Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Concerns, Cookies, and Colors

First off, I had a request to bring the donate button back for Bay Girl donations, so of course here it is!

We are up to a little over $700 at this moment in time.... sooooo close!!!!!

I really can't wait until this colt gets weaned and poor Bay Girl gets to get on with her life. I'm a bit concerned right now with her condition, and I am essentially powerless to do anything about it given the fact that a) she isn't yet mine and b) anything I do to try and help her could potentially affect the nursing colt, and that is a big gigantic no-no. The main physical issue going on with her right now is her gigantic humongous boom belly, and it only seems to be getting bigger with time. Her condition is better than it was when she first came back, but she is wide as a house and saggy to boot. Coupled with the fact that she has no topline anymore and you can still see her ribs, I'm beginning to suspect that a few things are going on with her.

As far as I know, Bay Girl has probably never had a fecal done in her life, and she probably has also been out on god knows how many pastures with other worm-filled horses, so her worm load is probably high and contributing to the issue. Just because she has been on a "regular worming schedule" doesn't mean anything since we don't know what we are up against. The potbelly with some ribs and a generally poor appearance could of course also be linked to her having a parasitic colt latched onto her at all hours of the day and night, but it of course could also be worms.... or ulcers... or both. The other suspected culprit is ulcers, which also wouldn't surprise me. She has lived in terror for most of her life, fretting about everything under the sun... who wouldn't get ulcers from that? She also eats quite a lot of oats and sweet feed every day, which aren't exactly the foodstuffs I will be choosing for her.

Of course, she could also just have a massive grass belly from stuffing herself with not-so-great quality pasture and coastal hay all the time. Hmm.

She has also gotten a little bit gassy twice now, which is concerning... also potentially related to all of the above things. Her gassiness passes by itself without help of drugs, thankfully, but I'm worried that there will come a time when she will get colicky and it will not be ok.

This is Bay Girl about a month or so ago, looking not so hot:

The big belly wasn't so noticeable then. She always strikes that funny pose when nursing.... no idea why.

Sigh. Hang on baby girl, we'll get it fixed as soon as we can!

In better news, I FINALLY GOT HER TO EAT A DIFFERENT KIND OF COOKIE! It took some convincing, but I was finally able to convince her that it was not poison.

I tried a few tricks first.... first, lure in your prey....

Second, try to fake her out by offering both tasty cookies at once...

Third, watch as she eats the first cookie, then suspiciously snorts loudly at the second, and turns and walks away.

Okay. Guess she is not to be outsmarted.

What worked? I have no idea. She just walked up to me today when I offered her a cookie - the third or fourth time I've offered this same type of cookie, with no interest until now - and she just took it in her mouth and crunched! Apparently she liked it well enough, because even though she made some weirded out faces, she didn't spit it out. Hooray cookies!

Thirdly, and this one sort of comes as a surprise to me too, but I think Bay Girl is actually a rabicano. No, seriously! Despite the fact that she is bay as the day is long - bay enough to be named Bay Girl - she has a curious pattern of white hairs at the base of her tail. I always thought it was weird, and wondered if she had been rubbing her tail enough to cause white hairs to grow. They never changed, however, and continued to grow on in their curious barring pattern. Here's an extremely bad picture of it:

I'll get better ones. But you sort of get the idea.

After much googling for skunk tails, I was able to piece together the idea that she might be a rabicano:
"Rabicano is a specific set of white markings that usually affect the base of the tail, flank and belly of a horse. In its most minimal form, it will show only white frosting at the base of the tail, often called a coon or skunk tail because of the striped appearance. A medium expression will have the white tail base, plus white hairs interspersed over the horse’s flanks, creating a roan appearance."

How weird is that. But the description of a minimally expressed rabicano fits!

You all know I love weird colored horses, so I guess Bay Girl just had to make sure that she fits in!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Very Big Day

Can you spot what is missing in this picture?

Look closer!

That's right, Bay Girl's catch halter is OFF! (Hopefully for good!)

This is a very big step for both of us. The catch halter is my security blanket, and I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about doing things without it. If it goes poorly, it will of course go back on for a little while, but hopefully we won't need it anymore. It wasn't all that long ago that I couldn't even catch and halter her while she was in a stall, after all! She has been great about being haltered and having her face handled, so hopefully the progression continues!

This is a HUGE DAY for both of us!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Bay Girl will look like....

..... once she gets her topline back and loses that saggy mom-belly.

Aah, the wonders of extremely rudimentary Paint. ;)

It was suggested after my last post that I take the donations I have and make an offer on Bay Girl and see what they say. Seeing as we now have $700 (!!!!!!!!!!!!), I think I might just do that. I have a feeling they'll say no, but you never know!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Playing Catch-Up, and Quincy

(This is partially crossposted to the Pangea blog! Sorry for the overlap!)
Sorry for my brief absence - I've been out of state at a practicum for a few days and have been insanely busy in the meantime! I didn't even have time to say I was leaving! I made it back all in one piece thankfully, armed with ever-increasing knowledge and a desire to get under even more horses. (I'm glad you all are horse people, because upon reading that sentence for a second time, it could be taken horribly the wrong way.)

The one thing I never even got a chance to mention before I headed frantically off for my journey was Quincy's day. May 3rd marked the 8-year anniversary of his death, and at this point it seems like such a sad, distant memory. He's been gone for so long... sometimes it feels like just yesterday, sometimes it feels like an eternity. Take a little time to go and honor his memory, if you like reading about Pangea, Gogo, and Bay Girl. I wouldn't be here without his love, and neither would any of them.

Tributes to Quincy

I miss you, Fuzzman. Every day, and I always will.

In Bay Girl news, we are up to $686!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The response so far has been completely overwhelming, and I can't thank you guys enough. You guys are THE BEST. THE ABSOLUTE BEST.

Today was deworming day for the entire farm. I long ago strayed away from this practice with my own horse, but the farm horses are still on a rotational program, so first thing in the morning I nailed everyone with their dewormer. If you remember, Bay Girl once had a violent opposition to being dewormed, but today? She stood quietly and let me do it!! I can't hardly believe it... who is this mare and what has she done with Bay Girl??

I also tried at the end of the day to give her a different kind of cookie, a flavor I haven't tried before. I've only just started to get her to accept those rock-hard Manna-Pro cookies (which was what happened to be laying around at the time), but other cookies? With one suspicious sniff, she said no.

Oh well. We'll keep trying.

Now, since all of you have been so amazingly awesome and helpful, I figure you guys should choose what Bay Girl and I work on next! We're essentially stuck working out in the pasture until her colt is weaned, and he is a total pest to work around. (He got an elbow in the esophagus today when he tried to mount me.... colts.) Here are the things Bay Girl knows how to do at this point:

- Catch
- Halter, but needs work
- Be sprayed down from a spray bottle
- Stand for brushing
- Feet handling
- Fly mask
- Lead and back away from pressure, but needs refinement
- Deworming
- Crossties and standing tied, mostly

Things Bay Girl doesn't know how to do:

- Everything else

We're pretty much starting from complete scratch on everything, but that's all right. Remember that we started out with a mare that wouldn't even come near people at all, so the fact that we've gotten this far is astounding!

My basic list of things to work on is something along these lines: introduction to clippers, practice haltering, more refinement of groundwork and leading, backing, etc., and more of this type of stuff. So readers, what would YOU work on with a mare who is limited to pasture-only work, and who has an obnoxious little colt at her side? Let your imaginations run wild!