Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Arrives and New Beginnings

Leaving a barn where you've been for over 10 years is just like leaving a job, or other major life change, in terms of stress.  Although I wish everyone there well, I'm happy to be done with that chapter of my horse life. I'm glad I was able to move Dawn to the new barn more than two weeks ago - I got that part of the change over with before the rest, so it wasn't as overwhelming.  Today the boys - Pie and Drifter - made the trip up to Wisconsin to start their month of training.  I spent the morning cleaning my stuff out of the tack room and barn, and loading the trailer with all that (and with three horses there's plenty) as well as hay for transition - they'll be staying on their balancer pellets while they're there.  Then at about noon, I loaded them up and off we set.  I was very pleased with how well Drifter loaded - it's been several months since we've practiced loading.  It took less than a minute - he did back out once but came right back on and stood for me when I asked so I could close the partition, although he was clearly nervous.  Pie loaded as he always does, which is perfectly.  I have a four horse slant load, so Drifter was in the first slot, which is separated from the second slot by a stud barrier going all the way to the floor - I didn't want to take any chances of him getting into it with Pie.  Pie was in the third slot.  Both boys had hay nets to occupy them.

The trip was about 2 hours, mostly on the interstate - about 80 miles in total - and everything went smoothly and both boys traveled well - a much more pleasant trip than the much shorter ride with Dawn.  I should have taken pictures but didn't - they were very cute on arrival as we got ready to unload with their heads sticking out the windows.  They'll be outside 24/7 except in very inclement weather, and Pie's paddock adjoins that of two other geldings - he immediately went up and introduced himself and really seemed to be enjoying the interaction - he's missed socializing with other horses a lot.

Heather will be working with them over the next week or 10 days to see where they are and what they need, and then she'll update me and we'll make plans for me to come up and work with her and them on a regular basis.  She'll take into account that Pie still seems to be recovering from his bout with EPM - although his balance and gaits are normal, he's got some muscle and skin soreness and may not be able to use his left hind as effectively as he should yet.  We'll have his chiropractor visit to do more work on him in about two weeks.

After I got home, I made a quick trip over to visit Dawn and give her a grooming.  It's hard to believe, but we actually managed 11 rides in February - it's amazing what an indoor will do for your ability to ride in the winter! Dawn's weight isn't picking up as quickly as I'd like, so I'm going to be starting her on some supplemental feed - probably beet pulp, rice bran or Ultimate Finish.  Her weight is between a 3 and 4 on the scale - all of her ribs are visible and she doesn't have much subcutaneous fat.  I'm making sure she's blanketed well for turnout to make up for the lack of body fat.  She has access to good-quality grass hay outside - although I think she's too active and busy to eat much - and also gets plentiful hay in the afternoon and evening in her stall.  She's already getting supplemental flaxseed, so I'll increase that as well.  I know she'll plump right up in June when the horses go out to pasture, but she needs more weight now, particularly since she's getting worked most days now.

I'm tired, but very happy - things are in motion and all three horses will be getting what they need right now, which wasn't possible before.  I'm glad to have the boys' move over with, as I hate driving the trailer - I've driven thousands of miles, including two round trips to Colorado (about 20 hours of driving each way), but I'll never enjoy driving a large horse trailer.  Fortunately, all went very well on this trip. I see a lot of good horse time in my future, and true spring will be here before we know it . . .

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