Sunday, June 7, 2009

Busy day at the barn

Michael and I went out to the barn today as planned, but several things conspired to keep me from getting to ride — namely, a ride and some mysterious swelling in Panama's rear fetlocks. However, we got a lot accomplished in the tack room and spent a couple of hours out there total, so all in all it was an enjoyable visit to the barn.

We decided to work on the tack room first. All of the tack has been hanging on nails, which isn't good for leather, so taking a tip from Stable Smarts I picked up some baby food jars on Freecycle. Michael nailed the lids to the wall, and then we screwed the jars back onto the lids. The result: halter and bridle hangers that won't put creases in the tack.

Baby food jars used as halter and bridle hangers in the tack room at my barn

While Michael was hanging the jars for me, I rearranged the tack room. (I had started to do this last fall, but never finished.) I moved all the saddles and tack boxes to make the best use of the space, hung the blanket rack I found on Craigslist a while back, and swept. I still have a little left to do (such as get my own saddle stand), but for the most part what we accomplished today is a vast improvement!

While we worked in the tack room, Panama stood in the doorway and watched off and on, as if waiting for me to finish up and pay attention to him. So when we finished, I just slipped the halter on him and tied him up at the post right next to the tack room door to groom him.

Grooming my horse

Brushing my horse's tail

(See the way Panama's head is cocked to the side and down? When he begs for treats he puts his head at that angle and bobs it up and down. I had my glove off so that I could reach into my pocket for a treat, and he knew it!)

In the second picture, you can also see how dark the sky was getting behind us. While I was grooming Panama, we started hearing distant thunder, which was one of the reasons I decided not to ride. I've heard you shouldn't ride when there is lightning, though whether it's because of the danger of a strike or because it might spook the horse, I don't know.

The other reason I decided not to ride is because I noticed both his rear fetlocks were a little swollen. I had actually noticed it yesterday, but there was no heat in the area, so I assumed it was just caused by the sudden heat, kind of like people getting swollen knuckles. But today it was the same, and he seemed a little reluctant to have me touching the joints, so I decided it was a second sign that riding today was not a good idea.

(Actually, technically it was a third sign — the very first thing I noticed, even before the thunder, was that Panama's back was a bit sore along the spine from our ride yesterday.)

Instead of riding, I took Panama to my makeshift wash rack in the back pasture (a hitching post and a rubber stall mat to keep his feet out of the mud) and hosed down his fetlock joints for about 10 minutes on each side. He stood so quietly that I think it must have felt good! Michael got bored of watching me hose down Panama's legs, though, so when I got home I found the following pictures on my camera:

My husband Michael

Hey look — it's Uncle Monkey!

My husband making a monkey face

(A word of advice, babe: If you don't want me making fun of you on my blog, then don't take pictures of yourself making monkey faces with my camera!)

Once I finished hosing Panama's legs down, I had Michael take him back to the front pasture while I untangled and coiled up the hose. The whole time, Panama stood in the open gate between the two pastures, right where Michael had released him, watching me rather intently. When I started walking back, he nickered to me several times, and then came forward to greet me, which made both Michael and I laugh. I think I may be biased, but he is seriously the cutest horse I've ever known!

It was a wonderful visit, and I'm already planning the next one — so I've got to make sure I get out there tomorrow too!



At June 7, 2009 at 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With his white legs, could he have scratches - which can result in a bit of swelling and sensitivity, particularly behind the pasterns? My mare with white legs gets this from time to time when it's been wet. I have good luck using Listerine to fend it off.

At June 7, 2009 at 6:54 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Hi Kate, and thanks for visiting!

He has a scratch on one of his front legs that has been there a couple of days, but I didn't see any on his back legs. I have to admit, though, I'm not sure what having white legs, or it being wet, or using Listerine for that matter, would have to do with this. Do you mean that he could be scratching his legs by slipping around a bit more in the wet weather? Despite a little bit of rain here and there, this is arid Colorado, and it hasn't actually been muddy since his farrier was here on Wednesday. I didn't notice any swelling then.

As for the white legs -- I've heard people talk about horses with white feet being more sensitive, but I've also been told that in actuality their hooves are just softer, not necessarily more sensitive. I'm not sure why having white hair would make a horse more prone to scratches. Wouldn't it be more likely that you can just see scratches more easily on a white leg than on a colored leg?

And finally -- forgive me, but how on earth would Listerine keep him from scratching his legs? I don't get that one at all! LOL.

At June 7, 2009 at 8:47 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Looks like you are getting our thunderstorms now. I hate it when you discover a slight health problem with your horse and you don't know what caused it, nor whether it is safe to continue riding. The baby food jars is a good idea. The tack room of my trailer has rounded metal hangers and hooks, do that's what I use, but I am using every single one.

At June 8, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, I know -- it's not knowing what the problem is that is the worst, for me.

You can also use larger jars, like pickle jars, as hooks, but I wanted the baby food jars because they are smaller, lighter, and don't stick out as far from the wall.


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