Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I saw one where the person bought the horse from an auction to fatten it up and give it a good home for the summer. But then threatened to take the horse back to auction this fall if no one bought it. The person even dropped the price to $100. They had posted earlier in the summer but I guess there were no takers. Again, if I was closer I'd be there right now loading the horse up.
I'm sick at how many horses are for sale on Craigs List. People are doing the right thing by advertising. But so many of them are young, barely halterbroke horses. And they always say they need to "thin the herd". Why is it that they need to "thin the herd" when fall arrives? Who is going to buy your culls? (Retorical question!) I wish people would put the time, money, and effort into the horses that are their responsibility. Why do people think it's not their responsibility to do the best for their horse.
If I can come up with enough money out of pocket to send Maverick and Chaos to a trainer, so can others. I need to starts squirrelling away money to send Brego to the trainers next year. If people get young horses, they need to realize that people don't want halterbroke only four year olds. They want bombproof, kidbroke horses.
I know I'm ranting but I feel do desperate and I don't know what to do or how I can even help. I guess that's why I want to start posting all of the day's listings on a blog. There is a gal that compiles a similar list so maybe I'll give her the link so that she can just copy and paste. She has a yahoo group where she lists all the horses for sale. Most of these horses are on the lower end for cost.
I guess this post was simply a way for me to vent and to say start looking for a new blog from me about all the "at risk" horses posted on Craigs List. Maybe you can pass along the word once I get the blog created? We need to help these horses find good, permanent homes! They deserve it!
I'd only been on Zeke twice before yesterday. The first time was simply to try him out and the second time was two weeks ago when I finally got all the tack situated that should fit him. I can't believe I'll have had Zeke now for almost a month and I've only ridden him three times total. Talk about insane!
I pulled both horses out and tied them to the trailer. Luckily they are both easy to saddle. I figured if I had them both saddled, I could hop off one and hop on the other without messing with tack. I have my standard barrel racing saddle on Zeke. I did forget that he does have a sway back and needs different saddle pads/blankets. I'll remember for next time. Silly me just forgot them. I have my spare western saddle on Maverick. It was a cheapo in case Maverick did something naughty. I didn't want him to ruin my normal saddle.
I decided to hop on Zeke first and ride him around. I didn't get the chance the last time to really ride for more than 10 minutes because the herd had come up. Last night I got to putter around and see what types of things he really knows.
I absolutely LOVE Zeke! I swear it's like riding Ace all over again. Zeke is like riding autopilot. It's amazing. He gets excited but knows to slow down. I think he even knows voice commands to walk. He whoas on a dime. I don't even have to put pressure on the reins. Just tell him WHOA and he stops right in his tracks. He backs with ease (although I'm sure I was giving him mixed signals). He even neck reins. I haven't had a horse that neck reins since Ace! Riding Zeke was so much fun. I felt so comfortable on him. I felt bad that I hadn't put a better saddle pad on so I didn't do much with him.
When I first bought him the previous owner said he likes to go. So I want to teach Zeke that just because I am on doesn't mean we need to go fast. He really wanted to trot around the pen but I figured we should take it slow and just walk. That way he'll learn that riding doesn't always mean running.
I was also warned that he's hard to mount; that he would constantly move. Either Zeke was being lazy last night or was distracted but when I went to swing into the saddle he stood perfectly still even after I got settled in (which most of my horses don't do... I know, bad habit I need to break).
I decided I better get a little bit of time in on Maverick. The shadows were really starting to lenghten and I knew I'd be stuck doing chores in the dark if I continued to ride Zeke. So I switched over to Maverick.
I figure Maverick was in the same mood as Zeke. When I went to get on, he stood perfectly still. For some reason I have problems getting into the spare saddle so it's always an ordeal for poor Maverick.
We didn't work too long. I need to come up with some type of pattern to ride or something. He gets so darn bored. How can a 4 year old get bored? He's also lazy! It takes all my energy to get him into a slow trot. I really need to take him outside the pen and start working him in other areas so he gets more exposure. I think different areas will help keep his mind active. The trainer outright said that Maverick did much better outside during those training sessions than in the indoor arena. I'm guessing it's because there's so much more for Maverick to see outside. What can I do with him to keep his mind active and happy?
Maybe while it's raining the next few days I'll be able to come up with a few patterns to try out on him. I just need to get my lazy butt out there and haul the posts and barrels around to set up a course.
I also decided while doing evening chores that I may need to put the girls on beet pulp. It's not that they aren't fat already. But I would feel better if they had some additional weight. All of Babe's weight sags below her rib cage so I can feel her ribs slightly. Queen feels like she's the right weight. I just worry that they aren't getting enough. I'd rather that they were "uber" fat going into winter.
We desperately need to finish the other mare pasture. I'm afraid their current pasture is completely done. I threw out some hay last night but I'm guessing I'm to the point where I'll have to hay them morning and night until I can get them moved to the other pasture.
We had talked about running away for the weekend but I'm feeling stressed about the mare pasture. And I also heard that the Black Hills will be getting a bunch of snow. If I'm going to have to deal with snow for six months, I'd rather stay away from snow as long as possible. Maybe next year we'll run away. We have too much to get done now to go anywhere. Not only is snow right around the corner, hunting season is going to rear it's ugly head soon so I definately have to get Babe away from the road.
I'm also in the process of figuring out where everyone is going to go for the winter. Placement includes who goes in which pasture with which buddy, who goes in which stall in the barn or hay shed, etc.
I have this Friday off but the weatherman is calling for lots of rain Thursday and Friday. They are talking one to two inches of rain. So I may be outside in the rain Friday making sure the oldsters are dry and comfortable. I still need to tackle cleaning out more of the barn and getting the second box stall set up. I put a bug in dad's ear about the second box stall I want to build. I think he's creating some plans so he can make me something! I was also thinking of trying to make some type of stall in the pony pen. They have cover but no real protection from the east wind. I'd like to build a "mini" stall so that they have a place to get completely out of the wind.
It's sad that I've been thinking so much more about winter these last few days. I guess it's the colder temps. I simply want to make sure everyone is comfortable through this year's long winter.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We did however get some fencing done. Even if it's only a little, it's something. I put the clips on the bottom strand of the new fence. So now we have a secure west fence between the property and chicken coop. It looks so nice! I can't wait to put horses in that pasture.
While I was doing chores, Mike started putting a panel together. I got down to the bottom of the hill just in time to watch him finish. It was still so windy that instead of fighting the cold and wind in the north east corner, that he worked on the south east panel instead. The horses decided to stay out on the pasture last night instead of coming up to investigate. Every once in a while I would see a head pop up over the horizon and watch (mostly Chaos).
Mike was able to get the south east panel completely done. That leaves only two more panels to finish up and then we can start really getting serious about stringing wire. We can actually start stringing wire now but I'd rather wait until the weekend so we can spend the entire day instead of haphazardly getting some of it done during the week.
The cold weather is definately setting in. I checked all the horses that came up for feeding time last night to see how their winter coats are coming in.
- Babe has a good coat started. It's already fairly long.
- Queen has a decent coat but it's not as long or heavy as Babe's.
- Zeke has a really good coat started. Having never had him over winer I don't know what to expect with him. I hope he's an easy keeper.
- Maverick has the start of a decent coat. I can't seem to really tell with Maverick.
- Bob has the start of a decent coat. I know that I'm prolonging the inevitable with him but he looks so good standing out in the pasture. It's up close that you can tell he's thin.
- Sam has a good undercoat. His belly coat is really starting to thicken up. I've never wintered Sam over before but for the past two winters he'd only had an open front to keep him out of the wind. This year he'll have a barn and a warm stall.
- Skippy is really putting on a thick coat. I can't tell now if it's fur or fat that he has.
- Tommy has a good winter coat started too. It's not as thick as Skippy's but it's getting there.
I don't know about the other horses. They were stinkers last night and didn't come up. I've been graining King whenever I can get him in the barn (which seems to be every other night). I need to feed him his medicine. I still need to blog about his muscle problems but the medicine seems to be working although he's still sore and lame.
I desperately need to get my farrier out to trim up Tommy and Dude. Tommy's front feet grow so weird. I need to keep better tabs on his front feet so they don't get so long so quickly. I was thinking I would wait and see if we would "disappear" this weekend before scheduling a visit. But it's to the point I can't wait.
I also don't think that we'll be "sneaking away" this weekend. I really want to get the fencing done. I would feel so much better if I could put the mares in a pasture that still had grass and is away from the road. The back pasture would be perfect for Babe. I'm always worried that they will somehow escape and get on the road.
The weatherman is talking heavy rain for Thursday. So I'm guessing we won't get any fencing done Thursday or Friday. I'm also guessing it'll be too slick for me to ride on my Friday off. I guess maybe I can get some cleaning done in the hay barn.
Monday, September 28, 2009
The Sunday before last we borrowed a tractor from our farmer friend. AWESOME! He originally dropped off a different tractor but the three point on the auger (that we are borrowing) didn't fit. So our friendly farmer friend brought a different tractor.
We dug a few holes and everything seemed to be going smoothly. Then Murphy struck. Poking through the brand new $1,500 rear tire was a wire that I somehow had missed. Those tires are thick! And yet, that little piece of wire went ALL the way through and now we have to figure out how to repair a gigantic tractor tire. When I saw the wire poking out of the tire, I nearly threw up. I don't have enough money yet to buy new tractors for OUR tractor let alone buy another tire for someone else. But I guess that's the price I have to pay sometimes. Luckily the farmer friend said to try and patch it and see how it goes. Lucky for us it's a tiny hole.
This past Saturday we decided we needed to get cracking on more fencing. The mares are out of pasture and I think they are just nibbling at what's left of the green grass shoots. We ran out of most fencing supplies so we made a quick trip in to Campbell Supply to buy what we needed.
We were able to finish two panels and hang two gates before the end of the day. I felt really productive. Everything seemed to be coming together.
Yesterday mom and dad came down to help do more fencing. We wanted to get all the major wood fence posts dug so that we can start stringing wire. Most of the posts went in OK but there were a couple we really had to fight. We ended up leaving those and dumping water in to try and get them to soften up a bit. May I just add, I hate digging in clay.
By late afternoon we had all but one post left in. We spent most of the day putting in the fence posts for the panels in the north east corner. Unfortunately the wind was blowing so hard it made the job that much harder. When I would walk back up to the yard or walk down a ways the wind wouldn't be so strong. I couldn't believe how hard it was blowing. We were all standing there and at times would lose our balance because of the wind gusts.
After getting the corner panel posts set we decided to get out of the wind for awhile and string wire. I think we were all pretty frazzled from the wind by that time. So we strung a portion of the west fence up from the property line to the chicken coop. It looks so nice. We were able to get three strands up and almost all of the fence secure. The other portion of the west fence will be done once we run into Sioux Falls and pick up the wood. I wanted a wood fence between the chicken cook and the barn. So that's the only remaining portion left on the west part of the new mare pasture. I can't wait to see what it looks like. Unforutnately I lost the receipt somewhere and need to go on a mad hunt to find it. And we need to repair the flat tire on the flatbed. I swear there's always something!
By the time we got done stringing the west fence we were all feeling pretty good. We were getting tired but figured we'd get that one last fence post dug before mom and dad had to leave. So Mike took the tractor down and mom and I went to "supervise". Unfortunately we were digging in clay which makes it almost impossible to get a decent hole.
With the way the auger is set up on the borrowed tractor there is no downward momentum. So that means we have to add that downward pressure. We used a crowbar and put weight on the auger to get the holes dug through the clay.
On that very last hole, Mike was digging and mom and I were pushing. The auger finally got past the hard clay and was completely down to the correct length and Murphy struck! We heard a SNAP. Mom and I instantly stopped applying pressure and looked at the auger. There it was deeply embedded in the ground while the rest of the auger hung off the tractor. The auger portion had snapped off.
At that point, I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry or laugh. I was rather amazed. Looking at the auger it looked like the pin had ripped completely through the steel. I couldn't believe it.
So what do you do when an auger is buried four to five feet straight down in the ground (dirt/clay)? Go get a tractor and start hand digging the auger out. Luckily after just a bit of digging we were able to get a chain around the embedded auger and pull it out on the second try.
We'll be making a quick trip to the neighbor's place to the north of us. They have a repair shop and work on tractors. I think they can repair the auger. Luckily we were able to get all the necessary holes dug. There are a few more holes I would like to dig but if it doesn't happen I guess I won't be too disappointed. I am hoping we can get the auger fixed so that we can build the openfront in the smaller drylot but we'll see how it goes.
So that was the fencing excitement and Murphy's Law. I could do without the stress of Murphy visiting. I'm excited to see the fencing take shape. We still have a long ways to go but I can see progress.
Just this morning I looked out to the fence posts inbetween the chicken coop and barn. It's going to look great! I didn't realize that the wood fence we will be installing will really bring the place closer together to give it a more "snug" feeling. Guess I should have thought of that before.
I'll feel more relieved when the new mare pasture is done. The bigger drylot fencing is going to hell in a handbasket and we need to get that done ASAP. But if for some reason we can't get to that fencing this fall, I'll have the outer fencing to contain the horses. My biggest fear is to have loose horses.
We'll see if we get any more fencing done tonight. I need to start preparing for the hay which should be coming soon (I hope). I'll blog about that once the hay arrives.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I didn't really pay attention to that saying until we moved to Borderlands. For the past three years I've tracked fog. Last year was almost spot on. The year before wasn't anywhere close to it. The year before that was fairly close.
This year I'm going to track it again. Even if it doesnt' work out this year I'll at least be prepared. Someone mentioned that maybe it's 96 days from fog so I may have to take that into consideration when I count my days from fog.
As my records show it, the following are the dates that we should receive some type of "precipe" be it rain, freezing rain, or snow (using the 90 day method):
Now I'm not saying that we'll have a blizzard on that day or even get any snow. But it's nice to know that there may be a chance for snow on those days. I'm totally paranoid when it comes to snow, freezing rain, blizzards, etc. I know what you're thinking! Why would I ever live in South Dakota and deal with that type of weather if I don't like it? I'm not really sure other than the land ties me here. Where else can I have my horses, wake up to a beautiful sunrise, and watch the sunset over the horizon? So I guess I'll deal with the weather and consider myself a pretty hardy person.
Check out the seven day forcast. It's not a hard freeze but it does look like the weather is definately pushing towards winter quickly. How sad to say and potentially see winter in Sept/Oct. Oh well. I guess it will help me quicken my pace and get stuff done at Borderlands before winter sets in.
I'm guessing we wont' be having a long fall. So much for relaxing and watching the leaves change different colors and enjoying autumn. I better get in gear and get stuff done.
I'll be keeping an eye on the sky from now on and counting the days when we next see fog!
I was thinking of our vacation back in August and how beautiful it was. I'm betting it's even more gorgeous now with the leaves changing.
We may have to make one last mad dash before we get back to reality. I swear I must have been a gypsy in a previous life. I love to see the landscape and see the beautiful lands surrounding me wherever I go.
I'm hoping this weekend that we can get a lot of fencing done. I'm not sure how long we have the tractor but I want to get as many wood fence posts in before the ground freezes. How sad is that? I am already thinking about the ground freezing and dealing with winter.
We put in a few fence posts last weekend. Mike has been working to make some of them into panels so that we can hang gates and string wire. I can't wait until we get all the fence posts in the ground. The problem is I keep coming up with more places to put in fence posts to make my life easier.
Mike had mentioned making the pony pen more permanent. I really like the idea. We bought some cheap cedar posts so maybe that would work. Then I could use the corral panels for other things. The ponies have to be in very secure fencing, otherwise Skippy pushes. He's a stinker like that. If I could get the pony pen permanent I could also turn it into my a quarantien area. Ok, so it's not far enough away from the main herd but at least I could put new horses in a secure location with complete cover from the elements. I may have to do some sweet talking to get Mike to help.
I'm hoping Saturday we can put fence posts in the ground and spend Sunday stringing wire. I would feel so much better moving the mares to the back pasture. I read that Saturday is opening day for duck season. Pheasant season is just around the corner. I absolutely HAVE to get the mares out of the hill pasture. It's too close to the road and I'm sure Babe will spook if someone tries to do some road hunting.
Poor Babe gets upset even when I drive by with the farm truck out on the road. The quieter the location for her the better. We were afraid her hearing was going. I think it depends on all the surrounding noise. White noise, truck noise, traffic, etc. makes her hearing go. Sounds odd but I've found that having her at Borderlands instead of her "winter home" has helped her hearing. It's fairly quiet at Borderlands so I think she can hear a bit better.
I think our weekend has been decided for us. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the hay guy is coming on Saturday. If that's the case, we can get a few more posts dug before and after the hay arrives.
I need to make room in the red shed for the hay. I didn't plan everything right and the small squares are taking up precious room so I guess I have to put the big squares in the red shed for now. I still need to figure out how to handle the big squares when we run out of hay in the hay barn. There's always something when it comes to hay.
The last pic is from Deerfield Lake in the Black Hills. I'm sure that the aspen leaves are turning colors. I did hear someone else hint that we might either get a freeze or snow the first part of November based on the old wives tale 90 days from fog. They actually heard it as 96 days from fog. I'll have to do another blog about my upcoming thoughts on that topic!
Until then, maybe I'll get to play gypsy one more time and disappear for one last vacation before winter sets in.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This past weekend was super hectic with the annual Lake County Boots and Saddle Club Overnight Trail Ride. Chaos did amazingly well. Technically this is only his fifth or six trail ride. For the little bit of riding he's had he's doing amazing. For being a free, unhandled, yearling stud colt, Chaos has really become something. He was a diamond in the rough for sure. I think alot of people really like the way he's put together but won't say anything. When I look at Chaos, I really do consider myself lucky.
On Sunday after the trail ride we did some fencing. In my books it sort of turned into a nightmare. Maybe I'll blog about it later once the thought of fencing doesn't turn my stomach upside down.
Yesterday I decided I better get the pups out for a walk. I've been trying to walk them every day so that they stick around the place instead of wandering off like they used to do.
I LOVE that farm truck, even if it IS a peach! I always throw the dog kennels in the back, load the pups up, and head down to either the lake road or the minimum maintenance road. Yesterday I decided to go to the minimum maintenance road since it's longer for the pups to walk. I wanted to beat the rain so we left in a hurry.
By the time I got parked I was wondering if the windshield wipers worked. Nothing electronic works in the truck. I decided I wouldn't mess around and would get going on our walk before it DID start to rain and I'd be stuck there. I don't want the truck to run too long just idiling since we are almost out of gas. Mike put a gas gage but we dont' really know where Empty really is!
When I got back, got the pups loaded, and hopped in I realized what I had initially thought. The windshield wipers in fact do not work! I didn't think far enough ahead and bring a towel or paper towels or anything like that to wipe off the windshield. Lucky for me I know how to improvise! Thank goodness we dont' clean out the farm truck. I used an old McDonalds food back to wipe off the windshield.
I hopped in and could barely peer through the windshield (it was still sprinkling and now the windshield was smeared with mud!) I tried to back up so that I could turn around and had another revilation. No electronic anything means no defrost! I was fogging it up in the truck and quick! So I painstakingly rolled down the driver's side window (it takes two hands at best!) and wiped the inside of the windshield to get a better view.
When I finally got back out on the road I had to putter. If I went fast the sprinkles would turn into rain drops and I couldn't see the road. On the bright side it stopped fogging up in the truck. I figured if it would get bad enough I'd just stick my head out the window to drive the two and a half miles home. Nothing like looking like a dog while driving.
Luckily I didn't meet anyone while driving. I did meet someone while walking the dogs. I was able to call Farley off and get a leash on him before the truck came by. I've learned the hard way to always carry a second leash for Farley. Gyspy is always on a leash since I can't call her off but after a few past experiences I've learned to attach another leash to my belt loop just in case.
By the time I got home from the walk I was wet, tired, and a little unnevered. I forgot to bring my phone so I was even more worried that I'd be stuck somewhere. Well, not really I can always walk home since it's so close. But I have decided that if it's going to rain, either I'll not go for a walk or I'll wait for Mike and he can do the driving!
Like I said, it's never dull around Borderlands. Sometimes even the simple things like a walk can turn into an adventure!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Although I hate auctions, they are trying to enforce certain rules. They are no longer allowed to take extremely thin, blind, or horses who can't travel on four legs. I very rarely see any of these types of horses run through an auction these days. The lower end auctions may run horses through with these conditions but rarely the bigger loose hores sales that follow catalog sales.
Which leads me to my big fear. If the auctions won't take them, and the owners won't do the responsible thing, what's happening to these horses? We all know that they exist! I'm afraid they are standing in a drylot/overgrazed pasture sufferng and starving to death.
Makes me think I should stock up on round bales and keep my eyes open for thin horses in pastures. Of course I always look for horses while I'm out driving and I always take note of their conditions. But those that are thin, sick, or severly lame are normally squirreled away so you never see them. I dread the thought of these horses suffering, especially if this year will be colder than normal.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
WE HAVE TAKEN IN OVER 200 ANIMALS IN 7 DAYS!!!!
Where are all these animals coming from? Why are they coming out of the woodwork now? Who says the recession is improving? If you look at the animal shelters and look into the eyes of all those standing there, you'd doubt the economy was any better.
I actually had an entire post written about this particular issue but I lost it somehow. Now my energy is lost. This topic simply drains my energy. I want to help but I don't know how. I'm pinching pennies for the horses here and to make sure I can maybe bring another one in this fall.
How do I help? How do I educate people? How do I educate those that don't want to face this reality. How do I open up their eyes to the cruel reality of the "unwanted"?
There HAS to be a way. What's going to happen to those that are "unwanted" even by the rescues/shelters? It's all about being at the right place at the right time. I wish some of them would get a break.
Sorry, I'm finally at a loss for words.
The sale started yesterday and goes until 9/27/09. I am glad I ordered mine although I'm kicking myself for cheaping out and not ordering a couple extra. Unfortunately my pocketbook isn't as deep as I'd like. I am also concerned about what this year's hay supply is going to cost so I didn't go overboard like I should have.
I wanted to get all the horses blankets for this winter. The Farmer's Almanac is calling for a "fridgid" winter so I want to be prepared. I've already bought some blankets here and there. I have enough to get everyone except the ponies blanketed if need be. But I still have to do some repairs.
I've never really blanketed much in the past but with the oldsters I'm finding that it's becoming a necessity. I never really blanketed until two winters ago when Ace colic'd. I've never had a horse colic before and I was worried that he would go down, get chilled, and not get back up. Unfortunately that's what happened to ol' Dictator. If I would have known then what I knew now I could have kept him around awhile longer.
I bought Bob his gigantic blanket last year when I noticed he was going down hill. I would rather he keep warm and focus on maintaining what little weight he could keep rather then spend it all staying warm. Rain is also my "delicate flower" so I found him a heavy weight blanket that should keep him toasty warm. I used it last year and it works perfect.
So knowing that this sale was a total blowout and that the prices were amazing, I figured I'd better get my order in before everything went out of stock. The problem was, I didn't know blanket sizes of anyone.
Since Mike had to work late I had to improvise. I pulled out a 78inch blanket and tossed it on everyone. I know it's not the correct way to measure but without two people, it was the best I could do.
I don't really think the younger horses need a blanket but I would rather have extras just in case. When I went to do chores, I was able to catch everyone but Dude. He's being a total pill. So I threw the blankets on everyone to measure. This was the first time Brego has ever had a blanket on. Zeke did ok too. I wasn't sure how he would handle it. I wasn't brave enough to try Maverick for some reason.
So really I only tried Zeke, Chaos, Brego, and King for blanket sizes. I'm guessing on the others. But if I have enough handly I can always swap out sizes.
When I went to get the URL below to post to this blog I noticed that the blankets I ordered last night at 9pm were completely sold out and removed from the page. I wanted to buy the first blanket shown on the website but they were out of the size that I wanted.
Not sure how long it will take before they arrive. The last time I ordered and had UPS ship, they left the package out in the rain and it got soaked. I'm h0ping for good weather so they don't leave it sitting in the rain, at the end of my driveway on the gravel road, or throw it so that it damages my personal property. Least to say I'm not impressed with UPS.
With the type of weather we've been having I'm glad that I have blankets on the way. I need to repair some of the others. I have a couple more but they aren't waterproof. I wish I would have bought extra but I need to save up money for the upcoming Sioux Falls Regional Livestock Horse Sale Oct 10th.
I'll have to blog about that sale too but until then. I figured I'd give everyone the link so if you need to order blankets, do it now! I saved a LOT of money. Every blanket was $34.00. There were some that were originally almost $200.00 and they were being sold for $34. I'm sure it's all discontinued blankets but still. A blanket is a blanket. And a cheap good quality blanket is better than an expensive good quality blanket that may only last one season! So hurry up and order before the blankets are all gone.
The pics shown are from the website. I think I might have ordered the blanket shown in purple. I don't know how. It's all a blur. I just know I have blankets on the brain... er I mean... blankets on the way.
If there are any left, I may break down and buy one or two more. Who says you need money to be happy. I have horses!
- The mare pasture is starting to dry up.
- Queen is my escape artist.
- I'm afraid she'll take Babe with her.
- Babe is blind and needs to stay in a safe pasture.
Those are plain facts. Those are the thoughts that run through my head every morning as I'm leaving for work.We put in a better fence this summer but it still needs to be tweaked. This morning those thoughts ran through my head. I got to the end of the driveway and thought I saw something on the road. Of course I panic'd. You would too if you had a blind sorrel horse out on a road. I can easily spot Queen since she's a white appy but Babe is a bit harder to spot since she's a sorrel.
I thought I saw a dark blob on the road so I figured I'd better go check it out. Who knows what those mares are capable of doing if they want grass on the other side of the fence. So I turned around and headed south, slowly driving down the road trying to see if the mares were in the pasture. I figured it was just my eyes playing tricks but I wanted to be sure.
I rolled down the window and puttered along the gravel road hoping I'd see someone. The only horses I saw were the boys out in the big pasture. So I started looking on the road to see if I saw tracks. Nope. No tracks, no poo, no nothing. I guess it was my mind going crazy with worry that they were out. I decided I would do a quick U-turn in the neighbor's driveway.
BAD IDEA. I saw something cross the driveway and scurry into the grass. I thought maybe it was a cat so I took a closer look thinking it might be my cat, Duck (yes I named her Duck; watch the movie Constantine). EVEN WORSE IDEA!
Reverse! Reverse! For all that is holy REVERSE! It wasn't a cat; it was a skunk! Of course when I tried to U-turn I didn't give myself enough room. So I had to try and sneak away from the skunk and make a couple turns in the road. The car doesn't turn sharp enough. I tried to take it easy getting away from the skunk but wanted to get away from the skunk as fast as possible.
I puttered along the road making sure that the mares weren't out on the road or in the CRP and were still in their pasture. I didn't see hide or hair of the mares so I figured I'm safe. I think!
So that was my morning. How's your morning going?
Monday, September 14, 2009
I should learn to bring the camera on my way to and from work. I would love to share some of my mornings with you, even if there are no horses in the pics.
So now I have to figure out where to put all my big squares. I dont' want to move the small squares since they were baled so loose. I pulled one down last night for feeding and it split open on me. Of course fowl words came flying out of my mouth.
I have room for 32 bales in my hay shed and another 22 bales in the hay barn. I put my request in for 70. That's right 70 big squares. I am afraid to know what the cost is going to be. This isn't just ditch hay. It's dairy quality hay. That means weed free, no dust, superb hay. It's the best hay I've ever seen and I get to write a HUGE check for it. But the horses seem to thrive on it. And with the weird weather we had this year it was tough for them to get a good cutting where there was no rain. They assured me that my hay didn't get rained on. Ssssheeew!
I guess I'll be cleaning out the big red shed and we'll stash the rest in there. I'm a bit worried since by the time I need those bales it'll be almost spring. We'll be dealing with mud and such and it will be much harder to manuver around with the ol' Massey. I guess we'll make due. We always do.
I talked with someone who said that they were going to pay $60 a ton. I'm sure to pay way more than that since this isn't ditch hay. I'm guessing I'll be looking at $100 per ton. I paid $110 a ton last year.
Hopefully I ordered enough. I'm right at the brink of not enough. One bale, per horse, per month. That's how it normally works. Except that Maverick eats a ton. Well, maybe not literally but he eats SO much. That's why I wanted the small squares as a supplement but I'm already digging in to that stash so I'm not sure what to do. I can't touch any of the big squares until at minimum November. I was hoping I could hold off until December but the pasture doesn't look that way. It's been overgrazed.
Enough about hay and on to more fun topics... Zeke. I took some pics of him last night and will post more as I learn more about him. I really wanted to see how my saddle would work on him. I think the same settings I have for Rain will work for Zeke. I wanted to change my cinch but the buckle was rusted shut. So I just left everything as it was for now.
I need to get a bridle that actually fits him. The one I threw on was WAY too big. I may try to find one here tonight. I did decide I wanted to see how he would handle. Without a proper fitting bridle I wasn't willing to risk it. So instead I lunged him. He did really well. In fact, when I hollered WHOA Zeke stopped and walked up to me. Yeah, he's trained.
I couldn't get him to lunge for very long. After a few circles both ways and "whoaing" he decided he was done with it. I didn't want to push my luck so I went to see what he was going to be like when I acted like I would mount. I was warned he doesn't stand. Nope, he doesn't stand. Not sure yet how to fix that but in time it'll be fixable.
I'm hoping to ride him tonight. If not, I need to ride Maverick. Ok, I need to ride Maverick no matter what. So maybe I'll saddle up both Maverick and Zeke and ride in the small drylot. If they are both standing waiting to be ridden I'll be more gunho about it. Then I'll feel like I'm actually doing something with the horses other than letting them become overgrown couch potatoes.
I also need to work Rain and Chaos before this weekend's ride. Not real sure how it's going to go. I need to take some spunk out of Rain before we go on a ride. I have Friday off so if the hay doesnt' come Friday maybe Dad and I will go for a ride.
I'm also trying to work on my "todo list. I realized yesterday that I only had one item marked off. Oh that made me mad. So I got cracking on a few different items on my list. Of course, nothing got completely finished so I could mark it off.
But I did get the stalls cleaned out in the barn. I need to do some additional cleaning so that it doesn't look like a total pigsty. Note to horse: It's a barn not a pig pen!
I also cleaned out one of the box stalls. It has been awhile since I cleaned it. I'm afraid I couldn't get everything up so I have to take an ice pic to it.
We also tried our hand at putting in some fence posts. Unfortunately the ground is SO hard that we couldn't get more than about 1 1/2 feet deep. We poured some water in the whole so hopefully we can get a bit deeper. I want a wood fence between the barn/leanto and the chicken coop. This portion will be the main entryway for the mare pasture. It's also the main entry to the poop pile and burn pile. I'd feel better if we could have that fence up. Then I could put the ponies on the west side of that fence and just throw up a bit more electric and have more pasture!!
I'm hoping that we can maybe get some fencing done this week. I'm not sure that this weekend's ride will last very long. Last year the Sunday ride was done early and we were able to work on stuff at home. My hope is that we can get done early with the ride and go back to fencing. Maybe I can talk the parents into helping??
So that's it for now. After being at work all day I'm ready to go home and hug the horses and enjoy some good quality time with them.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Last night Mike and I went shopping and found a winter coat on clearance for me. I noticed this morning as I was putting the ponies in their pasture, they are starting to put on their winter coats too. Tommy continues to shed but he doesn't have that shiny look.
Tommy and Skippy's coats are starting to thicken up. Granted it has been cooler but I guess it's really true. I always know fall/winter is around the corner when the horses start to fur up. I better take a closer look at the rest of the herd. Oh for another three months of fall.
Friday, September 11, 2009
One problem. Well, more like two. The dog kennels were in the way so I couldn't really see where I was going backing up (no I do not use my mirrors). And two, the farm truck turns sharper than my 3/4 ton truck so I had to climb in and out a dozen times before I gave up trying to hook the farm truck up.
I decided that I really wanted to work Maverick on loading so I trotted on over and pulled my truck out and hooked up on the third try. It normally takes me three times to get hooked up but I'm used to that!
I haltered Maverick up and he surprised me (like he does EVERY time). I opened the trailer door and figured he'd get nervous... nope! I stepped into the trailer and asked him to stand next to it. I really didn't figure he would load but wanted him to get used to being next to it.
Maverick sniffed the floor (like all the horses do at Borderlands) and he hopped right in! That's right!!! He walked right in. He didn't jump, lunge, or bolt in. He stepped in like he'd loaded and unloaded all his life. This is only his fifth time he'd ever been in a trailer.
So we loaded and unloaded a dozen or so times. I made him go all the way to the front, stop, turn around, back up, go forward, stop at the edge, and walk out. He did start taking to jumping out but I think I fixed that already.
We even worked on loading with the middle divider in. I did only load him twice with the middle divider. I really didn't want to push my luck and figured I'd just work him with the full trailer instead. I was still totally impressed!
Maverick just blows my mind some days. I seriously am starting to think he's going to be a really good horse. I decided afterwards to give Zeke some turnout time in a bigger drylot and tied Maverick to the trailer. Maverick needs to learn how to stand tied for awhile.
And again, Maverick amazed me. He did go to pawing but that's his thing. But he also made me double over in laughter. He's got this weird habit where he will take the end of his nose and rub on stuff back and forth. So he put the end of his nose on the lead rope and fiddled with it. I think he was trying to figure out how to untie the knot. I wish I would have gotten a picture of it. He was just too cute. And while he was standing at the trailer, playing with his leadrope I realized he's really not a bad looking horse. I always figured he was one of those "junk" horses. But standing there nice and square (and fat/healthy), he looked like a really nice horse.
Now if I could only find time to ride him every day. He would turn into an amazing horse if he had miles on him. The more I mess with him, the more I like him.
While Maverick was tied to the trailer, I let Zeke out. He walked around the pen sniffing out everything. Bob walked up to the barn but didn't bother to even notice Zeke. Zeke got excited and started tossing his head around. Sam came up to the barn after Bob and only gave Zeke a fleeting moments notice. Zeke of course started trotting around, tossing his head.
Zeke continued to investigate. He even got a good dust roll. When he noticed the other horses out in the pasture he started doing his arabian stance and loping around the pen. I'm betting it felt good for him to stretch his legs.
After a little while Chaos and King came up. That's when Zeke decided to get really "arabianish" on me! He trotted around the pen and tossed his head all the time. I decided that I better get him out of there. Luckily I'd left his halter on. He's going to be a tough one to catch. As long as he doesn't see the leadrope I should be able to catch him. Otherwise it's going to be a fight.
I need to get some pictures of Zeke. It may take awhile before he and I are on the same page. There's no bond yet but there wasn't really one with any of the horses the first week out. Today markes the first week of having Zeke with us. I hope that we can get a strong bond. I think he and I could have a lot of fun but I'm not sure how well he relates to humans. I don't think his previous owner did too much with him. I guess we'll just see how it goes.
It took an entire year for me to really like Maverick. And after yesterday, I'm really liking Maverick. Maybe I'll get brave and take him out of his small drylot and ride him in the bigger drylot. I'm sure he's bored with my little bit of riding. I think he's up for a bigger challenge.
So what type of riding patters, riding exercises should I do with him to get miles on him and get him used to different types of things? Any suggestions?
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The pics are the first day out in their new pasture.
The pasture lasted for about two weeks and now it's completely dried up. Since I've pulled the ponies off, it does seem to be coming back. But since it's all in trees, I don't think the grass will come back quickly. I'm fine with no grass. Now we can get some trees cut down. My goal is to mark the dead trees so that we can remove them and make room for smaller trees to grow.
A typical view I get with the ponies.
I pulled Zeke out of his drylot last night. He was more interested in grass than sniffing around. He seemed much more relaxed this time out. I need to start messing with him more so that he gets used to everyone. I led him over to Maverick to see how they would react to each other. Zeke did his arabian neck crane and Maverick just stood there. I think both are a little lonely. I want to let them meet again and see how they behave.
The face flies are TERRIBLE! I've lost half of my fly masks out in the pasture. Either Chaos or King keep pulling them off everyone. I had the dogs withe me so I couldn't do a thorough search of the pasture. But I did find two fly masks. I think there's only three left missing. Both of King's masks with ears and then Dude's. I'm hoping to find them tonight. I don't wish for a hard freeze but I sure do wish for no more face flies.
Since I've lost half my fly masks, Maverick has been without a mask. I feel SO bad for him. Poor guy is standing in a drylot with no mask. I left his mask on while we were gone on vacation and it left a rub mark so I'm pretty hesitant to leave his mask on very long.
Maverick is NOT fond of his food ration. He really powered through the round bale. Now that I'm on to the small squares he doesn't get as much. He's starting to slim down. He was pretty fat after a full week of gorging himself. I also noticed that Zeke is sliming down too. I may need to put those two in together and just toss the round bale out and be done with it. I'm not used to feeding small squares so I have no idea what proportions are necessary. I know Maverick eats more than others. I wonder how I'll handle winter feeding with Maverick.
Nothing exciting really happened yesterday. When I went to look for fly masks Brego walked up to me to see what was going on. I think he wanted a mask on. He's such a doll. I need to get new pictures of everyone. I want to get pics of Maverick and Brego and show what a year's worth of good care does to a body. I also need to get updated pictures of Sam to compare. He's been with us now for 3 1/2 months and looks pretty good. It usually takes about six months to make them look ok. But since Sam has been on pasture 24x7 I think it didn't take as long to put the weight back on. And he wasn't half as bad as Maverick and Brego. But I really do need to get some more pics. This blog is just too boring with out pics!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I'm finding I'm doing most of my chores by the light of the moon. All morning chores are done with the yard light and moon, if it's present. Evening chores I still have the sunset glow up until about 8:30pm. After that I better hope that darn yard light either comes on or I can get it turned on. I realized last night, I couldn't even tell what color certain things were because it was so dark out. I am getting in earlier at night but there's still so much to be done.
Last night I decided I would move the pony pasture. I think they could have handled another day or two in that spot. But they'd been grazing on that part of the lawn for four days. The good grass was eaten down to the dirt and the other grass I guess is less tasty than others. So I decided I would sacrifice some of the new mare pasture (if it ever gets done) to the ponies. No sense in letting good grass go to waste because we can't get the fencing done.
I decided after the pony pasture was set up to take the pups for a walk. Farley and Gypsy are turning into really good dogs after I take them for a walk. They like sticking around the place instead of wandering off to investigate.
Farley decided that once dark set in to stay right by my side. There was a storm coming. It was pretty far off but by the reaction I got from Farley I figured it was going to be a doozy!
I pulled Zeke out to let him walk around and stretch his legs. He had his nose to the ground smelling everything. I've had the ponies in the grass everywhere Zeke went so I'm guessing Zeke was smelling out the ponies. I thought I had a hound dog at the end of the lead rope instead of an arabian. He was a bit skittish but I'm guessing it was because of the pending storm and finally getting out. I want to take it slow with him to not stress him out. I'm hoping to spend some more time with him outside of that drylot.
I had to wait for Bob, Sam, and King to polish off their grain and then I decided I would bring the mares in to the barn. I don't have any open fronts for the girls to get out of the bad weather. The weatherman was talking a 40% chance of rain and if a storm would blow through, it would be bad (strong winds, downpour of rain, and possibly hail). I didn't want to risk my girls getting soaked and cold so I decided to stall the mares.
Babe and Queen weren't fond of having to wait for the evening grain but I think once they were in the barn with a dish full of grain they didn't care. I'm a bit worried. This morning Queen was really stiff. Stalling her on concerete with straw is too hard on her arthritic legs. I need to go to TSC and see what types of joint supplements I can use on her. Queen also didn't really touch much of her hay. Babe on the other hand polished off every bit of hay and grain. This morning she was facing the wall. I find it odd that she will put her face to the wall and just stand there. I guess maybe that's her starting off point so she doesn't get lost when she wakes up from a nap. Poor girl.
This morning chores were a bit hectic. Good thing I woke up early. I had to put Queen and Babe back into their pasture. Queen was all stocked up so it took a bit to get her back to her pasture. Babe, as always tromped along with no problems whatsoever.
I threw some hay to Maverick, who eats every whisp of hay possible. He's a good boy and always "cleans his plate". I wish all the horses would eat everything like he does. Although he does eat a lot! I've never seen a horse eat as much as Maverick.
I threw some hay to Zeke. He is always excited to get food. Like every other arabian I've owned, Zeke tosses his head. Toss or flip, it sort of depends on how you look at it. But I wasn't surprised when I saw him toss his head. I thought it was sort of cute. Ace used to toss his head when he felt good. Rain tosses his head when he feels good. Zeke tosses his head when I bring him food.
After Zeke's morning chores I had to halter up the ponies in the barn and lead them out to their new pasture. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't go well. They haven't been in this part of the yard before so who knows how they will react. I wish the yard light could shine over to that part of the yard. I had to get the fence secure and the electric fencer turned on in the dark. Luckily the skies were clear so I could do some of the chores by the light of the stars. I'm not sure if the moon was out this morning or not.
I miss watching the sun rise while doing chores. But I guess I get to enjoy the predawn morning show while driving to work instead.
Not sure what the plans are for tonight. I'd really like to ride Maverick tonight and mess with Zeke. We'll see how far I get before the darnkess sets in again. I sort of wish I could have the red shed so I could start riding indoors. Maybe some day I'll get my indoor riding arena (although like that would get me more motivated to ride.) I am just happy messing with the horses. But I really do need to fiddle around with Maverick. I haven't ridden him since last Friday and that was at a slow walk because his drylot was muddy and greasy. I need to figure out some type of riding schedule/regime so that when I go to ride him we can actually focus on something besides just riding around in serpentines in his drylot.
Maybe tonight I'll groom Zeke down and try my saddle on him. We'll see though. I may just be happy grooming him down and letting him graze and get used to me. I've had Zeke now for five days and I really don't know that much about him. Other commitments keep forcing me to spend my attention elsewhere.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The day s are definately getting shorter and the evidence is very clear that fall is in the air. I've started watching the leaves change and now the beans are starting to turn also. We've had cooler temperatures and rain all during July and August, which helped save my pastures. Unfortunately the pastures are starting to dry up anyway.
I did walk the mare pasture last night. I put rubber caps on fence posts. I still need to do a bit of fencing in that mare pasture. But I feel better knowing that I have caps on the posts. I need to do that to all of the fences, especially those that Babe are in. I wish that I could afford better fencing and not force her to be in wire fencing. I'd rather see her in board fencing. I did notice that after having the mares out of that pasture for almost three weeks, the grass is growing back, which is a good thing. The pasture was about done for before the vacation. I need to get the mares back home and was worried that I wouldn't have a place to graze them. I bet after a week of grazing though the pasture will be done.
I had to lock the ponies in their pen. They finally discovered a way to escape if they really wanted to.I guess it's a good thing because I needed to move the corral panels so I can bring the girls back home. So last night after I got the temporary pony pasture set up (just two strands of electric) I started hauling corral panels out. I wanted to get them out anyway since they were behind the garage. The weatherman was predicting rain today so I didn't want to have to lug those panels through mud and run the risk of potentially hurting myself again. The last time I set those panels up required a trip to the clinic to get some tree bark removed from my eye. ouch!
The ponies did a fantastic job of eating down the grass in their pony pasture. I can actually walk around in the trees and not trip and stumble. I'm hoping that we can get in this fall and do some cutting and get the dead trees cleared out of there. It was always such a tangle of grass, treese, and branches we never tackled it. But it's actually a pretty clean shelter belt.
My hope at one time was to combine the mare pasture with the tree pasture and make it all one. But now that I have as many as I do, I'm thinking I may want to keep them separate so that I have options.
And for the last two days Maverick has been whinnying to me. I thought maybe it was because he was excited to see me. No. I realized last night it's because he's polished off that entire round bale and is hungry. The bugger ate an entire round bale in 2 1/2 weeks! There's still some hay and I figured he could eat that but I think that portion is the outter shell that was rained on and is no good. So for now I will toss him some small squares and he won't get to gorge himself on hay. He's fat now so I guess I'm happy he's fat enough going into winter.
Speaking of winter, I heard on the radio that the Farmer's Almanac is out and that for this area, they are predicting frigid weather with more snow. So really it means it's going to be stinking cold (I'm betting below zero for weeks on end) and blizzards or at least lots of snow.
And it also makes me think about my hay supply. My hay for this year is not yet baled. I'm still waiting. I may actually try to buy some extra small bales or round bales. I've had an emergency stash in the past but now I don't have anything. So I'm starting to really worry. I think maybe I better stock up if it's going to be "frigid" this year! I'll have 12 horses for sure this winter (will have to euth Bob before winter). But I'm not sure how much I'll need for Brego and Maverick since they eat so much and I'll have never had Zeke through a winter.
There's also nothing saying I won't pick up another horse at the upcoming Worthing Horse Sale which is set for Oct 10th. Every time I go I find a horse that I want and the ones I want typically go VERY cheap. I've also seen a lot of culling going on in CraigsList so I'm betting with the economy, hay prices, and bad weather there will be tons of horses going for very cheap. Which makes me think I better get myself in gear.
I am now starting to get a tally of all the things that need to be done in the near future (before fall). I need to actually get it written down so that I can start tackling the big projects before it gets too late. I need to build an additional stall in the barn and at least one additional stall in the hay shed (prefer to build two additional stalls). I'm also thinking I need to modify the runin/leanto to make that into a stall too in case the weather gets really bad. I just had an idea on making stalls for the ponies but that might not fly.
There's so much to do and with the days getting shorter it's tougher to get everything done in time. I find myself exhausted by the end of the work day and that's not including the four additional hours of home time where I really need to squeeze in about eight hours of work. Does that make sense?
I'm hoping tonight to get the corral panels set up, if it's not raining. I want to bring the mares home this weekend. If I can bring the mares home this weekend, I'll have 13 horses on the place. Yikes! It's going to be a crazy weekend!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I've already got the truck and trailer hooked up and cash in hand so I'm ready for Friday to roll around.
I'd like to pick him up tonight but I have too much to get done. Wed and Thur are supposed to be rainy and I hate hauling horses in the rain. With the weather we've been having lately I'm afraid Zeke will get a chill. I am starting to slowly look for a slant load enclosed trailer. The stock trailer works fine but I haul a lot in the fall/winter and I'd like to have something that would keep the wind of the horses.
I also don't want to tear the guy's yard up. So Friday between 9 and 9:30am. I doubt Mike will be able to help pick Zeke up.
Maybe we can also sneak in picking up some more fence posts. They are up in Baltic putting in new state fence so maybe, just maybe, we can swing by and pick up a bunch of fence posts on Friday too. We'll see how that goes though.
But the date is set and I'm anxiously waiting. I need to definately get some fencing done before hand but I'll be ready and waiting for Zeke bright and early Friday morning!