Monday, June 27, 2016

Winning Some Battles for Now

The past few days have been pleasant with clouds and wind cutting into the heat.  We've managed to stay below 110 degrees.  I've been taking the horses for quick spins in the round pen just to keep their bodies and minds active.  Gabbrielle tends to kick the other horses less when she gets some exercise.

Bombay's hoof shaped cut on his foreleg below the shoulder from several weeks ago still has not healed, so I've been keeping a bucket filled with vet supplies on hand and have been cleaning and treating the wound every day.  The wound is too high up on his leg for me to wrap, so I have to stay on top of the fly situation.

I've also been treating his larvae infested sheath with Ivermectin (Thanks, Tish) and Swat, and the swelling is finally going down.  Surprisingly, he's been tolerant of me molesting him down there.  He used to need two or three doses of sedatives for anybody to touch his privates.  He still kicks, but he doesn't try to kick me.  He just stomps the ground to protest.  I think he has made the connection that the flies go away when I smear gunk on his junk.  He has also gotten better about not needing to be tied while I treat him.  He hates the water dripping down his leg when I wash his wound, but all he does is stomp.  He doesn't try to run away anymore.

I also am trying BugLyte, which is essentially garlic and thiamine in powder form (Thanks, Jen), for him to ingest as a fly deterrent.  It is supposedly going to help keep the flies off him and his manure after 10 to 14 days of doses.  I'm really frustrated with the high cost of these types of supplements, though.  If you get them in pellet form, one small bucket is $120 and it probably wouldn't last one horse more than a month.  I got a tiny jar of powder form, and was disgusted to see that the manufacturer only filled it halfway.  Then while I was scooping his dose out of the jar into his feed, he stuck his nose up to the jar, inhaled the garlic smell, and then snorted, blowing half the powder right out of the jar.  It blew away in the wind.  Now I know why the powder form is more affordable than the pellet form.  Buying it is like flushing your money down the toilet.

I also ordered new fly masks from Cut-N-Jump since my sale stash has run out and her custom made masks last longer than the store bought ones.  Most feed stores locally and online put fly masks on sale at the end of fly season, so I stock up then in order to save a few bucks.  I had tried a different brand and style because it was on sale, and Rock ripped it off Bombay's head and shredded it in less than 24 hours.  But you really can't go one day without fly masks in the summer here, or the flies will literally crawl into your horses' eye sockets and reproduce.  When I run out of fly masks, I spread Swat around their eyes, but then the ointment starts dripping in the heat, and the horses rub their eyes on the railings, and next thing I know, they have pesticides in their eyes.  Fly season is tough battle in this part of the country.

I had those stinky fly traps hanging around the barn for a few weeks, and they did catch quite a few flies, but I also believe that the stench from the dead flies, in addition to the fly attractant, actually causes flies to reproduce at a frenzied rate, and the number of new flies being born exceeds the number of dead flies building up in the traps, so I only use those traps when I get desperate.  Then when a bunch of flies congregate on the outside of the traps or in the manure-filled wagon, I spray them with Raid.

I also use Fly Predators and Fly Eliminators, which help to keep the fly population down, but all it takes is one fly to cause a horse to get summer sores.  I don't have enough flies in my barn for anyone to notice, but the ones that are there are super aggressive, particularly toward Bombay.  I have this theory that because he's an older gelding, his sheath sags, and the flies take advantage of the opening.  Rock is younger, and he doesn't have any problems with flies nesting in his sheath.  When Bombay's sheath was the most swollen, I found that he also had a huge lump on his belly from where he was kicking.  He kicked himself until he got a hematoma, so there's enough fluid hanging in his belly to fill an extra large frying pan.  When you see horses hurting themselves like that to keep the flies off, you'll try anything to help them be more comfortable in the summer months.

But Mom, I AM going as fast as I can.

Gabbrielle in the same gait as Rock, but covering five times as much ground.

Tail and mane action shot.
The three trees we transplanted last month are still alive despite the sales lady's prediction that the summer heat will kill them.  The Tipuana did go into shock, but I think it was more because the sales lady at the nursery had to cut one of its roots that had pushed through the bottom of the pot and dug its way into the ground.  We've been watering them twice a day and feeding them pulp from my juicer.

The aggressive male coyote and his femme fatale girlfriend seem to have hit the road and found a new neighborhood to harass.  The website where I read about hazing coyotes said they should be gone within a couple of days once you begin the hazing process, and it took about two days and one night to make an impression on them.  However, the coyote pups have made themselves at home, so I find them stalking bunnies and lizards in my back yard, leaving their poop everywhere, and dragging fresh manure out of the barn to play with or chew on.  I enjoy watching them in all their cuteness, but do need to start hazing them as well before they turn into nuisances.

So, while it seems that I am winning the fly, heat, and wildlife battles for now, I've still got my hands full with the human pest battles.  Yesterday evening I looked out the window to see all four horses spook and take off across the arena at a gallop.  I haven't seen them act that way in months.  I knew my husband was outside with the dogs, so I asked him what spooked the horses.  He said that it sounded like some motorcyclists had been parked in front of our house and started up their engines, then raced down the street.  I was like, "Dang it!  Those guys are up to no good, and I've been trying to catch them, but they always come around when I'm busy doing chores and making dinner."

So, we hiked across the street to follow their tire tracks and figure out where they came from and what they were doing.  They were definitely in the turnout to the bridle trails, but the tracks didn't go over the horse gate into the park.  I find it suspicious that they keep sneaking around here.  They don't know anybody on this residential street, so they shouldn't be here.  I don't know exactly what they are up to.  They could be interested in breaking into vacant houses, or looking for a new entrance where they can illegally ride around on the trails like I know they've been doing, or maybe they are doing drugs, or maybe the bushes in front of our house have become their hiding spot when the police are looking for them for doing something illegal somewhere else.  It may be time for me to mount a security camera on the front of my house and point it out toward the street.  Yay, more money down the drain while I try to fix yet another problem caused by pests.


Mrs Shoes said...

I (my horses) feel your (horse's) pain...
We are in mid-horsefly season (plus no-see-um blackflies, mosquitoes, etc) & the ONLY thing that works much here is a hot smoke smudge. The horses will bang on the barrel early in the morning or if the fire goes out during the day & the smoke stops.

Jen said...

It annoys me how expensive some of those supplements are; I've got two high maintenance seniors and just their feed is killing me slowly (the supplements aren't helping the checkbook either-either). Lady gets beet pulp as part of her senior regimen so I swipe some of it for Taya's garli-eze supplement so it WON'T blow away in the wind (apologies for not including that step in my comment).

If you're not feeding beet pulp, a big spoonful of applesauce works wonders for powder supplements. Try it as a treat first, since some horses don't like to find wet stuff when they're expecting dry stuff in their buckets *laugh*). If it's a go, just mix it together before you feed and blop it on top of the feed. I used to use it for Shadow's ulcer medicine. I bought a big jar of applesauce, some dixie cups (plastic) and some popsicle sticks to mix it up (I try to follow the "KISS" method with such things: Keep it simple, stupid ;o) then you can just dump and toss.

Congratulations on your coyote eviction - that's awesome news!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Mrs.Shoes - There's another solution I've never heard of. Around here we just smudge to chase off bad spirits.

Jen - Not your fault. You didn't tell me to get powder. I actually looked for a fly control block today and after going to two stores was only able to find a 120 lb. tub of ingestable pesticide with minerals. I stupidly bought it, and now I can't get it out of the back of my truck into the barn. Thanks for the applesauce idea.