Dan and Bill’s Weblog

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Did I do that? September 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — danandbill @ 8:16 pm
Come here, Dan, and tell me what you know

Come here, Dan, and tell me what you know

Waking up this morning, I thought to myself, “Did I really go to New Holland yesterday and bring home 2 of the possibly worst looking horses there?”  Yep.  A look out my window confirms that Bill and Dan are in fact here.  And hungry. 

I went out and tossed them some hay.  They stick very close together.  I’m almost kind of glad now that I got two, as 1 in quarantine would have been lonely I’m sure.  And they seem to like each other.  We’ll see if that holds true after they’re no longer sick and starving!  They actually drink out of the water tub together, and Bill (the stallion) let starving Dan eat his grain too.  I don’t know if Bill recognized the feed I gave him as edible.  Maybe amish horses eat something simpler like plain oats?  I’m not sure but rest assured I will get him to eat.

What Do We Have Here?

The thing about auctions is that you don’t know what you’re getting.  I have zero expectations for them, so that’s OK, but it just means I have to start over and see what they know.  So today, armed with grooming supplies (seperate from my other horses to avoid cross-contamination), Dumor treats (Tractor Supply frequenters will recognize them!), Banixx, Tomorrow (cow mastitis treatment also used for thrush), and plenty of patience I set out to see what Dan and Bill know.


When I first saw Dan, I thought “Dang.  That is one skinny horse.”  So when the vet tech was asking me for a name to put on the coggins and Christy said just pick the first thing that came to mind, I knocked the g off and called him Dan.  But Dang was pretty much my first thought again today.  So what else does Dan know besides hunger?  Dan knows treats.  He took one politely as I tied him to groom him.  Despite his deplorable condition, he does still have a little shine to his coat, which I think is going to be really nice once he is restored.  Amazingly, his feet aren’t half bad.  He picks them up too.  I used a face brush and the softest rubber curry I could find.  He’s too bony for a good scrubbing but he desperately needs one.  He also knows fly spray and he ties well.  It’s going to be a while before he’s able to carry a rider but I can’t wait to see how he rides.  In addition to picking up some weight, he’s got something very funky going on with his teeth (he gets a wad of grain/hay stuck in there, so probably a tooth that has collapsed and will need to be pulled).  His eyes are draining which could be secondary to a tooth infection.  He has a couple of sores on a hind leg, possibly from being kicked, but otherwise his legs are pretty clean.  I expect he has some arthritis.  If I had to venture a guess, I’d say that Dan probably had decent care up until fairly recently.  He seemed to enjoy me combing his mane.  He’s not fearful or timid so I think he knew good people at one time. 


When I look at Bill, I don’t see percheron/haflinger cross.  I don’t see draft at all.  I think the vet put morgan on his papers.  He has a nice tail, and I jokingly told my husband who admires fresians that I brought him home a miniature fresian.  🙂  He didn’t buy it.  Truth be told, Bill is one of the worst-put-together horses I’ve seen.  He’s croup-high, his hocks are funky, his neck is short and cresty and he looks like he’s in foal.  There is a blog called Fugly Horse of the Day (google it…it’s enlightening and hillarious).  Bill would be a prime nominee.  I sincerely hope he doesn’t have any progeny, but as he is a stallion I’m sure he does.  The good news is there will be no more.  Please don’t take offense to this.  I am going to do the best with Bill that I possibly can.  He’s got a great temperament and that counts for a lot, but irresponsible breeding is a large part of why New Holland will never go out of business. 

Bill doesn’t know treats.  I’m not suprised there.  He approaches everything sort of willingly, though always like he’s waiting for something bad.  He’s not headshy or flinchy, but the rub marks on his girth, the bite marks on his coat, and his deplorable hoofcare tell his story.  Have you ever seen a maggot living in the cleft of a horse’s frog?  Me neither until today.  Bill wasn’t too keen on picking up his feet, but I told him the farrier is coming tomorrow to help him and he needs to meet me halfway on this.  He didn’t kick out or stomp or anything bad.  When I did get his feet up, it wasn’t pretty.  Just looking at him you can see they are very upright and narrow.  His frogs are several inches above the ground.  He has severe thrush.  This is going to take a long time to correct.  The best option for his is probably going to be letting him go barefoot to allow the hoof to spread back out to a more natural shape and encourage the frog to grow.  He cooperated enough that I was able to get his feet picked out and apply some Tomorrow (a medicated paste used to treat mastitis in cows, that is very effective against thrush as well).  He tolerated brushing and stood nicely tied. 

Give it up lady, you're not Pat Parelli and I'm not a fresian

Disclaimer: I'm not Pat Parelli and Bill's no Fresian!

 Bill is very tolerant and non-reactive.  Bill is also sick, but I do think he’s just an easygoing fella.  What stallion is going to let a gelding eat his grain?  Bill has lived a hard life.  His front tendons are thick and he’s got plenty of lumps and bumps.  Even though he’s sporting an equine mullet (the amish shave the forelock and a long bridle path on most of their driving horses) and he kind of resembles a mule deer, just you wait.  I’m willing to make a bold prediction and say this guy’s going to look darned cute cleaned up and under tack and I dare say he’s going to be a nice little kids horse with his sensibility.

Stay tuned for more.  Thursday is vet and farrier day (also known as bleeding wallet day!).  Bath day is coming up too.



Introducing Dan and Bill

Filed under: Uncategorized — danandbill @ 2:27 am

The Beginning

Several months ago I started getting the urge to have another horse.  I don’t NEED another horse.  I have 3 already.  Well, 2 and 1/4 (Fred, a 17yo TB gelding, Tom, a 24 year old TB gelding, and Peanut, a 38yo mini mare).  They require plenty of attention and make plenty of manure for me to clean up.  There was no reason for me to get another horse.  Lack of a good reason has never stopped me before though.

So I went and got 2.  This is their story, as it unfolds.

If I’m going to have a horse I don’t really need, it might as well be a horse who needs me, so I decided to be a foster home for a rescue.  I have the space and the means to take on a “fixer-upper” so I figured, why not?  I’ve owned horses long enough to have some idea of what I’m doing, and I’ve got plenty of feed (being married to a feed dealer helps!) and lots of hay.  I decided on Another Chance 4 Horses (www.ac4h.com).  They got rave reviews on a bulletin board that I frequent – The Chronicle of the Horse (www.chronicleforums.com).  Ok, enough name-dropping. 

So I applied to be a foster home and am in the process of getting approved when I happen across a black pony stallion, approximately 8 years old, said to be a Percheron/Haflinger cross.  That’s going to be a tough one to place, I thought, so I offerred a home.  Sure enough, a private home didn’t come through for him, so I set out to pick him up 9-29-08 from the infamous New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania.

The New Holland Experience

Most horse people have probably heard of the place, especially if they live anywhere nearby, which I do.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I pictured the worst: rows of emaciated horses, covered in flies, bite and kick marks.  That’s not what I found.  Amazingly, 80% of the horses I saw had nothing outwardly wrong with them.  Mosty had shiny coats.  Nearly all were in good weight.  Several with neatly pulled manes could have been saddled up and ridden into any show ring.  Sure, plenty of them had big ankles, scrapes and bumps, but the vast majority of them didn’t.  I was suprised to say the least. 

Once I got there and located Christy from AC4H, they already had Bill (the name I’ve given to the black pony) out in the parking lot.  He was walking in circles around his handler (Rick, Christy’s husband) but not in any particular hurry.  He seemed to be a little nervous but was behaving remarkably well considering the distractions.  Rick didn’t even know he was handling a stud.  Bill has fresh rub marks at his girth and a really crummy shoe job, but otherwise looked pretty decent.  I was so nervous on the way up, wondering what I had gotten myself into, getting a black stallion and all, but Bill wasn’t breathing fire….just dripping snot.  He went on the trailer willingly (another thing I had worried about) and as we were tying him in, Christy says she has another horse for me to look at.  Of course she does.  🙂

Dan was the bag of bones that I was expecting to see at the auction, you know, with the hipbones you can hang a hat on.  He was tucked away in an inner pen.  I dialed my husband’s number as they told me what little they knew about him.  He had been run through 2 weeks prior, and the dealer who had him didn’t want to be stuck with the skinny horse.  According to the NH vet Dr. Holt, he looked worse now than two weeks ago, not suprisingly.  My husband told me to do the right thing, which I knew he would.  I looked to my friend Allison, my “voice of reason” who I brought along to talk me out of taking any “extra” horses home, but she didn’t even try.  She has known me since gradeschool and knew it wouldn’t do any good.  And besides, she felt as sorry for him as I did. 

I’m calling this one Dan (I like simple names for horses…maybe I’m a simple-minded person?).  Dan walked briskly (and soundly!) through the parking lot and loaded on the trailer like an old pro.  At this point we were just waiting for the coggins and health certificates so we could hit the road.  Going through the auction today was a gorgeous chestnut saddlebred with a blaze and socks (fancy enough that you could see peoples heads turning to watch him go through), a TB reported to have raced 9-4 and with lifetime winnings approaching200K (with 3 big ankles and some very definite soreness all around, along with the kindest eye and one of those faces that just tugs at you), an adorable gray TB with a friendly personality and a big ankle, about a dozen of the cutest ponies.  Lots of horses and not a lot of buyers seems to sum up what I saw.  A thin paint mare going for $260, a registered arab with champion bloodlines for under $200.  Surely even meat prices are higher for a horse?  At one point my friend alerted me to a herd of unrestrained alpacas stampeding my way.  Loose horses were pretty frequent, and there was some fighting, but not as much as I expected considering they had 5 horses crammed into a 15×20 pen.  So I guess the best way for me to summarize what I saw at NH was that a lot of what I saw, I expected, but I also saw plenty of the unexpected too.

They day was not without tragedy unfortunately.  As a shipper was loading a bay TB (who had been rescued by a woman who specializes in TBs) onto a trailer, a horse who was already loaded started kicking it up and the TB flew back off the trailer, snapping a hind leg.  Fortunately and mercifully the vet was there in an instant drawing up that pink solution into a syringe.  Watching that horse fall so heavy to the ground and then lay there lifeless brought the tears on, and I cry now thinking about it.  Freak accidents like that can happen at any time, to anyone. 

I hope you’ll tune in from time to time and share in the adventure, and check in and see how Bill and Dan are progressing.  Thanks for taking the time to read this (oh, and I’ll work on the picture orientation…this was my first blogging effort).