Fat and Sassy

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Well, perhaps not exactly fat, but in the last couple of weeks Steen has definitely been changing shape and I am heartened by this. I wasn't at the barn for quite a few days because we left town for Thanksgiving. On Sunday the farrier came, so Steen got his feet trimmed and Duke took a moment to tell me what excellent feet Steen has, and how he wears them almost perfectly evenly and they are nice and solid and shapely in spite of never having had shoes. This made me happy.

I didn't ride Sunday because the barn was packed and the arena was full of little kids and lessons and I had a meeting with a client to prepare for, anyway, but I went back yesterday morning and, as usual, had the place to myself.

We got our first snow over the last few days, and while a great quantity didn't stick because temps were on the warm side, all the fields are covered in white, an...

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Packin’ it On

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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I have only been making it out the barn every few days lately, partly because I have wanted to let Steen adjust to his new lifestyle without demanding too much of him and partly because I've just been busy. Brian and I went out on Friday, and Steen was already starting to look a little better. The hollow spots where his rib-cage met his haunches (the source of my genuine alarm in the first place) had filled in. It was good to see that change so quickly.

Then, I didn't make another appearance out there until yesterday, and that was squeezed in before work in the morning because I knew he was low on grain and would be out before we returned from our holiday trip to the Chicago area, for which we are leaving today. So, I was only there for a matter of minutes, but I did take Steen out of his stall and make him walk around me in a circle for a while so I could look at him. ...

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Stalled

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Yesterday I had another new experience. I walked into the barn and found Steen hanging out in a stall. Since there are more horses that need to be stalled than there are stalls for them at our stable currently, Steen is on a night-out, day-in schedule, using a day-out horse's stall until Sunday, when that horse will leave and that stall will become Steen's very own. I know for a fact Steen has never been stalled in his life, but I've been getting frequent updates from the barn since they brought him in on Sunday, and while he's obviously been a little jumpy I think he's doing fine.

I've also worked out a feeding schedule for him which I have high hopes will help his thinness and also not completely bankrupt me. We'll see how it goes in the next few weeks. At least I can rest easier knowing he's getting as much high-quality hay as he cares to eat, and six lbs of grain a...

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Changing Our Ways

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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It's been another few interesting days out at the barn. For one thing, winter is finally setting in. We have had genuinely cold temps and rain, which means the winter pasture is one solid expanse of slushy muck, and Steen is looking more than a little bedraggled.

More worrisomely, Steen has also continued to seem more than a little too thin. For a while after we increased his grain intake, he seemed to bulk up, but then he just suddenly lost all the weight again, for no apparent reason. Lately, perversely, he has dveloped a pronounced disinterest in the hay always available in the pasture, preferring instead to attemp to eat anything green that comes within reach while we're trying to work with him. Today, I went to the barn, extracted him from the pasture, took him to the grooming area and became so alarmed at his thinness that I didn't even ride, just gave him severa...

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Slow Day

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Since Brian and I have been riding so much lately, my last extended bareback loping session left my legs pretty sore, and I had to cram a trip to the barn in between many other things yesterday, Steen and I had an easy ride. The weather was more pleasant than it has been the last few days - in the mid 30's, but still and sunny. It actually felt nice as I walked to the pasture.

Unfortunately, Steen had rolled and was rather dirtier than when I last saw him, though I suppose I should count my blessings as he seems more fastidious than many of the other horses and while he will roll in damp dirt, he will not roll in genuine muck (of which there is plenty in the winter pasture).

I took him into the barn, and he was very relaxed while I groomed him. I took him to the indoor arena and skipped groundwork (something I haven't done for months) and hopped on bareback. ...

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Fatten Up and Go Faster

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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As Brian mentioned in the last the last two posts, we've been going out to the barn a lot lately. We have been particularly motivated for two reasons. One is that, as I mentioned in previous posts, Steen is apparently not the kind of horse that will get fat on a pasture diet. I knew he was underweight when I got him, but everyone seemed to agree that putting him out with good grazing 24/7 would bulk him up in no time at all. Most of the other pasture horses are quite round (though now that I am looking, I can see some are significantly underweight), so it seemed reasonable to assume Steen would go that direction as well.

But he didn't. And after many weeks of worry and learning (and worming and dental work), I started Steen on grain. Then, when that had no noticeable effect, upped his grain-intake significantly. For a while, this was working. Steen was gaining bulk ...

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Solo Lope

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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A few weeks ago Robin gave me Steenblog rights because I was starting to get out to the stables on Tuesdays for "guys night" (which mostly includes Steen and I). The first outing was not so great as it was the day after Steen got his teeth floated.

The second outing was a little bit better. Steen was good for the grooming. And he started out so relaxed for me in the indoor arena. But then another boarder came in to longe her pregnant horse. Thankfully I had ridden Steen a couple of times while other people were longing, so I felt like I would be fine. And for the most part I was. Steen would speed up when he got close to Damara (Robin thinks he has a crush on her) and try to follow her path. Steen and I are still working on our steering, so I looked a weee bit foolish trying to control my horse. Thankfully they only...

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A Week Off

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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It hasn't been the greatest stretch as far as me getting to the barn goes. Last Wednesday Jesse and I went out again, but it was pouring down rain, Steen was really wet and really muddy, and the (new and scary) sound of the downpour on the aluminum roof of the indoor arena had him a little worked up - so all we did was groundwork.

After that we got more rain, and then went to Chicago for the weekend, then I caught a cold and so didn't manage to return to the barn until yesterday.

Immediately upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by three things. First, the outdoor arena was dry enough to ride in. Second, once I reached the mud-lot (the horses are now confined away from the nice pastures for the winter so we can have good grass again in the spring), I saw that Steen had a place around one of the big round-bale feeders, and was calmly eating among eight or so...

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Time Off

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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I was out of town for a few days, so after a brief bareback ride on muddy, wet Thursday during which Steen was so relaxed it was almost comical, he got a number of days off.

Tuesday found me back at the barn with my visiting brother in tow. We went down to the pasture and Steen was so happy to see me he actually came a significant distance, around several obstacles and other horses, to say hi. That was gratifying. What's not so gratifying is he seems to have picked up some sort of eye infection in my absence, and had lots of goobers streaked down his face. Other than that, he seemed pretty much his usual self, though even fuzzier than when I left.

We took him inside and he was quite good through the grooming experience. In the indoor arena, we started with groundwork and he was extremely responsive and focused at first. But then some of the barn horses got ...

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