Amy Harris sent us a video from Ireland. It was the 30th anniversary of a company that makes horse blankets and they decided to have a few horses consult with them. This video got me thinking, it’s high time for our horses to explain how GREAT it is to reduce the dust in their barn. We started with dust-free cut straw for bedding and this week we’ll receive our first load of dust-free cubes. Our last load of hay sent me into coughing fits. Something HAD to be done. Turns out there are two great options for hay: 1. The cubes, 2. Dust-free hay from the same company that supplies our dust-free straw bedding.

I sat down and created a first draft for our dust-free video. It goes like this:

  1. Receive a flyer about the dust-free bedding (horse goes to mailbox, etc.).
  2. Sitting down, reading about the product.
  3. Blue has a mask he wears over his head to take his inhaler once or twice daily, depending on his needs. We can show him with it on. Almost every ride Blue coughs when he first starts to trot. Some days he coughs continuously and his rider has to stop the session. The GREAT news is: we’ve been using the dust-free straw bedding for five months and recently the cough has either disappeared or diminished drastically. A dust-free environment would be very beneficial to him. Another horse that has coughed at that first trot under saddle (one or two little coughs) is eleven year old Zeloso. He’s done this since he was four years old. This past few weeks he has NOT coughed going into the trot. Also I need less dust!
  4. A horse or dog can use a computer to research dust-free products. It would be REALLY neat to find a house that one of our horses can walk into to check out a computer. Christi McQuaker says their tackroom door is big enough for Zelador to go through and he’ll be able to turn around in the tack room and exit safely. I’ll be heading there soon to check it out.
  5. Calculate possible savings on a Big 12”x24” calculator I have.
  6. The horse can place the order over the phone.
  7. Order arrives.
  8. Push bedding in a cart to the barn
  9. The horse spreads the bedding (should be interesting!).
  10. Show calendar with Blue’s straw dates. We’ve been using the dust-free straw for five months and record every bag that Blue gets each month.
  11. Calculate actual savings for Blue. Blue or one of the horses can be holding a sign showing the number of wood shavings bags and the number of dust-free straw bags in a month. He used to have 15+ bags a month of wood shavings. The most he’s had with the dust-free straw is five bags in a month. The dust-free straw costs 70 cents less per bag than the dust-free wood shavings. The savings for Blue for one month is at least $75. Multiply this by six horses…
  12. Horses painting signs.
  13. Horses hold signs saying things like: “No Dust!”, “Dust-free is GREAT!!!”
  14. Zelador lying down in his stall with words on video “Now I can rest easy and breathe dust-free!”

Tomorrow Ellen Cameron is coming here for our “movie shoot”. I’ve introduced pushing a cart with a bag of dust-free straw in it to each of the horses in the lower barn. The second time I worked with Zelador he pushed the cart. Before the third outing I covered the pushing bar on the cart with a towel covered/secured with vet wrap. He loved this addition and pushed the cart repeatedly.

Today I’ll bring the new easel to the barn so the horses can practice painting on the slanted surface.

Two days ago I got footage of Zelador lying down in his stall. I’ve never asked him to lie down in that location AND there were two people close by helping with filming. Kudos to Zelador for trusting me and lying down (a very vulnerable position) with an audience close at hand.

I filmed one of our vizslas, Bobbe, sitting at the computer, researching dust-free products. This is the dog that sneaks up to the dining room table when I’m in the living room AND jumps up on a chair and carefully checks the table. This same critter sat at the computer with the most hang-dog expression on her face. She was obviously very unhappy. I don’t know if I’ll use the footage. Perhaps if I film her a few more times she’ll relax and look like her mischievous self! (Which is really cute!)

Well, the sun is shining and there’s lots to do today in preparation for tomorrow. I’m heading to the barn!