Breakfast in be—barn

Breakfast duty in the barn is fun! Nowhere else do you get greeted by such an eager, anticipative audience!

Cassie waits politely but don't let her looks fool you. She's a cunning little one, and she'll let you know if she thinks service is not up to standards.
Cassie waits politely but don’t let her looks fool you. She’s a cunning little one, and she’ll let you know if she thinks service is not up to standards.
Emilie doesn't mind where she eats her breakfast as long as she gets to eat it. Groom away.
Emilie doesn’t mind where she eats her breakfast as long as she gets to eat it. Groom away.
Foxi makes eyes at the breakfast cart like only a small pony can.
Foxi makes eyes at the breakfast cart like only a small pony can.
We didn't feed these guys. That's Blacky's job. But we did feed Blacky, so that surely counts.
We didn’t feed these guys. That’s Blacky’s job. But we did feed Blacky, so that surely counts.
Nando would like to request speedier service, thank you very much.
Nando would like to request speedier service, thank you very much.
Olivia seems convinced that she who maketh the funniest face getteth her breakfast first.
Olivia seems convinced that she who maketh the funniest face getteth her breakfast first.
A contest which, incidentally, Tush is willing to join.
A contest which, incidentally, Tush is willing to join.

Unlucky ponies

Luckiest horse in the barn Emilie ain’t. We had that big laminitis scare in December which turned out to actually have been a massive hoof abscess instead (‘biggest damned thing I’ve seen in a while’, the farrier said). That was good news—she got to lose the mouth guard, and she certainly was not unhappy about that.

Trust Emilie to finally get the vet’s word that she’s fine and promptly get injured again. This time she got into a fight with a gelding in the field (same one she was cheerfully handing out sex ed lessons with two weeks previous) and now she’s got a lame hind leg and severe kick injuries on the front.

Some days I don’t think there will ever be a day when Emilie and I are in good health at the same time.

Oh, the fjord at the top of the page? That’s Loke, one of the resident senior geldings who felt like modelling on a hot spring day.

Emilie and the husband in the arena.
At least one of ’em has great hair.
The husband in the sun.
Too hot to work. Emilie trimmed the arena edges while we just slacked off.

Devilsaurs of Doom

The lead devilsaur. Fear his ominous doomstare!

Have you ever seen one? A monstrous, white dinosaur that reaches all the way up to your knee while it fluffs its ominous black tail feathers and gives you the death glare?

Emilie isn’t usually afraid of chickens. There were chickens on the farm we bought her from, two years ago. Chickens aren’t frightening. Heck, when we moved to the new barn two weeks ago, she seemed happy to see chickens again. Chickens were a comforting sight.

The arrival of another new pony this week changed things. The new guy is extremely stressed out and has little to no experience being handled by humans. He seems to never really have learned how to socialize either, whether with horses or humans. New guy is neither dumb nor mean but obviously, there’s been elevated stress levels in the herd (since then, he’s been put in a separate pasture with two older geldings to help him settle in).

I’ve probably mentioned that Emilie is firmly convinced that she is a boy. The other day she went into full stallion mode as I was walking her in from pasture. Those who’ve seen me walking Emilie on a lead know that in our case this means, she walks, I kind of lean in over her for support, and she paces herself to be my living crutch. She’s a very caring horse that way. And protective.

Particularly against devilsaurs.

The farm’s chickens had decided to nap out in the courtyard. Emilie came to a crashing halt, puffed herself up with tail high and round neck like a stallion defending his herd. Then she shouldered me away until she was firmly between me and the vicious raptor gang. We walked sideways to the barn door, her shielding me with her own heroic flesh.

I’m still giggling gratefully. Giggling because it looked friggin’ hilarious, and grateful because I own a horse who sees me as a herd mate that she wants to protect.

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.

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.