Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jackson Has Attitude

...and not in a good way.

Yes, Jackson is very sweet and loves people and is everyone's favorite.  But, he can also be a pushy, opinionated SOB horse.

Jackson has very thin soles on his feet which means in the winter, when his soles are soft, he will get an abscess from a bruise caused by a pebble.  We tried putting pads over his soles, held in place by a horse shoe but his hoof wall is thin and weak so the nails never held.  As a result he is barefoot -- and sound in the summer when his soles are dry and hard.  Last winter we discovered that putting trail boots (think hiking boots for horses with leather uppers and rubber soles) on over his hoofs worked great.  The thick rubber soles kept him from getting bruised and the leather tops velcroed securely around his feet.

When we bring the horses into the barn during high wind/heavy rain/blowing snow days and nights, Jackson goes into the covered round pen.  The walls are too high to see over but there is a gap between the top and the roof so it is well lit.  He can hang his head over the gate Brett installed that leads into the barn so he can see all the activity.  We put him in there because it is completely dry and sandy.  There are no stones and no mud so I can remove his boots and let his feet breathe a bit.  Besides, he doesn't really like the boots so its nice for him to be rid of them for a while.

We brought the horses into the barn Monday evening, in advance of the heavy rain and high wind that arrived late that night.  Jackson began working on his hay while I took off his boots.  The two boots in the back were new; he wears boots out in a month or two.  I knew that the new one on his left hind was uncomfortable -- he had been shaking his leg for the past few days in an effort to get rid of it.  I had wrapped some vet tape on his hoof so the boot wouldn't rub -- the same way we put a band-aid on the heel of our foot when a new shoe is rubbing.

I removed a front boot first and he was very reluctant to pick up his foot for me; and then yanked it away and slammed it back down to the ground.  After three tries (and some harsh words), I got him to hold still and removed the boot.  Then I moved to the hind leg; same thing; reluctant to pick up the foot and then lots of yanking.  He yanked forward and back, forward and back, and then sideways -- neatly nailing the side of my calf.  A direct hit.  A willful, "take that" blatant crossing of the line.

I was not impressed.  I went into alpha-mare mode -- pinned my ears and smacked him hard.  He moved away a few steps and looked at me sheepishly.  I took off the other two boots with no drama whatsoever -- and marched out without giving him the cookie in my pocket.  (Brett found it in the washing machine a few days later).

Wednesday morning brought another break between storms.  Brett asked me to put Jackson's boots on in the morning before going to work.  With his arthritic fingers, its hard for him to get the velcro straps looped in and tightened.  If Jackson pitched another fit, he wouldn't have an ice cube's chance in hell of getting the boots on.  Jackson stood quietly for me while I put on the front boot.  Then I moved to the back and he again complied.  However, his hoof had a big splinter half torn off (barefoot horses wear down their hoofs in scuffs and cracks and tears).  The splinter was sticking straight out from the hoof like a finger and was too large, thick and rigid to bend or remove.  There was no way I was going to get a boot on that foot.

Instead, we put him in the small fenced arena so could enjoy the sunshine while barefoot on the sand.  Brett gave him some hay and set up water -- which was delayed due to a cracked water pipe that was leaking into the front pasture.  While Brett worked on fixing the pipe, I let the goats out and watched Lucy and Jackson pitch a Romeo and Juliet separation fit.  The arena is next to the front pasture, with a walkway between the two.  Lucy was at the gate on her side, bucking and calling and racing around.  Jackson was at his gate, bucking in place and arching his neck like a stallion.

It is hard to be Jackson sometimes.


  1. Uhh, let's be clear. Lucy broke the water pipe under ground by stomping on it to get Jackson's attention. And Jackson, FYI, I told you to watch out when Mom goes into alpha-mare mode. Told you so.

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  4. Jackson sounds like he's feeling good and doesn't know you're trying to help him. If he feels good enough to give you a little guff, he's good enough to get some back. LOL.

    There's never a spare or dull moment on a farm, is there? Always something to fix!

    I tried to submit a comment before, but I'm not sure it went through. If you get several from me, know it's because my smart phone isn't very smart!

  5. Have you thought about trying glue ons for Jackson?


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.