So, we are almost moved out of our old apartment. I have one more trip to throw out some of my porch garden, and then we need to clean the place. It was completely the right decision to move out. We had more space than we needed, it was hard to cool, and we will be saving about $2000 this first year (including hiring movers and paying deposits again). It was the smart thing to do. However, it has come with a lot of emotional baggage for me. When we rented that apartment, it was because we were on track to become foster parents. I had been working with some different foster families and really wanted to do it. We took all the classes, rented a new apartment in an area with a great elementary school, a play ground, and after-school care. While planning all of this, I had been pretty blind to the gf’s apprehension. When we really set down to talk about, she wanted to wait. She wanted to start her family with her own first, and then try fostering. She didn’t really feel like it was the right time. So, I agreed to find another passion for a while. And wait. It is not something I do terribly well. I want the things I want, and I want to do them three days before I decided to do them. I threw myself into the ponies. And they have been wonderful.
Around Christmas, we talked a lot about what it would be like to be pregnant the following year. We thought that maybe it would be a good time considering the gf’s career track, when we are wanting to move out of Texas, and our age. That plan fell through as I looked into how much it would cost to do a birth the way I would want. I threw myself into the ponies some more.
As we packed up and moved out of the apartment, I feel a little like I lost a piece of myself. The part that was planning on bringing kids into our life. I know that the timing is bad and that I have a lot of things going on. However, it doesn’t negate how I feel. It is also one of those things that almost no one around me understands. Our families would probably not be thrilled with the plan, it doesn’t make logical sense, and I have four furry babies that need my attention to. It doesn’t change that I’ve been thinking about kids for three years, but no one else really seems to get it. Thus, here I am divulging my current emotional crisis to the internets. It happens.
We are moved at least, and I am 3 miles from my barn. Some things are right in the world.
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I don’t have any pictures to show right now, but we are a month in our new paddock. The baby is getting so tall and is starting to gain the weight that he needs. A farrier is starting to reshape Ani’s hooves so that she will eventually have the right angles. And everyone seems to be getting along.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how draining self-care could be. I love seeing them every day, but can’t wait until it’s from my own backyard. Driving there and having to do things as others want is hard for me. I will get there though.
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Here we are hanging out on the ‘track’. No, this is not the fanciest version of the Paddock Paradise idea, but it’s a start. We integrated our last member of the herd this morning. So we have my standardbred and belgian, and then my friend’s spotted draft (PMU rescue like mine). The track made adding him so easy. Princess bossy pants just moves him to a new pile and there is absolutely no fighting. I know all our horses are calm, but I really believe the hay piles and constant movement is helping a lot. All is well here. (as a side note, I have seen a marked reduction in Ani’s cribbing… Less stress, movement, a herd to boss, and constant grazing has led to me leaving her muzzle free whenever I am here… I only had to run her from a tree twice yesterday and none so far today. Progress!)
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So here we are, in our own paddock. We are starting simple with the changes. I am currently pulling hay and wrapping it along the perimeter. So far it has encouraged quite a bit of movement on my mares end. She likes pushing the baby to new piles, putting him in his stall, etc. It is all very cute. We are starting small on our paddock paradise. There is no ‘track’ yet but baby steps.
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My draft cross friends!
I spent some time today out on the trails with my favorite pony. A few of us ladies went out to Plowman Creek Park at Lake Whitney. These were some nice, fairly easy trails. But we did get to have lots of experiences like seeing deer, watching a train, crossing a creek, etc. It wasn’t crowded at all which was amazing. They have camp sites that are dedicated for horses with corrals available for your horses over night. It was a nice, relaxing outing before the stress of self-care-horse-world takes over.
We did a great job (sans the boink I got on my head from Ani’s hoof… it was my fault… she is amazing with her feet and misread my body language when I was trying to clean off the front of her leg and my head was too close… she picked up her foot like normal and my forehead was in the way).
We were able to cross when the big drafts were struggling. Overall, amazing day! I was too afraid to go down the steep side or through the slippery rocks on the way back though. I dismounted… Sometimes you just have to realize that though your horse *will* do it, it’s probably not the safest. Especially since her little toots were acting sore from all the rocks. Hopefully in our new paddock we can work on toughening them up.
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Today, I went to visit my ponies and gave them a dose of chemical wormer. Their new pasture mate is getting the same type of medicine at the same time, all part of trying to get them on the same rotation. Just for reference, my oldest is also on a daily wormer due to vet recommendation. They both had growing pot bellies, showing a little rib, and (bad or not) I was not paying a farm call for our vet to do a fecal.
Since I started down the horsey path, I have been offended by wormer. You can only imagine my horror when the vet recommended I put my oldest horse on a daily poison. She was honest with me. She told me about how a small number of the herd carries the largest parasite load, and it seems that my sweet girl was full. It was also one of the potential causes of her colic this winter. She has been doing well on the wormer. She has lost a lot of her belly, has been healthier, and more alive. However, I still question the issue of daily worming. I called the vet back, and she told me I could consider removing her when she was no longer at her current boarding facility.
So here we are.
I have been doing a lot of reading. A lot. And as with anything in this world, there is tons of conflicting information. One article I have liked can be found here. They are obviously traditionalist, but the science behind worming is there. My only point of argument would be on natural methods not working. I really hope this is wrong.
Thus comes in diatomaceous earth, apple cider vinegar, and some of the changes I want to make. I am planning to start slow, and continue using chemical wormers when necessary. I want to stay on the current rotation until their next vet visit (in August) and then do a fecal to see where we stand. After a few weeks of adjustment I plan to add the diatomaceous earth slowly as a way of mechanical worming.
Let the fun begin!!
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I spent some time at the new paddock today. It is definitely a work in progress, but has so much potential. We cleaned out the old tack room and started putting our stuff in. We put up some boards up to hang ropes, halters, and bridles. I also moved in my first bag of alfalfa and diatomaceous earth. I also brought a water hose and hose hanger. My electric drill ran out of battery, so I didn’t get to hang too many things. All the things we did her little but it will make it feel much more homey. Unfortunately, I still have a lot of shopping left to do. Feed pans, buckets, etc, etc, etc. Thus is life in the horse world.
I also discussed with my new paddock mate the track system, ways of dealing with waste management, worming, and the bugs. It was nice to have someone on the same page as me. I just hope that it all works out and that in a few weeks we have some adjusted, happy, on their way to healthier ponies. Four more days and a trail ride until we get there!!
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