Talked with Gracie's Auntie Trish this morning and, weather permitting, I'll be bringing Gracie to her "winter retreat" on Sunday. We'll be talking Saturday night and again early Sunday morning due to the rain and freezing rain that is in the forecast, but Gracie is ready! Each time I take her back out to the pasture she calls like she is calling to Auntie Trish. "I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready!", she calls.
Her little feet will get trimmed tomorrow so she will be set for a while. She'll be dewormed and she'll have two clean blankets with her. Waiting for her is Max, Felix the cat, Willy, Jake, and yes, Jerry and Trish. That horse will come home in the spring sleek and spoiled rotten. Again!
In one hour we will be just hitting the freeway with Little Gracie in tow. And that's a good thing! This little horse is getting crabby! She doesn't like to be cold and she dislikes it even more to be wet! She is getting beyond stubborn and unhappy.
So, we'll load her and take her to her Auntie Trish and then all will be happy - Gracie and Auntie Trish!
What a blessing this arrangement is! Gracie is already falling off of her hay and just standing - not moving - just standing. She "freezes up" when she gets in this winter weather and last year she dropped a good 45 pounds.
This year we are ready for her and she'll be next to Max for supper. Her kittens in her hay with her. And Auntie Trish just standing and watching her.......
Gracie did NOT like the ride in the trailer and stood in the shavings like a little statue. Her legs locked and her head in the air. Once out, she began calling to let everyone know she was back!
In her same stall, she buried her head in the hay and then began playing kissy face almost immediately with Max, her neighbor from last year. Auntie Trish did very well although you could see that she just wanted to scoop her up and hug her tightly!
That little girl is in excellent hands and I bet she slept like a rock last night! Shortey came in for feed, ate, and then went back outside. She only called once and then began her task of helping all the horses make that round bale disappear. I think little Shortey will be just fine for the winter. But Lanna better watch out! Shortey loves to make that big horse move!!!
Just talked to Auntie Trish and our Little Gracie is coming home tomorrow!!! I've repeatedly offered to bring her home for Trish but as Trish says, "No, I need to bring her home myself." And so it will be.
Get this - Trish is already working on the plans for housing her next winter!!!
Oh, Gracie!! Do you KNOW how lucky you are, little girl??
Gracie's Auntie Trish is coming to her rescue again this year - and in BIG fashion!!
Gracie will be moving to Trish's barn on November 29th to spend the winter in an insulated barn with an indoor arena. She will be loved, exercised, and truly spoiled!!!
Auntie Trish has a big heart and so to minimize the risk to Gracie's boyfriend, the boyfriend is going to spend the winter with her! Yes, RockMan will be moving with Gracie to the insulated barn and indoor arena!
Trish and the barn owner's have modified two stalls to create one big stall since RockMan cannot be without touching his girl. They will travel together and be together through the winter months. RockMan will stand with his head over Gracie's withers as they stand and with his head protectively over her as she sleeps.
My attempts to seperate the two just to see how he would react has shown me that if Gracie were to disappear, I would seriously be worried that RockMan would be so stressed that he would not survive. My worries were stated to Trish with the idea that Gracie would spend her winter here in our insulated workshop but that wasn't good enough for Trish! Nope! The couple will move and be doted upon and both of them will return spoiled and with shining coats!!
Trish has given Gracie the gift of life for several winters now. And has extended her gift to include RockMan, too. Thank you, Auntie Trish. It will be so quiet without them but I rest so easily knowing they are safe and protected and warm! More than I can give them in these big, open barns!
The married couple are doing great. They have not needed double blankets, b/c the barn they are in is staying a nice 30 - 35 degrees inside. We have their stall all nice and warm with blankets covering the ends and the doors are kept shut which holds the heat inside. The one cat that stays over there is enjoying the warmth the honeymooners bring with them.
They get turned out without their blankets on for approximately 30 minutes in the arena to roll and then are brushed and blankets put back on so they don't get cold and then they get another 1 1/2 hour of arena time together. Gracie and I are up to 2 laps, and RockMan has joined our exercise routine and follows along without a lead on.
RockMan is settling in wonderfully, and LOVES Wendy. He follows her around the arena if she is in there, and even leaves Gracie to be with Wendy. He is eating up all the fussing he gets over him. Amanda made homemade sugar free treats for them, and they love them. They have the routine down (I put them in the arena when clean their stall, they get brushed and blankets back on, feeding time, and then treat time). They are even getting used to their daily smooches on the nose when I leave.
They can find their own way to the arena and to their stall now, and have learned the surroundings very quickly. I have been posting a few pictures on Facebook and tagging Refuge Farms, but I will get some more to send via email.
So know they are warm, happy, and together 24/7. It is soo good to have my girl Gracie back with me. It is amazing how relaxed I get the second I step into the barn and see her nose poking through the stall door. She is soo magical.
RockMan's nose continues to heal well, and is almost completely healed over. He is even learning he can be away from Gracie for a bit and not panic. As long as Wendy is around he is in heaven.
Thanks again for entrusting me with their care. They are wonderful horses to have in my life.
I think I have finally landed on something monumental when it comes to moving Gracie and RockMan.
Typically it is a chaotic adventure to move the two of them out of the big barn to the space in the yard I have selected for them to graze. Moving them back in the mornings is even worse since RockMan knows there is feed awaiting him!
Gracie moves very, very slowly. She stops frequently to smell the earth and just pokes along.
Meanwhile, RockMan is bumping into her, into me, walking way ahead, getting lost, coming back and bumping into her, into me, and then walking way past us. It is noisy, messy, and someone usually always get stepped on!!
So this morning I tried a new approach:
I take Gracie's halter on her left side and tie her to RockMan's halter on his right side. Then I lead RockMan from his left side. This accomplishes three things:
1. RockMan knows Gracie is pulling on his head and so he moves more slowly in consideration of her. Bravo!!! 2. Gracie knows it is RockMan pulling on her head and so she moves more quickly in consideration of him. Hurray!!! 3. The little human has a much less strenuous adventure and wasn't stepped on in two moves so far today! YEAH!!!
So we are an ugly little snake meandering around the yard - especially when you add Shortey coming up behind us. But it seems to work! Much easier on the legs and the arms and the wrists and we all get there in one piece in a rather "normal" pace. Who would have thought, eh?
Today was the day for the Specialized Farrier to reset Miss April's shoes, trim Shortey (or "Chopper" as he calls her!), and then trim Gracie.
Everyone did especially well today - fan on them for fly control, a bit of meds to ease the nerves, and progress so very visible in Miss April that it makes us smile. Five years of effort is now visible in the new foot that is appearing before us! Another year or so of growth and she may - MAY! - have normally shaped feet on the front!!!
We did a bit of tendon therapy on Shortey and found that her one badly knuckled front foot is frozen. Our thoughts are that the tendons were so bent over for so long that they are calcified and cannot be straightened. Even with time and a bit of massage today, her knuckle at her wrist will NOT bend forward. So that one foot is as good as it will get while the right front foot continues to improve. Today, for the first time since she arrived, I actually watched her step on the heel of the right front foot and the rock the foot forward. THAT is a normal step and it earned her hugs - of which she was disgusted with me for such a display of emotion!!!
Gracie has hidden two very large abscesses - one in each front foot. When I started to dissect why this had happened, our farrier finally turned around and said, "Sandy, remember she has seizures. Remember she is laminitic. Remember she is probably throwing little bits of coffin bone every once in a while. Remember she would have been dead 8 years ago. Be glad she is here and can recover from these episodes."
It takes a wise one to straighten you out once in a while....I am grateful for his perspective and for Gracie's ability to recover.
As I write this, the three of them (Gracie, RockMan, and Shortey) are in the lawn eating the wet grasses from the recent cloud burst. Happy together. Eating sweet grass. Pooping when they feel like it. And looking so very content. They don't seem worried about deformed wrists or feet . . . . Remember to be more like the horses, Sandy . . . . . Lessons learned.
Her efforts are now going into re-adjusting to life here at THE FARM and trying to make new friends. My guess was Budd would help her eat some lawn grass at night but he was too frantic being separated from Miss April. Then I opened my eyes . . . .
Dear Spirit is most concerned about her little friend and more than eager to share the lawn with her! I'll try the routine these next couple of days and see if we can't work out lawn and corral times and partners for our Little Queen! Even Ella is pining over Gracie so who knows? Maybe the rodeo "digger" and the wreckless "Spirit" may rise to the occasion and be surrogates to Grace.
Gracie has been coming along strong and so very positive. This morning, though, she is either napping or losing ground. No interest in any food. Water only to rinse her mouth after the meds. I did extract a good amount from her this morning and hopefully, that will relieve the bloated feeling and cause her to rebound. She could be just tired. But no response to hay fines is a sign of loss of interest in living. I have her assortment of feeds piled just right so I will be able to tell if she has "nosed around" as she does before she selects specific kibbles. What a girl.
I will post tonight after our walk. Walking, right now, seems cruel. She is comfortable, warm, good color in her gums and tongue, so hopefully she is just tuckered out!
Our Gracie is very constipated so the routine since 3pm and until 8am is:
* Warm water anema every 2 hours: 7 cups warm water with 1 cup oil
* Bantimine paste every 12 hours
* Walking the driveway to the house, around the loop 3 times, and then back down to the big barn every hour
* Stool softener dissolved in warm water and administered orally every 8 hours
* Manual manure removal for as far possible every hour after the walk
* Constant positive attitude with the string removed to give her manure the room to pass when it begins to do so
So, we are at the edge of the adventure - she will respond and HOPEFULLY she will not prolapse as the manure passes or she will not respond. It is still her choice and I am moving forward as if she will respond. Gracie is very uncomfortable and so is crabby, resistant to meds administrations, and even biting from time-to-time. Between the discomfort and her frustration, I'm sure she is about to just scream! I'm on this side of the trauma and I already AM screaming!!!
If there is no response by morning, then we'll have a vet out to listen for bowel sounds, tapping for signs of a twist or blockage, and a general exam to give us a read on pain level and overall position.