Summer on the Farm

This week:DSCF6394It’s summer and there are hot days.  Days when it’s nice to spend a little time in the barn away from the heat of the sun, but also with some breezes blowing through.

jr in stall

Then again, sometimes the horses are done being in the barn and want out.


jr playing with sunlight

Junior playing with the sun.  Or just giving me the evil eye that says, let me out.

belle drinking1

Belle taking a drink of water after fresh water was just added.  We put a cinder block in there in case squirrels fall in.  They have a place to jump off of so they don’t drown.

belle drinking close up


Standing together helping to keep the flys off one another.


We hang buckets on the pasture fence of a loose salt/mineral mixture called Dr. Dan’s Red Cal.  Princess just got done eating some and has it all over her nose.

DSCF6502Flash playing with the electrified rope of the fence which apparently isn’t working.

Hope you are all keeping cool.

The Swish of a Tail

It’s  summer and on horse farms all around the country that means one thing – Bugs.  And it feels like horses attract them all.  Or a good majority of them anyway.

That’s why horses are so proud of their tails.  Or at least they’re glad they have one.  The longer the better.  Manes and forelocks help too.   So, it’s tail swishing season. Take a look at this video I took the other day.

This is princess and Belle swishing tails.

princess and belles tail

Belle is very good at the tail movement thing.She does it any time she can.  Including when I’m back there trying to groom her.  Boom- tail swat in the face or arm.  I try not to take it personally, but you know??





Look at that – tail and mane synchronized.

major and mini backsideThis is Major (long tail) and Mini (docked tail).  Mini apparently was supposed to be a carriage horse at one time or another so they docked her tail which is done many times to carriage horses.  It’s too bad cause now Mini can’t protect herself as well from the attack of bugs.  And she never has pulled a carriage.


flash tail

Flash fanning his white tail.

majors braided tailThis braided tail on Major looks cool – to humans anyway.  Not so sure horses like it, especially if it makes it hard for them to swatch flys with.  Cause in bug season – that’s what tails do best.

Princess in the Spring

princess 2In past posts, I’ve written about our horse Princess who is a Morgan/Saddlebred and is Laminitic.  She is laminitic because she is Insulin Resistant.  Every vet we have ever talked to has told us to keep her off grass.  We have struggled with that though because,

First – we believe that horses should be free and grazing all the time.

And second  –  the farm where we board only has grass pastures.  So, it’s very hard to find a place without grass in the Spring, Summer and Fall.  Winter’s easy because we live in northern Illinois and the grass is dead.

Last year, we muzzled her during the day and brought her into a small, dirt paddock at night.  It really didn’t work out so well.  She was sore for most of the year.

This year, we decided to muzzle her 24 hours a day and keep her out on the grass pasture with the herd.  So, far, she is doing amazing.  She isn’t sore.  She runs around and is her old, feisty self.

princess muzzleWe also have her on Chinese Herbs for laminitic horses, Dr. Dan’s Just Add Oats nutritional supplement, A Magnesium Cookie and lately I’ve been adding two Tbsp of Braggs apple cider vinegar which is supposed to help the body metabolize sugar slower.

Our farrior also talked us into trying rubber shoes.  We are usually against shoes, but these

princess shoe bottom

are rubber, so they flex more than steel ones to allow her hoofs to still have air flow.  They are screwed in from the top also.  When I saw him do this, I cringed, but Princess had her eyes half closed and was napping the whole time, so it didn’t hurt her at all.

princess hoof screws

The lamina is the substance inside the hoof wall that connects the protective outer layering of the hoof – the hoof wall – to the internal structures of the hoof.  When a horse has laminitis the lamina gets inflamed and the hoof wall is compromised, so the shoe is helping keep her hoof wall connected to the laminae as she heals.

We really don’t know what is helping her – all of it?  But I think that movement is key in the success we’ve had this year.  And getting limited grass because of the muzzle.  We do let her freely graze for an hour or two also, when we come each day.  But movement.  It is so important for a horse’s health, both mentally and physically.

princess 3