Friday, 7 October 2011

Livery Nightmare

Echo and I have been having a bit of a tough time.

Her feet are still pretty bad - she has now been shod twice since we first realised the imbalance, but unfortunately they are still growing extremely unlevel. She has a stud in the outside of each shoe, to provide a 'false level' as my farrier calls it - this seems to really help when she's on hard ground, but it makes little difference on a soft surface as the stud just sinks in.

The farrier says it will take 5 or 6 sets of shoes to get her truly level again - it is so frustrating.

Added to this, I don't even know if her feet are the only problem. She looks really uncomfortable in her hindlegs - not lame, just a bit odd. I know that her feet are a major factor - when Gary trimmed them on Monday he said they had grown to almost an inch out - the outside of the foot is an inch shorter than the inside. All her (considerable!) weight is going through the outside of her foot and crushing it so that it doesn't grow. He trimmed loads from the inside, but nothing from the outside - there was no growth at all there.

So... I haven't been working her. Gary said the worst thing I can do is lunge, as it will put so much pressure on her joints with her feet being unlevel. The problem is, Echo loves to work and becomes really frustrated when she isn't doing anything.

The yard I moved her to is not working out - for this very reason. We tried turning her out with another mare in a field a month or so ago and although she seemed ok at first, she started chasing and kicking the other mare so violently that the other owner (understandably) wanted to take her mare out. Everything was fine for a while and Echo was on her own, but surrounded by other horses. However, a new horse arrived, so the turnout plan was rearranged and Echo got moved to a field in front of the stables. She can't really see other horses from here but there is another horse that's turned out next to her from 7-12 each morning. We started off by turning Echo out at the same time as this horse, then when he went in for the rest of the day, opening the gate through so she could have both fields - the one that she was in for the morning was tiny and had no grass at all.

However. This routine did not suit Echo at all. I don't think she could understand why she was allowed to walk through the gateway at some times of day but not at others. So...she just pushed through the tape gate. She does have a bit of a history of doing this, and we have always solved the problem by putting barrels in front of the gate - the physical barrier tends to put her off. This worked for a few days, but then she managed to find a gap and as the electric fence wasn't on (it never is really) she went straight through. She doesn't do anything when she's on the other side, she just thinks she should be allowed in there.

By this stage I had already decided to move her back to the yard I was at before moving up to my parents last year. However, the owners of the yard I'm at at the moment have got quite nasty and have said that Echo is dangerous and so they won't let her go out in the field until after the other horse comes in at 12. She has to stand in her stable all morning, while every other horse gets to go in the field.

I just find this so unfair. They moved her to a field that she clearly is unhappy in - and yet they are punishing her for behaving in the way she has been. Having already handed in my notice, I received a text message a week later (after the breaking the fence incident) telling me to leave as soon as possible - which I was trying to do anyway.

I have since been told all sorts of things that the owners have said about me - including them being cross because I'm not working her - "If only she would work the bl**dy horse, we might not have a problem" is apparently what was said. Why would I work a horse that is not right?

I am so upset by this - I take it really personally anyway when someone is rude about my horse but what gets to me the most is the fact that they are taking it out on her. She was perfectly fine until they moved her field - and yet she is the one having to stand in her stable all day. And of course when she charges about in her field when she DOES get turned out, it is obviously another sign of her being a 'dangerous' horse.

Well, the farrier suggested I start riding her now - only in straight lines and on a firm surface - so tonight I got on my 'dangerous' horse bareback (as my saddle needs checking and I'm not prepared to cause more problems) and rode her for about 15 minutes - mostly in walk, but with a couple of short trots as well. She was fabulous - and really enjoyed doing something.

As you can probably tell, this has all been getting to me a bit - and I am so so busy with a job and finishing my dissertation, so I could really do without it. I went round to the new/old yard this week to see if there was any way she could squeeze us in before the date I was originally given. Lyn asked how Echo was and I promptly burst into tears (I've been doing this a lot recently!) She took pity on me and has agreed to come and get Echo early next week - this will be before my month's notice is due, but as I was told to leave as soon as possible, I don't think it will be a problem. I did, however, receive a bill for the whole of October yesterday - when I tried to ask the owner about this - querying the fact that, as I handed my notice in in the middle of September, surely I wouldn't have to pay a whole month's livery, he said: "We charge for full months here," and he walked away from me, refusing to discuss it.

I'm not really sure what to do. I want to get out of that place as soon as possible - Echo is miserable and so am I - the best thing we can do is go, but if I am paying for a stable for the whole month, perhaps I could leave some feed bins in there or something. I am very conscious of the fact that they have a waiting list and will be able to fill the space immediately - I think it's unfair if they are just trying to make money from me...what do you think?

My goodness - this was going to be a quick update and it has turned into a full-blown rant! Hopefully, by this time next week, things will be looking a lot more positive and I will have a happier horse on my hands.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound like it's working out at all - time for a new place. Very stressful, but you'll get it sorted.

You might wish to visit the Rockley Farm site (UK based)- they do hoof rehab - not saying at all that she should be barefoot but they have very good information on hoof structure, health and trimming that you may find useful, and an excellent book as well.

Wiola said...

Oh Suzie, so sorry to hear about all this :( I hope the move will make it for a happier Echo and more relaxed time for you.

Anonymous said...

just leave yard owners talk and it will only cause more probs in the long run. you need to be happy then your lovely young horse will be too. if you arnt bothered too much about facillities try a farm type yard , ive never been happier at my scruffy stables. good luck debra

Rawhrness said...

It's terrible that they're making you pay for the whole month, and the whole situation sounds like something that would happen here too... People judging your horse by first impressions and being stubborn and ignorant when you try talking/explainign things to them :S

achieve1dream said...

What a crappy barn owner. How dumb. I hope you can get it sorted out quickly. Sorry things are so rough. It will get better.

Daily adventures while training my young horse.