Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hello New Arrivals!

We've had an abundance of new arrivals to the farm in the last few weeks - and not just horses! Our hen has three adorable chicks following her around. Unfortunately most of her eggs did not hatch but the three chicks that made it through incubation are super cute.

The hen with her three chicks in tow
We've also had an abundance of new arrivals around the pond. I had mentioned several weeks ago about our one lonely Canada Goose that had been hanging around the pond and often wandering through the pastures around the pond. Well the lonely goose had a mate show up finally and about three weeks ago we noticed they were floating around the pond with four goslings following them.
The geese with their goslings. You can see some of our other new arrivals behind in them in the first picture.

The chicks and goslings are adorable and so much fun to watch. However if we weren't already on nursery overload we also have a big flock of new baby ducks as well! They share the pond peacefully with the geese and goslings, and I often see all of them floating around in one big group together.

The new ducks floating around the pond

Last, but certainly not least, I've been seeing this lovely heron around the pond every day as well. He/she is very pretty and seems quite content to enjoy life on our farm with our wide assortment of residents.

Our resident Heron hanging out by the pond

In addition to having a great time watching our many new arrivals Jason was busy this weekend mowing pastures. For this job he uses the 100 horse power tractor and the 15' bush hog. When you have 140 acres to mow, even with this equipment, it takes awhile! Sitting on the tractor makes his back hurt after a few hours so he did a half day of mowing the last couple of days and has gotten a good start on this big job. Hopefully the mowing will be finished in the next few days and he can take a break from the tractor until the next round of mowing. He is mowing everything to a height of about five to six inches. It was nice not to be wading through waist high grass in certain areas anymore!
Jason giving us his best impersonation of an insect; I told him he looked like a bug!
Making one of many passes with the bush hog
One of the pastures that was cut this weekend; Clay and Snappy are our grazers Buffy, Missy and Harmony in the newly mowed pasture

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome MyLight

We had the pleasure of welcoming a wonderful new addition to our family of retirees this week. Her name is MyLight and she is a thoroughbred mare. Her mom patiently waited for us to have room for her beautiful mare and I am so glad we were able to get things worked out! MyLight has been an absolute joy to be around from the moment she stepped off the trailer.


Her name MyLight is perfect for her. She has this very understated elegance about her and a quiet, confident, yet very friendly personality. She has been as relaxed and happy as she can be since her arrival yet also curious and inquisitive about her new surroundings. I can tell that she is the type of horse that takes things in stride as I watched her flat out on her side napping in the paddock on her second day with us.

MyLight enjoying a good roll in the grass

Just like Elfin she sits up like a dog and then does the "dog walk" to roll on her other side

MyLight and her mom were partners together in the dressage arena for 10 years. Her mom had been leasing another horse that ended up going lame so she was looking for another horse to lease. MyLight had caught her eye several times and she'd noticed that her owner rarely came to ride her. She inquired about leasing MyLight and it some convincing before her owner finally agreed to the lease.

She made friends with the goats easily

Her mom said that after only a few weeks she was in love with MyLight. This comes as no surprise to me after spending a few days with her! She inquired about purchasing her and was given a flat no for an answer, that MyLight was not for sale. So she said she stepped completely out of character and kept asking about purchasing MyLight until she finally got a yes. She and MyLight never looked back and spent 10 great years together pursuing their love of dressage. MyLight's owner said that prior to knowing MyLight she was not a mare person at all, but after having worked with MyLight for so many years she now knows she really loves a great mare.

MyLight is all about living the good life. She is happy to graze, roll, nap and socialize. She's come to the right place!

Prior to beginning her dressage career MyLight started life at the track. She actually managed to win one race before retiring from the track after a very brief racing career. I've had the opportunity to watch MyLight trotting around in the paddock and she has a lovely trot that screamed dressage as I watched her. I have to say nothing about her said "speed" or "race horse!" I am pretty confident that she was happier as a dressage horse!

Showing me her lovely trot

Please join me in welcoming the lovely MyLight to our farm. I'm thrilled she is finally here and it was well worth the wait to meet her!

Peacefully grazing
Looking at me with a mouthful of grass

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day and Updates

I realized today it has been almost a week since I updated my blog so this post got a bit long. Nothing out of the ordinary has been going on, just the usual level of busy. I hope everyone is having a nice memorial day and has taken a moment to think about and be grateful to the many troops who have suffered and died for us for many generations. Coming from a family with a lot of former members of the military (Army and Air Force) I like to take a few moments to think about the significance of Memorial Day.

Jason and I have had a fairly quiet last few days together. There is tons of work that needs to be done around here, especially mowing the pastures. I have no doubt Jason will be horrified that I am posting pictures showing our over grown pastures. On Saturday as we were walking across the farm after we had finished feeding everyone breakfast he made the comment that the "place looks like a dump." Well personally I have to disagree. No the pastures don't look perfectly manicured but quite frankly I don't see any of the horses complaining!

We spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon visiting the Belle Meade Plantation which is located not very far from our farm. I haven't visited Belle Meade Plantation for so long I can't even remember when I was last there. Probably when I was in middle school? In Middle Tennessee there is no shortage of gorgeous old plantation homes to visit. Belle Meade is particularly interesting to me as the plantation was never a field crop plantation with cotton and the usual southern crops. Belle Meade was famous for their thoroughbred horses.

The main carriage house at the Belle Meade Plantation
Bonnie Scotland, considered to be one of the foundation sires of the thoroughbred breed in North America, stood at stud at the Belle Meade Plantation. Some of the notable thoroughbreds that would trace their pedigree back to Bonnie Scotland include Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Giacomo, Smarty Jones, Funny Cide, Barbaro and Mine that Bird to name a few. At its peak the Belle Meade Plantation was known as the oldest and greatest Thoroughbred breeding farm in North America. The beautiful main mansion presided over 5,000 acres devoted to breeding horses with numerous, impressive barns and outbuildings throughout the property. In fact the oldest registered racing silks in the United States belonged to the Belle Meade stud.

Jason in front of the Carriage House

We also had a new arrival join us for retirement as well. He's been waiting for several months and we were finally able to greet him last week. "Trigger" has a lot going for him in the looks department. He is a beautiful chocolate palomino with a blaze face and stockings on all four legs. Unfortunately Trigger has navicular in both front feet and was no longer staying sound for regular work even with all of the typical management approaches for navicular. So at the very young age of ten Trigger joins us for retirement.

These pictures do not do justice to his gorgeous color

Trigger had very limited turnout at the show barn he was previously living at and he was quite a handful his first day. I pretty much was simply an impediment in his way at the end of the lead rope as I walked him from the trailer to the barn. I don't typically use a chain over the nose when leading horses but I would have given a lot to have had a chain leadrope for that experience. I'm just glad I managed to hang on and get him in a stall! After he had a few minutes to drink some water and go to the bathroom I decided to put him out in my arena. He was still literally jumping out of his skin in the stall. We had another hair-raising walk from the barn to the arena and I did put a chain over his nose this time. As my dad watched me attempting to lead Trigger around he asked me if it was safe to be leading that horse around!?

Trigger and I made it to the arena and I let him go. Trigger put on a show of galloping, bucking, rearing, roll back turns and generally just going crazy like I've never seen. I even forgot to take pictures for the first part of the show, I just stood there watching him with my jaw on the ground! I was seriously wondering when the last time was that this horse had been turned out. I'm thinking it had been quite awhile. He kept it up for almost an hour before finally calming down. Needless to say Trigger has been MUCH easier to handle since he was allowed to blow off some extremely excessive energy.

These were taken after he had calmed down and was just running laps; at first he worked in huge, crazy bucks and lots of rearing in addition to tearing around the arena at Mach 10.

Otherwise we've just had our usual happenings around here. Gwen, our amazing farrier, was here one day last week. Horses were fed, some were groomed and/or bathed, stalls were cleaned, water troughs were scrubbed. Just another typical week at the farm!

Short video of Mina and Jo, world's cutest fainting goats, playing on the "stump complex." (That is what Jason calls it anyway!)

Jo Mina
Redbird on the fence

Chili, Lucky and Slinky

Winston and Ogie
Faune (taking advantage of the fact that he is just shy of 18 hands) eating some leaves
Lucky on the left and Lightening on the right. Yes, we do have an Arabian retired with us - I didn't realize that would surprise people! We have had two other residents that were also Arabians but unfortunately they have both passed away in the last couple of year. Their names were Sultan and Magick and they were both gray as well.
Elfin on the left and Homer on the right
L-R Apollo, Ivan and Baby
Faune, Asterik and Winston; too bad they were in the shade as they made a pretty picture but my camera didn't like the lack of sunlight.
According to Jason the overgrown grass makes the farm "look like a dump." The horses seem fine with it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Name that Gray

Both in the comments and in my e-mails people often ask me which gray horse is which. We have a lot of gray horses retired with us. I love it since I've never personally owned a gray but always wanted one. So now I "have" several! Today we're having a little primer on gray horses. Maybe we'll even have a pop quiz at the end to see who paid attention!

Cuff Links; Cuffie is a welsh pony and retired from doing the pony hunters Asterik; Asterik is a holsteiner and had a very impressive career doing both the big jumpers and the hunters as well
Buffy; Buffy is a thoroughbred mare and retired show hunter
Homer; Homer is an Irish Thoroughbred and retired show hunter
Ivan; Ivan is a thoroughbred and retired Grand Prix jumper
Harmony; Harmony is a thoroughbred mare and retired polo pony
Traveller; Traveller is also a welsh pony and retired from the pony huntersSebastian; Sebastian is a Connemara/Irish Draught cross and he apparently could do just about anything. Sebi was a fox hunter in Ireland and also here in the States and also showed in the hunters and the jumpers
Lightening; Lightening is an Arabian and retired trail horse from Colorado

And that is it for gray horses on the farm! I decided to be nice and skip the pop quiz at the end.