Sunday, January 08, 2012

Winter Brings Finds and Snappy Solutions

Pro Equine Grooms - A Preview of 2012


hen better to think through all the problems you had during the last nine months than while you’re waiting for the snow thrower to upchuck you dog’s squeaky toy?  While my toes were thawing this morning I realized that I’ve been very creative of late.  Sometimes time off from riding leads to actual coherent thought.  

Before I go on about myself (as I so love to do), click the link above.  This site by, for, and about grooms and grooming issues is a must-see.  Your input is requested there to help with their 2012 planning, so jump on in!

My first “find” of late is my new favorite barn boots.  These are they:   


They are rubber boots by Bogs©.  Those laces are only for appearances, so don’t be put off by them.  These are the bestest pull-on/stomp-into boots I’ve found, and I really didn’t think anything would outdo my Uggs© fleece-lined rubbers rain boots.  

The Bogs are lined with some sort of knit fabric with a layer of neoprene foam insulation under it.  They fit like a glove, are comfy as all get-out, have aggressively ribbed soles, and I even wore them for riding in a western saddle with great success.  I wouldn't recommend them in English stirrups as too-aggressive tread can spell unplanned horizontal girth and footing inspections. I know Bogs makes taller boots too, but with the barn only a couple of hundred feet from the house, barring deep snow, I only needed something above-ankle height, and these do well under jeans where my tall, insulated Muck Boots make a pile of my pants legs.  

My second Helpful Horse-keeping Hint is a solution to the Ring Around the Hay Feeder problem.  You who have horses at your place have seen the game the horses play, right?  It doesn’t matter how many you have, if there’s more than one horse, there’s a game afoot.  They’ll be standing all innocent one minute eating hay next to each other or on opposite sides of the rack, then suddenly one will take offense to the mere existence of the other and shoot him a dirty look that sends him scurrying to the opposite side.  This can go on all day every day forever.  
The solution:  Move the feeder to the fence and
take down the top board for access!  Ha!
A side view of the coolness

Not everyone sees it as a problem, but I was beginning to hate the deep, manure-filled gully that had appeared around the hay rack by winter's end, and I had a twinge every time one of the geriatrics was chased even a quarter way around.  The old guys need their peace and quiet while they quid their hay, d’ya mind?  

So after 14 years of thought, this is what I came up with.  Can you imagine that it took me that long?  The crossed boards, by the way, are not accidental.  They  keep the horses from reaching to the ground on the other side of the fence and gaming the system that way by stealing their buddy’s hay.  Leo had no problem teaching me that.  

The fence in the photo surrounds a small paddock, which at this time was locked so Duke was sequestered.  But I’ve found that even with the gate wide open, the horses, big or small, still sort themselves on opposite sides of the fence and no chasing at all goes on.  Wah-HOO!

Finally, this is the best gate latch I’ve found: 
Sure Latch by Co-Line Welding

It’s automatic, closes and opens in either direction with the lift of a finger-grip, allows the slamming shut of the gate with the back of one’s foot while one is being mugged by a horse of any size, and can be locked against accidental opening with just a stick or clip through a hole designed for that purpose.  Could you just die?

 Where was this when I was building the place so I could have spaced all the gates properly?  That’s the only drawback.  It requires very specific spacing to fit and work.  Note the multiple shims of varying sized between the latch and the warped fence post.  Thank you.  I agree I did a superb job.  But it took me two hours.  That wasn’t necessary.   

I hope you’re all putting your occasional down time to good use this winter, and I hope you’ll share some of your finds and solutions.  I’m always eager to hear what other horse people are doing, if only for the comic relief. 

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