Hay Lids – FINISHED!


After months we finally, FINALLY, got all six haybox lids finished and installed. Considering I figured out the haybox lid solution back in December it begs the question why did it take more than three months to get them done?! This is a question I ask myself about almost everything almost all of the time. In this case there were a series of setbacks in addition to my normal procrastination and inability to complete tasks.

Getting the materials took longer than planned because our first big snowstorm of the season hit and interrupted the delivery of everything to everywhere including LeVahn Brothers (still the best hardware store ever!). By the time they got the materials and got them cut down to size for us it was solidly into the holiday season which meant I wasn’t able to get everything until after Christmas. After getting the materials they sat around our living room for several weeks casting judgement upon me before I was able to make myself assemble a few of them. This used up much of my “being useful” energy so more time went by before I went out to actually put them on the boxes to make sure everything was okay, at which point I discovered that somewhere along the line a mistake was made in the measurements. The corner pieces we use for the frame are not neat squares but stick out a bit on both sides, plus there is the corner itself which adds its size to the overall length of each side. I had measured the boxes in the field but didn’t think about the extra space needed for the corner pieces until I was standing in line at LeVahn brothers about to tell them what I needed. For some reason this oversight caused me to panic and instead of stepping out of the nonexistent line to do some calculations I freaked out and tried to quickly account for the corners in my head. The result was that one of the dimensions was fine, but the other was off by 2.75 inches for every single box. Luckily they were all too long by 2.75 inches which meant I could cut them down instead of having to buy the materials all over again. However, this also meant I needed to find our pipe cutter and motivating myself to go look for it took even more time. When I finally got around to looking for it the search proved fruitless which meant another trip to LeVahn brothers to buy a new one. I can’t possibly leave the house for only one reason if that reason is for adulting purposes and not say, getting ice cream because we have decided to cheat on our diet, so I had to wait on that until there was some other adulting reason to leave the house and that reason was also in the same direction as the hardware store. Once the pipe cutter was acquired more time went by before I finally tried it out only to realize that I suck at using the pipe cutter only slightly less than Nate does, so the actual cutting of the pipe took several days because I had to rest my useless hand (surgery in May!) in between each one. I now have all the pipe pieces cut to length and re-assemble the first three lid frames along with the hay nets. After the mishap with the frames I though I should go test again now that the hay nets are on and find that my first attempts at measuring and cutting the hay nets was pretty terrible and two of the three are too small and I need to cut new ones out of the second giant piece of hay net I had purchased. At last the lid frames are finished and the correct size, the hay nets have been cut to the correct size, and everything has been assembled; now to install them! We just need a nice day where it isn’t snowing or raining or sleeting or blowing at 50 mph to get them put on. Normally in spring this would be no big deal, but haven’t gotten to spring yet, we’re still stuck in the winter that refuses to leave. We also needed both of us to be available because even though the actual installation is a one person job, it isn’t a one person job when you have the equivalent of a 1500 lb toddler trying to help you with every step.

Most horses would have been scared off by the plastic bag that was holding some of the materials because plastic bags are terrifying for many a horse, those that made it past that would normally have taken off at the first sound of the drill, but not Leeloo. Leeloo hung out with us the entire time we installed all the lids. Nate took a few videos for evidence of Leeloo’s “helping” before he moved into his “keep Leeloo occupied” role so I could get them done with slightly less help.

Though there is always time for head scritches, no matter how many other things need to get done.

But finally – after all the setbacks – the lids are DONE!

Where Did The Year Go

2022 – Year-End Recap

I was starting to write a “goals for next year” post and was feeling a bit disheartened by all the things I had wanted to get done this year but haven’t gotten to yet and decided that it would be good for my mental health to take some time to reflect on the many things we did accomplish this year.

Just the decision to bring Leeloo home without having the full barn setup that I had been dreaming of was a big deal. There were many conversations with many people, and a lot of thinking about goals for myself and for Leeloo, before we even got to the starting gate. That process was the main focus of these posts:

Then there was putting the fence up and electrifying it, which took the whole summer. I understand now why people are willing to pay an extra $30,000+ to have a fence installed. The entire fence process is detailed in these posts: (Fence Part 1, Fence Part 2, Fence Part 3, Fence Part 4, Fence Part 5, Fence Part 6, Fence Part 7, Fence Part 8) and I need to remind myself how much work that was or I start feeling like we should have gotten more done over the summer.

Getting the first two shelters, anchoring them, starting to build the third shelter, then deciding that building it just wasn’t going to happen, was also more work and stress than I imagined. It is obvious now that we never could have built them ourselves, we just don’t have those skills yet, but that wasn’t always easy for me to accept. I am very happy now that we opted to buy them already constructed and that for the third one we went with the company that anchors them for you. The drama around the shelters was discussed in these posts: Give Me Shelter – Part 1 and Part 2, Second Interlude, So Much to Do, Mish Mash, Know When to Fold ThemHayshed – Delivered.

Finding and installing the round pen wasn’t part of the original plan but I am so glad we have it! We haven’t gotten to use it for its intended purpose very often but, it was so very helpful when we brought the girls home and has been very handy many times since then; including helping to separate Leeloo and Juniper each morning during feeding time. Though we are currently having some issues with Juniper turning into a picky eater; if it isn’t one thing it’s another. We discuss the round pen in Gate Expectations and the Fifth Interlude.

HAY! I had been a little worried about getting decent hay for a price we could afford. One of my long-term goals is to have our own hay field and I still feel that way, finding quality hay has been a challenge particularly since we also need it delivered. Luckily we were able to find a variety of hay for this year, including several different people who would deliver, though the quality has been all over the place. The girls like the most expensive hay best (of course) but now that we finally have some hay nets and some haybox lids they at least can’t toss it all over the ground and waste it (I’m looking at you Leeloo).  Hay post – Fourth Interlude.

Then there was finding Juniper – I didn’t talk much about that process on the website but it took a while for us to find the right pony, even when her only job is to keep Leeloo company, well and be cute of course. Finding that next mare, who will be the cornerstone of whatever comes next for us, is going to take much, much longer (Looking For a Baby Maker) – but now we’re starting to get into future goals and that is for the next post.

The ultimate goal of all of this work was to bring Leeloo and Juniper (once we found her) home, which we did! I sometimes forget what an accomplishment that is – it is the culmination of decades of dreaming. Here are the posts about bringing them home and the fun that has been: Coming Home, First Two Weeks, Sugar is Evil, Copy Paste, She’s Lucky She’s Cute, First Real Snow, Work Harder Not Smarter, Winter Woe-nderland.

One of the things I feel the biggest sense of accomplishment about (now that it is over) was something that we hadn’t planned for at all; dealing with Juniper’s eye infection. That was a huge, huge deal, both in terms of time and money, and I am so very, very, happy we were able to heal it (First Two Weeks, The Joys of Medicating Ponies, Mish Mash, Copy Paste, Juniper Eye Update). There was a very real chance she could have lost that eye and we saved it!

Though we weren’t able to build any shelters, we did get several building projects done including the six hay boxes (First Two Weeks, Projects Galore, Hay Contained) and the three compost bays (How to Make Compost Bays). The lids for the hay boxes are so close to being all done and hopefully we’ll get a chance to finish installing them during this “warm” period.

We’re once again getting into future goals but taking time to look back over this year has done what I had hoped, reset my perspective on what we all accomplished in the last few months and made me feel better. We got a ton done, pushed ourselves way, WAY, out of our comfort zones, and, more often than not, accomplished what we set out to do (even if it almost always took longer and cost more than expected).

One other huge accomplishment that I haven’t written about was getting this website up and running. I have never done anything even remotely like this and every aspect of this website has been a learning experience and has been the cause of a lot of swearing and a lot of crying, mostly in the beginning – the website hasn’t made me cry in weeks. I am very happy with how it has turned out and am really proud of myself.

Looking forward to another year of adventures. And of course Leeloo will be there to help:


Winter Woe-nderland

at least there are no bugs

The weather this week has not been fun. Look at this drift – that is a five-foot-tall fence!

Luckily most of our upgrades have been working well:

  • New boots – awesome!
  • Sled – very happy.
  • Carhart overalls (which are not new but were brought out for the weather) – wonderful, as always.
  • Make-shift hay nets – working marginally well, though they managed to put a hole in one of my seams already and the twine I use to shut them is a pain to loosen and tighten every time. Waiting with eager anticipation for the real ones to get here.
  • Poop fork handle upgrades – mixed. The extra length has been nice, but the second handle was a total flop, literally; it will not stay fixed in place. This is most likely because it is primarily designed to be used with a snow shovel and you usually scoop snow directly away from you, but when your picking up poop and putting it in a cart you tend to tip it to the side (or at least I have to or I misjudge and most of the poop just winds up on the other side of the cart) and the second handle is not able to, well, handle that twisting motion. While trying to figure out if I could make that second handle work for me I realized the biggest issue is the angles between the basket portion of the poop fork and the actual handle. To get the basket to lay flat on the ground (which one needs to do to pick up the poop) it forces the handle into a really high and awkward angle that it terrible on my wrists and shoulders. Anyone else notice this or am I just special? When I have some time and the roads aren’t extra stupid, I’m going to drive to some other places that carry horse supplies and see if other brands have the same issue.

The one thing we still really need to find a decent solution for is goggles. The pair we got claim to be antifog but that is an outright lie! Within 20 minutes I can’t see anything and wind up taking them off, which defeats the purpose. Still searching for a decent solution for that.

We were still feeding them primarily out of the hay boxes when it was relatively “warm” and not particularly windy.

But now that it is truly terrible out there, we are feeding them everything out of the shelters and bringing down additional warm water to them so they don’t have to make the trek to the water tank. Apparently, our tap water tastes funny (this is according to Juniper who refused to touch it the first two times) but I added some molasses and now she’ll drink it.

Leeloo of course thinks everything, even the water, is a toy.


They are both still blanket-less but I have been checking them both obsessively for any sign of being too cold. At one point Juniper was shivering a little bit, but I was just about to put out more hay and figured finishing that up quickly would help warm her up and then I could deal with getting towels to dry her off with and her blanket. By the time I finished putting out the hay however she wasn’t shivering any more so I finished up the rest of my chores, checking her every few minutes, and she never shivered again. I was already feeding a flake of the really good hay on the ground in each shelter bay as well as a flake of the good stuff and some of the only so-so hay (in Leeloo and Juniper’s opinion, since they now only grudgingly eat the other hay and only after every morsel of the good hay is gone) in each net. But after Juniper’s short shiver episode I decided to double the amount of the good hay I was feeding them lose on the ground. It has meant a little bit of wasted good hay (when it was only the one flake per bay they ate every piece that was on the ground!), but in this weather it is worth it.

I know some people have very strong feelings about blanketing versus not. I’m trying to let the girls tell me what they want. Though this cold snap makes me want to try this experiment on them! Here is a shorter summary of what they did.

Bunny Problems

why did it have to be bunnies?

As some of you may know, the first pet Nate and I had as a couple was our rabbit Zoey, pictured below.

Zoey’s favorite pastime was hanging out under the coffee table passing judgement on all, as seen in the second photo. She had a permanent hutch and play area that was tucked behind a couch and then when we were home, we would let her out to run around the house. She categorically refused to take even one hop onto the wood floors which meant she kept herself contained to the carpeted living room. If she knew Nate and I were home but hadn’t let her out of her permanent area yet she would rattle her cage (she would grab one of the horizontal pieces with her mouth and shake that thing for all she was worth) until we would open it up – at which point she would continue to hangout right in the threshold of her permanent area making it clear that she was there by her choice, not ours. She was a bunny after my own heart.

I tell you this because we currently have a rabbit living in our hay shed. Which wouldn’t bother me except that it likes to hop up, and on, and over, all the bales and seems to be using all of them as one giant litter box. There is bunny poop, and I can only assume pee, on almost every bale that has an exposed top and I want it to stop.

Though I’m not one of those people who cannot handle the though of killing an animal I don’t like doing it. I felt really bad every time one of our water traps took out a thirteen-lined ground squirrel and I hated them. I’m not sure I can make myself kill a bunny. There’s also the issue of not knowing how to go about doing it. As outlined in this post I am unwilling to use poison and if we use a live trap what am I going to do once we catch it?

I know cats can be a deterrent (or end) to things like the ground squirrels and rabbits, but my concern with outdoor cats is they also kill a lot of birds, and birds eat the bugs which I hate even more than the rodents. If we had the time for a dog, I would be tempted to get one and train it to hunt nuisance animals but that isn’t a project I have the energy for right now.

Any other suggestions for discouraging the bunny from using all of the hay as a giant litter box?

Hay – Contained


We have our first new lid!

We got four pieces of pipe (yes one of them is shorter, that is a stand-in for the actual piece of pipe which I had already started weaving through the hay net) and four of these new SIMPush push to install conduit fittings. They need a special piece to detach them, seen in the bag, but otherwise you need no tools to put them together. We also got two loop clamps to use as hinges. 

The always helpful employees at LeVahn Brothers were kind enough to cut the pipe down to size for us. We had to make the one dimension a little longer than planned so the corners would fit into the haybox since they jut out on the ends and aren’t perfectly square.

The pipe was way more expensive than the wood was, since the wood lid was made of those cut-off pieces, but it doesn’t matter how cheap something is if it doesn’t work. These lids went together so much faster. So. Much. Faster. Weaving the hay-net onto the rough-cut lumber was a tedious and splinter causing headache that took forever and literally hurt sometimes. The hay-net just slipped onto the metal without any effort. Cutting down the wood corners to get them to fit together snuggly took forever and even then they weren’t very strong. These metal corners literally just snap in place with no tools and no effort. Putting together this lid was so easy!

As for attachment, the little metal loop clamps with rubber inside just snap around the pipe and then you screw them into the side of the haybox. We didn’t screw them in all the way tight allowing the pipe to still turn easily, thus they act as hinges.

On the side that moves we looped a single bucket strap around the pipe and then it’s latch part hooks into a tie ring plate (supposed to be used to tie horses to) that we screwed onto the bottom of the box.

There are a few refinements we’ll be making. I now know how much to compensate for the hay net width and the corner pieces so my measurements for the other lids should be more accurate.  We will also be adding a second bucket strap on the side that opens, and the bucket strap was the perfect length so we can get a different loop (i.e. cheaper) to attach them to on the bottom of the haybox. Overall, very happy; though I’m going to give Leeloo a few days to try and destroy it before we make more – I do eventually learn.

Here are some videos of the lid in use:


AND! The lid was still in place the next morning and almost all the hay inside the box was eaten!

Course Work Completed

And Done Early!

Once again most of my writing energy has been tapped out writing papers and presentations for the classes I am taking so this will be a short blog post. Though I did get both the paper and the presentation done and turned in with two full days to spare; perhaps there is hope for me yet!

As for the farm, we do have several horse/farm projects that are in progress:

Hay net lids for the hay boxes. Someone (Leeloo) managed to break our first attempt at a hay-net lid within an hour.

It looked so nice; the joints at the corner just weren’t strong enough though.

If I have to watch Leeloo put her head in the box and push out all the hay onto the ground one more time, I am going to lose it.

Juniper also does it, but she doesn’t look directly at me from across the field, push out all the hay, then look right back at me like “What are you going to do about it?!” the way Leeloo does. I did stop by LeVahn Brothers (still the best hardware store on the planet) and we think we have a solution for the frame and for attaching it, but they had to order in two more corner pieces for me. I will be picking them up soon so we can hopefully get a prototype made this weekend.

Longer handles for yard tools. My physical therapist has been on me to figure out how to make the handle of the poop fork longer and/or get a second handle on it so that I can stop making my back/shoulders/neck/wrists worse every day I do chores, which is almost every day. LeVahn Brothers again came through with a great solution, however pipe only comes in so many sizes and the handle of the fork itself was either going to be a bit too wide or way too small and we thought it would be easier to sand the handle down a bit and get a really tight fit than try to pad it out and have a fatter pipe. I thought that sanding it down just a tiny bit would be quick; it has not been. We will also hopefully be working on that this weekend. My body would really like me to prioritize this project.

Enrichment ideas for Leeloo. Leeloo has been bored and in need of some more enrichment, particularly since she has started wood chewing again in their shelters (are there any sprays/paints that actually stop a horse from chewing on wood?). We know it is Leeloo and not Juniper because most of the marks are way too high for Juniper to reach.

We did put up a new “toy” and Leeloo once again demonstrated that she is far braver than your average horse. Most horses hear a strange sound and spook, Leeloo hears a strange sound and gets intrigued. I will be looking for some additional options over the weekend – ideas?

Looking forward to a hopefully very productive weekend.

She’s Lucky She’s Cute

The Tasty Bits Are On The Bottom

These last two weeks have been ludicrously busy and once again proved that I have one of the best spouses in the world.

Last week I had to attend the AMATYC conference in Toronto. The one that I needed the two presentations for; I did manage to get them both done, and not just on time but with two full days to spare! This meant I was gone from Wednesday afternoon to Sunday afternoon so Nate had to do all the chores. Of course that also happened to be the one week all year he had to work in-person for four days, including the only in-person Friday of the entire year. He had to get up ridiculously early to get it all done, but he managed and once again demonstrated how awesome and supportive he is.

I got home safely from the conference, despite delayed flights and hotel reservations that apparently didn’t count (when my friend and I finally got to the hotel at 1:00 AM Thursday we were informed that they didn’t have a room for us – we were not happy). I got two full days at home and then had to travel to Wisconsin to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I tried to do as much as I could before I abandoned Nate to the horses again so I spent Wednesday afternoon trying to pick up as much poop around the hay boxes as I could. Which of course is challenging when much of it is still frozen to the ground. I had also brought the hay cart out to fill said hay boxes and was reminded once again why trying to multitask with horses is never a good idea. I finished cleaning up around the one hay station and filling those hay boxes and pulled the poop cart over to the other hay station. As I walked back to get the hay cart Leeloo decided it would be great fun to push out the rest that was still is the cart and then knock it over for good measure.

Once Leeloo walked away Juniper had to see if there were any tasty hay crumbs left.

Apparently Leeloo agrees with Juniper that the tastiest bits are on the bottom.

Perhaps I just need more mentally stimulating enrichment activities for her – any ideas?

Projects Galore

Much Done, Much To Do

The weather the last few days has been perfect and we have taken full advantage. Sometimes I look at the never-ending to-do list and feel like no progress is being made, but today we’re going to stop and acknowledge the many small but important projects we did get done.

The mud-grids have been laid out along the roughest part of the track system where pulling the cart gets the hardest. We’ve had an insanely dry year so mud hasn’t been an issue, but I know it will be muddy this spring and this was in preparation for that. I’m also hoping it will be easier to have a set track to pull the cart through in the snow. We went with these mud grids because they don’t require any site prep and they can be moved to a new location pretty easily so when we do get the barn (I will get my barn!) and we set up the permanent track on the other side of the house these grids can be moved to a new location there.

Leeloo and Juniper helping with the mud grids

Path of less resistance 

We also put out some mats and mud-grids by the gates and under their water tank and put out two mats to feed them on. Juniper is an incredibly messy eater and Leeloo gets impatient sometimes at how slow she is eating and will paw her food dish over if I don’t hold it for her and I don’t always have time to hold it. Leeloo will at least eat up all her spilled food, Juniper mostly ignores hers; Leeloo will also eat Juniper’s spilled food if given the chance.

Leeloo and I have been at eight different boarding barns and I visited several others each time we moved and I have never, ever, seen a barn that didn’t have issues with mud so I’m hoping some of these steps will at least minimize the issues we have with mud when spring gets here.

We also got another four hay boxes (mostly) completed for a total of six! That means we have two complete hay stations for two horses. It is recommended that at every hay station there is one more hay box (or hay bag, or hay pile on the ground, etc.) than the number of horses you have so if someone (*cough* Leeloo *cough*) is pushing another horse around the horse at the bottom of the pecking order can always get to new hay pile to eat from. Since we currently have two horses that means three hay boxes per hay station. Still on the search for that third horse and I’d like to have a third hay station so another six hay boxes need to get made, but they are lower down the priority list. Here is Leeloo enjoying the newest hay box.

The hay-net lids for the hay boxes remain elusive. I thought I had a really good solution and got two lids made, but someone managed to break the lid within an hour so it is back to the drawing board for the lids. Getting the hay off the ground and into the boxes is a huge improvement in and of itself. Not only does it stop the wind from blowing it everywhere, having the hay in the boxes also stops them from walking through the hay piles and spreading it everywhere as well as using the hay piles as bathroom spots or as rolling/sleeping spots. Though I do respect Leeloo’s desire to nap somewhere other than directly on the ground, so we collect all the old hay from the previous week that they didn’t eat and create rolling/sleeping piles for them. Here is Leeloo making good use of her roll pile.

Though sometimes they decide that now that the hay that they have ignored for an entire week is in a new location it is suddenly tasty again – Juniper, that is the roll pile!

We also got the water tank cleaned and scrubbed one last time before winter, got the gate latch on the small gate fixed so hopefully I stop shocking myself (the latch would slide down and make contact with the Electrobraid sometimes and I didn’t always notice before I grabbed it) and we gave both Juniper and Leeloo a really good brushing.

Overall, it’s been a good few days.

Left Hand Down

Why does my body forsake me?

This will be a relatively short post; though I have said that to Nate before I started writing the last four posts, we’ll see if this one is actually short. This time I think it will be because my hands/wrists/forearms have been really bothering me; steadily getting worse all week and today they’ve been pretty much non-stop pins and needles and achy/sore.

This may be because we running out of room for poop and I haven’t had a chance to go get more free pallets to make more compost bays because all my free time is taken up with trying to build this hay shed plus the working 10 hours a week at Fleet Farm (seemed like a great idea, but wow that eats up more of my actual time than I thought it would!). Anyway – we didn’t have any place to put any more poop so Friday I just had it and decided to unload the oldest poop from the first compost bay so we could line it with chicken wire and start using it again. We do not have any equipment yet for dealing with, well anything, so that meant I shoveled it all into the poop cart, then shoveled it all back out again to its new location.

Of course my hands/wrists/arms may also be bothering me because all these mats and mud-control grids arrived and I started unloading them and placing them in their various homes. We got a super great deal from Cashman’s and with the freight shipping it worked out better getting them all at once than getting some now and waiting and getting more later. I know I will use them all eventually, even if they don’t all have 100% certain homes yet. I am also nowhere close to being done with that project (shocker).

Or the issue may be because I sort of fell down the stairs a little bit on Monday. I mean, it was more of a slip and slide down three or four steps before catching myself on the railing, but it wrenched the heck out of my arm and shoulder.

Regardless everything I do hurts at this point: cooking, typing, playing on my phone, using the mouse on my computer, picking up poop, laying down in bed. I should probably go see a doctor, but I don’t have time this week because I have two shifts and Fleet Farm and I have two days of Get Out The Vote events to run at my regular job at North Hennepin Community College and I’m trying to build this F***ing hay shed.

Remind me again why I wanted to have my horse at home?!

Oh yeah – this is why:

Can’t beat breakfast in bed. Also this is why we need to get those hay boxes built! The hay is for eating Leeloo, not sleeping!

First Two Weeks

Eye Infection and Poop

We’ve had Juniper and Leeloo home for a little over two weeks now and it’s been, okay. So far most of my time has been taken up with poop. I am still obsessively cleaning out almost all poop from the whole track almost every day. This will not last. If nothing else the freezing temperatures will eventually force a stop. But I am trying to stay ahead of the parasites so we’re doing both Ivermectin Gold and Strongid but I am waiting a few weeks in-between them and while we wait I will stay obsessive about picking up poop.

For those of you not familiar horses eat off the ground so they can pick up parasites. There are various treatments for them, but the industry has not been able to create/find a new one in decades and the parasites are starting to show resistance to the medications that we do have, so the shift has been to minimizing parasite load in the first place through improved management. Which mostly boils down to: pick up the poop. Long term I am planning on getting a harrow I can drag behind my lawn mower and I’ll use that for the poop in the majority of the track and just pick up the stuff around their main hangout areas like the shelters, water, and hay boxes.

Speaking of hay boxes – I finally finished the lid!! AND! We built a second one (that still needs a lid).  Big thank you to my friend for helping me figure out a design for the frame of the lid. Still need to figure out a mechanism for keeping it on the box, but right now Juniper has a grazing muzzle on and we’re still feeding the “roughage” hay so there isn’t danger of overeating so I’m keeping the nets off. This however has made me realize that a hinged lid might not be the best option and something that comes all the way on or off, but the horses can’t get off, will probably work better. Still haven’t worked that out yet.

What I did not realize was that Leeloo and Juniper would be afraid of the hay boxes. Leeloo in particular truly confuses me about what she does and does not find scary.

Example – several years ago at our previous barn they were doing construction and after the work day would sometimes store equipment in the arena. I was out with Leeloo and since we were alone I let her loose to roll (rolling in relatively clean sand is always preferred to rolling in mud). I turn my back for three seconds to set down her lead rope only to find that she has decided the skid steer with the two giant skids sticking out the front looks like the best toy ever. She has walked right up to it, between the two skids, and is in the act of reaching in to pull on the levers. Leeloo has tried to put almost everything she has ever come across in her mouth: the vet’s clipboard, the chiropractor’s iPad, sweatshirt strings, every whip ever, pitchfork handles, broom handles, literally any handle, glasses, Nate’s beard, cat food, hoses, the list goes on forever. Anyway, here is my horse, standing between the skids of the skid steer, reaching in to pull on the handles that make it go. Great. I managed to get around her so I’m facing her and signal her to back up and luckily she does. She clears both skids before she notices the next thing the work crew left behind. The single most terrifying thing in the world. A large wooden spool. About three feet across and about a foot and a half high. Probably used for a large hose or tubing, but currently empty and just sitting there. Leeloo comes to a dead stop, flags her tail, arches her neck, and goes into her snorting impression of an Arabian horse. The thing that could actually cause her harm – great toy. The thing that could cause her no harm in any conceivable way – terrifying monster. I do not understand my horse.

The haybox apparently counted as a terrifying monster. Not having expected that, I hadn’t made any effort to introduce her to it. Nate and I just put it out in the field while Leeloo and Juniper had been hiding from the bugs in the shelter and they hadn’t noticed. Now Leeloo had come up for water by herself and must have spotted it. I missed her very first reaction but I caught it out of the corner of my eye. When your normally pretty mellow horse decides to prance around snorting with her tail flagged and her neck all arched you notice. By the time I found my phone she had managed to calm herself down a lot and worked up the courage to investigate closer. You’ll notice she chickened out on her first attempt to walk by it calmly and ended up running past it, but then when it didn’t chase her she came back around for another try and this time did actually get to it and take a few bites of hay before deciding she had had enough of bravery for the time being.

The other thing that has been taking up most of our horse related time is Juniper’s eye infection. We knew she had one when we got her, but it just wasn’t getting better so I had the vet out the Monday after we brought her home and then we had a recheck last week. The conclusion is that she has formed an abscess over the top of the original injury and eye abscesses are usually fungal or mixed infections so we need to change up our treatment plan. Here is what I got from the vet:

Diagnosis: Corneal stromal abscess. 

Treatment: Since the literature and the ophthalmologist describe these as being commonly fungal or mixed infections, the approach would be to treat for fungus and bacteria, while trying to get the eye comfortable and stop the reflex uvieitis. The recommended treatment duration is 6-8 weeks.

6-8 weeks of giving eye meds 4-6 times a day – fun times.

I will admit that when I was imagining what it would be like to have my horse at home I hadn’t been thinking of poop and medicating eyes. But I know long term the good will outweigh the not so good. Even now, with most of the time spent doing the less than fun chores, it is really nice having them home. When Juniper nickers at me for her breakfast, or Leeloo comes up to see what I’m doing – which is usually picking up poop at which point Leeloo will sniff the poop and then immediately poop right by the poop cart (thanks), or when Leeloo calls to me when I am in the garage working and trying to have a conversation with someone else (seriously Leeloo, not everything is about you) they are a lot of fun to have around.