Wednesday, September 27, 2017

My Left Foot


Blue and Nikita...I know he's a little chunky but we're working on slimming down

Summer is officially over, although you certainly can’t tell by the weather we’ve been having.  It feels like August with high 80’s and some 90 degree days with the added bonus of high humidity. I’m waiting for autumn to kick in with some cooler temps.  In the meantime I’ll update on what’s been happening around the farm this summer.

Blue hasn’t been doing as well as I would like.  It all started when the farrier couldn’t make it for an extended period of time to shoe him. His toes got longer than they normally would. He was lame and favoring his left front because he had developed a painful abscess so we pulled his front shoes.  When the farrier did come we suggested he leave the shoes off all around and just trim him.  We put him in boots to help cushion his foot.  Eventually, the abscess blew out but was quickly followed by another abscess in the same spot.  The hoof cracked and broke off in pieces from the abscesses so there was no way his hoof could hold a shoe anyway. 
This is Blue's hoof initially

"How about a treat, my foot hurts ya know"

Some improvement

For a while he was on limited turnout wearing boots.  He got to wander around up by the barn, with access to his stall with hay and a fan plus a small paddock to graze and the lawn around the barn to explore but he was missing his friends. 

" Hey guys I'm over here"

When his foot seemed to not be bothering him too much we let him reunite with his buddies wearing his boots, which he promptly lost.  Luckily, we had another set so he wore those for a while until he lost them too.  I did search for them but couldn’t find them. Every time I spotted something black lying in the grass I’d drive over to it only to have my hopes dashed discovering it was a pile of manure.  So somewhere on forty acres are two sets of boots waiting to be found!  Blue loved his boots, some mornings he would refuse to leave his stall until his boots were put on. You’d think he would have taken better care of them. 
Blue showing off his new "kicks"

I had to buy another pair and this pair stayed on for the duration.  He’s not wearing boots and he’s not lame anymore, his hoof and sole are hardening and growing although he’s still walking slowly.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but Blue is sort of a big woosie when it comes to injuries.
This is where we are as of now, so much better but a ways to go yet

Needless to say I haven’t been able to ride all summer and that’s okay because I don’t get along with heat and humidity very well.  Blue should be able to be ridden for a limited time at the walk when he’s ready. So fingers crossed we will be able to enjoy some cool autumn weather in the saddle soon.

Quote for Today

Give a horse what he needs and he will give you his heart in return.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


I had this little one visit us the other day.  The dogs were outside and barking up a storm and when I went to investigate this little cutie was what had their tails in a twist.  Well, Ginger doesn’t have a tail but Nikita does. Ginger was being brave while she had back up and barking from atop the patio while Nikita was down close to the baby.  Neither one of them would get close so the baby just walked past them and jumped onto the patio.  Ginger ran under the bushes and Nikita barked from the steps.  I felt sorry for the deer, it didn’t know what to do but obviously wasn’t afraid of the dogs or me.  This little deer must have just been born because its legs were still wobbly.  I’m calling the deer “it” because I can’t tell if its male or female and I wasn’t looking underneath to find out.  The poor little thing was following me around the patio and crying, it was heartbreaking.  It was lost without its mom and just wanted comfort but I knew I couldn’t touch it and leave a human scent on it.  I was just hoping the mom would come back for it and wasn’t hit by a car.  It jumped down into the herb garden and went under the deck and after I put my two killers in the house I went out to look for it but it was gone. 

I found out from a neighbor who cuts our lawn that there are two babies the mother doe hid in our bushes at the back of the property.  One of them came out to run alongside the lawnmower so he stopped mowing.  He’s a hunter so he knows all about the habits of the deer around here.  He told me the mother hides the babies during the day to keep them from the coyotes since they have no scent yet and she does.  I also learned that it was a good thing I didn’t touch them and leave a human scent on them (although I really did want to pet it and comfort it).  Then the mama doe goes down to the swamp for the day or into one of the hay fields around here and comes back at night. So that was my wildlife lesson for the week. 

Here are a few pictures of Bambi:

"The Mighty Hunter"

"And you call yourself a ferocious German Shepherd.  Ha! I'm not scared of you!"

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer Vacation?

"Blue" loving his new muzzle...not so much!

There is nothing new happening here on the farm.  So I haven’t much to report on.  The horses are all doing well and have worked it out as a herd without a leader.  No one has emerged to take over Mellon’s role as far as I can tell.  They all seem to know how to take care of themselves at this stage of their lives.  I’ve noticed that they stay closer together instead of spreading out too far from each other, though I'm not sure if that means anything.  

I most likely won’t be posting much for the rest of the month.  My two granddaughter’s will be staying with me for a while and I’m looking forward to that. There is always so much more to do in summer around the farm too.  I really despise weeds, they seem to be taking over the arenas so there is lots of dragging to be done.  Then there are flowers still to be planted and a thousand other maintenance jobs.  The work never ends.

"Nikita" settled right in to the routine

"Ginger" my co-pilot
Ginger and Nikita are getting along much better and have fun romping and playing most of the day.  They keep each other busy but it does seem like there's more than just two of them.  Especially, when they're underfoot all day and I'm constantly stepping over them or around them.  It's worked out for the best having another pooch in the house.

Stay cool and enjoy your rides.  I’ll be back when I can.

Until next time

I really like this quote. I may just have to follow the old boys thinking on this one!

Quote for Today
“There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it.”
― Andrew Jackson

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day (Revisited from last year)

 "Look back at our struggle for freedom Trace our present day's strength to it's source
 And you'll find that man's pathway to glory
 Is strewn with the bones of the horse.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Herd Update

" Mellon"
We’d like to thank everyone for your heartfelt sympathies on our loss of Mellon.  Your comments and thoughts meant a lot.  It’s still hard to believe Mellon is gone, we were so used to having him with us for twenty-seven years.  The barn seems very empty now without his presence.  The herd is definitely lost without him.  No one has emerged as leader to tell them what to do.  Blue is capable of being a leader except for the fact that he is kind of lazy and he is just not motivated enough.  Neither Donnie nor Grady are natural leaders. Sami is trying to get them to follow him but they simply ignore the little guy.  Poor Sami.

Mellon used to lead them up for water or hay nets at certain times of the day and just take care of them all in general.  In the first few days my daughter actually had to go out and bring them up for a water break.  At least that part has gotten better and they’ve figured it out for themselves now.  If only Nate or Dusty were still with us we’re certain one of them would have emerged as leader.  As it stands for now leadership is up for grabs.  

"Blue" (still not happy but dealing with it)

Blue and Sami have been wearing their Harmany Grazing Muzzles and seem to be having no problems with them at all.  Some slight adjustments were made so they had more of a custom fit to their faces in the beginning. I think the horses prefer these to the heavy nylon ones with the rubber bottom we used previously.  They are lighter and clean off easily.  The only potential problem I worried about initially is whether they would get stuck in the bowl of the automatic waterers outside but they fit just fine and there hasn’t been a problem. What I didn’t like about the other ones was, when they got wet and muddy they got very heavy. It seems these are working out really well and we’re happy with the purchase. Blue has been known to trash his grazing muzzles in the past in record time but he hasn’t been able to disassemble this one yet.  So I’m hopeful it will last the season.

Until next time

Quote for Today
 Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less and smile a little more.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Remembering Mellon


" Mellon "

We had to say goodbye to my daughter’s horse Mellon.  He colicked Friday night and there were no treatment options that would save his life.  Mellon was 30 years old and my daughter had him since he was 3 years old.  She and Mellon had a special relationship for the past 27 years.

A little bit about Mellon’s life:

The woman who my daughter worked for in her teen years was a horse dealer.  One time while in Canada picking up a horse she noticed Mellon in a paddock enduring blizzard conditions.  He was starving and uncared for by the man who was in charge of him.  She purchased Mellon, a 3 yr. old Trahkener gelding, and brought him home.  After rehabbing him, he was sold to a woman who transferred him to the barn where we were boarding at the time.  She had named him "Melonkampf," which she said meant “head battle.” This woman couldn't ride him; he bucked her off every time she tried.  This led to her abandoning the horse and never being heard from again.  Mellon became a lesson horse and all the “macho” guys wanted their chance to break him and triumph over his attitude.  He bucked every one of them off, no matter how much they spurred him or hit him with a crop, or whatever gear they put in his mouth and Mellon always came out the winner.  Mellon got his show name “Mission: Impossible” from one of these guys after the umpteenth time Mellon dumped him.  Mellon was also ridden by many of the adult women students and trainers.  True to “ Mellon” form they all took a turn in the dirt.

During this time my daughter was observing Mellon and how he was treated.  He was in the stall next to her horse, Lifeguard.  She formed a bond with him over time, and when she did finally ride him, they got along just fine. We eventually bought Mellon for her.  Mellon had obviously picked her to be his person.  I believe the reason he chose her is because she treated him kindly and with respect.  All the others treated him as their enemy; a horse to be broken.  He'd always been called "Melon" around the barn (from Melonkampf), and the first thing she did was make one small change in his name to "Mellon," the elvish word for "friend" from Lord of the Rings. In the story, while trying to unlock a stone gate, one of the characters says: "It's a riddle. Speak, friend, and enter." The answer that unlocked the impossible gate was the word for friend itself: Mellon.

That’s not to say that riding him was always a bouquet of roses; he did have his moments.  He was the only horse I’ve ever seen who would stop in the middle of a ride/lesson and put his foot down if there was something he didn’t want to do.  On the other hand there were numerous times when she got to a wrong distance at a jump and he’d take it anyway and saved her bacon.  He wasn’t the perfect horse but he certainly taught us all a lot and made life with him memorable. 
" Saratoga, N.Y. Horse Show"

" Sussex County, N.J. Horse Show"

Shortly after we purchased Mellon we purchased my Dutch Warmblood Erik who was also a 3 year old.  He and Mellon were inseparable for 15 years until Erik colicked and died about ten years ago. After Erik died Mellon was really never the same, it seemed he never got over the grief of losing his best friend.  I always thought there was sadness in his eyes.   I’m sure Mellon and Erik are together again along with their best friend Lifeguard.  These three were the original herd and we called them “The Three Amigos.”
" Mellon, Lifeguard & Erik"

" Mellon & Erik"

Unforgettable Mellon Memories

·      Throughout his life, Mellon hated crossing water, getting his feet wet, and being bathed, like many horses do. But he loved to stick his face directly in the stream of the hose.
·      He would stomp on anything that scurried around his feet. This included the rats in his stall at one barn (which we found flattened every morning), and even the horseshoe crabs he encountered at the beach. He was lightning fast with those hooves!
·      He would set up shop in one of the sheds and one by one each of the horses would file in to be groomed by Mellon. We're not sure whether this was a salon (Mel was a particularly good groomer) or whether, as leader of the herd, he was holding court with his "subjects."
·      When the water trough got low, he would stand guard over it until it was refilled. When it was empty, he would stand over it and weave, and we'd always know there was a problem. Ditto w/ the hay nets. And the gate... And anything else that bothered him. He had a way of telling us what was up.
·      No one ever pulled even a hair from his mane if they wanted to live. It wasn't worth the MMA match that followed.
·      In the trailer, he fended off giant trucks with scary kicks and giant bucks. No truck-monster ever got him, so I guess it worked.
·      The time he ran down a flight of wide railroad tie and stone dust steps on a hunter pace.  They thought they were supposed to go down those and Mellon ran down them like they were nothing. When they got to the bottom, they saw the trail running beside them.
·      Mellon and daughter schooling at Hampton Classic as he did an impressive buck coming over a jump.  A reporter/photographer from the Daily News was there and asked her “can you do that again” to which she replied “I hope not!” They did get their picture in the newspaper. 
·      The time he stopped dead at a 5 foot jump the trainer threw together with flower boxes stacked on top of each other and then decided to take it from a standstill.
·      If one of the herd was still out, he never came in. He'd run back out to the field and round them up, or stay out with them so they weren't alone all night. He never abandoned his friends. This is probably why he was so upset when Lifeguard, Erik, and Dusty suddenly disappeared from his life. They just got on a trailer one day and never came back. Mellon believed it was his job to look after them, and when he couldn't find them, it must have worried him to no end, and broken his heart.
"Mellon, always the happiest when with his girl"

Mellon has been the leader of the herd for his entire time with us and he was a hard taskmaster. The entire herd always listened to him, no discussion.  We have no idea who will emerge as the leader now.

We will miss him terribly.  He was strong and opinionated yet sweet and kind. Mellon was a horse to be reckoned with and will be remembered always with love and a smile.
" The Three Amigos" walking into the sunset together again...
A video of 'Mellon Moments'
With his song: "I Saw You In The Wild" by 
The Great Lake Swimmers

Quotes for Today

There is something about the sight of a fallen horse that strikes one's heart in such a way, even for those who are not particularly a horse lover...the significance of something so sacred, powerful, beautiful, intoxicating as the horse...when a fallen horse is seen overcome by life's obstacles, fallen tears and a jolt to the heart and soul can never be prevented...
-Stephanie M Thorn

Somewhere in time’s own space

There must be some sweet pastured place

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow

Some paradise where horses go, 

For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
-Stanley Harrison

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Harmany Muzzle

"Sami" The Perfect Model"

" Does this make me look silly, are the guys going to make fun of me"

"Are you kidding me...what is this contraption anyway!"

We recently purchased the Harmany Muzzle to prevent Blue and Sami from ingesting too much grass while grazing.  They are the two horses here who need it most.  We attached them to their halters today to see how they would do with them and put them in the small grass paddock by the barn so we can keep an eye on them.  The one concern we had was that they wouldn’t fit into the automatic waterers but Blue tested his out first thing and it does fit in the bowl easily and doesn’t get caught on the bottom of the rim which sort of sticks out a little.
" We really need to talk about this"

I think we still have to make adjustments with the fit so it will be a learning curve.  The muzzles can be shaped by heating them with hot water.  We decided to try these particular muzzles because they seem more lightweight and more adjustable to give a more custom fit as needed.  Another plus is they can be cleaned at the end of the day by rinsing them off under water.  So we’ll see how it goes and I’ll let you know what we think of them after a few weeks.  I’m interested to see how they hold up.  Blue is notorious for trashing grazing muzzles.  I can only hope he’s met his match with this one.

Here is part of the ad for Harmany Muzzles:

"The Harmany Muzzle is designed to be open and airy, allowing better ventilation for the horse while still slowing his forage intake. Instead of nylon webbing which can absorb moisture and then mold or mildew, the Harmany muzzle is a medical-grade plastic containing kevlar fibers: the plastic will not splinter or snap to produce sharp edges (though horses can eventually chew through it like a conventional muzzle — Dr. Harman is looking into solutions for that problem.) At the end of the day, the entire muzzle can be hosed down or washed with soap and water and easily dried: no more worries about your horse breathing in mold!" 
If you want to check it out for yourself here’s the website:

Until next time

Quote for Today

Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management.