Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Equipment Shopping

This past weekend was very wet. The skies opened up on Friday night and by Sunday we had accumulated nearly five inches of rain across the area. As a result the ground on Monday was far too wet to accomplish anything productive in the fields although there is plenty of work to do.

What I did to fill my “spare” time between chores on Monday was go equipment shopping. Like a good husband I told Melissa what I was doing before I went, too. Even better, I took Carter with me for a little quality boy time. We were looking for a good quality used 8 to 10 foot (mid sized) bush hog to complement the little one and the large one I already own. I need to back up a step and say that I always have a used equipment inventory in my head and it often remains there for years until I find the right deal. In this case after two years of looking I was surprised to find one that met all my requirements at our very first stop. When the dealer quoted me his best price I knew I had found my machine.

I texted Melissa to tell her of my success and I was quite surprised when I didn’t get a response. (Yes, because you did not say "I am going to go purchase a piece of equipment" when you left. You said "I'm going to go to Ronnie's and look at equipment." There is a pretty big difference!! Also, I think I might leave one day and announce "I'm going to go look at horses" and then a couple of hours later send you a text message letting you know that I bought one.) She sure made up for that when I got home though ! Turns out she thought I had bought a fourth bush-hog to complement those we already own. As nice as that might be in certain situations I think I’m going to have to make do with three.

Yes, I was incorrect. We now own 3 bushhogs and not four. I thought we had the massive batwing bushhog, the 10' bushhog, and the little 4' bushhog. So I was wondering why we needed an 8' bushhog to add to the mix. Jason informed me that we had not had the 10' bushhog for a couple of years, so we only have three, and not four bushhogs now.  How silly of me not to keep up with our inventory of bushhogs more accurately. Shame on me!!


Johnny and Sam

Largo and Clayton

Lightening, Thor and Fabrizzio

Traveller, Calimba, Cinnamon and Cuffie

Levendi, Trigger and Moe

Hemi and Thomas

George and Gus were on the run . . .

. . . followed by Lotus and Romeo . . .

. . . with Silver and Faune bringing up the rear

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fainting Goat Reunion

The World's Cutest Fainting Goats are finally reunited. The temporary fence creating the tiny paddock for Mina and Miss Lyle came down and there was a happy fainting goat reunion. Mina's broken leg has been deemed almost completely healed by the vet and she no longer has to be confined to her tiny paddock. Jo was overjoyed to be reunited with Mina.  Jo butted heads with Mina over and over and over. I think it was the fainting goat version of a happy dance. 

Miss Lyle bounded around all over the pasture, and jumped from the top of one goat house to another as she surveyed her paddock that was now completely open to her again. It would be an understatement to say that Miss Lyle was sick of serving as Mina's friend in the tiny isolation paddock. 

Mina has lost a lot of flexibility around the hock joint in her right hind leg since the break was right at the hock joint. She will have a permanent reminder of her broken leg with a "hitch in her getalong." Thankfully she has been very sensible so far and despite the exuberant greeting from her friend Jo she has continued to self limit her activity. 

Jo and Mina enthusiastically head-butted each other about 100 times. I love that Jo's back legs are not touching the ground in this picture.

getting ready for another head-butt . . .

. . . and another one . . .

. . . and yet another head-butt

Jo and Mina taking a walk around the pasture together

Miss Lyle and Mina were happy to have a lot more grazing room again

Miss Lyle felt the need to look at everything from a perch. Here she is on the dogloo . . . 

. . . then she moved to the dog house


Johnny, Wiz and Renny

Cinnamon attending to an itchy spot on the one section of fence in her pasture that doesn't have a hotwire on it.

Bergie thought the post of the run-in shed made a nice scratching post

Snappy and Slinky

Lucky and O'Reilly

Fabrizzio, Noble and Walden (Merlin hiding behind them)

Romeo, Gus and Lotus

Murphy and Dutch

Moe, Baby, Levendi and Thomas

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Right Horse

I follow Denny Emerson's page for his Tamarack Hill Farm on Facebook. He tends to focus on a few topics at a time, and lately he has made several comments about riders who keep trying to work with the wrong horse.  The horse is too spooky, not suited for their discipline of choice, not mentally sound, the horse may be too green for the rider, there can be any number of reasons why a horse and rider are a bad match. Denny's comment today was "Trying to get a rider to give up the wrong horse is about as likely as expecting rational decision making from North Korea. It`s THE frustration for riding instructors all around the world, in the planetary system, and in outer space." This comment certainly made me reflect on my history with my horses. I've been very privileged to have owned horses that were the perfect match for me. I've also owned, and refused to sell, horses that clearly were not a good match for me. In hindsight it is easy to see that both the horses in question and I would have all been happier if we had found new partners.

Sometimes it is hard to know if you are working with the wrong horse, or if you just need to change the program to make it work with a particular horse. Some would argue that working with the "wrong" horse makes you a better horse person and that these are the horses you learn the most from. Others would argue that you learn more by having a horse that is a good fit, that gives you confidence, and that allows you to simply have fun in this expensive and time consuming sport.  I know that for where I am in my life right now I have decided any horse I intend to own and ride has to fit in my life.  I have too much else going on to make my life fit around the horse. Some might consider this a harsh attitude, but I view it as simply being realistic given how overwhelmingly busy my life is these days.  Where do you fall on this spectrum?

And on the subject of having the right horse, there are ample opportunities this weekend for viewing some amazing partnerships online. If you click here you can have your choice of live streams this weekend:  The Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals and the Rolex FEI World Cup Showjumping Finals.  Since I won't have time to watch any of these this weekend I thought I would share the link and so someone else can annoy their spouse, significant other or roommate over the weekend. "You're watching horse stuff again?" You can tell them it is my fault!


Asterik, Gus and George (Lotus is the bay horse hiding behind the greys)

Apollo, Hemi and Thomas

Africa and Sebastian

Snappy, Fabrizzio and Thor grazing in some morning fog

Chance, Elfin and Leo

Johnny, Wiz and Dutch

Tiny and Johnny


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Jobs

Spring is always a nice time of year. Along with the fall season spring also tends to be a very busy time of year for us. All of a sudden all of those projects we were putting off until the weather was nice . . . well that excuse is no longer valid these days. In the next week I need to body clip my usual suspects. I always like to start with Lily and get the big clip job out of the way first so one day in the very near future Lily and I will be having a date with the clippers.  Last year it got so warm so fast I had to start clipping in late March, so I am hoping some of the big jobs will go a little more quickly since the horses have had some more shedding time. 

Another project that I need to do is to sort through all of the blankets and relabel all of them. They get sorted and separated into two piles: those that just need to be cleaned and those that need cleaning and repair.  I'm sure that doesn't seem like it should be such a hard job but when you need to relabel and closely examine well over 100 blankets that takes awhile. It is no secret how much I dislike handling dirty horse blankets and as such this is not a job that I eagerly anticipate.

Jason already had to get all of the various lawnmowers and weedeaters ready and they have been in regular use for a month now. Next up will be getting the bushhog ready to go and doing the spring service on the tractors and utility vehicles. Jason will log plenty of hours on the tractor mowing the pastures and spraying for weeds. 

Every year at some point in the spring the horses begin to ignore the hay in their hay feeders. That started happening last week. This means we get to add another job to the list of spring jobs, cleaning out the hay feeders. This is another job I don't really enjoy. We do this a couple of times during hay feeding season as well. This is one of those jobs where it is impossible not to get dirty. Someone has to stand the big hay feeders on their side and roll them out of the way while the other person uses the front end loader on the tractor to push the old hay out and add it to the compost piles. Whether you are on the tractor or the one manhandling the hay feeders it is guaranteed that you will be covered in hay. It can be a perfectly still day without a hint of wind, but as soon as we start this job it is a sure bet that the wind will start whipping things around.

These are just a few of the glamorous spring jobs that will be occupying our time these days. With the exception of schlepping all of the dirty horse blankets around I really don't mind any of them. And I would rather be sorting through dirty horse blankets deciding what needs to be repaired than dragging them around putting them on the horses, so even that job has it's silver lining! I hope all of you are enjoying your spring jobs as well!


Cuffie and Norman are All Pony, All The Time

Homer and Moe

Jason being the Pied Piper and leading the way in; he is carrying a feedbag for enticement. Now that the grass is going strong we have to beg the horses to come at meal times.

Sebastian, Africa, Lighty, Johnny, Sam and Wiz

Baby and Tony

Clayton surveyed his kingdom while Stormy grazed

Noble, Lightening and Thor

B-Rad and Alex

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Stills

Tony and Apollo


Bergie and Stormy

Kennedy and Clayton

MyLight and Calimba

Tiny and Johnny 


Toledo, Oskar and Largo were hanging out and being silly

Lotus and Romeo