Today was the day to bathe and trim and clip some ponies around here! I love having nice, neat, clean ponies. Then I can stand back and admire them. There is just so much to admire!

And of course here are some before and after photos!

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First up is Sky! The before photo is from this spring. I thought she was fat then… and yet she looks fatter now! I do love how her topline is rounding out with all the driving we are doing. I can not believe she can be so round with all the exercise she is getting. I feed all the ponies 2 flakes of hay in each of the 4 hay nets plus 2 flakes of loose hay spread out on the track. That’s it in a 24 hour period! And they always have hay left over in the nets. Sometimes they have loose hay left over as well. So they don’t eat everything in site. Sky gets 2 Tablespoons of Crypto Aero, 1/4 cup of timothy hay pellets topped with 1 teaspoon of Thyro-L and California Trace. I just recently bought some Mojo to address her soreness. I have been thinking that maybe she is getting arthritis. So I’ll slowly add that in. I won’t feed her California Trace at the same time I’m feeding the Mojo because I don’t want to double up on things. We drive 4-5 times a week between 3 and 4 miles a drive. Sometimes we take Zorro and sometimes we go alone! We have only been able to fit in the one hike so far. Life got so crazy and both my truck and my Tahoe broke down so I didn’t have a tow vehicle to get the to the mountains. But the Tahoe is fixed so maybe next week we’ll go hiking! I did have her blood drawn when I had Bonnie’s done and everything came back totally normal. I don’t understand why she won’t lose weight.

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Next up is Bonnie! If you look closely at the summer photo you can just see her ribs. She is completely losing her topline. No hiking, no muscles! She is getting a bit of a belly and I wish I could give her more protein but I have to be so careful because she doesn’t utilize protein very well. She is bright eyed and loves being out on the track all the time with the rest of the ponies. She walks, trots and canters around all the time, snacking on the little things she comes across. So far so good! I keep my fingers crossed all the time. She is getting the same hay as above and I just lowered her back down to 2 Tablespoons of Crypto Aero, 1/4 cup of timothy pellets, 1 teaspoon of Thyro-L, and 1/2 a scoop of California Trace mineral. The only exercise she gets is life on the track. I don’t want to cause any mechanical founder by taking her out on the road.

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Now onto Zorro! Boy does he looks good!!! I wish every single one of you could come here and see him in person. He really is a stunning boy. It’s very hard to get him to be expressive in these photo shoots as nothing startles him or causes him any surprise at all! He stands there sighing and so bored no matter what I throw at him, plastic bags, umbrellas, buckets of grain, the cat, Angus…

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He just thinks it’s all so NORMAL and BORING. I got the expression in the above collage by showing him a peppermint with the wrapper half ripped so he could smell it. Then he got to spend some time licking it….

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He loved it!!

Zorro is such a wonderful boy. I keep saying that but it can’t be said enough. When I go outside I can call his name from anywhere and he will come running to me. If I go out to catch Sky for a drive and don’t take him he tries to body block me from getting to her. He stands at the gate with his head resting on the rails just watching us get ready. If I do pick him he is so so happy! He loves going out no matter what it is we are doing. Sky does kicks his butt when driving because she loves to trot and trot. He does his best to keep up but is very relieved when we get to walk a little bit. He is still a baby. He’ll grow into himself! He gets the hay listed above and 2 Tablespoons of Crypto Aero, 1/4 cup of timothy hay pellets and 1/2 scoop of California Trace.

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Last but not least is Captain Planet! The track life has made such a difference in him! WOW!! Also roaching his mane was a really good idea. He is heavy but he is built to carry it. He has signs of being IR or at least metabolically challenged so I treat him as such. He gets the same hay as above and 2 Tablespoons of Crypto Aero, 1/4 cup of timothy pellets and 1 scoop of Remission. He is a pet and a companion and does that job perfectly! He and Bonnie will pick on each other a bit. It’s actually funny to watch them. He knows all the buttons to push to make her chase him! But Bonnie doesn’t put much effort into being mean so it’s over almost as soon as it starts.

I just to love my track and so do the ponies!

 

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Clean girls. Bonnie stood with the cold hose running for about an hour while I trimmed everyone else up. She could stand in or out of the water but she chose to stand in it!

We had a beautiful day today. Lots of sunshine, a little rain and temps soaring into the high 70’s low 80’s. The perfect day for bath day! I caught all 5 ponies and they practiced patience while being tied.

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These boys. They are so cute! Chantelle was tied to the left of Zorro, but inside the fence. I wasn’t sure if Zorro would be studdy so I just gave them a little space.

First I trimmed all of their feet (except Bonnie! I just trimmed her two days ago), then I gave them all a nice warm bath using the water from our washing machine hook up, then I wormed them all (except Bonnie because I’m not sure about using wormer on her until she is healthier).

I was totally blown away by how Bonnie, Zorro and Captain Planet handled the bath. Bonnie was so confident and quiet while I sprayed her. Last year I spent a lot of time helping her feel confident with the hose and it really paid off! I could hardly believe how calm she was! Then Zorro. He was awesome. He just keeps proving himself over and over. I just LOVE that horse! Captain Planet will do anything for a cookie so he was happy to stand quietly as long as I gave him a cookie now and then. After his bath I roached his mane and oh my gosh!!! He is adorable!!!

Chantelle, the new pony from my grandma, did awesome. I don’t think she has ever had a bath but she handled it very well. I truly love these Cal babies! (Chantelle is Zorro’s half sister, same sire.)

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Aren’t they so cute together! Zorro was a perfect gentleman so I think his testosterone is running low! Whoot whoot!
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Chantelle is adorable. I was taking photos by myself today but when I clip her up I’ll get some good ones! She is about 33″ tall and so refined. She has legs for days!!

Of course Sky was a good girl about her bath. She loves the warm spray and shows me all her itchy spots so I can thoroughly spray them. All the ponies were so shiny after their baths! It was hard to tell when they were dry. I wish the camera would capture that healthy shine they have!

Just a fun day of grooming and pony maintenance!

It was time for Zorro to have a little brain surgery… he got gelded today! I am so excited about having this boy as an awesome driving gelding. He would have made a wonderful stallion so will make a fantastic gelding!!

He hasn’t been in a horse trailer since he came here last year. He wasn’t halter broke then, getting him to the trailer was interesting back then, but he just followed his mom into the trailer. I waited until yesterday to start working with him and the trailer… procrastinator anybody!? We have been playing around with the Spanish walk because teaching him things like this is so easy. He loves to interact with me and loves cookies, so anything that gets him some one-on-one time as well as a cookie is something he is going to remember and do over and over and over. Last year we spent about an hour playing around my bridge. It took that long to just get him to put his foot on it. However once he did put is foot on it and I praised him, gave him a few cookies and took his halter off, he will now put his foot on everything and anything. He is always looking for a way to get a cookie because I am not a vending machine, my ponies have to DO something or offer something for a cookie. It makes for really fun training sessions! They come up with all kinds of fun things!

Back to the trailer. I haven’t done much pressure/release with him and the only stick and string stuff I’ve done is friendly game. So he doesn’t really understand much more than leading around. He has some opposition reflex (something to work on this summer!!) so he will try to sit back when tied. I never tie him without being right there and I don’t tie him hard and fast.

We walked up to the trailer and he immediately put his front feet in! He got some cookies and lots of praise then backed out. After doing this 3 times he decided the game was over and he wasn’t going to approach the trailer again. The thing about Zorro is once he understands something (whether it’s exactly what you want him to understand or whether he makes an assumption) he KNOWS it and will do it over and over! So when he understood that he was done with trailer loading he absolutely refused to even approach the trailer. I had to come up with an alternate plan because pulling wasn’t going to work since he doesn’t completely understand pressure/release. So I put a long rope on his halter and ran it through the front tie ring in the trailer and then put a long rope around his butt to encourage him from behind. THIS he understood. I helped him all the way into the trailer three times and he had it! Now he knew exactly what I wanted and continued to get in and out of the trailer over and over. He will stay in the trailer even when I walk away and Captain is out of sight. He unloads very calmly and will turn around and get right back in!

This morning we had to load up before 6 am to get my boys to their first Driver’s Ed class and Zorro to the vet by 8! So it was a bit dark. Both boys came running up to me when I went in their pen, they stuck their noses in the halter and walked right into the trailer! I was amazed at their willingness. If you have ever tried to load a horse early in the morning on a time line, you will understand how excited I was that they cooperated so well!

They traveled well, eating from their hay net the whole time. They were quiet and calm when we got the vet, an hour drive away. When the vet opened I went in and and did the paperwork, then went out and unloaded the boys. They both walked calmly into the horse bay, crossing from gravel to concrete and going in a big garage door. Something neither pony has done before! They were quiet in the bay, just standing and looking around. When the vet closed the garage door Zorro barely flicked an ear. He turned his head and looked and just stood relaxed. I was so proud of him.

The vet and vet tech both were very impressed with Zorro. They commented on how good both boys weight is for their build. They were impressed with how nice their feet looked. The vet tech said she hasn’t seen such a nice mini in a long time! Zorro is such a striking boy and it doesn’t stop with his looks. He is calm, sweet and responsive as well as handsome. I am super impressed with our Cal babies!! (The new pony I have here (photos coming soon!) is a Cal daughter out of my grandmother’s little 32″ mare.)

Zorro stood perfectly while getting his sleepy time shots and went down easily. The surgery went quickly and was very neat and tidy! The vet moved up to check for wolf teeth and BOY did Zorro have them! Two big, well rooted teeth. The vet commented that he hasn’t pulled such a large set of wolf teeth from a little horse before! As Zorro woke up he proved how strong he is! The vet tech had a bit of a time keeping him down. He is a big strong boy that’s for sure.

Left: Under sedation and starting surgery. Right: Waking up.

After surgery we led the boys back to the trailer and Zorro jumped straight in! No hesitation. Captain leaped in right behind him. When we got home they talked to the girls and then slowly got out! It was a very successful day. I am crossing my fingers that he heals up without a hitch! I am worn out with Bonnie’s issues. It would be nice to have a simple recovery.

I am constantly asked what and how I feed my ponies. I do write about it often, but I haven’t shared all the ponies feed program for awhile so thought I would today!

Everyone has hay 24/7. Bonnie has the hay that I had tested so I can manage her sugars. I only had about 10 bales of the other hay, a grass/alfalfa mix so I didn’t pay to have it tested. I feed that hay to Captain Planet, Zorro and Sky.

I fill Sky’s net twice a day. She gets one flake in the morning and one flake in the evening. Somehow she makes that one flake last all day and all night! She goes out on grass for about an hour and half in the mornings. I slowly worked her up to that over several weeks, starting with 15 minutes graze time. When I started letting the ponies out on the grass I also started feeding them all about 1 teaspoon of magnesium on top of their Crypto Aero. Sky has also been getting half a scoop of the Crypto Aero Plus. She gets 1/4 cup of Crypto Aero, half a scoop (about 1 teaspoon) of the Crypto Aero Plus, and 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder. I top this with a half a scoop of California Trace to help balance the iron.

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Sky’s little one or two flake hay net.
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This is her dry lot. She wanders around foraging all day long.

Bonnie has her hay net and it’s filled with the hay I had tested. I fill her net once a day, sometimes once every two days depending on how fast she finishes it. She’s a slow eater. When I turn all the other ponies out to graze I give her one flake of loose hay to munch on. She is so great. She doesn’t worry at all when everyone is out grazing. This makes managing her so much easier! I give her 1/4 cup of Crypto Aero, 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder, and one scoop of California Trace to help with the iron in the hay. She finished her Milk Thistle and hasn’t tested for more. I am going to get her the Sunny’s Cushing’s Support Kit from Earth Song Ranch, but have to save up for it. Once I start her on that kit I won’t give her magnesium powder anymore!

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The boys love to hang out in the shed. They have half and Bonnie has the other half. At this time Sky doesn’t have access to the shed. It makes me so sad, but she has managed just fine. I’ll be putting something up for her this summer unless Bonnie can be out on the dry lot track with everyone. Then they will all be able to use the shed without the divider.

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The boys have two nets. I tied them to t-posts because they love to throw them around and constantly lose them out in the field or Bonnie gets a hold of them, which is a big no no right now with her laminitis.

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The boys feed station.

Zorro loves to stand on the nets….

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Captain obligingly ate from the net for this photo. LOL! I think it’s funny because he is clearly saying, “Do you want me to do this?” Captain gets 1/4 cup of Crypto Aero with one scoop of Remission powder (I had some left over from Bonnie so thought he could use it. He has a big neck and is built for founder, though he never has! I hope to keep it that way…) and 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder. Zorro gets 1/2 a cup of Crypto Aero, a half of scoop of California Trace and 1 teaspoon of magnesium!

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I have a field that is about 7 acres on the property that we rent…

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And north of this property we own 10 acres that I haven’t used for grazing for some time. We are selling 5 of those acres and then will build our little farm on the other 5. I’m looking forward to putting in two paddock paradises, one with a dirt and gravel path and one with some grass on it. I am going to have a nice big dry lot with my horse shed in the middle so they will be able to use it as a wind block no matter which way the wind is blowing! And I’ll have a nice big feed/tack shed for my carts and my feed. We will plant some trees and shrubs and I’ll put in some herb feeders for the minis on the track as well. I’m so excited to design it all! I have so many ideas. I know it will take a few years to get everything just right, but am so happy to have the opportunity to do it.

Everyone is fat and sassy right now. They all need some exercise badly! I’ve been hand walking Bonnie twice a day for 30-45 minutes and driving Sky 3 or so times a week. As the weather gets better I will drive her daily which will really help her lose some weight! I think making the track in the dry lot will help as well as gelding Zorro so they can all be in together. Zorro is very active and bothers everyone which makes them move their feet!

 

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles. - Tim Cahill

While the weather outside is frigid, freezing and many days, howling with wind, I sit inside and think about my 2017 journey – what I want to accomplish, how I want it to feel, how I want my horses to feel. Some days I feel completely overwhelmed with just the thought of what I want to have happen in 2017. Then I remember that I need to stay calm and centered and do as much as I can without sacrificing the relationship I am searching to have with my horses.

I always want my horses to come running when they see me. I always want my horses to be my friends. I always want my horses to be friendly and confident when in my presence. In this way we can accomplish so much!!

I see Sky and myself driving many miles on the roads and trails this summer. I see the girls and I enjoying a lot of hiking – even if I have to drag my two human boys along kicking and screaming! I see Zorro growing into a handsome young stallion and continuing to have nice manners and a curious nature. I see Captain Planet as my farm mascot, greeting new people and being very gentle and understanding with children. I see Bonnie getting super confident in harness and while dragging different things behind her.

I see helping my friends and neighbors begin to enjoy driving their horses as well. Then I see getting together with friends and neighbors for group driving days!

I know my grandparents are feeling overwhelmed with their 4 miniature horses so I am prepared to have them come to live with me. I will not be keeping them all but I do plan on training a couple of them to drive so I can find great homes for them! And I know that I may not be able to do all of this in 2017, but will do as much as I can. I am prepared to forgive myself if I can’t keep up with everything and have to ask for help. (I may have to bookmark this post and keep re-reading it so I remember to ask for help!)

I see letting go of 2016 completely so I can move on in 2017 with joy, light and laughter!