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Marsha Cassada

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Got the bit rightside up. Midnight noticed it was different. Adjusted the collar up and it seemed better. Need to take a picture to see for sure. She wore her boots on our drive. I got them on quickly this time. We mostly manuevered around in the yard, then the boulder area. I did take her out on the road for about half a mile. I had a little trouble bringing her back down to a walk from a trot. Otherwise she did pretty well.
 

Marsha Cassada

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My sister and her grand daughter came out today to help me. My sister drove Dapper Dan. Before she arrived, I drove Midnight around the property and the boulders. Then we went out on the road. She wore her new boots. She doesn't really like getting them on, but once they are on she is fine with them. We practiced some transitions and she did well. I ended up putting the reins on the lower ring of the butterfly to try.
When we got back from the drive, the grand daughter spent an hour riding both horses. Dapper Dan bucked her off at first, but she is game and didn't give up on him. Then she rode Midnight. I wasn't sure how Midnight would do being ridden, but she was fine. They were two tired little horses tonight.
I did not want her to use a bridle on either horse; we just put lead ropes on the halter.
We were on dirt and gravel roads most of the drive so I was curious if there would be debris in the boots. And also checked to see if they rubbed anywhere. Everything looked good.Amelia on Midnight.jpg
 

Marsha Cassada

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I took Midnight out today by myself. We did a little inside the yard, then I took her out on our 2 miles route. She did really well until about half way; strangers with barking dogs were in an area where usually there is no one, and she didn't do well there. We stopped to talk to the people; they petted her and quieted the dogs. Ground drove her a little after that. Then she knew it was on the way home and wanted to trot too quickly. Practiced walking/trotting/whoaing. Once she jumped sideways and luckily I was sitting alertly in the cart. Not a bolt (thank goodness) and she stopped quickly before we tipped into the ditch. The last quarter mile she was perfect. Then we did some boulder work before unhitching.
She has such a nice stride that when in a working trot, it is so smooth. When we get farther along with training, she will be such a pleasure to drive. I'm not ready to relax yet, though.
 

Cayuse

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Now that the weather is cool and brisk, Cappy and Peanut are full of beans.
Dan and I have had the chance to drive together several times, or share driving one of the minis. We have been working a little more with Cappy as I am trying to get him solid enough that I can drive him alone. I can hitch him alone, but he is always "up" the first few minutes of driving him. I hope with age he will settle.
 

Marsha Cassada

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She is such a nice looking mare! I love your set up. She looks very nice with everything all put together!

Your bit is upside down, as mentioned above. The baucher cheek bit is a leverage bit in that it has a purchase, this is the part that the bridle attaches to:
View attachment 40606
This is the part that will apply some poll pressure when you lift the lines. I'm betting that she will go even better in your bit when you have it turned around! Also make sure to have the bend of the purchase going out, away from her face:
View attachment 40607
As you can see they tip every so slightly outward. It is so easy to get this part turned around as well and have those tipping in and pinching a little bit.

Don't worry!! I see people with their baucher cheek bits upside all the time. :)

You can get a set of smaller A size cheeks which will have smaller winker stays on them to better fit her tiny face. We made the smallest A size bridle I have EVER seen about a month ago. The brow band was 11" and the nose band was 15" around! It's so so cute on her little guy's head. He had been rubbing off his other bridles so custom was the only way to go!
View attachment 40608
He is so little he makes his bit look HUGE! That is a 3" roller mouth! LOL!



You girls look like you are going to have so much fun!
On the chain of the bit--can I close up those links? I've already lost one and my husband had to make me a new one. Is there any reason to leave them open?
 

Marsha Cassada

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Took the two to the dentist today. I decided to use the vet who just opened up the new equine facility instead of my mobile dentist. I took the horses to the elevator first to weigh them, for the sedation. They both weighed 250#.
Both had some sharp points, but over all it was a general maintenance visit. He complimented me on how well they were cared for, which was nice. But he said Midnight was "obese". I know she is a little plump; I need to keep her in the dry lot more.
Another surprise: when he did Midnight's teeth last fall she belonged to my sister. My sister told me the vet estimated her age at 5 years old at that time. Well, today the same vet thinks she is either 3 1/2 or 4 1/2 years old. I'm to watch two teeth--if they fall out she is 3 and if they are permanent she is 4. Wow! I hope I have not been working her too soon. I thought she would be going on 6 now. I feel confused.
Anyway, teeth are good for another year.
In case anyone is interested, the charge was $100.80 for each horse. When I took a horse last fall, it was $60. I guess he is having to pay for his state of the art horse hospital--which is fine with me as I may need it some day.
 

MindySchroder

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On the chain of the bit--can I close up those links? I've already lost one and my husband had to make me a new one. Is there any reason to leave them open?
Yes you can. They are left open in case you need to shorten or lengthen the chain. Sometimes depending on the horse, you can have the chain a bit loose for pleasure drives, but then at an event you may need to tighten the chain a bit. But if you don't have to do that then just close those up!
 

Cayuse

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Marsha, Peanut and Cappy had their teeth done last Friday. Cappy was labeled overweight, too. But not as overweight as he once was, so I guess that's some progress. His teeth had a lot of points and hooks so I am glad I had him done before winter. Peanut has a bad tooth that we need to watch, but he barely needed any floating.
The vet had a new portable float machine. She wore it like a backpack and it was supposed to hold a charge for ten floats. It looked much easier to use. Smaller, quieter and less invasive.
I my bill was $390. I think $75 of that was the farm call. That seems high to me, but I live in an area where horse care is pricey.
I pay $10 a bale for first cut (good sized bales 45-50 lbs) and second runs around $12-$15 a bale. This would be from secondary sources (Agway) and not straight from the farm which is a little cheaper.
What do you all pay for hay?
 

Marsha Cassada

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I wonder what Cappy weighs? Midnight is a little taller than Dapper Dan, but she is finer boned. I'm not very worried about her weight. She is frisky and healthy.
Alfalfa here--horse alfalfa-- is $10-12 for a good-sized bale out of the barn. I pay $5 a bale for bermuda grass hay. Don't use much, but I like to have it on hand. 3-4 bales of alfalfa will last me till next summer.
When I used the mobile equine dentist, the last time was $135 per horse. I have to run an extension cord out to the horse shelter for her to use. She has a little Dremel-type tool, which I like. But I was concerned that she wasn't getting all the way at the back, so that is why I used this vet. Her "halter-thing" was much better--vet had to wrap tape about his side straps for my little horses. Vet just had big horse tools, but he was careful. He said the little guys are a lot harder to do than big horses. We just have to trust they know what they are doing...
 

Cayuse

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Cappy weighs 297. He is very heavy boned, like a draft type mini, so I think that accounts for a "little bit" of his weight (the rest being some chub). He has actually lost about two inches around his girth since his diet started so I am pleased with that.
Peanut weighs 276 which she thought was just right for his size and build.
We did the measuring and computing way of getting their weight. She measured their height, length, and girth and did some magic math and came up with those numbers. I use a weigh tape and her numbers and mine were fairly close.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Cappy weighs 297. He is very heavy boned, like a draft type mini, so I think that accounts for a "little bit" of his weight (the rest being some chub). He has actually lost about two inches around his girth since his diet started so I am pleased with that.
Peanut weighs 276 which she thought was just right for his size and build.
We did the measuring and computing way of getting their weight. She measured their height, length, and girth and did some magic math and came up with those numbers. I use a weigh tape and her numbers and mine were fairly close.
Dapper Dan is 32 1/2" . He is more of the old-fashioned body style. Midnight is a little taller; have not measured her, but she is much finer. she actually looks a little odd with her teeny legs, head, and feet and her round middle. But since she's been working more, her chest is filling out and her hind is toning up. Not sure what to do about the middle of her! I am thinking it is partly hereditary; maybe something conformational.

Have not driven, but worked with Midnight on side passing, longeing, and walking on the plank. She walks the plank perfectly. She is getting the hang of the side passing. Also working on "by me" , "get straight", and the "stand". She is getting better with whip cues, not so reactive. If she is only 3 1/2 years old--and not 5-6 as I thought-- I am impressed with her mind.
 

MindySchroder

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This summer I had blood tests done on both Zorro and Sky as I like to have a baseline to work from. It turned out they both had elevated liver enzymes. Enough to worry my vet about possible liver failure. Zorro is 4 and Sky is 18. This worried me because I lost another miniature horse mare to liver failure just last summer, when her battle with IR and founder was finally won, her liver just gave up. I guess, according to my vet and a few others that I consulted, this is common with horses that have IR or Cushings. It's just often not caught. I had Bonnie's blood tests done every 6 months for two years so we knew exactly when her liver started failing. She began to sleep all the time, get weak and lose weight. Liver failure is painful so I opted to have her put down before she got to where she could not stand any longer. Bonnie was 6 years old when she died.

Why did this happen again? The vet was wondering about their food. But they do NOT eat the grass here and the hay was different from when I was feeding Bonnie. My minis do not get grain and weren't getting anything that worried the vet or could cause liver failure. He consulted with another vet at Washington university and she said it was due to them being over weight. My vet figured Sky was about a 100 pounds overweight and said Zorro was as well. I did agree that Sky was that fat but didn't feel that Zorro was as much as 100 pounds over weight... maybe 50 pounds.

They went on a crash diet. 5 pounds of feed, twice a day, 1 1/2% of their current body weight. That was all they got. They both lost weight but only after I upped their exercise routine. I was driving and ponying them 4-5 miles 5 days a week at the least. When I take Zorro on our group drives we can drive as much as 15 miles a day. So it blew my mind that he could be fat at all. I feed a low quality low sugar low starch hay and have everything tested that they put in their mouths. But these little guys are SUPER efficient. This also led me to driving them as a team. I was trying to up the exercise and be able to work them at the same time. I don't feel that Sky gets as good of a work out just being ponied. But she does look pretty good if I do say so myself.

But this whole thing got me thinking. If my ponies, who work and get out and don't have access to endless green grass, are fat and were failing, then what about those ponies that are truly obese, who don't have jobs and eat and eat and eat? I wonder how some people can get away with having their ponies be fat and happy and healthy? I wonder if their livers are also working harder than they should? So many questions...

Here are a few photos!
Sky Before the diet. Photo taken April 2019:

skyapril(2)before.jpg

Sky after diet and exercise. Photo take Sept 2019:
skyfall92019(2).jpg
Zorro Before. Photo take April 2019:
zorroaprilbefore3.jpg
Zorro after. Photo taken Sept 2019:
zorrofall92019.jpg

It's not easy caring for ponies. Balancing their food, exercise and mental well being. I lay awake many nights worrying about them. Are they happy? Do they need more hay? Then did I over feed them yesterday? Sigh. But I do love them and want them to be healthy, active and happy for a long long time!
 

Marsha Cassada

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Mindy, you have certainly given me something to think about. Someone on another group said loss of muscle was an early sign. Though, for older horses that could just be attributed to general aging.
 

Cayuse

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It is super hard to feed minis. I weigh every scrap of hay my two get (and the welsh pony, too). The minis get 5 pounds of hay a day and the welsh pony gets 11.
I found that a "home depot" utility bucket holds one pound of hay when it it stuffed 3/4 full. I bough a cheap scale and use it daily to remind myself not to get heavy handed. When it is cold, I give an extra handful with each meal (and then feel guilty). I am home all day so they get hayed 5 times throughout the day, the last feeding being at 10pm.
Mindy, I am sorry for the loss of your mare. About 6 years ago my POA coliced and ended up in the hospital. She had very elevated liver enzymes (bordering liver failure) and we never figured out why. The lab values came down and she never had liver issues again. Vets put her on Denosyl (I think that's what it was) for awhile and that seemed to help. Now I wonder if it wasn't because she was overweight a bit.
 

MajorClementine

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And every horse is so unique in it's metabolism and exercise requirements I think. Clementine can eat nearly free choice and only get worked very little and she stays slim and trim. Candace, on the other hand, can be rationed on food and get regular exercise and, while she builds a nice round muscled rump and top line, still has a belly. So trying to figure out the proper nutrition for each one, especially when housed together, is tricky. I have young ones who we are giving grain to get the protein to help them grow correctly, fat ones who have to be kept on grass hay, an old guy who we struggle to keep weight on, and a few in-between. The battle is real.

On top of feeding... Candace has rubbed a spot under her mane and just in front of her shoulder (the ideal injection site if you will) completely bald. The skin is smooth and white, not pink or irritated, but it's bald. Major did the same thing last year and ended up rubbing himself sore. I never saw anything (lice or other) but as soon as I treated him for lice (some stuff I got for cattle years ago that works wonders. You only use a few drops) he quit itching. So I'm going to treat her when I go down tomorrow and see if that takes care of it. It's got to be something they are picking up from the cows/goats next door because when they are at my house they are fine. As soon as they come south at least one of the minis starts rubbing bald spots.

And in driving news..... We took the new fjord team out today and apparently they haven't been widely exposed to cattle. Phineas fixated on a couple cows and jack-knifed the new hitch wagon. Isabella was trying to get him to go forward with her but he was determined. We always drive a team with a "groom" so my husband was able to jump down and get the horses under control on the ground while my dad kept the lines. My son was in the back and my mom was on the cart behind Candace with me. Grandma to the rescue as she ran and extracted my son from the wagon that was in the process of wrecking. Luckily they got them straightened out without the wagon tipping and were able to get the team settled and continue on. They spent over an hour driving them up and down the road to get the used to all the livestock. There are goats, cows, turkeys, peacocks, chickens, and horses on that block. That first upset was the only one.
 

Marsha Cassada

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And every horse is so unique in it's metabolism and exercise requirements I think. Clementine can eat nearly free choice and only get worked very little and she stays slim and trim. Candace, on the other hand, can be rationed on food and get regular exercise and, while she builds a nice round muscled rump and top line, still has a belly. So trying to figure out the proper nutrition for each one, especially when housed together, is tricky. I have young ones who we are giving grain to get the protein to help them grow correctly, fat ones who have to be kept on grass hay, an old guy who we struggle to keep weight on, and a few in-between. The battle is real.

On top of feeding... Candace has rubbed a spot under her mane and just in front of her shoulder (the ideal injection site if you will) completely bald. The skin is smooth and white, not pink or irritated, but it's bald. Major did the same thing last year and ended up rubbing himself sore. I never saw anything (lice or other) but as soon as I treated him for lice (some stuff I got for cattle years ago that works wonders. You only use a few drops) he quit itching. So I'm going to treat her when I go down tomorrow and see if that takes care of it. It's got to be something they are picking up from the cows/goats next door because when they are at my house they are fine. As soon as they come south at least one of the minis starts rubbing bald spots.

And in driving news..... We took the new fjord team out today and apparently they haven't been widely exposed to cattle. Phineas fixated on a couple cows and jack-knifed the new hitch wagon. Isabella was trying to get him to go forward with her but he was determined. We always drive a team with a "groom" so my husband was able to jump down and get the horses under control on the ground while my dad kept the lines. My son was in the back and my mom was on the cart behind Candace with me. Grandma to the rescue as she ran and extracted my son from the wagon that was in the process of wrecking. Luckily they got them straightened out without the wagon tipping and were able to get the team settled and continue on. They spent over an hour driving them up and down the road to get the used to all the livestock. There are goats, cows, turkeys, peacocks, chickens, and horses on that block. That first upset was the only one.
That was a pretty scary experience!! I don't know why cows are so scary. I've had a deer and a coyote jump out in front of me that causes less commotion than a staid cow in a pasture behind a fence. (they probably see more deer and coyotes than cows, though)
Interesting about the itch.
 

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