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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

no rain today!

While there is no rain with over 69 inches of rain for the year the ground is saturated to such an extent any rain causes us issues. 

With one day of no rain there is finally a crust of dry layer on the mud.  As soon as you walk on it you fall through and slide into the muddy muck just below the crust.   It is almost like walking on a glowing flow of lava but not being aware it is there till it is too late.  Thank goodness this is not my volcano hike, but a nasty ankle deep slide into horse manure on top of saturated soil....

I can not wait for a few more days of no rain...
I enjoy my little walk up to the barn, but with my hot water that goes on their feed morning and night ... the slop of mud makes it a little more risky that I prefer for my bad leg.

Loving life, my horses, my hubby, and the beautiful day!

Monday, December 16, 2013

All about mud

They are ankle deep in mud.. But I do have stall mats around and in the barn.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

hard to believe

It is hard to believe I have not posted here in MONTHS.
I am sorry to those who were trying to follow me; but with rare comments, emails etc... I tend to fall off the radar wondering if anyone ever reads this thing.

At any rate.... As work as started to slow... my horses are finally healthy and happy (I hope), as the sun started to fade to only a few hours of the day so did my outlook on my days. 

I have settled into my hum drum of life... but I have yet to have quality time with my family hours away for quite some time now.  I think this and not being able to ride any time I like has started to drag me into a darker view of life. 

I shall at least start posting the start of my day from the phone as I once did.  I am hoping to post more of Navarre's progress with his new food and how much he loves to be out eating grass once or twice a day for a few minutes each time.

I can not make any more of a promise than the phone updates.  But hope to hear from some of you more often as that alone keeps me going more than you know.

my love to the world

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

to do list

I found late last night (text) I am off today!
So I turned off my alarms, and went back to sleep.

Today my to do list is long but I may have to do only one thing..... RIDE my little boy and do ground and back exercises with my little girl.

BUT I will try to get this all done.

1. Unload oven stove drawers.  (two eyes dead, and now the oven has died) replacement on the way at some point this week. 
2. Take extra large trash bags to barn and pick up around.  hay strings, rice and corn oil containers, and busted buckets.
3. Take Navarre for a ride.
4. Work with Sweet Pea...
5. Take load trash into truck.
6. Take truck to trash drop.
7. Start putting together solar heat for water container I am building this winter for NEXT winter!
8. Put more of my dried food supply into more mason jars.
9. clean out my closet!
10. Lay out clothes for work tomorrow! going in very early!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Navarre has been stiff every sense our last ride.  I have not allowed him to be out as much in order to cut back on his grass/sugar intake. 

My mare has been in heat so when she is prime she doesn't defend her food, thus allowing Navarre to eat her left overs, and causing him issues.

It is mostly his right hind leg that is very stiff. 
I am trying stretch exercises from the ground AND backing request working the leg in a different direction.

I will let you know how it works out.

My love to the world.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I know... Life happens... The cold of winter has to hit at some point!

I have been in a funk sense my Aunt passed away.  Yes I had to take off work, then yes I kicked myself in the tuckus and hop back on the train of life.

BUT ... today I had that PERFECT ride that finally made life seem colorful again.
Yesterday strong north western winds blew into town and took down all the leaves that had decent color.    It didn't matter today!

I got a call from work that I wasn't needed today! Which is always a double edge blade.  One no hours means no pay.  TWO it wasn't planned so I couldn't possibly get everything done I could want to.....

I did in fact take the day for me.
to extend facts... I sit here still smelling like a horse on my leather sofa and still don't care!

I have yet to take off my riding boots, full seated pants, or even my bright shirt I use for visibility on the roads. 
Navarre and myself at the driveway to the barn.

I walked down the mountain with Navarre responding to my every leg command.  We were passed by large trucks, even a bucket cable truck twice he didn't care... didn't flinch... he did however smell the trash cans along the way.  But again quickly responded when my leg got too close to a mail box or two.  It was nice.

we are headed back up to the barn on the estate.
I trotted up the mountain and even let him get into third gear... if you know what I mean for just a minute till he wanted back on the pavement!   Even with his fully padded feet I do not want shin splints etc... to deal with.
What a PERFECT ride feels like~!

My hubby was at the drive waiting on us as we made it back to the barn!

He brought supplies I needed to finish my insulation box for the water!
What a perfect ride looks like to me.! as I ride! quite only the sound of his feet...  full of color and dabbled like an oil painting!

at this point it was ALMOST done... now it is...


I finally got it done! But at this point I could care less because I had such a great ride on my little boy!

Then as normal... you see hair flying! Navarre rolling in dirt! above!

WR Prince Navarre brought me back to life today!
Life is finally brighter!

My love to the world...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Holey crap.

Oh dear.....

The WIND is so bad... my finger tips would not work my phone. 

Rushing home to WARM blankets and boil water for horses.... Oh how the wind burns.   Didn't expect that so early.

Typing as old red warms up.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Coffee Club.

Well in my younger years life revolved around the table.  My favorite table was at Nannie and Paw Paws and it (the table) didn't start life as a table.  It was a door my Paw Paw (maternal grandfather) had attached to a kitchen cabinet, a wall, and made a leg at the end thus extended the head with an arch, then had it covered in green Formica like everything else in those days.
It was early early Saturday mornings when my Uncle JL and Uncle Charles would show up to eat, drink, and visit with Nannie and Paw Paw.  A brother of each! an extension of the family ... it was always family back then.

Uncle JL who we called Uncle Jake... Always brought candy sticks.  Chix Sticks... of which I have not seen in years.  He sat with his back to the wall turned sideways to see the entire room.

Uncle Charles sat next to him and the younger would come and go as they moved through the house for this or that.  Aunt Gale, Carol, and Dickie as they got up and going.  I was the tag along at or below the age of five in those days.

The younger ones disappeared before I knew it.
It was Saturday mornings with just the adults...
JL was the first to go.
Uncle Charles took his chair!
Uncle Charles was the corner stone family/ visitor from "the city" He would do his dabbling at the farm and head to have lunch with Aunt Wilda whom he always called Rose... his Rose...

Uncle Charles got to where he didn't come as much.  But Aunt Gale with the boys grown now took his chair.  But instead of just Saturdays it was Monday through Saturday.  Sundays ... Well Paw Paw was gone before any of us got up to turn the heat or air on at the church before we got up.

For years it was just Nannie, Paw Paw, Aunt Gale and myself.

We lost Paw Paw...
We lost Nannie...
and now I've lost Aunt Gale.

So I stopped by a waffle house bar seat on the drive home to North Carolina.  All the servers were wearing Pink Breast Cancer support T-Shirts, Old men flank me on each side, my requested hot water with lemon was handed to me in a heavy porcelain mug. Which made me smile (as my Paw Paw would ONLY drink from these heavy mugs.)  I order my food but ask them to hold my bread that goes with my meal (I can't eat it anyway no need to waste it).  I eat my food thinking of the time Gale set up for one of her best friends to be a fast order cook at a waffle house one day.  Fulfilling a dream of his... and hers just doing something good for someone she really cared about.  This alone was making me not be able to breathe. 

She asked me if I wanted my coffee to go?
I asked if they put coffee on hold for those who need it.  We do she said... but so rarely!
Just put the coffee and toast on hold for someone who needs it I said.
I haven't charged you for the coffee she said... Go ahead! Charge me for it and leave it on hold.

Then the tears were out of control... I had to get myself together so I could pay my bill and get the heck out of dodge.

It was at that moment I the seed was planted in my mind for my new coffee club. 

I no longer have my personal group that could solve all the worlds problems in one sitting.  But I can only hope to grow the coffee share/ hold group by others pre paying for someone else's coffee and the business giving it to someone who can't afford it! 

These practices are typical in a LARGE city... but we as humans need to spread this practice to the rest of the world.... local.... and let it grow! http://www.coffeesharing.com/

You can help several ways... pre pay and allow the waitress or barista control who it goes to...( This is what I did Sunday on my drive home, and yesterday on the streets of Asheville.)  OR use your own business card and attach the receipt to the card. 

The point is... it just makes someone's day better.

I have chosen my coffee bar! I have talked to the owner!  I can pre pay... have the person who rings me up sign my receipt... I sign my receipt and I am free to give it to anyone I want!  They in return can take my employee signed receipt and my scribble on it and cash it in for what ever I paid for that day.

I am so cheap I take my own coffee to work!
So this is a big deal for me, as I will now have to save the change from each paycheck, along with what ever is not rounded to the nearest five dollars and I will use it once a week so it will never be more than $4.99 to give to a homeless person in town (Asheville)   I may even save them up for all I know!

My point is I will be able to afford a small breakfast treat and a coffee from some of my checks while others I will be lucky to pay for the coffee alone.  Luckily the bar I have chosen serves toast; a little something to put in their stomachs!

It is all something my Aunt Gale would do if she were me... being the last one in the coffee club... not having that coffee club meeting anymore but making sure the spirit of it continues! My Nannie and Paw Paw... Well.... please.... they never let anyone leave their home hungry so all these fit into what is missing in my life! 

NOW...  I can only ask that when you read this ... and next you purchase a coffee... ask if they share coffee's  or if they hold coffee's for those who can't afford it!  Just ASK!!!! You may start a trend that you enjoy more than Christmas.   Knowing that you brightened someone's day with a warm cup to put their hands around on a cold winter morning.  Knowing that if you add just an egg or toast ... it may be their meal for the day!  Life is about living... but it is just as much about giving!

I am not asking for you to give because of me!   But I am asking that you give or share in memory of my Aunt Gale... and all the people you always want to give too but refuse to hand them money.  DON'T but you could tell them where they can get a warm coffee and possibly more on you!

Especially if you work it out with the coffee house like I did so they can't just get a receipt out of the trash etc...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Navarre... my wonderful little fat boy had such a great day... running bucking... and out on grass twice today.  This is not what his life has always been.  Now that we have such a great feed he can afford to have a little grass and be a natural horse twice a day as their feed soaks, I put out hay, and clean up their messes from the day.

My little Sweet Pea with one of her best friends...
She loves for this young lady to pet, brush, lead, and entertain her!
It is a great day that we all have time together!
Sun is out and expected to be a decent.... life is good... horses are happy ... and I am staring to recover from the loss of a dear sweet Aunt.  The one person in all my life that did not try to teach me any lessons but was there for me at any point at any time. 
It was a good day today...

Eurica... just started my new coffee club

Random photo... but just shared my first cup of coffee for my NEW coffee club!  It feels good... For those who have always known me this is a big deal. For those who don't... I'll fill you in as soon as I get home to a computer.
This is the coffee shop I used this morning!   More to come as time and money allow me to share with more people and more coffee houses...  
This is a lovely little park where several without stay during the day.   As you can see in this photo this is also a great place for dog walkers, lovers, and the lonely!!!!!
I will post my explanation first thing in the morning... I am still trying to put it all into words.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A beautiful morning.

I sit above my barn; no sun but no rain.  It was just dry enough to sit on a rock and watch the kids as they eat. 
No running around like crazy today they are both alert and watchful, so large animals must be near by.
 As you can see... I've thrown out hay and their feed is soaking! I always soak their feed come fall and winter I try to take hot water to allow them a nice hot meal for breakfast and dinner.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A quiet end.

I sit above my barn, watching the horses graze, hearing the woodpecker somewhere behind me.   Life is sweet; sour and even painful at times.   I am thankful it has been a good day for me, one day at a time trying to enjoy my horses and the quiet of this little plot.  I am VERY thankful of the simplicity of this little place. 
The morning started late today... my shadow long, and my horses out to pasture.
I am allowing the horses out more and more each time I go feed.  It makes my day longer but it also gives me time to breathe deep, think quietly, and allow myself some me time.

The view this morning from the front pasture looking back up to the barn, gate open, horses out and about.
My sweet little girl, just after having her rain coat taken off.  It was a beautiful sunny day and horses need the sun as much as we do.  Besides I do not want her blanketed all the time as she rarely gets a winter coat and a blanket only slows it coming in as well. 
The blanket, washed on sanitize setting ... re sprayed is now out on the line to dry....
Fat boy... my sweet boy... is out and about this morning eating like a rhino and pushing everything around he can find.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Soft easy morning.

Very little to say.

My horses are good thanks 2 a neighbor.

My little girl is pissy.   Where is my food mom?

My fat boy content..

Monday, October 14, 2013

Celebration of life.

While I have gone to a few funerals in my short years,  I have to admire the different last stance of my dear Aunt Gale. 
Aunt Gale knew at a young age she only wanted to see the good in people.  She didn't care that it cost her dearly in many ways...it was important to HER that she knew she had done all she could.
She shared her life and children with a man she cared for deeply; till there was little to no return.  She shared her days at work with each coworker as family.  She shared a love for humans who were misjudged, misfortune, and misguided.  We were are equal in her eyes... she was a rare human... but as was mumbled behind me at service... she had the best teacher her mother, my Nannie.
She had time to plan her goodbye to the world.  She wanted no visitation, as life is intended to be lived and her friends knew who they were.  She did not like  sitting around the gone... she did not care for grave site standing as earth consumed the vault.   She wanted a celebration, she wanted those left behind to celebrate her life, their life, and those to come. 
She choose things so VERY different from anything the family had ever done... but finally... for once in her life it was about her... her wishes,her wants, her hopeful memories she could plant in the minds of her grandchildren.  So.. playful beautiful balloons were handed out and released at the end of the celebration of her life. It was actually beautiful... and I for one admire how she planned, talked it out with my sister, made her agree to request we had never considered.  She had mentioned all the different request to several.. but it was up to my sister to protect Aunt Gale's plan... a job I would have refused in an instant. 
I spent my young years following around my Aunt, and my cousin Dickie, then anyone else when they were not around.  My Aunt was the older sister I did not have.  That taste of understanding when generation gaps are painful during teenage years.  She was my breakfast / coffee club confidant.  She was more to me than I can describe.
I love her
I told her.
I made sure she knew. 
I miss her more than any other human I have lost thus far.  My throat lumps with even a hint of her or thought. My eyes well up beyond sight.  I think of the good. I try so hard not to dwell on the lost but what she wanted. I will be a basket case for a while to come!
As we discussed what had to happen.. She said as much as I,  that she loved me.  That she loved us all... Betsy Amanda Danny after her kids and grandkids...of course...  all as it should be.
Grief can be overwhelming for some,  and for some life shattering.  We each have our own way of feeling, processing , and expressing that grief.  Her choices being so different were bound to bring this out even more so.
I was happy to stand back... as she and I often did at these things... and be lucky enough to see the beauty she wanted us to see... the way she wanted us too. 
Gale a caterpillar now a butterfly.
Gale grasping and being beauty.  Simple beauty of balloons rising into a perfect blue sky!
Gale free of earthbound agony grief or pain.

Gale a direct messenger of a higher power.  A rare human.  A missed mother, sister, aunt, class-mate, neighbor, or friend. 
I know it is not in focus but it was the best I could do with a phone instead of a camera.
kids, balloons, and a beautiful day... who could ask for more.
 As Aunt Gale would say... Have A Blessed Day!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wet day.

A nasty day... but we needed the rain.

While the rain helps my pastures, it creates a horrible footing for the horses.  But washes out the fish tank and fills my cistern. 

Horses are out on the wet pasture... but not as long as normal. As the rain creates more sugar in the deprived pasture and is more rich than just last night.

Horse management is all day everyday...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

a wonderful day.

I drove home at 3am this morning.  I could not sleep where I was and ... life is too short to worry about sleeping when you really just want to get your day started.

Birds arrived... I got them settled

Horses had plenty of hay so... I took my time getting over there.  When I did I Unlocked the gate to allow Sweet Pea to graze as I took Navarre out for a short ride. 

A ride that tested his patience, as I made him stop to talk to several people along the way.  I think he wanted to get the ride over and be done.  I was enjoying my stops along the way and only concerned about how long Sweet Pea was grazing. 

We made it down the road, did a few circles as we headed back up as he wanted to trot... No trotting on the road in my book SO.... working his hind end tends to make him more tired along the way and makes him listen without having to use my legs or arms like crazy.   One simple hind end request in rhythm and he jumps at the command.  

An enjoyable ride and when I got back to the barn Sweet Pea had not pushed the gate open, had not gone out to graze... but was screaming her head off for sure.  (I do NOT allow Navarre to yell back if I am riding! )  One of my rules!

I then came across a friend again and in doing so, took her home and went to see her new home.  I am so happy for her.  She of course offered for me to come over any time... AND wanted to allow the horses to graze on her four acres at any point needed.    Life for her will be a little more settled when she gets moved, and I can only be happy for her and her family.

There are never photos when I ride... I am too busy paying attention to what is going on... Cars speeding by, trucks with straight pipes, and my favorite the mail carrier with a horrible muffler hanging off..... ? should be a noise law on his old car!   But Navarre did wonderful.  My only upset was the turtle that had been run over in the road.  I hate when someone hits a turtle.  They hurt little and move so slow how can you not go over it, go around it?  Why hit a turtle of all things?

At any rate my day settled by feeding the horses, playing with all the birds again.  Making sure my young charges were happy and full for the night.  They are covered and have quilts for night chills.

I can only hope your day was half as good as mine.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I have to use supplements... I would rather never use them but One horse does not survive without them.

Oil in a diet does SEVERAL things...
1. moistens feed...
2. Creates Heat... Corn more than Rice... but I use both... Rice in morning and Corn at night but only in the winter... Otherwise all rice... again ... MORE in the WINTER and barely enough for PPSM for Navarre in the summer.
3. in the intestines it helps to protect their delicate lining.  
4. it assist me in making sure my supplements stick to their feed.

Supplements...   Once again I HATE supplements... I wish I could feed them ONE thing, grass and water.  Life would be so much easier, and in the long run better for my horses if they didn't need them.

Once a month no matter where I live, travel or exercise plan... I do a sand colic treatment.  Clay soil will cause sand colic so I use this once a month for prevention.  I do it first day on each month for seven days.   30 dollars a month compared to 10 or more thousand dollars for surgery due to colic; I'll do the preventative any day.

SALT... I have a horse that will not lick on any type of salt... I have tried them all... White... Mineral (brown)  all the way down to the expensive Himalayan salts (PINK).... nothing... So I have to add it to his feed because he RARELY drinks water and will dehydrate easily!   My salt lick for my mare goes bad before she gets through it!
  I use an apple flavored electrolyte.  KER orange is my favorite but it gets harder and harder to order.

Selenium ... Like I said earlier in my hay! My area has none left in the soil... 99% of the US does so you only have to test for it once... Most areas are a LITTLE depleted but it is added in most all feeds see your label!   I add it with Vitamin E for both horses... it is the cheapest form!

Navarre has MAJOR medical issues so he gets Vitamin E with and again without selenium.  He gets muscle herbs because his PPSM makes his body EATS HIS MUSCLE TISSUES!!!!! to put it mildly. He gets a 1/2 cup oil morning and night for PPSM as well....

Sweet Pea is such a hard keeper I give her bacteria for her gut (HARD KEEPER) brand name from Tractor Supply!!! easy to get!

They each get oil and SUPPLEMENTS above only once a day.    Sweet Pea only needs oil if we are trying to gain weight or it is going to be cold.

I purchase all my supplements in bulk.... BUT I did go to SMART PAK and order 30 days of all the supplements custom for Navarre so when I am gone on emergencies I have no worries. 

All of this is a lot to take in... but ... it has taken 7 years to have to work up to where I am and I desperately cut EVERYTHING back as much as I can keeping a daily, weekly, monthly evaluation on my horses....

I can only hope you are a lucky one, that merely gets a horse you can feed one thing and never have a problem in the world with what you are doing!   I wasn't that lucky... but these horses are mine and they are the reason I work as much as I do as often as I do.


What kind? and How much? are the two typical questions I get.

 Processed Feed can EASILY cause COLIC... so in the fall and winter I soak their feed.... ALL their feed not just hay extender and alfalfa EVERYTHING... for BOTH horses. Because I feed my mare large amounts of feed, I soak their food!
soaked feed will expand three to four times its normal size... so make sure you have enough water to cover the dry feed so it can expand as much as possible. 

 In the COLD of winter I have feed at home and soak it in boiling water before I take it to the barn, or I take boiling water to the barn to feed them.    No I do not expect anyone else to do the same but it makes a big difference for my one horse that does not grow a good winter coat.  As you can only feed a horse so much!

Really?  What do you feed?    Do you ask people what to feed your kids?
I know ... that's harsh! But really we all approach our kids differently.  We are all going to approach our horses differently as well.  I do nothing like my neighbors, and my neighbors do very little like I do. 

I love Purina horse feeds... but they are REALLY hard to get around where I am and Southern States is much more reliable for me. BUT I do drive 30 minutes for special feed for Navarre and 15 minutes out for Alfalfa for Sweet Pea. So I purchase all these in more than I need and keep the extras in my house safe and sound.

Low Starch Performance feed for Sweet Pea

Hay Stretcher,

fortified Rice Bran for Navarre.  (no sugar)

Wellsolve Purina feed for Navarre  (low carb and starch) a necessity for his PPSM...
and the Alfalfa cubes for Sweet Pea 

Navarre is what they call an EASY KEEPER so he needs much less of everything than one would think.  As long as he has grass hay and his supplements he fine.  So he gets feed in order to get his supplements into him and MANAGE his weight.  He gets fat easy and fast...

Sweet Pea is the exact opposite.  It is VERY hard to keep weight on her.  It is hard to feed her enough hay in a single day so I use the hay extender.  Hay extender is one of those things you really need to soak before feeding it to the horse.    The hard keeper above is more like our yogurts with bacteria for easier digestion.  It works for her! I do not waste the money on Navarre.

Feed... you need to read your labels....
I keep my bags till I purchase another three bags and put them in my metal trash cans.  (I keep all my feed in metal trash cans of all sizes... Mice do not chew metal)  WHY do I keep my bags... Because once in a blue moon there is a recall on feed.  I have joined the instant messaging on each of my feed companies... for this same reason.
xmpl... in my area there were several issues with hay and feed this year.  Hay ... I lost... Feed I lost what was in my cans due to the rain... everyday almost all day for over 32 weeks this year.  Our normal rain fall is 20 to 30 inches a year.  We have gotten barely over 60 inches this year.  Feed stores that do not have climate control lost some of their feed that is not plastic wrapped.  My hay stretcher is one of those.  But I had my bags, they gave me numbers and I could double check mine I had and each bag I was going to get in the future so I would know it would be ok ... all from the company.

FEED is given per pound ...
Pound of Horse... Amount of EXERCISE... the more exercise the more feed... BUT it is given on a bag per DAY... this should be divided  into two or THREE feedings a day.  When I am home I feed my mare THREE times a day because I have to feed her so much being a hard keeper.  Navarre...  I feed him as little as I can... and only twice a day.

If your horse Colic's then making sure the amount of processed feeds being smaller and smaller and wetter and wetter portions may be VERY important.  As well as adding an oil...

I'll go over more details about my supplements tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


My personal choice is NOT to use a blanket of any type. 
But I have one horse that requires a blanket when it is a cold rain even at 60 degree day.

Positives and Negatives ... 
Positive... A rain coat allows me to save money in the long run.  Any time it rains lately my mare goes into shakes... so badly one would normally call the vet.  So after several times of drying her off, blanketing her for an hour, then putting on the raincoat as an after thought.  It is now at the barn for good.

Negatives... Blankets can be dangerous! VERY... but so can crossing the street! ha ha ha...
Your horse can break a leg, twist a gut trying to get it off, tear the blanket to pieces and cost you lots of money.  So I get the strongest I can 1600 denier throws and blankets are needed for my dry lot and pasture horses.  If your blanket leaks OR you put a blanket on a wet horse as an after thought a horse can smell sour... like a moldy towel left in the washer over night in the middle of the summer.  It is gross and you really need to clean your horse!  If you don't it is likely to turn into rain rot! a horrible condition that grows a fungus that eats the skin, makes the hair fall out, and again causes you even more problems.  Not to mention it becomes painful for your horse.   Horses get too hot, in the wrong weight of blanket, they sweat and can get dehydrated if not carefully watched.  This also causes moldy smells etc...

How to fit, measure
This photo will give you room in the tail for pooping.  It may also cause it to droop a little at the chest or rub on the withers.

This type of measuring works better for me!   I find a better fit at a LEVEL measure from chest to center of tail. 

I get about a one and 1/2 inch difference in the types of measurement.  You have to realize this is a complete size! leaving you almost FOUR inches difference in the blanket if measured wrong. 

WHY to use a blanket.
Some people use a blanket just to keep their horse clean.
This is great IF you are showing!   If your not then why wouldn't you allow your horse to be a horse rolling in the mud and getting dirty etc...

Some use a blanket to keep their horse from developing a WINTER COAT. 
This is controversial... and double edged!   by not allowing the horse to develop a winter coat you MUST blanket the horse at all times, thus you may need to change the layers through out the day or at night.    NO WINTER COAT is also a show thing!   When a horse is slicker they look better.
Some clip/ cut their horse's hair again mostly a show thing. 
     BUT clipping is also a preventative thing.  You don't see runners wearing a heavy winter coat?  Your horses winter coat is a is heavy, holds sweat and WILL make it colder while wet after cooling down from a work out.  So if your ride often, ride hard clipping may be a necessity.
     My horses are in the weather and need their coats; I only use a blanket when they need one. And in the winter I ride in the morning and allow the horse to dry in the heat of the day,  I brush them out again at night feeding so hair is fluffy and warm for the night.

Because of choices WHEN is completely up to the owner, but remember if you blanket your horse you are completely responsible for its warmth.  You can't change your mind of blankets or winter coats in the middle of the season!  AND you may need to be around in the middle of the day to change the layers you put or didn't put on your horse.

again choices choices choices...

Over the ears, under the tail but merely draped over the body is a cooling/ wicking/ warming blanket and NEVER left on a horse not being attended to.

Belly BAND complete band... I have one of these as a quilted warm blanket, and is rarely used unless she is uncontrollably cold.  Mine is very warm, and does not have a chest strap it pulls over her head and can be hard to use on horses that scare easily.  BUT there is no draft on her belly and when she is VERY cold it matters a great deal.  This band can be the most dangerous for leg issues.

GERTH STRAP only.  I generally only use these when I have to.  They do not stay in place as well BUT are much safer for a horse that lays down a lot and helps to prevent them from getting tangled up in the belly straps shown last.

BELLY STAPS.. there should be two ... I ALWAYS cross mine... one it also helps to prevent her from getting tangled in straps.  But with this type of blanket warm or not there is a draft on their belly at all times.  If it is an old horse this may not be enough even with a heavy blanket quilting.  (kinda like you wearing a short skirt in winter)

Make sure no matter what band type you choose that you use a tail strap OR leg straps.  I ALWAYS cross my leg straps as well.  I rarely have blankets with tail bands unless it is the wicking or cooling blanket for heavy winter workouts.

I use a rain coat for wet weather.
I will be using a mild not quilted blanket for my mare with temperatures under 20 degrees and with WINDS predicted.   Much like a light weight but no rain protection.
I use a several layers as weather gets worse and worse I put on more and more.  As this allows me to put on and take off through out the day.  This is very important!
I put on the quilted banded blanket (again mine slips over her head... off and on) only if it is a last resort.


A foggy start to the day.

This is the morning as I walk out the back door.  Color is starting to show but not wide spread.

Monday, September 30, 2013


Sounds hard, but is really easy!

Where do you get your hay?

Does your supplier know and tell you EXACTLY where it comes from?
Does your supplier have several suppliers.  If so is he going to tell you when hay has changed so you can slowly change it for your horse?

If you get it out of the pasture do you know how it treated?
Meaning how was it fertilized ?  
Was it treated with a broad leaf weed killer?
If not how are the weeds kept out of the pasture?

What is in your hay?  Most hay has trash, stems, weeds etc... It is your responsibility to know what is in it.

Do you just go on what ever the pasture owner, or supplier tells you?
How well do you trust them with the health of your horse?

How do you keep your hay?  How much hay will you keep at one time?
How do you Stack your hay?   At what point do you go get more?
Do you allow it to have circulating air? meaning it is not against anything top or sides...

Hay has to be checked for mold.
Hay has to be checked for weeds.
Hay has to be checked for dead animals caught up in the bail.  ....

For Starters if you can't answer ALL the questions above you are not protecting your horse and not doing yourself any favors in the long run.  You are more likely causing yourself issues you can't pin point, solve, resolve, and lots of vet bills for seemingly no reason.  It is likely your HAY!!!

Secondly do you know what blister beetles are? if so are you in an area they live? If so is your hay guaranteed blister beetles free?

Horses SHOULD NOT eat a round bail! Because a round bail encourages the horse to eat into a hole the size of their snout (nose) which is only going to cause breathing issues in the long run.   Not to forget Horses and Cattle do NOT eat the same type of hay.  IF you have both it is a TOTALLY different type of hay... Round bails/ Cattle hay is "generally" bailed faster, not allowed to dry as long and has likely "pickled" for the same reasons.  A cow has several stomachs and can eat moldy, pickled hay and a horse can not.  It will cause a high temperature, breathing issues, colic, and commonly botulism; of which is little to no cure in a horse!   Thus simply put a round bail is more likely to kill your horse!

Hay done simple is grass hay... and it should smell like freshly cut yard!   Yep! it should be pleasant to smell, not dusty, not old looking or smelling in ANY WAY.

Grass hay is only an issue when you have a mare that is carrying a foal.  Fescue is deadly to a foal! Fescue is actually not good for any horse, and is commonly a building reason for laminitis...so slowly it is not something you see. ( laminitis is another chapter)  just know the poisons in fescue most quickly effect the development of a foal and those same poisons build up in the horse over time.  But it is the most common south eastern grass and hard to keep out of any pasture, and most vets tend to give it no concern because it is so abundant but if you are breeding it is a major issue.

Orchard...  are typical in the south east (where I am)
I keep timothy, orchard, clover, and alfalfa in my pasture.  (Pasture another chapter)

I get grass hay from my area! it is Timothy and Orchard.  I purchased a core rod from Tractor supply years ago, I have no idea if they still carry them.  Farm Supply catalog has them.  I core 1 of 50 bails of hay and take the cores to the County Extension office and pay for analysis of my hay, along with poop samples for worms.   ( worms and poop yet another chapter)

YES!!!!! I have never understood why Cattle owners do this but most Horse owners don't! 
I do... and it pays off!  There is little to no selenium  in my area so while most horse feeds have it as an additive non has enough.  So I add it with vitamin E to both of my horses feed.  Most vets do not test horses for mineral or vitamin deficiencies so it is up to you to do your own homework, you don't just start adding things because the simpler the better! the better the cheaper in the long run is important!

Yes I trust my guy/ supplier...but ...  I know exactly what fields my hay comes from , what he uses, when he uses it etc... He treated his hay one year and I did not purchase it that year.  I had to use my back up plan.  You always need a back up plan!

I supplement my hay with hay stretcher (for one horse) and Alfalfa cubes (again only one horse)
I will go into both of these in the feed chapter as I use processed hay stretcher and alfalfa that need prep!

Are you aware your horse should consume up to 20 % of its weight in hay alone?
So if your horse weighs 1000 pounds you are going to feed him 20 pounds A DAY!  grass hay weighs less than other types thus it may take more than you think a day to keep your horse maintained.  There is after all a healthy weight for each horse and fatter is NOT better! It is a daily, weekly, seasonal balance.    I do tend to feed my horses MORE hay in the fall to stock up on fat for winter... and yet again even MORE hay in the winter so they are warmer in the cold, thus mine get more hay at night than they do in the morning during COLD months.

Horses get their heat from their hay, not their feed! For some reason many think feed is the source of warmth when it is not. 

So what have I left out?
do tell!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

How much land is needed for a horse?

I recently got a text asking how much land does a horse need?

The only correct answer is... as much as you can afford and manage properly.

Really the only time a specific amount of pasture is required is when you adopt a horse, or wild mustang!   The government does put a minimal of two acres per horse as a requirement.  Adoption centers have the right to see if you place is what the animal needs as well.  2 acres can be divided into four small paddocks and rotated daily or weekly depending on the type of grass you have growing AND the time of year!

Well... I have 6 acres, not even 1/2 of it accessed by the horses.
It all depends on how you plan to keep your horse.

Is the horse used to being stalled?
          If so then your stalls are going to more important than pasture.
          If so then you could literally have a horse and only have enough pasture, flat land, ground to exercise your horse.  so ... a round pen would even do it if you had to, if you wanted to!

(I could manage Sweet Pea on a 30 x 30 pieces of ground if I needed to!)
The issue with no pasture is... pasture cuts down on some of your bills!
As you are going to feed more hay to a horse with no pasture.
BUT in the same line of information... a horse can get "grass sick"

Is your horse used to being out in the pasture?
          I know it all sounds crazy but really!  My horses do NOT have access to pasture everyday all day.  My horses are only allowed on grass just before they get their feed.  This way it gives me time to prepare their feed requirements, it also allows me to watch their gate as they move on to the pasture.  I also know what and where their calories, heat, and needs are being fulfilled.

Does the horse have medical issues that need to be taken into consideration?
          Navarre can not be stalled or have unlimited grass access; and when I stall Sweet Pea he stands right next to the stall not leaving her side for more than a few minutes at a time.  So stalling my mare causes me issues with my gelding.  Who would have figured that one?   As I type this they only have about half an acre to run around on, this is as small as I can restrain Navarre, any smaller I may as well have him stalled and dealing with the issues it causes.

Is your horse used to the grass you do have in your pasture?  
Any change in grass, hay or feed can cause a colic / intestinal issue. 
A horse left to pasture and not managed with feed, or hay as well as pasture can get "grass sick" meaning... it eats nothing but grass but the grass doesn't supply all the needs of the horse.  And believe it or not this can happen easier than you think,

(I have TWO acres for BOTH horses to share! and as today 1/2 of that is pasture that is ALMOST perfect, but needs to be sprayed with wide leaf killer as soon as I can.    And the ONE acre I have as a mud lot is now divided in two as well.

I have put up a tape electric fence to keep them out while rain, dew, and time start to sprout out with all the rye, wheat, clover, orchard and timothy grass.  As soon as they get a LITTLE established this will allow me to open it before I feed them allowing the broad leaf spray long enough to ? go less harmful through their poop.   (a horse gets sick eating too much rye)  I planted the rye just to get the ground to start holding seed instead of everything washing away with a simple sprinkle. 

I do NOT allow my horses on a good pasture if it is raining!
     WHY?  because they will destroy the grass when they are running around!

You can't use poop in the compost once a broad leaf spray has been put on the pasture.  YES the label says they are able to start eating on it in less than a week.  But studies have shown it is NOT true and if but back on the pasture too soon your compost will be a killer for any food you try to grow in it, as food is all broad leaf and not able to get hold...

So I'll open the seeded area!
Spray the pasture... and keep them off it for at least a month!  Which is my plan as soon as I can.