Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Things We Do For Our Horses

Yesterday afternoon we had a storm edge pass by, which brought with it a nice breeze, which brought all of the horses out of the shade of the barn.  They resembled survivors emerging from a long stay in a bomb shelter, looking around cautiously as if trying to get their bearings in a strange environment.

I decided to chase them all around with a long whip to encourage them to get some exercise since we had a temporary cool down.  But then I remembered that I can't run, none-the-less walk, so I decided to see if I could drive the Mule and crack the whip at the same time.  I could, but the horses didn't respect the whip without my body language to back it up.  They just walked in front of the Mule and blocked me from being able to chase them.  Oh well.  It was worth a try.

Then today I decided to address Bombay's weight loss.  I was going to the feed store to see what they stocked in the way of weight gain products for horses, and I decided to buy two plastic water troughs to replace the two metal ones that have been leaking too.  I was disappointed to find that they didn't have 75 gallon plastic water tanks in the brand I wanted, so I decided to get their last 100 gallon tank.  They also had a 150 gallon tank, but I didn't think that I could tip it over to empty it should I need to change the water, so I left that for someone else.

They had some new tanks with a built-in float, so I could attach a hose to one and it will keep filling itself, and then shut off before it overflows -- an automatic water tank.  I've seen automatic waterers that are the size of drinking fountains, but these were like 50 gallon tanks.  I considered buying one, but the plastic was so cheap.  It was like if I bought a plastic storage bin at Walmart.  I used to store feed in those, but the plastic would rot and break within a couple of months of sitting in the Arizona sun.  I doubted these automatic waterers would last much longer.  Plus, my horses would immediately rip that float right off the device.

Then I saw that they finally had new feed barrels available.  I was going to get one since Bombay's old one has a huge crack along the length of it, but decided to try something different since my husband has to bust his butt to get those barrels attached to the railings.  Instead, I bought an upright feeder that I can just hang over the railing.  I don't think it is big enough to hold the amount of hay that I like to feed the horses, but this is an experiment.

I got involved in this conversation with the cashier and forgot to inquire about the equine weight gain products, which was the whole reason why I went there in the first place.  Duh.  If I don't make a list, it's inevitable that I will forget something.  She said the guys would help me load the water tank and feeder, but no one was around, so I just started rocking the water tank toward the back of my truck.   I left it there and went over to get the feeder.  Right then a man driving a forklift showed up.  He said, "Let me make this easier for you..." and he lifted the tank into the bed of my truck with the fork.  He did the same with the feeder.   The horses were so happy to have new stuff to torture in the barn.

I felt bad about forgetting Bombay's weight gain feed.  Then I remembered that he loses weight and gets depressed at this time of year every year.  I think the summers draw out too long for him and he loses his interest in life.  Usually, if I play with him and come up with games to keep him entertained, he perks up and starts eating again.  So, I decided to get him out of the barn and take him for a short walk just to change his surroundings.  Of course, there's the problem of me not being able to walk, but I decided to force myself to push past the pain.

I put on my tall cowgirl boots and when I limped into the barn with a halter, Bombay's head came up, his ears shot forward and he pranced right up to me.  He knew I was coming for him.  I struggled to get up the slope of the driveway without being able to bend my knee, but he was very patient, staying at my pace.  I stopped every few yards to rest and shake my leg out.  I thought it would get easier once I got off the gravel.  I made it through the gate to the bridal trails, but couldn't go downhill, so we stopped in the shade of a tree and I let him pick up sticks and branches off the ground and draw in the dirt with them.

I thought he was going to try to bring this tree branch with us back to the barn, but he dropped it after dragging it a while.  I found a couple of shady spots in the back yard where he could graze while I hung over his back and rested my leg.  The other horses were jealous that I didn't choose them for this special field trip, but I didn't have it in me to take anyone else for a walk right then.  After just being out for a few minutes, heat effects were setting in.  I didn't want to lunge him in the round pen just yet.  It's still too hot.  Hopefully, that brief outing was enough to improve Bombay's mood, and he'll eat better tonight.

1 comment:

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm sure he appreciated getting out in the coolness with you and he'll start eating again.