Thursday, November 6, 2008

Welcome Home, Brego

Moving is hell. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you cardboard boxes. It's been one week since we closed on the farmette, our little 6 acres in beautiful New Hampshire. And I finally have time to sit down and at least take a deep breath. In the past week, all my belongings have been loaded on a truck from the storage facility, offloaded at the new house, the barn has been renovated, the fencing strung, appliances purchased, more barn renovations, the horses brought home, the trailer backed down our tiny driveway and one emergency vet visit. I am beyond exhausted and very, very poor and my bad knee has long since blown up like a balloon and given out.

But! This is what I see when I stand on my back patio:

Doesn't look like much yet, but it's going to be breathtaking.

Let's start with the barn. I mentioned before it was a former shed and just big enough for two small stalls and a small front aisle way. It's not ideal, but considering that Brego has lived out all his life and would again this winter in New Hampshire, I think he is lucky to have it. We got it cleared out and brought a pallet of stall mats in.



First we laid the mats. I had to run to the hardware store to get a circular saw big enough to cut though those mats. They are insanely huge and heavy. I opted to double them up in the stalls, so it was two layers of fun cutting those devil mats. We also got the kick boards and the center divider installed at the end of day 1.

End of Day 1

One day 2 we strung the fencing and got it wired up. I opted for the Jurassic Park-sized fence charger/energizer because Brego has been known to, er, disrespect fencing. This puppy could power a small New Hampshire hamlet. We only fenced one kidney-shaped acre. There are three more acres to clear in the Spring beyond the fencing. We added chew guards and the hardware to the stalls to round out the day.

On day 3, we brought the stock panels from the old barn home and the hope was to use the 10 foot gates as stall fronts. The barn turned out to be 4" too narrow so I had to do some quick rough out of stall fronts and run to Home Depot. My years of training as a structural engineer came in handy. We also brought the horses home on day 3. There was no rain in the forecast and the fence was "activated" so it was time, even if the barn was incomplete. It was during our departure from the old barn that the emergency vet call came about, but more on that later.

On day 4, we finished the stall fronts, and bedded down the stalls. This barn was finished out with my two horses in mind. Both horses are very respectful of stalls and each other, so I opted for the most open design I could, knowing they would feel confined in the smaller spaces. The only bars I put up were over the glass windows, for obvious reasons. Otherwise, Brego can hand his head outside of his stall to help him feel less cramped.

Finished at last!

Brego's stall

Just room enough for two

Center divider with board stiffeners and chew guards

Cute little barn

Pardon the blur, horses in the barn

The barn has electricity but no water. However, right next to the barn is a year-round spring/drain of clear, cold water from the top of the hill. We contrived a great plan to harness this water in a trough so the horses can get water and 1) we don't have to run a hose and 2) it doesn't come from our well. We sunk the trough in the ground to benefit from some geothermal regulation during the cold winter so we can save on deicing. We surrounded the trough with gravel to keep mud down. We can also dip buckets in the trough to fill their heated stall buckets.

The spring-fed trough next to the barn

View of the trough from the barn door

Redirecting the spring into the trough

The horses really like the water and have been drinking well. Now I only have to run a hose to hydro Brego's leg.

Which leads me to the not-so fun part of this week. During the move, I was a wee bit busy and Brego was a full hour away so I only got out to see him once a day to blanket, and sometimes not even then. So when I arrived to pick him up, I was alarmed to see that his left hock was the size of a volleyball. I ran over to him and put my hand on the hock and felt wetness. When I pulled my hand away it was covered in, well, puss. Nasty infected seepage out of a gash above Brego's hock. The infection was so bad, I could smell it. I called out that I needed a vet NOW and my wonderful barn owner called one for me.

I immediately hydroed the leg and it responded to the water, so that was some good news. The vet arrived in about 45 minutes and we jogged Brego. Luckily, he was sound. Stiff, but sound. The vet was somewhat amazed that he appeared to not be too bothered by this raging infection and then examined him. The cut was not deep but it was several days old and the result of a kick from a rear-shod hoof. Poor guy went unnoticed because my attention was elsewhere. The good news is that the joint was not affected from the original trauma and the infection had not entered the joint capsule. Thank goodness for small blessings. Brego is on 10 days of antibiotics and twice daily hydro treatments. His leg is responding, but I can tell it still bothers him.

So needless to say, the New England Hunter Trials are a scratch as is most of the remaining hunt season. We may come back and hilltop towards the end of November, but I am not eager to run hard and fast. Brego has lost a lot of conditioning his week, both from no work and the infection making him more sedentary. I think we're going to just take it easy and explore our new world. There are trails that come off the back of my property that go for miles between the small towns in the area. It's a perfect way to leg him back up, get him to stretch his legs, without taxing the hock. We got lucky with this injury, it could have been MUCH worse, so I am in no hurry to rehab him. We have all winter to relax and leg up before we start speed work again in the spring.


Anonymous said...

Your barn is GORGEOUS! As well as the property! Congrats on your move!! Sorry to hear about the infection. Atleast you have it under control!

sylvia said...

LOVE the barn and the VIEW.

*le sigh*

nice work...alot of work. sorry to hear about brego's leg. what a bummer...but, great that he is doing so well with the infection.

now...go sit down, put your feet up, and give your knee some rest and ice!!

sylvia said...

oh, and great idea with the water. oh how i loathe breaking ice. :>

dp said...

Wowsers, Daun -- looks fanfuckingtastic! One of the great things about having your horses on your property is that you notice little ailments right away.

And yes, the water trough is awesome. Definitely appeals to my branch of engineering (geological).

Wiola said...

Oh Daun that is just so wonderful - all the best with further improvements but it's so charming already!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your move!

That is such a beautiful little barn! You did a fabulous job renovating it for your Brego. It's lovely!

Sorry to hear about Brego's infection, but it will only take time to mend and you can check on him every minute while he's just out your door.

I wish you the best with you new place. I cannot wait to see more pictures!

Get well Brego :).

allhorsestuff said...

What a thing of BEAUTY! I know the pain is worth it and you will sooo enjoy them- right there- for you to take care of!
I am somewhat GREEN.....

Deanna said...

It looks really great! I especially like the water set up.

Serena said...

Awesome. Simply awesome.

Melissa said...

Wow!! What a great barn. Brego is such a lucky boy.

Congrats on surviving the move! It's definitely a stressful process.

Funder said...

Yall did a really good job fixing up that barn. It looks amazing! What's the tiny building in the center of the panorama? Gardening shed?

Oh, god, Brego's leg :( It sounds like you're doing all the right stuff, but man, I'd have had a heart attack when I found it. Poor guy. You need to have a talk with him about not starting fights with horses who have back shoes!

Daun said...

Brego is pretty well socialized. Since the grass has disappeared, the horses have started fighting over the hay more. Both Brego and Hobby had bites and kicks. It's unhappy timing, but not entirely surprising. Brego is top dog and the only horse with back shoes was a big guy who is always on the thin side and would chase me down when I took hay to Brego and Hobby.

As for the little house, it was a children's playhouse built by the original owners, but under my management it's going to be a chicken house. We'll get some layers in the spring and the house is perfectly situated for the chickens to scratch the pasture and stay out of the barn! :)

Klobetime said...

Congratulations on your move!

Jackie said...

Daun, it's gorgeous! I love the little barn. It looks so comfortable and homey. I bet it's just so exciting to look out your windows and see that little barn and pasture and the two horses. A little piece of heaven right in your backyard.

Maybe Mae said...

What an adorable barn! Everything is designed in such a smart and efficient way...congrats!

So what's it like to wake up and have Brego right there at home?

Mama2Arden said...

WOW... impressive... considering I can't even manage to plaster a wall evenly!

I can't wait to watch you develop the property... looks like it will soon be horsey club med.

Congratulations on the new home.

BritnieAnn said...

WOW, I mean, could that shed/now barn be ANY CUTER!! I bet your house is lovely as well. Your making 90% of your readers very jealous I think! We own our own house but the acreage is much to small for horses, and no cute little barn. I know you will enjoy it!! (that water trough is so neat)

So sorry to hear about his leg, I hope he has a very speedy recovery!

Tara said...

Awww, sorry to hear he was hurt, but glad he is going to be ok...
Congrats on the farmette though! I am so jelous....