dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Full of Piss and Vinegar

That is how I would describe Miss Carmen these days. She is full of energy but unable to expend it in the deep snow and it's resulting in her feeling very energetic.

Yesterday it rained in the afternoon and the horses had to come in. When I came home from work I put Irish in the cross ties, cleaned out his stall and gave him a quick groom. He was, of course, Mr. Perfect.

I then brought out Carmen. She snorted at the radio playing and I had to stand there for a bit while she realized that the radio (which she's heard every day since she arrived) was not going to leap off the shelf and bite her on her delicate nose (she does have the cutest nose). I then put her in the cross ties. I decided to proceed on the side of caution so I shut the barn doors just in case she broke out of her cross ties.

I then started cleaning out her stall.

(Which leads to a question for other mare owners- is there a trick to finding the pee spots of mares? With geldings it's easy but I find looking for hers difficult. Kinda like an easter egg hunt. Only with pee. Not chocolate. )

Sorry, back to my story. Carmen was quite impatient, moving around, pawing and generally behaving like a young horse with an excess of energy. I ignored the unwanted behaviour and praised her when quiet. She does like being praised. I finished by putting hay in her rack and then went to give her a groom. That was okay- she likes being groomed. I then decided to put on her lighter blanket because it's warming up. I remembered that it was in my trunk which is, of course, a catch all for lead lines, brushes and other stuff that I plan to put away. I picked up some stuff and dropped it into the feed bin of the empty stall.

Carmen exploded. I leaped away while she leapt ahead
Flee, run for your lives!
She jumped ahead and hit the end of the cross ties and then bounced back (I love my stretchy cross ties, they give so there's less to fight). She stood there prancing piaffing and looking wild eyed.

"whoaaa" I said soothingly.
whoa? WHOA? I must flee
You're being silly I simply made a noise. 
I began to rattle the items in the feed bin while she stamped her feet. I kept doing it and she started looking less frightened and more peeved.
Stop that!
I will. when you stop dancing around. 
I don't like it
I realize that but noises happen all the time and you can't just flee. 

We ended with me dropping stuff into the bin and her standing there. Looking royally annoyed but still. That's my girl.

I finished up with my groom and changing out her blanket. I walked her back to the stall and she got ahead of me going in.
So we spent some time going in and out of the stall until she remembered what it was I expected.

I did like how quickly she figured out that the noise was no big deal. I tend to not pussy foot around my horses so that they get used to noise and abrupt movements without losing the plot.

All of this is the result of young horse, well fed who needs to be exercised. I've cut back her grain ration and bumped up her roughage. While I would like more weight on her I will have to settle with a slower gain until I get her butt into the ring and put it to work.


  1. Stretchy cross ties- brilliant! I've heard of so many horses that have been injured (one fatally) in cross-tie accidents. And those quick release snaps? redonk! Who wants to get a hand in there while a horse is flaying around and unsnap them? Anyway, I like your approach with this mare and I do think the being cooped up is hard on them-especially with the high energy feed too. She does seem very smart though, and while initially spazzing out she is able to think about things and move on, which is a good trait. I really like that about the Mustang mare I sold. She'd see something scary on the trail or she'd spook and we'd work through it, and then she would go on down the trail on a loose rein. It wasn't like it through her into tail-spin mode or ruined the rest of her demeanor for the ride. Sure hope you get a break in the weather soon!

  2. If you are bedding on sawdust of shavings the spot should be easy to find. Scrape away the top layers and watch for any pink or red tinge (this is not blood it is the wood product reacting to urine), when you get to it you'll likely find it's soaked right to the floor so make sure you get it all out. The darker the colour the longer you've missed the spot.

    If you are bedding on straw then there's nothing to it but to scrape away layers in sections looking for sodden material; often with straw you will find large urine pools under the bedding as it is not as absorbant as sawdust or shavings. Straw is easiest to come by and makes fluffy bedding, but it's a hell of a mess all around too.

    If bedding on peatmoss, it is much the same hunt as in sawdust, but no red tinge just dampness that you will recognize.

    If you are lucky she will pick a spot and use it always; I have 1 out of 3 mares that has a particular spot, the other 2? Not so much. My geldings are just shameless pigs, I'm sorry to say.

  3. Lucy always pees in the same area of her stall so I know where to dig in the shavings. Carmen sounds like a smart girl; I'm sure you're right about the pent up energy. Its hard to by young and stuck inside. I'm putting Jackson on stall rest; I think he must have slightly strained his ligament.

  4. "she does have the cutest nose"

    oh lord you are a smitten kitten...glad to see that shes recognizing whose in control, though!

  5. I too am not a pussyfooter! I'm actually quite clumsy so my horses have no choice but to be de-sensitized to all sorts of weird things.

    Soon the snow will be gone for a while and she can burn off some excess energy outdoors!

  6. I'm clumsy like KateRose so mine get used to the unexpected too. I'm glad she figured it or so quickly. I can't wait for your weather to improve so we can hear all about the work you do with her. :-)


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