Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Continues

Not a lot to report tonight from middle Tennessee. The weather has been beyond perfect, warm and sunny with a light breeze. Many of the trees are very close to leafing out and are full of buds. I didn't walk over to the pond to verify, but I believe I saw some new goslings floating around in the pond today. I was quite a distance away so it could have been baby ducks, I need to walk over and investigate, the pond is fenced off from the pastures although sometimes we give the Big Boys access. Spring is definitely in full force, I even saw a fly today.

Spring is a slow, lingering season here and fall is as well. I remember when Jason and I lived in Vermont I was amazed at how fast spring seemed to happen there. Within a couple of weeks it suddenly warmed up enough and the grass turned green and the trees leafed out. I felt I could almost watch the process happen before my eyes if I stood and stared at a tree long enough! This happens over a much longer period here, taking up most of March and April.

I've been a bit over zealous with the shedding blade and have managed to put bald spots on a few horses. Oops! I do this every year, thankfully their summer coats fill in the spots quickly! My hands are raw and sore from so much grooming and use of the shedding blade, but I think I've already mentioned that in the last umpteen posts. I enjoy it though, it is so pleasant to be outside on a beautiful day grooming horses.

I am off to make up my list for farrier day tomorrow. I hope everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the season.

Clay, Lightening, Chili and Snappy grazing in the sunshine. Clay is a Quarter Horse whose first career was a racehorse and his second career was a trail horse. Lightening is an Arabian and a retired trail partner. Chili is a Quarter Horse and he worked cattle and hit the trails. Snappy is a Polish bred horse who evented through the four star level with Mark Todd and ended his showing days as an A circuit hunter.

Faune and Winston were feeling super friendly and were practically kissing each other. Faune is a Selle Francais and Winston is a Thoroughbred. Both are retired show hunters.

Norman, Sky and Lexi. Norman is a medium pony retired from the pony hunters. Sky and Lexi are my horses and are happiest when their job description involves being in the pasture with their friends.

Lucky showing perfect form while he rolls. Lucky is a Quarter Horse and retired trail partner.

Asterik is a Holsteiner and he showed on the "A" circuit in both the hunters and the jumpers.

Slinky and Lucky in the front, Ivan and Homer in the back. Slinky is a large pony and he specialized in the pony equitation classes. Ivan is a Thoroughbred and showed up to the Grand Prix level in the jumpers. Homer is an Irish bred gelding who was a top notch show hunter.

Levendi is an Oldenburg and retired show hunter

Thomas and Trigger. Thomas is a Holsteiner and retired from dressage. Trigger is an Appendix Quarter Horse and retired show hunter.

Leo and Chance. Leo is a Dutch Warmblood and he showed through 4th level in dressage before becoming a show hunter. Chance is a Thoroughbred and he has had many job descriptions including racehorse, pulling a carriage for tourists and show hunter.

Lily and Harmony. Lily is a Quarter Horse/Warmblood cross who showed in the jumpers. Harmony is a Thoroughbred and retired from a career in polo.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Equipment Fail

My camera decided it was time to stop functioning properly this weekend so I have very few pictures. It has tried to die on me a few times already and I've been able to breathe life back into it, but this time it seems to be permanent. I kill cameras quickly and this one had the longest life span of any of them at almost two years. My cameras take serious abuse as I carry them around the farm with me all the time. They have so much dirt in them it is unreal. I was able to breathe some life back into this camera a couple of times thanks to my dad removing about an acre of dirt out of its guts using compressed air. Unfortunately that fix isn't working this time. My poor cameras get dropped on the concrete aisle of the barn, they get wet, knocked around, banged against things, dropped in the dirt constantly, really they have no chance at a long life.

I do have a new replacement camera that will hopefully get put into service tomorrow. Needless to say I have very few pictures from the weekend since I was without a camera for most of it!

Faune and B-Rad grazing

Lightening surrounded by some of the hair I had just removed from him with the shedding blade. There was a lot more than this but it was a breezy day and it blew away.

Ogie and B-Rad

Alex taking a nap while Winston stood nearby (Bella the dog as well)
Then they switched places and Winston took a nap while Alex grazed nearby

Missy, Harmony, Cuff Links, MyLight, Lily and Buffy

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rain Crazies

We experience a phenomenon on this farm that I refer to as the Rain Crazies. Whenever it rains the horses are just wild. It doesn't matter if it is a warm or cold rain, or if there is wind or no wind, but something about rain brings the crazies out in the horses. Is this something that is unique to this farm or does this happen in other places?

This morning it was raining during feeding time. Thankfully the pouring, driving rain had passed at that point and it was just an on again, off again soft rain. The horses were wild as I knew they would be due to the rain. Instead of their usual orderly, mannerly selves at feeding time they were acting like wild banshees. I used a lot of strong body language as well as firmly telling them to "back up" to keep from getting trampled.

The wildest one of all was 30 year old Chili, he put all of the Big Boys to shame with his antics this morning. In fact most of them were watching him across their shared fence line, probably thinking they didn't realize the old man could move like that! He ripped around the pasture like a weanling, he finally managed to contain himself long enough to come and eat his breakfast. As soon as he was done he was off to the races again doing the run/buck/fart/spin routine as well as any 2 year old. What amazed me was how long he kept it up, at least 15 minutes. He lapped the pasture (about 15 acres) multiple times, with various other horses joining him in the fun. It is a shame I didn't get any pictures or video of it but I didn't have a camera this morning due to the rain.

The latter part of the day was more pleasant and I did a bit more shedding blade work on a few horses. My hands are sore and raw from so much shedding. Who knew you could make muscles in your hands so sore?

Ivan, Leo, Trigger and Thomas walking through the pasture

Chance and Tony grazing

Teddy (Lucky behind him) enjoying the grass and the sunshine

Winston and Faune

Missy and Cuff Links

Lily running through the pasture yesterday; she had her ears back and was going for the aerodynamic look

MyLight with Missy in the background

Lightening in the front, then Clay and O'Reilly, with Lucky and Teddy eating hay

O'Reilly and Slinky

Chili, my super wild man this morning, grazing sedately yesterday

Harmony enjoying a nap in the hay (one of her favorite napping spots)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shedding Away

Today was another shedding blade day. I worked on a dozen horses myself with the shedding blade today. I think I've moved on from having shedding blade blisters on my hands to having shedding blade callouses. I also use the epona shedding flowers in addition to shedding blades and find them much easier on my hands. However I don't like how grimy my hands feel after I use them.

It was simply an exceptional day for being with the horses. High 60's and bright sunshine with an occasional light breeze. I did all of my grooming in the pasture. When weather permits I prefer to groom most of the horses in the pasture. The ones that are fussy about grooming I put a halter on them and hold the leadrope but find that grazing mostly keeps them distracted. It also eliminates most of their hoof stomping, attempts at nipping, and general expressions of displeasure about grooming. When I have them tied in the barn they have nothing else to think about aside from the fact that they don't really enjoy being groomed. Others I don't put a halter on and just work away while they graze quietly. The horses that really enjoy being groomed find this to be heavenly, grazing on green grass while someone curries away on them.

Ivan and Chance enjoyed it so much they followed me after I was done and bumped me with their noses asking for more. I was happy to oblige them and work off some more hair. I think I've found it most satisfying to work on Lily. I barely have to touch her and I get sheets and sheets of hair off, and in no time a huge pile of hair has accumulated on the ground. Looking at the big hair pile really makes me feel like I accomplished something. I think we've taken about three horses worth of hair off of her and probably have three more to go.

There are still a few holdouts that aren't shedding much at all and you have to work hard to get any hair off of them. Mostly this tends to be the same group of horses each year but every year is a little different. I'm looking forward to another pleasant day tomorrow with more of the same. In fact I expect the next few weeks will bring a lot more of the same - which is fine with me!

Having a lazy morning while waiting for breakfast (Chance, Trigger and Levendi are our nappers)

Buffy (Thoroughbred)

Trigger (Appendix Quarter Horse), Homer (Irish) and Leo (Dutch Warmblood)

Homer (Irish), Leo (Dutch Warmblood) and Elfin (Thoroughbred)

Apollo (Hanoverian)

Dustin (Westphalian, son of the famous showjumper Starman)

some of the pet cows having a lazy day

Asterik (Holsteiner) and Winston (Thoroughbred)

Sebastian (Connemara/Irish Draught) and Alex (Quarter Horse cross)

Apollo (Hanoverian), Chance (Thoroughbred), Tony (Dutch Warmblood), Levendi (Oldenburg), Homer (Irish), Thomas (Holsteiner) and Baby (TB/Dutch Warmblood)

Harmony taking a nap. Harmony is a Thoroughbred mare who had a career as a polo pony.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

No Rambling

No rambling from me tonight as it is late and I need to tuck in the World's Cutest Fainting Goats and go to bed (the crowd stands and roars!). Video and pictures from the weekend:

Another video clip of the big boys taking their daily runabout. Apollo and Levendi come first, then Thomas, followed by Trigger and Elfin, then Leo, Tony, Ivan and Homer. Tony is the one trotting at the end. So many lovely movers to watch as they run around!

Norman, medium pony, the embodiment of "big things come in small packages" with his huge personality

Thomas and Elfin watching Leo roll - really they were just waiting for his spot for their own use

Teddy and O'Reilly in the front; Chance, Dustin, Trigger and Tony in the back

The Don looking fit and healthy as ever, sometimes I think he is doing some kind of reverse aging thing as year after year he looks and acts exactly the same

Leo and Levendi soaking up the sun and enjoying some grass

Handsome Thomas (Holsteiner)

Lightening, Arabian, grazing by one of the sheds

MyLight, Harmony, Cuff Links, Buffy, Missy . . .

. . . and Lily was just out of the frame. That is Apollo in the background

Jason harrowing one of the pastures

Sparky and Cinnamon

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Signs of Spring

We've had much of the same on the farm the last few days. The weather was ok the first few days of the week (highs only in the 50's but windy so three horses - the super wimpy ones - have had sheets on) but we hit 70 degrees again today with lots of sunshine. All horses naked! Most of the horses are shedding like crazy although a few are still mostly holding out, and there are other signs of spring everywhere. I'm starting to see lots of buds on the trees, the grass keeps getting greener, the frogs are singing around the pond again, the sound of singing birds is constant and life is good. I guess I will probably see the first fly of the year any day now. Today I used the shedding blade on several horses, there is something so satisfying about seeing a huge pile of hair forming as you work away. I must have found that a bit too satisfying as I worked on so many horses my hands now have a couple of raw spots on my hands from the shedding blade. Ouch!

Tomorrow is supposed to be another great weather day, 70's and sunny. All three of my girls were ridden today and hopefully that will happen again tomorrow. They are probably wishing that January would come back! I hope everyone has a great weekend. I plan to put band-aids on my hands on the raw spots and put in a lot more time with the shedding blade this weekend.

The big boys on their daily romp through the pasture a couple of days ago. I like how Levendi demonstrates that show hunters can also be field hunters as he hops over the little tree branch in the very beginning. Sorry for the bit of footage where you get a good view of the trees there - I couldn't get a good angle. At about 1:11 is where footage of loop two around the pasture starts. Their pasture is huge, 40 acres, so I can't stand in one place and get their entire run on camera. The boys do love to run!

The more sedate crowd grazing on Thursday. Lucky, Clay, Chili, O'Reilly, Snappy, Lightening & Teddy.

Winston, Faune and Asterik


Thomas hoping one or more of the mares would come over to flirt with him but all he got for his efforts was being ignored.

Homer, Apollo and Leo

Ivan enjoyed a nice roll in the dirt/mud

Then he went into dead horse position and sunned himself for awhile. How do I sign up for this life??


MyLight, Missy and Buffy

Buffy also decided it would be a nice day for a nap


I could take pictures of rolling horses all day; Faune showing me his technique (and saying "so much for grooming me, watch this and weep!")

He also decided to stay down and sun himself for awhile after his roll (seriously, how do I sign up for this life????)

Jo the fainting goat thinking that if she only had opposable thumbs she could drive the Kubota AND operate the cordless drill.

Lightening, O'Reilly, Slinky and Chili

Harmony and Cuffie (Elfin in the background)