Saturday, February 27, 2010


We finally got a chance to ride again. It was last week (boy, it takes me a long time to find the time to post!!!), and the weather finally cooperated -- mild temps, no ice. So we took The Girls out and visited the neighboring barns. There are quite a few horses in Otis...actually, in our little "town" of 175 people, we have 3 one-eyed horses. My Divna, Terri's Reba, and Linda's I-don't-know-his/her name."

The Marich barn is closest to us. They have two geldings, Bubba (nose-to-nose with Zora) and Ozzy(white blaze); and one mare, Harley (facing other direction).

The Sajdera barn is where our horses go when they get out. Strange, because Divna just hates Terri's horses, but she always runs to their barn when she can. Perhaps that is because when we go away for long vacations (like when we go to Europe) she boards our horses for us. She has a great horse property -- lots of acreage, a large barn, round pen, several separated fenced in is a very nice set up. Terri has owned horses her whole life, and even boarded Divna when she was suffering from glaucoma. She gave Divna medicine and administered eye drops, etc. Just a great friend!!! Terri has one mare, Reba; and two geldings, Ziggy and Timber (the geldings are the ones with white blazes). They are all related. I believe Reba is the mother of both geldings. Reba is one-eyed. She actually poked a hole in her eyeball somehow a few winters ago. She can't see out of that eye, but still has her eyeball. It actually looks much better than it used to. I made an eye patch for her, but of course she is not wearing it now.

The Munson horses. We don't know them very well, but one of the horses (the white one) is one-eyed. The other looks like some sort of Mongolian horse.....short, stocky, with long hair on the legs...Anyone out there know what kind of horse that is??

So it was a neat day of just riding around and visiting...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ride That Wasn't

This past weekend was finally riding time -- everything was in place. Not too cold, not too icy, sun was shining, great winter riding conditions.

John was outside "catching" The Girls and starting on the pre-ride grooming. I was in the house finishing up some last minute things.

I walked outside and heard voices and thought "Boy, he really has the Serbian music cranked up today." Then I saw a car in the driveway.

I opened the barn door and there stood Dragan -- our very good friend who moved to Indianapolis a few years back. No wonder it sounded like the Serbian music was cranked -- there were two Serbs in the barn talking!!! He was in town for the weekend and stopped by!! It was so great to see him!!

So of course we just gave the horses some treats and let them go, and spent the evening with Dragan.

This is one time that I did not mind missing out on a ride! We had a great time that night....we should be able to ride next weekend.

Here is Drag with Zora.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Help Wanted: Goat Farrier

(This picture of Misho and me was taken the day after the trimming. I am holding the trimming tool in my left hand but you can't really see it.)

The farrier was out to trim The Girls' hooves last week, which is our reminder that it is also time to trim the goats' hooves. Well, "reminder" is not quite the right word -- it is more of a "sentence" -- the kind the Judge hands down when the charges are serious.

Anyone out there with goats should be able to relate. When we got our first goat, and the hoof trimming procedure was demonstrated to us, it looked so easy....

We bought our first goat, Marco (a.k.a "The Alien" and "You Are An Ass!!") from the LaPorte County Fair. We had decided we needed a goat because some of the weeds in the pasture became so overgrown that we had to mow -- these were weeds that for some reason the horses would not eat. We had been to my cousin's house in the mountains of North Carolina a few years before. He wanted to clear a piece of property he had purchased, and got two or three goats. He left them on the property, and they cleared it so beautifully. We imagined the same thing would happen to the gangly weeds in our pasture -- they would be beautifully cleared if only we had a goat.

At the Fair we went into the Goat Barn, located a young 4H member who was showing goats and asked if he wanted to sell one. Of course he did. He showed us Marco (who at the time was named "Sampson") and explained that this particular goat was headed for the meat truck when the Fair closed. He was the cutest little goat -- maybe 20 pounds. I couldn't stand the thought of him being in the next Gyro sandwich we would order in a Greektown restaurant in Chicago at some point in the future, so we gave the 4H boy $20 and promised to pick Sampson/Marco up on the last day of the Fair. We got to talking about how to care for goats, and 4H Dad showed us how to trim the hooves.

Standing beside the darling little goat, he pulled up a leg, took a rasp and ran it over the bottom of the hoof a time or two. "See! That's all you have to do." Like a couple of green city folks turned country, we bought it -- and the goat.

The reality of our lives with goats is quite different than what I imagined on that warm July day at the Fair in the Goat Barn, looking at sweet little Sampson/Marco munching on hay in his cute little pen. Within 24 hours of bringing Marco home we had another tiny, young goat -- yes, we called the 4H Family to ask if they had another goat to sell us (that is a story for another post). And now when it is hoof trimming time we must get properly liquored up to endure the ordeal.

The Goat Boys are full grown now -- on hind legs they stand at about 6' tall and weigh well over 100# each. And they absolutely hate having their hooves trimmed. You can do the math and realize this is not a match-up either John or I would win easily. Alone, neither of us would have a snowball's chance. So we have to team up.

Our battle plan consists of a two-front attack (following consumption of a beer and a couple of zoomers of rajkia each). We tether the goats to the stall doors. John grabs the one we decide to work on first (usually Marco, because as noted above he is "...An Ass!!!"), pins him up against the stall door keeping a hand firmly on the collar in case a mild choke is needed. I grab a hoof, try to hold it still, and do the trimming. When they start to kick, I have to let go of the hoof, regroup, and try again. Sometimes John loses control of the goat, and then we have to stop, regroup, and try again. Often we have to take another rajkia break between hooves.

It is an exhausting ordeal. I must say, as they have gotten older it has gotten a bit easier. They are a touch more calm.

But I can't help but wonder how we are going to do this when we are a bit older. (????)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention.....we still have to mow the overgrown weeds in the pasture.
This picture of John and one of the chickens is included here for no particular reason.