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Four New Horses – The First Few Days

May 13, 2015

What a ride we’re on!  I think Jen and I are both a little overwhelmed.

The first night getting home, we unloaded all the horses into the round pen.  I needed to figure out exactly how to set things up for quarantine and we had a fifth horse that we had hauled down for someone else that needed to be separated and reloaded for his final destination.


The colt learning that people aren’t so awful. That’s Uma’s nose in the bottom right corner of the pic (our Great Dane).

Luckily, Jen’s new gelding was ok for haltering.  I used him as a calming factor in the middle of the round pen while I tried to halter Jen’s mare.  That was more challenging.  She didn’t know too much about yielding to pressure in the halter and the roundpen was a muddy mess, causing me to slip (thankfully, I never fell in the mud!).  I had to do a little wrangling with her, but I got her haltered and moved with the gelding into a large pen they could share.

Then, I had my two young ones to handle.  The filly wasn’t too hard, but the gelding…  he wasn’t too interested in me getting close to him.  Darn!  Kylee, Jen and I ended up corralling him with a couple panels and trying to halter him through the panels.  I was able to get a rope around his neck, but then it was Tia’s Wild Ride in 6″ of slick mud as the colt ran out of the neck rope.  The footing just made it impossible for me to wait him out and he got away from me twice.

We still had to figure out feeding and get the 5th horse to his new home.  We were all exhausted and the sun was quickly setting, so we decided the colt could make the round pen his home for the night.  He didn’t love the idea of being separated, but he managed.

The very next morning at 8am, we had the vet scheduled to let us know just how sick these 4 horses were.  She was able to exam the 3 that we’d gotten into the pens the night before, but the 4th horse, the colt, was still in the round pen.  We tried the panels again to corral him into a small area.  As the vet asked, “Will he allow human touch?”, she reached out to try to touch him and BAM!  That little guy LEAPED out of my 5′ round pen!  We watched in amazement as he made his way over to the pens where his buddies were. We managed to open a pen gate and he walked right in, content to be closer to his new family of horses.

Luckily, only Jen’s gelding needed antibiotics and while the others had upper respiratory infections, they didn’t need anything more than time to get well.  The vet reiterated my job of keeping them separated from my healthy herd until they were done with their goopy noses and cleared of their nasty viruses.  Luckily, no one seemed to have Strangles (yay!).

My daughter sitting with the weanlings.

My daughter sitting with the weanlings.

The rain was continuing, the pens were quickly getting to be 12″ deep mud pits and the weather forecast was rain, rain and more rain with snow in 48 hours (really??).  I needed to get them some shelter for the winter storm coming in for the following day.  With the quarantine requirement, I didn’t really know how I was going to manage that.  I hoped the forecast was wrong and scratched my head on what options I really had.

I decided to set them up in the barn Saturday.  We were 1 1/2 days in to their new home and we were going to have to move them again!  Steve, my amazing husband was willing to help and we tried to minimize exposure in the barn by using just 2 stalls.  I decided to put the girls in one stall and the boys in another.  Well, the filly quickly tried to nurse from the mare and lo and behold, the mare had milk!  What an emotional moment for me.  That meant the mare had a horse out there that had been nursing.  The filly also had probably been yanked from her mother without a real weaning process to make the break easier on her.  So much sadness, thinking of everything these horses had endured.

Getting the little gelding into the barn for shelter was interesting.  This would be his first time actually getting haltered!  At this point, we were having a full blizzard and the horses were all so cold.  I think the cold was enough that he didn’t have much fight and allowed me to halter him.  Steve was able to convince him to try to follow some while I haltered another horse for him to follow.  He didn’t know how to lead of course, sometimes putting up a good fight and getting further away from the barn, but he was happy to follow other horses into the barn and within 10 minutes of a dry area and some hay, the shivering had stopped.

The filly hanging out in the barn.

The filly hanging out in the barn.

We ended up with about 6″ of heavy, wet snow on top of the previous days of rain and everything was a muddy mess.  I decided another day in the barn would be best and started working up my plan to disinfect when their barn stay was over.  I spent Sunday cleaning stalls (ugh!), trimming the filly’s feet (she has severe underrun heels and toe flare), haltering the colt some more and getting any willing visitors to touch him and love on him until he started to think he might be ok with it.  I was in the barn for hours and hours.  Jen even came out and tried to take her horses on individual walks to get them moving and out of the barn.

These feet need work!

These feet need work!

We’ve survived the intial few days now with some pretty miserable weather to keep things interesting.  We are nearly 5 days in and the horses all look better; calmer, softer, more content.  The coughing seems less and the goopy eyes and nose are slightly improved.  The filly is happy to be touched all the time and the colt is warming up to the idea of humans being a source a comfort.  Jen’s mare is done with the small pen life (she’s a lively one!) and Jen’s gelding is just a sweet, easy-going, quiet guy who seems healthier each day.

Another week or two of improved health with good nutrition and low-stress, then we’ll be starting the training process.  The filly has learned some things about halter training pretty quickly, the colt has rapidly improved (from leaping out of round pens to being able to lead slightly), and Jen’s horses have shown that they might know a thing or two.  I doubt her horses have been ridden, but time will tell.

Life has gotten way more interesting, to say the least! My husband hasn’t left me, yet (I’m so grateful for him) and we still have 4 new horses with no names.  🙂

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  1. Alice permalink

    Wow, what an adventure! So interesting…the challenges make for a good story! Your horses are so lucky to have you. Best of luck–can’t wait to hear more! 🙂

  2. Lonnie L Wilson permalink

    I agree with Alice! Such interesting reading! These horse are in for a treat under the Tia Care Plan. I suspect that they will be lounging in easy chairs by the time I am out again. I want to meet them!

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