Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Quality Couple Time

My hubby and I have similar sport interests - he is a trail runner and aspiring ultramarathoner, and I do endurance.  Our sports are parallel in so many ways.  A few times in the past, we have trained together.  Today was one of those days.  He needed a 10 mile run today and I'd previously scoped out a quiet road nearby (unfortunately it's paved) - so Rhio and I joined him for a ride/run training session.  And it was great!

Rhio loves to have a buddy, and it turns out a human will do just fine.  We kept a nice, steady, slow trot for much of the ride, and hubby kept up his nice, steady jog pace.  We got some funny looks, especially when we decided to take the last few miles home along the shoulder of a county highway.  But, it was fun!  We got to spend time together, and we all got our miles done.

My hubby has recently acquired a spiffy new GPS watch with a heart rate monitor and a whole slew of fancy functions.  I use a tracking app on my iPhone to track all my rides.  We were within 0.01 miles of each other's elapsed mileage for the entire workout - which I find pretty impressive for my free app on my phone! And it was a nice way to validate my app's functionality - at least along a road with no tree cover.   Rhio and I did 9.4 miles in 2 hours exactly, with an average speed of 4.7 mph and a maximum speed of 8.1 mph (ok, so lots of steady slow trotting, a tiny bit of medium trot, and a sprinkling of walking - this is great early spring conditioning ride!)  So far for 2017, we have 33 miles of conditioning - not bad, considering the weather.  In comparison, my husband has 30 miles for this week alone!  But he does have the advantage of doing many of those miles on the treadmill, so he can work out no matter what Mother Nature throws our way.

Rhio's and my first competition will be May 6 and 7; we are planning back-to-back 25 mile rides.  My husband's first race is a 50K (32 miles) along the Superior Hiking Trail on May 20.  We all need more miles under our hooves/feet before May, so let's get cracking!

Even on a Sunday afternoon, there was little traffic here.

About a mile from home.  Rhio wore his hoof boots on all four feet because the majority of our route was asphalt.  I won't train much on asphalt, due to the concussion, but occasionally it will be fine. 

Almost home!  It was a "balmy" 18 degrees, but with little wind.  More sun would have been nice.  But, we did manage not to totally freeze.  Such is life trying to put on miles in northern Wisconsin in March.

Coming down the driveway - Red and Daria (can you spot her?) are waiting for us.  Red had a little extra calming help from a bit of tranquilizer, but he is doing great with Rhio leaving!  This was the second time in three days that I've ridden.

Post-ride, looking fine!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Mini!

Red and Rhio need a buddy.  They are a two-some in a pretty isolated setting, and Red is already overly-attached to Rhio.  Rhio needs to be able to leave the premises to ride, and so Red needs another equine to keep him company.  "Herd of One" is not in Red's vocabulary.  In the past, he has gotten so upset, running the fenceline and calling desperately to Rhio (who was still on the property and in sight of Red), that he slipped, fell into a gate, and the gate fell on top of him.  Luckily, he wasn't hurt.  Since then, I have used a light tranquilizer whenever I took Rhio away to ride, until they were fully integrated into J.'s herd.  Once Red has other buddies, he still worries and frets when Rhio is gone, but it is manageable and I don't worry that he will hurt himself. 
She's about 31" tall at the withers.

So, here is Daria!  She is a 16 year old American Miniature Horse mare.  She was a broodmare for a friend of a friend, and is done having babies.  Her new task is to keep Red company.  We brought her home Sunday night.  We had hoped to make it home before dark, but that didn't quite happen.  She is black, so the horses didn't immediately notice her when I unloaded her out of the trailer.  I brought her over to the outside of the wooden fence and put a little hay down for her to eat.  The boys acted all silly and Arabian, prancing and snorting.  Daria was unimpressed and chose to munch a little hay instead of worry about them. 
Rhio wondering what the heck she is!

Meeting Rhio for the first time.

I don't have a place to keep her separate from them, but allow them to get acquainted, so I really had no choice but to just put her in the pasture with them after a short time.  This is one of those instances where you should do what I say, and not what I do!! It is always much, much safer for everyone involved to let a new horse meet the herd gradually over a few days, across a fence for example.  However, I know that my boys are fairly well "socialized" and usually take to new horses pretty well.  They have never lived with a mini before, but they have lived with mini donkeys without incident.  So, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. 

Another good reason for a separate area for a new horse is to prevent spreading disease to your herd.  This is a definite disadvantage in my case, because Daria has lice. While lice are not uncommon in minis in the late winter, due to the fact that lice love the warmth underneath the thick, dense winter coat, they are contagious.  How am I dealing with this?  First, before putting her in the pasture, I treated her with a permethrin spot-on (made for repelling ticks and flies).  Lice are insects and can be killed by regular insecticides (i.e. fly spray), but you have to get it down to the skin.  There is also a powder formula, which you brush into the coat.  I couldn't find any of the lice powder enroute home from picking her up, but what I could find was the spot-on.  So, that's what I went with.  The very best solution is to remove the thick hair (body clip), shampoo with a permethrin shampoo, and then treat.  But, it is March.  I cannot remove her warm hair nor give her a bath in March! Lice are very itchy to the horse, and poor Daria has scratched out big patches of hair on her neck, the backs of her hind legs, and her face.  I believe that she has "chewing" type lice, which eat dander.  This makes any type of internal medication given to the horse useless.  In an attempt to prevent Red and Rhio from getting lice, I put the spot-on treatment on them as well, and will continue the spot-on treatment on everybody every 2 weeks.  Additionally, every other day I've been grooming Daria really, really thoroughly (which she loves) and putting fly spray into her mane and tail, down at the roots.  Today, I couldn't see any active lice.  However, they have most definitely laid eggs, which are glued to the base of the hairs and hatch in 10-14 days.  So you can see, this isn't going to be a quick fix! 
Big patches where she's missing hair from rubbing it out.

Other things I'm doing to reduce the chance of spreading lice, since I can't keep her separate: when I groom her, I use only her own dedicated grooming tools, and they are washed and disinfected after each use.  I do not handle Red and Rhio at all while I'm grooming her, or until after I've changed my clothes.  My outwear goes directly into the washer on hot, then the dryer.  I don't let her hair fall to the ground, but bag it up and remove it to the garbage immediately.  Luckily, only horses (donkeys & mules too) can get this lice - so I don't have to worry about the people or the dogs getting them.  However, I could potentially carry lice from Daria to the boys, so I'm trying to be ultra-careful to reduce the chance I'll accidentally give some lice a free ride.

Otherwise, she seems to be settling in just fine and getting used to the routine.  Rhio postured at her pretty intensely for the first hour or so, making sure she knew he was herd boss.  Since then, he's been just fine with her and the two are often hanging out in fairly close proximity.  Red, however, chases, bites, and kicks at her - but only when I am putting out hay.  Once they've settled down to eat, he is fine.  They all move about the pasture together, and can often be seen dozing under the pine trees.  It is only the third day she's been here, so I am optimistic that we will soon have a happy, content Herd of Three. 

And, I can't wait for that first really nice day, so they can all get therapeutic baths. 
Where's Daria?