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.
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.
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 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.