Monday, April 6, 2015

It's a Long Way Down!

Last Saturday John was going to work Zora in the round pen. It's part of her rehab from EPM, and also necessary because even though she is almost 17 years old she still needs training. She is the most strong willed horse I have ever met.

Anyway, since they were going to be in the round pen I figured ti would be a good time to do some bareback riding on Divna. She's a great horse for bareback riding. She has a wide, flat back and she is even-tempered enough to not do anything crazy. 

Did I mention I had a couple of beers?

So we are riding along, I am feeling pretty confident. I'm staying on her, I'm completely connected with my horse, she loves me, I love her. Let's pick up the pace a bit.

So we are going along at a gentle lope -- nothing too fast. But I'm staying on and feeling secure.

We have a small jump set up out in the pasture. About a foot high. So here's my brilliant idea: "Let's jump!"

You know that moment when you feel you are coming off the horse but you think you can still pull it all back together and save yourself from the fall? I had that moment.

You know that moment when you are so far out of the saddle that you know you are going to come off altogether? That was my next moment.

Then I am in the air, going over her head - in front of her - and it is amazing how slowly time seems to pass. You seem to have time for all kinds of thoughts. My main thought was "Oh no....she is going to run me over!"

Then I'm on the ground....Divna had stopped. This is what I see:


(photo courtesy of my dear friend Pam M.)
The wind was knocked out of me, I was feeling super-stupid, and Divna is just standing there looking at me!
So my left side is a bit jacked-up, especially my ribs. I think I bruised them pretty good. To make it worse, I had been sick for a few weeks, so I'm doing a lot of coughing and sneezing which is just torture when you have messed up ribs.
I don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon................

Thursday, April 2, 2015

You Can Lead a Horse to Water....

Last Friday night we are out in the barn bringing in bags of feed, cleaning up, giving The Girls their evening meal, those kinds of things. The Girls came charging in when they heard the grain hit their buckets, but something was off; Divna would not eat. Of course my first thought was "Oh no, colic." But after looking at her for 30 seconds I knew that wasn't it. She wasn't kicking at her stomach, and she was defnitely interested in the grain, she just would not put her head all the way in the bucket.

So thinking there must be something that does not smell quite right in the bucket, I poured her grain into a different bucket. Same thing. So thinking there might be something wrong with the grain, I opened one of the new bags and gave her fresh grain. Same thing.

This is really odd. I put the grain in my hand and held it out -- she gobbled it up. I kept hand feeding her and wondering what the hell was going on with this horse.

We go outside to start cleaning the pasture. As I am cleaning I keep watching Divna. I noticed she was standing by the water trough. She didn't go for the hay, she kept standing by the water trough. I told John, "It's like she wants to drink, but won't." So we both went up to where she was. John stuck his hand in the water and said, "Well, I'm not getting a shock. At first I thought maybe the water heating element malfunctioned and was shocking her."

So I got a five gallon bucket and filled it with water. Divna drank and drank from that bucket until it was empty! I filled it again, she drank half of it. Then she immediately went for the hay.

I looked at Divna, and at John. It occurred to me that he had on rubber soled shoes. I decided to take my shoes off and try the water. No shock. I looked at Divna again and realized that she is barefoot. So I took off my socks.

That time when I put my hand in the water I got a shock! Problem solved -- John had grounded the metal water tank to the electric fence. Obviously something had gone wrong recently - a short or something. Now every time the fence pulsed with electricity a shock went through the water.

It is getting warmer here now (finally) so we removed the heating element and disconnected the ground. But by now both horses had been "trained" to not drink out of the trough. So we moved it thinking/hoping that would make a difference.

It took a couple of hours, but finally, after a lot of coaxing and splashing in the water by John, they got the courage to drink out of the trough again.

I felt horrible!

We were electrocuting our horses!!!!