Tag Archives: horses

Hold Your Horses

So our neighbor up the hill, the chicken feather guy, has begun his let the animals out to forage during growing season rigamarole. The cows, pitiful scrawny creatures, are set free at night. And the horses, during the day. 

The chicken feather guy’s yegua (mare) has a colt who reportedly is 5 months old. This poor undernourished foal is only half the size of Red, who is just 2 months old. The other horse he has is a black and white stallion, which would be absolutely stunning if he weren’t in such poor health. 

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Unbeknownst to us, Cookie, Red’s mom, has gone into heat. This has made the stallion go completely nuts. He’s down by our horses every single minute. Of course, he isn’t strong enough to get the mating act done. His legs are too weak from hunger. So that just further frustrates him.

He also seems to think Red is a threat. Granted, Red is a male horse and he does still nurse which of course is an intrusion into what this love-struck stallion believes is his. So he kicks out at Red, who doesn’t understand and doesn’t go far from mom, which results in more kicks. 

The other day, B.W. Stallion (black and white) was giving the horses such a hard time that I went out to try and separate them. Well, that was a disaster. Lady was running up and down in hysterics. Red was getting hurt. And the dogs were chasing Stallion up and around. Stallion just wouldn’t give up even when I tried to shoo him off, mindful of not getting too close to those hooves.

My father-in-law happened by and tried to help. We decided the best thing would be to put the ladies and Red in. Wouldn’t you know it, the stallion decided he was coming home for supper too and marched himself right into the stall. It took some doing to get him out. 

About then, my son came home too which was a good thing because some of the little chivitos (goats) had escaped while we were trying to get the horses in. The dogs were still chasing Stallion around the house. It took another 30 minutes or so to get everyone, including the dogs, back inside and calmed down. 

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Stallion decided he’d wait at the door for a while. He did finally head home. We certainly got our exercise that morning! When my son went to complain to the chicken feather guy about the free horse, his response was “se me escapó.” (he escaped). It isn’t true. The walls around the chicken feather guys’ compound are 12 feet high. Nobody escaping from there. AND there’s the fact that this happens EVERY day. Se me escapó my ass. 

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Horsing around

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The three musketeers waiting for Lady to open their door!

Lady has been giving us a run for our money lately. She’s learned not only how to open her stall door, but the goats’ door as well. For a couple of weeks, we went around blaming each other for leaving the doors open. It wasn’t until one day we caught her in the act that we finally wised up.

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We have to run a wire through the latch or she opens it!

Lady has also been eating the eggs. My husband had been blaming the dogs. So he constructed a puppy-proof barrier and the eggs were still gone when he went out to collect them. Lady is considerably taller than the dogs, so she didn’t have any issues keeping on keeping on with her egg consumption.

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Cookie giving me the skank eye!

Cookie, who still hasn’t dropped her foal yet, has her own little circus going on. Since she is supposed to be “my” horse, I’ve been allowed to ride her, huge belly and all, for short periods of time. We take it nice and easy and don’t go too far.

One evening we decided to go just a little bit further down the road. Once we passed our normal turning around spot, Cookie kept giving me the skank eye. I tried to redirect her attention back to the road so that I wouldn’t get impaled by the low-hanging mesquite branches, but she’d just turn her head to the side and give me another look.

Her pace slowed considerably so I figured she was tired. Sure enough, when we made a U-turn, she started trotting away, no more skank eye. It certainly gave me a chuckle.

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View of the patio/animal corral from above.

I’m not sure what we are going to do when baby Cookie arrives. Already our supposed “patio” is animal crowded with chickens, puppies, Cookie and then Lady and the goats when the doors are magically opened. Time to brainstorm a better solution.

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New Additions

Well, that pregnant goat my husband bought last finally gave birth–and to triplets no less. Two boys and a girl as cute as can be. They are just as lovely as Chiveta–making them way better looking than the kinder boys we have running about.

One of the boys is Spot because he has yep you guessed it, a spot on the back of his neck. The other we really haven’t named, except to say Not Spot, so maybe that’s his name. We can only keep one of them anyway, so best not to get too attached. The girl we’ve decided to call Bunny, which was also the name of a lovely twin that got goat-napped a few years ago. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.

Meanwhile, he’s gone and bought a pregnant mare. Our horse Lady is just 2 years old and won’t be ready to breed for a while. I’m pushing my husband to wait to breed her until she is three, but she may go into heat this summer.

Anyway, back to the new horse. The guy up the hill had 4 horses which he let run semi-wild in an overgrown area. He’s decided 4 is too many so wanted to sell one. My husband immediately decided this was the horse for him. I asked him to wait until I saw it, so Sunday afternoon, he dragged me hither and yon to hunt down the horse. Eventually, she and her herd buddies were located and my husband brought her to the fence to meet me.

I estimate she’s about 10 years old, although the owner is saying she’s only 8. A lady never tells her age anyway. This is her third pregnancy and it’s quite advanced. I think she’ll have her foal before the month is out, but my husband says not yet. I also think it will be a boy. So we’ll see what happens there.

She’s a nice docile horse. My husband says she “my” horse but that’s not really true. She and Lady have decided that they can be friends. Since I’m in charge of the naming around here, she’s been christened Cookie. She’s mostly white with a salt-and-pepper mane and tail with black freckles all over her face.

My husband had to go and get her that very afternoon even though he hasn’t finished paying for her because he was concerned there wasn’t any water where she was being kept. And it’s been SO hot the past few days. He and my son led her down to our house and she drank 3 buckets of water, so she was thirsty.

Our population explosion isn’t quite finished. We are still waiting for the pregnant ewe to give birth. My husband keeps saying any day now.

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Check out Wascally Wabbits and Zombie Babies: Animal Antics South of the Border

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Horse Trader

One evening I got home and was going about my business when I heard a whiny from the animal area.  Now we haven’t had a horse since my husband sold them (See A dismantling of sorts) and the whiny perplexed me.  So I headed out to find that in place of our 6 goats, there was a tallish red young stallion with a black mane.  

He was friendly, but a bit on the thin side.  Probably not well cared for by his previous owner.  Of course, that doesn’t explain how he got into our animal area and the location of the goats.  I waited around for my husband to get home and demand an explanation.  He was a bit worse for wear, so the explanation had to wait until morning.

It seems that in addition to his poor choice of activities the night before, he had made a deal for a horse that he didn’t have any intention of buying. However, as soon as the neighbor down the road expressed some interest in this horse, my husband had to have him.  He traded our 6 goats and $1000 pesos for Alto (Tall boy).

Along with the subsequent hangover, he had a huge case of buyer’s remorse.  We had already determined that a horse is not profitable.  If my husband isn’t sharecropping, the horse has no way to earn its keep.  A horse provides no milk or eggs.  This particular horse couldn’t even be ridden as it was in such a malnourished state.  Plus, we no longer had any horse gear (saddles, bridles, reins, etc). Well, if he wanted a horse so bad, he’d have to figure out how to maintain it.

My husband went hither and yon looking for a new owner for Alto.  Alto didn’t mind. There was plenty of grass and over the month he spent with us, he plumped out considerably.  Finally, a new deal was struck.  In exchange for Alto, my husband would receive 2 boy chivitos (young goats) which were part of a triplet birth, always a good thing (See Goat Genetics) and a young yeguita (mare) plus $3500 pesos.  Immediately upon the transfer, my husband took one of the chivitos (because you only ever need one macho per herd) and traded it for one of Jirafa’s twins. (See Assassin Goat )

With some of the money from this deal, my husband bought La Flaca (Skinny) and La Chica (Small one), both white goats.  There was some talk about selling the new mare for $5000 pesos, but that deal fell through.  Meanwhile, the rest of the $3500 went to buy Jirafa and her other twin back.  

Another deal that didn’t happen was the sale of La Flaca. Jirafa had been trained to return to the corral once full.  La Flaca was not. My husband was not happy with her as she liked to travel hither and yon instead of staying put.  She also divided the herd.  Half would follow Jirafa, half La Flaca.  As the potential buyer didn’t have the cash, my husband wasn’t about to just let her go for free and fiado (with a promise to pay later).  So La Flaca became part of the herd with the provision of being tied should her nomadic nature caused her to roam.  

The herd was back up to 6 again and we still had a horse.  She was a pleasant horse and there really was no reason not to embrace her into the family.  However, our hearts had been broken with the sale of Shadow and it took some time for my son and me to accept Buttercup.  She was fattening up nicely now that she had proper care.  My husband thought she was a bit older than the previous owner stated because of the length of her tail, but malnourishment kept her from growing properly.  She will probably be smallish, but that’s ok.  Our rancho is smallish.  She isn’t large enough to be ridden or bred.  We’ll have to see how things go during the dry season when food is not as plentiful.  I would say she is on provisional permanence.

My husband still had it in mind to add to the animal holdings.  Suddenly there were two borregas (sheep).  I have been opposed to sheep because they bleat all the time, but these two have been bearable.  The previous owner assured my husband that they both were pregnant, but that remains to be seen. They know they are sheep and not goats and have nothing to do with the goats.  They refuse to share their corral and only just barely tolerate their presence while grazing.  I think Puppy thinks they are largish dogs.  (See Separating the Sheep and the Goats

Oh yes, we have a new puppy.  Again, we were reluctant to open our hearts to another dog after Chokis was poisoned, but Puppy appeared and we are smitten.  He is friendly, obedient and so wants to be a house dog.  Of course, my husband is opposed to that, so he’s only a house dog when he isn’t around.  Puppy and I take a walk every morning and most afternoons now that my schedule has freed up (See Transition year).  He and Devil, our macho cat, are buddies. The only problem is he refuses to be inside during the day and chases motorcycles, so we are concerned someone will either run him over or poison him. (See 101 Perritos) People here have an irrational fear of dogs.  He does like to jump on people to have his head rubbed so we’ve been working on retraining him not to do that or chase motorcycles.  As for his name, well it was supposed to be Rascal, but he responds to Puppy, so Puppy it is.  My husband keeps threatening to give him away, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Puppy goes with him and the goats and the moment my husband sits down, there’s Puppy ready for a head scratch practically climbing in his lap.

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