Saturday, June 27, 2015

After Two Weeks of Feeding Her Up

This is Fiona on June 23, 2015.

And the before...

It's not great, but I'm pretty sure I see improvement where her spine ties into her hips.


And the before....

More improvement...  To me.

And just some various shots of her and Horse Girl acting like their brains vacated their heads while Chad target shoots with the BB Gun.
In some she looks better, in others she looks worse...

In all of them though, she is agile, alert, and enjoying herself, despite the ridiculous amount of biting gnats that we are experiencing right now.

And they finally convinced Kase's mini horse/pony to run from the sound too...
But it took a while, she is her own "person".

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's Never The One You Expect It To Be!

Kase has remained interested in the horses and donkeys and their care.
He wants to lead them, he wants to pet them, he wants to feed them, and he wants to love on them.
But he is little and they are big.
They are kind and gentle, but they aren't really kid's horses.
They could be, one day, maybe...
But not right now.

Chad's favorite thing to do was tell me that Kase wants a pony.
And the more you hear something the more you begin to believe it (I think).
I finally decided that he DID need a pony and so I started looking.
Looking on Craigslist...what a bunch of loonies and sad, sad, sad animals...
Who tries to sell a 3 year old small horse stud as a kids horse?  More people than you'd think...

I joined a group on FaceBook group and there were TONS of ponies that could have been contenders had they not been in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Wisconsin, and Missouri.

I was beginning to feel like this was a really dumb idea looking for a horse of any kind for him.
There wasn't even a half dead lame old nag needing special care and lead-line work that wasn't a pony anywhere withing a days drive I could find...

I finally told Mindy I was looking for a pony.
A new set of eyes and a new approach was just what I needed.
Never would I have looked on the BRn4d classifieds for a beginner kid's horse/pony.
But Mindy did!!
And that's where she found Kase's pony!
Not a broke pony...  But a broodmare-mini mare that has been handled by big and small people and was good with kids on the ground.  A good lead line prospect.

Mindy sent me the add.
I e-mailed the contact.
Chad and I went and looked at the mare.
I made an offer on the mare and we made a deal.
I didn't bring a horse trailer, because I wasn't sure that this was going to be something we'd be interested in when it all boiled down...
She was!!

Kase and I picked her up on a Thursday and I had to decide how to integrate her with the rest of the girls.
The Hee-Haws were in the Jenny Craig For Men Pen, so that introduction will happen at a later date.
I finally decided to lock the old ladies in the back part of the pasture and put Mini Horse, barn Name Nikki, in a stall with small run next to Fiona.
Fiona loves everyone and has been raised with the mini donkeys so she should make fast friends....

To cut right to the chase, Fiona couldn't have been a bigger ass is she had tried.
At one point I honestly considered sending her to Mindy's for the summer, so I could see if the pony was going to make the cut in peace and all in one piece.
Fi charged the fence.  Struck out.  Pinned her ears and snaked her head while gnashing her teeth and about anything else she could think of.
When Fiona would threaten the pony, the mini horse/pony would toss her head and squeal.
Funny little beast doesn't know she's tiny and wasn't going to take any crap for the big dumb roan.

Fiona has a wee bit of a temper!
I kind of for got about it, but her royal highness took no time in reminding me once Kase's horse came home!
On Friday afternoon I turned the pony/mini horse out for a look around the front part of the pasture and tied Fiona up.  The video is how Fiona handled it...
It's obvious to me that Fiona needs some time tied up...alone, with her bad attitude...  (0:
I'm working on a patience tree right now, so she doesn't destroy the driveway in front of the barn any farther.
I'm not the least bit amused by her behavior, now or then....

I was really happy at how relaxed mini horse/pony was when I turned her out.
She's really got a great demeanor and is pretty self confident.
Kase and I are happy she is here.
And the pony doesn't seem too unhappy about being here!
The little horse couldn't care less about the hot mess Fiona was.  You can't hear it in this video, but Fi was really making a ruckus at the trailer.
The old girls didn't even bother checking on her either.
I guess that everyone thought she was being a fool.

Because the Fiona- Little Nikki bonding didn't happen I decided to introduce the little woman to the old ladies. On Saturday, when I would have a whole day to watch, work on things, worry, pace, and wonder what kind of a fool I am.

I turned mini horse/pony out for about 45 minutes while Fi carried on like her brain was lost, just let her get the lay of the land before the other mares came up close.
I decided to put Horse Girl on a lead rope while Remi was loose.
Remi was interested and kind while introducing herself, Horse Girl got her first sniffs while on the lead, then I let her go too.
The old girls  and the little woman made a few hot laps, did a little bit of squealing- but no striking.  And then just kinda stood around looking at each other.
So I brought out some hay and made 10 one flake piles.

After an hour I brought in Fiona on a long lead line.
She immediately charged towards Little Nikki and got the ever lovin' bossiness removed from her roan hide by the alpha mare.  Me.

I then let Fiona say howdy to Horse Girl and Remi.  The little mare came over to join in the group hug and Fi went all snapper turtle again.  And again the alpha mare gave her some redirection and then Old Horse Girl took a pot shot at her and put herself in between Fiona and Little Nikki.
I took Fiona to the farthest pile and let her start eating.  Once she seemed to be fully involved her food I let her go dragging the 20 foot lead.  I kind of thought it might help slow her roll if things went sideways and also give me something to dive at if I had to.

It only took her 20 minutes to decide to make her way over to where the little horse was, first innocently, then at a head down charge.  That head down charge was foiled by her lead rope and almost sent her ass over tea kettle, but it only really slowed her down.  It was enough for Horse Girl to send Remi out to intercept and to give Horse Girl a chance to come around the other side and remove some tail hair from Fi.

And this is how it went for about 4 hours.
By dinner time poor ol' Horse Girl was flat wore out.  Mini horse/pony was too.  Remi and Fiona seemed fine, but I was running out of daylight.
So Fiona went back to the stall for the night and the other girls stayed out together.
The night was a success, and the morning started where it left off the night before.

But Fiona only got into REAL trouble once, and was then allowed to tell the little horse that she was her "boss" in a less than aggressive way.  Horse Girl allowed her to snap at her, shake her head at her, and take a couple of steps at her.  But once she exceeded the allowable limits set forth, Horse Girl would send Remi in to break things up.  It was pretty incredible to watch.

And now, they all eat together, sun together, nap together...
No more than an ear flick is needed to express what they need.

Thank Goodness!!
I was really ready to ship Fi off!!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My Well Cared For Skinny Horse....

Have you ever even considered that you could have a young, well bred, well cared for horse with a body score of 4?  (When I was relaying to my sister how skinny Fi was, I told her that I was sure she was a 2.  So really hearing she was a 4 was kind of refreshing I guess you'd say...)

One that has good high quality feed in front of her 24/7?
One that you have wormed and vaccinated?

Fiona came out of winter thin. 
I set up an appointment for Dr. Peters to come out and float her teeth.  In March...

(Pictures are from 06/09/15.)

I blogged about it, here.
 With her age, AND her care he said it was kind of odd that she was so thin.
But we figured she'd bounce back pretty quickly.

Well...  She hasn't.
Dr. Peters was out the last week of March.
I wormed her the Friday following his visit and gave her her vaccines.
Then I waited.  And waited some more,
waiting for the weight to come back.
She filled in in her flanks, but then it all stopped.
And she has just stayed at that weight...  Skinny....
At 45 days I wormed her again.
Just in case.
And waited again, and waited some more...

And still nothing.
So I made an appointment for Dr. Peters to come out.
I didn't want to be like the crazy lady that waited too long, or didn't wait long enough...

(I also had him give Kase's pony the one over and get a health cert for Remi. (More on that later..))

Dr. Peters asked me if I felt like she'd gained since he'd floated her teeth.
I told him yes, some, but she hadn't changed in what seemed like a month.
We talked about her energy level, her personality, what she was eating, how she was acting, and if I noticed anything other than her weight that concerned me.

Everything was normal.  She didn't act hungry when I pulled her for her grain.  She wasn't constantly stuck to the round bale...  She plays, she is bright and responsive.  Nothing seemed off. Nope.  Just worried about her weight.

So he gave her the physical once over.
Gut sounds were good.
Heart, lungs, pulse, temperature, capillary refill, all good.

So he drew blood and took a stool sample.
And I waited for the results.

Everything comes back good.
Nothing on the clinical surface as a reason for her failure to thrive.
So rather than more tests, we decided on over feeding her.
I left the feed store with over $200 worth of groceries for her.

Dr. Peter's menu was this-
For the next 4 weeks was this feed her:
*Free choice alfalfa/grass hay
*4 lbs 2x's a day of Purina Ultium
*2 cups of Cool Calories
*1lb 2x's a day of alfalfa pellests
*Add something with stabilized rice bran in it.

He chose the Purina Ultium because as far as feed goes it has the most calories you can feed.
It also is 6% sugar.  Sugar equals empty calories.
Sugar can also make crazy horses.

My sister almost passed out when she heard how much sugar he wanted fed.
We also found it odd that he wasn't really impressed or interested in the fact that I was feeding Renew Gold which really is a great feed and does contain stabilized rice bran.

So Mindy and I worked out something with a little less sugar.
I'm feeding the following instead.
*Free choice grass hay and alfalfa 2x's a day
(Now that everyone's in full hay mode, I'll get some mix in shortly and then stop the straight alfalfa.)
*2 lbs of Purina Ultium 2x's a day
*2 lbs of Renew Gold 2x's a day
*1 cup of Cool Calories 2x's a day
*2 cups of  alfalfa pellets 2x's a day

I think maybe I can see a change at 1 week...
But then again, I don't know.
Maybe I want to see something that's not there...
I've shared with Mindy, and she thought it was too early to tell yet.
And my pictures are kinda terrible...

These pictures aren't the greatest, but I'm struggling to get my camera out with a full battery right now so these are cell phone pictures.

Next Tuesday (the 23rd) we will be rounding out our 2nd week of feeding her up.
I'll post pictures that are taken with my "good camera" as near to that day as possible, so someone else with a critical eye can look her over.

I'm kinda freaking out, as I have had her since she was a weanling and has never had a weight issue.  Even with all the TB blood she has, she has been an easy keeper.

Damn horses!  (0: