Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Text received

"To everyone who sent me best wishes for 2008, it did fark all. For 2009 please send money, alcohol, and petrol vouchers"

Can sleep again now

As previously mentioned we had thought Ali the redhead had a new home with some people who appeared a good fit for a nervous mare. They wanted a broodmare.

I had my first pinprick of doubt the day we delivered her when they mentioned which farrier they used. A guy I used once and wouldn't have back as he hit my horse with the rasp for taking her foot back. I said I didn't like this farrier for that reason and Ali's new owner said yes they were aware he could be rough - did I know he had apparently killed a horse by kicking it in the ribs. So forgive me I get this prickle of mistrust about someone who would use a so called professional when they know he is that rough on horses, but I squash it firmly (sometimes you have to take what you can get I guess).

Three days after Ali had gone her new owner rang up to say she had settled in fine and they had decided they were going to start her under saddle now. I have more pinpricks of doubt, this is a 15 year old mare with a puffy knee, not a promising retraining subject. But I figured they practice Parelli so it will take them a million years anyway and they'll either give up on the idea or actually acheive it. She mentions at the same time that she has decided Ali has been having us on - it is unlikely she was abused she was just playing with us. I have some more doubts - everyone who has ever met this mare agrees she has a past that left her with issues and some things genuinely worry her, but again who am I to argue.

Then we get a report about how great she is at playing the seven games. I search my memory banks for what I know of the seven games and I'm impressed the nervous mare doesn't mind being touched all over - well done!

A week after that they are spitting mad - Ali hasn't been caught for three days, she's impossible she rears straight up and tried to strike them with her forefeet etc etc. We get in the car and go down there straight away. New owners aren't there (odd as we said we were going straight down) Ali comes straight up and is simple to catch. She has a huge sore under her halter that is obviously painful (and I imagine why she doesn't want a rope on her halter) We loosen the halter (in retrospect we were chicken and should have taken it right off) and I leave a message on her owners answerphone saying the sore is probably not helping. They ring back the next day - they have caught her but the sore on her nose isn't the issue pressing hard on it doesn't hurt her (tui anyone?) so it is something else - probably just her. We have a long discussion about proceeding forward slowly and cover all sorts of ground. She reiterates several times that she loves Ali and wants to keep her and wants it to work out. So I leave it.

We don't hear anything for a week and then things are apparently going well - Ali is easy to catch, happy to be handled, has been hosed off, her nose is healing up all is good.

Then it all fell apart. I get a phone call to say that she won't ever be suitable for riding so they don't want her anymore. She is impossible to catch, impossible to handle, bad tempered, bites etc etc. The poor mare has no redeeming features. What I really resent is the implication that we sold her as suitable for riding which we of course never did. The woman finishes by saying that obviously Ali is nuts and I shouldn't even rehome her as a broodmare. I lose my cool fairly fast. I point out Ali has been to stud and they had no problems with her at all, that she had a foal I am very pleased with, that she was easy to catch when we had her, easy to lead, tie, move round, whatever. Yes she had some issues and they were told what they were in some detail before they took her but new bad habits were obviously inflicted by new owners not pre-existing problems. She tells me she's offended that I would suggest she mistreated a horse. I tell her I am completely unconcerned about her feelings on the matter. It goes rapidly downhill as you can imagine.

So we go to get the poor mare back - first we can't catch her. We go away and manage to get her two hours later when we come back. Then she shows some completely new behaviour - she loops right out on a 12 foot rope and shows us her new rearing trick. It's pretty impressive, she is close to going over backwards. If you turn and face her she runs backwards - fast. Flick a rope (any rope not just the 12 foot one) anywhere near her and all four feet leave the ground. Her new owners come anywhere near her and she jumps sideways. I'm a bit gobsmacked. I really didn't know you could do so much damage to a horse in such a short time. Of course there is no way she is going to go on the float (something she wasn't brilliant at but did after 10 minutes in the past) she loops out some more. We reluctantly leave her. (this is of course very bad in the minds of these Parelli practicers - we have let her learn that playing up means she gets away with it and we should have put her in with a lunging whip if necessary - thanks, your advice is noted, just as your other mares longstanding loading problems are).

Anyway they went away for Christmas (and put a padlock on their gate being smart arses) so we went down daily and caught Ali, worked with her and let her go again. She started seeming a little more sensible after a day or two.

So yesterday we took the gate off its hinges, got the float in, held our breath while the little red mare looked at it and decided to go on and took her home again. She appears happy enough to be here.

So it hasn't gone the way it should have and I am pretty unhappy about what has happened but we can now get on with dealing with it, instead of lying awake at night wondering how it was going to turn out.

I wouldn't feel quite so bad if these people would even acknowledge that they were the wrong home for Ali - they are still sticking to it is nothing they did, poor little Ali is apparently just a nutter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bah Humbug

I've been Christmas shopping. And I am clinging to sanity by a thread I swear. (Of course many people would swear that I lost any semblence of sanity years ago).

Most years I am better organised but this year I am rather indifferent in the health department so didn't get to it earlier.

Yesterday I was left pondering why the retired don't shop before things go nuts. First there was the old fella in a little Daihatsu car doing a 36 point turn in the carpark building and holding up about 5 cars either side. Eventually he sorted it out - without hitting anything (though it was close at times). Then dozens more clogged up aisles in shops with walking sticks, walking frames and mobility scooters. In between them are whining toddlers and screaming babies. Poor little bastards, I know exactly how they feel.

After a couple of hours fighting my way through it and managing a reasonably productive spend up I went to fill the car with fuel. In front of me at the pump was a little old lady who carefully filled her car and went in to pay seconds ahead of me. Then she lost her eftpos card, and her Flybuys card and searched through her entire bag for five minutes before finding them - then she got her PIN number wrong twice and decided to use another card which eventually worked. So she toddled off and I paid for my fuel - I go out to find she's sitting in her car blocking mine in, door open, contemplating something. So I get in and start my car. I can't back up as someone has come up behind me so am pretty stuck. At this point the silly old bat gets out of her car and comes over to me "you can't go until I move and I forgot to buy something."
"Maybe you should move before you buy it then" I said (reasonably politely)
"No I've got a disability you know and can't walk far"
So help me she was lucky I left the gun at home!

Anyway I finished this morning by getting there before the shops opened, standing outside my selected retailer and racing in as soon as they opened the doors. This of course only works when you know exactly what you want. I would have availed myself of the gift wrapping service in the mall but men with huge bags of stuff that needed wrapping had already beaten me to it and the wait looked long. Some nice shops did do a bit of wrapping for me.

On the horse front Eby has put a bit of weight on Annie looks to need surgery in a couple of months, and Gemma is still holding on to that foal (and still moonbathing frequently). We also have one limpy yearling - Tee- limping on the same foot as his sister was limping on last week but unlike her we can't fix it by pulling the little piece of wire out of her sole and giving her a tetnus shot - at least we can't see any wire to pull out. Would appear to be a stone bruise (though where he found anything to bruise himself on we aren't sure) - anyway his timing is just impeccable. We also have one deeply disturbed mare 20km from home and unwilling to be caught let alone loaded onto a float. She also has a new fear of 12 foot lines and runs backwards if you look at her. I guess we learn from that that if someone says their current horse took 8 years to come right that may indicate incompetence rather than patience. Sadly it was a lesson learnt at the expense of the mare who deserved better.

All out of Christmas Cheer but don't mind me and have a good one.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Panic attack

Gemma the mini has looked due to foal for a good week but she has kept her legs firmly crossed. She's getting overnight checks and sets the foaling alarm off as well every now and then. So I am a bit wary of going out at the moment - just sometimes you have to if you want to earn a living and pay for expensive horse feed and stuff.

So this afternoon I was out for 4 hours and headed off to check Gemma as soon as I got home. I had a view of three quarters of the foaling paddock and I couldn't see her. Half way there I could hear the foaling alarm in the house going off and I had this immediate vision of poor little Gemmy in trouble foaling and left without help for hours. I start running and yell "Gemma".

She of course sticks her head round the corner of the garage and looks at me as if she is a bit concerned about my sanity. Still in one piece.

Enough already - have the baby will ya.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ebony and Annie

Two new minis came to stay today.

This is Ebony (Eby) who as you can see needs a bit of weight on. She also has a very sore hip - no one is quite sure when it became sore - it was sore immediately after she foaled and may have been sore up to a month or so before that. This makes it a bit difficult to figure out what might be wrong with it of course. Hopefully the vet will have an idea. For some unknown reason her tail is also falling out. I am hoping the vetadine and neem bath she is going to get this afternoon will help that before it goes completely bald.

And this is Eby's six week old baby Annie. She's a feisty wee madam despite her very crooked legs. The best treatment for foals with legs like these is to keep them confined and to get a vet to look at the options which include splints, corrective shoeing and possibly surgery. The earlier treatment is started the more likely there is to be a good outcome. Unfortunately Annie has been turned out on hills and had no treatment. The vet is coming on Monday to have a look, fingers crossed it isn't too late to do something.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Proud granny moment

His hairy tubby little (oops sorry)... I mean Mr Very Tall and Sexy Horse had his first foals on the ground last year. I was told yesterday that a long time and respected breeder expressed some sadness that the yearling she was admiring had been gelded as she thought he was more than nice enough to be left a colt.