barn mystery

We are trying to solve a barn mystery. Why are Nemo's shavings getting so damp & heavy? It's the weirdest thing!! Koda & Harmony's shavings stay dry, except of course where they pee. 

We thought perhaps it's because Nemo circles and circles in his stall, spreading everything everywhere. Into a million little pieces. Or maybe it's because he has a urinary condition. When his calcium builds up, he drips. A lot. But we haven't observed any dripping, only steady streams. Music to our ears. We may be the only horse owners that smile every time their horse pees :) Now that we don't feed hay on the floor, he prefers to do so outside. I don't find much in his shavings.

Nemo absolutely loves his window, and checks it constantly. He has to keep those in his world safe you know. It's who he is. He is a horse that could happily live outside all year, except his coat, feet and allergies say differently. In part, why he willingly comes inside. He does love hanging out in outdoor shelters, so that may change once we have one. Although I am sure he will want to come in for his grain supplements.

Maybe the dampness is from Nemo's stall/window placement? Rain could be coming at an angle in his window, and not the others. Nope. Our stall windows are closed now that it's cooler, and his shavings are still getting heavy and damp. We thought about switching Koda & Nemo's stalls for a few days as a test, but I don't think it's the horse.

The waterer could be leaking? We have checked and rechecked the mechanics. The surrounding shavings reveal no leak. For a while, we resorted to just accepting that Nemo has damp shavings for whatever reason. But emptying and re-liming his stall weekly is getting old. This week, I did it twice! There is the added expense, and then I have to make a second (or third) wheel barrel trip. The biggest reason we want to solve this mystery, is our big soulful guy deserves dry shavings. 

I've whined said from day one, the cause has to be something underneath his stall. Condensation? I don't know. Our water drain from the wash stall runs under Koda's stall, in PVC. Every stall has a water line housed in PVC.  Maybe his water line didn't seal completely? Brad is convinced the damp shavings are caused by Nemo's churning, but that doesn't make sense to me. It is literally the whole stall. I am sure you are thinking, what's the big deal? The consistency isn't too far off from heavily peed on shaving, minus the stench. I doubled the lime I used this last time, and the shavings seem to be holding up better. 

Brad is considering pulling Nemo's mats, and looking around. No doubt just to shut me up lol! Last thing Brad needs is more things to do. It will be worth it IF we can solve the mystery!?!!


weather forecaster

If you want an accurate weather forecast, observe Nemo. Unlike our human weather forecasters, he isn't wrong on a daily basis. Nemo is the first to let us know when Spring is coming, and feels weather before it happens.

Just yesterday, I was getting ready to leave for a photo shoot at our trainers barn
when Nemo started running. I thought it was odd. It was starting to cloud over, but the birds were chirping and it was warm. Rain wasn't forecasted until overnight. I caught a small part of the warning round-up on my phone:

Shortly after I took the video, the thunder rolled. By the time I got out to the barn it started raining, hard. It looked partly sunny where I was headed, but called the photo shoot off anyways. Glad I did, tornado warnings were added to the general area shortly after. I was surprised to hear there was a touch down in the town where I was heading. Nothing major, just down trees. I am far from a storm chaser and prefer to enjoy their mysteriousness from the comfort of my home, altho it could have made for interesting equine photos.

Thank you Nemo, for always keeping a watchful eye.

I sure do love Brad's special heart horse!


tack, room and first aid kit suggestions

What do you guys do for the following:

1) How do you keep your tack & tack room dry?

We've never had a problem with our tack getting moldy before. We stored it in our garage, inside a cedar storage locker that Brad built at our old place. It was off the floor & securely attached to the wall. We quickly outgrew it, so the frequently used tack lived on racks & hooks in the garage. I was sad to leave our cedar storage behind, but it didn't make sense to bring it now that we have a tack room. Not to mention it would have been a huge ordeal to move the beastly thing.

We don't have a door on the new tack room (yet) so I never gave our tack a second thought. With huge fans in the aisle, there is plenty of circulation. Until the day I walked by and saw my old Circle Y Saddle covered in dust, 'er wait, that was surface mold! GASP!! As you know, I haven't ridden since we moved here, so other then grabbing a grooming bag by the entrance I haven't paid any attention to our tack. Big mistake. The new wood must have a lot of moisture, plus the endless rain we've had we are having.

Thankfully our new saddles are stored in covers and were fine, but our bridles had some mold. They are also stored in a bag, because we had to haul our tack to our trainers barn. Boy were we surprised!

I searched online for suggestions to remedy the situation, and hung my head in shame because no, the pieces of tack that got surface mold were not stored spick & span clean. Obviously, clean tack is key to preventing mold. 

I looked for Silica gel locally, but couldn't find any. If we go that route, it looks like I'll have to buy it online. I don't have enough shoe packets to make a difference lol, plus I re-use them in my camera bags. 

We are thinking about getting a de-humidifier. For now, I am turning the light on during morning chores & running a fan.

2) What do you use to clean your tack?

Just curious. There are tons of products and methods out there. Many contradict. Our saddle maker suggested holding off cleaning until really needed, then wiping clean (with gentle saddle soap if needed) and following with a very light application of household oil.

We used to use a really nice custom handmade combo cleaner/lubrication spray from a local saddle fitter. Unfortunately it's a PITA to get now that she lives so far away. 

For the moldy saddle, I wiped the mold off with a separate cloth, and since we are out of the custom spray I used Lexol cleaner & followed with Lexol polisher. It's what I had. It says it's for leather tack, but I find the cleaner drying and would like to find something better suited for saddles. For the bridles, I take them apart and briefly dunk them in warm water first. Old toothbrushes sure come in handy for cleaning tack!

3) What do you keep on hand for first aid?

Of course what one keeps on hand depends on what ails your horses. I have the general non medical stuff, like vet wrap, padding & gloves. I also keep bute, and have some some antibacterial wound ointment. I am thinking about getting an annual tube of banamine to keep on hand, even if none of our horses have ever coliced, as well as mineral oil. Shirley's Beamer colic episode prompted this. You just never know when that day might come. We would rather spend the annual $30 and throw the tube away, then be caught helpless. I definitely need to get a thermometer for the barn, and our vet clinic suggests a stethoscope. Not sure if I'll get the latter. 

Fall chill-axing


things worth waiting for

Horse Shelter prep:

clearing out stumps, trees & brush

checking ground levels

a few sturdy oaks remain

hazy wider view of shelter site
(taken from our house deck)

Connecting the Barn & House:

grand dogs inspecting the first section prep
(complete with puddles)

stamp of approval

day one: first section poured
second section formed up and ready

day two: second section done
third section formed up & ready

day three: poured & drying
let the three-wheel barrelin' commence!

7 days of curing & more backfill and we can drive on it

Next steps: pushing more dirt around, back filling, framing the horse shelter flooring and then my guys will pour the pad. Our horses might even have a shelter within a couple weeks! Maybe.