Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Art of Feeding

Throw 'em some hay, maybe some oats.

It used to be so easy. 

Now, I'm constantly seeking perfection in the art of horse feeding.  From baling our own hay to the scrutiny of feeder locations, slow feeding, herd dynamics, I'm always trying to improve our equipment and set-up so each horse can get enough food -- but not TOO much, of course, and certainly not too fast.  It has to last as long as possible, to achieve that ideal, constant small stream of roughage working its way through the horse's mysterious and delicate gut.

Here are some shots that -- sort of -- match this blog concept.
This morning: Three small-mesh bags, spread far enough apart.  Hudson has to work too hard to try to hog all the hay.

Lucky horses got extra hay, leftover from sheep feeding.  Sheep marching off somewhere, in a line.

The slow-feeder concept has spilled over to the sheep.
Webbly in his winter coat, looking longingly after the mares.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2013

While you're recovering from all that tryptophan and apple pie, consider heading out to these weekend events. 

Whatever you do, chisel through that ice and have a great time with your horse! 

Lane Cove Dressage Open House and Lesson Sale
When: Saturday, Nov 30, 2013
Where: McGraw (map)
Description: Lane Cove Dressage will be hosting a Holiday Extravaganza and Sales event on Saturday November 30 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. Stop in and purchase discount lesson packages, enter to win a free riding lesson, and watch a riding demonstration. Stop in and meet our lesson horses, sales horses, and staff. Space is available for vendors (pm for information) and an ad encouraging the public to attend this event will run in the Wednesday edition of the Cortland Standard. Discount lesson specials include a 4 lesson package regularly priced at $150 for only $135. Offer is only valid for those that stop in and purchase on Saturday November 30st. Vendors are highly encouraged to attend and donate a door prize. Please contact for more information.

Birchtown Stables Winter Show Series
When: Sunday, Dec 1- 2, 2013
Where: Forest City
Birchtown Stables 6th Annual Winter Show Series 2013 
This show series has an "around the world" theme.
This month is "China! "

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Events, Nov. 23 - 24, 2013

This is the first weekend since last winter when, I'm sorry to say, there are no horse-related activities in the Twin Tiers.  I would be happy to stand corrected if someone has one to share.

In place of a listing of events, I bring you my vote this year's cutest pony video.  This made the rounds a couple months ago, but in case you missed it, enjoy!

 Luma and trainer Mélie Philippot. 
Click here to see video.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Check, Check, Check

He's my prisoner, but Crabby still loves me.
Previously, I wrote of that point of pre-winter panic, when I realized that we would not complete ALL our projects this year, and had to prioritize a few.  Here’s an update:

The sheep pasture is finished, and the sheep now live there.  No more chewed horse tails, no more little ovines criss-crossing between pastures whenever they so desired, no more fear that one day they would step through the perimeter fencing and be impossible to catch, or hit by a car, etc.

Fresh, new wall, with the canvas corpse still at its feet.
They are prisoners, but they have their own nice, lush pasture, paddock, lambing pen and run-in, all sheep-proof.


The old canvas that blocked the south end of the barn since Hurricane Sandy has been replaced by a sturdy, board and batten wall, thanks to my husband's meticulous work.  The horse barn is now finally enclosed to my satisfaction.


The equipment and hay barn has electric!  Check.

Always cooperative, Starlight demos the solar tank.
So, all good. I’ll throw this one in there as well:  For years, we, like many horse-owners, have struggled with frozen buckets and troughs, as well as a variety of  ways to keep water from freezing.   

Last year, we offered temporary housing to a horse that was seized by the SPCA.  He had to be separate from our horses, and we housed him in an area where there was no electric.  He needed water, so we purchased a solar-heated waterer, the Sun Tank, from Pine Ranch Products.  It was a big expense, but it worked.   

This year, we have moved it down for our mares to use, and it’s definitely their first choice when they are thirsty in the cold.  This morning, at 20 degrees F, the water in the tank was ready for them, no ice.  

I’m hopeful that the days of icy troughs or plug-in water tanks might be a thing of the past.

Now, on to the lower priorities. On a farm, it never ends.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Events, Nov. 14-17

Sure, it's November and the days are short and dark and the weather is very confusing. But that doesn't mean you have to sit home, reading you Pony Club Manuals and contemplating the blanket sales.  There's a lot to do in the Tiers this weekend, so hit a clinic, a sale, or go hear Snowman's famous daddy!

Whatever you do, have fun with your pony. 
GVEC Short Course: Owning Your First Horse
When:  Thu, November 14, 7pm – 9pm
Where:  Scottsville (map)
Description:  GVEC Short Course: Owning Your First Horse, presented by Amy Snyder, DVD and Kathy Stein, Office Manager, 7- 9 pm, at the Genesee Valley Equine Clinic, Scottsville, NY. Cost: $8.00 per person. For more information, call 585-889-1170 or go to

Michael Page Clinic at If Only Farm
When:  Nov 15 – 17, 2013
Where:  Freeville (map)
Description:  Michael Page Jumping Clinic November 15-17, 2013 Come train with a legend! Six-time Olympian Michael Page will be back for his 29th year at If Only Farm. Groups will be divided by the experience of the horse and rider, beginner through advanced. $175 for one day, $300 for two days, $425 for three days. Spectators are welcome for $15/day. Participants may have 2 free spectators. $100 Non-refundable deposit is required, checks payable to “If OnlyFarm.” Contact us now and reserve your spot early – this clinic fills up fast!

Barn Sale at Mothersfield
When:  Saturday, Nov 16, 2013
Where:  Avon (map)
Description:  Mothersfield 10th annual BARN SALE - 10 am till 3 pm, 4444 Hogmire Road, Avon, NY. Great bargains on new & used stuff such as blankets, tack, clothes, boots, and other bargaiins for the horse & rider in your family. 10 % commission on stuff dropped off by Thursday (Nov 14) if you want us to sell for you. Please deliver TAGGED items with a complete list, including asking price and lowest accepted price. For more info, call (585) 226-6287

Harry deLeyer at Genesee Valley Breeders Association Annual Meeting
When:  Sat, November 16, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Where:  Canadaigua (map)
Description:  Harry deLeyer will be the guest speaker at the Genesee Valley Breeders Association Annual Meeting. Harry deLeyer was the owner and rider of the world famous jumper "Snowman". Harry's story of buying this horse off a truck bound for slaughter and developing him into a champion jumper is a heart-warming one, a true story of underdogs and longshots. Please join the GVBA at the Fingerlakes RaceTrack and Casino. Cocktails @ 6:30 ( cash bar), Business meeting and Buffet dinner @ 7 pm. $20 for non-GVBA members, includes full buffet, live band for dancing after meeting and casino attractions. Please make check payable to GVBA and advise to number in party, mail to: GVBA, PO Box 566, Geneseo, NY 14454 or contact Randy Kozlowski at

Birchtown Stable Winter Show Series
When:  Sunday, Nov 17, 2013
Description: Birchtown Stables 6th Annual Winter Show Series 2013 November 17-18 December 1-2 January 19 February 9-10 March 9-10 April 13-14

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Dreaded Diagnosis

The videos of the Hunt Races showed me Hudson in a way I don't normally see her.  Usually, I'm on top of her, or she's hanging around the paddock or pasture.  I don't normally see her at work with a rider. 

What I saw created a mixed reaction in me.  The first was dismay.  Her body is so big, and fairly fat, even after a summer of conditioning.  This concerned me.  The other reaction, I have to say, was laughter.  I knew she had short legs, but they looked even shorter in videos, churning away under that big body as we galloped toward the finish line.  She is a definitely the living image of a Thelwell pony, supersized.

My concern for her weight made me start thinking about her health, so I recently had the vet by to draw some blood.  First, I wanted to know that she wasn't insulin resistant, as some fat horses are.  Then, I wanted to see how her thyroid is functioning.  Finally, I wanted to make sure her vitamin E is high enough, since it has been low in the past and it is necessary for muscle health and to help selenium work. 

The vet recommended we run a Lyme test as well, since there has been a fair amount of Lyme in the area this year. 

<Side rant: I HATE TICKS.  They are completely diabolical.>

The results have been trickling in this week.  E is low normal.  Selenium is a little low (will up the supplement).  Glucose/IR tests are normal.  That's a big relief.  A couple of her thyroid tests are abnormal, so that's something to look into.

The show stopper for me was the Lyme result, though.  I was shocked to learn that she is positive for a low level of chronic Lyme. 

This was a complete surprise to me.  I have never seen a tick on her, but the little bastards manage to attach themselves to spots where you wouldn't notice them, under the jaw, on the tail, under the mane. 

It made me remember the time several years ago when she suddenly came up sick, fever, lethargic.  The vet at that time drew blood, found high white blood cells and called it pneumonia.  We put her on a couple weeks of antibiotics and she was fine after that.  But it made me wonder -- was that actually Lyme, and we didn't quite completely knock it out with the antibiotics?

I have mixed feelings about Lyme.  I used to think the concept of chronic Lyme was more psychiatric than physical, but as medicine focuses more on it, I'm starting to change my mind.  To have a horse with a chronic Lyme diagnosis has left me totally non-plussed, although the vet has said that 60 to 80 percent of horses get Lyme. 

The problem with chronic Lyme is it's hard to get rid of it.  And then, the liklihood of reinfection is, obviously, high.  Hudson will have to be on a long program of antibiotics, which is not good for anyone's system.  But I will go that route, because I want to try to get rid of something that could be impacting her health and causing her pain.

Minocyline, here we come.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Nov. 8 - 10

Dressage lovers, this is your weekend!  You have three excellent dressage clinics from which to choose (who would have thought the dressage enthusiasts would be the last ones standing as fall churns on toward winter?!)

If you can't decide, let me recommend the Légèreté clinic at Lane Cove.  It will be an eye-opener for many people.

Whatever you decide to do, have a great time with your pony!
Légèreté Clinic with Stephanie Durand at Lane Cove
When:  Nov 8 - 11, 2013
Where:  McGraw (map)
Description:  Légèreté Clinic with Stephanie Durand Friday-Monday November 8-11 Please join us for a open clinic with Stephanie Durand, a certified instructor of Philippe Karl's School of Légèreté. Stephanie is an accomplished rider, teacher, competitor, coach, and clinician. This is a very rare chance to ride with a licensed teacher in the School of Légèreté in the US.
Riders: $865 for four days of private instruction. A $500 deposit and signed contract are due by September 30th to reserve your space in the clinic. The remaining balance of $365 is due by October 15th. Auditors & riders will also receive a general theory lecture and homework session. Stabling: Payment and stabling contract (with indication of with/without amenities) are due by October 15th. Day/Overnight stalls without hay or shavings: $15 Overnight stabling with hay and shavings included: $25 per night Auditors: Please pre-register and send payment using the online registration form. Auditors sign an auditors contract, pre-register, and pay in advance. One day: $85 Multiple days: $75 each Four days: $265 Theory lecture only (Approximately 12:00-2:00 p.m. each day): $20 Clinic Location: Lane Cove Dressage 3773 Stillwell Rd McGraw, NY 13101 Registration Form: For more information:

Dressage Clinic with Michael Barison
When:  Saturday, Nov 9, 2013
Where:  Mendon, NY (map)
Description:  Dressage Clinic with Michael Barisone at Park Place Farms, Mendon, NY. For more info, contact Sandy Hider at 585-721-5539 or

Michelle LaBarre Dressage Clinic
When:  Nov 9 -10, 2013
Where:  Honeoye Falls (map)
Description:  Nov. 9-10 Michelle LaBarre Dressage Clinic - Black Points Farm, Honeoye Falls, NY. For info about Michelle, http://www.labarredressage.comTo ride in the clinic, contact Mary Delton at Auditors welcome.