Okay, first, all you robbers take note. Yes, I am leaving for vacation, but please be advised our home will not be empty. It will be occupied by my 40-something-year-old truck-driving brother who spent time in prison and my 20-something-year-old niece who just returned from Iraq and I hear she is a pretty good shot. Technically they aren’t here to combat thieves, but to ride rough shod on my 16-year-old son while we are gone. But hey, they’ll do what they have to do. Then there is my brother and sister-in-law who lives right down the hill in plain view and my other neighbor who I am pretty sure is armed when he checks the cattle.
Oh, and don’t forget the pesky German Shepherd that keeps even the Schwan’s man from coming to our door. He just honks and we go to his truck.
Boy, that disclaimer took more space than I had planned for a short blog update!
Usually, every couple of years I plan a horse vacation. Usually somewhere out of state and more than a weekend long. I started this blog two years ago when we traveled to the Black Hills for our 2008 horse vacation.
If you think it’s hard to get kids ready for a vacation, try traveling with horses. When crossing state lines, you need to have blood drawn for a Coggin’s test to show that your horse is not harboring Equine Infectious Anemia. Also known as Swamp Fever, it is more prevalent in the Southeast, but we have to play by the rules here, too. After the tests come back negative (which is good for a year), we have to visit the vet within 30 days of our trip, so he can declare them healthy and issue health papers which among other things, denotes the horse is negative to Swamp Fever and states specifically where we are traveling to, so that we can be found should some equine disease break out in that area. Got all that? Good.
Our horses are flatlanders and for riding around here, they are unshod. Usually these out of state trips take us to the mountains or some rocky regions, so we shoe for these occasions. I do not want to travel 500 or more miles and have the horse lame up the next day. Last week I had the farrier out to shoe the mares.
I had a bit of a surprise though. Windy’s back hooves, it seems, did not have enough wall to support shoes. I do recall when I had Windy shod for South Dakota a few years ago; we had a heckuva time keeping shoes on her. My current farrier was very reluctant to even attempt to nail on back shoes. And I trust his opinion. So, I pulled out those super duper EZ Boot Gloves that I didn’t find real EZ the first time I tried them. He took off the flares on her back hooves and we fitted the EZ boots nicely to her feet. Hopefully, they will stay on. Out of all the mares, she is the one I am least worried about getting sore. She has tough feet.
Finally, there is the weed free hay requirement when traveling to national parks or forests. According to the Feds, all hay must be certified "weed free" to reduce the spread of noxious weeds. To certify your hay, the county extension office must visit your field before you cut it. Then, once baled, they will provide you with a certification label for each bale (for a fee, of course). It can be costly to have done. So even though I believe we have some fine hay, and a full hayloft of it, we can’t use it for the trip. I had to buy some from a friend who has theirs certified. Cha-ching. So, if you are keeping a running tally….
Shoes x 2 ½ = $200
Coggin’s test and papers x 3 = $90
Hay for 7 days = $50
Trip to the mountains = Priceless.