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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘feed pellets

Coffee Carafe

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It appears that the “answer” image to yesterday’s guessing game was not as revealing as I suspected. The pictures are of a thermal coffee carafe.

One thing you can be sure of, I didn’t recently become a coffee drinker. Why was I carrying the carafe with me on my walk through the woods the other day? The simple answer is that it was holding warm water for soaking Mia’s serving of cereal, but I have an insatiable urge to make short stories long.

Travel back in time with me to the bitter cold days in December when Mia experienced an episode of choking on her feed pellets. It was recommended that I soak her feed in water to soften it for her. With below-zero temperatures quickly freezing everything, I put hot tap water in the thermal carafe and brought it with me to the barn.

I’ve asked a couple of times about how long I need to continue doing this for Mia and without telling me explicitly to do it forever, the consistent advice has been to continue soaking Mia’s feed indefinitely.

To me, that seems a little like doing it forever.

I haven’t decided if I believe Mia needs her food softened from now on, but at this point, who am I to make that decision? So, thus far, I have continued to bring warm water with me when feeding the horses. On the day I decided to walk through the woods on my way to the barn, I carried the carafe with me. I set it down in the snow to take a picture of the trail where one measly branch lay across it in the snow.

When I looked down to pick up the carafe, I saw the fish-eye reflection of the trees above and experimented with a few iPhone camera pictures.

I figured a thermal coffee carafe would not be the first guess that occurred in people’s minds.

Thanks to all of you who played along on yesterday’s edition of my image-guessing challenge!



Written by johnwhays

January 17, 2023 at 7:00 am

Teeth Filed

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Any time you think dental checkups are a big deal, just think what it is like for horses. The vets grab the tongue and reach their arm into the horse’s mouth. The horse gets to wear a speculum that forces the jaw to stay open and the rasp is attached to a power drill that looks like the one in a construction worker’s toolbox.

It was actually the first time we have moved the rescued Thoroughbred mares into the barn stalls since they arrived in April. They walked in without hesitation, but since we only brought in Swings and Mix at first, the other two that were left outside became very vocal and upset about the separation.

We haven’t reached a level where the four horses we are fostering have shown complete comfort with us yet, so we didn’t know for sure what condition their teeth were in. Our suspicions were raised because the mares all show some difficulty eating the feed pellets we serve in pans.

Since the upper and lower jaws of a horse don’t align precisely, the outer edges of the upper teeth and the inside edges of the lower teeth can develop high spots, some of which can become sharply pointed. The rest of the tooth gets ground down by regular grinding contact that happens naturally from chewing.

Occasionally the vet needs to file or “float” the high spots to give the horse a fuller flat surface for chewing.

Our horses were mildly sedated to minimize stress during the procedure and allows the veterinary team to focus more on the inside of the mouth and less on the thousand pounds of unpredictable equine energy attached to it.

We were happy to learn that none of the horses’ teeth were in terrible shape. There were some other sore spots and understandable aging evidence, but nothing requiring additional treatment.

When the work is done and the speculum comes off, the horses are kept in the stalls for a couple of hours to nap until the sedative has worn off.

I was happy for the sedation because Light became very agitated when we got her into a stall, even though she was now inside with all the others. Luckily, she didn’t balk about stepping in there, but once inside, she became very unsettled. I wondered if it might be a Post Traumatic Stress memory of the life circumstances from which she was rescued.

The horses had a very interesting day because I brought out the big tractor with the brush cutter earlier to mow the high grass around the perimeter of the paddocks and along the edges of the pastures. They showed a healthy curiosity about the big machine and my activities, as well as an attraction to the areas freshly cut.

It is our hope that their newly floated teeth will make both their grazing in the fields and chomping the feed pellets easier and more comfortable for them. I also hope the sedation will have left them with little memory of the indignities to which they were subjected.



Equine Companions

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The best part of mowing yesterday after getting home from the day-job, besides the fact there was a pleasant breeze that kept the temperature from feeling uncomfortably hot, was seeing the horses choose to come over the hill toward the road to graze near where I was working.

I had started the project by cutting the longest grass around the perimeter of the paddock fence and the horses hung around calmly, as opposed to getting riled up by the noisy tractor and running off. I took it as a good sign they were growing ever more comfortable with us and their surroundings.

When I moved on to the area by the road and the horses followed me up there, it was even more affirming. I think maybe the horses were enjoying the smell of fresh-cut grass.

I enjoy that the horses are behaving more and more like our companions as we move into our fifth month of them living with us.

That might be tested come Monday when the vet shows up for an appointment to file their teeth.

Maybe they will understand that we are doing it for their own good, but who ever likes having their teeth worked on? They have shown significant difficulty eating the pellets of their morning and afternoon feed, so we are hoping a little dental treatment will make chewing a little easier for them.

If we get that issue taken care of, all that is left to do for them is get a farrier to show up for their next hoof trimming appointment.

It’s what you do for equine companions.



Written by johnwhays

August 20, 2021 at 6:00 am