A day at Raging Bear Ranch….the Afternoon Routine
Charlie Angel not feeling well…
Our Charlie Angel was not feeling well yesterday afternoon. She was laying down (which always concerns me) stretched out on her side (not normal). Bear got her up and we took her into the in-door arena to watch her in a larger area. She showed no signs that she was under the weather, no colic signs, so I chalked it up to her just feeling lazy. We left Kit, Charlie, and Moonie in the in-door and picked through stalls, cleaned water buckets, and got feed and hay ready for them when we put them back in their stalls.
Now it is time to take care of the boys outside in the pasture. This is always an adventure in itself, especially when Mom pays a visit – green eyed monsters appear and Banks becomes over zealous on being the only one around me. I applaud Pioneer Woman’s husband Marlboro man for the process he has down, however, our operation is not that large so ours is more manual than mechanical.
As you turn the corner, wheelbarrow loaded with sweet alfalfa hay (enough for all 4 boys and more) you see four heads pop-up like gophers popping their heads out of the ground. Ears pricked forward, and the thousand yard stare, looking to see who is bringing the feed/hay.
Next, Banks looks to see who is within the closest proximity of the gate and they now become the target – I yell, RUN CODY RUN. Sounds a bit like Forrest Gump huh? Cody high tails it away from the gate just in time to miss the bared teeth zeroing in on his booty! Whew, okay everyone is now in their appropriate positions and it is now time to safely enter the turn-out. Banks, of course inspects the hay in the wheelbarrow and proceeds to pick out the one he wants and the flake drops to the ground. Not before he pins his ears and glares at all of them to keep their distance. Bear grabs a flake and tosses one to Pete to keep him busy. Now that number one and two are taken care of he can now maneuver the wheelbarrow to the other side of the turnout and distribute the remaining flakes in multiple piles to ensure everyone gets their fair share of hay (right Cody?). All the while, Banks keeps an eye on all the piles and if one looks better than the others then we have musical hay piles! Oh what fun!
After all the hay (appetizer, salad, and desert), it is now time for main entrée. We used to mix the feed up in different buckets but that was too difficult so now we put it in one big bucket and dole it accordingly. Banks starts first, then Pete, Zeke, and then Cody – you can see it in Cody’s eyes – one of these days I’m going to be somebody – Baby, you already are – the Baby! Every now and then I will put a peppermint in with their food and I tell you what – Banks will know when I have, he will root around in his feed bucket till he finds that peppermint. I love watching him munch that peppermint, eyes half closed, savoring every little bit of flavor. It’s those little things that I love about caring for the horses.
So do you think we are done? Not a chance, it’s now time to referee – remember Cody? Not only is he the low-man on the totem pole, he is the sloooowwwwest eater we have! I think he does it on purpose as it just drives Banks crazy that he is over there eating and Banks is done. Once Cody is done, we give them all one last check and then off we go back to the Barn. Once we leave it is the feed bucket shuffle starring Banks, Pete, Zeke and Cody. Only Zeke is waiting for Banks and Pete to engross themselves in their selected hay piles and when he thinks the coast is clear he will walk over to Banks bucket which is inside a car tire, grab it and toss it aside and nibble up the little drops of feed that Banks could not get around the edge. He is the only horse in our herd that does this.
So, back to the barn we trudge, we bring Kit and Charlie into their stalls and they begin to eat. I watch Charlie like a hawk to ensure she is doing okay. She is eating her grain, and I’ve given her some alfalfa hay instead of the normal alfalfa mix. While I tend to Kit and Charlie, Bear is letting JT out with Moonie for some free lunging time before we sweat his neck. They are running around like lunatics, I can’t watch so I go back to check on Charlie, who has finished dinner but not started on her hay and is laying down.
Oh brother, here we go again. I run back into the main barn and grab Bear and tell him to get her up while I go ready a Banamine shot. I draw up 12cc’s of Banamine which is an analgesic that will help relax her and hopefully make her more comfortable. I have a sneaky suspicion that she is in her cycle and her ovaries are hurting. I recorded this in my calendar to see if we have a pattern because it seems to be cyclical. I gave her the shot and Bear took her for a walk to get her moving – after about 15 minutes, I listened for gut sounds and had good “pings” in all four quadrants so we put her back in her stall and I watched her – she is still uncomfortable but it has not been quite long enough for the medicine to fully take affect. I notice that her flank is in a little bit of a spasm and she will flick her tail and shift her weight from one foot to the next. I’m talking to her and brushing her all the while praying that the meds will relax her and make her comfortable. I can sympathize with the cramps when I had them. She seems to be relaxing and is even nibbling on some hay – not too interested but is nibbling.
I leave her for a bit to go check on JT – remember, we are sweating his neck and he is not a real happy camper – this is his first time. I put his blankie on him and give him a small flake of hay up in his feeder to keep him occupied.
I check on Moonie who is feeling a bit left out, so I go over to her stall and give her some “mama Love” as I call it – I get all the good itchy spots which makes her feel better.
I ask April if she would mind, before she leaves, to check on Charlie and if anything looks weird to call.
I told Bear that I would meet him at the car just as soon as I checked on Kit and Charlie and blessed them one last time. Charlie is standing with her butt to the stall door, as I open the stall and talk to her I am scratching right at her favorite itchy spot at the tail head when she lets out a big ole windy fart – MUSIC TO MY EARS but not my nose! I asked her if she just had to do that in my face? I didn’t care because it means she is relaxing and if she did have any gas causing her to hurt it was now being expelled.
I told Kit to take care of sister and be good and bid them good night.
Bear called this morning to tell me that Charlie was doing fine, we had poop in the stall (we love poop because it means the pipes are working) and that she had finished all but a small portion of her hay and was hungry and alert.
All I could say was Thank You Lord for helping Charlie!
So, that is just an evening feed – this is repeated morning and evening. I’ll give you a play by play when we begin working the horses to get them in shape for their different venues of showing.