Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I told me so...

I should have seen it coming. Nine jumped the fence. Please let me clarify right now that he is not hurt, and now is safely in his round pen.

Yesterday was very nice. It was warm, the sun was out and the ground for once was not frozen. I hopped on Hammar for a bit, but a lead rope around his neck was not enough to control him, given how hyper he was! So I put him in the large pen with Ashley and Nine and started chasing the horses around. They were doing really well and running and being pretty, when all the sudden Hammar cornered Nine and pinned his ears. Well, that was all it took! Nine turned tail, saw the fence and barely thought twice before he tried to jump it. He cleared it with his front end, but his hind end didn't do so well. He was stuck with his front on one side of the fence and his back on the other side. He kept hopping though, and finally broke the top two wires and made it over. I yelled at Hammar when I realized Nine wasn't limping, then got a halter, told Fiance where I was going, and caught Nine. Fiance and his brother, who is visiting for the holidays, got to work fixing the fence. Nine and I were on a neighboring property that is fence off but no one lives there; but luckily I have done this before, so I knew how to get the horse home. There are three ways out of that property, and the first involves a cable strung between two posts in lieu of a gate. It was higher than it used to be, when Ashley jumped the fence a few years ago, and Nine wouldn't step over it like Ashley did. But I know of another way; there is a pipeline running through the property, so there is a service gate. I knew I can get the locked gate off it's hinges because once Red and Frosty, two old horses we used to have, used to escape (not jumping any fences, just wandering off instead of ground tying) and find their way to the relatively lush grass found along the pipeline (they would get in through the third way, which involves crossing into a third property and hoping they have their front gate open). Anyways, Nine stayed ground tied while I lifted the gate off the hinges, then I led Nine through the gate and he ground tied again while I tried to lift the gate back onto the hinges. I couldn't get both pegs through both hinge-holes at the same time, however. So don't tell on me, but the gate is only held up by one hinge now.

I had Nine trot for me a little bit on the way home from there, and he was doing just fine. I tossed the lead rope around his legs and over his back, and had him do some flexing and bending for me. He very quickly showed me that he hasn't forgotten his training. When we got back I tied Nine outside his round pen while I tried to get it cleaned up a bit. Like I said, it was a warmer day than it has been lately, and the poop piles had thawed out a bit. I couldn't get it all - some were still frozen solid - bit I got most of the round pen back into shape. Then I decided to see how Nine would do if I were to saddle him. My mom had a Natural Ride bareback pad, so I tossed a cinch on that and Nine stood tied while I showed it to him and rubbed him down, then put it on him. It took maybe 5 minutes for him get back to his old self and for me to get everything tightened down. Then I got him in the round pen and had him trot for a while. His legs are fine; he even lets me rub them down and look for wounds. He has a one spot where a barb got him, but it isn't bad. Mostly he is just shaved. One knee is also a bit swollen from apparently hitting the ground, but all in all he is fine and we got some training done.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Frozen Ground Troubles

Nine's little round pen has been frozen for over a week now. The little poop piles are even rock solid, so I can't clean it out! Needless to say, the footing in there sucks now. I checked on Nine a few days a ago and noticed he seemed to have a pulled muscle in his chest. I moved him into the larger pen where Ashley, the donkeys, and the two cows are. It is barbed wire and the shelter isn't nearly as good, and certainly not big enough for so many, but the footing is a lot better. Nine has been turned out with everyone in there so I wasn't worried about fights. Nine has also seen barbed wire while turned out, because that's what our 10 acres is fenced in with. So I figured he would be okay in there. And sure enough, the pulled muscle has relaxed, and Nine and Ashley have been tearing up the ground playing.

Everything was going great until this morning, when the cow apparently (Fiance fed for me this morning so I didn't see it first hand) walked strait through the fence! There were only two wires up and those not very tight! Luckily the cow isn't very smart (obviously!) and the section of fence she took out leads to Hammar's pen, which is also fenced off. Fiance quickly ran a fresh wire up so no one tried anything sneaky, but we will need to do a proper job soon. Hammar's fence also only has two wire up (for some reason - Hammar doesn't push on the fence when I'm looking, and I don't know how the fence got that way) so if the animals, the donkeys especially, get in there, they can get out! And since Hammar's fence is right on the property line, the animals can get off the property entirely. Adding to that stress is the fact that some of the dirt roads on that side of our property do not have cattle guards so the animals can get on the main road! The donkeys have done that in the past.

Hammar has been loose for a few days now because 1) his fence is falling down and 2) his feed through - a 300+ pound cast iron bathtub - is surrounded by and filled with a couple inches of ice. I don't want him slipping or getting tangled in wire, so I turned him out. Luckily it's Hammar, who was turned out for a long time with our old horse Frosty. Both horses were trustworthy enough that I didn't shut the front gate. They would go out a little ways to graze, but stayed close for water and feed time. Our gate opens onto a square mile of State land, so that is technically illegal but no one really cares. (So don't report me, Karen! Hehe.) Nine was doing well tonight when I fed, and no one has escaped. Hammar was refusing to bow in front of my friend, but other that that everyone is fine, even the goats who are especially cute in their fluffy winter coats. Speaking of which, Hammar is hairy as all heck! He looks like a mini woolly mammoth! Maybe tomorrow I will measure his coat. It has be close to three inches long...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it Snow!

Well, the wind finally stopped and the storm settled in. We didn't get much snow here, but Flagstaff proper did. The University was closed two days in a row, which is completely unheard of! Nine finally showed some spirit yesterday when I was leading him to the gate. I didn't get any pictures of that, but here's Nine standing in the snow the other morning.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Windy, mucky, no-fun weather

With the wind the way it is today, and the energy the horses get from such weather, I decided to let everyone run a bit today. They're not doing much running, but I got some pictures anyways...
There's Hammar trying to brave the storm.
And from left to right, we have Nine just missing the truck, Ashley giving Hammar "the mare eye", and then Hammar plodding along ignoring her.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Still Not Back in the Saddle...

I haven't ridden Nine again, though the weather might be well enough to try soon! I have let the horses run a lot. Me and Mother-in-Law spent some time chasing the horses the other day (otherwise they just stand around and look for food) and let me tell you - Nine doesn't run, he just floats! I can't wait to get some confidence and get up on that high horse, so to speak.

About that confidence; I have swallowed my pride and contacted a professional trainer, JC Cabrera. I have never met JC before, but I have seen posters around town advertising horsemanship clinics and such. I doubt if we can afford to have someone do all the work for us, but I asked JC if I couldn't do some work as an apprentice so I can learn to train Nine myself. He said that is a possibility and offered to come look at Nine! So that is big news to me, because that would pretty much be an awesome job.

Fiance got a great job as a Coconino County Detention Officer! After his first week of working the pay check was $500 after taxes! For just one week! So we might be able to afford some nice things coming up soon.