Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Arrives and New Beginnings

Leaving a barn where you've been for over 10 years is just like leaving a job, or other major life change, in terms of stress.  Although I wish everyone there well, I'm happy to be done with that chapter of my horse life. I'm glad I was able to move Dawn to the new barn more than two weeks ago - I got that part of the change over with before the rest, so it wasn't as overwhelming.  Today the boys - Pie and Drifter - made the trip up to Wisconsin to start their month of training.  I spent the morning cleaning my stuff out of the tack room and barn, and loading the trailer with all that (and with three horses there's plenty) as well as hay for transition - they'll be staying on their balancer pellets while they're there.  Then at about noon, I loaded them up and off we set.  I was very pleased with how well Drifter loaded - it's been several months since we've practiced loading.  It took less than a minute - he did back out once but came right back on and stood for me when I asked so I could close the partition, although he was clearly nervous.  Pie loaded as he always does, which is perfectly.  I have a four horse slant load, so Drifter was in the first slot, which is separated from the second slot by a stud barrier going all the way to the floor - I didn't want to take any chances of him getting into it with Pie.  Pie was in the third slot.  Both boys had hay nets to occupy them.

The trip was about 2 hours, mostly on the interstate - about 80 miles in total - and everything went smoothly and both boys traveled well - a much more pleasant trip than the much shorter ride with Dawn.  I should have taken pictures but didn't - they were very cute on arrival as we got ready to unload with their heads sticking out the windows.  They'll be outside 24/7 except in very inclement weather, and Pie's paddock adjoins that of two other geldings - he immediately went up and introduced himself and really seemed to be enjoying the interaction - he's missed socializing with other horses a lot.

Heather will be working with them over the next week or 10 days to see where they are and what they need, and then she'll update me and we'll make plans for me to come up and work with her and them on a regular basis.  She'll take into account that Pie still seems to be recovering from his bout with EPM - although his balance and gaits are normal, he's got some muscle and skin soreness and may not be able to use his left hind as effectively as he should yet.  We'll have his chiropractor visit to do more work on him in about two weeks.

After I got home, I made a quick trip over to visit Dawn and give her a grooming.  It's hard to believe, but we actually managed 11 rides in February - it's amazing what an indoor will do for your ability to ride in the winter! Dawn's weight isn't picking up as quickly as I'd like, so I'm going to be starting her on some supplemental feed - probably beet pulp, rice bran or Ultimate Finish.  Her weight is between a 3 and 4 on the scale - all of her ribs are visible and she doesn't have much subcutaneous fat.  I'm making sure she's blanketed well for turnout to make up for the lack of body fat.  She has access to good-quality grass hay outside - although I think she's too active and busy to eat much - and also gets plentiful hay in the afternoon and evening in her stall.  She's already getting supplemental flaxseed, so I'll increase that as well.  I know she'll plump right up in June when the horses go out to pasture, but she needs more weight now, particularly since she's getting worked most days now.

I'm tired, but very happy - things are in motion and all three horses will be getting what they need right now, which wasn't possible before.  I'm glad to have the boys' move over with, as I hate driving the trailer - I've driven thousands of miles, including two round trips to Colorado (about 20 hours of driving each way), but I'll never enjoy driving a large horse trailer.  Fortunately, all went very well on this trip. I see a lot of good horse time in my future, and true spring will be here before we know it . . .


  1. Weather is not as much of a factor here, I'm glad that you've found a place where you can keep them ridden.

    Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog. My thoughts in this direction actually started with a comment I left with you - it made me face what it is I really wanted in this horse time.

    I count on your honesty and conviction. Thank you for opening up your journey. I can't wait to hear how the boys do in their new digs...

  2. Everything seems to be coming together really well! I'm glad you are moved and away from the snide remarks of fellow boarders. You can start with a clean slate at the new place. I am interested to hear what the trainer's impressions are of Pie and Drifter. Does Dawn have a history of ulcers? I wondered given her sensitive nature and her difficulty with keeping on weight. Jackson gave himself ulcers worrying about things and once treated, his weight was much better. I don't have a feel for if Dawn is a worrier or just a sensitive horse.

  3. A bon voyage to you and your ponies. You sound very excited. Are you saying that Pie and Drifter will move over with Dawn when they come back?

  4. Here's to new beginnings. You are right, leaving a barn is like changing jobs or getting a divorce in some ways. I'm very excited for the future for Dawn, Drifter and Pie.

  5. Big goings on! I'm sure the boys will settle in just as well as Dawn did, and it will be a great learning experience for them.

    I knew the boys were going to the trainer's, but didn't realize that you weren't bringing them back to the same barn. Will they be going to the same place as Dawn is now?

  6. Annette - I don't think she's got ulcers, it's just her usual late winter weight drop combined with the weight loss from the stress of the move. She seems happy there and is eating well, just needs a few more calories.

    Lori and EvenSong - I'm not sure where Drifter and Pie will be going after the trainers - probably to the barn where Dawn is once they have openings. But they're probably not going back to the old place - not very suitable for either one of them.

  7. Moving from one barn to another is always stressful. But Dawn seems to have settled in well in her new surroundings.

    Glad Pie and Drifter made the trip without incident. I'm sure they'll learn a lot and you'll all be happier in the future.

  8. Had a friend years ago with a TB and when he lost weight she found that a totally pelleted feed worked best to get the weight back on. Don't know, of course, but Dawn my be on pellets already.

    I have found acupuncture to be excellent for sore horse muscles. The vets I use do both chiropractic and acupuncture. Might be worth consideration for Pie.

    Now, no more advice from me!! I am so happy to hear it's all working out so well for you. Sending the Boys off for training was a wonderful idea and it's going to help you a lot.

    And moving Dawn to the indoor was a great idea as well, both for your physical pleasure and your mental pleasure as well. Sounds as if some of the relationships at the old place were getting strained.

    Boy, do I know too well how much stuff there is to move when you leave a long time boarding situation. More power to you. Hope you managed to get it all. *G*

  9. I've been following this for a while and I admire your ability to see what needs fixing and then do it! (I'm somewhat of a procrastinator). I may have missed it but I don't think you've posted about where the boys are going when they're finished with the trainer? To the new barn with Dawn?

  10. New beginnings are always exciting. Best wishes to you as your new adventures with your beautiful horses unfold.

  11. New beginnings are scary and exciting all at the same time. I'm not sure I could imagine the process I would have to go through to move my OTTB to a new facility. Thankfully, we are in a good place now. I wish you the best of luck!


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