I was bored driving to work this morning and thought of something fun to post. A list of the things Chrome has taught me since bringing him home in October of 2009. For those who may not know my background I grew up with horses. From the time I was five years old until I was twenty two years old I never went without a horse(s). Then I moved away and didn't have one again until I got Chrome two years later. So I should know about horses right? Well, check out number one . . .
1. I learned that just because I grew up with horses is no reason to assume I know everything about them (especially weanlings!). Yeah, kind of obvious right? Well that is a young person's mentality. They think they know everything? Well Chrome quickly dissolved that illusion for me. :)
2. I learned that I never, ever want to buy and raise another weanling ever again! Please don't misunderstand me, I love Chrome and I would never trade the time I had and the things I learned from him as a weanling for anything in the world, but raising weanlings is expensive, time consuming and very, very stressful. I knew most of this going into it, but I guess it doesn't really hit home until you bring the little guy home and realize you have no clue what you're doing haha!
3. I learned that plenty of turnout is the absolute most important thing for a young, growing horse. I've always known that turnout is important for horses, but for an adult horse you can get away with having them in a small paddock for at least part of the time. Not so with a weanling. For their joint health and their mental health they need room to graze, run and play.
4. I learned that for a weanling you MUST have tall, sturdy, visible fencing. I made the mistake of thinking that a little sag in the fence wouldn't be a problem, because this is a cute little weanling we're talking about . . . wrong! On his first day home Chrome proceeded to jump my fence and gallop off onto what is now our lease land (at the time someone else was leasing it).
5. I learned that you must have electric wire or a board above your regular field fencing to prevent this cute little colt from leaning across the fence to eat the grass on the other side. A little preventative here is so much easier and cheaper than restretching or replacing fence.
6. I learned that you must never leave a weanling alone without horse companionship, especially in a new environment. It didn't kill Chrome, but it stressed him out those first few days when he was alone (although my neighbor's horse was right next to him and they could play over the fence) while we were making arrangements to pick up Galaxy.
7. I learned that Mane, Tail & Groom (MTG) is your friend! Especially when you pick up a companion for your colt and she is covered in rain rot which she proceeds to give to your precious colt! It's also great for growing mane back in when your bratty colt decides to tear it all out.
8. I learned to always keep feed locked up tight in a building where you colt can't get to it! It could have had a disastrous outcome and I'm just thankful I didn't learn this one at a huge cost. Growing up my horses' feed was kept in a building that was not even in the pasture. My feed shed now is a metal building that used to be my goats' shelter. Needless to say Chrome learned how to rub his butt on the building, dent the doors and push them open!
9. I learned that weanling/yearling diets are complicated and it can cause huge amounts of stress on people like me who worry about doing every little thing wrong. :) There is so much conflicting research and some of it is a trial and error trying to figure out the right diet and weight for your colt to prevent joint problems.
10. I learned to never leave ANYTHING in a weanling/yearling's pasture that you don't want destroyed! This includes extension cords, water heaters, coffee mugs, clothing, metal barns, buckets, tarps, etc. So don't be leaving those metal barns laying around. This also applies to chicken/rabbit hutches that make great butt scratching posts.
11. I learned that all metal buildings should be outside the pasture or have protective fencing put around them to prevent itchy horse tails from causing ginormous butt shaped dents in the metal.
12. I learned that even weanlings need their hooves trimmed (how did I not know that????) and to always have a farrier/trimmer lined up as soon as you buy a new horse and to keep them on a strict trimming schedule.
13. I learned not to over-deworm weanlings and to have fecals done by your vet to determine the frequency and type of dewormer to use. As a kid we followed the old school method of deworming. After Chrome started getting event lines in his hooves I learned that overuse of chemical dewormers can cause hoof problems in horses.
14. I learned that you should ALWAYS have a secure latch (maybe a padlock) on ALL gates otherwise precious weanling let's himself out for a romp down the neighborhood roads! Not a nice call to receive from your neighbor.
15. I learned that disregarding the cost, labor and damages inflicted by weanlings they sure are a lot of fun and total lovebugs!
So to sum all of this up I have absolutely no regrets with buying a weanling because being able to go out to his pasture and giving him a hug makes it all worth the trouble, time and expense.