Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, December 26, 2010

At the barn #28 - Communication - it's a two way street...

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Still waiting for the snow that's been predicted. So far only rain make that freezing rain and lots of wind. Grey horses do look fantastic against a white background...  I'm still hoping we'll get some photo ops later on this afternoon. 


I'm constantly amazed by how our horses communicate with us, and often wonder how frustrating it is for them that we (sometimes) take so long to figure out what they're trying to tell us. Just another testament to the generosity of spirit our horses share with us.

Before our last ride Val was rubbing his gums along my leg. That seemed strange, so I inspected more closely. I saw a tinge of bleeding, and what looked like some of his evening mash kind of collecting at his upper gum line. After our ride, I gently brushed his teeth with a soft brush. Then I made a saline solution, and used my dose syringe to jet it around where the bleeding was. I've done this every day since. 

As I pondered what might be going on, I eventually remembered noticing that Val had also recently been biting his metal gate, chewing on his tack room door and doing some different, strange looking jaw stretching / tongue action. It suddenly hit me that Val's Nibble Net and the cold weather must be to blame. Because it's so cold, I've been cramming extra hay into the hay net - to the point that it's hard to get closed. The hay he's eating now is pretty coarse and more chopped than long and stringy. For him to pull it out through the small holes of the hay net he is abrading his gums on the webbing.

Besides treating his gums, which he totally cooperates with, I'm dividing his hay into two nets so it's looser and easier to get out. Obviously Val was trying to tell me something.

Lesson: if your horse suddenly starts up with new, different or weird behaviors, it is worth looking into. I feel really bad that he was suffering while just trying to eat, but I'm so glad he's smart enough to let me know. Interestingly, all of this went on at the same time as I've been working out scheduling with a new, natural balance horse dentist. Synchronicity!


As far as Christmas goes, suffice it to say that Val won't run out of treat options any time soon... possibly in this lifetime. He also got a heavy duty increased capacity storage container for his treat riches. (He got his main present a while back - a pair of Cavallo boots.) Actually, I noticed that he was sort of busting out of his back-up blanket as I tried to buckle it this morning, so some rationing will probably be necessary.

Due to Christmas meal preparations, we missed out on a great day for riding yesterday. Next year we're doing a Christmas Eve dinner instead! Luckily we're expecting a number of pretty days in a row with temps in the 50's this coming week - more like the usual conditions here - so Val and I can work off some of our holiday indulgences. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday - we sure did :)

Look what Santa left me under the tree...
Guess what sound the alarm makes!
And who knew such a thing existed?


  1. I love your new alarm clock! Hopefully, when it neighs you awake in the morning you'll jump right out of bed and be ready to greet the day with a smile :)

    We use hay nets too but I never thought that it might be hurting their gums. Good catch. We use a different type but it's something to watch out for.

    Hope you get the snow (if you really want it). We're getting blasted with blizzard conditions right now, but if I could I'd gladly send it your way.

  2. I will happily trade you some snow for your rain! Although it is nice for photos, the stuff gets absolutely everywhere!

    I'm glad you shared your hay net experience. I don't have much experience with hay nets, as I only use them for trailering. I would have never thought of them causing sore gums! I'll be sure to watch out for it next time I haul horses anywhere, especially if it's a longer trip!

  3. Wow, that's so smart of you to figure out the hay net thing. Good catch. And Val was so smart to tell you. They're amazing animals.
    I LOVE your alarm clock! It's absolutely to die for - very cool.

  4. Maybe you should came down here. We have like a foot of snow!!

  5. GHM and Shannon-

    The hay net seems only to be a problem with really coarse hay and severe over-stuffing. Totally my fault!

  6. Love that alarm clock! Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by and for your kind wishes. Hope 2011 is what you want it to be!

  7. Love the alarm clock. I'm with you, didn't know such a thing existed.

    Good catch on the hay net.

  8. Wow, I have to say, I've never seen such a hay net as that! Those weaves are so small! I think if cut a hole in the center, slightly bigger, for a Val nose or lips! Poor dude, glad you head him speaking!

    Did you get snow? My sissy's barn did...couple days in a row.
    That clock is great!


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