Friday, July 13, 2012

Red Leads the Charge, and Blessed Rain

Red has been very endearing lately.  This morning, I went way out in the pasture to bring Pie in to ride.  As I was leading him away, I turned and called out "Red!" - he was grazing about 50 yards away.  Next thing I know, he was cantering up to join us and walked with us all the way in to the barn, leaving all the other horses grazing.  While Red was eating his morning medicine, I massaged his hock with Sore No More - vigorous massage, since it doesn't hurt him, to try and open up the lymph channels so the remaining swelling will go down, and then worked on massaging his butt muscles.  He was so appreciative of this that I thought he was going to sit down on me as he was leaning into the massage.  When I let him go into the pasture, he trotted and then cantered off.

After I was done riding Pie, I took Pie to the pasture and let him go.  As he was standing by the gate, Pie let out a loud "he he he" whinny - his calling whinny (I always call it his girly whinny, as it's quite high pitched), and next thing I know here comes Red from the far pastures at a gallop, leading a large group of other horses.  He galloped all the way down the hill and back up to the gate - he seems to be feeling pretty good.

Red's also doing some of the same affectionate gestures Dawn does, in his own versions.  He will rest his chin on my shoulder sometimes, and will also let me take his chin in my hand and stretch his head out almost flat as he rests it on me.

This afternoon, we had a huge rain - more than 3/4 of an inch.  This is more rain than we've had in total since mid-April.  We had about a half inch in May and less than a quarter inch in all of June - these are usually pretty rainy months for us.  We're more than 9 inches behind were we should be at this time of year, and things are incredibly dusty and dry - the grass is just brown crispy bits rooted in dust, and the corn and soybean crops look terrible.  Our barn owner is now investigating getting hay from Minnesota, since none of our local hay farmers are going to get any additional cuttings.  For about an hour today, it just sluiced down in sheets.  As soon as it started to rain, all the horses immediately dropped and rolled, and came in coated in mud.  I declared a "dirty day" and just picked feet.  Red and I got to do a hand walk in the indoor while the rain was pouring down, and got to enjoy the cool smell of rain when we paused in the doorways.

The barn water has been back on for several days, but Dawn is still not drinking well, and is moderately dehydrated.  I've been doing everything I can think of to help her drink - scrubbing and refilling water buckets - they tend to still accumulate a nasty red sediment from the pipes flushing out; pasting her with elecrolytes; giving her a water bucket with bottled water (which she ignores and she won't touch Gatorade); soaking her hay and making sure she has access to a salt block.  The water's still sort of funky, and she's just not happy with that.  She can be very fussy - the boys are drinking well which is a good thing.  So far she's holding her own - her appetite is good and she's still producing plenty of manure even though it's drier than I like.  I'm hoping she starts drinking well soon . . .

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