Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Hunter

Crime Scene

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Yesterday morning, Cyndie walked into the barn to find one of the chicks was perfectly perched on the stick I had added to the brooder. Not only are our new babies healthy, but they are smart, too.

The horses are also smart, but they (or at least one of them) didn’t practice healthy decision-making overnight. Beneath the overhang of the barn Cyndie stumbled upon what appeared to be a crime scene. One of the slow-feeder boxes had been assaulted.

Evidence is entirely circumstantial, but we believe one of the geldings, most likely Hunter, was the culprit. The big unanswered question is why? And why all of a sudden, after years of leaving them be, for the most part.

There was a single isolated incident, way back when the boxes were first put in use, that we found one box mysteriously moved out of position. Both times, what surprised me most was a distinct lack of drag marks. I have a hard time visualizing how they might be picking up the box to move it without one part dragging in the dirt.

This time the box was both moved about 10 feet and turned completely upside down.

If I had to guess, I’d say the message for us is that they are unhappy with the limited supply of hay we have been serving, as well as the quality, since they are again getting more of the bales for which they have previously demonstrated a very vivid disdain.

Cyndie held out a suspicion that the grate may have gotten hung up and they were messing with the box to remedy that situation, but became startled by something, leading to the chaotic catastrophe she found in the morning.

That theory lost a little footing when she found this later in the day:

 They didn’t even wait around for darkness to make their opinions known a second time.

I guess I should think about moving the trail cam to the paddock to capture what the horses are up to when the innkeepers are away. The mis-behaver might end up losing some privileges, which is the opposite of what he is after, I’m sure.

I hope this behavior isn’t a way to act out over jealousy about the new tenants getting all the attention in the barn. The chicks are just so irresistibly cute, don’t ya know.

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Written by johnwhays

March 29, 2017 at 6:00 am

Precious Protector

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Conditions weren’t ideal to assess Cayenne’s status yesterday, because the first days of March this year brought us a classic spring thunderstorm that showed up under a very-early-in-the-year Tornado Watch. It unfolded with uncharacteristically warm temps, high winds, LOTS of lightning, plenty of thunder, and finally, some pea-sized hail.

Cyndie moved the horses into the barn before the wild weather ultimately let loose, but she did have one interesting anecdote to share from a little earlier.

Whenever the wind is blowing, it puts the horses on edge, so they were already a little skittish when Cyndie was moving among the herd brushing out their shedding winter coats. As she was working with Hunter, a tractor in our neighbor’s field roared to life and startled the younger gelding into a little emergency evacuation drill.

Dezirea happened to be blocking his first escape route, so he faltered in his anxious reaction and suddenly appeared as though he wanted to go through Cyndie to get away.

Cyndie explains it all as happening in a split second, but she had time to have her own thoughts of panic and admonished Hunter not to run her over.

In that same instant, our somewhat hobbled patient in the new shoes overcame her tentative maneuvering and rushed to the scene, placing her body between Cyndie and Hunter, forcing him to make one last adjustment and exit, stage opposite.

Cayenne is obviously doing well enough to think fast and move even faster.

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Written by johnwhays

March 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

New Affliction

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What now? Last week, Cyndie alerted to what she thought was a cut wound above one of Hunter’s back hooves. She tried treating it by washing and applying an antiseptic and then we went away for the weekend. Upon our return, it appeared to be scabbing over, but it also seemed to be spreading.

An online search produced a pretty accurate match for mud fever. Not fun. She made an appointment with our vet to move up the annual fall visit to today so we can take care of this as quickly as possible.

dscn5142eThe poor guy appears to be favoring it quite a bit and it is visibly swollen. Cyndie thinks it is getting painful for him, as he won’t let her do anything with it now.

The vet will be able to sedate Hunter which will allow them to clean it up and treat the disease.

We assume the frequent rains and prolonged resulting wetness we have been enduring is a contributing factor. One response to that will be to keep him stabled in the barn. Oh joy.

But I will accept that outcome if it will cut this disease short. From what I have read about it, this pastern dermatitis is not something we want to mess with. It is contagious, difficult to treat, and can quickly become a very serious condition.

Send us some love and healing to Hunter!

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Written by johnwhays

September 8, 2016 at 6:00 am

Sharing Licks

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Cyndie caught this shot of Hunter and Cayenne sharing time on a mineral block that hangs on a rope around the fence post.

Sure, they are on the block at the same time, but it looks to me like Hunter (on the left) is being as careful as possible about respecting her space.

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Written by johnwhays

August 18, 2016 at 6:00 am

Bath Day

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We’ve had a really fine few days of summer weather this weekend. Cyndie decided it would be a good day to give the horses a bath. I showed up in time to find Legacy luxuriating in front of the fan to dry.

DSCN5018eLooking out the door of the barn, I found Hunter in process.

DSCN5015eWhen Cyndie made her way back to the house after tending to all 4 horses, she reported that Cayenne was the surprise of the four, being the one to immediately roll in the dust when let back into the paddock.

IMG_iP1586eCHI would have put my money on Hunter.

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Written by johnwhays

August 8, 2016 at 6:00 am

Adding Oxygen

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A sure sign of spring being in full swing is when we finally start dealing with the piles of manure that accumulate in the paddocks over winter. Yesterday, I dug into one of the two big ones.

IMG_iP1374eWe generally build up the piles in the paddock and then ignore them. As a result, they don’t make stellar progress in breaking down. However, over time they do settle noticeably. Seeing them get flat is usually a trigger for me to take action to turn the pile.

Since the pile yesterday had been left untended for weeks, it made for a vivid example of the transition possible when putting in the effort to turn it over, reshape it and add air.

The micro organisms that do the composting will use up all available water and oxygen in the pile. If it isn’t replenished, the process stalls. In the case of this pile, the neglect had foiled things before all the moisture was removed, so it was still wet enough, but it needed some air get the process going again.

In the image you can see the old, dry, flattened portion on the right, and the freshly turned, taller pile I was turning it into on the left.

While I was working, Hunter sauntered over to visit. I acknowledged him, but didn’t stop what I was doing. He didn’t move as I maneuvered the pitch fork to toss the pile without hitting him, but only narrowly missing him. He kept inhaling loudly, absorbing the earthy smells emanating from the newly oxygenated mass.

I breathed heavily, right along with him as I worked. Soon, I noticed his eyes were getting droopy. He was just chilling near me as I toiled away.

It reminded me of the time, years ago, when I was just getting to know the horses. Hunter approached me while I was raking up the winter’s-worth of accumulated manure, and he laid down next to me. I was so shocked by his action that I called Cyndie to check on the situation. She seemed thrilled by his behavior and assured me that it was an indication he was entirely comfortable with my presence and I could simply continue to rake while he rested beside me.

It’s precious knowing he still likes to hang with me like that as I work.

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Written by johnwhays

May 21, 2016 at 6:00 am

Four Horses

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With Cyndie home full-time this year and me working 4-days a week, I spend dramatically less time with the horses than I did last year. On Thursday, Cyndie asked me to feed the horses when I got home from work, because she wasn’t going to be home, and I found myself lingering with them afterward.

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The young ones, Cayenne and Hunter, cooperated in some mutual grooming.

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Legacy was test tasting a sample of the new hay Cyndie had brought home.

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Dezirea appeared to be standing watch. She is a very good lookout.

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Yesterday, while I was working on distributing piles of compost to trees around the property, I looked up and spotted Dezirea laying down in the pasture. It was late in the afternoon, about the time they would be coming up to the barn for their evening feed, and it alarmed me to see her down at that hour of the day.

I hustled that direction and hollered to Cyndie, who had walked past the horses minutes earlier. I was curious how long Dezirea had been down. At the same time that I got Cyndie’s attention across the field, our hollering rousted Dezirea from her brief slumber. She stood up right away and quickly rendered my query to Cyndie, moot, although I still learned she hadn’t been down when Cyndie walked by earlier.

So, that was a really short nap.

Sorry, Dez, for so loudly disrupting your rest.

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Written by johnwhays

May 15, 2016 at 6:00 am