Welcome to the herd!

Mouthguards suck.
Mouthguards suck.
It's a pretty big pasture!
It’s a pretty big pasture!
Quiet time in the pasture.
Self proclaimed herd leader Tush on the left, guarding Emilie, Gäskir and little grey Blomme on the right.

Emilie got to be out with the herd for an hour today, introducing her to most of the other horses at the new barn. She immediately formed a group with her barn neighbour, Icelandic horse Gäskir, which was then joined by little grey Blomme who seems to love everyone as long as they have four legs. Pinto herd leader Tush allowed her into his herd but kept her separate from the other horses for now.

Fjord horse Loke took one look at Emilie and went for a nap — and he’s supposed to be the grumpy one!

Emilie will only be doing 1-2 hour pasture visits this week so that we can be sure that she doesn’t eat enough through the mouthguard to cause her laminitis to flare up again. But from the looks of it, she’ll fit in just fine.

Bigger is better!

His name is Bigger. That's why.
His name is Bigger. That’s why.

Emilie has been safely moved to a barn that’s just 2.7 km from our back door. The trip went mostly smoothly; the vet gave me a bit of painkillers for Emilie so that her laminitis and hip wouldn’t act up, and she was fine. Unfortunately, however, she slipped on one hind leg during unloading, and the lead rope tore up the driver’s hand. I feel rather bad about that. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but I hate seeing people getting injured.

Emilie is settling in fine though she is quite unhappy that we won’t let her into pasture with the others yet. Laminitis baby needs her new mouthguard before she gets to run free again! Apart from that she’s settled in fine. Her new box allows her to pop her head out and say hello to people who walk by, and my hyper-socialized horse is abusing the heck out of that. Piiiiity me, the poor locked up priiiiisoner …

Oh, and big, brown boys are still her favourite.

Horse Whispers

Emilie came down with laminitis on all four legs two days ago. In spite of the pain and the stress from the treatment (no food, no pasture, no nothing), she is able to talk to me. This morning she did not want her treatment.

Every morning this week I give her an injection in the neck, for pain relief and lowering her blood pressure. The vet showed me how to do it Saturday. I may have turned a little green around the nose Sunday, but I got it done without Emilie catching on to my discomfort (I’m terrified of needles). This morning, when I approached with the needle, Emilie moved away.

I walked after her and pinched her neck skin lightly as one does, to distract her from the incoming needle. She flattened her ears and glared at me. At this point I remembered how sore muscles get when nurses keep jabbing in the same place day after day. So I pinched her 5 cms further to the right — and voila! She stood statue still and relaxed.

Tomorrow I’m going to jab her on the other side of the neck while I quietly give thanks for how good horses are at communicating if you’ll just listen to them. No stress, no panic, no anxiety. Just letting me know that this spot is sore. Please give the injection a little to the side of yesterday’s spot.

I’m ever impressed with how much information horses can convey with how little voice. I’m no horse whisperer, but my horse certainly can whisper me a thing or two.

Summer’s Beautiful Though

Summer is being rough on me this year. The heatwave that began in May shows no sign of letting go anytime soon. Everything is bone dry and the air is full of dust. The heat is not doing my fibromyalgia any favours. But one thing can be said for this very atypical hot Danish summer: It’s beautiful. I’ve spent more time in my garden this summer than in the twenty years previous at the old house.

I planted wildflower seeds in a big pot on the terrace in order to feed my never-ending love for cornflowers. The outcome is a little weird. There’s all sorts of other flowers in there too, but it’s the pink cornflower that baffles me. I had no idea cornflowers could be pink. Cornflowers range from white over pale blue to dark cobalt blue. Maybe this one’s just colour blind.

Wildflowers in the yard. Notice that pink cornflower? I had no idea cornflowers could be pink. Maybe it's just colourblind.

We live close to the river so there is a lot of wetlands wildlife in the area. We see toads all the time, and salamanders are fairly common too. But the ones we usually see are smooth newts, by far the most common in Denmark; this big fella is northern crested newt which is a rare and protected species here.

No one who knows my husband will be surprised to hear that we now have salamander-friendly patches and watering holes under the rhododendrons. I’m hoping to meet adders out there too. The neighbour claims to see adders in his garden all the time. I love them.

I can spend hours just looking at the wildflowers. I have no idea what those pink ones between the morning glories and cornflowers are, but they are absolutely gorgeous. The husband built bee hotels in the yard and now that everything is so dry and dead, the wild bees are here in droves to check out those wildflowers.

It’s so dry here now that when we go to the barn and water the horses in the pasture, wasps turn up in droves to drink. Look at the soil; there’s no moisture in the earth anywhere. We’ve had the hottest May on record ever, June and July have not let us off the hook. It’s pretty, but I will admit, it’s taking its toll on people and animals alike.

There’s only one family member who absolutely loves the dry dusty heat. It’s great for certain purposes!

Pony Sez #35: The Old Stablehand

The old stablehand

The Old Stablehand has seen it all and carried them all. He’s sick and tired of lugging your brats around but he’ll keep doing it. Most of all he wants to snooze in a corner of the pasture or in his box. Stay on his good side with regular bribes and health checkups.

I’ve met a lot of Old Stablehands at barns and riding schools. They’re the stable old horses who know better than the instructor and certainly better than the kids they’re lugging around. They don’t know why this job needs to be done but they keep plodding as long as you take good care of them.

If Old Stablehands are treated poorly they turn aggressive or unreliable. They work hard and deserve regular vet and farrier care. And extra carrots.