Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Monday, 26 May 2014

And...BAM! its green! and a bit of guilt

Spring has been slow to get here this year.It has of course been warming up,but the grass wasn't coming on fast and the leaves were only starting to bud as late as last week. But with some warm sun and a bit of rain , all of a sudden its here! And we are loving it . 
Pretty busy around here these days, with yard clean up, and such. My brother in law Marc and I spent a bunch of time  yesterday loading tires to go to recycle (2 truckloads !!! we need to do this more often ) and also hauling garbage to the dump. Seems that after the long  winter and all the cleanup we did at the old farm we are on a mission to get this place ship shape! 
I then whipped in to Stony to attend my great niece Abby's 5th birthday party ! (how did she grow up so fast?)
I am pretty thrilled  for her to have the playhouse my dad built for my sister and I all those years ago, they have big plans to fix it up. Abby and her mom collected treasures from the old farm to use and it will have new life  at their place , filled with memories from Horricks Dairy. Just perfect

Got home in time to grab a quick bite then Deb and I went out to work with the  yearlings . Most of the time was spent with Deb  working Sprite,but I did also spend some time with Maks and Tango, they are coming along , and I will get some focused time on them, and Casey  in the next while and hopefully get the boys sold . 

Today was farrier day , and I am happy to report it went very well! We did Phoenix first, and actually did his trim in the barn. He is good but it is spring and with all the rest around it is sometimes a challenge to keep his attention focused ,um well closer to the front end so to speak. In the barn there are less distractions and he can concentrate on being a good boy . Then down to Stryker, who has become a bit arthritic. I gave him a dose of Bute before Charlie got here, and he was much more comfortable for the trim.  The mares were good as gold as always , then down to see Johnnie Handsome and his little harem 

 Here is the part about the guilt
 I have mentioned before that Johnnie can be quite fractious when having his left hind trimmed, over the years we have tried several things ,including. body work, herbal calming , riding him first to settle his energy,and even  the use of a scotch hobble with only mild success that really didn't seem consistent . Now when he was young he did have a poor  experience with a farrier  walking away after a  fairly minor refusal, for the next while Johnnie seemed to up the ante as if he figured it would eventually let him off the hook. He did get much better to trim, but still that hind lag would  start a fight. I have also written about  Johnnie birth and the fact that he had a very contracted hind leg at birth that took over 4 days to even touch the ground. So that has been in the back of my mind all through this, but he has never been lame  or acted out in any other situation ,just trimming.
The only time he was actually good to trim was when my other farrier Ernie was here( I will get back to this)
Anyhow last trim , it was still bugging me that he has learned every other thing I ever tried to teach him but this so I asked Angela if she thought maybe it was pain,the suggestion was to try him with a gram of bute before his trim and see. Guess what? he stood like a prince. Again today, a dose of bute , and he was very good .
I am one lucky lady that I have such a forgiving little horse! I put him through years of this before clueing in and following my instinct that it was a pain issue! And yet no matter what  we did, he still runs to the fence,eager to be haltered and come out! Don't I feel like a big  fat jerk!  I looked at things today , and I don't think Charlie is doing anything  particularly wrong ,but he does hold the leg slightly more rotated than Ernie does(Ernie is a bigger guy that Charlie and seems to get right in close nearly under the horse, and I think that is why Johnnie tolerated his trimming better) it is a subtle  difference in position and seems not to bother most horses, but I think whatever is going on in Johnnies hip it is more rotation than he is comfortable with for any length of time. So I am going to mention this next time and see if we can change that, and continue with that one dose of bute the day of his trim. Sorry buddy! We will do better from here!
Wrapped up my day over at my cousins house ,holding his little mare who can also be a little challenging,but she was quite a lot better today (her issue is youth and lack of handling before she came to them ) Had supper with Kirk, Amber and the kids .

Then the sky opened up and it POURED!!! it all good we needed the rain ,and if it hadn't I  was going home to mow the lawn. Thank you Mother Nature , the lawn is long but I needed a break. I am one pooped gal!
The grass will grow whether I  mow it or not so whatever . Tomorrow is another day.

Hope everyone had a good and productive weekend !
Stay safe my friends!


Ami said...

That is one well-built little playhouse! Still in wonderful condition, just needs some paint.

Don't feel too guilty, as always you did what you thought was right for your critter... and you have it figured out now.

What a loveable guy. You're the person I credit with teaching me that horses are people, too. :)

Anonymous said...

We all make mistakes like that - the important thing is that you made it right now. Nice pictures!

Country Gal said...

Wonderful that this play house can be passed down in the family though . Oh They grow so fast . As for the guilt not to feel it my friends all of life is a trial and error but at least now you know for next time ! Nice photos .Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

Buttons Thoughts said...

Don't feel guilty it is so very hard to judge when it is a pain issue we have some of those issues now and them with cattle it is hard to read sometimes. The birthing probably did do something. Now you figured it out it will be OK.
That is a beautiful Playhouse and your Dad would be glad to have it being used again and staying in the family along with the other treasures. I know this is a tough time for you all. HUGS B

Shirley said...

Awesome little playhouse! I always wanted one when I was a kid....
Our horses do tell us don't they? Glad you figured it out- and good management with Phoenix!

cdncowgirl said...

Well on the plus side you've got things figured out now.
He sure must be a sweetheart of a horse to have that willing, eager attitude.

Crystal said...

That playhouse is adorable, Im sure it will get many more years of memories out of it. And yay for figuring out Johnnie, dont feel bad, you did what you thought was right and Im sure he knew it too.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I am very familiar with that little bit of guilt that comes when a 'problem' seems to have a pain-base. It's like, 'Aww darn, sorry buddy'. But in all honesty, it must be a very mild issue if 1 gram of bute helped. That is about like us taking ONE asprin/tylenol. But boy, does if feel good when you finally figure it out and cure the 'problem'. I'd say you are right on track noticing that he is better when the leg is held closer to the body. I have noticed that on a few horses now, that have had hip (or stifle) hitches. They are much better to work on when the leg is lifted straight up under the body and then brought back vs. the slight outward angle that some farriers find more comfortable. It doesn't take much of a rotation of either of those joints, to make a horse defensive.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Don't beat yourself up over the pain issue with Johnnie. It happens to the best of us. Hell, I'd say you're in good company in that respect! LOL!

Love the playhouse. Wish the girls had something so nice.

Willow said...

DOn't feel bad ... it is hard to judge sometimes.
We just have to remember to ask them "Hey whats up " ~ they use sign language . lol