We have had a very wet September here in Middle Tennessee-last I heard we had at least 11 inches of rain for the month! The past four days have been dry and the fall temperatures have set in. And it's time to mow all the pastures, hopefully for the last time this season.
Earlier in the month before the rains came, we were wise to work on some drainage issues, installing some french drains in a couple of needed areas. Once the flood waters gushed in, we were able to see them at work-just in time!
September brought the addition of Francis and Mary–draft cross retired carriage horses from NY. They settled right in as if they knew they were home. Mary has taken a liking to me-I tell people, she has eyes for only me :) She's a doll to work around–very well mannered and sweet, and she LOVES to eat!
Francis definitely has a personality about him much like my Haley–many similarities. He has some significant issues with his feet that are unfolding and we are trying to figure out exactly what is going on. He is happy here and also loves to eat 🙂
I decided to have my hay racks fabricated in such a way that the horses couldn't yank the flakes out the side–hay racks are useful but poorly designed in my opinion.
Also on the project list this month was putting in pea gravel around water troughs and spouts for ease of walking and also to be used as a soaking area for laminitis or ouchy feet if needed.
Tess (left) has been started on an herbal blend for Cushings. She is already growing in her winter coat. Haley (middle) continues to amaze and astound us with his strong will to live and ability to compensate.
A woman who I did a nutritional consultation for recently ordered some Nose It horse balls for her 4 horses. She sent me a video of the horses rolling them around and having fun discovering the treats (hay pellets) as they fell out. I looked at the website and was impressed. However reluctant to spend $25 per treat ball, I decided I could make something similar myself.
There are two mares here that become bored easily and they share their pasture with my two goats, who are inquisitive and nosey by nature. I thought they would become the perfect candidates to try out my version of a treat ball.
I had these 6 sided plastic containers on hand and used a 1.25 inch drill bit to drill two holes on opposite sides of the container for the hay cubes.
I used a 1/2 inch drill bit for the holes in the treat ball that Willie and Maggie are pushing around. I put three holes in the plastic container and put hay pellets inside.
At less than $5 a piece, I figure I could replace them 5 times if they get destroyed versus the cost of one Nose It ball. The horses and goats seem to enjoy pushing the balls around and it keeps them occupied. Just one way to offer a low sugar/starch treat idea to your horse.
Francis and Mary have arrived! These two beauties were sent to Pets Alive in Middletown, NY after they were retired from their careers as NYC carriage horses. They are some of the lucky few that are actually transitioned from a hard life working on the streets to rescue or retirement.
I want to thank Kerry Clair, director of Pets Alive for allowing me to adopt these wonderful creatures and care for them the rest of their days on my senior retirement farm. I also want to thank Tommy Clair, Kerry's husband, who took 3 days of his time to haul them from NY to TN. And to all the staff and volunteers at Pets Alive who took care of them until they found their forever home.
It was dark last night when they arrived, so no grand photos until today. However the weather has been most uncooperative and it has been pouring rain since I awoke this morning. So far there was one break in the weather so we could snap some photos.
Records on these horses are pretty much non-existant before 2007 and their exact age and breeding are not clear. However our best guess is that both horses are around 25 or so and Francis is a Fresian/Percheron cross and Mary is a Standardbred/Draft cross.
Mary has a left capped hock from an injury two years ago and Francis is lame on his right hind foot. I am told he is prone to abscessing so further investgating and time will tell that story.
This morning they met Dawn. They were very curious about each other. It was really uneventful. A little sniffing thru the fence by all parties and that was it! The three of them could tell some stories I am sure as they all had a life of hard work. Dawn was on a hack line in NC for most of her career before being retired. All three have white spots on them from years of tack and harness use.
I feel so grateful that they are here and look forward to taking care of them 🙂
The first run in shelter my husband and I built was several years ago and it is a two bay 12 X 24 shed. At the time I did not feel a need to add a storage room on it since the main barn was a short distance away. However since pushing a wheelbarrow full of hay and supplies in the dead of winter, only to realize that I've forgotten something, and having the horses scrambling to see who can snatch hay from the cart first, is really not much fun, I decided it was time to add on.
Most of you know I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of two new horses. They are wonderful retired NYC carriage horses and they left on their 2 day journey this morning. This shed will be theirs. So it was time to upgrade before they arrived. My husband, two of our farm helpers and myself have been planning and working for a couple of weeks now. A water and electric line were dug and put in from the main barn. Electrical outlets and lights were installed. The horses here are spoiled and electricity is a must for fans in the warm weather and heated water tubs in the winter!
Then the storage room was built and stained. The gutter was moved over and water tubs on either side will catch rain water. And there is that little luxury of a city water spigot so I will never have to haul water into that field again! The supply room will house hay, feed and all supplies for Mary and Francis. The shelter is situated in a 2 acre field that is cross fenced with another 2 acre field. They will have access to both fields and will be able to see the other horses in adjacent fields.
Feed tubs, fans, hay bags, scratching posts and a fly net screen have all been hung. I think we are ready!
I suppose Labor Day means different things to different people, but to us it's just another day of laboring around the farm 🙂
A short update on what's going on with the horses at Ferrell Hollow Farm.
Here's Dawn this morning eating her morning snack before being put out on pasture with a grazing muzzle. She actually took her head out of the tub of orchard hay to enjoy the grooming! When the pampering was over, her head took a dive back in.
Tess has been having problems with her knees for about a month or so now–mainly the left one. She is going thru some arthritic changes and whenever she decides to go down for a roll or nap, which is not as frequent as it used to be, her knees pay the price and puff up :( So every morning she gets to wear an ice boot and is on herbal anti-inflammatories and a joint supplement.
Haley has had ouchie feet lately. Probably some low grade laminitis–again–poor boy. He is one strong guy with an amazing ability to compensate. He likes to get in his stall in the shed and rest against the panel on the right side to take a load off.
Tee and Toube have raging hormones–they have been out of control for a long time. They are both getting ready to be started on Smart Calm pellets by Smart Pak as they don't like the granulated magnesium. However I am pleased to say the concoction I make each morning Tee loves–I add chamomile to the magnesium in a bit of chopped hay and hay pellets and she licks the bowl clean!
Willie is doing very well with his transition to barefoot. He had shoes when he arrived many years ago and his owner and farrier were reluctant to pull them, thinking he would have a really hard time barefoot. I decided it was time to have them pulled off and he has been doing great without them!
Eagle is so stiff that I can only pick up his left front foot to clean it and check for thrush. When trying to pick up the right front, he leans towards me and locks his knee–no way he says. This morning we had a break thru! I got both fronts up to clean and treat for thrush. It was no easy task mind you, but I was persistant and he gave in. Horray! The back feet I have to wait until he rests a foot and get down on my hands and knees and clean and spray. Whatever it takes to get the job done!
Maggie has had a flareup of her ulcers the past few days. Normally she is a hearty eater but now wants to pick at the meals and eat extremely slow and is grazing less. I have her on an herbal blend for ulcers that I make and am also giving her aloe, and it is working, as she feels better today.