Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Everybody Say Hello To Chance

I'm sure any family members reading that will do a doubletake since Chance is also the name of my brother-in-law! Chance also happens to be the name of the most recent horse to join us for retirement. Chance is a thoroughbred who joined us over the weekend from Connecticut. He walked off the trailer and looked around for a moment, and then realized he was surrounded by grass and immediately put his head down and began grazing. He's rarely lifted his head up since then!

About to pull into the driveway

Where am I?
Unfortunately for Chance he isn't used to having so much grazing so his turnout time is limited for now. He has grazing sessions in the mornings and in the afternoons as we slowly build up his exposure to grass.

Grabbing a huge mouthfull of hay

This approach is standard for new arrivals. We take our time introducing them, and more importantly their digestive system, to the grass for a couple of weeks. Even the horses that are going to continue to be stall boarded have to go through this transition phase onto the grass because they are out on excellent pasture either all day or all night. Most of the horses are out 24/7 but there are some that are not.

His favorite activity

Stretching his legs
We also use these first couple of weeks to allow the horses to get to know us and for us to get to know them. We learn about their personalities, their quirks, and use this time to determine the best turnout buddies for them. Once they are ready to be out 24/7 or to be out all day or all night we introduce them to their new roommates. Once they settle in with their new "family" they are quite content to stay with them permanently and don't seem to care if they ever see the inside of the barn again. We've found this to be true even for the fence runners and those that had never really been turned out before.

I want to sniff this strange creature

He lost interest in the chickens quickly

Cloudy always stays near the new arrivals for a day or two

We've had fun as we've begun the "get to know you" process with Chance this week. He has excellent ground manners and a very laid back and friendly personality. His owners told me they thought he had dropped weight in the last few weeks and he does somewhat have that "ribby" look, so we will be looking forward to putting some more weight on him and returning the shine to his coat. He will be having his teeth done in the next week or so as I've seen him quid his food several times, and I will be paste worming him tomorrow.

I say this with 100% bias, but I think Chance is a very lucky horse, as are all of the horses here. He has been retired fairly young due to arthritis and thankfully for him the people in his life feel he has earned his spot with us. There is always so much emotion and stress when the decision to retire a horse has to be made, and it is even harder when the horse is a younger horse. I think if Chance could talk he would say he didn't know what he did so right to wind up here, but he is really appreciative that the trailer happened to stop and let him off at this farm!


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful boy! Your farm looks absolutely beautiful too. Chance is one lucky horse!

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa, this is Maggie, Chance's mom (: Thank you so much for posting these! I can't even begin to tell you how comforting to me it's been to be able to see him settling in like this. He looks so happy! And I couldn't be happier, either.

Amy Bennett said...

Awww....I met Chance the other day while he was in the stall.I almost thought it was Elfin at first. Chance is s a sweetie though. That is my mom's maiden name & would hopefully be our boy's don't steal it! ;) That could still be so far off!

Thanks for dinner the other night. It was good & relaxing. Maybe we should get together more often. You know...just us young farmers!

We have a hot tub now, but my supervisors here on my premises just are not as good as Bear!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Hi Maggie, we love having Chance here. He has been a lot of fun so far. He really likes it here, when he goes out he never lifts his head from the grass!

Amy I don't think anyone can have a supervisor that would be equal to Bear.