It is always safe to say there is nothing boring going on at the stable I work at. This past Saturday I  arrived early in the morning to feed the horses, as I do every Saturday and Thursday morning. When I arrived Oulav, the Fjord we have there, had his head draped over the gate, as if to say "Well, it's about time you got here, I'm hungry!". I entered his paddock and Money and Sully came over to say hi. I slipped an apple from my pocket and handed it to Oulav, who had come up behind to gently nudge me towards the gate to his freedom. Getting the message loud and clear I opened the gate and chuckled as Oulav cantered out to pasture. Money and Sully decided to hangout in their paddock as the horses have hay now. In the cold winter months hay is supplied for all three paddocks  and all eight hungry horses. After I let those three knuckleheads out, I opened up the next paddock, which housed Rufie, Colby and Cruiser. Rufie, being the grumpy old man that he is, greeted me gruffly, took the apple I offered and cantered out to join Oulav. Colby walked past me, giving me a passing glance then he too cantered out to join his buddies. Cruiser remained behind to give me his usual, unique greeting. He stands an arms distance away from me, head cocked to the side. He then comes forward, blows his forelock(it goes down to his lips as no one will trim it, poor baby can't see...),out of his eyes, and licks and nuzzles my hands. After that he'll come all the way forward and give me lots of nuzzles before leaving.

All but two horses were out in the pasture grazing. Sandman and Lola still needed to eat their grain, and technically Colby did too, but he slipped past me......I headed on over to the red barn which housed all the horse feed. Fat Cat, a black Tom, followed me to the barn, purring the entire time. I opened the door and entered the feed room, where the sweet feed is kept, Rascal's mash and Fat Cat's food. After opening a can of fish flavored cat food, I measured out enough grain for Colby, Sandman, Lola, and Rascal. After putting water in Rascal's feed I set out to give Sandman and Lola and Colby their food. All the horses had decided the grass wasn't good enough and come back up to their paddocks for hay. I let Colby come so he could eat in peace and then entered Sandman and Lola's paddock. Sandman, as usual, had stretched his neck up like a giraffe and nickered when he saw the feed. I gave him his then walked over to Lola. It was then that I noticed the blood dripping down her face. I lifted up her forelock where a deep gash that went down to her skull looked back at me. The gash was large and deep, snaking up her head and out towards above her eye. It looked fairly fresh and was still quite bloody when I saw it. My mother took pictures of it(Which I'll refrain from posting), and I isolated her from the herd into a separate paddock. I ensured she had access to food, water and could not get out to pasture, called the barn manager to let her know, cleaned and then left.

The barn manager called me back in the late afternoon to let me know that the vet had come out and sutured up the wound. The gelding she is paddocked with is food aggressive. Both of them are fed together under the watchful eye of all of us feeders. Naturally I assumed that the gelding had kicked her in the head as I've been there to see him violently attack her. The barn manager and I discussed this theory, but in the end it was determined she ran into something. The gash isn't in the shape of a hoof mark and a kick to the head, especially twice, would have cracked her skull. Did the gelding  run her into something? I dunno, but it's always a possibility. I doubt we'll ever know, but at least she's okay. I'd still like for the mare to be moved, but the barn manager insist the two continue to be paddocked together. At the end of the day it's not my problem nor are they my horses, I'm just a dutiful volunteer who loves those horses dearly.

That's all for now,

Have a happy Ride and a Happy Thanksgiving too~

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Comment by Jackie Cochran on November 18, 2015 at 11:49am
Ah, the realities of taking care of horses, accidents happen.

The reality of taking care of other people's horses--you have to do it their way.

As I grew up geldings were kept with mares as a matter of course. But nowadays a lot of the hunt seat stables have a gelding pasture and a mare pasture. Personally I prefer the geldings and mares together, but SOME geldings can get aggressive toward mares. Sometimes I think the change from straight oats and corn to the sweet feeds and processed feeds have changed equine behavior somewhat, but that is just my theory.

But you could just mention to the barn manager that a lot of hunt seat stables DO NOT turn geldings and mares out together any more. But there is not anything you can do to change what is happening until the barn manager changes her mind.

At least the horses seem to like you! Good work!

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