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Archive for March, 2009

Sassy Comes Calling

Cass & Becca met Sassy this week. She’s Terri’s horse and is quite stunning. I believe she’s a Rocky Mountain Spotted Horse and I know for certain she is gaited. Watching her move was impressive. Terri didn’t even bounce! Cass usually isn’t too interested in other horses but she was curious about Sassy. Maybe it was because Terri was on top of her? The day of her visit was also the day I took my saddle to the barn and had it laying on top of the fence so Cass could get used to it. Maybe she was suspicous I was getting some crazy ideas?!

Eva, my cowdog, got a lesson in why you don’t bark and charge at horses and riders – Sassy & Terri came chasing after her! It took 3 times, but Eva finally admitted she didn’t really want to chase horses after all.

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I’m back from my 3 day trip to visit my family. I spent most of the time with my parents and my pregnant niece. She was so cute with her little belly! It’s not so easy to just pick up and leave such a large animal family when I’m the main caretaker. Scottie did great with all the old-timers, though, and Cass & Becca didn’t miss a step having Gayle & Therese feed them. Our 3 young dogs who stayed at our vet’s felt it the worst. I don’t think Eva, the cowdog, is going to let me out of her sight any time soon. CindyLou even acted like she may have missed us. Jill & Eva each had their own vet tech groupie. My allergies were starting to bother me before I left. I got some herbs from my acupuncturist to try to ward off getting bronchitis which worked the time I was gone but now I’m feeling terrible. We are having horrible pollen and there are wild fires around so our air quality sucks.

Before I went to St. Louis we got our round pen. The nice guys from Horstmeyers helped me set it up while the cows and horses looked on. I’ve got to do some root removal before I can start working them in it. The cows like to dig craters in the dirt so the property owners son used the tractor to fill them in for me. It’s in a shady spot right next to their pasture. I’m sure Cass wasn’t too thrilled when she realized what we were doing!

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The panels themselves aren’t that heavy. They’re awkward to move by yourself, though. They fit together with pins so you can change them up and move them around easily. Easily, in theory, anyway.

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We buried the bottom pole of the panel for the gate so it was more sturdy.

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Becca looks on suspiciously, “I thought I left that thing at Leslie’s?”

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Cass knows that round pen is meant for teaching her youngster how to behave…

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“Darn it! She’s gonna make me run again, isn’t she?”

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I plan on taking things slow, especially with Cass. I want her to face her fears but not be overwhelmed by them. I’ve got our new saddle that is light enough I can start putting it on Becca to get her used to it, too. There’s such nice and calm energy at our new place I think our training is going to be positive for all of us. Leslie will come help as we need it.

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Out Of Town

I’m writing this while sitting in my niece, Kelly’s, house in St. Louis! Yep, I’m out of town. It’s not easy leaving my large family of animals. Cass & Becca are being cared for by Gayle & Therese. The first report I got from the first feeding was Becca thought she may be able to push a new person around. She learned quickly she wasn’t going to be able to push Therese around! I boarded the 3 young dogs with our vet so Scottie only has the old-timers. I had to take them yesterday and it was soooooo quiet at our house. We figured out who makes all the noise, that’s for sure.

My parents don’t know I’m here. It’s a surprise for them. The plan tomorrow is to first go to the baby doctor with Kelly then she will call her grandma & grandpa to say she’s stopping by to return a plate. I will just walk in with her! Hopefully, the surprise won’t be so exciting we’ll have to call 911! I’ll be back to FL in 3 days.

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Settling In

It’s been a week since our girls moved to their new pasture and I’d say they approve. They seem content and happy and we’re seeing each other twice a day. It was a little daunting to think about taking on complete responsibility for their care and feeding. I was used to knowing if I couldn’t get there, they’d be fed. That’s a definite advantage to boarding. But, our schedule’s been working fine. I’ve skewed my times to reflect when we have a busy pet sitting day – I feed the horses after clients in the morning and before clients in the evening (usually). Our schedule is never the same. But they are doing fine, no matter what time I’m there.

One of the best perks about being at my own place is having an official assistant! Eva, the Australian Cattledog, is clearly in her element out there. She recently turned 2 and she and I are tight, so I had a feeling she wouldn’t venture too far if I let her loose. Her trainer kept telling me to just “let her go!”. So, I did and she loves it! She doesn’t go far from me and if she does get a bit away, as soon as I call her she comes flying, even if she’s stalking the cows.  She and the girls have been around each other but she’s never been in with them off-leash before.

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Bad Baby B has thumped her once. She is very “vocal” with her front feet, constantly knocking tubs over and just hitting at things. Eva was crossing in front of her heading to me when Becca decided to paw at the dog. Eva saw it coming and ducked (as is her herding instinct, duck to avoid hooves!) but Becca did make contact. I’m sure she was doing it in play but I ran her off to teach her that’s not allowed. Poor Eva went running for the gate and Buford was standing there so she sat down and look totally dejected. I guarantee, Eva won’t allow that to happen again. She doesn’t need to be shown things twice, she now keeps her eye on Becca and makes a wide circle. Leftovers are one of the perks to working for me.

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It’s in Eva’s blood to be a farm dog. One of our own is a must in the future. Until then, we’re good where we are.

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A New Home

The suspense is now over – Cass & Becca have a new address! We’re leasing a gorgeous, grassy 5 acres and it’s only about 5 minutes from our house! There’s a barn on the property I’m using for storage and there are numerous furry neighbors. The property owners built a lovely run-in shed in the girls’ 1 acre parcel. We’re going to be getting a round pen soon so I can start back up on their training. It is secluded and peaceful and we are on our own.

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Scottie and I  feel extremely blessed to have been given this opportunity for them. Having them at Leslie’s the past several months (Becca has been living there since October!) was essential but it was time to get them somewhere more permanent. With the rate Becca is growing it was obvious they couldn’t both go back to the small pasture at Trish’s. For a few weeks I called and emailed every horse facility around. None offered what we needed. I didn’t want them confined to a stall half the time and I really didn’t want other people handling them. When this place came to fruition, it was as if God smiled on us, as this is exactly as it should be.

In my usual way, a few days before they were coming home I began getting stressed. I’d been taking their things over a little at a time in my car (truck is still broke) and was trying to get used to the main residents of the acreage – Buford and his bevy of beauties.

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Buford is about the same size as my car! The more time I’m spending around them, the more comfortable I’m getting. I always make sure I know where the big guy is but they generally get bored with me quickly, especially when they realize I have no food for them. The barn was once really nice but the prior owners trashed it before moving. The current property owners have done a tremendous job clearing it out so I can use it for storage. I have to lock up the lunch box because bears are one of the new neighbors.

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Leslie offered to bring our girls home. We all assumed Cass would load up fine because she always had for me. Well, we hadn’t thought about the fact Leslie’s trailer was different from the one I’ve had her in, so Cass had other ideas. She wasn’t going in.

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She tried a few times to no avail, so she put Cass in a stall and attempted to load Becca. Keep in mind, Leslie is doing this all by herself. Becca decided if Momma didn’t go in she wasn’t, either! She tried Cass again and this time her stallion, Chance, caught her eye and she began flirting with him. We’re going to have to have a talk about that! So, after a few rounds of “arguing” with both of them, Leslie put some hay in the trailer and Cass walked in. (Of course, she did!) Becca followed and off they all went. Me, Scottie & Gayle were all there when they arrived at the new place. Becca was the first to off-load. Leslie backed her off with no trouble and handed her to me. Becca saw the cow welcoming committee and flared her nostrils but didn’t freak out. She was way more worried about where her momma was. Next came Cass, cautiously backing out. When she turned around it was obvious she’d never seen a cow before – she jumped about 100 feet in the air! Thank goodness Leslie had hold of her. We got them both in her pasture and let them look around. After just a few minutes we let them off the ropes. When Cass put her head down and realized there was grass it didn’t come up! It took her a good 15 minutes to realize I was there. It was funny. They settled in immediately and Becca began making friends with the bovine neighbors on the property next door.

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Becca found things to play with already. She’s such a goof!

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The day also happened to be my birthday. My friends threw me a little pizza and cake party and we had it right there in the pasture with the cows! How cool is that?! Having my girls home was the best present.

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Leslie has become quite attached to our special girls. She’s gonna miss seeing them everyday but will be coming to train us on a regular basis. We need her!

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The past two mornings I have sat in their pasture drinking my coffee and taking in the serenity. There’s a family of deer that play behind the property – Becca noticed them today, too. Cass whinnies when she sees my car drive up. I put my nose in Cass’s neck and take in her essence. She soothes me. I believe I soothe her, too. Life is good.

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