Work Wednesday—Mustangs!


Well, Cody and Cav have been here a week now and have adjusted very well. They aren’t really in bad condition, at least, not as bad as I was prepared for. Cody, especially, needs her feet trimmed, but they’re more rugged—as one would expect for a wild horse—than overgrown or injured. Neither are particularly underweight, but are always hungry.

Chestnut, our visitor, was super excited to meet other horses—she’d been sharing a pasture with a few cows for a couple years—and she followed little Cav around like a puppy. Of course, she nipped him when he got a little too familiar with her nose, but other than that, they get along pretty well.

Funniest thing is that now, watching Cav take naps, Chestnut will too! Almost every day, within feet of Cav. Cody doesn’t seem bothered by their friendship; in a wild herd, all the horses watch out for the foals and, of course, let them know if they get out of hand. Gently, of course—foals can get away with a lot!

Cav has a very expressive face. He’s taken hay from me several times now, and yesterday I got to touch his little nose. He didn’t run or even step backwards, but jerked his head a little bit and his eyes got huge! Later in the day, he came SO CLOSE to taking a sugar cube from me, but not quite . . . he did follow me around the pasture while I was cleaning up. Once, when a forkful of manure and straw flew in his line of sight, he skedaddled pretty quick for a few steps. Came right back, though.

He also loves the mineral block—and my poor cedar trees are taking a beating from his scratching!

I put Chestnut in the south section of the pasture for a few hours yesterday. She’s such a pet that she’d be all over me for treats, and she tends to herd the others away so she can get all those treats for herself. When we took her over there a couple days ago for some work, she freaked out and could only think of getting back to her posse—even if she does bully them at feeding time. So for now she’ll go in that other section for a few hours a day until she stops being buddy sour.

Cody is a bit of an enigma. She’s very alert and will watch me until she realizes that whatever I’m doing isn’t a threat, and then she’ll go back to grazing. She’ll come close, almost within arm’s reach, but that’s about it, except for twice now she’s let me hand her some hay.

The first time, a couple of my fingers inadvertently went into her mouth, and we were both surprised—no harm done; other being startled a bit, we’re both okay with it. J

When I brought in our old squeaky wheelbarrow, Cody was very, very interested. She stood and watched me all the way from the house to the gate. I had a handful of hay left in the back of the truck, so I gave her that, but when she realized there wasn’t actually food in the squeaky thing, she wandered off.

But not too far. She had to keep coming back to check!

So I cleaned up the quarter section where we drop hay, although I’m rotating it around the area, and by the gate; Cody kindly left a fresh pile as I was leaving the pasture . . . And I cleaned out the shed. Later today, I’ll go get some proper tools and finish up the rest.

Wilson, our Maine Coon, has now met Cody. He’d been used to wandering around the pasture while we were fencing, and until Chestnut arrived. The first few times he went outside after the whole herd got here, he’d stop and stare for a while, on the deck, where he was “safe.” Yesterday, he went into the pasture while I was out there . . .

Cody was closest to him, and saw him right away. She paused for a hot second, then made her way over to him. I believe he thought he was invisible, but she quickly changed his mind. She put her nose down to him and chuffed a couple times while he flattened himself and made a pitiful mew. She decided he wasn’t going to hurt her, and ambled away.

Wilson, on the other hand, went under the fence like he was shot out of a cannon. He ran about ten yards toward the house, then saw me and came back inside the pasture—but he stayed close to me! Then, of course, he discovered manure . . . A little bit later, while I was cleaning the shed, he’d made himself a nest right in the center of all the straw.

He did meet Cav, too. Cav is fascinated with this fuzzy creature, but Wilson’s not so sure about it yet. He didn’t run, but Cav didn’t put his nose on him either, like Cody did!

I’ll leave you with a few pictures; sorry there aren’t more yet—but I’m still old-school enough to live in the moment and not have to document every second. Besides, I’ve kinda got my hands full here!

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Work Wednesday—Almost Here!


Late yesterday morning, I received pictures of our new horses! In case you haven’t seen them, here they are:

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I spent the rest of that day basically jumping around the house; it’s a good thing almost all my work was done for the day! Well, except for the finishing touches: 003

And of course, the neverending saga of putting additional screws in the fence. Thankfully, the sun finally came out around 2:30. More or less.

My assortment of halters, ropes, and, inexplicably, a book called “The Backyard Cow,” arrived mostly unscathed, and this weekend we’re taking delivery of 50 or so bales of hay.

A lot of work? Yes. Cold? Yes.

But not nearly as cold as the weather in South Dakota, where the horses are coming from . . .

I’ll write more on Friday, but my horses are coming from a rescue that’s under court order to adopt out a certain percentage of the herd. The deadline to apply was November 30, which was about two weeks after I first heard about it.

The remaining horses are going to auction December 19-20, and yes, some will likely be sold to kill buyers. Again, more about this on Friday.

Now, I jumped at the chance to own a couple wild mustangs—come on, who wouldn’t? But I’m also rather practical. Most of the time. Okay, some of the time. But our intentions were always, once we moved out here, to get a couple horses.

I don’t think this is exactly what my husband had in mind . . .

Those of you who came out about a month after we closed on the farm will surely be wondering what the heck is wrong with us—the place was a wreck before you all came out and helped with clean-up. And we’ve done a few things since then.

We’ve been seeding the pasture area, spring and fall, and we’d always planned to put in the fence this year when the weather turned a bit cooler from those nearly-forgotten summer temps. We stepped up the timetable a bit after agreeing to work with a neighbor’s horse, and having her live here for a while during training, but neither he nor we were in a rush.

Then I saw the adoption site.

And here’s the problem—a lot of folks think, “Wow, free horses!” and they’re off and running. Sure, I thought that too, but 1) I have space and 2) I have facilities for horses and 3) I can afford to pay for transport, feed, vet, farrier, etc. And, well, 4) I have experience and quite a collection of tack and tools gathered over the years.

But some of these adopters, gosh, I really wonder if they know what they’re getting into. Some are sending their adoptees to be boarded; some, at least on social media, indicate little knowledge or experience; some can’t afford the hauling fees—how can they afford to board or feed the animals?

I understand that they’re saving the horses from a kill pen, but still . . . On the other hand, those in charge of approving adoptions presumably went over the applications and did give approval. So perhaps all is well.

I only know that were things we had to do before the arrival of our pair, and yes, we’re doing them. Probably will even be finished days before they arrive. Really, we only moved up the date, not the purpose.

In a nutshell, these horses are coming to a home where they’ll have plenty of hay and grain, shelter, vet care, and their very own people—none of which they had in South Dakota.