Thursday, 29 December 2016

A kick-ass kind of Christmas

*Warning* Gross pictures. If you are squeamish, don't look!

I am not going to lie, 2016 has kicked my butt. However, I have maintained a level of (obliviously ignorant) optimism and still think 2017 is going to be all the best shit, farting rainbows the whole way through.

But 2016 was not done with me. One final kick at the cat, so to speak.

Christmas morning was glorious. Coffee full of Bailey's, kids excitedly opening presents and me opening the best present ever - a safety vest for eventing!! Best husband right there.

I had fed the horses triple amounts of hay bales the night before just to ensure I could do chores Christmas morning after present opening. I had chopped up huge piles of apples and carrots and had a three bags ready for three wonderful ponies Christmas morning, so once presents were done I headed out with their Christmas morning treats.

First came Meyla and Shiraz, happy to see me heading out to their paddock. But where was Savvy?

Then I saw her, head peeking out around the back of the shelter. I called her and she didn't move. I called again and shook the bag of treats and she finally started to move. As her neck was revealed I was horrified to see something red hanging from her neck.

FML. Sorry for grossness.

For those of you familiar with that moment of discovering your horse is injured, you know it. Feeling leaves your arms and legs. My brain went into assess mode. Vet or no vet level of injury? Once I realised the "hanging" red bit was just frozen bloodcycles and not something worse, I then looked to see what kind of wound I was dealing with. Honestly, I was expecting to see a chunk of neck ripped from a bite. Meyla is a tough pony and leads the group. Savvy always pushes her too far and makes Meyla put her in her place almost daily. I would not be surprised at a bad bite resulting.

But it wasn't a bite. To my utter shock and surprise, it was a perfect circle.

Time to call the vet. On Christmas morning. Let me tell you, that is not an easy call.

I am so lucky to have such a great vet. He came over right away and assessed the hole. Puncture wound versus gun shot. Luckily my vet is much smarter than me obviously, and knew it was a puncture wound because hair was scraped off at the site. Bullets can't do that. He inspected the depth (almost 2 inches!) and did not find any trapped objects. He said the puncture is very close to where her jugular vein runs so she is a very lucky horse to still be alive. She got a shot of pain meds and a huge shot of antibiotics.

I would later have a double shot of Creme de Cocao.

She will be on antibiotics for at least a week and a half, daily saline rinses and topicals. It needs to stay uncovered and draining. My biggest worry is the cold. I am worried about exposed tissues freezing and damaging the healing process, but since it needs to stay open to air, I really can only just wait and see how it does. Luckily I had no intension of riding in the next little while because winter is just too horrible this year. Fingers crossed this injury resolves well though.

Day 3 - before rinse out and topical meds.

I have triple-walked her paddock and still cannot find anything that could have done this. Only Wonder Pony knows.

Monday, 12 December 2016

ASSFS Blog Hop: Location, Location, Location.

As a person who does not get to travel very often, I love hearing about what life is like in other places, and especially what horse life is like. A Soft Spot For Stars has a blog hop that offers just that, so here is a look at life with horses in Manitoba for you! Enjoy!
I live on a small hobby farm just 20 minutes outside Manitoba's biggest city, Winnipeg. Our location is very convenient for us all; for hubby as he works in the city and for me as I am not too far from everything shopping related. We are also kind of half way between two worlds of horse people. Just 20 minutes to the east is everything English, plus the Birds Hill Equestrian Park (trail riding, dressage, eventing and hunter/jumper shows), and 20 minutes west is a more Western group/natural horsemanship/great small-town horse shows. 
My back yard - yup, hubby got himself a drone
A, B, C - Paddocks
D - Riding arena
E - Hay field
F - House
G - New tack shed/tack-up/hoof trimming area
H - Hay shed
J - Old tack shed, now cluttered feed and storage shed
Our farm is 37.5 acres and is mostly flat hay land. When we moved here, there was only the house and some fencing so we built a hay shed, shelters and tack/feed sheds.  We cut and bale our own hay which is a grass/alfalfa mix.
Costs of horse keeping in Manitoba:
Hoof trimming ranges from $30 to $40 dollars for a basic trim. I am not sure what shoes cost as I have never shod any of my horses.
Average monthly pasture board is anywhere from $180 for a place with no indoor arena, up to $300 for a place with indoor.
Boarding with boxstall is around $400 and up.


Most coaches in this area are charging $50 per lesson, but a small few are still at $40. If you are trailering in, there also may be an arena fee on top of that which is around $20.
It can be green here :) I miss it already...

Small squares are approximately $4.50 each for a 60-pound bale. Large squares (700 to 800 pounds) are $65 to $80 each and round bales can be anywhere from $40 to $100 depending on size and type of hay.
Summer here is far too short - spring can trickle on right until the end of May and then June, July and August are usually quite nice anywhere from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. Winter is a long, hard struggle with snow usually beginning in November and getting as cold as -35 Celsius in January and February. We have even had a wind chill of -50 at those times, so crazy, painful cold.
Frustrating things about our area?
I do feel pretty lucky to be so close to a lot of great horse related things, but the most frustrating thing for me is the cost of participating in any English shows. Dressage shows are few and far between and cost hundreds of dollars to enter two tests, after stalling/temporary memberships and all show fees are added up. Hunter/Jumper shows require memberships (or temporary memberships purchased to attend any particular show) and are just as expensive as dressage.
On the up side, there are occasional schooling shows and small town shows that are affordable, so trying to get to as many of those as possible has been my goal so far, although next year I am hoping to get started in eventing which will be a major financial commitment because of all the memberships/user fees required.
That sums up horse life in Manitoba. I'd love to read about more places so I hope you join the hop!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Holy Snow Balls!

Winter just came flying into town saying 'Yo, yo G, WASSUP?!'

Um, ugh. <face in hands>

Now it is above my knees in some spots out there and I am just loving trudging from the hay shed to the paddock with hay on the sled.

Meyla was born for this! (started growing her coat in August in preparation)
Ponies seem to be loving it though! They have been running, playing and rolling in the deep stuff and look pretty pleased to finally say goodbye to mud.

They are getting all-you-can-eat buffet of hay and extra treats to appease my guilty soul for owning horses in winter in Canada.

Water heater is working well and shelters are full of deep straw.

All the girls grew a pretty fluffy coat before this came. Not fun for riding but perfect for this weather.

I guess it is time to apply the heat gun to my cold, cold heart and break out the barnyard Christmas decorations!

Its about to get real up in here.

Anyone else deep in snow? How do you take care of your horses when the weather gets cold?