Dan and Bill’s Weblog

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Approaching the 2 month anniversary November 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — danandbill @ 5:08 pm

The last couple of weeks have plagued my farm with rain.  And since the rain came too late to help any crops it was just a nuisance, making mud and forcing me to keep the horses in.  The only good thing that came out of it is that I now have gutters on my barn and run-in because of the mess that the downpours caused.  I’ve also got some sitework to do to prevent the big mudholes from forming again.  Four inches was too much for my farm to handle.

I feel like I’m not making a lot of progres with Bill, but as I was making this entry I looked at the health certificate from when I brought the boys home from New Holland, specifically the date – 9/29/08.  They haven’t been here 2 months yet.  I’m going to stop beating myself up.  This isn’t the extreme mustang challenge where I need to be jumping them through hoops of fire in 100 days.  🙂 

Bill is coming around.  Everytime I tried to approach him to brush or pet him, he would fly off.  So I started bringing him into the stall to work, and he would run circles around me to keep me from touching him.  He’s afraid of hands, brushes, halters, ropes.  I had no idea what to do so I just started trying different things.  One day I decided to approach him with my head, since he’s scared of everything else.  If that doesn’t sound crazy enough, I should tell you that the school athletic complex is directly across the street so there were probably at least 50 people who could have seen me doing this.  I’m officially that crazy horse lady. 

So anyway, we’re in the stall, me bent over, walking towards him like I’ve got a slipped disk or something.  Bill is just scared.  He’s never kicked or attempted to bite, and though I know he can, I’m not worried.  He looks at me, whites visible around his eye, but stands.  He’s not retreating as usual, so I kept going.  Darned if it didn’t work.  I rubbed my head on his shoulder, down his neck, and then sniffed his nose.  I guess I’m trying to convince him I’m really a 2-legged horse and not one of those mean humans.  I’m not sure Bill bought it but a funny thing happened…he started sniffing me, and then rubbed his head on my arm and shoulder.  I slipped him a treat, and then started scratching his leg.  I walked out of the stall that day with horsehair all over my head, stuck to my eyelashes and up my nose, but it was worth it.  Since then I’ve been able to work my way up to rubbing and brushing him all over, and I’ve discovered he likes to have his belly and the underside of his chin scratched.  I don’t have a lot of time to work with him, but I make it a point to do so at every feeding.  He is approching me now rather than retreating, and we’re to the point now where I can work on picking up his feet.  Small victories, but victories none the less.  I can only guess what the neighbors think of me. 

Dan continues to gain weight, and to be pushy.  🙂  I work on manners with him while I can but I admit he’s taken a backseat.  Primary objective for him is to fill out.  I’m glad that even though he’s old and skinny, he holds his own in the herd.

The herd seems to be working out well.  Fred and Peanut (sometimes I think they are really just one animal) are fine as long as they have each other, and Tom really doesn’t care what the others do as long as they don’t interfere with his eating.  I’m looking forward to blending Bill into the herd, but he’s by himself for now to finish healing after his gelding procedure and to let his hormones level out.   

 

A long overdue update! November 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — danandbill @ 8:24 pm

I had intended to have a fancy update with new pictures and much fanfare.  Instead, all I have for you is a crummy picture of what appears to be a 2 headed horse.  🙂  I’ll do better later.

Bill for President!

Ok, well actually my husband for president!  My hubby managed to catch Bill.  I’m not really sure how it all happened as I was at work, but shortly before the vet arrived on Monday, he somehow lured Bill onto the trailer.  The vet and his assistant arrived a few minutes later, got on the trailer and put a halter on him.  One with a short rope attached.  Poor Bill proceeded to get gelded, have his teeth power floated and get all his vaccinations.  You’d think Bill would be impossible to catch now, but amazingly he hasn’t shown any reluctance to come and get his carrots.  Bill will be doing lots of that for a while.  Getting carrots and scratches from me until he learns that I am not associated with work.  HA!  The thought of me associated with work just cracks me up!

The vet thinks Bill is a little younger that I originally thought..6 probably.  That’s good, because there’s a better chance that gelding him now will get rid of any studdish behavior, not that he had any.  In a perfect world, I would have persisted with the clicker training, the bonding/joining up and would have gotten him without the trap, but I am SO relieved to have him caught.  First of all he was stuck in a paddock with no shelter, so now he’s been moved to one with a stall attached.  Also, now that he is gelded and vaccinated, I can incorporate him into my herd which will no doubt make him happier.  On Wednesday (Bill and Dan’s 1 month anniversary here), my wonderful hubby was putting a round bale out and forgot to shut the gate behind him, letting 2 of my horses loose.  They proceeded to make me chase them through beanfields, neighbor’s yards (stopping at one point to play king-of-the-hill on a septic mound!) before I caught them 1/2 a mile down the road.  I cursed my husband until I ran out of curse words (didn’t take long), but then I felt bad.  It didn’t help anything, and it wasn’t like he did it on purpose.  Needless to say, he’s more than redeemed himself, and I’ve learned once again that I really need to work on my patience.  I need one of those zen gardens or something.  Xanax maybe?  🙂

Vote for Dan too!

You know, it just kind of struck me, Bill is dark complected and young, and Dan is ancient and scrappy…anyone else seeing congruencies to our presidential candidates?  🙂  I had to make some mention of them, since it is election day.  Dan got 2 teeth pulled, and the vet is convinced he is well into his twenties.  One tooth came out with barely a tug.  I believe poor Dan suffered a kick to the jaw, cracking some teeth.  I think this accounted for much of his drastic weight loss.  Dan is by no means on the bottom of the totem pole, and is plenty pushy to get feed so I don’t think other horses were chasing him off.  There just wasn’t any feed to be had, and/or his teeth were bothering him so much he just couldn’t eat what was there.  That is all being fixed very quickly.  I personally love old horses.  Sure, they have some maintenance needs, but they’ve been around long enough to have seen it all, and they tend not to be as reactive, they have good training in place usually, and they are able to do things that young horses just can’t always manage (like stand still for long stretches!).  I hope Dan’s age doesn’t diminish his chances at an adoptive home.  I’m sure there are others out there who share my fondness of the geriatric crowd.  Dan is sound and doesn’t even show the expected level of creakiness from arthritis you’d expect as his age.  The farrier loves his hooves–they are gorgeous, hard, wide and sound.  Even though they were way overdue, there wasn’t any cracking, not even superficially.  Though his withers still look prominent as he has some weight to gain, this guy was built right.  He’s just a little bit uphill, but with a nice, well-set neck, excellent bone, clean legs, and good angles. 

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be doing lots of groundwork with both of them over the winter and hopefully some riding so they can get out and about in early spring.  I know that exposure at shows will be one of the best ways to advertise them to potential adopters.  If all does not go according to plan, well, we’ll just deal with that as it comes.  Bill’s got some healing to do, mentally and physically.  I’m encouraged that his hooves are also nice and hard, but his heels are very upright both in front and back, and that takes time to correct.  His muscling is also wrong (the underside of his neck is overdeveloped, I guess from logging) and his loins are hollow.  He has a droopy belly probably from poor nutrition and worm load which doesn’t help his already shaky conformation, but I see some potential there. 

Well, I hope you have a good election day, and I hope that we all find ourselves a little better off than before whatever the outcome may be.  Rest assured Dan and Bill will. 

Dand and Bill share the overhang

Dand and Bill share the overhang

Sorry about the poor quality of the picture, but I took it from a 2nd story window of my house, as it’s raining out there.  But you can see that Bill’s got his halter on.  The overhang in front of the stall that they’re under is only 12×12…they seem so small don’t they?