Saturday, April 01, 2006

Horses and berries and nerd stuff, oh my

And today's April fool's joke is called "Daylight Savings Time". We lose an hour of sleep tonight. Oh well...

When the ferrier came to trim the horse's hooves, she showed us a crack at the front of each front hoof. He said that it's thrush (a fungus), and that we need to squirt bleach into it every day until it starts to heal up. Oh joy!

Remember, this is Mary's horse. I told her to go ahead and get it if she really wants it. It wouldn't do me any good to say "no", anyhow (not that I would). I just wanted to emphasize that it's her horse.

Of course, I'm not about to let the horse go hungry or thirsty when Mary is out taking care of patients. Also, who can resist when one's honey says that she needs her big, strong guy to help her doctor up the horse's foot?

So, I held the horse's halter close while Mary lifted a foot.

Now, Mary is the nurse, so it only seems right that she should be doing the medical stuff. She pointed out to me, though, that I'm the one who saw the crack that the ferrier is talking about. She had no clue. She also forgot to bring the hoof pick (kind of like a screwdriver).

So, she held on to the horse, and I lifted this beast's leg.

Now, mind you, if the horse doesn't want her foot lifted, it's not going to be lifted by anyone of ordinary strength. Maybe a professional athlete can do it, or maybe not.

But, Squirt is a good-natured girl. She gave me a bit of guff just to show me that she can, but she let me do it. I used a stick to knock the mud and other stuff out of the crack, then used a syringe to squirt in the bleach. I even did a back hoof, but then Mary informed me that the back feet are OK.

After that, we took her out of the pen and walked her to the front pasture. She wasn't all that happy about walking at a human pace. We really need to get a saddle and all that other stuff so we can ride her. Of course, that means that we have to learn what all that other stuff is, how to choose the right size, and how to install it. It's a good thing I joined a few horse groups and bought a book about it.

Make no mistake, keeping horses is a commitment. It's not like having a car that you can just gas up, take to a mechanic when necessary, and park when you don't need it. Horses require commitment, and I think that some people who have them should be committed. Or something like that.

If I want to carry a cat or chicken around, it's easy enough. If I want to walk a dog or goat to the front pasture, it's no problem at all. When I stop, the animal stops. There is no question about it.

A horse is another story entirely. If she doesn't want to stop, I can yell "Woah!" all I want and it won't do any good. I can wrap my arms around her neck and hold on tight, and she'll just drag me around. She's a draft horse, after all -- so dragging around 300 pounds isn't even going to make her breathe hard.

But she behaved well. She had her own opinions about where she wanted to go, but she followed me well enough.

I tried to give her some rope so she could try nibbling on the tender spring grass, but that just gave her the idea that she could go wanter if she wants. We played the back and forth game a few times, then I decided to let her have all the rope and let her walk around me. I guess you're supposed to do that with a lunge line. I don't know what that's supposed to accomplish, or exactly what you're supposed to do, but I let her go around in circles, anyhow.

When we brought her back, she really didn't want to go back into the barn. I thought she was going to dig in her heels... er... hooves for a second, but she came well enough when I made it clear that that's what I wanted her to do.

I'm sure glad I'm not learning on an ornery horse. I think that would cause me to give it up really quickly -- especially since I never intended on going down this road, anyhow.

But anyhow, I got her into the barn, and she went through the door to the pen area. She took it well enough, unlike last time.

A couple days ago, we had brought her out a bit, then put her back without doing much. She was really mad about the whole thing because she had expected more attention and exercise. She ran around the pen quite a bit to express her displeasure.

But we really need to get a saddle and ride her because we don't have a big fenced pasture where she can run.

After we got done working with the hay burner, I took the plants I had gotten from Wal-Mart last night and planted them.

Actually, I just planted the blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry bushes. I still don't know where I'm going to put the grape vines. The berry plants are at the south end of the fenced garden. Once they are fruitful and multiply, I'll probably move some to other places.

Now that all that stuff is done, I am working on getting this blog into shape. I just set up the FTP program so that I can put all the images that I want to use on my personal web space. That will give me more control over the images I post. I can also post as many as I can fit on my web space without having to worry about overusing this free service.

This will probably be the last post that I make with the standard interface. I'm going to be creating them in an HTML editor, then pasting the source code into Blogspot's HTML source edit screen (if I can). This will make for nicer pages and the like.

So much stuff to do... I want to figure out how to make my own template, and I'll be putting a new header on top. It'll take a while, but I'll get this project going.

Now, time to post this and then go out and gather eggs, feed goats, and the like. If the kids participate, we'll let them have some of that goat's milk ice cream that Mary is making. Maybe.


Anonymous denise t. said...

ok...u bought a horse when u had no fenced pasture for it? ummmmm a horse is a large outdoor herd animal, so i would suggest a priority being running fence for a large pasture...make a run in shed for it to escape the heat of summer, and let it be a natural horse! the animal will be miserable stuck alone in a barn! like a prisoner in isolation! also, i suggest u lounge the horse daily to exercise it and get it used to commands, and ride it after lounge when u do get a saddle/equipment takes the initial spunk out of the horse so it will be a steadier ride and not kick up with u in the saddle (esp. for a beginner)...
of course u may know all this already, so just disregard if so...i'm trying to help here...

11:27 AM  
Blogger Nerd in the Country said...

We have a small fenced exercise yard, and plenty of shelter area. I'll post more details in today's update.

1:53 PM  

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