Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Winds of Change

In case it isn't entirely obvious from our reputation of severe weather, tornadoes and being the land of "Ahhhhs" (which is the sound you make when you finally get inside out the gale-force winds), Kansas tends to be a bit on the breezy side.

As Kansans, we have an innate ability to lean into the wind, lower our chin, squint, and head into the storm without a second thought.  We have things to do even if the weather isn't going to cooperate.  A little bit of grit in our teeth is simply a reminder of the grit within our soul.  

We're not easily sidetracked from the tasks at hand.  We have a job to do and no matter what mother nature says, it has to get done.  It doesn't make much of a difference to us if it is a physical wind or a metaphorical one--we can take it on with the same determination either way.  

My little place in the world has had to endure a lot of wind lately, but my Kansas roots have prepared me well.  Now, in the past few days, I've encountered some of those metaphorical winds as well--the proverbial winds of change.  I wasn't sure how to prepare, except to just pull my hat down, put my collar up, and lean into the wind.

Sometimes, though, when you charge into the storm, you find yourself on the other side a lot sooner than you expected.  Sometimes the winds aren't nearly as fierce as you thought they would be.

If you're reading this, wondering what the heck I am rambling on about, let me simply leave you with this one sentence: I love my new career.

I still have many winds to face and a long road to charge ahead before my tasks are complete, but this--my first charge into the storm--has renewed my faith in the old adage that everything happens for a reason.  It has renewed my faith in positive thinking.  It has renewed my faith in the capacity for people to be good and caring and loving.   It has renewed my faith in myself and my ability to be so much more than my circumstances have dictated.  

After all, I am a Kansan.  I know how to face a storm.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friends for Ever?

I was at the grocery store the other day and while in the checkout line I happened to notice that Time Magazine had published an article on animal friendships.  I scanned the article, curious about its content, and found that they had included horse "friendships" in there as well.

Most anyone experienced with horses has seen the effects of what most of us refer to as the "herd dynamic:" pacing when separated from herd mates, conflict when new horses are introduced to a herd, the establishment of a "pecking order," and so on.  As horse people we know how to use this dynamic to our advantage in some cases, and how to prevent injury and stress from it in others.  I've always assumed that my horses formed strong bonds as "herd mates," but could I call their relationships "friendships?"  Or is it all basically the same thing?

When I think of my horses in their herd, I think of them as a small society.  Each member has their own job and place and they get along best when each horse maintains its role.  If you throw another horse into the mix, roles have to be adjusted until the little society returns to its functioning state.

However, when I think of a friendship, I think of a bond between two particular people, or in this case, animals.  I think of a partnership where caring and nurturing is involved, where trust and love prevail over role and place.  Friendship, to me, is an emotional connection and a herd involves a societal role.  It is clear that relationships between horses involve the latter, but do they also form emotional bonds, besides the chemical and hormonal bonds involved between mare and foal or mare and stallion?

Although it is much more difficult to notice at times, I do believe that some horses form friendships.  Within a herd of several horses you will find pairs--friends--that hang out together, scratch each other, watch over one another when sleeping, play together, and once in a while, even eat together.  You can see that they trust each other, are more relaxed when they are around one another, and they rely on one another, to a certain extent.  

Then I realize that the idea that horses can form actual friendships gives me an uncomfortable feeling.  I can observe it and acknowledge it, but why am I uncomfortable with it?  What are the repercussions of viewing equine relationships beyond instinctive roles and into the realm of emotional bonds?

Like many (ex) horse breeders, I have owned quite a few horses.  I tried to always own the best horses I could possibly afford which means that I often bought, sold, and traded a number of horses each year.  My herd dynamics were always in a constant state of change, but what I failed to realize during that time, was that there were emotional consequence from these changes for my horses.

For example, I knew when I sold Eddie's "buddy" that he'd probably be a bit bummed temporarily, but honestly, looking back, I'm not sure that he ever quite recovered.  When I rescued Eddie, his buddy Bear was a bigger part of his recovery than I ever realized.  Sure, I was the one that got Eddie the feed, veterinary and farrier attention he needed, but Bear gave him friendship--an equine friend that was with him 24/7 while Eddie went through recovery. 

Of course Eddie's life went on after Bear was sold, and he was fine--he was a herd sire and had a happy life, but he never did have a "friendship" with any other horse like he did with Bear.  I always regretted selling Bear, not because I needed him, but because Eddie did.

I think as horse owners we need to be more in tune to not only the physical needs of our horses, but the emotional ones as well.  How would we feel if we had our close friendships torn apart every time we formed one?  We wouldn't be very trusting of anyone or anything, would we?  We claim we have a higher level of intelligence than these animals and yet we expect more emotional intelligence out of them than we do ourselves.  It doesn't make much sense.

However, there is a fine line we must maintain.  Most of the time, we breed horses specifically to buy and sell them, so we can't demand that we place their emotional needs over their purpose.  Also, we need to be able to do things with our horses, so having an animal that is so emotionally attached to another one that we can't do anything with them isn't a good idea, either.  Somehow we need to acknowledge and provide for their emotional needs while fulfilling their purpose at the same time.  

I'm no horse expert or trainer and I certainly don't have the answers, but that's okay.  More important than the answers, I believe, are the questions.  Are our horses content?  As owners, are we doing everything we can to minimize their emotional stress and promote their equine relationships?  Are we fostering trust and communication at all levels--with their "friends," within their herd role, and with us?  How can we we promote horse health, both physically and psychologically?

In time, I think we'll find out, with a little help from our friends.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sophie and Evie...Having a Ball

You can sorta, kinda tell who has the upper hand, er, "paw" here.

What's mine is yours, but not Evie's, apparently,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Work, Work, Work

Even though most of my classes are online this semester and I'm not driving in to work as much (because the gas money to get there eats up pretty much everything I make on most shifts), I'm still keeping quite busy.  I do about 5 hours of homework per day, and when I'm not doing that, I'm getting stuff done around the farm.

This week happens to be the last "free" week I have before my CNA class starts.  I'm hoping to work nearby as a CNA this summer to get clinical experience.  So, to start my day today, I went into town and got the first of what will surely be many TB skin tests to come.  

I seem to be getting over my incompatibility with needles fairly quickly because this one didn't even phase me.  While it was very small, it also went in at an angle and filled up a big bubble underneath my skin--not the most pleasant of experiences but definitely not one of the worst by any stretch of the imagination.

With the first part of that test done (evaluation of injection site will be on Friday), I went to the grocery store, went to the Sheriff's office to fill out a form so we can burn more wood piles in the future, then came home and got to work.  Evie helped. 

Seriously.  She did!  

Okay, she didn't, but she was awfully cute not-helping.

The first thing I did was to get the additional irises that my wonderful sis-in-law mailed to me in the ground so hopefully a few will bloom this summer.

Then, where the flags are, I took some coneflower seeds from by the other shelter and planted them here, hoping they will emerge this summer.  I put the flags there to remind me not of where I planted them but that I actually DID plant something there.  Last summer I planted some dahlias by the pump house and promptly, completely forgot about them, so when I went to weed the flower bed I pulled the newly-emerged plants up along with the weeds.  Dur!!

So, this time, I tried to take the necessary precautions against my dinginess.

After that, I moved a bunch of dirt by hand (boy, do I need a tractor with a scoop!) to fill in Eddie's grave.  It keeps sinking for some reason, making it really difficult to establish grass here.  I hope that this is the last time I have to move dirt here.  I'd love to get some bermuda established and make this area nice like I planned.

I then took a little break and gave Bambi a good brushing.  The horses are shedding off their winter coats already!  I tried to get a picture showing her baby-bump:

She's not due until April 15, she's naturally quite wide, and she's also a maiden mare, so she's not showing a ton.  I'm actually glad the baby is staying fairly small because Bambi herself is a tiny mare.  I'd rather her have a small foal at first--it can always catch up later!  All I want is for momma and baby to be safe and healthy--anything above and beyond that will just be icing on the cake!

Paula is a green-eyed monster right now--she is so envious of Bambi's extra attention, the dairy-quality alfalfa she's receiving, and she will be even more jealous when the foal gets here.  Paula LOVES babies!

One day she'll have a baby of her own, when I can afford a suitable stallion for the cross, as well be able to afford the training I'd want the foal to have.  For now, Paula will have to be content with being an aunt.

After Bambi's grooming I got back to work in the garden, this time weeding the existing garden behind the first shelter, cutting back the decorative grass and basically readying it for the tulips that are beginning to emerge.

By the time I got all the gardening done, evening was approaching and it was time for chores.  The horses all got their evening meals.

Fabian is always perfectly content with his dehydrated alfalfa and oats.

However, Paula always reluctantly settles for the substitute hay.  Like her I pray this drought is officially over and I alfalfa will once again be plentiful this summer.

Once the chickens are in the coop and locked up, I let Milton out, who thinks it's his job to make sure I did all my chores correctly.  He seems to check in with Fabian.
You good, man?  Cool.

Since it was such a beautiful day, the dogs and I sat outside and enjoyed some quiet time before going in for the night.

Charlie is still doing well after our scare a few weeks ago.  He seems as healthy and happy as ever (knock on wood)!

Sophie surveys the farm....

...and Evie keeps a lookout for any squirrels to chase.

Then we all came inside, I fed the dogs, gave my ancient cat his special chew-free dinner and then I sat down to my own--Ginger Steak Salad.  Yum!

 After a busy day it's time to hit the hay.

  Goodnight and sweet dreams!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Insure Prompt Service

I've wanted to write this post for some time, but I didn't want to write it directly after a shift waiting tables because I wanted to make sure this post was clear, informative, and non-emotional.  In other words, I absolutely do not intend to rant about poor tipping practices.  I would like to believe that poor tipping (when the service is good) is simply a result of a lack of education regarding the service industry and tips in general.

I am very lucky that my experience has enabled me to provide consistent, excellent service and I have had many customers comment and even leave me notes (which I keep in my order wallet) about their pleasant experiences.  Fifteen years ago I waited tables while in college as well as now, and I have found that there is a significant difference between the usual tipping practices then and now.  The entire two years I waited tables before I could count on one hand the "lousy" tips I received.  Now it happens every shift, and while the restaurant is different, I cannot simply chalk it up to brand name.  I sincerely think that in tough times, people still like to go out and enjoy themselves and some genuinely believe that tipping is optional.  For those that do, let me provide you some figures.

Every state is different, but in the great state of Kansas, the minimum wage requirement for tipped employees is much lower than "normal" minimum wage.  In other words, when I work, the only wage I am guaranteed is $2.13 per hour.  If you'd like to take a look at the minimum wage requirement for your own state, please see this table from the US Dept of Labor.

So, if every table I waited on that shift believed that tipping was optional, I would make $2.13 per hour.  However, this is not all.  At the place I work (and this is standard practice for most restaurants, especially corporately-owned ones), we are forced to "tip-out," meaning that no matter how many drinks are ordered or even if we clear our own tables, we have to pay 1% of our sales to the bartender and 1% of our sales to the busser.  Please take note--this is 2% of SALES, not 2% of tips, so if you are at a table that orders $100 worth of food and doesn't leave a tip, I have to tip-out $2 of that $2.13 I made that hour.  

It is not unusual to have $100 worth of sales in an hour, so if everyone believed that tipping was optional, that would leave me $.13 per hour.  The most I am allowed to work is 39 hours in a week because the company does not want to pay for full-time benefits and overtime (even at $2.13 per hour) is absolutely not allowed.  A week of non-tippers would gross $5.07 for the week.  

And that is not all.  The computer requires, when I leave, to enter at least 10% of sales as tips, no matter how much I actually receive in tips.  For simplicity sake, let's say that the total reductions are 20% and average weekly sales are a very conservative $1000 per week.  That means that I would owe $20 in taxes on my $5.07 gross wages, meaning my net (take-home) pay would be a NEGATIVE $14.93.  That means, if no one tipped, I would actually owe the government almost $15 after working nearly 40 hours that week.  I honestly do not know of anyone who waits tables who is independently wealthy and does it just for fun.   The people I work with are hard-working college students, single parents, or part of families who get several jobs because they are struggling to make ends meet.

Now that we've discussed the impacts of not tipping, you might be asking, "What should I tip?"  I've talked to people who say they do not and will not go by percentages.  That is fine if you happen to tip enough, but please keep in mind that the restaurant and the city, state, and federal government all go by percentages of sales when calculating what a server owes for tip-out and taxes. 

For example, let's say that Mr Smith thinks $5 is a good tip no matter what the bill says.  That is what he tips for good service.  Well, if he eats with one other person and his bill is $25, then the restaurant takes $.50 for tip-out, so my $4.50 well exceeds the minimum 10% tips I'm required to declare (keeping in mind that I must and do declare ALL my tips).  In this case, the $5 is a good tip.

However, let's say that Mr Smith takes out his entire family of ten.  His tab is then $100.  He tips his customary $5 for good service, believing that is a good tip (and this restaurant, like many, does not have mandatory gratuity for large parties).  My mandatory tip-out for this bill to the bartender and busser is $2.00, so I am left with $3.00.  My mandatory tax declaration is a minimum of $10 for this table, so I end up paying taxes on $7.00 worth of wages that I didn't even make.  Not such a good tip now, is it?

Although some people loath the math calculations involved, it is truly best to tip based on a percentage of the bill.  Many apps are available for your smart phones that will calculate tip percentages for you.  If you don't have a smart phone, here is an easy way to calculate percentages:  Let's say you have a bill that is $12.75.  Just round up to the nearest dollar, making it $13.00.  10% of $13.00 is $1.30.  Then calculate 20% by multiplying 13 x 2 = 26, making 20% of $13.00 equal to $2.60.  15% would be right in the middle, or approximately $2.00.

The minimum anyone should tip, if the service is poor (but not blatantly horrific), is 10%.  Average service is 15% and good service is 20%.  Of course, if your server is completely ignoring you and talking with his girlfriend at the next table while your glasses are empty and order is completely wrong then by all means do not leave a tip.  This is not the type of person you want to encourage working in the service industry.  However, if you see that your server cares in making things right, even if they do go wrong, a minimum of 10% should be given at all times.  Personally, I know if I get over 20% then I know I did a good job of serving that table.

I know times are tough for all of us right now, but before you decide to treat yourself to a meal out, please be sure to budget not only for your dinner but for the tip as well, because your server could one day be your dentist, your hairdresser, your accountant, or, hopefully, one day, your nurse practitioner!


Monday, February 20, 2012

This Dilapidated Farmhouse, Part 7

I'm sorry for the extremely long delay between my posts.  My online classes took a lot more of my internet limit than what I ever could have imagined and I had to wait for a renewal period to increase that limit (and let me tell you, you do not want to go over than limit!  Just a few itty bittyextra bites can make Sprint take an extra $300 bite out of your wallet)!

So, I'm set up and back online.  In the meantime I've gotten a lot done around the farm and have a lot of pictures to share, but right now I want to focus some attention on my old farmhouse because that's what is really on my mind right now.  My plans up until now have been somewhat sketchy.  The only certainties have been the addition of a second bath upstairs, the creation of a walk-though closet for the master bedroom, and official completion of the entire roof (including the underhang and new guttering installed).

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to find the exact windows I need for my house on clearance in Wichita, so I made a quick trip to the "big" city and purchased all the ones I needed, except for the two larger windows for the south side of the first floor, which I want bigger windows for.

The next step is to renovate the front porch.  Although any work will be an improvement over the existing porch, I've been struggling to figure out how best to rebuild the front porch to match the ongoing changes to the exterior.  I want and need to keep the existing charm of a 19th century farmhouse while making the most out of all the modern options I have.  

Back in the day, they had the front porch on this house because it made for a cooler place to sleep during the brutally hot nights of summer.  Now days, thankfully we have air conditioning, so this porch is more decorative than utilitarian.  I had the option of removing it completely and installing large columns, but I didn't feel that it went with the farmhouse feel that prefer over the look of an "estate."  

For a while I've had the idea of extending all but the roof part all the way across the house, but it's been hard to explain and even harder to visualize, until yesterday....

...when we found a house that had the exact porch I had in mind!  I know it's hard to see (trees obscured the front view), but this is exactly the porch I'd like for my house.  I can't wait for the renovation to get started now that I have a firm plan set in place!

In talking with my dad, he told me he had always wanted to put a screened-in porch on the south side of the house and asked me if I would like the same.  I agreed that it would really help extend the limited living space on the first floor and, as a bonus, it would allow me to install french doors in what will be the living room, opening out onto the porch, which will really allow the air to flow through the house on nice days.  The porch will look something like this, without the railing on the roof and it won't be as far off the ground.

The porch will serve as additional living space, so eventually (actually fairly far off in the future since this renovation will cost so much), I will put something similar to this in there.

I can just imaging relaxing here with a good book and a glass of mint iced tea on a mild summer day.

In the living room (which used to be the dining room), I plan on installing tile (since it will be such a high-traffic area) with a large area rug and a sectional sofa similar to this one:

The trim throughout the house will most likely be white, but the color scheme for the living room will be derived from this painting:

I hope to get a large copy of this painting ("Whistlejacket" by George Stubbs) one day.  I love decorating and I can't wait to get to that stage of the process.

For now, though, we're in the the midst of demolition and rebuilding and every day the place gets just one step closer to being the home of my dreams.  I can't wait!

Paint can wishes and drywall dreams,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Are We Prepared?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I moved all of my horse supplies out of the old barn and over to the tackroom in my new-ish little horse building.  One of these days I will have a real horse barn with a real tack room with a real medical station (complete with mini-fridge, etc), but until I win the lottery or a few years of gainful employment pass, this will have to do.

Actually, it does quite well!  I was very happy with how it all turned out.  The area is small, but thankfully I was able to pre-plan enough for the project to come together in quite an organized fashion.  However, I wondered, as I unloaded all my supplies, moved everything, and then put everything away again, if I had fully stocked my equine medical cabinet.

I searched the internet for a list of some sort but found none.  There are first-aid kit lists (which are good, but not necessarily complete enough for me) and then things like vaccination, worming, or horse-show lists, but again, not what I was looking for.  I want a list that tells me what an average person should have on-hand at all times.  Thankfully my vet is good about asking me, "Do you keep this on hand?" and if not, he gets it to me since he knows I live an hour away and it's easier for him to give me instructions over the phone than bring the horse in, if at all possible.  I've also been lucky enough to have experienced working on a large  horse farm and I learned a lot there about how to use some products and what to keep on hand, but as always, I am sure there are ways I can improve.

So here's the deal:  I will share what I have and what else I think I need.  In exchange, PLEASE leave me your own tips and thoughts in the comments, or email them to me if you don't feel comfortable enough (or can't get a comment to post) at rosevalleyranch@yahoo.com.  I will do a follow-up post and try to combine everyone's suggestions into a "master list" that hopefully can be added to for a long time to come.  This way, we'll learn from each other and hopefully all be prepared should any minor events to emergencies arise.

First things first, I am always sure to have at least TWO vets' phone numbers in my phone at all times.  I try to at least buy some meds, or take an animal in for something minor (Coggins tests are a good task for non-primary vets) to a second vet just in case an emergency arises and my main vet is out of town or not available.  It's imperative to sustain a relationship with more than one veterinary professional, so although I may prefer the work of one, I am sure to do business with more than one because you just never know....  I also have the phone numbers of at least two experienced horse people in my phone, just in case the vets fall though, I know I can call on these people for a little help or suggestions until I can reach a vet.  I have fallen back on these friends more than once, especially on a Sunday, when mare foals and retains her placenta and of course I didn't have any oxytocin on hand, but my friend sure did!  

Since I don't have electricity out to my little barn yet (and even if I did, I really don't have the extra room), I don't have a mini-fridge out there, so I keep my penicillin in my fridge in the house.  Aside from that, I keep everything else out in the tack room.

First, I have a little medical kit (aka, toolbox). Unfortunately, dastardly little heathen mice chewed a hole in the top of it, but once they found out there wasn't anything to eat in it they've left it alone.  One day I'll get a replacement but it's still working fine for now.  In the bottom of it I keep all my syringes.  I try to keep a wide variety on hand: 6cc, 12cc, 20cc and 60cc (not pictured here).  By the way, a "mL" is the same thing as a "cc." If I had a horse positive for HYPP I would keep one 60cc syringe on hand with the top cut off to enlarge the opening to make it easier to administer karo syrup as well as a 20cc syringe with the top dug out to enable soaked acetazolamide pills to be administered as well.  But, all my current horses are negative, so I don't have to keep those things on hand.  If you do need these things, it's easier to keep one syringe for each and wash it really well after each use.

I also keep vet wrap on hand.  I have two rolls but really need a couple more here. 

I keep banamine on hand at all times as well.  NOTE: NEVER administer banamine intramuscular!   If you can't hit a vein just administer it orally.  It will take longer to work but it's better than the alternative.

In the top portion I keep a tube of bute, a thermometer, terramycin (eye ointment), and any extra injections the vet gives me or that I have pulled and didn't end up using (be sure to label what it is and the date!).  In this case the vet gave me a new drug--I can't remember the name--that is supposed to cease cramping in colic cases more quickly than even banamine, just in case Bambi started having colic problems again so she'd make the hour trailer ride to the clinic.  Thankfully I haven't had to use it!

Speaking of thermometers, this is the number-one piece of veterinary equipment that I have.  I use it more than anything else.  If I call my vet with an issue, one of his first questions is always "what is his/her temperature?"  It's helpful if I have this info before I even make the call.  I also used it a lot during our strangles epidemic almost three years ago now--I constantly monitored the horses to make sure their fevers didn't get dangerously high.  A thermometer is a must!

I bought this toolbox not only because it was on clearance, but because it had this handy top section that I knew would be perfect for organizing needles!  Right now I have only 20 gauge, which is what I use to administer banamine with, but I really need some 18 gauge (which is bigger than 20--the smaller the number, the bigger the circumference of the needle) for penicillin.  It's on my shopping list, along with hopefully several more items after I get all your suggestions!

I keep the rest of my equine medical supplies in an old freezer, which is mice-proof.  On top of the freezer I keep no-bow wraps in a plastic container (to keep them clean), another plastic container full of dixie cups and rubber nipples for the bottle in the fridge (foaling supplies), and then two large jugs--one filled with mineral oil and the other is full of keopectin (not keopectate, which now has asprin and is no longer safe for animals).

Inside the fridge I have polo wraps, clean, washed brushes, cotton wrap, sterile sponges in a plastic bag, saran wrap (for sweating an injury), tucoprim (another antibiotic), epsom salts, and a variety of wormers.  In another plastic tub beside the freezer I have a bunch of clean shop towels that often really come in handy!

In the door of the freezer I have lube (for the thermometer), a Fleet enema (I need to buy a couple more of these before April for Bambi's foal), Wonder Dust, iodine, betadine scrub, and liquid DMSO (which freezes easily so I really should keep one of these in the house during the winter).

I also keep a box of disposable latex gloves at all times.  Not only do I use these when I'm cleaning a wound, but also for sheath and udder cleaning (because you can NEVER get that smell off your hands), when handing ANY hormones at all, using DMSO (not only because it can carry anything on your skin INTO your skin, but also because it smells, at least to me, horrendous), but also when I'm painting or refinishing furniture, etc.  I always know right where they are for any project at all this way!

I've got vetwrap with my wrap scissors in the door as well so it's near the wrapping supplies and products I'd apply with a wrap.  The cooking spray is for when the horses' feet get snow-packed, I spray this on the bottom and it helps them clear the snow out of their feet better.  There are a couple of bottles of MTG in there, some liniment, furazone, gel DMSO, A&D ointment, Swat ointment, liquid bluing (for shows), and showsheen (for shows again).

That's basically it for my medical "cabinet."  I also wanted to share, though, sort of a neat trick I learned for having everything ready for banding at the shows.  I can't remember exactly where I got this from, so my apologies for not giving credit where credit is due, but this is too good not to share.  First, you start with a one of those step-stool tool boxes:

In the top, I have banding combs (which I hardly ever use, but they seem to multiply on their own without me ever having actually purchased one), a seam-ripper (to easily remove the bands out of the horse's mane when the show is done) and a comb that at first appears to be trashed, but is actually the only banding comb I use.  See, when the second "tooth" is out, it makes for the perfect spacer for bands!

In the bottom of the toolbox I keep an apron (to hold supplies while I'm banding), banding mousse, bands, and then my show-finishing supplies: highlighter, cowboy magic, and finishing spray.

So that's it for this little corner of my tack room.

The other corners are just as packed, though.  I did happen to find these very cool hangers at the local hardware store, that I found are perfect for halters and fly masks!

One problem I haven't quite found a solution for yet are how to store the gajillion blankets I have, though!  The ones that hang up are fairly easy to store, but what about the ones with no hooks?  I know I can fold them over a rod, but what if space is quite limited?  Any suggestions?

I can't wait to hear more suggestions from everyone on what else I should have on hand and any other fun tips and tricks that we can all learn from each other.  To me, this is part of what makes horse-owning so much fun.  I hope this has been a somewhat helpful post and stay tuned for future postings that will hopefully include YOUR great suggestions!

Live'n and learn'n,