. 

Robert has also been riding Gracie, and he has been working on his position and trying to build on the things Maggie is working on in lessons. He has been especially trying to get his upper body to be still and relaxed. 

New Living Situation and A Handsome Gelding

I hinted a few weeks ago that the girls were moving, and so they have. Lets start at the beginning, back in July. We went on an extended vacation, and during the middle, there was a flood. Specifically into my stalls. Jellybean’s stall was completely saturated while Gracie’s stall was moderately saturated. Since stalls need to be vacant to dry out, the ponies got to move into the pond pasture. They were the only two horses out there, and they stayed until I got home. 

After we returned, we talked about moving the horses into a paddock instead of stalls. The catch? The paddocks were not complete yet. But there was another paddock, a nice one. Except it holds water REALLY well when it really rains. So we moved the horses into the paddock with the understanding that they would move into the completed paddock asap, but definitely before the monsoon season comes. 

And so now the horses have been living in the flood prone paddock for a few weeks. We bought them a round bale, so they can eat hay continuously now. And then we added a new man into the mix. Now before you get all fired up about us buying another horse, we didn’t. Knots is going to be living in the paddock. This way, I am taking care of him in exchange for a half lease. I can ride him Monday nights, Thursday mornings, and Friday, Saturday, Sunday. This should work out well for me, as he will be available for some fun weekend jaunts while being leased out in the mornings. Maggie has him leased out to a student who wants to ride in the mornings. She should be able to give him some exercise without counteracting any training rides I put on him. Onward to the December derby 🙂

Nom Nom

The horses have been really funny this week with the new herd dynamic. Knots is very much the boss man. Gracie is second, and Jellybean is bottom of the totem pole. Knots only has to look at the girls, and they walk away from whatever he might want, be it grain or water. In fact, he had them eating out of one grain pan while he monopolized two. Wow. Talk about bossy. Luckily the round bale is too much trouble to run other horses off, so they should all be eating enough. Especially since they just got a bump in feed, considering Gracie is looking a little bit sad. Knots is getting the same amount as his previous living situation. And we will have to see how Jellybean handles the extra calories.