Thursday, March 29, 2012

"We Thought About You"

Jason and I were pulling in the driveway one afternoon returning from running some errands. There was a truck from the water company parked in the entrance of the driveway near the rode. Our water meter is at the road. This did not make us think happy thoughts.

The nice man from the utility company was over at our meter and walked back over to the vehicles when he saw us pull in. With some trepidation in his voice Jason asked "is everything ok?" You may recall that we had a nice Christmas present in the form of a 48,000 gallon water leak. Thankfully the company noticed a dramatic increase in their usage one day and isolated the problem to our meter and shut off the water before our 48,000 gallon leak had a chance to get any bigger.

We both drew in a breath and sent up a little prayer as we waited for the response to Jason's inquiry. And the verdict was . . .

there was no problem! Apparently they had noticed an unusually large increase in water usage again and the guy said "we immediately thought about you." Since he was nearby he immediately drove over to check our meter.

Well that's just great. They have a leak and now they immediately think about us.

But thankfully this leak was someone else's problem (and bill). Hallelujah!

Have a great weekend!


Moe, Baby, Apollo and Trigger



MyLight, Cuffie and Maisie

Tony and Baby

Fonzi, Gus and Romeo

Elfin doing his famous dogwalk; instead of flopping all the way over or standing up and going back down he sits up like a dog and rotates on his haunches to roll on the other side


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Body Clipping, Leaping Goats

I did my first bodyclip of the year today. Normally I would wait and clip in a few more weeks. However we've been in the low 80's almost every day for the last three weeks so I decided to go ahead and clip. Now that I've started we can almost count on having a cold front come park itself over middle Tennessee for awhile. When it happens you can blame me.

Lily was up for clipping today. I can only describe it as an epic clipping job. It took a long time and two sets of new blades to relieve Lily of her hair. I started Lily's day off with a bath. She hates having a bath, and she let me know today that her feelings have not changed. We got through it and I soaped and scrubbed and rinsed with enthusiasm. Nothing dulls clipper blades faster than a dirty horse so I scrubbed and curried for awhile.

I prefer to clip a wet horse so as soon as we were done with the bath and had a few minutes of drip drying while hand grazing we got down to business with the clippers. Normally I body clip Lily a few weeks later than this when she's shed out a lot of her coat. I'm glad I had two new sets of blades as I needed both of them to get through the mounds of hair.

When I was about a third of the way through the first side I realized I needed to give up on the idea of the perfect, smooth, can't tell the horse was actually clipped look and focus on getting the hair off. I have two pairs of body clippers, both Andis Progress clippers, and I love them. I can't imagine what my wrists and arms would feel like right now if I'd had to hold up a pair of Oster Clipmasters for a few hours today.

After being cranky and disagreeable for the first few minutes of clipping Lily quickly settled into the groove and stood quietly the whole time. I'm sure it felt good to get rid of the yak coat on a sunny, warm day. When Jason came in the barn to observe the finished product his comment was Lily looked like she had lost 150 pounds. Instead of looking overweight her weight now looks perfect. She had that much hair!!

Without further ado here are the transformation pictures of Lily:

the first stroke

a before picture taken this morning

neck and barrel done on the first side; note the happy licking and chewing from Lily

neck and shoulder done on the other side

starting to dehair the legs; the hair was so thick on the floor it covered her hooves

Lily and I showing off the finished product; her pretty head and neck were hiding under the yak coat. You can't really tell in this picture but I had on my t-shirt with the fainted fainting goat, it's my new favorite t-shirt.

Lily's thanks for all of my work was to tear out at 100 miles per hour when I put her back out

Miss Lyle the fainting goat (the one who, according to Jason, dances to Lady Gaga) checking out a cow trough

the view from the trough was interesting

I hate that this picture of Miss Lyle exiting the trough turned out so blurry; I think you can get the idea of what happened anyway. Look at the air and the hang time!

Thor, Fabrizzio, Noble, Lightening and Slinky on the move

Silky and Calimba

Lightening, Snappy and O'Reilly

Norman and Traveller

Fonzi leading the gang through the pasture; Romeo, Gus and Winston are behind him

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Correct Answer Is . . .

In my last post I mentioned my total shock when I randomly picked up Jason's ipod and scrolled to most played list. For those who are wondering, and I know the suspense killed many of you, the most played song on Jason's ipod is "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. I had no idea that Jason was even aware of Lady Gaga's existence. I was beyond shocked that he would actually have one of her songs on his ipod. It is incomprehensible to me that someone who loves old country music would have a song by Lady Gaga as the most played song on their ipod.

To recap Jason claims that he doesn't actually like the song. He claims that when he hears the song he can see our fainting goat, Miss Lyle, jamming and dancing to the song. As for how the song ended up on his ipod, he accidentally synced my playlist with his ipod and now he has both my music and his. So it is a complete and total accident that Jason is even aware of the existence of Lady Gaga. Just to make sure I was fully aware that it was a mistake and he doesn't like any of the several hundred songs that made their way from my ipod to his, he says he is working on deleting it all.

I guess it is rather disturbing to have Lady Gaga come blaring on the radio when you're actually expecting a song by someone along the lines of Porter Wagoner. The only reason I've ever heard of Porter Wagoner or heard any of his music is courtesy of Jason. I would never choose to listen to it of my own accord, but that isn't relevant to this post.

You just never know what you will discover as you are trying to entertain yourself while making laps around the pasture with a manure spreader in tow!!

Here is a video from February of Jason calling over his fainting goats so he can hand out treats to them. The Lady Gaga dancer (according to Jason) Miss Lyle is the one who jumps up on Jason for her treat.

the morning sun coming through the clouds

Lightening leading the way over the little ditch

Fabrizzio was next

Walden also went over the ditch; he may have been a dressage horse but apparently he also has cross country skills

not great pictures but Wiz found a nice place to roll and did a very thorough job

Murphy, Alex, Lighty and B-Rad

Sebastian, Fuzzy, Wiz and Renny

Lucky and Thor

Lightening, Fabrizzio and Walden


Thursday, March 22, 2012

More of the Same + HUH?? and Take a Guess

I mentioned in a post last week that Jason and I had replaced our old manure spreader that finally died with an even older manure spreader. We weren't really sure if our 1950's model John Deere spreader would actually hold up to doing some work once it was loaded so were pretty happy that we spread 43 loads without any issues the first day we used it.

We spent another day spreading manure yesterday and put another 55+ loads through our ancient relic. So far it is still working perfectly although we both keep wondering how long it will last. We're about halfway through spreading our piles although we'll probably move on to other things for a few more weeks before we finish. Some of the piles need a bit more time to compost before spreading.

I have to admit it gets rather mundane driving laps around a pasture with the manure spreader. Our routine is that Jason is on the tractor scooping up buckets full of compost and loading the spreader. Then I go for a short drive and spread, then repeat this scenario over and over and over.

As I was waiting for Jason to load the spreader for like the 30th time yesterday I entertained myself by looking at Jason's ipod. Normally I ignore it and try to pretend it does not exist. Anyone who knows us knows that we do NOT share the same taste in music at all. Jason doesn't want anything more to do with my ipod than I do with his.

I scrolled to his most played playlist assuming that I wouldn't recognize, nor care to listen to, any of the songs. Jason has an affinity for old country music, like from the 50's, and I do not. I was shocked when I saw what the most played song on his ipod was. I would never even GUESS that this song was on his ipod, much less the most played song. This song is on my ipod and our playlists never overlap - or so I thought.

Who can guess the most played song on Jason's ipod? A few hints. It is not a country music song. It is not even an old song, in fact it is fairly recent. It made it as high as number 3 on the charts in 2009. It is one of the best selling singles of all time and it has sold over 9.8 million copies. It is by a female American artist and off of her debut album and is a techno/dance type song. I thought I knew Jason so well until I saw this on his ipod. When questioned about this Jason said he accidentally synced his ipod with mine once so now he has all of my music plus his. He claims this song reminds him of our fainting goat Miss Lyle and he likes to listen to it because he can envision her dancing to this song (I will add that I can also imagine her dancing to this song, the beat suits her). Yes, he says he listens to the song because he envisions one of the fainting goats dancing to it, not because he actually likes the song itself.

Any guesses on the song?


a couple of views from the rearview mirror; that is the front barn in the background and a load being dumped into the spreader

that is the mare's run-in shed in the background and another load being dumped in the spreader

George and Asterik

Lighty, Alex, Darby and B-Rad

Silver and Faune

Rocky, Toledo and Kennedy

I had to really study this for a minute before I knew who this was - Romeo

Thomas and Grand

Stormy and Clayton

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Observations on Aging

In the past couple of weeks I've had some interesting conversations with one of our vets, one of our farriers, and also with a good horse friend of mine. Our conversations have veered onto the subject of aging horses, and how some horses age better than others. These conversations continued to percolate in the back of my mind and I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and reviewing the notes I've kept over the last few years.

Undoubtedly I will get my hand slapped from a few people for some of my thoughts on the subject but these are just my honest observations from living with a lot of aging horses. Everyone wants their older horse to still look like he/she is 10 years old. Some of them do age very gracefully and look amazing, especially given their ages, until they pass on. Others simply don't age as well, and although their health is perfectly acceptable you can look at them and easily know you are looking at an older horse. Below are a few of my observations on this topic.

When we first meet a horse in person if I note certain things I know the odds are very high that they are going to be one that doesn't look like they are 10 when they are 25 or 30:

1. Long backed horses: In my observations the longer backed the horse the more likely it is that their backs will drop, and it will happen at a younger age. Dropped backs often eventually turn into sway backs. Obviously not all long backed horses will develop a sway back but a higher percentage of them seem to compared to their shorter backed counterparts. There is absolutely nothing physically wrong with a horse that has a dropped or swayed back, but of course from a visual standpoint a nice, solid topline is a lot more appealing.

2. Horses with a downhill build: Like the long backed horses mentioned above, horses with a down hill build seem to be more likely to have their backs start to drop at an earlier age. This is probably because due to their conformation they aren't naturally going to lift elevate their front end and work their topline muscles as they gallivant around in the pasture.

3. Horses with straight hind legs: Again these horses seem much more prone to dropped backs and sway backs, again probably due to the way they are naturally going to use themselves as they move about on their own. I should mention that often with a dropped or swayed back these horses tend to get the pot belly look due to their ribcages getting somewhat sprung. Not only are the muscles along the topline not as tight as they once were, but the ones around the ribcage tend to relax as well and their bellies get bigger and bigger as the ribcage gets bigger. This, in my opinion, is the hardest physical thing for the owners to deal with from an aesthetic viewpoint simply because their ribcages can get so sprung that it doesn't matter how much weight you have on them you can't cover their ribs. The horses would have to be over the top obese to get a full layer of fat over their giant ribcage.

4. Horses with naturally "spiny" backs. You know what I mean, horses that are in good flesh and being ridden properly front to back over their toplines so the topline has plenty of muscle and flesh yet things still look a little pointy up top. If they have that look while in correct work it will only get more pronounced when they aren't being ridden and doing forced exercise to build and maintain muscle along their toplines.

5. Thoroughbreds and also warmbloods with a high percentage of thoroughbred blood. I know I will probably get blasted for this one but the truth is that in my (pretty extensive) experience thoroughbreds, and warmbloods with a high percentage of thoroughbred blood, often don't seem to age as gracefully as other breeds. Just so everyone is reading for comprehension I'm NOT saying that every thoroughbred does not age well, of course many of them do, I've lived with them. I AM saying that when I reflect upon the older horses I've lived with, it seems that the thoroughbreds (and warmbloods with a lot of thoroughbred blood) seem to have a much higher percentage of their population that doesn't age as gracefully as we all want them too. They are much more likely to become hard keepers as they age, even if they were easy keepers when younger.

Interestingly when I look over my dental records for all of the horses this group (thoroughbreds and warmbloods with a lot of thoroughbred blood) also has a higher percentage of their population whose teeth don't seem to age as well. Compared to the other breeds on our farm this group of horses is much more likely to have dental issues such as overly worn, loose and missing teeth at younger ages when compared to say the Quarter Horses, Arabians, or the old style warmbloods.

So there you have it, a few of my rambling observations about aging horses.


Faune, Romeo, Fonzi and Chimano. The leaves on the trees in the background are getting ready to explode. In a couple of days this picture will look completely different.



Chance and Leo

Norman, Cuffie, Cinnamon, MyLight and Calimba having a relaxing day

Silver, Winston and Gus

Tiny, Toledo and Kennedy

Thomas, Moe and Baby