Friday, February 20, 2009

The Waiting Game

It feels like we are in a holding pattern. The daily routine with the horses is guided by the weather. I’ve been waiting until after noon to turn them out because of a layer of ice that forms overnight and then melts from the warmer daytime temperatures. Silk and Siete are content to hang out in their stalls and corral, showing very little interest in what’s going on in the pasture, which is unusual. We’re all just waiting for Spring. The only one who is going to be upset once it arrives is Siete since I plan to put a grazing muzzle on her this year. After all the drama last Fall, I want to limit how much she eats so we can keep her weight in check.

We keep tightening our belts here. When I was at my local feed store yesterday, they told me that they were having trouble getting any bagged shavings. The construction industry is so slow that there’s very little scrap lumber and the mills are shutting down. I had read that there was going to be a shavings shortage, so it came as no surprise. Once they do locate some, they warned me that the price will also go way up since it will cost them so much more to ship them from further away and the mills know they can get top dollar due to the shortage. Around town, more and more businesses are shutting down. My friends and I spend more time on the phone, keeping each other going with positive energy.

It’s a good thing that I have my horses to comfort and distract me. They ground me and restore my spirits, and they are shedding like crazy -- which means that better times are just around the corner.

"I don't know if it's human nature or the way of life on Earth, but we seldom become all of who we are until forced to it..... We are often called further into experience than we'd like to go, but it is this extra leap that lands us in the vibrant center of what it means to be alive."
Mark Nepo, "The Book of Awakening"


stacyr520 said...

It is crazy how the economy is affecting everyone. I never even considered that shavings would be an issue. Stay warm!

billie said...

I hope the grazing muzzle goes over well with Siete. We finally put one on the pony last summer, and he was mortified for the first 3 or so days, but then got very used to it.

Unfortunately, he got SO comfortable with it he figured out he could use it as a sort of battering ram to annoy Keil Bay, and that ended up presenting a problem that we never really solved - we hit winter and the grazing muzzle is hanging in the tack room. Not sure how we'll deal with this once spring returns - I guess time-outs in the dirt paddock if he gets of control with the muzzle!

I haven't had issues with shavings yet, but if they get scarce and too expensive, I may use that as an opportunity to try straw bedding. I have a few friends who only use straw, and although it sounds more difficult to muck, they love it.

I'm a little worried about spring here - we had shedding and then it stopped, which makes me think we might be in for more cold. (as of today, we are back to 40s during the day and low 20s at night - but that's probably springlike to you all up north!!)

Love the quote!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm sure Siete will get used to the grazing muzzle quickly. We use them on all our horses and they deal with it alright. They don't like it though. I had one horse(Erik) who figured out how to tilt it just right on the underside of his jaw so he didn't have to eat through the hole in the bottom, but could get as much grass as he wanted through the big spaces on the sides. We've since researched and found different muzzles that work much better.
As for the shavings, well, I hope there isn't a shortage coming and a price increase. That will put a drain on a lot of barns.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I believe better times are already here, unfortunately there is a lag in those businesses being affected by what happened months ago. We're having problems getting stall shavings here too. I ordered some Dry Stall kitty-litter type material, and that was $9.50 a bag, and you need 4 bags to fill one 12x12 stall. It keeps the floor dryer longer than shavings, though. I'm also thinking about ordering a truck load of decomposed granite and pouring that in the stalls for softer, dryer footing.

naturalhorseman said...

They ground me and restore my spirits, and they are shedding like crazy -- which means that better times are just around the corner.

What a great sentence. We can relate the physical act of shedding to our inner beings. While the horses shed, we are becoming new, sometimes being forced into it as you point out.

I too am a down home backyard owner. I have only had horses at home for about 5 years. Boy, did I know a lot more about riding than I did about care and maintenance!

I'll be checking in often to hear your insights.


deejbrown said...

Reminds me to be grateful for indoor plumbing....

detroit dog said...

Economically, it's scary out there.

I'm going to ask something really stupid, I think, since I know next to nothing about horses (except from what I've learned from you): can you use wood mulch instead? And, if so, is that something you could get for cheap from your local tree trimmer?

Thanks for not letting me see you roll your eyes!

BTW, the word verification is "sloggy." Interesting.

Victoria Cummings said...

DD - I'm very careful about what I use for bedding since the horses love to drop their hay on the ground and then eat it. I prefer US pine shavings that are specifically made for horse bedding and don't have anything in them that could be harmful or cause colic. Also, you want the bedding to be absorbent and fluffy so tree mulch would be too wet and heavy. Everyone who owns a horse and uses shavings has a very different and strong opinion about what is best - but isn't that true about most things that concern horse owners?

John and Regina Zdravich said...

Great photo! What a face!!! We need our horses right now to help us through these tough times. I do the accounting for a machine shop that services the steel industry here in Northwest Indiana. The problems in the auto industry have affected the steel industry which has affected the shop where I work. My hours are cut -- I am losing the equivalent of one paycheck a month....We also have a real estate business that my husband runs -- enough said there. Hopefully the stimulus package will help get things moving again.

detroit dog said...

Thanks for the education!


LJB said...

Save those piles of shedded hair -- free bedding!

You might be surprised to learn that horses have survived with sleeping on the ground for a few decades. Or is it centuries? LOL

I won't go into any thoughts or feelings about the economy right now. I'm still feeling some celebratory feelings having landed a second part time job!

Esther Garvi said...

I love that picture of Siete! She's really a beautiful horse!
The economy can be felt all the way to Niger. Horse fodder is becoming expensive! But thankfully, the little souls are there to cheer us up!
Hope spring comes to you soon!

Linda said...

Keep up the positive energy! I have quit listening to the news - can't they report any good news - I know it is out there! The horses aren't worried - they could teach us a lot about just appreciating the little things and not focusing on the bad.

Pony Girl said...

Off and on, our farm store has limited the amount of bagged shavings that you can purchase at one time.
Sometimes I think I live in a bubble that is not reality...but when I think about the things that can happen, I start getting really anxious. So I just try to stay calm, live smartly and sanely, and day by day. I feel that some of the panic happens because of the hype and fear put into us by the media. I know things are not good right now, but we can't give up hope and faith!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Hi Victoria,
While we're waiting for better weather, come on over an pick up your latest award!

Janet Roper said...

Horses are such a comfort, aren't they? Shiloh hasn't started shedding yet, guess we still have some cold weather in store for us.

Callie said...

I hear ya on the price of everything going up. My hay prices are ridiculous. They actually did get three cuttings. The price of gas has gone down. I think his hay price can be more reasonable since he's still able to take his one mnth vacation. As much as I love my hay man, I can afford a vacation, but choose not since I do not know what is ahead in the future of this economy.