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As I embark on this new journey with my little ponies and prepare to help Billy transition to a new home I am feeling a bit tender. A bit sad. A bit fragile. Things feel so up-in-the-air as I await Billy to find a new home. He is upset when he watches me with the ponies. Even when I play with or groom him first. When I walk down the driveway ground driving one of the ponies Billy whinnies and whinnies and paces the fence. It breaks my heart a little bit each time.

I know finding him a home where he will be appreciated and loved and ridden is the most important thing. He is so ready! I pray about it every day and am hoping he will go to someone close by so I can visit and watch him mature into a wonderful riding horse. I have been thinking of this time as sending one of my kids off to college. We prepare them as best we can for college life, further education, and then we cry a little when we watch them drive away. Some kids move back home after college, some move onto their own lives. I am very excited to watch Billy move onto his own life.

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The Family: Left, Captain Planet (Big Brother and son of Sky); Middle, Zorro (Little brother and son of Sky); Right, Sky (The mama of this bunch!)

My ponies are so wonderful. The little guy, Zorro makes me laugh every single day. He is starting to really think he is a stallion. He will phlegm over a pile of manure and then mark it. He jumps on Captain Planet every chance he gets and they rear up and wrestle each other all day long. Then in the evening when it’s time for Zorro to go back in with his mom he runs straight to her and nurses and nurses. It’s so cute to see how quickly he goes from the big “stud muffin” to the little tiny baby.

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Baby Zorro

Sky, the mama, is really settling in. Today she showed me all her itchy places and then turned and buried her nose in my hair and just stood with me. Maybe she feels my tenderness over Billy. After all she is a mama too and has watched a few babies grow up and leave. I’m giving her time to eat without that baby dragging on her all day, looking for her to put on a few pounds before I re-start her in cart. I am so looking forward to sitting behind her in cart!

Captain Planet is awesome. He is showing his little brother the ropes. Zorro watches us carefully when I halter Captain and when I feed him carrots. I’ve been trying to get Zorro to eat carrot pieces when I feed them to his mama. But he will just take them and then spit them out. As soon as he watched Captain take and eat a piece of carrot, Zorro reached out and took a piece from me and promptly ate it! I had to laugh as it was clear if his big brother is going to eat those then so is he! I’m hoping the haltering process will rub off as well… I’ve taken Captain out for a few ground drives and he seems to enjoy them. He looks around and watches everything. He notices all the rocks, for sale signs and humps of dirt left behind by gophers or the badger, but will bravely walk on by. He trots out so nicely and makes me walk as fast as I possibly can which is helping me lose a few pounds!

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Now if the weather would cooperate. I love spring storms, but every day of sleet, rain and then snow is starting to get old. I am looking forward to the sun!

Please keep Billy and I in your thoughts and send good vibes, for us to find him the perfect home. Thank you!

SONY DSCit’s my belief that when we say our horses only want to be with us because we provide food, we are doing a disservice to the horse.  by saying this we are basically saying horses are not smart enough to make a choice.  they just follow their tummies.

i’m not saying that food doesn’t play a part in making a lasting partnership with the horse.  because it does.  the use of food works great when taming a horse, when motivating certain horses and as a thank you for a job well done.  actually using food as a thank you or a motivator works much the same with horses as it does with people.

however i do not believe that billy chooses to be with me simply because i feed him and offer him cookies once in a while.  i think it goes much deeper than that. 

i believe he makes a cognitive choice to be with me, participate in the games i set up and allow me to ride him.

does this start with how i make him feel when he is around me?  of course.  and sometimes food plays a part in that.  with billy though, i believe it’s more about feeling relaxed, peaceful, and quiet when he is with me.

sometimes he makes the choice to leave me as well.  i honor his choice on those days and will just go be with him in the field while he grazes, or sit with him in the dry lot while he rests, not asking anything of him, just being with him.  sometimes i read a book or take a nap in the sun shine, sometimes i just sit.

there are days that he chooses to play with me and then i become too direct line, predator like, in my thinking and he changes his mind.  it’s extremely important when that happens, i stop what i am doing and re-evaluate myself at that time.  if i can not let my frustration go, then i must let billy go and try again another day.  this is what will keep him choosing me over his pasture.  when i started to really zero in on his emotions during our sessions our relationship soared to a whole new level.

i believe that billy wants to be with me because i offer him the feelings of connection, peace, relaxation, partnership, i honor his ideas and teach him new ones.  yes.  i give him cookies too.  but i also scratch the itches he can’t reach, i give him massages and body work when he is stiff or sore, i put essential oils on to help him feel balanced and soothed.  yes.  i do feed him.

but ultimately i offer him so much more than food.

i know he understands that and responds to it.

 

After playing with Billy the other day and noticing that he was having a hard time cantering on a small circle, I decided to give him a spa day today.

It started with a little Masterson Method, The Bladder Meridian Technique, to help him release any tension he may be carrying.

BOY did he release some tension! I had some releases that I’ve never witnessed before. He kept stretching his head and neck down, turning it a little, chewing and chewing, then rubbing and rubbing his cheeks on his front leg. There was lot of yawning and stretching of his neck. At one point as I worked on his tail a little bit, his tail would raise and lower with my hand! Keep in mind that when doing the Bladder Meridian you don’t have to actually touch the horse or manipulate the muscles. It’s done using the energy in your hand. So watching Billy raise and lower his tail as I raised and lowered my hand was amazing. He had some tension in his hips and I did go ahead and do some muscle manipulation there. Just some pressing on different spots that he showed me by stretching, yawning, blinking rapidly, and raising his leg. The look on his face as I pressed into his hip was priceless…

I decided I wanted to follow the Masterson Method with a little “Redneck Raindrop” to help Billy continue to release and align himself. I had gone through my oils and picked out a few that I felt would be beneficial. I did a little muscle testing and came up with:

Redneck Raindrop Treatment
The oils Billy tested for in his Redneck Raindrop Treatment.

I figured the best way to oil him up was to do a “Redneck Raindrop Treatment”. In other words, I would use my choice of essential oils and apply them in the Raindrop method of vita flexing and cat scratching the oil in, along Billy’s spine and around his coronet bands on all four feet.

Before I put each oil on I allowed him some time to smell them. He lingered longest on the Sage, Believe and Eucalyptus Blue.

To start I applied Rosewood to the top of his neck, then scratched that in. They don’t make Rosewood any more, but it’s great as an antibacterial, antiviral, and is great for soothing the skin. Perfect for any residual itchy spots Billy may have!

Next, I dropped 2 drops of Valor on his heel bulbs, rubbed it in and vita flexed it around the coronet band of all four hooves. Valor has been found to help the body self-correct it’s balance and alignment.

Then, I dropped 4 drops of Valor down his spine from his tail dock to his withers, cat scratching that in from tail to withers.

I followed that with 3 drops of Sage, from tail dock to withers and cat scratched that in as well.

Sage has been recognized for its ability to strengthen the senses and vital centers of the body and to support metabolism.  It is helpful for supporting the respiratory, reproductive, nervous, and other body systems. *From the Young Living Website

I went back to his head and dropped 3 drops of Brain Power on his crown and rubbed that in as well. Brain Power may help support and strengthen the immune system as well as help clear the mind.

Next, I dropped 3 drops of Believe in my non dominant hand, activated it by rubbing clockwise with my other hand and then just simply ran my hands down Billy’s forehead and long nose. I also rubbed my hands around the base of his ears and then did a little rubbing IN his ears after most of the oil had been removed from my hands. Believe can be both grounding and invigorating.

I finished this session with 8 drops of Eucalyptus Blue down Billy’s spine from his tail dock to his withers, then cat scratched it in. Eucalyptus Blue can bring about a sense of peace and well being. It is also anti-inflammatory and antiviral, both of which would be great for inflammation of the skin, such as allergies.

I’ve been feeding Billy Turmeric twice a day, with a middle of the day feeding of Lavender, Peppermint and Lemon Young Living Essential Oils and their supplement, Mineral Essence. He is starting to get his winter coat and it’s so thick and shiny. He is healthy ‘as a horse!’

sometimes horses are naughty.

imagine my surprise when i walked into the horse shed and saw THIS…

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SOMEONE did this in ONE NIGHT!  i couldn’t believe it!

why did they do this?  were they bored?  is there something missing in their diet?

i went to the horses to ask.

chloe said,

“do you have carrots?”

chloecarrotswhen i said i did not have carrots she did this…

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i followed and said again, “chloe, were you bored or do you need a supplement?”

this is all she had to say about that…

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so i turned to billy.  this is all he had to say…

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i decided to address this as boredom.  though they haven’t been locked up any more than normal, i do think the dry lot was getting to them.  so.

first, i decided to try “painting” the inside of the shed with stuff from my kitchen.  i mixed up cayenne pepper, hot sauce and more cayenne pepper in a big bowl of water.  i stirred and stirred.  then armed with a paint brush i headed out to the shed and proceeded to pain the entire inside!  i had more than enough spicy water to cover the whole interior.  billy of course was very curious and immediately bit the wood that i had just painted.

“eeeewwwww!” he said.

then, “hhhhoooooot!”

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i immediately ran and got him a handful of hay to help cool his mouth.

then i put a couple of wooden logs in their pen, a big tire, a jolly ball (the dog keeps stealing these, but i keep putting them back in!) an empty rubber feed pan, and sometimes there is a chicken or two for billy to chase around.

they no longer chew the shed, but they have made a mess of this log…

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because i keep finding wood shavings all over the ground i do not think they are ingesting the wood.  i’ve been checking their teeth and they kind of look like they’ve been brushing them… hmmm…  but they don’t have scratches or splinters in there.

this log looks great…

SONY DSCi notice that the rubber feed pan is always inside out and tossed around.  every day i have to get the jolly ball from the outside of the pen and i’ve seen billy pick up and carry the tire around, so i think the toys are helping.

i know my hubby (who put his sweat, blood and tears into that shed) thanks me.  i’m glad that i caught it BEFORE they chewed a hole through the wall.

this chicken proved her worth by following me all around while i gathered my photos to write this post…

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Horses are grazing animals.
Slow Feeders

Horses are grazing animals. Their bodies were made to browse and graze all day and all night and all day and all night. The way their digestive system works centers around them having their head down, nose in the grass.

Horses get ulcers for a few reasons, but the main reason is that because horses are made to graze all day, it’s not healthy for them to have an empty stomach. For example, the owner or trainer will feed the horse in the morning, then work it in the afternoon, then feed it in the evening. The horse is worked on an empty stomach and those stomach juices jouncing around in there cause ulcers. It’s such an easy thing to avoid… by using a slow feeder.

It’s also been proven that having access to 15 to 20 pounds of hay a day will help with sand colic, sand build up in the gut. The hay works more efficiently at pushing sand out of the horse’s digestive track.

And movement. Movement is extremely important for the digestive track as well. But movement with a full tummy.

Most horses are kept in such a way that they can’t graze 24 hours a day and they don’t get to move much. Sometimes this can’t be avoided. When I first got Billy I had to board him at a stable because we didn’t have a pasture to put him in. I took my responsibility very seriously and made sure I took Billy out of his pen every day to move. Even if it was just to let him beat up his ball a bit.

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Billy showing me his feeder is empty.

I did set up his stall so that he could eat 24 hours a day however. To do this I had some help from my Father-in-law. We made a slow feeder out of an old galvanized stock tank, a hog panel and a couple pieces of wood with carriage bolts.

My Father-in-law pulled out his welder and he cut the hog panel to fit inside the lip of the stock tank. Then he welded two panels together to make the spaces in the “grate” a bit closer together. He welded the edge smooth so there are no sharp spots anywhere on the “grate”.

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My home made slow feeder made out of an old aluminum water tank.

He installed the small pieces of wood just under the lip of the tank so that Billy couldn’t pull the grate out. I have to put one side of the grate in at a time and then, depending on how full the feeder is, I have to stand on the grate to pop it in.

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The feeder full of hay. The grate was made out of an old hog panel. The holes are 3-4 inches wide allowing Billy to grab the hay without ever putting his teeth on the metal grate.

The feeder will hold 75 pounds of hay!

As you can see the spaces in the grate are about 3 inches by 2 inches. I haven’t had any trouble with Billy scraping off the enamel of this teeth. People ask me this often. I think it’s because the spaces are big enough that he can get the hay out without pressing on the metal.

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Proof of his enamel!  LOL  Just look at those baby teeth!

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January – BRRRRR
February
February – He’s all tongue!
March - Learning to whisper to Billy...
March – Learning to whisper to Billy…
April
April – Your horse is your mirror.
May - Billy came HOME!
May – Billy came HOME!
June - Baby teeth!
June – Baby teeth!
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July – Billy’s growing up…
August - David Lichman clinic with my cousin Heather!
August – David Lichman clinic with my cousin Heather!
September - It's just chaos!
September – It’s just chaos!
October - He's really growing into his saddle...
October – He’s really growing into his saddle…
November - OMG!!!
November – OMG!!!
December - Billy says, "Out with the old, in with the new!"
December – Billy says, “Out with the old, in with the new!”