Tag Archives: caring for horses

Lady and the Plow

My husband decided that he’s going to do some sharecropping again this year. He hasn’t the past few years because it’s really a lot of work and little gain. But, since we have these animals to feed during the dry season, it helps to have a small stockpile of fodder to hold us over.

The rainy season doesn’t officially start until the third week of June. This year, being 2020 the year of unpredictability and all, we’ve already had several light showers of rain in May–which hardly ever happens. So most of the farmers have been out barbechando (readying up) the fields. 

My husband tried to get a guy with a tractor to plow the area he had permission to plant on. It has lain fallow for about 5 years. The tractor guy did one row and called it quits. He said it was too rocky and he didn’t want to damage his equipment. 

So then he tried to get another guy who has two horses to plow up the field. That guy said he was too busy with his own fields to hire out. 

Now, we’ve plowed before. Fiona and our previous horses Red and Beauty, have done excellent work. However, my husband sold the plow. Actually, he sold the plow three times, after buying it back twice. Currently, we have no plow. So he rented one from a neighbor for the week for 200 pesos. 

He hitched Lady up to the plow and away they went. My husband was absolutely delighted with her performance. In fact, he was so delighted, he set her up a new stall in the back yard. She has more space, isn’t together with the goats so Jolina isn’t jumping in her food dish, and can be entertained by Fred and George’s gladiator antics. 

Unfortunately, she stripped the guayaba tree of its leaves overnight and keeps knocking over the rain barrel. She also has been biting the wood on the bars around her corral. My husband was worried that she had a vitamin deficiency or some other issue, but when I looked it up, most experts believe horses bite the wood of their enclosures because they are bored. We all know that Lady is too smart for her own good. Remember how she kept opening the door for the goats?

Lady’s new area doesn’t have a gate yet, just those bars that you have to slide all the way out for her to come out. My husband keeps saying he’ll get to it, but he’s got other things on his plate at the moment. He went on a caminata (community horse ride) last week to Los Amoles (and brought us home a cold) and is going on another one this week (and will probably bring us home another virus). As a result of his “busy-ness” none of the quarantine projects are finished yet, including Lady’s new stall. (Can you tell I’m just a tad bit annoyed?)

Anyway, it rained this week, so some seeds went into the ground. We’ll see how Tlaloc treats us in La Yacata this year!

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Lady’s Leg

Since we’re practically bursting at the seams with our animal population, we had to move Lady from her stall to the patio to make some extra room for the new kids. The result of the move was a seriously injured Lady. 

What it looks like happened is she lay down in the night to sleep. When she stretched, her hoof went under the fence, which wasn’t a problem while she was on the ground. However, when she got up, it got stuck on one of the bars of the fence. She panicked and pulled up, and the bar went through the top of her foot and embedded itself about 2 inches into her nail. 

We heard her thrashing about around 6 am. I don’t think she had been stuck too long, maybe 15 minutes or so. When we came out to investigate, we were shocked she hadn’t screamed, because it looked pretty bad. My husband was feeling woozy just looking at it. 

I held Lady’s head, stroked her flank and talked to her throughout the whole ordeal while my husband cut the wires on the fence. That wasn’t enough to get the hoof out, so he had to use a saw and cut the bar several inches above where it entered her foot. Once that was cut, she could stand but still had this 6 inch metal bar in her foot. 

Ouch!

My husband tied a rope around one end and had my son pull straight up on it while he held down the hoof. In a few minutes, the bar was out and the wound was bleeding profusely. My son pulled so hard that when it came loose he gave himself a black eye. My husband also cut his arm on the wire in the process. Personal injuries aside, we distracted Lady with some alfalfa as my husband sprayed some “azul” antiseptic on the wound. Infection is something we definitely want to avoid. 

The Puppers wanted to help their big doggy friend (or at least that’s what we think they think the horses are) and tried to lick the wound. Since it already had some antiseptic on it, we didn’t want that. So Terry had to head to his doggy day care up the road (the backyard of my sister-in-law’s house) so the Puppers could be in our backyard since George and Terry still aren’t friends. 

Terry wasn’t thrilled to be alone in the dark up there, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

The next day, my husband brought home a tetanus shot for lady. After reading the directions and understanding that we had to wait 21 days after the application para sacraficio (sacrifice), we headed out to administer the shot. As my husband is afraid of needles, he told me he’d cover Lady’s face and I would give the shot. Fine. I attached the needle and was all ready, but my husband didn’t think it was tight enough. He took the syringe from my hand and pressed the two sides together–ejecting all the medicine in the process. So much for the tetnus shot.

Looking a little thin there Lady!

She’s sad and depressed, but still up to her old mischief. She managed to unhook the latch on her restraint by pressing it against her food dish. Then casually wandered over to the barrel full of corn and popped the lid, helping herself to a cob or two. I watched her do this from the front porch. When I called my son to latch her restraint again, she lifted her hoof to him showing him her injury. She got two more cobs of sympathy corn from him. 

Still, she’s been off her feed lately and is looking positively scrawny. Fortunately, the wound in her foot hasn’t been infected and is starting to scab over. Poor Lady.

Red’s hamming it up for the camera!

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A Horse’s Best Friend

I thought I’d continue my little rant on friendship and Mexico with this touching story of equine friendship…

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Red has been quite the handful these past three months since he’s joined the Flores homestead. He isn’t contrary like Spirit or Joey were but he isn’t as friendly as Shadow was. He does what he wants and really doesn’t have a care in the world.

He and Lady have become bosom buddies. Yeah, he likes mom to be in his sights, but when Lady goes for a ride with my husband, he carries on until she returns. This past Sunday, my husband had the idea to take Lady on the yearly cabalgata (horse ride) to El Ojo de Agua en Medio a nearby town. Red was having none of that. It took nearly 20 minutes for my husband to sneak off. 

The friendship between the two is reciprocated by Lady as well. She is only just over two years old, so a relatively young mare. She doesn’t seem to mind when Red bugs her to have his back scratched or races around while she’s eating. 

The other night Lady was fussing in her stall so much that I got up to see what the issue was. I shined the lamp down onto the animal area from the front porch and saw her circling her stall in agitation. The goats believed that the sudden glow of the lamp was the circus spotlight and immediately began running in circles, jumping off the walls doing mid-air twists and generally making quite a show. 

Lady continued her anxiety until Red popped his head over the wall in the stall he shares with his mom Cookie to see what all the fuss was about. As soon as Lady saw Red, she calmed right down. 

My husband has been talking about selling one of our mares. Really, three horses are too many for the space constraints we have. He hasn’t decided whether Cookie or Lady will go. I think Red just might be more devastated at losing Lady then his mom after he’s been weaned. So perhaps he’s made the decision for us.

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Read more about our animal friendships!

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