Monday, May 11, 2009

New fencing redux

Rosemary and Page were not the only ones re-fencing for PUR horses this week. I must confess my own re-fencing was far less impressive and I had the help of my husband's strong back so I am sure I feel less exhausted than my coworkers!

Pony Up South(I think I see a new farm sign coming) has been housing Junah since we picked him up from his safe home earlier this year. He was saved from the kill pen by Rosemary, but the snow and ice prevented her from picking him up right away. His original caretaker was a wonderful person named Hana who was a brave soul and WALKED him in the snow and ice on the road to her farm and kept him for the first few weeks. She is a brave woman!

Some of the main challenges with Junah are obviously #1 his feet, #2 his lack of handling and #3 his lack of trust in humans. -We have made huge strides with all of these.

His feet are hopefully just one shoeing cycle away from a regular 1/2 set of shoes without the advanced system that he is currently in! This is due to the dedicated work of out farrier Sandy Craig and our vet Dr. Bob DeWard. Look for pics of both and links on our website soon. I have to say both are ridiculously camera shy and getting pics of them may have to wait until the new Hubble telescope is in place in space and we can get them stealthily!

His lack of handling is getting better all the time. He is a gentle soul and wants so desperately to be a pocket pony but just has no frame of reference for the most mundane tasks. Blanketing, fly masks, picking up his feet, all were major hurdles for him. I really want to whap whoever left him in a field to his own devices for years right in the head!

He has a lot of trust in my husband and I now, but truly takes trust one person at a time. The funny thing is he actually is probably best for my long suffering very non-horsey husband who never ever asks him to do anything other than wear a halter and go to turn out or dinner in his stall daily. Watching this gentle giant wait patiently and lower his head while my husband fumbles with the halter is pretty heart warming. I, on the other hand, am the one who asks him to do scary things and this occasionally sets him back in his trust of me.

I will say I am very surprised at what is no big deal for him.......deworming- could not care less, he was given tetanus and West Nile vaccs last week and never flicked an ear, big scary trucks driving right next to him and trailers coming to load compost are completely not an issue. In fact he marches to the fence line to say hi and see what is up. He is an interesting creature for sure!

Back to fencing.......

He has been in my sand round pen to facilitate his hoof healing for months now. The sand and special "clog" shoes allow him to not have a lot of pressure on his hoof walls and keeps them from splitting again until they grow out. His healthy hoof wall growth is well past the 1/2 way point. The downside to this is he is a young 17hh TB who needs to unwind those legs for his mental health. A 60 foot round pen is not enough room, nor is there any grass other than my husband and I hand grazing him. I do not have any of what I would call TB safe fencing on my place. Field fence and New Zealand wire has been very safe for my herd, but I think Junah needs a more visible barrier for the first time he unwinds.

Yes, I am a chicken at heart. Rosemary says I just need to turn him loose and close my eyes, he is not dumb and he will stop behind the same fences that safely hold my 16hh horses. I just cannot do it.

I did have a brainstorm this weekend though! I have been replacing the old rotten post and rail fence around the barn with horse mesh and hotwire....very safe but it would allow him access to the barn, tractor implements etc.......not good. Saturday I was looking out there feeling sorry for him and it dawned on me. With my husbands help we tore apart the round pen and attached the panels to the horse mesh posts making an area the size of a small arena, and best yet there is GRASS for him to graze on.

I did what Rosemary said and turned him loose and closed my eyes. No sound of thundering hooves.......hmmmm I peeked through my fingers and there he was happily, quietly munching on grass. What a good boy! Then he took my breath away. He arched his neck and broke into the most lovely floating trot and then into a smooth collected canter.......

This is a special horse!

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