Equine Pampering

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Have you ever bathed a horse? It’s kind of fun. The horses don’t always think it’s a blast, but it is.

This past weekend, Mr. B and I decided to give the girls a spa day. After taking them to the farrier to get their feet tended to and new shoes put on, we brought them home and gave them each a bath. Since she’s my horse, I was too busy actually washing Sally to get any pictures, but when Mr. B and Annie were up, I was able to document it.

Mr. B often dresses for Arctic climates. Do not use his garb as an indication of the weather. It was not that cold, and we used warm water (which is why the horse is tied to our back deck, in case you were curious).

Mr. B often dresses for Arctic climates. Do not use his garb as an indication of the weather. It was not that cold, and we used warm water (which is why the horse is tied to our back deck, in case you were curious).

 

Annie is not actually being tortured by Mr. B. She is a very playful horse and she was loving the water and playing with him when he sprayed her.

Annie is not actually being tortured by Mr. B. She is a very playful horse and she was loving the water and playing with him when he sprayed her.

 

She made funny faces while she played with Mr. B, but the only part she really disliked was when he used the hose to rinse her mouth out. She was not pleased.

She made funny faces while she played with Mr. B, but the only part she really disliked was when he used the hose to rinse her mouth out. She was not pleased about that.

See? Drenched horses are pretty funny 🙂


Mr. B’s Dream

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So you may be wondering why Joey is a farm dog and why Mr. B wanted a cow horse. See, our little farm isn’t done growing. Mr. B has a bigger dream.

He wants to raise club calves.

“What the heck is a club calf?”, you ask. Well, a club calf is a registered baby cow, who will be groomed and trained and then sold to a kid, who will show him at local fairs and 4H shows. Mr. B wants to breed show cows, then train and groom their offspring to be award-winning show stock. This is why Joey is a farm dog; Mr. B specifically wanted a herding breed to help him herd the cows we plan to own one day. Same with Annie- he is teaching her how to work with cows. Someday she will be able to help him separate cows or calves from the herd, or move the entire herd, hopefully with Joey’s help.

Aren't they just precious?

Aren’t they just precious?

We don’t have any cows of our own…yet. Someday soon we hope to, but for now we are helping Mr. B’s uncle with his beef cows. Calving season is coming up, and they are expecting 20 or so calves this year. 

Mr. B and a calf he named Molly.

Mr. B and a calf he named Molly.

It should keep us pretty busy and give us good practice for when we have a few of our own. Good thing, because I could use the practice.

Me and Sweet. That cow behind me isn't as mean as she looks. She's actually so sweet that I named her Girlfriend. She's my buddy; she just wants to know what the heck I'm doing with her kid.

Me and Sweet. That cow behind me isn’t as mean as she looks. She’s actually so sweet that I named her Girlfriend. She’s my buddy; she just wants to know what the heck I’m doing with her kid.

And they are just so dang cute! 🙂

One of the first babies born last spring.

Randy? Or Ralph? The first two born last spring were twins, and we never were very good at telling them apart. 


The Girls: Annie

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After Sally came to live with us, Mr. B needed a horse of his own. We spent a couple of months renovating the barn, and Mr. B spent many, many patient hours teaching me proper riding, caring and training techniques, but eventually it was time to resume the search so that Mr. B could find his horse.

It was a little more difficult, as his search was much more specific. When we sought out Sally, we were really just looking for a good “beginner” horse for me, but Mr. B wanted a horse with a specific skill set. He was looking for a “cow horse”. Cow horses are trained to work with cattle. They are used for roping, herding, penning (separating cows or calves into pens), and other farm work. On top of these requirements, Mr. B wanted a palomino horse. I can’t blame him, they are a stunning blonde color with a white mane and tail, but a cow horse palomino proved to be a difficult combination to find in our area. (Using horses for ranch and cattle work isn’t as common in our area as it is in areas like the southwest, so there are fewer horses with these skills available in the region.)

Eventually, Mr. B began studying up on how to train a horse to do these things himself. He already had extensive knowledge and experience training horses, but not to do the cow horse stuff. After studying books, searching the web, and watching countless instructional videos, he decided to try find a horse without those skills and train her himself.

Once he decided to search for a horse he could train himself, he heard about a palomino that a childhood friend was looking to sell. She hadn’t been trained much, in fact, she was barely broke, but as soon as Mr. B met her, he saw her intelligence and sweet, quiet nature and decided she was the one. He named her Pistol Annie and brought her home to live with Sally.

Annie, home in her new barn.

Annie, home in her new barn.

Despite her eagerness to please, Annie initially seemed to have a difficult time understanding what exactly Mr. B wanted from her. He was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to train her as he’d hoped.  After many frustrating riding sessions, Mr. B was beginning to doubt that Annie could ever become the cow horse he’d wanted. One day though, it just seemed to all come together. Something in Annie “clicked”, and the two have been making great progress together ever since. Sally’s training hasn’t been coming along quite so smoothly, but that’s a story for another day.

 

Annie, checking out her new digs.

Annie, checking out her new digs.

 

Mr. B's Pistol Annie

Mr. B’s Pistol Annie


The Girls: Sally

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Hello, there! Nice to meet you!

Hello, there! Nice to meet you!

Growing up, I always wanted a horse. This was an unrealistic dream, since we had no place to keep one. Mr. B on the other hand, always had horses growing up. He was a 4H kid, participating in horse shows and spending a significant chunk of his childhood in the barn with his many 4-legged friends. By the time we met, this hobby was in the past, unlikely to ever be revisited by Mr. B, who had come to appreciate more motorized pastimes. I had grown up and realized how much work they required, and the dream faded a bit. We decided we wouldn’t be getting horses; it just wasn’t for us. But then we slowly changed our minds. We had a few “what-if” discussions about getting horses, but nothing serious. It wasn’t until last fall that we started really considering getting a couple of horses. With boating season behind us, we were looking for another activity to do together. Mr. B and I truly do enjoy each other’s company, so once we could no longer hit the river together, we wanted something else to do that would allow us to spend quality time together.

Once it was decided that we’d like to get horses, Mr. B began searching for our perfect matches. Because of my lack of experience, he wanted to find a horse who was experienced with children. Horses who have been around kids tend to be very well trained, patient, and easy to ride. When he first found Sally, this was a huge selling point for him. She had belonged to a little girl before coming to live with us, and upon meeting her, Mr. B declared her to be fairly idiot-proof and, therefore, perfect for me. He noticed that she was able to sense my discomfort when I mounted her; she knew that I was a novice and responded with patience and ease. All I noticed at the time was that she was the prettiest horse I’d ever seen.

See? Isn't she gorgeous?

See? Isn’t she gorgeous?

I didn’t know anything about horses, but I knew I loved her. So, Mr. B loaded her in the trailer and brought her home. And that, my friends, is how he earned himself the title of “Boyfriend of the Year”, by getting me my very first horse and teaching me everything I need to know about caring for her. I still have so much to learn, but he’s been an amazing teacher. Gosh, I love that boy.

Sally and I, getting acquainted.

Sally and I, getting acquainted.

 

Mr. B, introducing Sally to the cows.

Mr. B, introducing Sally to the cows.

So that is the story of how we became horse people. Or how I became a horse person, because really, Mr. B was a horse person all along. All he needed was a horse of his own.